Simon Wiesenthal Center Attacks Antisemitism at Media Matters and Center for American Progress

Media Matters for America’s Senior Fellow MJ Rosenberg has become infamous for accusing any American Jews who support Israel of dual loyalty (he calls them Israel-firsters). He also has claimed the evil Israel lobby” controls both the media and the U.S. foreign policy. He also uses the term “neo-con” as a slang pejorative term for Jews who are politically conservative. Rosenberg is not the only Jew-Basher at Media Matters, just the most vocal.

Rosenberg and his fellow progressives at MMFA and Center for American Progress have finally picked on the wrong Jews: The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC). Formed by the famous Nazi-hunter, the SWC’s only purpose is to preach tolerance. Unlike groups such as the ADL and the AJC, which often lean left, the Wiesenthal Center is non-political. Also unlike those groups, the Center will criticize and/or praise people on either side of the political aisle.

Last week, Politico published a piece about how the Progressive MMFA and CAP were fighting with the more mainstream Democrats about Israel. They want to change the party to the Anti-Israel Party. The article reported that the battle was being led by several bloggers at Media Matters and the Center for American Progress’s Think Progress blog.

The piece highlighted several controversial comments that were made on Twitter by MJ Rosenberg and other MMFA and ThinkProgress bloggers calling groups that did not share their anti-Israel positions “Israel firsters” essentially repeating the antisemitic meme of dual loyalty.

In response to the progressive attacks sent to the Wapo’s Jennifer Rubin, Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center attacked “progressive” antisemitism:

“Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly difficult in this country to take a position sympathetic to the Jewish state and in favor of the continuation of America’s historic strong alliance with Israel without being called “an Israel Firster” and charged with “dual loyalties.”

A case in point: recent attacks on the Simon Wiesenthal Center by the Center for American Progress (CAP)-associated bloggers on “the far-right Simon Wiesenthal Center, which purports to promote tolerance, [but] basically called Obama a Nazi” for saying that Israel should return to the pre-1967 borders (Ben Armbruster).

By the way, while the Wiesenthal center called the 1949 armistice lines “Auschwitz borders” (many other pro-Israel groups join them in this description), they have never even come close to calling President Obama a Nazi and would criticize anybody who did.

CAP blogger Eli Clifton joined Media Matters Senior Foreign Policy Fellow MJ Rosenberg in using Twitter to promote an article accusing the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance of pushing “Western groupthink that has for centuries justified wars and countless atrocities against the Arab world . . .[that’s] representative of the way many Americans feel toward Muslims and Arabs — that they are all terrorists.” Rosenberg himself has repeatedly smeared Jewish groups such the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as “Israel Firsters.”

According to Obama’s friends at MMFA and CAP, the Wiesenthal center is not just an “Israel first” group, but a war-mongering, Muslim-hating “Israel first” group.

The Wiesenthal Center has always been reluctant to accuse people of antisemitism, but in this case it was justified, so the good Rabbi let loose:

….When it comes to the charges of being “Israel Firsters” and having “dual loyalty,” we not only plead innocent but also counter-charge that these sponsored bloggers are guilty of dangerous political libels resonating with historic and toxic anti-Jewish prejudices.

These odious charges have been around since Henry Ford in 1920 said, “Wars are the Jews’ harvest,” Charles Lindbergh in 1940 condemned Jews for conspiring to plunge America into World War II, and “Jewish neocons” were charged with colluding with Israel to cause the 2003 Iraq War. Recently, University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer, co-author of The Israel Lobby and Foreign Policy, has descended to making the accusation that American Jews–unlike American Poles, Italians, Greeks, Turks, Chinese, Africans, etc., etc.–exercise a uniquely malevolent influence over American foreign policy….



In the 1990s during the era of the Oslo Peace Accords, [our] senior officials attended the White House ceremony convened by President Clinton where then Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and Palestinian President Arafat shook hands. We had the honor to both visit King Hussein at his Royal Palace in Amman, and later host the late monarch at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. King Hussein was a proud, card-carrying member of our Museum of Tolerance, whose 5 million plus visitors learn about not only the Nazi Holocaust but also all manifestations of contemporary bigotry. Our respected Digital Terrorism and Hate Project, has for 14 years, chronicled the leveraging of Internet technologies by anti-Semites, terrorists, neo-Nazis and Islamophobes. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has repeatedly supported a two-state solution between Israel and a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state with borders to be determined by Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations — not imposed by outside parties.

Eli Clifton, ThinkProgress’ National Security reporter, has also recently articulated the view that it is “factually inaccurate” to assume that “Iran has a nuclear weapons program”–and, in any case, that the danger posed by that program is exaggerated for political purposes. Is Clifton’s view in “the political mainstream” or is he guilty of being an “Iranian Firster” by virtue of a reflexive, automatic defenses of the mad mullahs’ regime? For his views do not jive with those of Iran’s Arab neighbors, including those articulated leaders in the Gulf with whom Simon Wiesenthal Center officials personally have met and who expressed their fear of the existential threat posed to them by the Iranian regime that stands quite apart from the threat posed to Israel.

Lastly, about President Obama, Ben Armbruster’s charge that we “basically called . . . [him] a Nazi” –is a low blow that should disqualify Armbruster from participating in future civil discourse. We don’t take partisan political positions, and have never leveled a personal criticism of the President who has an open invitation to visit our Museum of Tolerance, just as other high-ranking world leaders have. About calling him “a Nazi,” we condemned that odious label when it was applied to former President George W. Bush by extreme leftists, the same way we have condemned its application to President Obama by the rightist lunatic fringe.

The Center for American Progress ought to stick to fair-minded discussion of serious issues about the U.S’. future. It ought to disown immediately “Israel Laster” bloggers who take the low road and drag down policy debates into the gutter of individual and group defamation.

Rabbi Cooper’s letter is a modern equivalent of Joseph Welch’s fed-up response to Senator Joe McCarthy:

You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

This controversy is much bigger than the antisemitism expressed by these two progressive organizations. MMfA is regularly featured by the mainstream media as a “legitimate” source of media criticism, which in turn enables it to spread hatred with an aura of legitimacy.

The antisemitism spewing from the Center for American Progress is even more serious. This progressive think tank sets much of the policy endorsed by the Democratic-progressive politicians who still dominate the federal government and the Obama Administration. The head of CAP, John Podesta, was the head of Obama’s transition team and remains close to the President.

Perhaps it is the zealots at Center for American Progress and Media Matters who are behind the scenes of President Obama’s anti-Israel policies. Either way, their continued hatred of the Jewish state and the Jewish people, combined with their White House influence, makes one shudder at the thought of a second Obama term.

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