Some nice things about M.J. Rosenberg (for a change)

Some nice things about M.J. Rosenberg (for a change)

M.J. Rosenberg captured on YouTube.

This links to J.J. Goldberg’s Forward column on M.J. Rosenberg, “Israel Lover Is Branded As Hater.”  J.J. reminds us that M.J. is fundamentally with us in the progressive pro-Israel camp.  Still, if I were editing his piece, I might have placed  J.J.’s caveats about M.J. earlier, but they’re there:

… I haven’t always agreed with him. He’s moved from left to right and back a few times and said lots of things I wouldn’t say. But he’s always fought for the Jewish cause as he understood it. And nobody’s ever called him a moral coward.

To my surprise, I found a very nice online comment from Rosenberg on my Tikkun review article of “In Darkness,” a searing Holocaust drama on a true-life Polish rescuer of a small group of Jews, who acted heroically despite his antisemitic prejudice:

This is a wonderful piece. My wife was born in a German DP camp to Polish Jews who survived the Shoah. Many members of her family were rounded up by the Germans and killed. But one aunt survived, taken in by a Polish Catholic family who taught her how to pretend to be a Catholic Pole. She recently told us about her protector and other Poles who saved others. Why weren’t they anti-Semites, I asked?
She said. “Most of them were. And we didn’t like them either. But there is a difference between a bigot and a murderer. That distinction saved the lives of many of us.”  

Rosenberg may not remember that I’ve questioned him sharply from time-to-time, and differed with him on his shrill tone and his too close affinity for Mearsheimer & Walt’s hyperbolic thesis on the power of the “Israel Lobby,” which (ironically) he once served as an employee of AIPAC.  On Jan. 26, I questioned his assertion that Israel and AIPAC are pushing for war with Iran “to preserve not Israel’s security but its regional hegemony.” While indicating that “I don’t want to see an attack on Iran either,” I asked him in an email:

… what “hegemony” does Israel exercise exactly?  Name a single country in the region where Israel’s diplomacy prevails or its influence predominates.  Israel can’t even get the Palestinians, who don’t have a state, to agree to negotiate without Israel freezing settlement expansion (not that I blame them).

I also asked why he keeps on calling Jeffrey Goldberg a “neocon” (rather than the pro-Israel dove or moderate that he basically is) and assuming that he has some pernicious political agenda in mind. Rosenberg has an unfortunate tendency to name call and to be more polemical than analytical.

He did not respond, but both J.J.’s column and M.J.’s comment have softened my sense of him. 

By | 2012-03-14T14:14:00-04:00 March 14th, 2012|Blog|2 Comments


  1. Edward, Boston March 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    By “hegemony” I believe M.J. means the Israeli strength, deterrant power and American umbrella that render everyone in the middle east powerless to stop or even inhibit Israel from whatever political or military behavior it chooses to pursue. In this sense, I believe M.J. is correct. A nuclear Iran might achieve a deterrant, inhibiting influence on Israel.

  2. Ralph Seliger March 19, 2012 at 3:16 am - Reply

    This is the definition of “hegemony”: “preponderant influence or authority over others.”

    Edward is right that a “nuclear Iran might achieve an inhibiting influence on Israel.” But the notion that Israel is a “hegemonic power” is contradicted by the fact that no country or force in the region, not even the Palestinians, kowtows to Israel.

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