Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Is Rupert Murdoch an anti-Semite? Is Peter Beinart?

SPOILER ALERT:  I am a Jewish person as are many of those mentioned in this blog post.  It's up to the reader to decide whether that is relevant.

Rupert Murdoch, doyen of Newscorp, tweeted himself into radioactive territory by writing, “Why is Jewish-owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?” Saturday night, 11/17/12.  One can criticize the paper of record and the Washington Post as propaganda, an irony for the owner of “fair and balanced” Fox News, but using the phrase “Jewish-owned press” references 1930s Germany.

In his post on Open Zion in The Daily Beast, Peter Beinart poses his own question, “Why is the conservative press defending Murdoch?”:

After noting that perhaps Murdoch did over-generalize a bit, Commentary's Jonathan Tobin argued that, “it wasn’t unreasonable for the non-Jewish Murdoch to wonder why these [Jewish-owned] papers as well as much of the liberal media are often so reflexively hostile to Israel’s cause.” The New York Sun declared that Murdoch’s “apology was unnecessary.” Michael Goldfarb, chairman of the hawkish Center for American Freedom, tweeted “New York Times proves @RupertMurdoch correct."
Peter Beinart, senior political writer for The Daily Beast, associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, wrote The Crisis of Zionism, which came out in April 2012.  He was roundly pilloried and accused of promoting anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic sentiments with his book.

The second irony are the pithy statements condensing the arguments against The Crisis of Zionism in a strongly worded book review in the The New York Times.  Jonathan Rosen, the reviewer, pointed out what he saw as the flaws in Beinart’s argument: not understanding or empathizing with Israel as a small country adrift in a sea of hostile neighbors who would like nothing better than its destruction.  Rosen wrote of Beinart’s work:
Like a majority of Israelis, Beinart believes that it is depleting, degrading and dangerous for Israel to oversee the lives of millions of stateless Palestinians, and also like a majority of Israelis, he thinks the solution is the creation of a Palestinian state.

But because he minimizes the cataclysmic impact of the second Intifada; describes Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza not as a gut-wrenching act of desperation but as a cynical ploy to continue the occupation by other means; belittles those who harp on a Hamas charter that calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews the world over; and plays down the magnitude of the Palestinian demand for a right of return — not to a future Palestine but to Israel itself, which would destroy the Jewish state — he liberates his book from the practicalities of politics.
If this is a display of anti-Israeli feeling in the "Jewish-owned press", rhen the year is 1984

That turns Murdoch’s tweet on its head.  Just as Romney revealed his true feelings when he spoke about the 47% eschewing personal responsibility or that Obama gave gifts to get people to vote for him, Murdoch is revealing more than he might think.  And his eager acolytes, the same that condemn Beinart for anti-Semitism, fall all over themselves to excuse his behavior.

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