Thursday, January 19, 2012

Can You Follow Goldberg's "Logic"?

Jeffrey Goldberg wants to know:- "Israel-firster" antisemitic?

And here's his logic:-

Its origins are certainly antisemitic, and the idea that Jews are incapable of being loyal to the country of their citizenship and are only loyal to world Jewry, or the Jewish state, is an age-old antisemitic trope. This doesn't mean that those who use it are antisemitic.

It doesn't?

Well, he continues:

They just might be ignorant, like J Street's Jeremy Ben-Ami, who to my surprise buys into the trope. Obviously, "Israel-firster" is a term deployed by opponents of Israel...

Did you follow that?


Here's background:

“The language is corrosive and unacceptable,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He added that the blog posts and tweets from CAP staffers “are the responsibility of the adults who run the place, not only the kids who play.”

Cooper conveyed his concerns about CAP during a private White House meeting last week with Obama’s newly hired Jewish community liaison.

The White House official, Jarrod Bernstein, told Cooper that the situation at CAP was “troubling,” adding “that is not this administration.”

A White House spokesman, Matt Lehrich, declined to comment on CAP. He said Obama “has repeatedly reiterated America’s unshakable commitment to Israel’s security and stood up against attempts to single out Israel in international forums.” He added that the administration has “ratcheted up unprecedented pressure on Iran.”

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said some of the statements from CAP staffers “are anti-Semitic and borderline anti-Semitic.”



Anonymous said...

Israel firster is antisemitic under the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemtism-

Anonymous said...

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a left-leaning voice on Israel issues, said he had no problem with “Israel-firster.”
“If the charge is that you’re putting the interests of another country before the interests of the United States in the way you would advocate that, it’s a legitimate question,” Ben-Ami said.
Ben-Ami added that Jewish groups “should tread lightly” when they make accusations of anti-Semitism. “Because when they do need to use that word, people won’t take you seriously,” he said.
He then must have realized the danger of being in bed with the disowned bloggers. He rushed out a statement assuring everyone, “I agree that the use of the term ‘Israel Firster’ is a bad choice of words. The conspiracy theory that American Jews have dual loyalty is just that, a conspiracy theory and must be refuted in the strongest possible way.” But unable to contain himself, he asserted this wasn’t real anti-Semitism at all: “American Jews and communal leaders should not overreach with charges of anti-Semitism in incidents like this. When real anti-Semitism actually rears its ugly head, people will be far less likely to listen.” Yeah, the White House and CAP shouldn’t be so fussy...

...Bill Kristol, co-founder of the Emergency Committee for Israel, told me this morning: “Does the president of J Street not know the history of the term ‘Israel-firster’? Or doesn’t he care? Every serious participant in the debate agree that the slander of “Israel-first” is beyond the pale. Even CAP acknowledges this. But not J Street. So there’s no excuse for anyone to take J Street seriously any longer when they claim to be pro-Israel.” Indeed, J Street’s pretense to be “pro-Israel” has been rendered laughable.

Josh Block, the pro-Israel Democrat who took on CAP, noted to me that one offending blogger admitted the language was “terrible anti-Semitic” language and left CAP but others remain. He argued, “If CAP wants to continue having people writing the organization’s day-to-day views on national security and Middle East policy who truck in language and theories more at home on White Power and anti-Jewish conspiracy websites than in the mainstream of the Democratic party, that is their choice, but the organization and their work will be judged accordingly, and CAP will continue eroding their credibility to zero.”