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Published on July 11th, 2010 | by Eli Clifton

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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
2104
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.)


About the Author

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Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. Eli previously reported for the American Independent New Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



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