Despite the controversy stirred by the right-wing pro-Israel blogosphere and Israel lobby usual suspects against Hannah Rosenthal for her remark in a Haaretz interview that Michael’s Oren’s dissing of the J Street conference was “unfortunate,” the State Department has issued a statement of full support for her:
“Special Envoy Rosenthal has the complete support [ed. italics added] of the department. As a matter of longstanding policy the United States has supported a peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To that end the U.S. government encourages broad dialogue among responsible partners for peace.”
Many of us were worried after State slapped her on the wrist and said that she had spoken out of turn, that this might signal a capitulation to the forces of pro-Israel darkness who were itching for her scalp. In particular, Jeffrey Goldberg, who called Rosenthal “dopey” and Shmu Rosner, who called her “not smart” were leading the Jewish male sexist charge against Rosenthal. They’re bound to be disappointed that they didn’t have enough juice to get her fired.
Rosner in particular wrote breathlessly every time he picked up a crumb that could be used to besmirch Rosenthal, even writing in the Jerusalem Post that she had “new problems” because Phil Weiss, Steve Walt and Andrew Sullivan were supporting her. Phew! I was offended that he didn’t even bother to include me in the supposedly anti-Israel Murderer’s Row. But he assured me he wouldn’t omit me next time.
Also, a few comments on the deliberate or unintentional inaccuracy of some blog and media reports about Rosenthal’s background. One of the main reasons she was targeted was that she was affiliated with J Street, the target du jour of the Israel lobby these days. Contrary to Ron Kampeas’ coverage, for example, she was never an “officer” of J Street and had nothing to do with running the group or dictating policy. She was one of 200 honorary members of its advisory council. Every Jewish organization has one of these and they are there to showcase VIPs who endorse the group but have nothing whatever to do with its day to day operations. So much for yoking Rosenthal to J Street.
Now, maybe Shmu & Goldberg can go back to finding some other perfectly innocuous Jewish progressive to tar and feather for holding less than sufficiently pro-Israel views about something or other? And mazel tov to Secretary Clinton and the Obama folks for standing by their woman.