Disgruntled Hedge Fund Managers Bankroll The Emergency Committee For Israel’s Attack Ads

The Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) has launched another YouTube ad sensation which is getting picked up by all the regular outlets who will publicize whatever talking points the Bill KristolGary BauerRachel AbramsMichael Goldfarb-conceived organization put out.

Their latest ad attempts to make the case that Obama, in his decision to endorse 1967 borders as the baseline for future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, “sided with the Palestinians,” but has been rebuffed by members of his own party. Watch it:


The ad is clearly attempting to play up the baseless narrative that Democratic Jewish donors are abandoning the president because of his endorsement of 1967 borders, a position taken by the George W. Bush and Clinton administrations. Democrats did attack the concept of pushing Israel to return to 1949 or 1967 borders but Obama never actually endorsed that idea. What he clearly laid out at his AIPAC speech was his support for negotiations based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed land swaps.

As Matt Duss noted earlier on this blog, ECI executive director Noah Pollak tweeted during Obama’s speech that his lines about 1967 borders were no big deal. But seeing that ECI is getting some attention today, it’s worth digging a bit deeper into the group’s origins and looking at benefactors to the group’s PAC. An examination of ECI’s Political Action Committee’s disclosures show that a former Obama supporter has donated to ECIPAC, but the Israel-Palestine issue doesn’t appear to have had anything to do with his shift from fundraising for Obama to supporting a group which runs misleading YouTube ads portraying the President as anti-Israel.

Two-thirds of ECIPAC’s contributions in the past election cycle came from Daniel S. Loeb, CEO of Third Point Management, a New York based hedge fund.

Loeb’s $100,000 in support for ECI follow his track record of falling out of love with Obama after the White House pushed for financial regulatory reforms.

On April 26, the Wall Street Journal reported on Loeb’s change of heart and quoted from an email Loeb wrote and circulated in late 2010.

“I am sure, if we are really nice and stay quiet, everything will be alright and the president will become more centrist and that all his tough talk is just words,” Mr. Loeb wrote in an email about four months ago expressing frustration with the president’s posture toward Wall Street. “I mean, he really loves us and when he beats us, he doesn’t mean it.” The email, sent to eight friends, was widely circulated on Wall Street.

Daniel S. Loeb

Loeb raised $200,000 for Obama in 2008. Along with his wife they donated $250,000 to Democrats in the past decade and contributed $75,000 to Media Matters in June 2009 (PDF). Since his falling out with Obama, Loeb has put his money where his mouth is, giving $468,000 to Republican candidates and the GOP.

ECIPAC looks like they identified a potential source of fundraising with disgruntled hedge fund managers and rounded out their fundraising with $50,000 from Highfield Capital’s co-founder, Jonathon Jacobson.

While ECI is clearly trying to drive a wedge between American Jews and the White House, it’s interesting to note that their funders seem far more concerned about financial regulatory reforms than 1967 borders.

But none of this should come as any big surprise. For those who don’t remember, ECI was first based at Orion Strategies, a consultancy run by Randy Scheunemann — Sarah Palin’s chief foreign policy advisor until last month. ECI’s domain name was mysteriously registered by Margaret Hoover, a GOP strategist whose credentials include being Herbert Hoover’s great-granddaughter and making regular appearances on Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor.

In the end, ECI appears to be just another partisan astroturf group financed by anti-regulatory interests and advised by Republican strategists hoping to peel away Jewish support from a president who continues to receive overwhelming support from the Jewish community.