American Israel Public Affairs Committee spokesman Josh Block is stepping down from his post at the pro-Israel lobby and setting up shop as a consultant for Democrats. Block, who has been AIPAC’s spokesman for the past 9 years, will be starting a new Washington media consulting firm with former Clinton White House aide Lanny Davis.
Block will also join the Progressive Policy Institute, a think tank associated with the centrists in the Democratic Party. During his years with the pro-Israel lobby Block maintained a non-partisan approach. But he now seems to be returning to his roots with the Democratic Party, where he worked in before joining AIPAC. “I’m relishing my return to the political, as well as the policy, conversation,” Block told Politico.
Block stressed that he will continue dealing with issues relating to Israel from within the Democratic Party, where he feels there are some progressive Democrats “who think it’s a good idea to let Iran get nukes.”
During his tenure as AIPAC’s spokesman, Block helped the group weather the storm caused by the indictment of two of its top staffers on charges of espionage, which were eventually dropped, and to counter the wave of criticism brought about by the book “The Israel Lobby” by scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.
AIPAC has been accused throughout the years of being ideologically close to Israel’s Likud party and to the neoconservative branch of the Republican Party. Block has made an effort during his years in AIPAC to fight against this partisan image of the group.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
AIPAC Flack Gets Back to Where He Once Belonged