Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MJ Rosenberg Stereotypes AIPACers

One of our favorite bloggers, MJ Rosenberg, has come out with another exemplary work. His latest blog post on the HP, AIPAC Conference: Who Are These People?, is a paragon of the kind of self-assured, self-promotional writing we've come to expect. Mr. Rosenberg, who is Jewish, has taken it upon himself to inform all of us what American Jews are really like (hint: they are nothing like the people at AIPAC). 


Mr. Rosenberg attended the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C., and I did not. However, I believe I can still challenge some of his experiences there, or at least point out the fact he did not provide adequate evidence to support his sweeping statements. Let's examine one: 


"AIPAC can be summed up in the words of an American college student on their promotional video. And the sentiment is repeated over and over again..."I love Israel, and I love the US-Israel" relationship." Get it. American kids, born and bred in America -- whose grandparents and grandchildren are or will be Americans -- love America because America is Israel's friend...Who are these people? Have you ever met a Jewish college kid like that?" (emphasis added)

Mr. Rosenberg has taken the statement "I love Israel and I love the US-Israel relationship" and simply made up the "fact" that these American students love America because America is friends with Israel. Such a statement is simply absurd and has no factual evidence to back it up. In fact, it is worse than a lie, it is the classic accusation of dual loyalty that has plagued Jews since time immemorial and of which the Dreyfus Affair is the most famous example. Mr. Rosenberg is accusing this college student (and AIPAC in general) of disloyalty to America solely because the student "loves Israel". But the lies don't end here. 

"Why do they scream, as one, over one poor captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, but give no indication of caring very much about the 4000 Americans killed In Iraq and Afghanistan. (Of course, most of them were for the Iraq war and are now pushing for crippling Iran sanctions that could lead to war)."

As I said, I was not at the AIPAC Conference. But unless Mr. Rosenberg went around and interviewed a significant sample of the people there, he cannot make the claim that these American Jews don't care about the Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here again, we see the baseless accusation of disloyalty to America based solely on the fact that these American Jews support Israel. I've always felt that support for Israel is a bi-partisan issue (and Congress' voting record supports that point of view), and AIPAC lobbies Republicans and Democrats alike. To make sweeping statements about the AIPACers' views on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars shows a willingness to stereotype that seems to cross the line into dishonest journalism. 

"So why are we the way we are? And why is the AIPAC fringe like it is? I'll tell you one thing. It is not primarily because we are better Americans. It is because we are better Jews, even better Zionists. They are...something else."

It's entirely possible that some of the people at AIPAC are less than kind when it comes to the issue of Palestinian suffering. In fact, some of them are probably downright racist. But this kind of rhetoric is exactly the kind of thing we could expect to see from the far-left or far-right spokespeople: "If you don't agree with us, you're not American!" It is true that 80% of American Jews voted for Obama, but I could also point out Obama came off as a pretty strong pro-Israel candidate before he was elected. To declare himself and "American Jews" to be better, and different, from AIPAC, Mr. Rosenberg showcases the kind of arrogance and moral extremism he claims to be condemning AIPAC for. 

In this article, Mr. Rosenberg showcases two different points of view, his and AIPAC's. He claims, without any evidence, that his point of view is the mainstream one and AIPAC's is the "fringe". But he offers no evidence to this conclusion beyond his own colossal arrogance.

Mr. Rosenberg challenges the reader at the beginning of the article to call him a "self-hating Jew". I don't think he's a self-hating Jew, it's clear he loves himself and the kind of Jew he is. But I do think he's something else entirely. At worst, he's an anti-Semitic Jew, willing to accuse other Jews of disloyalty and inhumanity without any evidence or doubt. At best, he's a foolish dreamer, unable to understand why the whole world doesn't see things the way he does and unaware that his words provide fodder for the anti-Semites among his readership. Good luck, Mr. Rosenberg, I hope someday your mind will open to other points of view. 


UPDATE: MJ Rosenberg has removed the first paragraph I quoted above, about the college student loving America only because of the US-Israel relationship. Baby steps, Mr. Rosenberg, baby steps. 

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