Nervous about potential U.S. rapprochement with Tehran over its nuclear enrichment program, some neoconservatives are urging Israel to scuttle the deal by attacking Iran.
The Foreign Policy Research Institute is a conservative foreign policy think tank based in Philadelphia. Although many of its current scholars are realist skeptics of military interventionism, the institute has supported the work of a number of prominent hawks over the years, including Daniel Pipes, founder of the Middle East Forum. FPRI figures have advocated "standing aside" in Syria "so that some hateful, armed and dangerous people can get killed" and celebrated the military coup that brought down Egypt's elected Muslim Brotherhood government, which one FPRI writer claimed has been "directly influenced by the Nazis."
Dennis Prager is a conservative radio talk show host and columnist who promotes the “culture wars” as well as America's overseas wars. An unapologetic advocate of making the United States the "world's policeman," Prager has been an avid proponent of U.S. intervention in Syria, calling the recent agreement to avoid war by transferring Syria's chemical weapons out of the country an "American defeat by Russia, Syria, and Iran." On the cultural front, Prager has recently compared court rulings legalizing same-sex marriage in California to Egypt's military coup, and accused "virtually all black leaders" of having "hatred" for "white America."
The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research is an influential rightist think tank chaired by hedge fund magnate Paul Singer, an important financial backer of neoconservative advocacy groups like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The Manhattan Institute has promoted lower taxes on the rich, public service cuts for the poor, and controversial "stop and frisk" police practices. Through its influential quarterly magazine, City Journal, Manhattan Institute writers also weigh in on foreign policy. In a recent column, contributing editor Judith Miller—notorious for her efforts to relay Ahmed Chalabi's false intelligence about Iraq as a New York Times reporter—expressed "profound skepticism" about any international agreement to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons.
Charles Jacobs is a Boston-based writer and political activist who has founded several organizations devoted to policing criticism of Israel and warning about the dangers of "radical Islam." Among these is the group Americans for Peace and Tolerance, which is well known in Boston for opposing the construction of a local Islamic center and for raising alarm about "Islamic extremism" in schools and universities. Jacobs has also put APT's name behind efforts to link Iran to the 1994 bombing of a prominent Buenos Aires Jewish center, despite reports that such accusations rely solely on testimony from controversial anti-regime Iranian exiles.
J.D. Crouch II is a former deputy national security adviser and assistant to President George W. Bush who helped develop the “troop surge” in Iraq. One of the staunchest foreign policy hawks in the Bush administration, Crouch resigned from the government in 2007, first taking a fellowship with the National Institute for Public Policy—a think tank closely linked to military contractors—and then heading up a military contractor firm. He was recently named CEO of QinetiQ North America, the Virginia-based arm of the UK-based defense firm QinetiQ.
Bernard Marcus is the billionaire co-founder and former CEO of Home Depot. Since retiring from the company in 2002, he has devoted his energies to philanthropy, political fundraising, and activism. Alongside his support for traditional philanthropic causes, Marcus has also emerged as a major funder of numerous Republican and neoconservative organizations, including the American Enterprise Institute, Christians United for Israel, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. He has been among largest donors to the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies, having given nearly $11 million to the organization in 2011 alone.
Billionaire investor Paul Singer is the founder and CEO of the Elliott Management Corporation, a hedge fund that once counted Dan Senor among its partners. Singer has used his largesse—some of it funneled through his eponymous family foundation—to finance a host of right-wing “pro-Israel” organizations, including the Republican Jewish Coalition, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Institute for the Study of War. A recent Salon report revealed that the secretive Singer is also the second-largest donor to the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
From the Wires
Hardliners have begun to lose sway in the U.S. "pro-Israel" community, but the gulf between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating positions remains formidable in the latest round of U.S.-brokered talks.
The emerging U.S.-Iran modus vivendi over Syria could be the beginning of the end for three decades of mutual hostility and estrangement.
As the United States and Iran move towards renewed talks over Tehran's nuclear enrichment program, anti-Iran hardliners in Washington and the Middle East are likely to step up their attacks on the process.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu escalates his pressure on Washington to avert its rapprochement with Iran, critics recall his fervent support for the invasion of Iraq.
In their addresses to the UN General Assembly, U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani each indicated that they were committed to renewing diplomatic engagement between their two countries, which each administration appointing high-level diplomats to resume talks.
With both sides sending conciliatory signals in advance of the UN General Assembly, a U.S.-Iran détente appears more within reach than ever—much to the chagrin of hawkish "pro-Israel" factions in the United States.
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