The Republican challenger to Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., attacked the congressman for his ties to J Street, a controversial pro-Palestinian organization, and for his alleged links to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Stephen Labate is campaigning for Israel’s seat in New York’s 2nd District. The race could have national implications. Israel is chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
In a radio interview Sunday, Labate slammed J Street while characterizing Occupy as “one of the most anti-Semitic organizations out there."
J Street claims to be pro-Israel, yet it has faced mounting criticism for its policies and advocacy that many argue is harmful to the Jewish state.
The Jewish state has becoming a hot-button issue in local and national races.
During the recent race for Anthony Weiner’s vacated seat, President Obama’s treatment of Israel became a central theme and played a major role in Republican Bob Turner winning that election, filling a seat that had been Democrat for decades.
Speaking on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio, Labate pointed out Steve Israel is an honorary member of the host committee for the J Street Gala Dinner in 2009.
After media reports on several politicians involved with the dinner, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand asked to be removed from the host committee list, and Sen. Chuck Schumer dropped out of appearing at the event.
Declared Labate: "Steve Israel was the only representative from New York state who was on that list of supporters. So it is significant that even Chuck Schumer and Senator Gillibrand they, you know, they called and said, ‘Hey, look I don’t want to be a part of this.’ But Steve Israel did, and he is a part of that organization.”
Labate argued "there is more to supporting an ally than just words."
"There [are] actions," he said. "And it makes me cringe when I look at what we are doing not only to the state of Israel [but to all of our allies]."
The nation of Israel, he continued, is "surrounded by enemies, and we are embracing their foes that want to see Israel destroyed off of the face of the earth."
"And in the case of J Street, they even question whether or not Israel has a right to exist," Labate said. "So I question how Congressman Israel could even entertain being a part of that organization or Occupy Wall Street.”
Labate also took aim at Rep. Israel’s alleged ties to Occupy.
"Currently on the Democratic Congressional Committee website, which is Steve Israel’s website, there’s a petition for 100,000 signatures in support of Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Wall Street is by far one of the most anti-Semitic organizations out there," the Republican candidate said.
J Street part of Soros’ radical web
J Street and Occupy have a significant connection.
J Street is backed by a controversial far-left clearinghouse financed by billionaire George Soros, the Tides Center, that is also behind the Occupy movement.
J Street’s executive director, Jeremy Ben Ami, is himself deeply tied to the Tides Center, which is heavily financed by Soros.
Ben Ami served at a radical-led marketing firm that helps craft the public relations strategy for Tides grantees, including MoveOn. The firm, Fenton Communications, also has represented Soros himself as well as the billionaire’s Open Society Institute.
Tides documentation reviewed by WND shows the group provided a $50,000 grant to the “J Street Education Fund” for fiscal year 2010. J Street’s main website is listed in association with the Tides grant. According to tax filings, the J Street Education Fund is a nonprofit arm of J Street.
The fund’s stated mission is to “promote meaningful American leadership to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically through the use of coalition building, mobilizing public opinion online, engaging younger Americans and amplifying the public’s voice.”
It was not immediately clear how much J Street’s educational arm depended on the Tides donation, since the nonprofit’s tax filings for 2010 were not made public. In 2009, however, the J Street Education Fund posted total assets at $573,233.
The discovery that J Street accepted a donation from the Tides Center serves as yet another connection between J Street and Soros.
J Street previously denied it received significant funds from Soros until the Washington Times reported in September 2010 that J Street had received $245,000 from Soros and his children in 2008 and another $500,000 in subsequent years. The total is about 7 percent of the $11 million that J Street says it has taken in since its 2008 founding.
The Washington Times report was based on research first published by the YidWithLid blog.
In a now-removed section of the “Myth and Facts” page of its website, J Street denied the “myth” that Soros “founded and is the primary funder of J Street.”
In what some charged was a misleading statement, J Street claimed Soros "did not found J Street."
"In fact, George Soros very publicly stated his decision not to be engaged in J Street when it was launched – precisely out of fear that his involvement would be used against the organization,” the website stated.
In a March 2010 interview with Moment magazine, Ben-Ami directly denied Soros funding altogether: “We got tagged as having his support without the benefit of actually getting funded!”
After the Washington Times piece, however, Ben Ami accepted “responsibility personally for being less than clear about Mr. Soros’ support once he did become a donor."
WND’s revelation about Tides Center funding to J Street open new avenues of concern about the Israel lobby group, including Ben Ami’s personal ties to Tides and its marketing partner, Fenton Communications.
J Street is further connected to Tides through Hadar Susskind, vice president and managing director of Tides’ Washington, D.C., office. Prior to joining Tides, Susskind served as vice president of policy and strategy at J Street.
Moveon.org, ACORN Occupy Wall Street
Tides has been closely linked to Occupy since the anti-Wall Street movement’s inception. The Tides-funded Adbusters magazine is reported to have come up with the Occupy Wall Street idea after Arab Spring protests toppled governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. The Adbusters website serves as a central hub for Occupy’s planning.
The Tides-funded Ruckus Society has been providing direct-action training to Occupy protesters as well as official training resources, including manuals, to Occupy training groups. Ruckus, which helped spark the 1999 World Trade Organization riots in Seattle, was also listed as a “friend and partner” of the Occupy Days of Action in October.
Another grantee of Tides is MoveOn.org, which has joined Occupy.
Tides also funds hundreds of other far-left causes. It was a primary financier to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, which was implicated in massive voter fraud.
Ben Ami himself is connected to some of the Tides-sponsored radical groups. Until he founded J Street, he served as senior vice-president of Fenton Communications, a marketing outfit that crafts the public relations strategy of Tides grantees and has been closely tied to Occupy as well.
Fenton Communications helped to craft Moveon.org’s infamous attacks on Gen. David Petraeus.
Fenton has been behind the public relations strategies of a who’s who of far-left causes, organizations and activists, from representing Health Care for America Now to crafting strategy for a litany of anti-war groups. Fenton also has represented Soros himself and the billionaire’s Open Society Institute.
Fenton, which works closely with Tides, first made its name representing communist dictatorships in the 1980s.
Fenton Communications was founded in 1982 by David Fenton, an activist who served as a photographer for Bill Ayers’ domestic Weather Underground terror group.
Davis Fenton used the Tides Center to set up Environmental Media Services in 1994. Tides reportedly originally ran EMS’s daily operations.
David Fenton serves on the board of numerous Tides-funded groups, while his firm represents more than 30 Tides Center grantees.
Fenton Communications came under new scrutiny after WND published a series of exposés tying it to Occupy Wall Street, including evidence indicating one of Fenton’s senior employees represented the anti-Wall Street march past millionaires’ homes in New York in October.
After WND’s report, Fenton denied it represented the Occupy movement. Fenton’s Chris Potter denied the firm was working for Occupy, claiming his group was doing a “favor” for a friend in New York by helping with recent publicity.
However, KleinOnline reported on Fenton’s further ties to Occupy through Beth Bogart, who has been widely quoted in the news media as helping to run the movement’s press relations department in New York and other cities.
Not mentioned in most media accounts is that Bogart, formerly known as Beth Bogart Fenton, is co-founder of Fenton Communications.
An example of the close public relations relationship between Fenton and Tides, meanwhile, is the Social Venture Network, which was established and operates as a project of the Tides Foundation, while its strategy is represented by Fenton. SVN’s board has included Tides’ founder Drummond Pike as well as Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink.
Another group, September Eleventh Families For Peaceful Tomorrows, is an anti-war organization founded by individuals who lost loved ones in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The group’s campaign was coordinated by Fenton while the group was funded by Tides.
Also represented by Fenton is the Win Without War group, which was funded by Soros and Tides.
Ben Ami’s former employer, Fenton, in 2009 spearheaded a major campaign to end Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Fenton Communications reportedly developed a communications action plan for an 18-month campaign, known as the Al Fakhoora Project, aimed at delegitimizing Israel’s naval blockade while garnering support for the Hamas-led government and the people of the Gaza strip.
Newsmax reported Fenton signed contracts for the project worth more than $390,000 with Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, the wife of Qatar’s ruler, as well as a separate foundation she chairs.