Wednesday, September 19, 2012

MJ Rosenberg Defines Anti-Semitism (Part 1)

One of the Great Anti-Zionist Strawmen is that the accusation of anti-Semitism is used too often to defend Israel and its supporters or to attack its critics. Disgraced former Media Matters employee MJ Rosenberg has now waded into his murky problem with a simple declaration: Anti-Semitism is whatever he says it is, even when he contradicts himself.

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.


  1. "I honestly think that he would defend that cartoons"

    You mean like you and the other guy have been defending the makers of "that" film?

  2. {...]You mean like you and the other guy have been defending the makers of "that" film?[...}

    I also interested in this question

  3. Fellas,

    If by "that" film, you are referring to "The Innocence of Muslims," i.e. the subject of the recent riots in the Middle East, I would suggest that you begin by finding an example in which Matt and/or myself defended its producers, as opposed to their freedom to make it. We have only written a few posts on the subject so it should be a simple matter to find a direct quotation backing up your assertion.

    To do so otherwise would mean you are either lying or asking a loaded question, and we wouldn't want that, would we?

  4. Sorry, but it's not "playing at semantics" to ask you to back up your own words with proof. Try again, and if you want your comment to be published lose the insults and talk like an adult.

  5. Kindly confirm that you are posting as "Osbaldiston" and "Rosin the Bow" so that I can be sure to search the relevant posts. If you are not those two, and as you say you have "only written a few posts," please tell me what names you have used in those threads, again so that I can be sure to search the relevant posts.

  6. The only writings that I can confirm are written by Matt and myself are the appropriate posts and comments on this blog. However I can be confident that if you were to check the comments of the two Huffington Post users you mentioned you would find no defenses of the producers, only of their freedom of speech.

  7. You are wriggling.

    You have asked for quotes.

    I am merely checking that I would be using the correct sources, to avoid your predictable denial that you or the other one are the people that I quote.

    Suppose I quote posts that are not yours?

    How, other than you saying "that's not us" am I to be confident that is true?

    You must see the difficulty.

    Sorry, but the only satisfactory solution is for you to confirm the identities that you used, just to ensure that a) I search through the relevant parties' posts and b) you don't then say "but that's not us."

  8. The only words that you can be certain come from us are written on this blog. If that does not give you sufficient evidence to back up your quite frankly ridiculous accusations, that is hardly my problem is it?

    Are you finished wasting both of our time?

  9. How is it a waste of your time to supply the information that is needed to ensure that you are accurately quoted from the posts that you have already said that you left on the HP thread concerned with "that" film?

    Do people have the "freedom of speech" to say things that are just as horrible as the things that were said in "that" film about Mohammed and Muslims about Judaism and Jews, and retain your support for their "freedom of speech"?

    If they do, why does this blog exist?

    If not, how can you fail to see the GLARING hypocrisy that you must use to differentiate?

  10. I have supplied the information that is needed. If you want to quote me accurately, quote from the blog. There are thousands of words contained therein that are more than adequate to meet your needs. However, no matter how long you search you will never find something that I never said.

    By the way, I have ALSO never said that I already left comments on Huffington Post threads regarding "that" film. Here's a tip: It's generally not a good idea to back up lies with more lies.

    I would be happy to discuss my opinions about freedom of speech with you in great detail...just as soon as you either prove that Matt or myself defended the producers of "Innocence" or retract your accusation that we did.

  11. Yeah, "posts" as in posts on this blog. Are you familiar with the term "blog posts?" We usually refer to writings on the Huffington Post threads below articles as "comments."

    I'm sorry that I have outwitted you yet again, but try losing the insults and being honest in the future and at the very least I'll publish your comment.

  12. Seems like a fair question, guys. If you are (anonymously) doing the same thing that you are complaining about, that would seem a tad disingenuous.
    btw, I don't even know why you are getting sucked into this argument when the answer is simple. Defending the right to do something isn't the same as defending that thing. Your conjecture was that MJ would defend the cartoon itself, not the right to make the cartoon. So if you had defended the right of the producer to make the film it wouldn't contradict your criticism of MJ for (potentially) defending the content of the cartoon.
    Likeweise, I find both the cartoon and the film to be awful and would not defend either, but I defend the right to make them.
    I think it is the responsibility of thinking individuals to reject them (based on merit) on their own.

    1. Hi Json thanks for stopping by. But as usual I'm not sure how I could be clearer. Matt and I have never and would never defend the producers of "Innocence." However I feel that MJ Rosenberg (or at least his amen corner) *would* defend the cartoon as a "criticism of Israel's blockade of Gaza" and pretend there is no anti-Semitic element to it. Free speech never enters into it.

      Maybe I am wrong, maybe he would condemn the cartoon without any weasel words. But I go by past behavior in this case.


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