Monday, December 19, 2011

MJ Rosenberg Climbs On the Cross

Even though it has been more than a week since the Simon Weisenthal Center and others put down MJ Rosenberg and his friends at Media Matters, he hasn't gotten over it and decided to publish a second article defending himself and crying crocodile tears. Naturally the Huffington Post didn't hesitate to give him all the articles he wants, while denying any opportunities for anyone to disagree with him. We're going to see most of the same arguments from last time, only in this case the SWC has apparently joined "the lobby," just like everyone who disagrees with Rosenberg in a true conspiracy theory fashion. And the faintest hint that he might actually be wrong this time is gone. Let's take a look:
"It has been over a week since the lobby that deems itself "pro-Israel" began its recent effort to suppress the views of those of us it considers Israel haters, self-hating Jews or -- in a most ridiculous twist given that most of us are Jews -- "anti-Semites.""
Now unfortunately, since Rosenberg didn't link to what exactly he is referring to here, it's impossible to know what exactly he is talking about. But given the timestamp, it sounds like the subject of his attack is the SWC statement. Go and take a look, here is the link again. See if you can find the phrase "Israel hater," "self-hating Jew," or "anti-Semite," in the statement. You won't be able to, because they don't use them. They do indirectly call Rosenberg and his fellow bloggers "Israel lasters," which in my mind he deserves. And of course he is the last one to complain, since literally his entire life right now is spent trying to suppress the views of those he considers to be "Israel firsters." I'm surprised he doesn't choke on his own hypocrisy, seriously.

Next comes a statement that, for the first time in a long time, I actually agree with:
"I am one of the least significant figures to come under attack."
How very very true. Then we have a new tactic: Strawmanning his opposition.
"The bill of particulars against me is that I use the term "Israel firster" to describe those who consistently -- and without exception -- thwart the efforts of U.S. Presidents to achieve Middle East peace."
A couple questions: First, how exactly is it a "bill" if you proudly admit that you do it? It sounds like Rosenberg is playing the innocent here, or maybe I am simply misunderstanding what he is saying. Secondly, it's a strawman to pretend that you are being "charged" with using that term against those who "thwart peace." We have seen many times Rosenberg use that term to describe anyone who disagrees with him, no matter what the topic. Even though he feels like he only uses it against people who are "anti-peace," that isn't what the SWC said. Hence, a strawman. I hope I made that clear, sorry if it's confusing.

At this point he goes off a tangent against Jennifer Rubin (who I don't care about) and takes up the laughable claim that "these people" (yes, his words) all behave and think the same way. After being criticized by the SWC for making things up, he proceeds to fix this by making more things up, this time that "these people" never ever ever criticize Netanyahu and always always always criticize Obama boo hoo hoo. It's an incredibly childlike argument which is also simply not true, as the SWC commented on in their column last week. It is beginning to become clear to me that Rosenberg didn't actually read their statement, or maybe he did and simply forgot everything that it said five minutes later. All the better with which to play the victim I suppose.

He then gets into the Commentary magazine vs Thomas Friedman thing, which honestly I don't care about because unlike Rosenberg I know that Commentary speaks only for themselves and not some kind of amorphous "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" type organization. Maybe they said something stupid and maybe they didn't, but it doesn't have anything to do with Rosenberg or the comeuppance he so richly received last week. Perhaps we can discuss the topic in more depth in another post.

Finally we get into some politics, in which Rosenberg is simply wrong:
"[The Emergency Committee for Israel has run ads saying that] the administration's sin, as always, is that it has (intermittently, in my opinion) tried to get Israel back to negotiations and has (very intermittently) cited Israel for human rights violations. The attack on all three is particularly dumb but the one on Hillary Clinton takes the cake (has there ever been an American political figure more outspokenly pro-Israel?)."
Now I'm no fan of the ECI, but I am a fan of telling the truth so let's take a look at the ads themselves. Rosenberg is criticizing the ads for something that they did not say. The ads are saying that in recent weeks a lot of the subordinates in the Obama administration have been saying things about Israel that are (in their opinion) out of line. I don't need to elaborate, just click the link for details. They didn't say anything about Obama's political decisions, in fact they hardly reference Obama at all, except for his personal insult toward Netanyahu. This is Rosenberg's second strawman of the column, and it really doesn't help him make his argument. Of course, he will defend every statement made in the ad because he loves the Obama administration and believes they can do no wrong, but the point is that he is criticizing the ECI for something they didn't say. As usual. But that's still not as bad as what he says next:
"As for treating Israel like a punching bag, what a joke! The pro-Israel peace camp (of which I am a member in good standing) has consistently denounced the Obama administration for never criticizing Israeli policies."
What a joke indeed. It must be nice to declare yourself "the peace camp" and accordingly everyone who disagrees with you is the "anti-peace camp." But really, this statement is absurd. The Obama administration never criticizes Israel? Seriously? Let's do some actual research:

Obama Criticizes Israel's Settlements
Obama criticized Israel in his first UN speech.
Joe Biden also criticizes Israel's settlements
And of course the Panetta, Clinton, and Obama statements that were all detailed in the ad.

The sad part is that MJ Rosenberg wouldn't even consider all those to be criticism, he'd probably just pull a cognitive dissonance and call it "truth telling" or something equally ridiculous. It's becoming clear to me that skimping on the truth is activity favored by ideologues on both sides of the aisle.

I know this post is already getting a little long, but Rosenberg's next bout with logic comes in the form of a history lesson. Let's take a look:
"I often recall a similar situation back in 1971. Israel at that time was riding high and feeling pretty invulnerable....President Anwar Sadat, already contemplating a peace deal with Israel, sent word to the Israeli government that if Israel would pull back two miles from the Suez Canal (allowing Egypt to reopen it), he would commence negotiations with Israel....Israel said absolutely not. It was strong; Egypt was weak. The United States told the Israelis that if it refused to consider Sadat's offer, he might go to war to recover the land. The Israelis scoffed....Two years later, on October 6, 1973, Sadat led an Egyptian attack to regain the Sinai and came very close to conquering Israel itself."
Hm. How interesting. First of all, did this offer even exist? I wonder if Rosenberg is referring to the Jarring Initiative. If so, he is misrepresenting what it was (surprise surprise). Sadat said that if Israel committed itself to "withdrawal of its armed forces from Sinai and the Gaza Strip", to "achievement of a just settlement for the refugee problem", to "the withdrawal of the Israeli armed forces from all the territories occupied since 5 June 1967", and to implementation of other provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 242 as requested by Jarring, Egypt would then "be ready to enter into a peace agreement with Israel." Even if you think that was a fair request, it is still very different from Rosenberg's....interpretation of it. What a surprise.

Furthermore, Israel did not straight up reject it. If you would like to read the whole article I linked to above, you will find that like Egypt they thought it was a good sign but laid out their position for there to be peace. Just like Egypt did, and just like both Arabs and Israelis have done at many points. It's nice to know we can still rely on MJ Rosenberg to rewrite history, just like his Arab friends.

I will leave you with some historical references of my own: Do you remember the Oslo Accords? I wasn't reading MJ Rosenberg then, but I can't imagine that he was screaming at Israel to stop negotiating with Arafat at the time. How did the Oslo Accords turn out? Oh that's right, they weakened Israel and let to a second Intifada with thousands of dead on both sides. How wonderful. I'm sure the "pro-Israel peace camp" has safeguards in place to ensure that such a thing won't happen again, right?

Do you remember the withdrawal from Gaza?  I wasn't reading MJ Rosenberg then, but I can't imagine that he was screaming at Israel to stop removing the settlers from their homes. How did that turn out? Oh that's right, Gaza is more radicalized and violent than ever. I guess that decision really helped Israel out a lot, didn't it Mr. "pro-Israel pro-peace?" 

This is what passes for journalism on the Huffington Post.

Update: MJ's brilliant counter argument:

Thank you for perfectly making my point that everyone who disagrees with you is labeled that way, Mr. Rosenberg.

1 comment:

  1. MJ Rosenberg is "pro-Israel" like KKK members are "pro-black people"

    All MJ Rosenberg does is rant hate against people who defend Israel, rant hate against people who support Israel, rant hate against anyone who says anything positive about Israel, rants crazed, exaggerated, dishonest hate against Israel himself, and then once in a while, for the heck of it, pretends to be "pro-Israel."

    When does MJ Rosenberg attack antisemites? Almost never.

    Why are almost all of MJ Rosenberg's fans Arab dudes who hate Israel? For obvious reasons.

    Why does MJ Rosenberg plug Mondoweiss, Max Blumenthal and other sick maniacs who are NOT "pro-Israel" and do not want Israel to even exist as a Jewish state?

    MJ Rosenberg is garbage


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