Published on April 21st, 2008 | by Jim Lobe1
More on the Likudist Fronts
Just to add a little to last month’s post, “Is the Pentagon Policy Shop Funding Likudist Fronts?”, on Devon Gaffney Cross’ London-based Policy Forum for International Security Affairs, Jeffrey Gedmin’s (?) Case for Freedom, and Anatol Sharansky’s OneJerusalem.org, all of which appear to have as a common denominator — and a common, Israel-based IP address — interlocking directorates, their participation at last June’s Prague Conference on Democracy and Security Conference (about which I’ve written twice, here and here) and OneJerusalem’s director, a New York-based attorney named Allen Roth, who, it turns out, is a long-time aide and adviser to Ronald Lauder. It was Lauder, a major supporter of former Israeli Prime Minister and Likud chief Binyamin Netanyahu, who reportedly gave $1 million to OneJerusalem to launch a campaign against President Bush’s Annapolis conference last fall, apparently because he feared that renewed, U.S.-backed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians could lead to a divided Jerusalem. It was also in his capacity as president of the World Jewish Congress, a post to which he was elected in 2007, that Lauder appealed in a controversial open letter to the current prime minister, Ehud Olmert, not to do anything that would compromise Israeli sovereignty over the entire city.
The first thing worth noting is that both the Policy Forum and Case for Freedom websites appear to be moribund. Despite the $79,000 Pentagon grant it received last September and its new mandate to reach out beyond the elite media “to the active, curious, and engaged public” in Great Britain and Europe, the Policy Forum site — which is entitled Policy Forum for International Affairs but which refers to itself internally as Policy Forum for International Security Affairs — apparently hasn’t been updated since last June when it ran some opinion pieces on the U.S. presidential campaign.
The Case for Freedom site, which describes itself as a “dynamic community for dissidents and freedom’s advocates across the globe,” appears nearly as dead as Policy Forum’s. Its last news entry is a link to a February 26 article from the Daily Telegraph entitled “China Mounts Dissident Assault before Games.” Aside from its dynamic self-description, the inactivity on the Case for Freedom site is particularly remarkable given the fact that it was launched at Sharansky’s Prague Conference (at which Bush himself gave a high-profile address over the objections of the State Department) and the peculiar role played by Gedmin, the president of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), in the launch. Indeed, ten months after the group’s founding, Gedmin’s interview of Gary Kasparov remains the featured item on the group’s home page.
Gedmin, of course, is the former director of the New Atlantic Initiative at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) (which sent a five-person delegation led by Richard Perle and Michael Novak to the Prague Conference). Shortly after 9/11, in November, 2001, Gedmin became head of the Aspen Institute in Berlin where his job, according to right-wing Philanthropy Roundtable’s “National Terror Guidebook,” was to “explain key Bush administration policies (and) …challenge the more common assumptions held by Europeans about the United States.” In other words, his role was somewhat similar to that of Devon Gaffney Cross’, who began operating her Policy Forum in London in 2002. As I noted in last month’s post, Cross and Gedmin have been close colleagues for quite some time. In addition, however, I’ve been told by two sources acquainted with the Berlin office’s activities that, on taking over the office, Gedmin boasted to his new colleagues that he was bringing to his new job a $1 million grant — from Lauder’s foundation. (It’s worth noting that the Berlin office in FY 2005 was also awarded a $1.7 million grant to “bring together key policy makers, opinion leaders, NGO representatives, media, and human rights activists from the Middle East, Europe and the U.S. to discuss practical steps toward the promotion of civil society and democracy in the region” from the State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative, then overseen by Liz Cheney). Among the main activities of the office under Gedmin was to bring prominent neo-conservatives and other hawks to Berlin to meet with prominent Germans.
Once again, one has to ask how much sense it makes for a prominent neo-conservative, Iraq war advocate and staunch defender, and beneficiary of Lauder’s largesse to be placed in charge of U.S. government broadcasting to Arab and Iranian audiences on issues such as U.S. policy in the Middle East and the Gulf. (Of course, another AEI alumnus, James Glassman, is chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the RFE/RL’s oversight body, and has been nominated to serve as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy.) Surveys of regional opinion have consistently shown overwhelming frustration and anger with Washington’s steadfast support for Israel in its conflict with Palestinians. So why place someone in such a high-profile government post who is so clearly part of a network of individuals who are so as closely associated with Likudists like Netanyahu, Sharansky, and Lauder? Why, indeed, place someone in such a high-profile post who is so clearly part of a network that even opposes negotiations of the kind promoted by Bush himself?
Meanwhile, you’ll remember that the IP address that is home to One Jerusalem, Case for Freedom, and Policy Forum also hosts the personal blog of caroline glick (carolineglick.com), the hard-line deputy managing editor and columnist of the Jerusalem Post and one-time Netanyahu foreign-policy adviser. As a correspondent pointed out, Glick is also senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Frank Gaffney’s ultra-hawkish Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC, where, according to her blog, she “travels several times a year to Washington (to) … brief senior administration officials and members of Congress on issues of joint Israeli-American concern.” Gaffney, of course, is Devon Cross’ brother and a beneficiary of casino king Irving Moskowitz, although it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Lauder and Roth were also CSP contributors.
Finally, another correspondent pointed out that the mysterious Zacharias Gertler, who served with Roth as a director of Cross’s Policy Forum until last May, was credited by yet another close Netanyahu and One Jerusalem associate, former Israel Amb. Dore Gold, with being “the real force who inspired” his 2003 book, “Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism.” In Gold’s acknowledgments section, Gertler’s help and encouragement are noted directly before those of Yigal Carmon, the president and co-founder (with Meyrav Wurmser) of MEMRI, and of Allen Roth and Steven Schneier, a major Netanyahu fund-raiser who also attended the Prague conference as a representative of the Policy Forum. Gold’s writings are a frequent feature on onejerusalem.org’s website.