Neocon Target Trita Parsi Wins $200,000 Prize


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.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.