Saturday, February 27, 2010

MJ Rosenberg's Latest Strawman

After his latest "genocide" series of articles, in which he intentionally misrepresented his opponent's viewpoint, anti-Israel Huffington Post blogger MJ Rosenberg has done it again, this time to keep the myth of the all-powerful "Israel Lobby" alive.

The story is about a new Republican candidate for Senate named Tom Campbell who is running for office in California. According to Rosenberg, AIPAC has been "called in" to find out if Campbell is "sufficiently devoted to Israel's interests." In other words, Campbell needs to prove that he is going to be sufficiently pro-Israel before given the okay by AIPAC to run for office.

Was this supported by the actual story, linked by MJ Rosenberg himself, upon which the article was based?
What do you think?
"Rivals in the race for the Republican nomination are questioning whether former Rep. Tom Campbell is sufficiently supportive of Israel. They base their criticisms on his voting record, statements about a Palestinian homeland and capital, and some of his past associates.
Their allegations have raised enough concerns for Campbell that he plans to meet Monday with the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He also is reaching out to other Jewish leaders. His campaign's honorary chairman, former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz, weighed in to call Campbell's support for the nation "unwavering.""
Did you see that? It wasn't the lobby who questioned Campbell's pro-Israel viewpoint, it was his fellow Republicans. And although it was not explained exactly why Campbell met with AIPAC, that is also the only time that AIPAC is mentioned in the entire article. MJ Rosenberg's conclusion that Campbell is being led by the Israel lobby is not supported even a little bit.

But the fun doesn't end there. Oh no. Rosenberg embarrasses himself even further. Click the link below to find out how.

I'll start with another quote from the article about why this latest "Is he pro-Israel enough?" controversy has become such a big deal for Tom Campbell:
""The bigger concern for Campbell is less with Jewish voters than with religious conservatives," Schnur said."
Wha, wha, whaaat? Voters?! Campbell is worried about voters? How did this happen? I thought he was worried that the lobby would destroy his career unless he pledged his loyalty to them? Could it be that this is an issue for Campbell because it is an issue for his constituency? Which in turn is how representative democracy is supposed to work? Why didn't this make it into MJ Rosenberg's article? Maybe because it undermines the point he was trying to make: That the lobby is what is really responsible for American support for Israel, not American voters.

If you think I am misrepresenting Rosenberg with that last remark, don't worry, he makes it perfectly clear in his article what he really thinks:
"Every so often the curtain lifts and you see that on this issue -- as on most -- politicians are invariably forced into line by the special interests. `I say forced because, never in a million years, would progressives support the AIPAC line if they were free to vote their conscience. They are not."
This is an extreme point of view, even for Rosenberg. I could probably talk about how egocentric it would be to think that no one would ever disagree with me unless they were forced to. I could probably talk about arrogant it is to speak for progressives and assume that only people of "conscience" could disagree with Israel. But instead I will let this quote from Andrew Kohut, President of the Pew Research Center speak for me instead:
"The public thinks of the Israelis as having values closer to the values of America. If you didn't have a broad base of public support of couldn't create the level of support for Israel that exists on the basis of lobby."
In every poll ever taken, the majority of Americans support Israel over the Palestinians. Today it is 63% who do so. Yet MJ Rosenberg just refuses to admit that America's politicians reflect the will of the people and their own consciences. It continues to boggle the mind the level of cognitive dissonance he must have, and the profoundly illogical ways in which it manifests itself (i.e. creating an all-powerful Israel lobby that exists only in the imagination).

I wanted to talk about one more thing in Mr. Rosenberg's article: His belief that politicians are not pro-Israel, they are just loyal to "the AIPAC line." On this one particular issue, politicians don't have an opinion, they pledge their loyalty. Rosenberg makes it even more clear here:
"The best part is that no one the Republicans come up with will be as loyal to AIPAC as Barbara Boxer, the Democratic incumbent."
 See that? If Boxer disagrees with him about Israel and other foreign policy matters, it's because she is loyal to AIPAC. not because she is a thinking individual who has arrived at a different conclusion. It almost strikes me as reminiscent of the accusations that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than America. In this case Boxer is more loyal to AIPAC than she is to America. But maybe I'm just imagining things.

MJ Rosenberg's term "the AIPAC line" is also quite interesting, but I think that will be the subject of another article. For now, let me just conclude with an analysis of his latest screed: Rosenberg is intentionally misrepresenting what is going on in the story, he is creating false facts out of nothing at all, and he is doing so for the purposes of demonizing anyone who is pro-Israel in America. It is a low point in the less-than-stellar career of the Huffington Post anti-Israel blogger stable.

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