Wednesday, April 4, 2012

MJ Rosenberg Whines for His Supper

MJ Rosenberg is back on the Huffington Post with his article about Peter Beinart's new book called Freedom of Speech Except When It Comes to Israel. In this article, he says the exact same things that he said in his second most recent article: Why Peter Beinart's Book is Driving the "Pro-Israel" Establishment Crazy . You can probably guess what those things are: truth to power, expose the lobby, daring to criticize the "Israel firsters" etc. Let's just take a quick look at the new things in this article before moving on with our lives.

First, Rosenberg complains about every leftist's favorite topic, freedom of speech, in which he makes the classic argument, freedom of speech for me, but not for thee:
"It would be funny if it wasn't so creepy. An author or journalist can write anything he wants about the United States -- or, in fact, about any foreign country -- without causing legions of critics to question the propriety of his doing so. That is, unless the subject of the author's work is Israel...But Israel is in a class of its own. This is not to say that it is impossible to get a book critical of Israel's policies published without setting off a firestorm among virtually the entire "pro-Israel" establishment. That isn't quite true...It is only when the author has considerable prestige, is backed by a major publisher and is thus likely to get his message across to large numbers of readers, listeners and, most important, opinion leaders, that the "we'll crush him like a bug" dynamic sets in."
I did edit some stuff out of that paragraph, so go back and read the article if you think I'm taking Rosenberg "out of context." But we can clearly see here that what Mr. Rosenberg is complaining about is not freedom of speech for Beinart. Quite the opposite. He wants no freedom of speech for any critics of Beinart, no one is allowed to disagree with Beinart's views. You can call it "crushing him like a bug" or "contributing to the marketplace of ideas," either way, Beinart is allowed to write whatever he wants about Israel, and other writers are allowed to disagree with him. The title of Rosenberg's article could not be more ironic.

Next, Rosenberg contradicts himself:
"That is what is happening to Peter Beinart right now. Largely because he is highly credentialed (he was editor of the New Republic in his 20's), and because his pro-Israel bona fides are unassailable, he has aroused the fury of the pro-Netanyahu, pro-occupation crowd as few of those who went before him have.  "
A classic Rosenberg argument. Anyone who disagrees with him and people he likes are pro-Netanyahu, pro-occupation, and presumably pro-eating Palestinian babies. But towards the end of the article, Rosenberg admits:
"None of this makes for much comfort for either side. (If the right is furious at Beinart for exposing the lies of the "pro-Israel" right, the left cannot stand his commitment to the two-state solution which it considers not only naïve but no more just than the right-wing maximalism of Netanyahu and company). Accordingly, do not be fooled by the reviews from the left, which argue that because Beinart is a self-described "liberal Zionist" he has nothing to say, or those from the right that say that the book is nothing but self-indulgent pieties."
Whoa, whoa! Beinart is being criticized from the left as well? Why wasn't this mentioned earlier? Someone might think that is pertinent information, but since Rosenberg is a leftist attack dog trained only to attack anyone perceived as an "Israel Firster", reflection on the left's relationship with Israel and Zionism seems well beyond him. Better to just spend the entire article complaining about the right and just throw in "Oh, the left disagrees too" before ending the article.

Most of the article is spent taking down people who dared to disagree with Beinart, which I won't really get into. If you want to read reviews of Beinart from the left and the right, just Google "Beinart responses" and you'll see a whole variety of them. But I just want to point out one last nail in the coffin of Rosenberg being "pro-Israel":
"Beinart is not arguing that the Palestinians are always right. Instead, he proves that Israel isn't either -- and that almost all the information put out by the lobby and the Israeli government is propaganda. " [emphasis added]
Almost all the information? Come on. Only someone with a rabid hatred of Israel would make that claim.

So, in conclusion, another boring MJ Rosenberg article long on hateful language and whining, short on actual substance.

1 comment:

  1. You’d think Beinart would want to keep his tenure at TNR quiet, given he was managing editor while Stephen Glass was writing multiple fictitious articles for him.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Glass_%28reporter%29
    BTW Andrew Sullivan hired Glass.

    Beinart and Sullivan have never been trustworthy sceptical journalists.

    ReplyDelete

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