Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Walter Pincus’s Past

In yesterday’s Jerusalem Post, Lenny Ben-David showed how the anti-Israel conspiracies of the present — seen in the form of Walt-Mearsheimer, the AIPAC “espionage” case, and the politically charged leaking of classified information to imply Jane Harman has dual loyalties — have a long and ugly history in Washington. The entire column is worth reading, but there’s a nugget of particular interest buried halfway through the piece:

In 1962 [William] Fulbright launched an investigation of foreign lobbyists in Washington, attempting to force AIPAC to register as an agent of Israel rather than a domestic American lobby. His chief investigator was a journalist named Walter Pincus. (Today, Pincus, the Washington Post’s veteran national security reporter, helps cover the Jane Harman story and the Rosen-Weissman trial.)

“Israel controls the United States Senate,” Fulbright told Face the Nation in 1973. “Around 80 percent are completely in support of Israel; anything Israel wants it gets. Jewish influence in the House of Representatives is even greater.” (Years later, after retiring from the Senate, Fulbright registered as a foreign agent for Saudi Arabia.)

Ben-David neglects to mention that Pincus also covered the aftermath of the Freeman debacle for the Post, and did so in a thoroughly dishonest fashion. Most embarrassing was a story he filed on the Arab media’s reaction to Freeman’s resignation, as if the typically paranoid, inaccurate, and anti-Semitic ramblings of the Arab press were somehow newsworthy (the piece was deftly skewered by Noah Pollak). Nevertheless, by reminding us of Pincus’s past work as a “chief investigator” for the segregationist and virulently anti-Israel William Fulbright, Ben-David provides context for understanding his contemporary reporting on Israel.