Tuesday, July 10, 2012

MJ Rosenberg: J Street and Peace Now opposed BDS measure after threats

Former Media Matters Fellow MJ Rosenberg has written on his blog that J Street and  Peace Now, liberal organizations which opposed a recent anti-Israel divestment measure considered by the Presbyterian Church (USA), did so only after being threatened by what Rosenberg refers to as "the lobby". (Read here: The Divestment Vote: J Street and Peace Now’s Shame)

"It certainly wasn’t the substance of the resolution that disturbed these groups. I mean, really, are we supposed to believe that APN and J Street honestly believe that the Presbyterians have no right to invest or dis-invest from whatever company they choose to?  Are they not permitted to use whatever means at their disposal to oppose the abomination that is the occupation? On top of that, the motion was in no way directed at Israel itself but at the occupation these organizations exist to oppose. 
"J Street and APN opposed the resolution because they themselves were threatened by the lobby establishment, the kind of threat APN in turn then directed at the Presbyterians.  (If you support this you will be fueling hatred of Israel, anti-Semitism, the whole  kit and kaboodle). 
"The bad news here is that both J Street and APN shamed themselves and demonstrated that when threatened, they fold (not for the first time)." 

Considering the shocking nature of his charge -- that two prominent Jewish peace advocacy organizations were forced to advocate positions which they do not hold as the result of threats -- Rosenberg is surprisingly quiet about the nature and source of those threats. He also fails to indicate how he learned of these threats and why he believes that they occurred.

Cartoonist Eli Valley noticed this apparent oversight by MJ and asked him (and Mondoweiss, who promoted the blog post via Twitter) for his evidence. Here's what Eli wrote:

In response, Rosenberg strongly implies that "Rabbi Saperstein (and) other enforcers" strong-armed J Street and Peace Now. No source, no specifics, not even a clear statement of what threat "Rabbi Saperstein" and the unnamed "enforcers" purportedly made or to whom they made it. All Rosenberg can say is that he knows about all this via what he calls "oral testimony". Rosenberg doesn't indicate what he knows or how he knows it. He just asks his readers to trust that he knows something and that it's bad.

Does anyone find this kind of innuendo masquerading as journalism remotely reliable?

(Note: For the record, contrary to Rosenberg's assertion, J Street and Peace Now have never argued that the Presbyterians have no right to divest, merely that divestment was ill-advised.)

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