Here’s a report on the Washington Post’s hiring of “conservative” blogger Jennifer Rubin. The report includes the announcement memo from WP Op-Ed editor Fred Hiatt. Some points of confusion:
–Rubin is regularly referred to as a conservative columnist. Is she against abortion and stem-cell research and does she dig Scalia? I don’t know; I don’t read her regularly. But I sense that’s not what people mean….
–Isn’t conservative a misnomer for neoconservative, and blind support for Israel? As Daniel Luban points out, this is Rubin’s core position. She lives in the U.S. and writes for Commentary and thinks that all of Palestine belongs to the Jews, or some other hokum that rationalizes the killing of Palestinian noncombatants at a rate of one every other day in the Jim Crow Jewish hinterland. Israel is the core of her engagement; but of course the announcement and news story don’t mention that angle. Here M.J. Rosenberg says that Rubin’s politics boil down to contempt for Muslims.
–Rubin is being hired as a balance to Greg Sargent and Ezra Klein. Klein has taken some good stances on the issue. But I don’t think it’s front and center for him, and I think of him as being in the liberal Zionist camp. So does the Post have any bandwidth on the central intellectual question of the unending Israeli occupation and its effect on American foreign policy and the American image? Does it have anyone who is as concerned about the occupation and Zionism as Rubin is, but from the other side? Or as Andrew Sullivan said some months ago, Are there any anti-Zionists working in the Mainstream Media? And if not, why not? It’s a completely legitimate position in an age of multicultural democracy. The former Saudi ambassador says our support for Israel is the root cause of Muslim antagonism, and Petraeus and Biden have offered tamer statements of the same idea in the last year; could a Post blogger/columnist be a dissenter on this question? I’m waiting.
By the way, Luban, whose headline is, “Will Pam Geller be next?” says that Rubin unlike Sargent and Klein is not a reporter, and the hire shows that the Post is self-destructing, making itself into a stables for a lot of wornout ideological nags, including Bill Kristol, Krauthammer, and Michael Gerson (though Luban blasts Rubin as anti-semitic for the piece I liked, her Commentary analysis of why Jews hate Palin, because we don’t do manual work. I think the sociology of Jewish achievement/employment is central to understanding our political attitudes– oy).