If you haven't followed the scandal surrounding Maureen Dowd, the problem is that she attacked "neocons" using very questionable terminology like "puppet masters" who "slither." This is coming off an article where she called a prominent bank "blood suckers." These terms have been associated with anti-Semitism in the past and given her target (pro-Israel people) it got her into some water. But fortunately MJ Rosenberg, who will defend anything as long it comes from the left and is directed at AIPAC, is here to defend her. And in fact, he is saying that her critics are the ones using "anti-Semitic tropes!" It's true. His defense of her starts with the classic "Jew" distinction:
"In the column she suggests, actually she more than suggests that these neocons are largely motivated by their support for Binyamin Netanyahu and his policies. She never uses the words "Jewish" or "Jew" or, uh, the crucifixion of Jesus!...In fact, she says nothing about Jews. And everything she says about neocons is simple fact. No one has ever denied that they were instrumental in getting us into the Iraq war."I see why Rosenberg is so in love with Dowd, she's a woman after his own heart. After all, he has been engaging in the same anti-Semitic tropes for years, just substituting "AIPAC drones" and "Israel firsters" for Jews and then shoveling on the BS when someone calls him out on it. It doesn't work, and has never worked except for people who already want to believe everything people like Dowd have to say. The point is not who was the target, but the tropes being used. By Rosenberg's logic this:
Is not offensive because it's aimed at "Israelis" or "the IDF" or "the occupation" and not at "Jewish people." And that's not a joke by the way, I honestly think that he would defend that cartoon. Also, I don't know where he brought in the Jesus thing, since it wasn't mentioned in the Commentary article he linked to.
Now as promised, it's time for Rosenberg to make it so anti-Semitic tropes can always be used against "neocons:"
"Neocons are not all Jews. Many are ... but not all. John Bolton is a prominent neoconservative. And, more to the point, so is Dick Cheney. All neocons are Israel-centered, but only a minuscule percentage of Jews are neocons....So an attack on neocons is not an attack on Jews. It is an attack on a tiny but influential movement that is dominated by hawks whose #1 concern seems to be Israel. Many, if not most, happen to be Jews."That is some of the weakest shit I've ever seen come out of Rosenberg's mouth. Change "neocons" to "Zionists," and (a) it would make perfect sense and (b) it would sound like something Haniyeh or Arafat would say. And the thing is: neo-conservativism has a specific definition that has been around for a long time. The only person besides Rosenberg who thinks it's "all about Israel" is Andrew Sullivan, who you can read all about there to know why he came to that conclusion.
There is no evidence that "neocons" (now a meaningless term if there ever was one) only care about Israel. The Iraq War was fought against Israel's wishes, and the wishes of the American Jewish community as Rosenberg himself pointed out. But now we get this "many but not all are Jews so..." classic defense that wouldn't work in a playground setting, but is par for the course on the Huffington Post.
Having given us some weaksauce talking point, he then proceeds to stuff words in the mouths of the "neocons:"
"Saying that attacking neoconservatism is anti-Semitic is like saying that attacking the neo-fascist Opus Dei movement is an attack on all Catholics. Or that attacking the Muslim Brotherhood is an attack on Islam. Or that an attack on the Nation Of Islam is an attack on all African-Americans....It is worse than that. The neoconservatives now savaging Maureen Dowd are saying that an attack on Jewish individuals who do bad things is anti-Semitic."
Here's a suggestion, Rosenberg, if you are going to pretend people said things that they never said, don't link to them in your own article. Go and read the Commentary article that he held up as a prominent example: nowhere in there does anybody say that Dowd is anti-Semitic or that attacking any of those targets he mentioned is anti-Semitic either. Rosenberg is either completely failing to pay attention or intentionally deceiving his audience because it's much easier to hide behind the Great Anti-Zionist Strawman that Jews (sorry, "neocons") throw the anti-Semitic card at the drop of a hat.
And the "Jewish individuals" is the biggest fail yet. Dowd was the one who used the term "neocons" and she used it in the headline of the article. She was attacking a group, one that Rosenberg was just trying to explain was not all (but mostly) Jewish. She may have singled out Paul Senor but anyone who reads her article can tell what is really going on.
The real hypocrisy is yet to come, but this is getting a bit long so I'm going to break it into two sections.