Rosenberg on Goldberg


In his latest column, M.J. Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum mischaracterizes The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg on the threat posed to Diaspora Jews by a potential Israeli strike on Iran.

In an Aug. 11 blogpost, Goldberg writes of the retaliatory terrorist attacks American Jews should expect – “blowback” – if Israel strikes Iran:

The leaders of American Jewish organizations are generally hesitant to bring up the subject of Diaspora blowback when they talk to Israeli officials, and not without justifiable reason: Israel is a sovereign state, and makes decisions based on the needs of its national security. And Israeli officials bridle at the thought of Diaspora Jews telling them what to do. They also bridle at the idea that the existence of Israel actually endangers Jews in the Diaspora, rather than strengthens them. I would never argue that Israel hasn’t strengthened, in particular, the American Jewish community, giving it both backbone and meaning. And I wouldn’t argue that Israel should refrain from acting as a rescuer of persecuted Jews worldwide simply because it blurs the line between the interests of the Diaspora and the interests of the Jewish state.

Here’s how Rosenberg interprets Goldberg:

Goldberg writes that the reason we don’t hear much about this issue of “blowback” is that just raising it challenges the fundamental premise underlying Zionism. The existence of the state of Israel supposedly makes Jews in the Diaspora safer. If, on the other hand, actions taken by Israel jeopardize Jews outside of Israel then the Zionist concept looks flawed.

Rosenberg then goes to explain why an Israeli strike on Iran would be a terrible idea.

That may be the case, but Rosenberg misconstrues Goldberg, who speaks not at all about Zionism or flaws in the Zionist concept.

If this whole exercise in parsing blogposts with Talmudic scrutiny seems a bit pedantic to you, well then you’re right on target.

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