Former AIPAC spokesman and Progressive Policy Institute senior fellow Josh Block backed down this afternoon from his earlier accusation that ThinkProgress and its institutional home, the Center For American Progress (CAP), are anti-Semitic — a smear that was picked-up by, among others, Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post. (Tell the Post to retract that standing accusation here.)
Speaking to Politico’s Ben Smith for an article released on Wednesday, Block said that CAP “allow(s) people to say borderline anti-Semitic stuff.” In an effort to coordinate and “AMPLIFY” smears of ThinkProgress and CAP based on this claim and others, Block enlisted members of a secretive right-wing e-mail list serve. Salon’s Justin Elliott obtained and published a copy of the e-mail, where Block said CAP engages in “vilification of… Jews.” In the same document, he insinuated that CAP and ThinkProgress’s work constitutes “the words of anti-Semites.”
Now, again speaking to Politico’s Smith, Block says he never claimed CAP engaged in anti-Semitism:
I’ve been accused of leveling the charge of anti-Semitism against the Center for American Progress. That is not true, and suggesting so is an attempt to distract from what I am actually saying.
As shown above, Block certainly did make such accusations about CAP. Nevertheless, his retreat from his initial charges against ThinkProgress and CAP is welcome.
Instead of engaging in divisive rhetoric aimed at silencing those who disagree with his approach, we look forward to having a substantive, rational discourse about the best ways to pursue the U.S. interests of a safe and secure Israel living side-by-side and at peace with her neighbors.