One of the minor distractions of the Iran deal came when Zbigniew Brzezinski tweeted:
“Obama/Kerry = best policy team since Bush I/Jim Baker. Congress is finally becoming embarrassed by Netanyahu’s efforts to dictate US policy.”
And Jeffrey Goldberg responded on twitter:
“Jews run America, suggests ex-national security adviser.”
Logan Bayroff of J Street wisely tweeted:
“[Brzezinski] doesn’t say or even imply that. Willingness to accuse everyone of anti-semitism makes it impossible to respect you.”
Goldberg promptly excommunicated him:
I continuously defend @jstreetdotorg‘s place inside the Jewish tent. But the behavior of its employees makes such defenses difficult.
Can’t agree with your read of
@zbig tweet. Doesn’t say “Jews run America.” You’re putting words in his mouth.
No question Bibi has tried/is trying to influence US policy by pushing Congress when he disagrees with White House.
Corey Robin did an excellent post on the excommunication issue. “Can I come back into the tent now, Rabbi Goldberg?”
That’s what nationalism—especially nationalism hitched to a state—does to people. It makes the Goldbergs of this world think they can give Jews a passport or take it away. Well, guess what, Rabbi Goldberg: you can’t. I don’t need you defending my right to be in the Jewish tent because that’s not within your, or any other Jew’s, power to decide.
Bayroff’s point is very important. The belief that anti-Semitism is a persistent condition in the west is a core premise of Zionism. Goldberg’s career arc reflects the fact that his view of anti-Semitism is closer to his parents’ generation than his own; he has said that he once saw a “red river” of anti-Semitism running under American culture, even in Long Island, and that’s why he moved to Israel.
He saw the same red river when Walt and Mearsheimer published their criticism of the Israel lobby, he saw the same red river when Brzezinski disparaged Netanyahu’s influence in our Congress.
Myself, I think the Red River runs between North Dakota and Minnesota. But then Jeffrey Goldberg has said that I’m not a Jew because of my universalist beliefs.
Despite young Bayroff’s intervention, Goldberg is representative of the Jewish consensus. In fact, Jeremy Ben-Ami soon sought to mend his bridges with Goldberg. He does so because Goldberg (who once served in the Israeli army in a prison for Palestinians) is a powerful figure who really does hold the tent-flaps.
And Goldberg also got a handsqueeze from the New York Times correspondent in Jerusalem, Jodi Rudoren (who once called me “upper-class”; and I don’t think she meant that as a compliment). Rudoren tweeted a Goldberg piece saying he was “still very smart.” And the two then canoodled: “Still? Was I ever?” cracked Goldberg. And Rudoren responded, “Yes, more and more so it seems,” and Goldberg asked Who are your sources for this claim, and Rudoren wrote, “It’s my own expert ‘analysis,’ so expect it to be publicly flayed by both sides.”
Which it was– publicly flayed. Still she went on, praising Goldberg.
— Jodi Rudoren (@rudoren) November 25, 2013
As I say, Goldberg is powerful. And very pro-Israel. That remains the Establishment consensus; in fact the Iran deal shows the reshuffling of the Israel lobby, to make J Street central, but to keep Goldberg on the elevator too. No room for you and me.