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Israel as a Punching Bag

10:00 AM, Dec 15, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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"Why does the Obama administration treat Israel like a punching bag?" That's the question the Emergency Committee for Israel is asking today in five full page newspaper ads across the nation: 

The ad appears in today's New York Times, Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Variety.

"The Obama administration has been using Israel as a punching bag." Bill Kristol says in his capacity as chairman of ECI. "The pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community is punching back."

In a comment to Politico, Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz tries to push back. "This is just one more example of the absolute fact that ECI is nothing more than a Republican front organization," Wasserman Schultz told Maggie Haberman of Politico. "They have been discredited by major national Jewish organizations like the American Jewish Committee. They have been so offensive and so outrageous in their efforts to use Israel as a wedge issue."

Yet one of the quotations cited in the ECI ad is from American Jewish Committee executive director David Harris. The ad states: "The U.S. ambassador to Belgium says that Muslim anti-Semitism is Israel's fault." Harris's comment: "We were appalled by his comments. Muslim anti-Semitism, he should know, has a long and painful history of its own that has absolutely nothing to do with Israel."

The ad also quotes a conversation President Obama had with French president Nicolas Sarkozy, a Haaretz news article, a Jerusalem Post editorial, and Council on Foreign Relations scholar Elliott Abrams. 

It concludes: "Enough with the cheap shots. It's time for the Obama Administration to stop blaming Israel first."

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