Truman Project And PPI May Cut Ties With Josh Block For Hurling Charges Of Anti-Semitism

Josh Block

Former AIPAC spokesman Josh Block, now affiliated with the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) and the Truman National Security Project, was quoted in a Politico article last week accusing bloggers here at the Center for American Progress of writing “borderline anti-Semitic stuff.” One day later, Salon reported that in an opposition research document Block pushed to neoconservative journalists shortly before the Politico article was published, Block said CAP bloggers engage in the “vilification…of Jews” and that ThinkProgress’s work constitutes “the words of anti-Semites.” Block subsequently denied that he had made these charges and has yet to issue an apology (we have categorically rejected these accusations).

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent reports today that PPI and the Truman Project “are privately considering a formal break with Block”:

PPI head Will Marshall privately told Block that the think tank would sever ties with Block if he didn’t retract the charges detailed in Salon, according to a source familiar with the discussions. Block subsequently offered Politico a statement on the charges, claiming he had never accused people at CAP in particular of anti-Semitism, but not walking back or apologizing for the gist of what was reported in the Salon piece. It’s still unclear how PPI — which declined to comment — will proceed at this point.

Meanwhile, at Truman, top officials privately debated via email whether to cut ties with Block after the Salon story broke, a source says. They had already been unhappy with Block’s attacks on critics of Israel, and the Salon piece exacerbated tensions, I’m told.

“Personal attacks have no place in our community,” Truman spokesman Dave Solimini tells me. “That agreement is unbreakable. The trust built among members of the truman community is the issue here. Personal attacks on members of our community, like calling them anti-Semitic, would cross that line.”

As Sargent notes, ThinkProgress reported last week that Block’s third professional association had already criticized Block’s smears of CAP. “Impugning motives of people at the Center [for American Progress] and impugning [that] those motives are driven by anti-Semitism is, in my opinion, wrong,” Block’s business partner and former special counsel to President Bill Clinton Lanny Davis said.