Matt Duss

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Matt Duss is Bernie Sanders' chief Senate foreign-policy adviser. Lives in Alexandria, Virginia.


Studied Middle East studies at University of Washington


JStreet conference

Secretary of State Antony Blinken headlined a JStreet in December 2022.

Other speakers included former Bernie Sanders adviser and longtime Israel critic Matt Duss, Daily Beast writer Wajahat Ali, a cadre of pro-Palestinian activists, and several Democratic members of Congress, including Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) and senator-elect Peter Welch (D., Vt.).

Meeting Ashrawi

“The two parties discussed the Trump administration’s ... destructive policies that undermine the prospects of peace and the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights to freedom,” in addition to the rejection of a U.S. visa for Ashrawi, according to a statement by the PLO.

(May 28, 2019 / JNS) Hanan Ashrawi, longtime aide to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, met on Monday with Matt Duss, the foreign-policy adviser for the presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), according to a statement released by the Department of Public Diplomacy and Policy of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

“The two parties discussed the Trump administration’s hostile approach in the region and its destructive policies that undermine the prospects of peace and the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights to freedom,” in addition to the “Trump administration’s vindictive actions against the Palestinian people and leadership, including as reflected recently in the rejection of Dr. Ashrawi’s visa application,” according to the statement.

Ashrawi was denied a travel visa to the United States earlier this month.

“It is official! My US visa application has been rejected. No reason given,” she wrote on Twitter. “Choose any of the following: I’m over 70 & a grandmother; I’ve been an activist for Palestine since the late 1960’s; I’ve always been an ardent supporter of nonviolent resistance.”

Ashrawi told the AFP that her daughter and grandchildren live in the United States, and that she travels to America three or four times a year. She said she has never before been denied a visa.

Ashrawi, a member of the PLO executive committee and former P.A. Minister of Higher Education and Research, has been a Palestinian spokesperson for the last 30 years.

Duss has an anti-Israel background as he, along with Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir, has been accused of furthering anti-Semitic conspiracy theories during his tenure at the left-wing think-tank Center for American Progress.

He allegedly was part of CAP’s 2012 anti-Semitic incident where several staffers at the center’s ThinkProgress website, which Shakir served as editor-in-chief, were condemned for using anti-Semitic tropes of Jews dominating politics and money.

The staffers alleged “pro-Israel Jews and members of Congress of being ‘Israel firsters,’ a term implying that those who support the Jewish state have dual loyalties,” according to the Free Beacon.

The row caused the firing and departure of several ThinkProgress writers.

At the time, Duss was CAP’s Middle East director.[1]

Radical relatives

Matt Duss' father Serge Duss serves as a top official at Kairos USA, the American affiliate of church groups that have pushed for boycotts of the Jewish state and accused it of "war crimes."

Kairos’ Canadian affiliate had a $7 million government grant revoked in 2009 due to what officials said was the group’s anti-Israel activism and support of Jewish boycotts.

Kairos USA has taken similarly controversial positions, decrying "injustice in Palestine" in a 2012 "Call to Action" that Christian critics said unfairly demonized Israel.

"Kairos USA's 2012 ‘Call to Action’ is deeply troubling," said David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel . "By failing to mention—let alone condemn—Palestinian terror, Kairos USA forfeits any claim to moderation."

"Kairos may claim to understand the Middle East, but the history they tell ignores Israel’s serious peace offers and the repeated, violent rejections thereof," Brog said.

Additionally, Serge Duss has come under fire for publicly promoting a controversial theory that claims modern Israelis are not descended from Biblical Jews.

During a speech at the 2011 J Street conference, Duss pushed back against the "belief that the modern state of Israel and modern Israelis are the extension of the Children of Israel of the Old Testament," according to a recording of his remarks.

CUFI’s Brog condemned Duss’s comments at the time.

"It was deeply disappointing to learn that J Street gave a platform for Serge Duss to deny the heritage of the Jewish people," Brog told the Free Beacon when the statements came to light. "We’ve learned from bitter history that theologies which posit Jewish rejection and replacement often open the door to anti-Semitism.

Serge Duss also spent 18 years as the director of policy and advocacy at World Vision, a Christian nonprofit group that has vociferously chastised Israel and promoted what critics say is an anti-Israel agenda.

"World Vision has basically been an anti-Israel charity for a long time," said CAMERA’s Dexter Van Zile. "When they talk about Israel they basically demonize the Jewish state."

Brian Duss, the youngest Duss, is the former "public engagement manager" of World Vision’s branch in "Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza," according to his LinkedIn profile.

Duss discussed his views on Israel last year during a video interview that centered on his time "living in Palestine."

"I think we need to rethink some of our policies in the Middle East, whether it’s the U.S. government, the British government, or Israel and how Israel treats her neighbors, because there’s some pretty strong warnings in Jewish scripture about what will happen if you don’t respect the widow and the orphan and the alien among you," Duss said.

"Go see for yourself some of the reality on the ground and see some of the ridiculous things that are going on," Duss said. "And the things that are going on, I don’t think it’s too bold to say they are sinful."

"I would be a horrible person to overlook what is going on here and not do anything about it," he adds.

Brian Duss currently works as the director of communications at Sojourners, a Christian "social justice" organization that has rallied against "Israeli apartheid" and accused the Jewish state of driving out Christians.

Sojourners "basically offers up an image of what progressive Christians should be and their vision is that you’re going to view Israel as the enemy," said Van Zile. "All of these folks are part of a campaign to undermine support for Israel in the Evangelical community."

Brian Duss has taken to Twitter in the past to express his support for Richard Goldstone, the controversial author of a now discredited United Nations report that falsely accused Israel of committing war crimes.

Additionally, he has wondered via Twitter, "Why are so many Israeli politicians rapists?"[2]

Dispatches from the US left


Thursday, 04 April 2019 14:30 - 18:30 Venue: European Parliament:

Public conversation with leaders from the US left, including Maria Svart, David Duhalde, Alan Minsky, Alexandra Rojas, and Matt Duss (tbc) about the common challenges during the upcoming election cycle 2019/2020.

On the eve of the elections to the European Parliament, and at the beginning of the race to the US Presidential elections in November 2020, Western Democracy is at a crossroads. While we are facing an organised roll-back of libertarian achievements, there is a need to unite in our defence, and to win this struggle together in order to be in the position to prevent climate change, build prosperous post-growth economies, and organise inclusive and rights-based societies in a new technological environment.

This event will provide information about the progressive candidates, including Bernie Sanders, who will successfully challenge Donald Trump, and the campaign techniques applied. The discussion will analyse the state of play of new political camps being constructed in Europe in the context of the elections for the European Parliament, and the diversity of the struggle inside and outside of Parliaments on both sides of the Atlantic.

Moderated by Barbara Spinelli, MEP and Ethan Earle.[3]

Guest of the European Left


After Bernie Sanders launched his campaign for Presidential candidacy last Saturday, we as Party of the European Left would like to point out, that we had invited leaders from the US left to Brussels.

03 April 2019 6:00 pm European Left Public Event in Brussels: DISPATCHES FROM THE US LEFT

A conversation with leaders from the US left about upcoming elections, Bernie Sanders, and the need for a new progressive internationalism.

Salle “L’Aurore” de l’Association Culturelle Joseph Jacquemotte, 162 Rue du Midi, 1000 Bruxelles / Belgique

Our Guests:

Additional to this public event there will be on 4th April 2018 a Seminar in the European Parliament organized by representatives of GUE-NGL in co-operation with the EL. If you want to take part in the GUE-NGL seminar, that is held in the premises of the European Parliament, you must register at the GUE site as soon as the seminar is announced in order to get a pass for entering the parliament.[4]

In the spirit of Bernie Sanders’ recent call to begin building an “international progressive front”, the European Left invited leaders from the US Left to Brussels to develop concrete working relationships.
Over two productive days, Maria Svart, National Director of the Democratic Socialists of America, David Duhalde, Political Director of Our Revolution and Alan Minsky, Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America, met with leaders of the European Left and GUE/NGL, as well as with representatives from civil society, ETUC, and national parties across Europe.

We look forward to working together to combat the domination of the 1% and the rise of what Sanders calls the “new authoritarian axis”, and to developing positive alternatives together.

Maite Mola & Paolo Ferrero

Vice-Presidents of the Party of the European Left.[5]

Gharib connection

Matt Duss March 13, 2013:


With Ali Gharib, Brian Katulis, and Meir Javedanfar in Tel Aviv.

Ramallah connection

Matt Duss March 12, 2013 ·


With Prime Minister Fayyad in Ramallah. — with Brian Katulis.

Bernie Sanders chief Senate foreign-policy adviser

From Gideon Resnick, Spencer Ackerman and Sam Stein of The Daily Beast:[6]

"Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has tapped Faiz Shakir to serve as his campaign manager for his second run at the White House, The Daily Beast has learned.


"Shakir spent several years during the Bush and Obama administrations at ThinkProgress, which quickly established itself as a digitally native information outlet for left-of-center Democrats. ThinkProgress primarily focused on challenging Republicans and conservatives but also took progressive stances on policy, particularly foreign policy and national security, that challenged the Democratic mainstream. There, Shakir worked closely with Matt Duss, who is now Sanders’ chief Senate foreign-policy adviser.


Matt Duss, of the Center for American Progress, was an identified member of JournoList - an email group of approximately 400 "progressive" and socialist journalists, academics and "new media" activists.

JournoList members reportedly coordinated their messages in favor of Barack Obama and the Democrats, and against Sarah Palin and the Republican Party. JournoList was founded in 2007 and was closed down in early 2010.[7]

Greenwald to the defense

In December 2011, Glenn Greenwald's Salon colleague Justin Elliott revealed that AIPAC’s former spokesman, Josh Block, had been encouraging neoconservative journalists and pundits on a private email list to attack as “anti-Semites” various Middle East commentators employed by two of the most influential Democratic-Party-aligned organizations: the Center for American Progress and Media Matters.

Block distributed a dossier containing posts by these CAP and MM writers about Israel and Iran that he claimed evince anti-Semitism, and then issued these marching orders (emphasis in original): “YOU SHOULD AMPLIFY this. And use the below [research] to attack the bad guys.” According to Glenn Greenwald, The predictable roster of neoconservative, hatemongering extremists on that email list – led by The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin, who recruited the Simon Wiesenthal Center to the cause — dutifully spewed out articles echoing Block’s attacks against these mostly young, liberal writers: Matt Duss, Ali Gharib, Eli Clifton and Zaid Jilani at CAP’s ThinkProgress blog and Media MattersMJ Rosenberg (a former AIPAC employee).

Block’s once-secret email campaign followed a Politico article by Ben Smith which accused these CAP and MM writers with deviations from “the bipartisan consensus on Israel” and voicing “a heretical and often critical stance on Israel heretofore confined to the political margins”; moreover, Smith wrote, “warm words for Israel can be hard to find on [CAP's] blogs.” Block was quoted in that article accusing the two progressive groups of publishing “anti-Israel” and “borderline anti-Semitic stuff”; Smith subsequently acknowledged that it was Block who had fed him files containing the supposedly anti-Semitic posts in order to enable the article to be written.[8]

Center for American Progress

In 2005 Matt Duss served in the Communications department of Center for American Progress.[9] National Security Researcher/Blogger

Advocating for Justice

Arab American Policy Concerns Advocating for Justice: From Syria & Palestine to Profiling & Surveillance

Wednesday April 29, 2015 Rayburn House Office Building

Panelists on Domestic Concerns

Panelists on Foreign Policy Concerns

Representatives also in attendance: