Ben-Ami pushes his way into the issue, quoting the Algemeiner and the Simon Weisenthal Center who took issue with Menendez being portrayed by the Huffington Post as doing the bidding of AIPAC (not to mention the "sabotage" headline). Ben-Ami is quick to suck up to the Huffington Post, but what's more likely is he just wants to get his shots in at AIPAC:
"On the merits of this particular issue, the headline was perhaps misguided and poorly worded -- but it hardly amounts to a major anti-Semitic outrage. And I fail to see how showing Sen. Menendez with the AIPAC logo in the background is inappropriate. After all, AIPAC does support the Menendez sanctions bill and is actively lobbying for it -- as are the American Jewish Committee and most of the organized Jewish community with the prominent exception of J Street. To consciously edit out AIPAC's part in this story would actually be journalistic malpractice."The problem, Mr. Ben-Ami, is that it's a classic example of what we call in psychology "priming." The Huffington Post, like all newspapers, is supposed to report the facts. Putting a picture of Menendez at AIPAC instead of just a picture of him "primes" his readers to blame AIPAC and "the Jews" which is exactly what they did. At the very least, that is yellow journalism. Just because you don't happen to like AIPAC doesn't justify the Huffington Post's spin. The Saudis also support more sanctions and an attack on Iran...would Ben-Ami be cheering if the picture was Menendez shaking hands with one of them? I didn't think so. This is all to justify one big strawman argument, about the "anti-Semitism card" something I'm sure J Street has whined about before, because Huffington Post bloggers sure have:
"Once again, we're seeing how some in the American Jewish community who ought to know better are all-too-quick to bring out the anti-Semitism charge. After all, there's no better way of stifling debate, changing the subject and putting the opposition on the defensive."Right, because we all love how much J Street and its friends on left enjoy "debate." If you're actually paying attention to this story and not just going through the motions like Ben-Ami is, you might notice that there is no "debate" to be "stifled." The SWC and Algemeiner didn't say that the Huffington Post can't cover the story, or that they can't say that AIPAC is pro-sanctions on Iran. What they took issue with is the biased-as-all-hell way that the Huffington Post did so. But that doesn't fit Ben-Ami's narrative, so he just ignores it. He continues to do this:
"We saw this pattern exactly a year ago when some of these same actors tried to block the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense on the spurious grounds that his views "verged on anti-Semitism," to quote Foxman.'"And as we discussed at the time, Foxman had actually good reasons to conclude that. Foxman's whole quote is that Hagel's views on the "Jewish lobby" and how it "intimidates a lot of people around here" verged on anti-Semitism. I happen to agree, but we can't ask Ben-Ami to tell the whole truth lest he undermine his own argument. He goes big, lest he go home:
"Clearly, we must remain vigilant against the threat of anti-Semitism. But the constant use of the accusation against anyone that we feel is insufficiently pro-Israel (including members of our own community) or against anyone we disagree with is foolish and damaging"Constant accusations of anti-Semitism? Used against anyone "we" disagree with? There's no way to say this nicely: that's total bullshit. Like Shai Franklin before him, Ben-Ami can only come up with two examples of the "anti-Semitism card," and both of them are at least reasonably justified. In the 21st century people who only criticize Israel may be accused of anti-Semitism, but only by random people on the Internet and not groups like the SWC or the Algemeiner. It's just one huge strawman argument. The number of people who whine about the anti-Semitism card vs the number of people who actually use it is something like 1,000:1.
Anyway, the Huffington Post readers then took over the charge of bravely tilting at the "anti-Semitism card" strawman, now that Ben-Ami has given them permission:
As they say on Reddit, "so brave."