Commentary Magazine


Obama’s Partisan Outreach Surrogates

It’s a small issue in the mindbending spectacle of argumentative and factual dishonesty that is President Obama’s Jewish outreach, but I genuinely don’t understand how Zvika Krieger, senior vice president of Robert Wexler’s avowedly nonpartisan S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, can continue publishing “Obama is pro-Israel” articles without acknowledging he’s doing work for the Obama campaign.

You’ll recall that, in the campaign’s haste to post a Jewish outreach website, they forgot to scrub author data from their talking point PDFs. It turns out at least two of those PDFs – stamped “Paid For By Obama For America” – were shown to have been produced by Krieger. The author data has been altered in newer versions of the PDFs, by the by.

The Krieger-authored documents purported to show that, as a matter of objective record, widespread belief in Obama’s anti-Israel hostility is overblown. The evidence for said striking counterintuition included a document detailing media coverage of Obama’s actions, including a piece actually written by Krieger and Wexler themselves. On one side, Krieger was anonymously authoring ostensibly dispositive roundups of pro-Obama media coverage. On the other side, he was publicly producing the articles that went into the roundups.

And now it’s happening again, this time in an article criticizing UN defunding that Krieger published in The Atlantic. Claiming that “being seen as ‘pro-Israel’ in America seems to have increasingly little to do with actually supporting Israel,” Krieger sets out to demonstrate that pro-Israel conservatives are not pro-Israel, and anti-Israel Obama officials are not anti-Israel. It’s among the oldest tricks in political argument, but it still takes a lot of work – work for which the Obama administration and its surrogates seem to have more than enough enthusiasm.

The tenability of various UN defunding arguments aside – and I would recommend to you this weekend’s New York Sun editorial on the battle between Rep. Ros-Lehtinen and Secretary of State Clinton – the point is that Krieger continues to identify himself merely as the vice president of a 501(c)(3). He is presenting himself as, by all appearances, a nonpartisan think tanker. Someone’s going to make him stop doing that at some point, right? Or are Obama surrogates just going to keep publishing ostensibly objective analysis through the election?