Spencer Ackerman, Accidental Right-Wing Zionist

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 1 2012 10:50 AM

Spencer Ackerman, Accidental Right-Wing Zionist

The Emergency Committtee for Israel bought a full-page ad in the New York Times in order to further the greatest little proxy war in Washington: Everybody versus Media Matters and the Center for American Progress. "Is being anti-Israel a liberal value?" asks ECI, over a cartoon of a wolf removing his sheep mask.

The evidence:

Screen shot 2012-03-01 at 11.43.13 AM

Hang on: Spencer Ackerman? My old colleague at The Washington Independent, now a national security reporter for WIRED, had taken shots at a the "Israel Firster" meme in a Tablet op-ed. (You never know with op-eds. They illustrated it with a picture of a blogger's words turning into Hitler.) But he once worked for the Center for American Progress, and he disagreed in public with the ECI all the time.

"ECI didn't consult me about this," said Ackerman, in an e-mail. "I do not approve of this ad in any way, and ECI are a bunch of clowns. They're constraining the space for liberals to be Zionists, which is ultimately damaging to the US-Israel relationship. And what's really weird is that they would think 70 year olds in Boca Raton have any idea who I am."

No harm intended, says ECI's Noah Pollak. "Our goal is to constrain the ability of mainstream foundations, such as Goldman Sachs and the Jewish Federations, to fund anti-Israel organizations," he said. "Spencer wrote a courageous article on this controversy that should be read widely."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.