That was how Andrew Sullivan phrased it on 10/16/09, carefully identifying one battlefield — American support of Israel — in his ideological war with the neocons. Along those lines, today the Dish is complaining about a PajamasMedia post by Ron Rodosh:
Rosenthal’s crimes – apart from those of association – are that she was in an organization that was “highly critical of Israel’s policies.” And that she took offense at Michael Oren’s blatant attacks on J-Street. Remember what the neocons believe is a criterion for public office: no criticisms of any Israeli policies. Or you are a suspect Jew or a closet anti-Semite. And they believe this. Thank God the younger generations are less paranoid and less blinkered.
[Emphasis, mine.] Err, Radosh’s problem was that the very first public, official criticism of the person whose job is to criticize antisemitism should be a criticism of an Israeli official — because this official didn’t see his country’s best interests represented by the organization which, for example, invited Salam Al-Marayati to speak.
( You can google Al-Marayati, whose record of statements speaks for itself. The fact that he initially suggested 9/11 might have been an Israeli attack was sufficient enough to impel rabbis to leave his interfaith discussion group … We hope Andrew would agree with those rabbis, if he can’t bring himself to agree with Oren’s designation of J-Street as “a unique problem,” or with Livni who sent a letter instead of setting foot at the J-Street conference. )
The Dish might be clueless about it, but Oren’s problem is that adding up the official opinions of J-Street and the opinions of its vocal members, the “pro-Israel lobby” seems to come out against all of Israel’s policies — for example, the Right of Return for Jews — as opposed to Americans for Peace Now, which also has an anti-settlement-pro-anything-to-start-peace-talks-with-anyone agenda. I doubt Michael Oren would refuse to attend APN’s conference. [UPDATE: Oren has met with APN.]
Andrew refers to the “younger generationS” that are seeing through to the Truth about Israel and U.S. foreign policy … Why the plural? Does he mean M.J. Rosenberg and Joe Klein as one young generation and anyone younger than Matthew Yglesias as another?… Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve noticed more typos when AS writes about Israel than about other topics where he drops the word “neocon.” (To be fair, since I’ve started the blog, I’ve noticed tons of typos in my posts, way more than Andrew’s, though so far I don’t think my amount of typos correlate to the topic I’m writing about.)
Sullivan’s “antisemite” or “suspect Jew” reference is just a straw man. Radosh didn’t say anything about anyone being an antisemite, and his complaint about Hanah Rosenthal is not that she’s a “suspect Jew” but has bad judgment for her position as the U.S. government’s antisemitism envoy — with her attachment to J-Street, as the organization is today, being a part of that. He wrote:
As an article in Haaretz reports, her first statement, issued in Israel, was a public blast at Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, for criticizing J-Street and refusing to attend its convention. This is an unprecedented act, since she made her views known on an official trip to Israel on behalf of the administration […]
This seems to be one of the Dish’s favorite conflations: the author’s “neocon” stereotype — those people he accuses it’s OK to contemn or want quarantined from public life — with someone disputing an individual criticism of Israel and then arguing that this particular flawed criticism suggests bad judgment about Israel in general.
Certainly, it’s a fair to quibble with any individual criticism of Israel, if you want to prove it untrue or unjust or whatever. You may be wrong, you may be blinded by your love for the country, but so what?
Jeffrey Goldberg, Sullivan’s colleague at The Atlantic, has the exact same problem with Rosenthal keeping her job as Radosh does … is he one of Andrew’s morally inhuman neocons now?
As to whether an individual criticism suggests bad judgment about Israel or even bias (perhaps unconscious) against Israel, that’s a much more difficult argument. It would depend on the nature of the criticism and perhaps the context of the criticism, and could depend on much more than that.
… Uncritically accepting the Goldstone report, with zero qualifications, would mean … what about a person’s feelings right now? I don’t recall seeing anything on the Daily Dish that suggests its proprietor thinks the Goldstone Report might have a few flaws, nor do I recall any attempt on the Dish to separate fact from fiction in the Report …
Let’s leave aside for the moment Sullivan’s fear of what he has called the U.S.’s “suffocatingly one-sided” relationship with Israel ( — though I wish Sullivan’s “suffocatingly one-sided alliance” couldn’t be easily paraphrased to become the “stranglehold on American foreign policy” familiar in the rhetoric of antisemites).
Sullivan has a much “less paranoid and less blinkered” problem with Ron Radosh’s picking through people who supported Obama’s candidacy for his first public office. In his PajamasMedia post, entitled “Obama’s Latest Appointment: A Reflection of his Radical Past,” Radosh is riffing off Victor Davis Hanson’s anti-Obama paranoia. Following up on Hanson’s hysteria about the New Left, Radosh asked what would drive Obama to appoint Hannah Rosenthal. Radosh avoids looking for the simplest, most direct answer to a question when he can answer it with his ideological faith that Obama has a New-Left master plan or vague agenda.
There are probably a number of reasons that Obama thought she would be good for the position, and the fact she’s not pro-Likud is one of them. So what, Ron? There’s nothing wrong with that.
Maybe she should resign so Obama can appoint a non-pro-Likud person who’s better for the position. Hopefully, Andrew would see that as a good thing for Israel, it’s Labour Party included, rather than a victory for the neocon demons … the ones that unfairly convinced/bewitched him into supporting the war in Iraq.
Radosh here, like Hanson everywhere, sounds like he’s waxing emetic about things that seem to have very little bearing on the President’s first year in office. Perhaps Sullivan and Hanson could have a contest on bloggingheads.tv, where viewers judge who’s more paranoid about their bogeyman.
… From now on, almost every post related to Israel here will probably include what should become Andrew’s personal motto whenever he writes about the country:
“I mistrust feelings that find their expression too quickly.” — Andre Gide
Filed under: Uncategorized