Sunday, April 10, 2011

MJ Rosenberg Dances with Goldstone

MJ Rosenberg has been rushing around on both Twitter and the Huffington Post trying to do some damage control in the wake of Judge Goldstone's recent op ed in which Goldstone stated some issues he had with his own report. First Rosenberg published an article about how Goldstone's op ed doesn't matter, and then a couple days later he published an article about how Goldstone was pressured by "the Jews" into writing his op ed, but the op ed still doesn't matter.  Zach mentioned the first article, so I'd just like to tell a little bit about the second.

Rosenberg cites an article from the Jewish Forward about a meeting Goldstone had with the South African Jewish Federation in which the Jewish Federation ripped him a new one. In the opinion of the writer of the article, the "emotional punch" of Jews wanting to protest outside Goldstone's synagogue made Goldstone decide to write his retraction. Rosenberg, obviously, agrees,
"In other words, Goldstone couldn't handle the anger of friends and, perhaps, even members of his family. (His family's decision to go ahead with a Bar Mitzvah at a synagogue that banned the Bar Mitzvah boy's grandfather from attending seems positively bizarre)....So Goldstone decided to appease his crowd. His article in the Washington Post was not designed to repudiate his own report (and it didn't). It was designed to win back the friendship of people whose nationalist feelings were hurt."
A great theory. As usual for Rosenberg, absolutely no proof is provided. No quotes from Goldstone himself, just hearsay copy pasted from another article. There are a number of problems with this theory. One key fact left out: the meeting with the SAJF occurred over a year ago. Goldstone's op ed wasn't particularly long and well researched. Why did Goldstone take so long to publish his retraction?

Another problem with Rosenberg's theory is that while there are plenty of Jews who didn't like the Goldstone Report, there were plenty of other Jews (including Rosenberg himself) and tons of people worldwide who loved it. Goldstone has been touring the world giving lectures to packed audiences. While he may have lost some friends with the publishing of his report, he made a heck of a lot as well.

But beyond Rosenberg's half baked theory about why Goldstone's op ed was released under false pretenses, Rosenberg also tries to put himself up on a cross of public opinion.

"This fear of ostracism by fellow Jews severely damages the ability of progressive Jews to help end the conflict. So long as they are always looking over their shoulders to see what the status quo crowd is saying, their effectiveness is limited. It doesn't have to be that way. If progressive Jews really believe that ending the occupation and supporting a Palestinian state is in Israel's best interests, they will turn the tables on their "mainstream" friends and ask them why they are supporting policies that will inevitably lead to Israel's demise. If progressive Jews honestly believe that the occupation is a cancer on Israel, they will say it loud and clear. They will stop being intimidated by people who have been proven wrong about pretty much everything since 1967 and who have done immeasurable damage to the Jewish state."
 Quotes like this is what makes reading Rosenberg so frustrating. Rosenberg takes something that is undeniably pro-Israel, Goldstone's admittance that Israel did not target civilians during Cast Lead, and complains about it and tries his best to pretend the admittance doesn't matter. That is not something a pro-Israel person would do, no matter what. As Rosenberg admits, even J-Street supported Goldstone's retraction. But then he whines about how progressive Jews are "ostracized" when they "criticize Israel's actions" such as ending the occupation and supporting a Palestinian state. There's only one problem: that doesn't happen and those issues have nothing to do with Goldstone's op ed. Progressive Jews aren't ostracized when they call to end the occupation. Pretty much everyone agrees that the occupation has to end and the Palestinians should have a state. It's only when progressives go beyond that to the wacky levels Rosenberg resides at that they become ostracized.

Look at how dishonest Rosenberg is in that above paragraph! He tries to make the case it's a bad thing that Goldstone cleared Israel of targeting civilians, and then wrings his hands and complains that when progressives like him criticize the occupation and such. No, Mr. Rosenberg. No one has a problem with you criticizing the occupation. They have a problem with you loudly complaining in public that Israel isn't being raked over the coals at the UN. It's hard to see how Israel being accused of targeting civilians when Israel didn't do it is "in Israel's best interests".

Rosenberg continues to pretend he's "speaking truth to power:" "As for losing friends, so what? Doing the right thing is often (maybe even usually) unpopular. Do you think the abolitionists didn't lose friends and offend reactionary clergy? How about the European Christians who fought anti-Semitism in the 1930s? Or, of course, the brave South Africans who fought apartheid? Or Americans who fought for equal rights for African-Americans, women, and the GLBT community?" Spare us, please. This is another example of the double talk Palestinian supporters use constantly. Speaking out against Israel is such a lonely, brave act, you'll surely be attacked on all sides. Oh, and Israel has no friends in the world and is about to collapse from BDS. No, there is no contradiction there.

Lastly, Rosenberg turns the focusing glass on other progressives, with hilarious results.
"Some of the progressives who are intimidated on matters relating to Israel are the same people who would never back down on economic issues, marriage equality, the environment, immigration, civil liberties and a host of other issues. The difference is that the mainstream Jewish community allows deviation on every single issue but Israel, the one area in which progressive Jews can do the most good. There will be no "Profile in Courage" awards for those who are progressive only when it won't cost them financial support or "friends." They need to stop thinking of themselves as courageous because it's only courage on the cheap."
Take a look at that first sentence. Gee, why is it that people who support the environment, civil rights, etc. also support Israel? Maybe because Israel has the best record on the environment, civil rights, economic issues, gay rights, women's rights, etc. in the Middle East? No, no, that can't be it, it must be because of AIPAC. I'm always amazed at the same thing from the opposite angle, why do people who support gay rights, women's rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, democracy and such support the Palestinians, who share none of those values?

So, to sum up, a standard faire MJ Rosenberg article, long on self-serving, evidence free rhetoric, short on anything anyone would possibly consider to be pro-Israel.


  1. I would love just one of these guys to explain exactly what is "brave" about speaking up against Israel.


  2. I tend to have the opposite view, given who the Palestinian Arabs are today, there is nothing moral or "brave" about supporting genocide against the Jews. Supporting a Palestinian state, which would be run by Hamas, means you support the destruction of Israel.

    This is what the Jewish Far Left unreservedly supports today, this is their real agenda, and not because they love the Palestinian Arabs, but because they hate the Jews.

    A Palestinian state will not bring about peace but a future war. Every decent person should be resolutely opposed to its establishment.

  3. Here here Norm. Lets clear the Palisuckians out of greater Israel once and for all. Lets finish what we started. Israel for JEWS ONLY! Yippi Kai Yay! Down with the Goy!


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