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Thursday, December 29, 2011

In the US, calling someone an 'Israel firster' is anti-Semitic

In recent years, certain anti-Israel elements in the US have been referring to American supporters of Israel as 'Israel firsters.' In particular, the term is commonly used by the despicable MJ Rosenberg of Media Matters, and by certain bloggers at the Center for American Progress. Obviously, the term implies dual loyalty of American citizens at best and no loyalty to the United States at worst - an old anti-Semitic canard. Now, the bloggers are being called for using the term and for other anti-Semitic entries in their blogs.
“Israel Firsters fighting each other over whose position on the Middle East conflict is more unreasonable,” and, “... Obama is still beloved by Israel-firsters and getting lots of their $$,” CAP blogger Zaid Jilani tweeted.

In an e-mail to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, wrote, “Invoking the term ‘Israel firsters’ and claiming that Jews are war-mongers is precisely the embodiment of new anti-Semitism. The Center for American Progress (CAP) ignored vitriolic and highly offensive rhetoric of the ThinkProgress reporter and bloggers. As we see in Israel, individuals on the far Left that consider themselves ‘enlightened progressives’ resort to personal attacks and misinformation when criticized. ThinkProgress should have stopped the offensive rhetoric rather than distorting Josh Block’s statements.”

Another CAP blogger, Eli Clifton, cast doubt on the accuracy of a Quinnipiac University poll that referred to the existence of Iran’s “nuclear program.” Clifton also wrote that AIPAC “is now using the same escalating measures against Iran that were used before the invasion of Iraq.”

CAP’s director of Middle East Progress, Matt Duss, has compared Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza to racial discrimination. “Like segregation in the American South, the siege of Gaza (and the entire Israeli occupation, for that matter) is a moral abomination that should be intolerable to anyone claiming progressive values,” Duss wrote.

Steinberg said, “It follows from classical anti-Semitism, with inferences of dual loyalty and foreign policy control, and should have no place in American political discourse. This is part of a continuing pattern at ThinkProgress. Two of its reporters, Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib, have blogged for the Electronic Intifada, a highly influential anti-peace and anti-Israel organization. Clifton’s doubts about an Iranian nuclear program are further evidence of his fringe ideological views.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, wrote that the “bloggers are guilty of dangerous political libels resonating with historic and toxic anti-Jewish prejudices.”

Jennifer Rubin, a prominent Washington Post blogger, termed the ThinkProgress bloggers’ language “not merely anti-Israel, they are anti-Semitic.”

CAP spokeswoman Andrea Purse wrote the Jerusalem Post by e-mail on Tuesday, “The allegations against CAP of ‘vitriolic and highly offensive rhetoric’ are based on blatant misinformation. Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib have never written for the website ‘The Electronic Intifada.’ They wrote for a global newswire called IPS and some of their writings were republished by The Electronic Intifada website without permission. The term ‘Israel First’ has never been used on CAP’s blogs, other than to criticize it. Nor have CAP bloggers ever asserted that ‘Jews are war-mongers’ or anything similar.”

Purse continued, “The Center for American Progress favors a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict [that] is the consensus view of administrations of both parties dating back to president Clinton. Our position is based on our strong belief that it is in the national security interests of the United States to achieve a resolution to this conflict. We categorically reject and are offended by the idea that any of our work is anti-Semitic, unless one believes the Middle East peace plan itself and ensuring Israel’s long-term security by securing its neighborhood is anti- Semitic. We welcome a discussion of these ideas on the merits."

Steinberg told the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, “If CAP wants to disassociate itself from Electronic Intifada, it should demand that Clifton and Gharib’s blogs be removed.”
Read the whole thing.

The Democratic party has to decide whose side it's on.

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At 9:12 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Carl thinks the Democratic party hasn't decided? Ha! :)

At 12:43 AM, Blogger biorabbi said...

Michael Scheur, head of the Bin Laden unit, is an obvious jew hater who uses this sort of language. I used to castigate MJ Rosenberg in the past when he wrote anti-Israel screeds at Talking Points Memo, but I think he now writes for Huf/post or something. What he does is beyond the pale. He gives succor to anti-semites who can now "differentiate" and "deny" their anti-semitism by pointing to their friend MJ Rosenberg who agrees! Disgusting. Interestingly, he used to work for AIPAC. Now he works for a Soros front group.


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