On Friday, AP revealed that the Ploughshares Fund, a group that the Obama administration aide Ben Rhodes had identified as a key partner in creating a pro-Iran deal "echo chamber," had given over half a million dollars to J-Street:
In The New York Times Magazine article, Rhodes explained how the administration worked with nongovernmental organizations, proliferation experts and even friendly reporters to build support for the seven-nation accord that curtailed Iran's nuclear activity and softened international financial penalties on Tehran.But there was an even more direct connection between White House propaganda efforts and J-Street.
"We created an echo chamber," said Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, adding that "outside groups like Ploughshares" helped carry out the administration's message effectively.
J-Street, the liberal Jewish political action group, received $576,500 to advocate for the deal.
J-Street's Jeremy Ben Ami was a frequent visitor to the White House in the months leading up to the Iran deal.
White House records show that Ben-Ami has been a frequent guest, with 12 visits between 2012 and 2014. While some of these visits were as a guest in lavish White House parties with hundreds of other guests, some of the meetings were more intimate, with top White House officials.
On April 27, 2012, Ben-Ami met with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough along with the leader of J-Street PAC, Daniel Kohl. Also at the meeting was Mehdi K. Alhassani, special assistant to the Office of the Chief of Staff of the National Security Council, a former Muslim Student Association leader at George Washington University that some right-wing sites have tried to link to the Benghazi coverups.
Ben-Ami met with Matt Nosanchuk, the White House liaison to the American Jewish community, three times in 2013, each time along with small groups of people considered Jewish leaders. One other time he met in another group with Nosanchuk's predecessor, Jarrod Bernstein, indicating how critical J-Street was considered to White House efforts to influence US Jews towards its positions.
The meetings that most link J-Street to White House efforts to push the Iran deal through occurred in January 2014.
On January 14, Ben-Ami met with Ben Rhodes along with Morton Halperin, Senior Advisor for the George Soros' Open Society Institute, along with J-Street's Vice President of Government Affairs Dylan Williams.
And shortly thereafter, on January 23, when Ben-Ami and Williams met with Ben Rhodes again, this time in the White House Situation Room.
Ben-Ami's private access to top White House officials continued after that. He met one-on-one with Philip Gordon, Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Persian Gulf Region, in February 2015, and had another one on one meeting with Robert Malley, Gordon's successor, in May.
Shortly thereafter, J-Street launched a website, Iran Deal Facts, that slickly lied about what the deal meant. It took serious money to create it.
J-Street has also publicly aligned with the National Iranian American Council, the unofficial pro-Iran lobby in the US, in pushing the Iran nuclear deal. NIAC's head Trita Parsi also enjoyed some intimate meetings with White House officials in 2014, mostly with Rumana Ahmed, the While House Muslim advisor, and also with Jewish liaison Matt Nosanchuk
We cannot know exactly what was discussed at these meetings between J-Street leaders. But between Ben Rhodes' braggadocio about how he manipulated public opinion on the Iran deal through the Ploughshares Fund, the fact that J-Street was by far the largest recipient of Ploughshares' funding in 2014 (it received $100,000 from the find in 2013 as well), and Jeremy Ben-Ami's meetings with Ben Rhodes and other top White House officials, it is apparent that J-Street has not been working for Israel's best interests.
J-Street is nothing but a paid shill for the White House to split the US Jewish community and put it at odds with how Israelis feel.
CORRECTION: Originally I wrote that the "Iran Deal Facts" website was no longer there, but it had a different URL than I thought.
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