Yesterday one of my readers forwarded me a blog post written by the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg and asked me to comment on it. In truth, I rarely find much point in reading Goldberg’s self-absorbed writings.
Goldberg has carved out a little niche for himself. Many years ago he wrote two stupendous pieces for the New Yorker about Hizbullah and ever since he has been paying the ideological price. The Left, which Goldberg clings to for dear life isn’t particularly interested in hearing about the dangers of jihad. So to prove that he is okay in spite of the fact that he reported on jihadists, he’s been attacking Israel – and particularly non-post-Zionist Israelis — ever since.
Goldberg is a disillusioned Zionist. He moved here, served in the IDF, couldn’t make a go of things and went back to America to write about how horrible Israel is. He regularly divides Israelis into two categories: the “good” Israelis and the “bad” Israelis. The good Israelis are his friends in post-Zionist political circles. The bad Israelis are the other 90 percent of the country that remains Zionist and devoted to the country and doesn’t care what they say about us on the BBC or write about us in the Atlantic.
Given his focus, and the fact that I stand firmly in the 90 percent camp of “bad” Israelis, I tend to ignore his writings. I had a run-in with him a couple of years ago when he was personally insulted by the fact that I thought his assessment of Israel at 60 was ridiculous. Here’s my article. And here is my blog post from that time responding to his last hysterical attack against me.
Outside his general focus on attacking Israel, a few weeks ago, Goldberg became Fidel Castro’s newest useful American idiot. And in typical Goldberg fashion, he used his Jewishness to lend credibility to his whitewash of that mass murdering Communist dictator.
My reader sent me Goldberg’s recent blog post because it consists primarily of insults directed at me. I must admit that my first instinct was to ignore it. I’m quite busy and I get no pleasure fending off infantile personal attacks.
But wading through Goldberg’s rambling 1,100 word broadside, I found one substantive remark, and I’m willing to address that.
Goldberg’s post is a response to the column I wrote last month in the Jewish Press about Israel’s ambassador in the US Michael Oren. I forgot to post the column on my blog when it came out. Here’s the link.
Goldberg’s sole professional criticism of the column is that in discussing Oren’s behavior, I wrote that “Jewish activists who were present at Oren’s Rosh Hashanah reception at the Israeli Embassy this month said he gave ‘the best stump speech for President Obama’ they had ever heard.”
Goldberg acknowledges that the Jewish activists in question — Nancy and Mark Gilbert — were at Oren’s reception and that they wrote a mass email in which they said that Oren’s speech was the “best stump speech for President Obama” they had heard from “any world leader.”
The problem claims Goldberg, is that Oren didn’t make some of the pro-Obama arguments that the Gilberts said he made, and therefore, my claims are “baseless.” Says Goldberg, I should have known that just “because a piece of information is contained in an e-mail does not mean it is true.”
As Goldberg sees it, Oren didn’t give a particularly pro-Obama speech as the Gilberts claim he did. Goldberg, who was at the reception, believes Oren’s was “a short and rather anodyne speech that detailed the generally-strong state of relations with the United States.”
Nevertheless, it is absolutely true that some of the Jewish activists who were present at Oren’s Rosh Hashana reception — the Gilberts — said that “he gave ‘the best stump speech for President Obama’ they had ever heard.”
My reporting was completely accurate.
Obviously, the problem here is one of interpretation. The Gilberts were at the speech and came away convinced that Oren had given a wildly pro-Obama speech. Goldberg came away believing it was an anodyne speech.
Given both Oren’s record and Goldberg’s record, I’d say the smart money is with the Gilberts.
On the one hand, we have Oren, who as I pointed out in my column, has a long history of breathlessly and groundlessly proclaiming Obama a great friend of Israel and mendaciously denying that Obama has treated Israel with hostility.
Less than two weeks before I wrote my column, the JTA’s Ron Kampeas quoted Oren as saying “Obama often doesn’t get the credit he deserves in Israel,” duing a pre-Rosh Hashana interview with the Jewish media.
On the other hand, we have Goldberg, who has a record of flacking for Obama. In light of his record, it isn’t a stretch to believe that Goldberg wouldn’t recognize a pro-Obama speech if it slapped him in the face. After all, in his post attacking me, he defended Oren against the charge that he is stumping for Obama on the grounds that Oren merely “praises the Obama Administration when the Obama Administration comes to the aid of Israel, which it does, just in case you haven’t been paying attention, with some frequency.”
In other words, according to Goldberg, Oren isn’t really campaigning for Obama because Obama is a really great guy and really deserves to have Oren campaigning for him.
Whatever. I suppose Goldberg can claim one achievement with his latest silly attack against me. He got me to read him.