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MJ Rosenberg
MJ Rosenberg
MJ Rosenberg is a commentator on Israel and the Middle East who draws on thirty-five years of experience as a congressional aide, State Department political appointee under President Clinton, four years at AIPAC, ten at Israel Policy Forum, and three at Media Matters for America.

Why I Don’t Support The BDS Movement


by: on February 21st, 2014 | 18 Comments »

This will be a short one as I only choose to make one point. I make it as someone who absolutely supports the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) as applied to the West Bank. Even if I deeply desired a seltzer machine, I would not buy the one manufactured in occupied territory.

However, I do not support boycotting Israel itself because, although I have no problem at all about applying collective economic punishment on settlers and the loathsome settlement enterprise, I do not feel that way about Israelis in general. I am not anti-Zionist. I am, for lack of a better term, a liberal Zionist. I want the Jewish state to survive and prosper which is impossible so long as it maintains its colonial and oppressive regime in the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza.

But all that is beside the one point I need to make today.


Museum of Jewish Heritage Bans Discussion Of Truman & Israel: Too Controversial!


by: on February 19th, 2014 | Comments Off

Credit: Creative Commons

It is almost laughable. The organized Jewish community, which claims to be worried about young Jews defecting in droves, just cannot help itself from doing things that drive Jews (not just young ones) away. Between supporting Netanyahu, advocating for war with Iran and maintaining the occupation, and keeping silent as Israel evolves into a theocracy, it also is in the business of preventing debate on all these things and more.

The latest is this. Phil Weiss reports that the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York has banned an appearance by New Republic journalist, John Judis, who has written a book challenging the conventional wisdom about why President Truman recognized Israel. The book argues that Truman recognized Israel in 1948 not because he was a fervent Zionist but because it was May of an election year, he was trailing in the polls and he was heavily lobbied by Zionists to do so. Shocking, right. Who would think that politics would enter into a decision like that?


AIPAC: Now Stuck With The GOP


by: on February 14th, 2014 | 3 Comments »

Suddenly AIPAC is a lobby without a cause.

In three weeks thousands of delegates from all over the country will descend on the Washington, D.C. convention center to get their marching orders but, as of today, AIPAC hasn’t even drafted them.


AIPAC Loses, Just As Its Former Executive Director Predicted


by: on January 31st, 2014 | 3 Comments »

It didn’t take much. Just the power of the presidency, the State Of The Union, and the whole country watching.

Plus the president’s will.

And AIPAC’s entire campaign to destroy America’s chance to reach an agreement with Iran crumbled. Within hours, three senators announced they were no longer cosponsoring AIPAC’s bill to kill the Iran negotiations (Gillibrand, Coons and Manchin), and AIPAC’s hopes to override Obama’s veto ended with a whimper, AIPAC’s whimper. 


If Hillary Doesn’t Back Obama On Iran, We Cannot Support Her


by: on January 29th, 2014 | Comments Off

There can be little doubt that Hillary Clinton lost the 2008 nomination for president because she voted to authorize the Iraq war. If she had opposed it, there would have been no rationale for the Obama candidacy. It is likely that she, not President Obama, would now be in the White House.

It seems crazy. But Clinton might see history repeat itself.


AIPAC Keeps Its Skulduggery Secret


by: on January 28th, 2014 | Comments Off

I have been thinking about that secret meeting Mayor De Blasio had with AIPAC, the meeting Andrew Sullivan brilliantly analyzed here. 

And the more I think about it, the happier the meeting makes me.

The reason is simple. Both De Blasio and AIPAC decided that the meeting should be kept top  secret. De Blasio kept it off his schedule and banned reporters from the room. AIPAC did the same.

And that makes me happy because it indicates that both the mayor and the lobby understand that the meeting was shameful.

AIPAC met with the mayor to receive his pledge of uncritical support for Israel, the decisions of its government, and the actions its lobby takes here. To put it mildly, no other country in the world would dream of asking a U.S. official to make such a pledge. And, if any did, it would be a scandal.


US Jews Celebrate Same Sex Marriage While Israel In Uproar Because Bibi’s Son Is Dating “Out”


by: on January 27th, 2014 | 8 Comments »

A front page article in today’s Ha’aretz struck me with the thought that, no matter what happens with the peace process, it is becoming impossible to expect non-Orthodox (i.e. 90-plus per cent) of young American Jews to identify with today’s Israel.

There, on page one, was a photo of a beautiful young couple in their early 20′s who are seriously dating. One is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s son. The other is a Norwegian girl who happens not to be Jewish. Sweet looking kids. But, in Israel, a scandal.


Christian Fundamentalists Are Irrelevant: Only Jews Matter On Israel


by: on January 26th, 2014 | 4 Comments »

I am always amused when I hear people say that right-wing Christian fundamentalists are part of the Israel Lobby, that Congress is just as intimidated by them as they are by AIPAC and its satellite organizations.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Yes, millions and millions of fundamentalists may “support” Israel (not Jews, mind you, who they rightly consider to be dangerously secular) but their support, such as it is, is meaningless.

Here’s why. Christian fundamentalists do not vote based on Israel. As you can see on any of their websites, their voting issues are guns, abortion, gays  and a host of other issues designed to bring America “back” to the ethnically pure Christian republic of their dreams. These days, looming over all else, is their hatred for America’s first black president. They “pray” against  Israel’s “enemies”  but they mobilize against Obama, Obama, Obama. 


When Did Cory Booker Become Such A Likudnik?


by: on January 19th, 2014 | 4 Comments »

I received an email over the weekend from a woman in northern New Jersey who says she was “shocked” to see Senator Cory Booker’s name on the list of Democratic senators who are backing AIPAC over the president on the issue of Iran sanctions. “I don’t get it. He has been a friend of Muslims during his entire career. Why did he change?” The answer is simple: he didn’t. His support for the local Muslim community has nothing to do with his position on matters AIPAC cares about: the Israeli-Palestinian issue and Iran. As far as the lobby is concerned, Booker can march 24-7 in front of the FBI building to protest profiling of Muslims, so long as does not deviate an iota from Netanyahu’s line on Israel, Palestine or Iran. In fact, being good on Muslim civil rights serves as a good cover for being terrible on Middle East matters.

Booker is a more complex case than, say, Chuck Schumer, Lindsey Graham, or Bob Menendez. They are obstructionists on Iran and Israel entirely for the campaign funds. For Booker, that is a large part of it. Remember how, back in the 2012 presidential campaign, he publicly broke with President Obama on whether or not Mitt Romney’s work at Bain Capital — buying up and then dismantling companies — was a legitimate campaign issue? Obama thought it was because it showed Romney not as a job creator but the opposite. But, just as the Bain issue was getting traction in the polls, Booker went on Meet The Press and called the Obama’s use of it “nauseating” and “ridiculous,” damaging Obama but delighting Booker’s own Wall Street donors.


Tide Turning For AIPAC?


by: on January 17th, 2014 | 2 Comments »

It’s Friday and things seem to be breaking our way. According to National Journal, Majority Leader Harry Reed is strongly resisting demands from AIPAC Senators to bring its sanctions bill to the floor for a vote. John McCain says that the game will be to get Jews to put the pressure on their senators and, if Reed resists, to keep bringing the bill up and forcing Reed to block it. That way the Democrats will be exposed as anti-Israel and the Republicans will benefit in November. AIPAC and its deputy, Chuck Schumer, are giving Reed the same message: if we don’t do this,  AIPAC donors will boycott us and will lose our majority. But Reed is good at standing up to special interest pressure. So the old boxer may very well stand tough. We’ll see. But so far, so good. Especially with some in the media finally addressing AIPAC’s bum rush to war.