Why did Washington Post and NYT lend themselves to ‘unglued’ ‘angerfest’ directed at Beinart?

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
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JJ Goldberg has a very good piece up at the Forward describing Peter Beinart as the liberal Zionist who kicked the MSM hornet’s nest. Goldberg marvels at the attacks on Beinart, and links them to the hounding of MJ Rosenberg, and concludes that it has to do with a dark period of Jewish panic.

Much of what’s been said about the book in the nation’s leading journals hasn’t been reasoned critique or analysis so much as vituperation. Something about this book has caused The New York Times, The Washington Post and some other normally high-minded publications to come unhinged. More precisely, to assign the book to reviewers who proceed, one by one, to come unglued…

The reviews, meanwhile, consist largely of, well, knee-jerk apologetics. They all seem to intone the shopworn catechism that absolves Israel of any responsibility for its own difficulties…

…[To] explain the attacks’ venomous, ad hominem intensity…. we must look to the general mood of panicked rage sweeping some segments of Israeli and American Jewry: the McCarthyite attacks in Israel on human rights organizations and the New Israel Fund, the attempts to keep J-Street speakers out of synagogues and to defund or shut down Israeli film festivals screening the wrong Israeli films. The legal threats against campus Arab student groups. The hounding of M.J. Rosenberg. It’s hard to remember such a dark mood of repression since the days of the enemies’ lists circulating in the community in the early 1980s….

Long ago, John Mearsheimer explained this dark primordial spirit to me. “It’s called nationalism.” And Jewish nationalists are right to think that their vision is now at risk. Goldberg again:

As for explaining the participation of The New York Times and The Washington Post in this anger-fest, I’m stumped.

This is an important question. I believe the New York Times and Washington Post’s eager participation in this rightwing frenzy can be explained by two trends: the large Jewish presence in the establishment, and the rightwing Zionist character of the Jewish establishment. C.f., the Iraq wardrums in the media. Some day, Jewish and American historians will marvel at this. The Zionist Captivity. (Thanks to Paul Mutter)

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