The Enduring Antisemitism of Media Matters for America's MJ Rosenberg

The Enduring Antisemitism of Media Matters for America's MJ Rosenberg

There is good news and bad news. First, the good news: on his Media Matters blog MJ Rosenberg has promised he will no longer use the antisemitic term “Israel firster” to describe Americans who support Israel.

The bad news is that he defended his use of the term and launched into his usual hateful prose directed toward Israel and Jewish Americans:

But I will do so without using the term “Israel Firster.” The term was coined in 1960 by the late Abram Leon Sachar, founding President of Brandeis University, and a renowned Jewish historian (his son Howard Morley Sachar remains the greatest historian of contemporary Jewry) and was first used by the elder Sachar in a speech he delivered that year to a Zionist organization. 

This is a typical MJ Rosenberg half-truth. He is correct when he says Sachar used the term “Israel firster,” but he didn’t use it the same way MJ and his MMfA buddies throw it around. For Sacher the term represented the tension between the American Jewish Community and Israeli Jewish Community in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Sacher’s “Israel firsters” were mostly Israeli Jews who felt the Jewish people could never have a fulfilling life outside of Israel. It was never used by Sacher to impugn Jewish Americans as being some how less than loyal to America.

It [Israel-firster] has proven to be a distraction, allowing the pro-war lobby to focus on my choice of words rather than the substance of my arguments. I will not be using it again, for many reasons including the fact that some good people were genuinely offended by it. That was not my intention. My intention is to focus like the proverbial laser on the threat posed by war with Iran and the 45 year occupation.

Rosenberg ignores his other antisemitic smears–such as, for instance, that American Jews control the media, or that American Jews control foreign policy (and caused the rebellion in Egypt).

I am often accused of harping on the lobby’s baleful influence. I plead guilty. But it’s my obligation because (1) I know from personal experience — 15 years on Capitol Hill and four at AIPAC — how it operates, (2) I know how little it really cares about Israel, and (3) I am free to tell the truth about it. If I worked in the mainstream media or in the U.S. government, I wouldn’t be. 

Despite renouncing “Israel firster,” Rosenberg has not renounced calling Benjamin Netanyahu is a terrorist–a modern day blood libel–or his claim that AIPAC is disloyal to America.

Another Rosenberg slander is that those war-mongering Jews pushed the United States into the Iraq war at the behest of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon (even though Sharon warned Bush not to invade Iraq).  A recent Huffington Post article talking about Israeli plans to attack Iran was titled: After Iraq Success, Neocons Push Iran War. Just like Pat Buchanan, Rosenberg uses the term “neocon” as a polite way to say Jews.

The Media Matters Senior Fellow doubled-down on the Iraq war lie in today’s post:

But then there is Iran. Watching the AIPAC conference, I was horrified to see an ostensibly pro-Israel organization promoting a war that presents an existential threat to Israel’s survival. I vehemently oppose the very idea of war with Iran and am appalled by the right-wing Israeli government but, even more, by its supporters here at home who are trying to push the president to either bomb or support the bombing of Iran….

Many of the same people who pushed us into Iraq are doing the same thing with Iran. They are pressuring Congress to prevent the president of the United States from negotiating with the Iranian government. They are banning diplomatic contacts. They are (as they have for a decade) hyping the Iranian threat, in part because they want a war and, in part, because they want to use President Obama’s reluctance to jeopardize lives as a tool to defeat him In November. And they are demanding that should Iran develop a nuclear bomb, we must not contain the threat (as we did with the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Pakistan, etc) but should immediately go to war.

Rosenberg claims that he didn’t mean Jews in the above. He even points out that a non-Jewish Newt Gingrich spoke at AIPAC. But look at the way he sets it up–blaming an ostensibly pro-Israel organization promoting a war that presents an existential threat to Israel’s survival, and following up with Many of the same people who pushed us into Iraq are doing the same thing with Iran. If Rosenberg wasn’t talking about AIPAC he is an awful writer, since that is the impression he leaves the reader.

Rosenberg also uses the blog post to reinforce some of his other common lies:

One monumental thing has changed in 43 years. In 1969, neither any Arab country nor the Palestinians accepted Israel’s right to exist. Since then, Israel, Jordan and Egypt have signed bilateral peace agreements, and remain committed to their terms. The PLO recognizes Israel’s right to exist securely within the ’67 lines. The entire Arab League (every single Arab state) is offering Israel peace, normalization and security in exchange for ending the occupation. As Shimon Peres says, Israel now has “partners for peace.”

As far as the PLO, both Fatah, the party of Prime Minister Abbas, and Hamas, the terrorist thugs running Gaza, have refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish State. The reason for their refusal is that they intend to flood Israel with the great grandchildren, cousins etc. of the original Palestinian refugees so that Israel will  become just another Muslim country.

MJ neglects to mention that three Israeli Prime Ministers, Barak, Olmert and most recently Netanyahu offered deals which gave the Palestinians 98% of what they supposedly want; all three offers were refused.

As for the Arab League, it’s hard to understand where Rosenberg gets that claim. The Palestinians aren’t a partner for peace; neither is the new al Qaeda-controlled Libya. Hezbollah controls Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egypt is threatening to void the peace agreement, and Syria’s present government has no intention of making peace. Even the supposedly moderate Saudi Arabia refused to be in the same room as Israeli negotiators during the Annapolis discussions at the end of the Bush presidency.

Despite his renunciation of the term “Israel firster,” its the same old Jew-hating MJ Rosenberg, reinterpreting history, portraying both Israel and American Jews as war-mongers, and still believing Jews control the media and government.  He simply stopped using one term; it is obvious he has not changed his ways. 


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