Sarah Stern is the founder and president of Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) and an adviser to the Clarion Fund, a controversial film distribution and production group tied to rightwing groups in Israel and the United States. Stern has also served as a coordinator of the Zionist Organization of America and director of governmental and legislative affairs for the American Jewish Congress.
Observers have described EMET as a "group of hard-line U.S. neo-conservatives and former Israeli diplomats." According to its website, EMET "is the first unabashedly pro-Israel and pro-American think tank and policy shop on Capitol Hill. We are the only establishment in Washington that gets out the proud narrative of Israel's 62 year-old struggle to survive amidst amazing challenges and its enormous contributions to humanity as a whole. And we get that out directly in front of our nation's policymakers, where it counts. We emphasize Israel's unique role as being the eastern outpost of Western democratic values, holding down the fort against a rising tide of radical Islam, and the enormous strategic benefit it brings to the United States, contributing substantial intelligence and hard-earned tactical advice in the war on terrorism. We believe that Israel serves as the "canary in the coalmine", and that in the eyes of the radical Islamist, each piece of land ceded simply whets their appetite for more in his quest for Islamic hegemony. We believe that what confronts Israel today, will confront the rest of Western civilization tomorrow."
EMET and Clarion have collaborated in distributing controversial propaganda films hyping the threat from Iran and potentially violating their tax status by running a stealth campaign on behalf of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and other Republican candidates.
The Inter Press Service (IPS) reported that EMET has had ties to Likud and neoconservatives groups. According to IPS, EMET advisors include ambassadors Yossi Ben Aharon and Yoram Ettinger, who "were among the three Israeli ambassadors whom then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin referred to as 'the Three Musketeers' when they lobbied Washington in opposition to the Oslo accords."
EMET's website features a number of quotes from well known "pro-Israel" hawks lauding Stern's work. Steve Emerson, the controversial head of the Intelligence Project on Terrorism, says: "In its short existence, EMET has emerged as a critical organization in the battle against Islamic extremism and terrorism. Founded by Sarah Stern, EMET is dedicated to providing the truth about the Arab war against Israel to members of Congress, the media and the general public. There is no more important mission than this. Sarah brings decades of experience and knowledge with an inexhaustible supply of energy. EMET needs your support."
The rightwing Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen says, ""I am writing in strong support of Sarah Stern, who has worked with my office on matters of legislative importance. I praise her efforts in establishing the Washington, DC-based Middle East policy think tank, EMET. … Sarah's understanding of the Middle East region and the challenges for peace lend themselves well to her endeavors to produce assessments that will be valuable as events unfold. I enthusiastically endorse Sarah Stern's effort and look forward to EMET's success."
Her EMET bio states: "Sarah Stern has had a rather lengthy history of advocacy for the state of Israel and the Jewish people. Right after the Oslo Accords had been signed, she had been contacted by three former Israeli diplomats who had worked in the embassy in Washington under the reign of Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.They told her that they harbored grave suspicions that Chairman Arafat was not going to live up to one iota of the Accords he had just signed. They asked her if she would be their conduit to Capitol Hill, and help them to get the truth out about what it was that Chairman Arafat was actually saying to his people, in Arabic and how it differed from what he was saying to Western diplomats and journalists. Sarah immediately agreed, and was thrust full throttle into the fulcrum of the Middle East debate.After a few years of doing this, pro-bono, Sarah was hired by the Zionist Organization of America to be their National Policy Coordinator, (from 1998 through 2004). After that, she became the Director of the Office of Legislative and Governmental Affairs of the American Jewish Congress, (from 2004 through April of 2006). Sarah had played a major role in the drafting and passage of many pieces of legislation, including the Syria Accountability Act, the Koby Mandell Act, and the resolution in support of Israel's right to build a security fence, and the inappropriateness of the referral to the International Court of Justice in the Hague.She has worked on many other issues which include; the stationing of US troops on the Golan Heights, the sale of the Harpoon block missiles to Egypt, the hiring of Hamas agents to teach at the UNRWA camps, the issue of anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in our nation's college campuses, the treatment of religious minorities by the Moslem world, reform of the United Nations, and energy independence for the free world."
The bio also states that Stern "has written many articles, and has been published in the Jerusalem Post, the Washington Jewish Week, and the Middle East Quarterly. She is the author of one novel, Cherished Illusions (2005, Balfour Books), and has written a chapter in Frank Gaffney's widely acclaimed book, War Footing (Naval Press. 2006).