MJ Rosenberg, the writer at Media Matters who has come under fierce criticism for using the term “Israel Firster,” is holding firm. Earlier today he indicated he was shutting down his twitter feed.
Closing twitter acct to avoid psycho pests. Friends who want to follow me, send email and you’ll get all my writings.
Never mind. I’m not quitting. Deluged by supporters who worry that they wont see Israel Firster term anymore. Not to worry.
This is brilliant. Note that Andrew Sullivan’s post on Israel Firster— “a plainly true idea”– harps on the idea that I have hammered on here: When a presidential candidate is buoyed by $10 million from a man who says that all he cares about is being a good citizen of Israel and that he regrets wearing an American uniform, not an Israeli one, what other vocabulary do critics of this arrangement have than words like “dual loyalty”? Sullivan:
“All we care about is being good citizens of Israel” said this American citizen. He is saying it was “unfortunate” that he wore the uniform of the US. Now imagine an Arab-American saying that about serving, say, in Syria’s army rather than America’s. Can you imagine the outrage if a leading funder of a Democratic candidate had said that he “unfortunately” once wore the uniform of the US and would rather have worn that of another country?
More on Rosenberg. The LA Jewish Journal has published Rosenberg’s review of Trita Parsi’s new book. “New book: Iran sanctions only if coupled with diplomacy” is the headline. The review is highly critical of the Israel lobby.
Do not back down when AIPAC barks or directs its congressional cutouts to scream bloody murder every time it suspects that the U.S. is considering diplomacy with Iran.
I remember from my days at AIPAC that the thing it was most afraid of was that a president would break with the policy it dictated and explain to the American people why. As the former (and most effective) executive director of AIPAC, Thomas Dine, often said to me, “If the president takes to the airwaves and explains why his position is in the U.S. interest and the position we are pushing isn’t, it will be us who folds, not him.”
Thanks to Jeff Blankfort, who notes: “While the Jewish Journal has historically been on the liberal Zionist side and its founding editor whose name I can’t recall sharply criticized the ADL for its spying activities in the 90s, to the best of my memory, I have never seen an article that contains criticism of AIPAC. Right wing Zionists hate the paper. This will cause them to explode.”
And Blankfort adds that what Dine said would happen in a battle between president and lobby is exactly what happened with George Herbert Walker Bush in 1991, when he challenged Shamir on settlements, and lost the presidential election a year later. “Bush did just that. The trouble is, his party deserted him and the solidarity movement ignored him.”
P.S. One other thing about Israel Firster. As the JTA says, it is a “phrase that many in the Jewish community feel is anti-Semitic.” But some don’t. And I would say that the some who don’t are younger. They don’t remember Father Coughlin, they weren’t there for that. They didn’t live through the second World War. And this is the way of the world. Old phrases die out. And new phrases arise to meet new facts. The new facts here all involve the conflation of American and Israeli interests in having a war with Iran, a very serious issue indeed for which we need strong language. So don’t talk to me about Father Coughlin. No one is throwing Jews out of jobs in the U.S. Let’s talk about the here and now.