Josh Block of The Israel Project reportedly made derogatory comments about Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal in an email exchange with a Voice of America producer that was laced with sexist overtones. The Intercept obtained the emails through a FOIA request made by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy.
The emails were from October 2015, when Hooman Baktier, a producer at VOA, a government-funded media organization, contacted Block to let him know he’d selected Jebreal to represent the Palestinean side in an upcoming debate and asked for his opinion on someone to represent the Israeli side. What proceeded was a brutal back and forth tearing down the prominent Arab journalist and policy analyst.
“I know that Rula’s bonafides and credentials as a Middle East analyst are quite questionable, but my editor was keen on having her on because of her looks (though she’s hardly my type),” wrote Bakhtiar.
To his credit, Block, who was once a senior official at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), did not respond in kind to the sexist remark in the emails. He did brand Jebreal an anti-Semite, a “non-entity,” and “crazy person with no real legitimacy.”
Jebreal is a Palestinean foreign policy analyst, novelist and former commentator at MSNBC. Jebreal responded to the incident in two tweets.
Revealing, that in 21st Century America, outspoken women are still targeted with misogynist tactics. The struggle for equality continues.— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) March 3, 2016
I’m married to a Jew, you ignorant. https://t.co/nRR4krDwd1— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) March 2, 2016
Jebreal is married to a Jew, Arthur Altschul, Jr., a biotechnology and investment entrepreneur and son of Goldman Sachs partner Arthur Altschul.