Lenny Ben-David: The Man Smearing J Street
Everyone should read Spencer Ackerman's powerful piece about his friend, Rebecca Abou-Chedid, a young law student in Washington who is Arab-American.
Why a piece about Rebecca? Because Rebecca was the target of a drive-by hit directed at J Street by an Israeli settler, Lenny Ben-David. Lenny is the quarterback of the smear campaign against J Street and attacked Rebecca in passing. She's Arab-American. She worked for an Arab American civil rights group. She supports J Street. Hence, J Street is consorting with the enemy because everyone with Arab blood in their veins is THE ENEMY.
I know Rebecca well and she is about as anti-Israel as Yitzhak Rabin was. I choose that analogy carefully. Ben-David (Lenny Davis) is a settler, an enemy of peace and of everything Rabin represented. Naturally he hates J Street. Read his screed. It's a combination of Joe McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover, one lie after another. And racist on top of it. (Lenny has a pathological hatred of Arabs)
So who is Lenny? You can get some idea by seeing the film "The Lives Of Others," about the East German Stasi (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit).
Lenny is like the spooks in that film.
I knew him during his AIPAC days (he worked there for 25 years before being handed his gold watch and shown the door). At AIPAC, Lenny was in charge of the AIPAC version of oppo research. Lenny compiled files on everyone who criticized Israeli policies in any way and used the material he gathered to destroy careers. Lenny loved his files. He loved sending college kids out to gather negative information about journalists, politicians, rabbis, whatever. I remember Lenny's file on Washington Post columnist, Richard Cohen. You'd think Cohen was in charge of the Beer Hall putsch.
Lenny loved his files. In fact, Lenny once complained to me that his successor at AIPAC didn't maintain the files the way he would have. His successor was one Steve Rosen who, I am sure, kept the files beefed up quite nicely. (Steve really knows files).
Lenny now lives in Israel in the Efrat settlement. He's been on the payroll of the governments of Turkey, Georgia, oil companies, whoever will pay. He also was a Netanyahu aide. He remains close to AIPAC and to Netanyahu, although, oddly, Lenny was never really that thrilled about Netanyahu.
I wonder who is paying for his current efforts. Someone is. The boy don't work for nothing although smearing "leftists" (by which Lenny means Jews and others who don't hate Arabs) is something he would do for fun.
Anyway, it's nice to know that it's Lenny, a feckless character if there ever was one, who is running the anti-J Street campaign. If it was Steve Rosen, I'd be worried.
But not as worried as Lenny (and his lobby buddies) are that J Street will help President Obama achieve peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians. Just the thought of that keeps Lenny up nights.