Controversial Blogger Quits Media Watchdog

Israel Critic M.J. Rosenberg Leaves Media Matters

On My Own: Controversial blogger M.J. Rosenberg is leaving liberal watchdog Media Matters to start his own blog.
youtube
On My Own: Controversial blogger M.J. Rosenberg is leaving liberal watchdog Media Matters to start his own blog.

By JTA

Published April 07, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

M.J. Rosenberg, the controversial critic of Israeli policies who drew fire for using the term “Israel firsters,” is leaving the liberal media watchdog, Media Matters.

In what he billed as his last column for the group on Friday, Rosenberg said he would now blog on his own website MJayRosenberg.com.

“The reason for this step is that it disturbed me greatly to see an organization to which I am devoted facing possible harm because of my critical writings about Israel,” he wrote.

“I have no doubt that the crowd that opposes any and all criticism of Israeli government policies will continue to turn its guns on Media Matters if I am associated with it,” he continued. “I could not live with myself if that happened — not only because I care deeply about the organization and my colleagues, but also because Media Matters does such important work confronting the lies that emanate from the far right and especially Fox News.”

The use of the term “Israel firster” by Rosenberg and a staffer for the Center for American Progress drew fire after an article in Politico suggested that pro-Israel groups saw both entities as posing dangers to traditional support for Israel among Democrats.

The CAP staffer left and that think-tank has endeavored in recent months to push back against claims that it is hypercritical of Israel, but Media Matters stood by Rosenberg.

Alan Dershowitz, the prominent pro-Israel lawyer who has backed President Obama, recently called on Democrats to distance themselves from Media Matters unless the group fired Rosenberg.

The term “Israel firster” has been used by anti-Semites who charge Jews with dual loyalties, but Rosenberg was also able to trace it to use as a neutral term describing pro-Israel activists.

However, he has said he will no longer use the term, saying that the figures he targets do Israel a disservice, instead identifying them with his onetime employer whom he now reviles, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

“Media Matters never told me not to use the term,” he writes on his new blog. “In fact, Media Matters never censored me in any, way, shape or form. I stopped using ‘Israel Firsters’ because the term was inaccurate. The people I called ‘Israel Firsters’ do not, in fact, put Israel first. I worked at AIPAC. I know those people. They put AIPAC first.”

Ari Rabin-Havt, the Media Matters executive vice president, wished Rosenberg well.

“MJ is more than a colleague, he is a close friend,” he said in a statement for JTA. “I’m very sorry to see him go but am excited to see him continue his work on his new website.”

JTA left a message for Dershowitz seeking comment.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.