The New Yorker defends Israel Firsters and M J Rosenberg of Media Matters

March 6, 2012
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(Carl)MJ Rosenberg, who goes around labeling supporters of Israel ‘Israel firsters’ – a term that the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the Simon Wiesenthal Center have all called anti-Semitic.

(The New Yorker)The idea that Rosenberg (whom I have known for years as someone who is profoundly devoted to Israel and, at the same time, abhors the Israeli occupation) could be labelled an anti-Semite is an indicator of the lengths to which this smear-campaign has gone. It is hardly the first time in American history that those with a political agenda have sought to demonize others whose views they dislike, as a means of destroying them and silencing any potential sympathizers.

The magazine thinks that one of their liberal own who support Palestine are incapable of bias!


Two of Breitbart’s closest colleagues were Orthodox Jews

March 5, 2012
I’m not Orthodox. But I’m also a Jew from Westwood. I went to University High by UCLA. I once apparently met Arianna Huffington at a party. I know some people who I am close with who didn’t like him. I didn’t know him, he was my friend on facebook. The person who didn’t like him didn’t like me very much either and the other friend who had issues with him as well… so I think I was correct in never attacking him or listening to the stories of people who were reliable sources in other situations. I do admit there were things he posted that were really good, that I avoided posting because I knew it would piss off some people. I knew that he was big enough that I was lucky that I could claim he was a friend on facebook… but I have to be honest… people would tell me if I posted him I was promoting a really bad guy. I never saw any reason to believe he was a bad guy. His online persona I never disagreed with. I kind of feel that he is a hero for really fighting for Israel, but I have to be honest… he was murdered by words. The people at Think Progress and Media Matters turned him into a slur campaign when they were complaining about Israel Firsters. I was watching this on twitter. I felt troubled because I couldn’t really defend him because of other people I knew who really hated him and were good in other ways. The online scene is really awful and some people who are 100% right in every way on their blogs are really horrendous individuals. Andrew obviously died not by natural causes, but it was death by MEDIA… it’s almost like a Paddy Chayefsky film.

(Carl)Benny Weinthal has a tribute to Andrew Breitbart z”l, who passed away last week at the age of 43. (Hat Tip: All American Blogger).

Breitbart not only carved out a new mixture of investigative journalism, combining the mediums of video and the microblogging website Twitter with huge scoops, he was slated to start a Big Jerusalem website to fight the seemingly endless mainstream media distortions of the Jewish state.
Adopted by a Jewish family in Los Angeles, Breitbart equated the preservation of liberty and freedom in the US with safeguarding liberties and security in the Jewish state. “Israel is in the right” and “If Israel goes, so will America,” he said during a lively speech last year at a meeting of Republican Jewish Coalition in Beverly Hills.
In this speech, Breitbart said of Israelis: “I just don’t understand how an inherently decent and free people could be the bad guy… This doesn’t make sense to me…
I’m glad I’ve become a journalist because I’d like to fight on behalf on the Israeli people…I’ve been there. And the Israeli people, I adore and I love.”
I asked Breitbart’s colleague Joel B. Pollak – editor- in-chief and general counsel for Breitbart’s online media empire, which publishes the websites Breitbart.com, Breitbart.tv, Big Government, Big Journalism, Big Hollywood and Big Peace – to tell me about Breitbart and his relationship with Israel and Judaism. He emailed me on Friday: “Andrew only visited Israel once, a few years ago, but instantly fell in love with the country and its people.”
“He was the best kind of Jew and human being you could ever meet, one who created opportunities for people in whom he saw a spark – which Maimonides called the highest form of charity,” Pollak wrote. “He carried his faith as he carried all his convictions: with a lighthearted touch but a deep commitment.”

Pollak wrote about how that life and fire extended to Judaism: “Andrew was proudly, and playfully, Jewish. In the last days of his life he wondered openly about observing Shabbat, even as he continued to tease me about not eating bacon and shrimp cocktails. More than once he burst into a Hebrew school song or parts of his bar mitzva portion while working at his desk across from mine – partly to amuse me and partly to entertain himself.”
“He often told an amusing story about meeting Idan Raichel [an Israeli singer-songwriter] in a restaurant where he had been dining with fellow conservative bloggers, and how surprised and inspired they were that the lanky, dreadlocked musician was an ardent and natural patriot,” he said.
“Andrew rejected the knee-jerk liberalism of the Jewish community in which he had been raised but never felt distant from his fellow Jews, no matter what background, and two of his closest colleagues were both Orthodox Jews whose levels of observance both amused and intrigued him.”
“We had a common Jewish kinship even though we lived our lives rather differently and I can say confidently that I’ve never met a finer soul, Jewish or otherwise,” Pollak continued.

Pollak, who ran for Congress in Illinois against J Street Jan Shakowsky in 2010, is one of the Orthodox Jews. I don’t know who the other one is. I hope someone is making sure that Breitbart’s kids get a Jewish education and that someone is taking any sons to shul to say Kaddish.
Here’s a video tribute to Breitbart. Let’s go to the videotape


Why Are These Jewish Foundations Funding Antisemitism?

February 28, 2012

(Listed by YidWithLid)

Analysis of the projection: Media Matters had the influence over the media

Donation
Jewish Foundation Donors To MMFA
$2,225,000
Stephen M Silberstein Foundation
$400,000
Pritzker Family Foundation
$400,000
Sandler Foundation
$362,500
Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, Inc.
$275,000
Bernard & Audre Rapoport Foundation
$250,000
Joseph H and Barbara I Ellis Foundation
$150,000
Community Foundation of the United Jewish Federation of San Diego
$85,000
Barbra Streisand Foundation
$55,000
Lear Family Foundation
$50,000
Rebecca and Nathan Milikowsky Family Foundation
$50,000
Scott A. Nathan Charitable Trust
$43,500
Jewish Communal Fund
$35,000
Beatrice Snyder Foundation
$35,000
Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland
$30,000
Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund
$25,000
Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund
$20,000
Peter and Linda Solomon Foundation
$12,500
Engelberg Foundation
$5,180
Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
$5,000
Glickenhaus Foundation
$5,000
Joseph & Florence Mandel Foundation
(MORE)

Barbara?

rosenbergradio.com(Media Matters Firsters | Washington Free Beacon)At a book signing event Monday evening in Washington, D.C., Media Matters for America (MMFA) chief David Brock refused to distance himself from the borderline anti-Semitic language used by one of his senior employees.
We “don’t feed the trolls,” said Ari Rabin-Havt, MMFA’s executive vice president, when asked if Media Matters condones and stands by the use of the term “Israel firster,” a borderline anti-Sematic slur that is regularly employed by MMFA writer M.J. Rosenberg.
“I’m not going to get in a debate about tweets,” Rabin-Havt said, intervening to field a question that was directed at Brock.
Rosenberg, however, has not just used the epithet on Twitter. He regularly employs the phrase in articles published by the Huffington Post and other outlets.
And now the controversy is spilling into the Jewish nonprofit world.
Several of the nation’s most preeminent Jewish charities are facing criticism for donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to MMFA.
Five Jewish charities in some of the nation’s largest cities have donated nearly $600,000 to Media Matters since 2006, according to documents obtained by the Daily Caller. The bulk of the donations came between 2008 and 2010.
A number of the charities in question are tied to the centrist Jewish Federations of North America, an umbrella organization that includes some of the country’s largest Jewish nonprofits, including those in New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C.
News of the donations surprised some Jewish and pro-Israel observers who have condemned Media Matters as a fringe outlier that promotes views contrary to those of the mainstream Jewish community.
Jewish donors “have no idea how this organization has turned into a bigoted group,” Alan Dershowitz, a prominent lawyer and Harvard professor who recently launched his own “personal war” against Rosenberg, told the Washington Free Beacon.
Since his hire in 2009, Rosenberg’s articles have focused on the power of the so-called “Israel lobby,” which he believes has placed a pro-Israel chokehold on the U.S. foreign policy establishment. Rosenberg has also appropriated the “Israel firster” phrase, a term that has its roots in the white supremacist movement.
Many Jews—particularly wealthy philanthropists—are unaware that Media Matters is condoning this type of content, Dershowitz told the Washington Free Beacon.
“Many Jews just couldn’t care less—and then there are … the M.J. Rosenbergs who work to destroy Israel,” Dershowitz said. “I would urge donors to reconsider their gifts.”
Asked if he was surprised to learn that Jews are fiscally backing Media Matters, Dershowitz responded, “Some Jews supported Mussolini and Stalin, so why should we be surprised?”
Of the five Jewish charities that have donated to Media Matters, the most prolific is the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, which has given the group $362,500 since 2007.
CJP president Barry Shrage did not respond to multiple requests seeking comment. However, a statement on the organization’s website states that it is not directly responsible for the donations that were made to Media Matters through its funding arm.
“CJP is now—and has always been—one of Israel’s strongest supporters,” the statement said. “The grant in question was from a Donor Advised Fund, and not from CJP’s communal funding allocations.”
Donor-advised grants are primarily controlled by the funder.
“While owned and ultimately controlled by CJP, [donor advised funds] do not involve communal funds, but rather reflect the interests of those individual donors,” the statement said.
The CJP said that it does “reserve the right to reject a grant to organizations whose missions are in conflict with our own and we have done so on several occasions.”
Dershowitz, who has ties to the CJP, said that while he disagrees with their decisions to fund Media Matters, Jewish donors should be granted the freedom to give to any organization they choose.
Joe Berkofsky, communications director for JFNA, the umbrella group that oversees several of these charities, including the CJP, recommended that the WFB “contact the individual Federations, which in fact are the actual custodians of the funds.”
The other charities that have given to MMFA include: The Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego, the Jewish Communal Fund in New York City, the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland, and the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties.
Each of these organizations either declined comment or did not return calls for comment.
A source close to JFNA described the entire funding controversy as “bullshit.”
“People request funds to be allocated from their endowment funds and donor advised funds that are housed at federations,” the source said. “They are not direct allocations by the federations. Federations serve as their philanthropic bank for donations to charities. Unless it’s Jews for Jesus or al-Qaeda, the requests are accepted.”
Jewish philanthropists and other experts said that although these charities have been directed by their funders to donate to Media Matters, they have a responsibility to exert oversight and prevent donors from making grants to organizations that subvert Jewish values.
“Media Matters is currently in the business of paying for and spreading anti-Israel and anti-Semitic invective, and these donations—which do not comport with Jewish communal values—are funding that organization and its work,” said Josh Block, a Middle East analyst and former top official at a pro-Israel group.
Block added that “these Jewish organizations have a special obligation to stand up and declare that funding groups using rhetoric that the ADL, AJC, and Simon Wiesenthal Center have all identified as anti-Semitic and anti-Israel is simply not appropriate—unless of course they agree with Media Matters and neo-Nazis that it is a good idea to call elected officials and other pro-Israel Americans ‘Israel firsters.’”
“I’m not surprised that federations are funding these far left liberal agendas,” said Richard Allen, founder of JCC Watch, an organization that tracks New-York based Jewish nonprofits. “I think there’s a group within these federations that is diverting Jewish community money for nefarious political purposes, and it needs to stop.”
Jewish philanthropists associated with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington—which did not donate to Media Matters but has taken heat for its funding of a local theater company that staged a series of plays condemned as anti-Israel—said that the funding dispute reveals a systemic problem.
“Sadly, Federations around the country are largely in the hands of secular liberals who have little sense of what’s actually Jewish, much less what’s pro-Israel,” said Michael Steinberg, a Maryland resident who stopped contributing to the Washington Federation for these reasons.
Louis Offen, another Washington-based philanthropist, added:  “I’ve got liberal tendencies, but they don’t go in the direction of support for [those who use the term] ‘Israel firsters’ and M.J. Rosenberg.”


NJ Dem Primary Gets Ugly – How is @ArefAssaf a power mover in the Democratic party? #BillPascrell #SteveRothman

February 21, 2012

(freebeacon.com) A prominent Arab supporter of New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell invoked the “Israel firster” specter over the weekend when he accused the state’s Jewish voters of being more loyal to Israel than America.
@ArefAssaf, president of the New Jersey-based American Arab Forum, opined Sunday evening in the New Jersey Star-Ledger about a Democratic primary that the state’s pro-Israel community is closely watching. The race pits Rep. Steve Rothman, a veteran pro-Israel stalwart, against Bill Pascrell, a well-liked Democrat who boasts a solid voting base.
Assaf accused New Jersey’s Orthodox Jewish voters of transforming the race from a domestic duel between local lawmakers into a proxy war between the state’s Jewish and Muslim communities.
“Unquestionably, this primary election is pitting two otherwise harmoniously coexisting communities: the Muslim and Jewish communities,” Assaf wrote in an article headlined “Rothman is Israel’s man in District 9.”
“As total and blind support for Israel becomes the only reason for choosing Rothman, voters who do not view the elections in this prism will need to take notice. Loyalty to a foreign flag is not loyalty to America’s,” Assaf added. (MORE)

It is frightening to think how stupid some people are if they think that guys like Mr. Assaf are merely part of an inclusive pattern in the Democratic party. This is the power base.


Rachel Shabi is the UK Guardian’s professional Jewish critic of Israel

February 19, 2012

(Jews and the charge of ‘Dual Loyalty’: CiF’s Rachel Shabi excuses a classic antisemitic canard « CiF Watch)
Shabi, in arguing that “rightwing pro-Israelis [have] sucked the oxygen out of any conversation about the country”, argues:

(False accusations of antisemitism desensitize us to the real thing « Guardian) …a broader rash of pouncing-upon from rightwing pro-Israelis that has sucked the oxygen out of any conversation about the country – especially in the US. Witness the recent storm over the phrase “Israel firsters”: used to accuse people of putting policy on Israel above US interests, it sparked a row among liberal commentators on whether it carries connotations of dual loyalty that feed into antisemitic tropes. This was just another attempt to smear liberal American critics of Israel,
Yet the real danger in all this is that the rush to throw charges of antisemitism…and silence…people who criticise Israel will desensitise vigilance over the real thing. Such tactics are meant to intimidate and paralyse, choke and divert the discussion over Israel’s occupation and policies in the Middle East.

Briefly, the controversy Shabi is referring to arose when it was discovered that Zaid Jilani, who blogged for a Center for American Progress (CAP) website, ThinkProgress, used Twitter to call US supporters of the Jewish state “Israel Firsters(MORE) evoking the antisemitic narrative that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country.

she’s gone a long way by hurting people she claims to be a part of.

the New Centrist sums up Shabi as follows:“Shabi is part of small group of post-Zionist Mizrahi intellectuals who want to reclaim the non-European aspect their identity. I think this is a positive thing. But some of these post-Zionists have a tendency to borrow analytical frameworks from Marxists and others who view Ashkenazim and Zionists as imperialists and colonialists. In this narrative, the Mizrahim are indigenous people who have been victimized by Zionism, just like the Palestinians. In other words, Mizrahi Jews and Palestinians are people of color and Ashkenazis are whitey. Shabi and her political allies, in turn, are part of the global resistance against the forces of global empire.


So called Israel Firster: Anatomy of an Antisemitic Smear

February 7, 2012

(cifwatch.com) Beginning in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, approximately 2800 Americans fought in Spain on behalf of the Republican cause, in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and elsewhere. Most were members of the Communist Party or other leftist organizations. They served without the support of the U.S. government, were treated with suspicion after the war, and in some cases were even prosecuted by the Roosevelt Administration for recruiting volunteers into the Brigade. These volunteers into a foreign army are universally regarded with respect and even reverence by American liberals and the broader left. (image via alba-valb.org)(MORE)