My goodness, Jonathan Tobin, rightist pro-Israel editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent says in The Forward that M.J. Rosenberg is a brazen vulgarian. I’m sure M.J. will never live this down. I guess being that Tobin edits a newspaper, he must not spend much time on the internet or he would understand that the phrase “stick it up their ass” is considered fairly benign discourse. Of course, it wouldn’t be considered civil in the Jewish Exponent nor would M.J. write anything like that there if Tobin would accept him for publication (which is doubtful). Nor would M.J. write any such thing at the Israel Policy Forum website. But Tobin seems to have missed the distinction between online discourse–and the fact that M.J. maintains a personal blog at TPMCafe, where he wrote this–and other media forms. It wouldn’t be the first time that the Jewish mainstream media turned tone deaf when it came to understanding the web.
Here’s another news flash from Tobin to his right wing pro-Israel allies:
…A portion of the Jewish left believes Obama’s victory will mean the pursuit of policies that will lead to a confrontation with many of Israel’s supporters.
Goodness gracious! Tobin’s telling us that if Obama pursues an Israeli-Arab peace agenda he’ll come face to face with Aipac, Bibi, and…Jonathan Tobin. The horror. I’m sure that Obama will find them an immovable wall, a veritable tower of strength in the face of the “existential threat” to Israel represented by this crazy effrontery.
Here’s another “nutty Jewish left-wing” notion Tobin wants to shoot down before it gets wings:
…That peace between Israelis and Palestinians is readily achieved. All it will take is an administration willing to face down any Israeli or American who stands in the way — which, in this view, includes virtually the entire Jewish organizational establishment.
My oh my. It seems we’ve left out a whole range of Jewish organizations Tobin can’t abide–because they disagree with him: J Street, Brit Tzedek, Peace Now, Israel Policy Forum. What are they, chopped liver? You see, in the past they were. But no longer. In an Obama administration all the Jewish organizations will get a respectful hearing. But the above groups are new kids on the block and a force to be reckoned with. J Street helped elect 30 new Congress members who support a peace agenda. Aipac, the RJC, and Morrie Amitay wasted their shekels on Republican candidates and got gornisht for their trouble. Tobin fears that the Israel lobby will be left out in the cold and the J Streeters will be warming themselves by Rahm Emanuel’s office fireplace. I hope it turns out to be true.
Tobin makes clear that the Israel lobby wants nothing to do with an Obama initiative to resolve the Israeli Arab conflict:
Now, his agenda is to govern and manage a failing economy as well as juggle wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — goals that would hardly be advanced by wantonly picking fights with mainstream Jewish groups in a quixotic quest for a peace deal.
That’s the view of the Jewish right. Peace is impossible. There is no Palestinian partner. Wait till developments are more auspicious in another century or two. Jonathan, I’ve got news for you. Obama isn’t using your playbook. The fact that he wants to make an address in a major Arab capital in his first 100 days in office is bad news for your side. That indicates that, unlike the current White House resident, this president means business when it comes to negotiating peace.
It may be that he will come down hard on the Israelis and Jonathan isn’t going to like that. But he will come down equally hard on the Palestinians, all in the pursuit of a real peace. The Israel lobby doesn’t like that. But the rest of the reasonable Jews out there will. And they will support Obama. In fact, many of us will be cheering such an effort on, while Tobin sits on the sidelines flicking a raspberry.
And dear oh dear, Jonathan is shaking in his boots at the prospect that the “Jewish left” is about to attempt a palace coup to topple the reigning Jewish power brokers at Aipac:
Jewish doves’…long-shot goal is to topple the centrist and bipartisan Aipac as the pro-Israel community’s voice and replace it with voices from the left. Overturning the realities of the Middle East may be beyond their reach, but that’s not going to stop them from trying to “stick it” to anyone who opposes pressuring the Jewish state to do things that its democratically elected leaders may find ill-advised.
“Centrist and bi-partisan?” It’s the same old song we’ve heard a million times before. So often, in fact that the needle has gotten stuck in the groove. Aipac is not centrist by any stretch of the imagination. And while Democrats participate in Aipac, most Democrats find themselves having a lot more in common with J Street than Aipac.
Contrary to Tobin’s fever dream of leftist revolution, the Jewish peace lobby isn’t out to topple Aipac, even if it could. There’s plenty of room for all of us. None of us have to get paranoid and think that anyone’s out to “get” them. What we’d ask though is that just as we accept the existence of the Israel lobby, that the other side would stop demonizing us and excluding us from the corridors of Jewish power as they consistently do.
On a final note, it’s unfortunate that Jonathan Tobin’s querulous, out of touch ramblings found a home in the Forward. They’d be more appropriate at other blatantly right wing sites where he publishes like The Jewish Press, Jewish World Review, and Arutz Sheva.
I was tickled by the unintentional humor in this passage from Tobin’s Wikipedia entry:
Blogger Luke Ford has called Tobin “the most right-wing editor of a Jewish weekly in the US,” but according to Tobin, “I lost my credentials as a real right-winger any number of times because I’ve taken stands on issues they disagree with. I’ve taken shots at the right consistently when I think they’re wrong. More consistently than when my colleagues on the left take shots at the left.”
If Luke Ford calls you “right-wing,” you KNOW you’re right-wing. As for the ratio of times Tobin took shots at the right compared to the times he mouthed right wing platitudes, I’d guess charitably it might be 1,000 to 1.
UPDATE: I’ve just been informed that Tobin will shortly become editor at Commentary Magazine. It was bashert. A match made in heaven. Do you think he’ll keep taking those shots at the right from his perch atop the epitome of Jewish neocon media?? Maybe once in a while he’ll take a shot at the Podhoretz boys or Der Dersh?? Don’t hold your breath.