Media Matters for America funder Bill Benter emerges as financial sponsor of pro-Hagel ads

Following Obama’s nomination announcement Monday, Media Matters has already set to work producing content aimed at supporting Hagel’s confirmation.

Responding to a report by CNN that Hagel’s critics see his willingness to negotiate with Hamas and his dissatisfaction with sanctions on Iran as a weakness, Media Matters writer Adam Shah insisted that “the position Hagel has taken on Hamas is well within the mainstream and the position he has taken on Iran is not an anti-Israel position, but part of his long-held view that unilateral sanctions do not work.”

“Furthermore, Hagel is supported by high-profile pro-Israel commentators,” Shah added.

The Benter-sponsored ads supporting Hagel include an open letter declaring that “[n]o one has been more steadfast in supporting America’s commitment to Israel’s security than has Senator Hagel.”

When TheDC asked Benter in March 2012 about his involvement in Media Matters’ foreign policy writings, he explained in a statement, “Much of my philanthropic activity over the past several years has focused on preventing war and creating peace through education, scholarship and advocacy, not only in the Middle East but around the world.”

“I want to make it absolutely clear,” Benter’s statement continued, that “I would never support or condone anti-Semitism in any form.”

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