Hawkish pro-Israel positions have become a litmus test for Republican candidates, particularly in the 2012 presidential campaign. And one of the political operatives driving this phenomenon is none other than Ralph Reed, the disgraced lobbyist who left the Christian Coalition to form Century Strategies. Reed’s newest group, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, has actively encouraged Tea Party activists and GOP politicians to champion far right Israeli priorities. Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Danny Danon helped headline Reed’s last Faith and Freedom conference, where nearly every GOP presidential candidate spoke.
An investigation by ThinkProgress has found that Reed’s pro-Israel organizing has ties to a set of political operatives based in Washington, DC and Jerusalem. Since 2009, Reed’s lobbying firm Century Strategies has received at least $140,400 from The Israel Project (TIP). Click the screen shot below to enlarge a picture of the document revealing one of the contracts between Reed and TIP:
TIP was founded in 2002 with offices on K Street and in Jerusalem as a vehicle for ensuring that hawkish, neoconservative talking points about Israel are echoed in the media. Recently, TIP has suggested that talking heads should refer to the effort to end settlements in the West Bank as “ethnic cleansing.” A guide produced by the group instructs its American allies to stoke fear of immigrants and 9/11 when discussing Israel’s “right of return” debate.
“Israel is increasingly becoming a mandatory stop for Republican presidential aspirants,” said Ralph Reed in an interview with Politico. Reed continued: “Evangelicals have always been pro-Israel, but I think Sept. 11 changed security issues into ones that became much more personal for Americans.” He did not disclose his contract with an Israel-based advocacy organization.
Requests by ThinkProgress for comments from The Israel Project and Century Strategies have not been returned.