CNN Features Anti-Semite Lawrence Wilkerson

CNN on Tuesday featured a Quincy Institute fellow known for making spurious claims about American Jews and the state of Israel.

Lawrence Wilkerson, a former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, has argued that “the Jewish lobby in America” and “AIPAC in particular” played an outsized influence in the run-up to the Iraq war and that Syrian chemical-weapons use “could’ve been an Israeli false-flag operation.”

While CNN host Erin Burnett did not press Wilkerson on those baseless claims, she did ask him about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whom Wilkerson accused of “trying to capture that little kernel of Trump’s base” for a potential presidential run. Wilkerson added that Biden is “one of the most experienced people, certainly in security and foreign policy, to come to the White House in a long time.”

In a 2007 documentary Wilkerson said the “Jewish lobby” had more influence on the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq than the administration’s belief that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. He specifically criticized Jewish officials including Bush national security aide Elliott Abrams, former deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz, and former undersecretary of defense Doug Feith.

The Quincy Institute is funded by billionaires Charles Koch and George Soros and promotes isolationist American foreign policy. Launched in December of 2019, it has come under fire for providing anti-Semites a platform. In addition to Wilkerson, the institute has featured several experts who have accused American Jews of being more loyal to Israel than to America, an anti-Semitic trope, and who have repeatedly blamed the “Israel lobby” for American foreign policy decisions.

Paul Pillar, a veteran CIA officer and now a Quincy Institute expert on intelligence and terrorism, has argued that Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson’s first loyalty is to Israel. Retired diplomat Chas Freeman, who authored the Quincy Institute’s first policy brief in December, blamed the Israel lobby for scuttling his appointment to lead Barack Obama’s National Intelligence Council in 2009, arguing in a statement after his withdrawal that “the tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency.” Later that year, in a speech in Moscow, he accused American Jews of comprising an Israeli “fifth column” inside the United States.

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