After writing a post here about accused Aipac spy, Steve Rosen’s new publishing affiliations with far-right Jewish websites, I received an e mail from David Twersky, American Jewish Congress‘ public affairs director:
…The bait that trapped Steve and his colleague was a (false) piece of informati[o]n that Iranian death squads were targeting Israeli operatives in Iraqi Kurdistan.
It would be interesting to know what you would do if you received such information.
The assumptions behind this statement are quite interesting. First, that as a Jew my primary imperative would be to pass this information on to the Israeli government and so save Israeli lives. Second, that if I would not have done what Rosen did that I would be a bad Jew. Third, that as a U.S. citizen I owed a lesser obligation to my own country than to Israel.
I repeat something I’ve stated here before, I dislike the dual loyalty canard used by both anti-Semites and others to imply that American Jews cannot reconcile their loyalties to the U.S. and Israel. But I also find objectionable the sentiment of Twersky’s message.
This was my reply to him:
Glad to know of AJCongress’ support for Steve Rosen.
Steve Rosen has been around the block a time or two in DC circles. He should know what the limits are to his involvement in activities of this kind. The fact that he overstepped the limits (or so it’s alleged) indicates that he cared more for Israel’s interests than he cared for honoring the secrecy of the government documents he was given.
I know what I’d do in that situation & it wouldn’t be what he did. I’d follow the law. Now, if you want to argue that Jewish American citizens owe a greater debt to Israeli interests than U.S. interests I’d like to see you make that argument.
David Twersky has been a noted liberal Jewish journalist for several decades. When I fundraised for the Orange County Jewish Federation I booked Twersky to speak for one of our events. I’m sorry to see he’s now flacking for Jack Rosen’s AJCongress…and Steve Rosen.
On a slightly different note, the Forward reports that the AJCongress office is Los Angeles employs a Mormon Hispanic, Mark Paredes, who does outreach to the Latino community. Paredes became virtually THE public face of the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign in California, which outlawed same sex marriage. 70% of California Jews opposed Prop 8. So how, in good conscience, can the AJCongress employ the Mormon, anti-gay face of Proposition 8?
A snap says the Congress–and if you can follow the garbled syntax and logic of this statement you win a medal:
Marc Stern, acting co-executive director of the AJCongress, said he was unaware that any employee had taken “what some considered an active public role in a completely different capacity.” Stern added that the organization asks its staff members not to become publicly identified with politics or controversial issues when there’s a possibility of roles becoming confused. He said, however, that he had not made this clear to Paredes, specifically in regard to referendums.
If you don’t make clear what the rules are to your employees, then how can you legitimately claim that you “ask them not to become publicly identity with politics?” How do you allow a prominent employee to advocate a position that is anathema to 70% of the Jews in your state?
First, you have to be a Jewish group run by a neocon pal of George Bush. That would be Jack Rosen. Then you have to basically not give a crap what most Jews think. Clearly, AJCongress doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing, as was made abundantly clear to me when I asked the local L.A. director whether local Jewish extremist, Rachel Neuwirth, was or was not a board member. When told she was not I asked why she was claiming on her website and other places online that she was. The answer–that they’d told her numerous times to stop and she hadn’t. It reminded me of a Keystone Cops routine.
But the AJCongress director didn’t otherwise distance himself from her. In fact, he was actually proud that they’d had a board member who advocated transferring the entire Palestinian population to Saudi Arabia and trying Israeli peace activists for crimes against the Jewish people (as she does on her website).
I noticed that within 24 hours she’d removed the claim of board membership from her bio and website. Why did it take me to get them to police themselves and their ex-board members?