Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Jews and Israel

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Jews and Israel

Article excerpt


Washington Jewish Week Wrangle

Did the American Israel Public Affairs Committee recently flex its muscles to force out the managing editor of Washington Jewish Week because he didn't toe the AIPAC line? This is the substance of a charge published by Robert I. Friedman in the August 4 issue of the Village Voice.

According to Friedman's account, Andrew Silow Carroll was forced out of WJW, which has wide readership among Jewish federal government employees, after an AIPAC staff member operating under cover witnessed Carroll's appearance at a May 1991 picnic sponsored by dovish Jewish groups, including the New Jewish Agenda and Tikkun magazine. During the picnic, Carroll appeared on a panel dealing with the pro-Likud American-Jewish establishment.

Friedman wrote that Carroll took an anti-Likud position, but also warned his listeners against defining themselves as anti-Israel. Carroll's remarks were heard by the AIPAC "mole," who later wrote a memorandum characterizing Carroll as anti-Israel. Friedman added that the editor's name was then put on AIPAC's enemies list. According to Friedman, this was not Carroll's first run-in with AIPAC. Earlier, the lobbying group tried to pressure him to reassign WJW senior writer Larry Cohler, a widely read investigative reporter, so that Cohler would no longer write about AIPAC. "When Carroll refused," Friedman wrote, AIPAC's legal counsel David Ifshin (who is a former campaign director and now legal counsel to the Clinton campaign) "warned Carroll that he would re-examine Cohler's previous stories about AIPAC for evidence of libel. Nothing ever came of the threat."

The anti-Carroll memo was widely distributed to show the existence of forces intent on destroying Israel, wrote Friedman. One person who received the memo was Richard Schifter, recently retired assistant secretary of state for human rights, who is a member of the WJW board of directors. Schifter complained to his friend, WJW owner Leonard Kapiloff, about stories critical of Israel. "Soon after Schifter's visit," wrote Friedman, "Carroll was demoted, and last June, he resigned rather than stay on as a reporter."

Friedman quoted Carroll as saying: "The publisher's son told me Schifter was looking for my ass. I think that AIPAC gave Schifter his marching orders, but Kapiloff denies it." Friedman wrote that Kapiloff declined comment, and Schifter, a senior foreign policy adviser to Bill Clinton, denied a role in Carroll's dismissal.

According to Friedman, however, "a Jewish colleague who recently met with Schifter says that when he asked what happened to Carroll, Schifter pulled the unflattering memo from his desk drawer." Schifter began writing a column for WJW after Carroll left the newspaper.

Friedman places this story in the context of a broad AIPAC effort to "stifle legitimate debate and dissent about Israel." He described this elaborate effort, which is implemented by a "stealth unit" of AIPAC, through the eyes of former AIPAC researcher Gregory Slabodkin, who gave a similar earlier account in the July issue of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

Friedman's Village Voice story set off a flurry of articles in the Jewish press. The Aug. 13 Washington Jewish Week's article asked in its headline, "Was former WJW editor target of AIPAC `spying'?" The story, by Larry Yudelson of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, said that the existence of the anti-Carroll memo was confirmed by Steven Rosen, AIPAC's foreign policy director. But Rosen said it was not written by AIPAC's policy analysis division, but rather from an account by a former intern who happened by the picnic.

WJW wrote that Rosen "acknowledges giving the memo to board members of the newspaper as evidence that the paper's managing editor at the time, Andrew Silow Carroll, `sought to bring down the organized Jewish community.'" The story stated that shortly after the memo was given to the board, Carroll was made a subordinate of a new editor and stripped of his editorial-writing and story-assignment duties. …

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