Sunday, March 3, 2013

MJ Rosenberg Gets Back to Basics

It's amazing that the Huffington Post editors haven't found themselves bored to tears by MJ Rosenberg's cookie-cutter articles bashing AIPAC and "The Lobby" (he uses the terms interchangeably). You'd think his latest one would be about Chuck Hagel and how his nomination proves that AIPAC doesn't in fact control America, but I guess that's old news. This time he is going to talk about the sequestration (which didn't pass, also old news) and how AIPAC is asking that Israel continue to receive foreign aid. As usual, the importance of anything gets magnified by a thousand when it passes Rosenberg's desk:
"At one time I wouldn't have believed AIPAC would dare try something this bold. That is because traditionally AIPAC has been very cautious about not seeming to take actions that suggested putting Israel's interests over America's. Demanding that Israel be exempt from cuts that virtually every American will feel seems so counterproductive as to almost be suicidal for the lobbying powerhouse."
Nice try, but asking that aid to Israel continue, even at a time when America's budget is undergoing changes, is hardly putting Israel's interests over America's. The point of AIPAC is to secure a strong US-Israel relationship, and aid is the most apparent aspect of that relationship. Of course they are going to want the aid to keep going, that's their freaking job. Furthermore, despite Rosenberg's characterization of the request as "demanding" it, AIPAC lobbying is to convince American politicians that the benefits that Israel and America gain from the aid is enough to maintain it despite cutbacks in other areas. The final decision, of course, rests with the politicians. Of course I can't help but wonder if it was CAIR requesting more money to the Palestinians in this time of economic uncertainty, if Rosenberg would have the same reaction.

At this point he moves on to everyone's favorite game: Let's Interpret the Resolution! See, AIPAC is requesting a new resolution to be passed that said if Israel attacks Iran, they encourage Congress to provide Israel with support in the battle. Naturally this causes Rosenberg to pull out his Jump to Conclusions Mat again:
"The resolution "urges that, if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence."
In other words, if Israel goes to war with Iran we are at war too."
Ha! Actually, that's your interpretation of the resolution. The way I see it, it's almost meaningless. America provides diplomatic, military and economic support anyway. What this resolution is saying is that it is asking the US government to continue doing what it does in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran. Rosenberg loves thinking that these resolutions means America loses control over its own abilities to declare or not declare war, but it just doesn't stand up to reality.

Also, let me toss in that it's long been established that Iran will interpret any attack by Israel as an attack by America. So it's a moot point, and always will be. I guess the well of grievances against AIPAC is running a little low. So he goes extremely general, and starts one long rant about how evil AIPAC is:
"The Lobby, despite its claims, does not speak for most American Jews, not by a long shot. (In 2008, the American Jewish Committee poll found that just 3 percent of Jews cast their votes with their focus on Israel, findings that were repeated in a Florida only poll in 2012). Moreover, there is no indication that those Jews most focused on Israel share AIPAC's (an organization with just 100,000 members) hard-line approach."
Yeah, MJ! Way to take them down! Except of course that "The Lobby" has never claimed to speak for America Jews, because despite the claims of anti-Semites AIPAC is not a part of the "Jewish lobby." It is part of the pro-Israel lobby which as I'm sure many of the Huffington Post readers will be glad to tell you is not entirely made up of Jews.

The fact is that AIPAC does have 100,000 members and a budget with tens of millions of dollars. I went to the AIPAC policy conference last year and found that there were thousands of people there from all backgrounds and geographic areas. So despite Rosenberg's claims, AIPAC is not an organization made up of a few fat cats sitting in cigar smoke filled rooms. Clearly there are Americans who agree with what he calls AIPAC's "hard line approach." Not that asking for American economic aid to Israel to continue is what I would call "hard line," mind you. I guess it depends on who is making the request.

We'll let him have the last one:
"The lobby has outlived its usefulness. Its work no longer benefits Israel or Jews. In fact, it is accomplishing the very opposite."
Okay, thanks for the opinion. Now go back to the unemployment center.

1 comment:

  1. Great fisking Zach. You hit a lot of home runs off Rosenberg's curve balls. Keep it up!


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