'Far Left Hates Me,' Head of Liberal Think Tank Said After Netanyahu's 2015 Speech

The invitation for the prime minister to speak at the Center for American Progress caused an uproar within the organization at the time.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers remarks at the Hudson Institute's Herman Kahn Award Ceremony at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 22, 2016.
Andrew Kelly, Reuters

This article was originally published on Jewish Insider.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at a left-leaning policy institute last year in the U.S. didn’t go down well among some staffers and progressives, according to a new batch of emails published by Wikileaks.

“Staff is riven and far left hates me,” Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, wrote in an email to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta after hosting Netanyahu for a questions-and-answer session on the Iran deal, Israeli-Palestinian relations, and the U.S.-Israel relationship, on November 10, 2015.

“If I could have the whole thing not happen, would definitely have it not happen. But it happened to us,” Tanden wrote in response to Podesta’s email asking her "What has been gained and what has been lost?" 

“Things gained: We will never be called anti-Semitic again. No matter what anyone writes. Mainstream press and people think we handled it just right – tough questions. I think for any dismissers, not that I think there were a lot, but we have definitely proven we’re a think tank. And it may have sealed the deal with a new board member. Things lost: Staff is riven. On both sides And far left hates me.”

Jewish Insider broke the news that Netanyahu was going to speak at CAP. The invitation caused an uproar within the organization, according to leaked emails at the time.

“I know that my visit here has been a source of some controversy, so I doubly appreciate the invitation,” Netanyahu told Tanden at the start of their conversation.

“I came here because I think it’s vital to understand how important it is, for me, that Israel remains an issue of bipartisan consensus. The relationship with the United States — all parts of the United States — and the American people is a strategic asset to our national security and our future.”

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