Former Bush Administration Official Heads Up Latest Astroturf Group Pushing For Attack on Iran

No sooner did I write about the growth industry in astroturf groups promoting a U.S. or Israeli military attack on Iran than a new one sprung up on CNN.  Surprisingly, the partisan connections behind this group are so thinly veiled that a two-minute examination of their domain name registration uncovered ties to the Republican Party and the George W. Bush administration.

The new group, The Emergency Committee for Israel, appears to have made its public debut on July 6th when Campbell Brown—who ironically is married to Dan Senor, who serves on the four-man board of the neoconservative The Foreign Policy Initiative—hosted Noah Pollak, its “executive director,” to discuss Obama’s recent meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the threat allegedly posed by Iran’s nuclear program.  A transcript of their discussion can be found here.

A look at the group’s website tells us that it’s “coming soon,” but an examination of the domain name’s registration is quite telling.

The domain is registered to:

Hoover, Margaret
Margaret Hoover & Associates, LLC
590 Madison Avenue
New York City, New York 10022
United States
(212) 521-4181 Fax –

Margaret Hoover’s bio at Margaret Hoover & Associates reads:

Ms. Hoover held a White House appointment in the Bush Administration where she served as the Associate Director in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.  A veteran of two Presidential efforts, Ms. Hoover worked on President Bush’s re-election campaign and for Rudy Giuliani’s presidential bid.  Other political experience includes working in the White House Office of Management and Budget, as a senior adviser to the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and deputy press secretary for Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart on Capitol Hill.

Hoover’s front man, Pollak, who writes for Commentary Magazine and has served as the assistant editor of the Jerusalem-based, Shalem Center’s Azure magazine, made it abundantly clear where his, and presumably Hoover’s, political views on Israel and Iran lie.

Pollak repeated the talking points that the recent meeting  between Obama and Netanyahu represented the end of the White House’s “tough love” toward Israel and suggested that the Palestinian leadership’s “fractiousness and powerlessness [!]” made progress toward any kind of peace process unlikely.

On Iran, Pollak went straight for the recent money quote delivered last week by the UAE ambassador to the US:

BROWN: Noah, Netanyahu did seem pleased with the administration’s efforts to go after Iran’s nuclear program. In his words, he said these efforts have teeth, they bite. But are the U.S. and Israel really, in your view, on the same page when it comes to Iran?

POLLAK: I would suspect not, although this is one of those issues where there is a huge amount of private discussion that goes on, although it was very interesting to see today in a story that just came out the ambassador of to [sic] the UAE came out and openly advocated for military attacks on the Iranian nuclear program.

So, I think there is a developing consensus that something needs to be done and that it would be very, very bad if the Iranians went nuclear.

The UAE foreign minister has said that the ambassador’s comments were taken out of context and didn’t represent the views of his government, but that hasn’t stopped various foreign policy hawks from jumping on the remarks as a green light from the Arab world for a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

It’s pretty clear that Pollak and Hoover, along with the people behind Keep Israel Safe and Stop Iran Now, are part of the extensive neoconservative echo chamber which seeks to create the appearance of a diverse coalition of grassroots groups calling on the US to prevent Iran from going nuclear by any means necessary.

Things as simple as looking at the registration on a domain name reveal that these groups are part of an intensely partisan (both Republican and Likudist) campaign to push the U.S. into a military conflict with Iran. And CNN, which just last week summarily fired a senior editor for a tweet praising the late Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, is amplifying their message. (It’s worth noting that David Schenker, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near Policy, also praised Fadlallah as “the most credible moral, political, and theological alternative to Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite militia,” arguing that the U.S. will regret his passing. It’s okay when an affiliate of the Israel Lobby says it; but it’s something else for someone in the mainstream media.)

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Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. Jim Smith: Stop spreading ignorance: Iran gets the bomb (or several bombs), and is surrounded by the U.S. and Israel with hundreds of nukes. Any offensive moves by Iran are countered by 100’s of nuclear bombs so Iran will be very careful indeed. Much more careful than a certain middle eastern country that has been killing people with impunity and that needs to obey international law.

    Stuff your immoral war-mongering: the rest of the world is tired of you, your paranoia and your little rogue State that doesn’t have borders or security because she doesn’t want them.

  2. Its not just neocons. Its “good cop” “bad cop” politics with Obama or the former Bush administration. This is much bigger than one country. Everyone seems to forget about the other mideast “brothers” who are scared [email protected]#$less of Iran getting a nuke. Afghanistan has 3 trillion in natural resources. The United State sure could use a shipping route. Hmmmm…….Iran looks like a cozy place since Afg is land locked. But then you have Iran chanting death to America every Friday in rallies for the last 25+ years and wants to wipe Israel off the map and states this publically. Sounds like lunitic fringe to me.

    What the heck, lets kill 2 birds with one stone. Get rid of an old adversary who is rapidly expanding its influence in the middle east, and lets boost our economy and make Afganistan a 51st state and keep all the resources. Might as well. I hate it when we (the US) kick so much ass and then give it back to the people. We are tyrants remember??? If we are going to be accused of imperialism…might as well fit the mold and live up to the reputation. We are just 2 darn nice sometimes.

  3. Yeah fine Jill Smith.
    Lets bomb Iran and then cry for 10 million Americans and everybody else within a thousand miles of the first bomb landing in Iran

  4. @Ben:

    “Get rid of an old adversary who is rapidly expanding its influence in the middle east”

    Hmmm. For the sake of controlling Iran’s petroleum, the U.S. engineered the overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected head of state and installed a dictator in his place. Iran is therefore our “old adversary”.

    How stupid are you, Ben?

  5. Guess no one has come to understand that Pollack, Ledeen, Boot, et al. are complete sociopaths. That their strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan have been conclusively and repeatedly proven to be failures has conveniently been forgotten by the mainstream media and national politicians. What is also rarely remarked upon is that their global experience in diplomacy and strategy doesn’t even approach a hill of beans. Almost all of those claiming to be neocons have led nice, orderly, shielded and subsidized lives mainly in academia or think tankia. Perhaps if they had worked an honest day in their lives, they may have developed a basic understanding of what most of us are truly concerned about: bread on the table and a roof over our heads, a non-threatening and promising future and an absence of global conflict. I heartily agree with John Shubert (above) – any offensive moves initiated by Iran will be countered with an attack from Israel, the US and Europe which will turn their nation into radioactive marmalade. They may be slow, but their not stupid.

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