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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Obama firsters

My friend Noah Pollak used the term "Obama firster" in an email to me the other day, but I think the person who actually coined the term was Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, who defined it as "allegiance to re-electing and supporting Obama [in place of] any semblance of intellectual intergity [sic] among the Democratic coalition." In the context of supporting Israel, I would define it slightly differently. The Obama firsters are the people who claim to support Israel, but subordinate that support for dogmatic promotion of the Obama agenda. Ron Radosh explains how J Street, the New Israel Fund and American Friends of Peace Now earned the designation.
Hence, the leaders of three groups — J Street, the New Israel Fund, and Americans for Peace Now, the holy trinity of the left-wing of American Judaism — wrote the following:
We are outraged by Bret Stephens’ attack yesterday on President Obama as “untrustworthy” on the basis of the President’s association with people involved in our organizations. His attack — grounded in a litany of guilt-by-association charges — fits well with the tradition established in the 1950s by Senator Joseph McCarthy.
The guilt by association, as we have seen, was first used by Beinart himself, and then by Remnick. So if anyone is guilty of McCarthyism — defined as “guilt by association” — it is Beinart himself.

Finally, the triumvirate reveals their real concern: to attack those they call “the right wing of the American Jewish community.” Do not pause long to ask what that concern might be. At a moment in time when there is a very real international effort to delegitimize Israel as a valid nation-state that has a right to exist, the group has another concern: not that of worrying about the international effort to delegitimize Israel, but rather, what they say is the campaign to “delegitimize President Obama.” (My emphasis.)

So I have only one question for them. Doesn’t it occur to these erstwhile peaceniks that if anyone has delegitimized President Obama on his views about Israel, it is the president himself? Perhaps they should re-read Bret Stephens’ column. It is not Stephens who owes Obama an apology. It is the leaders of these three groups who owe one to Bret Stephens.
Read the whole thing.

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