Neocon Target Trita Parsi Wins $200,000 Prize

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In recent months, Trita Parsi, the founder and president of the National Iranian American Council, has been the target of conservative attacks. The Weekly Standard‘s Michael Goldfarb implied that Parsi works for the Iranian regime. In a controversial piece for the Washington Times, Eli Lake suggested that Parsi potentially broke federal lobbying laws. Parsi and his defenders point out that there’s no evidence for the first charge and say that the second charge stems from a broad campaign against him by right-wing activists who oppose President Obama’s policies.

In any case, none of that controversy stopped Parsi from winning the 2010 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for “Ideas Improving World Order,” which is worth $200,000. In fact, the attacks on Parsi may even have helped his cause. “We are aware of the political controversy around us, and we are expecting to get some heat as well as opening some light,” Rodger Payne, the political science professor who administers the awards, told the Louisville Courier-Journal. If Payne is thinking that all publicity is good publicity, he got his wish. Over at the American Thinker, a conservative website, Ed Lasky slams the prize as an award from an “anti-Israel” group. “This is a disgrace,” Lasky writes:

Rodger Payne, a University of Louisville political science professor, directs the award. He has left-wing views which is not a surprise. He thought George Bush’s foreign policy was Orwellian. And he is a big believer in climate change (at least before Climate Gate).

He also is a big fan of the Israeli left and wants a one-state solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians that would inevitably lead to the destruction of Israel as millions of Palestinians who live in Gaza and the West Bank are joined by millions of refugees.

He was a research fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and at the University of Chicago. Is it a coincidence that the two men most responsible for promoting the conspiracy theory regarding Jewish control of American foreign policy (Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer) both teach at these universities?

Working at Harvard and the University of Chicago, opposing Bush’s foreign policy, believing in climate change, and supporting the Israeli left? Rodger Payne truly is history’s greatest monster.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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