Since taking the helm of The Israel Project two and a half years ago, former AIPAC spokesman Josh Block has turned the pro-Israel advocacy group into one of the shrillest opponents of diplomacy with Iran. But, according to documents obtained by The Nation, two of the groups’ billionaire underwriters may have their own anti-Obama impetuses, beyond simply a right-wing objection to striking a nuclear accord with Israel’s arch-foe.
Block’s pushes to denigrate and even kill talks with Iran come a dime a dozen. Just two weeks ago, ahead of Obama’s State of the Union address, Block emailed a list of reporters with a list of “FACTS AND TALKING POINTS” (his caps) claiming Senators Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez’s proposed sanctions bill against Iran was “NOT new sanctions legislation.” My colleague Ali Gharib addressed Block’s misleading “FACTS,” pointing out that the first words of the legislation explained its purpose as “To expand sanctions imposed with respect to Iran and to impose additional sanctions with respect to Iran.” Block’s misrepresentation of the legislation is particularly ironic because he accused the administration of peddling “false,” “misleading” and “ridiculous” information about the sanctions bill. Obama would go on to promise a veto if the bill reached his desk.
TIP’s growing hostility to Obama’s ongoing negotiations with Iran also came to the fore three weeks ago, when Obama reportedly suggested “donors” were behind some of the attempts to sabotage talks with sanctions. Block went apoplectic, telling The Washington Post’s far-right columnist Jennifer Rubin, “It’s a vile suggestion and one that will only damages [sic] the President’s personal credibility and his position.”
So who are the major donors behind TIP, an organization who, under Block’s leadership, has emerged as an attack dog against the White House’s Iran-policy?
A document (viewable here) acquired by The Nation lists TIP’s major donors from October 2012 to September 2013, revealing that just two billionaire hedge funders provided over one-third of the group’s total revenue. The two funders with the outsize roles were GOP megadonor Paul Singer and Hillary Clinton booster Richard Perry. Each contributed $1 million, making them TIP’s two largest donors.