TEL AVIV – The pro-Palestinian lobby group J Street stated that it was “proud” of its role in pushing the controversial Iran nuclear agreement amid reports that it received $576,500 to promote the deal from a group tied to White House efforts to sell the agreement to the public.
“J Street worked to advance the nuclear agreement with Iran out of the belief that this is an important agreement which contributes mightily to Israel’s security,” J Street said, without denying that it received the funds.
“This is a belief that is shared with many officials in both the Obama administration as well as the Israeli defense establishment and among many in the American Jewish community, most of which supports the agreement,” the organization said.
“The nuclear agreement with Iran blocked Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon for years to come,” J Street added. “As of now, Iran has abided by the terms of the deal.”
J Street’s financing to advocate for the deal came from the Ploughshares Fund, a group that advocates a nuclear-free world and was identified earlier this month by the White House as central in helping to market the Iran nuclear deal to the news media.
On Friday, the Associated Press reported that Ploughshares has also funded National Public Radio since 2005, and has provided financing to U.S.-based foreign policy think tanks.
Unmentioned by the AP is that the Ploughshares Fund is financed by billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Institute. Soros is also a top donor to J Street.
The Jerusalem Post summarized the extent of the Ploughshares funding to J Street, reportedly to lobby for the deal within the pro-Israel community.
J Street was the single largest beneficiary last year of the Ploughshares Fund, a group that seeks to eliminate the world’s nuclear stockpiles, with over $575,000 in grants that funded advocacy for the Iran nuclear deal.
Ploughshares’ annual report, first reported last week by the Associated Press, emphasizes the foundation’s role in helping to bring about support for sanctions relief for the nuclear rollback deal last year. …
The amount of funding for J Street underscores the significance deal proponents attached to garnering American Jewish support for the deal. J Street and J Street Education Fund received a total of $576,500, making it by far the largest recipient of funds. One goal of the funding was “to mobilize Jewish support for a final deal.”
The involvement of Ploughshares in selling the Iran agreement to the public was revealed in an extensive New York Times Magazine profile of Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes titled, “The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru.” The article contains interviews with Rhodes and scores of top Obama administration officials.
Robert Malley, senior director at the National Security Council, explained the genesis and execution of the marketing plan to sell the Iran deal.
Malley said “experts” were utilized to create an “echo chamber” that disseminated administration claims about Iran to “hundreds of often-clueless reporters” in the news media.
In the spring of last year, legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters. “We created an echo chamber,” he admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”
Rhodes told Times reporter David Samuels that the marketing strategy took advantage of the “absence of rational discourse” and utilized outside groups, including Ploughshares.
When I suggested that all this dark metafictional play seemed a bit removed from rational debate over America’s future role in the world, Rhodes nodded. “In the absence of rational discourse, we are going to discourse the [expletive] out of this,” he said. “We had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, the Iran Project, and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked.” He is proud of the way he sold the Iran deal. “We drove them crazy,” he said of the deal’s opponents.
Now the AP has revealed the extent of Ploughshares funding to NPR and to influential foreign policy U.S. think tanks.
Besides $100,000 to NPR last year, the AP reports:
Ploughshares has funded NPR’s coverage of national security since 2005, the radio network said. Ploughshares reports show at least $700,000 in funding over that time. All grant descriptions since 2010 specifically mention Iran.
“It’s a valued partnership, without any conditions from Ploughshares on our specific reporting, beyond the broad issues of national and nuclear security, nuclear policy, and nonproliferation,” NPR said in an emailed statement. “As with all support received, we have a rigorous editorial firewall process in place to ensure our coverage is independent and is not influenced by funders or special interests.”
Ploughshare’s president was interviewed on NPR, the AP reports:
Another who appeared on NPR is Joseph Cirincione, Ploughshares’ president. He spoke about the negotiations on air at least twice last year. The station identified Ploughshares as an NPR funder one of those times; the other time, it didn’t.
Cirincione was an adviser on nuclear issues to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Ploughshares documents show funding last year to other groups to “advance its nonproliferation agenda,” according to the AP.
The Arms Control Association got $282,500; the Brookings Institution, $225,000; and the Atlantic Council, $182,500. They received money for Iran-related analysis, briefings, and media outreach, and non-Iran nuclear work.
Other groups, less directly defined by their independent nuclear expertise, also secured grants.
J Street, the liberal Jewish political action group, received $576,500 to advocate for the deal. More than $281,000 went to the National Iranian American Council.
Princeton University got $70,000 to support former Iranian ambassador and nuclear spokesman Seyed Hossein Mousavian’s “analysis, publications, and policymaker engagement on the range of elements involved with the negotiated settlement of Iran’s nuclear program.”
Ploughshares says it has awarded hundreds of grants “whose aggregate value exceeded $60 million.”
A previous investigation by this reporter showed Ploughshares has partnered with a who’s who of the radical left, including Code Pink, the pro-Palestinian J Street, United for Peace & Justice, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and Demo, a progressive economic advisory group where President Obama’s controversial former green jobs czar, Van Jones, has served on the board.
The group says its mission is to support the “smartest minds and most effective organizations to reduce nuclear stockpiles, prevent new nuclear states, and increase global security.”
Ploughshares is in turn financed by Soros’ Open Society Institute, the Buffett Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Another Ploughshares donor is the Tides Foundation, which is one of the largest funders of the radical left. Tides is funded by Soros.
Ploughshares has donated to the Institute for Policy Studies, which calls for massive slashes in the U.S. defense budget.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.