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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tom Hamburger, "How Elizabeth Warren picked a fight with Brookings — and won": No Mention of Brookings, Indyk, Qatar and Hamas



In a Washington Post article entitled "How Elizabeth Warren picked a fight with Brookings — and won," Tom Hamburger writes:

"The hero of the country’s liberal movement launched a surprise attack Tuesday against Washington’s most revered Democratic-leaning think tanks — and drew blood.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, stepping up her crusade against the power of wealthy interests, accused a Brookings Institution scholar of writing a research paper to benefit his corporate patrons.

Warren’s charge prompted a swift response, with Brookings seeking and receiving the resignation of the economist, Robert Litan, whose report criticized a Warren-backed consumer protection rule targeting the financial services industry."

A pity that Warren was not equally incensed by Qatar's $14.8 million donation to Brookings in 2014, which goes unmentioned by Hamburger. As was reported by The Algemeiner in a September 7, 2014 article entitled "Revealed: Hamas-Backing Qatar, Also Funding Brookings Institute, Home of Former U.S. MidEast Envoy Indyk":

"Questions are emerging over possible conflicts-of-interest after The New York Times highlighted Qatari funding for U.S. think tanks, including the Brookings Institute, employer of former U.S. envoy Martin Indyk, who was directly involved in recent negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

'Qatar, the small but wealthy Middle East nation, agreed last year to make a $14.8 million, four-year donation to Brookings, which has helped fund a Brookings affiliate in Qatar and a project on United States relations with the Islamic world,' according to The Times.

The report comes just weeks after Israel vociferously voiced objection to Qatar’s funding of its major adversary, terror group Hamas."

And as Lee Smith is quoted in an October 2, 2014 Tablet article entitled "Brookings Responds to Tablet Piece on Qatar Funding":

"The fact that Ambassador Indyk’s employer raised $14.8 million from the same Arab regime that funds Hamas, a mortal enemy of the two parties—Israel and the PA—whose negotiations he was to mediate, should have been enough to tell Secretary of State John Kerry that Dr. Indyk would be, at the least, a questionable choice for the job. This judgment might have been further supported by Mr. Indyk’s strange demeanor in casting Israel, both anonymously in news articles and publicly in hotel bars, as solely responsible for the failure of peace talks.

Why Ambassador Indyk veered so widely from the normal practices of statesmanship is unclear. Perhaps he thought his own behavior to be above reproach, even when others might say it violates commonly accepted norms, and creates the appearance of a conflict-of-interest so glaring that it would be legible to a nine-year-old. Or perhaps one of the most influential think tanks taking money from one of the leading state sponsors of terrorism was taken as a sign that the rules of the Washington DC foreign policy influence-peddling game have changed, and become even more gross and venal?"

You will recall that Obama and Kerry sought to impose Qatari and Turkish mediation upon Israel during its conflict with Hamas during the summer of 2014. As reported in a July 30, 2014 Hudson Institute article entitled "John Kerry Has Hamas’ Back: So, Who Has Israel’s?" by Lee Smith:

"'Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas,' Netanyahu told President Obama, according to an Israeli transcript of a recording of the phone call. (A transcript the White House and prime minister’s office now claim is false.) 'It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.' To which Obama snidely responded: 'I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.' When Netanyahu objected to Obama’s high-school mean-girl treatment—'I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks'—the president of the United States simply ignored him: 'The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities.'"

Personally, I "believe" that the transcript accurately reflected the content of the conversation, although it involved translation back and forth between English and Hebrew.

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