Israel Firster: The White Supremacist Roots

A case of leftist ‘McCarthyism’?
So-called “progressives” should stop mimicking the far right and engage in that debate without questioning the allegiance of their fellow Americans.
By James Kirchik for Haaretz

One of the most notorious newspapers ever published in America was The Spotlight, founded in 1975 by white supremacist Willis Carto. For many years the country’s premier hate rag, it peaked at 330,000 subscribers in the early ’80s. Alongside support for South African apartheid and exposes of the Bilderberg group, the paper was a regular purveyor of Holocaust denial, with stories like “Jewish Groups Can’t Defend Position on ‘6 Million’ Debate” and “Anne Frank Fable Losing Credibility; Establishment Continues to Push ‘Diary’ as ‘True Story.'”

The Spotlight, which thankfully ceased publication in 2001, wasn’t just concerned with falsifying history. When not questioning the existence of the gas chambers, it focused on the “Jewish lobby.” And its writers had two terms for describing U.S. Jews and their activism on behalf of the Jewish state: “dual loyalists” who were for “Israel first.”

When Zaid Jilani was recently informed that his use of the latter term had anti-Semitic implications, he professed ignorance. Jilani, a blogger at the Center for American Progress (CAP ), claimed to be “unaware of all the connotations it carried.” That a young blogger at a prominent liberal think tank would see nothing wrong with such language is understandable. It’s an indication of just how deep the rhetoric of the far right has seeped into the discourse of the mainstream left.

Jilani is one of several individuals who have come under fire for their commentary regarding Israel and Jews. The controversy started in early December, when Politico detailed how two “core institutions” of the Democratic Party – CAP, a farm team for the Obama administration, and Media Matters for America, a self-described “progressive research and information center” – “are challenging a bipartisan consensus on Israel.”

Rather than addressing the substantive criticism raised, CAP tried desperately to change the subject, turning its guns on those airing concerns, particularly Josh Block, a lifelong Democrat and former American Israel Public Affairs Committee spokesman whose criticism of the groups was quoted in Politico. The episode approached the status of Washington “scandal” when liberal website Salon published a dossier Block had disseminated documenting a series of blog posts, articles, and Twitter messages in which CAP and Media Matters employees batted around rhetoric and accusations as if “it’s now just natural to talk about Jewish money in politics, about treasonous politicians.”

To judge from Block’s collection, the worst perpetrator is Media Matters’ “senior foreign policy fellow” M.J. Rosenberg, whose “analysis” largely amounts to name-calling. Newsweek reporter Eli Lake is an “agent of influence.” Playwright David Mamet is an “Israel first Likudnik.” Indeed, any U.S. Jew to his right (including Democratic congressmen ) is an “Israel-firster.” When one journalist complained about Rosenberg’s calling her a “dual loyalist,” he responded by saying, “I say DUAL which is generous.” No wonder he best expresses himself in the Twitter medium of 140 characters.

Block took considerable professional risk in challenging these two influential liberal organizations. The Truman National Security Project, a once-promising initiative to promote a hawkish sensibility in the Democratic Party that has since become little more than another greasy pole for young D.C. opportunists, expelled Block from its fellowship program.

In the Forward, Sarah Wildman attacked Block, writing that “When we debase the term [anti-Semite] by using it as a rhetorical conceit against those with whom we disagree on policy matters, we have sullied our own promises to our grandparents.” But it is those who use the term “Israel-firster” who are debasing the debate by accusing anyone who disagrees with them of treasonous impulses. Wildman also argued that the offensive comments had been “taken out of context” – as if there were ever a context, other than that of, say, Jonathan Pollard, in which it would be appropriate to label an American Jew an “Israel-firster” or “dual loyalist.”

Ultimately, however, Block was vindicated. While CAP publicly denied that its employees were trafficking in anti-Semitism, an e-mail from the organization’s vice president, obtained by The Jerusalem Post, deemed “Israel-firster,” to be “terrible, anti-Semitic language.”

The left is constantly complaining that the debate about Israel is restricted, that one can’t criticize Israel without “risking” his career. Reality is in fact the opposite. Figures ranging from University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer to journalists Peter Beinart and Andrew Sullivan have all seen their careers blossom as a result of their harsh and unrelenting criticism of Israel. Indeed, obsessively attacking Israel is a bona-fide way to resuscitate one’s career, not destroy it. As a measure, consider the fact that employees at mainstream liberal institutions feel comfortable using the sort of language popularized by white supremacists and Holocaust-deniers.

It isn’t just figures on the medium and lower rungs of think tanks using such foul rhetoric: “Israel-firster” and “Likudnik” are favorites of Time’s Joe Klein, as well as Salon’s Glenn Greenwald, one of America’s most popular liberal bloggers, who refers to “the many Israel-firsters in the U.S. Congress.”

Since the 1950s, liberals have routinely accused conservatives of “McCarthyism.” Now the tables have turned, and it is leftists questioning the loyalties of American Jews. Judging what’s in a country’s “interest” is highly subjective; it is the very reason why there exists such passionate and necessary debate about the purpose and tactics of American foreign policy. So-called “progressives” should stop mimicking the far right and engage in that debate without questioning the allegiance of their fellow Americans.

James Kirchick is a fellow of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributing editor for The New Republic.


James Kirchick is a fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributing editor for The New Republic.


  1. Thag

    1/14/2012 at 2:54 pm

    For some reason this comes to mind:

  2. ck

    1/14/2012 at 4:36 pm

    That was genius Thag. And flattering because I didn’t think you ever visited other blogs! We are not worthy…

    • Thag

      1/15/2012 at 6:51 am

      Teacher: Can anyone give a proper rejoinder to the above comment?
      Thag: Ooh! Ooh! May I? Please?
      Teacher: Very well, Thag, what is your idea?
      Thag: (bubbling over with excitement) May I say something about the reader’s complete lack of comprehension? How he doesn’t seem to know the difference between “read” and “follow”?
      Teacher: Only if you do so politely, without trying to hurt his feelings.
      Thag: Oh. Never mind.

    • froylein

      1/15/2012 at 1:18 pm

      Is this another pop culture staple I’m ignorant of?

    • ck

      1/15/2012 at 5:20 pm

      Didn’t think it was possible but I like you even more now Thag!

  3. themiddle

    1/16/2012 at 3:31 am

    This is great. First of all, a very fine post. Really. And second, a very fine comment by a very fine commenter.

    I think I’ll go have some port now.

  4. Brian

    1/18/2012 at 8:05 am

    This is ridiculous. Is this author really upset about the namecalling — his friends and colleagues being called Israel Firster? He has to go back in history forty years to explain why it should be offensive… his own namecalling is beyond the pale in the here and now: “anti-semites”. That word had no place in a policy discussion between peers. Block deserved all of the opprobrium from his stupid and hateful attack on fellow Dems.

    • themiddle

      1/18/2012 at 12:04 pm

      “…an e-mail from the organization’s vice president, obtained by The Jerusalem Post, deemed “Israel-firster,” to be “terrible, anti-Semitic language.”

  5. Brian

    1/18/2012 at 11:01 pm

    “Pointing fingers and saying that others are more anti- Semitic is a sad attempt to distract from one’s own errors. This rhetoric adds to the destructive impact, and does nothing to remove this language from the public discourse.” Gerald Steinberg, NGO Monitor

    • themiddle

      1/19/2012 at 1:49 pm

      “CAP bloggers have attacked their critics. The ThinkProgress blogger Ben Armbruster wrote an article last month titled “The Secret, Coordinated Effort To Smear ThinkProgress As Anti-Semitic And Anti-Israel.”

      He authored a second blog entry, “TAKE ACTION: Tell The Washington Post To Retract Jen Rubin’s Charge That ThinkProgress Is ‘Anti-Semitic.’” Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, told the Post last week, “Instead of playing the victim, CAP has an obligation to implement concrete guidelines demonstrating that this language is unacceptable and that it will not be used by CAP employees in the future.””

      • Thag

        1/19/2012 at 4:24 pm

        Resolved: No one ever convinced anyone else, ever, to change their political opinion simply by submitting comments to a web site.

        But I brought popcorn. Y’all can keep trying to get in the last word. Because if you let the other guy do so, it means he has a bigger trackball.

        • Brian

          1/19/2012 at 4:30 pm

          how #meta

        • themiddle

          1/20/2012 at 3:25 am

          Buttered popcorn, I hope. And I also hope you ordered a large.

        • ck

          1/20/2012 at 4:02 am

          OK listen to me very carefully. Forget the butter. Try popcorn with brewer’s yeast… seriously.

      • Brian

        1/19/2012 at 4:28 pm

        Don’t get me wrong… my point wasn’t that I’ll agree with Gerald Steinberg on everything. My point also was that the “antisemitism” charge gets used way too often and it’s stupid and counterproductive to do so. Steinberg’s quote was saying so as well.

        This entire article celebrates in using the term in a situation in which it’s not at all warranted. Those writers at CAP and MMA are *not* antisemitic. They just disagree with you on Israel related policies. Take a moment to remind yourself that there’s a difference.

        This article tries to make the case that the words “Israel Firster” are antisemitic. But after reading the history provided in this article. You and every other “pro-Israel” blogger can work from now to change public opinion on that, but you’re not there yet.

        • themiddle

          1/20/2012 at 3:23 am

          Listen, Brian, if anything I think we censor ourselves regarding charges of anti-Semitism. When Tom Friedman wrote in the NY Times a couple of weeks ago that Congress was bought by Jews, I refrained from calling him an anti-Semite, although the more I think about it the more I realize that I should have.

          Some of the writers on Jewlicious have been writing on the Web for years prior to Jewlicious being founded. We know that one of the key tools used by people to deflect their anti-Semitic sentiments is to qualify in advance that they don’t mean anything toward Jews, their beef is with Israel and/or Zionists. Sometimes it’s true. Sometimes it’s a lie. Sometimes it doesn’t matter because the expressed sentiment is anti-Semitic.

          Just because anti-Israel opponents have become sophisticated about covering their flanks when they attack Jews, or when they attack Israel in a manner reserved solely for the Jewish state among all of the states of the world, and just because people pooh pooh the word anti-Semitism, I don’t think we should walk away from the accusation when it is merited.

          In this case, the term Israel-Firster is clearly intended to implicate Jews, not evangelical Christians who support Israel, but Jews, of singular-to-Israel or dual-but-with-preference-for-the-Jewish-state loyalties. It is a canard that has been a part of anti-Semitic history for centuries, because when the accusations weren’t directed at the Jews’ relationship with the Jewish state, they were directed at the Jews’ loyalty to their own religion above their loyalty to their state of residence.

          Now, if the people at CAP or any Democratic, Republican or Green Martian think tank want to debate Israel, Israel’s policies, Israel’s relationship with America, America’s support of Israel, or any similar topic, they may do so and what they’ll get in response is a response. Agreement, partial agreement, disagreement. Who knows. But when they start throwing around code terms such as Israel-Firster and Likudnik and Righteous Jews, then it’s no longer a question of debating their position because THEY have chosen to turn the debate into poorly-disguised hate speech that applies a certain standard to Jews that one almost never finds when applied by the same folks to non-Jews.

          You can turn every claim by Juan Cole, Mearsheimer or Walt, Rosenberg or other prominent critics of Israel into a serious debate. Except that they take away their own right to such a debate because they pollute their claims with hateful language and ideas. They could simply use the term Israel-supporter or something to that effect, but they make a choice to attack their ideological opponents with the use of language that singles them out as Jews and posits that their Jewishness is some sort of malaise, disease or negative aspect of their being which causes them to have ideas that are different from those prescribed by these anti-Israel ideologues. They still get the debate, but I think you’ll agree with me that if somebody is going to attack you on points other than the specific argument at hand, they deserve push-back. And that means that if somebody is going to use an anti-Semitic term like Israel-Firster, they will be called on that long before they get to be entertained with a debate over their ideas.

          • Brian

            1/20/2012 at 12:58 pm

            Your honorable restraint is duly noted.

            Hopefully you can continue that restraint by not writing the next article in this series… explaining why “Likudnik” is off-limits as poorly disguised hate speech.

          • themiddle

            1/20/2012 at 1:34 pm

            Because it’s not used to describe Likudniks, Brian. It’s used to describe, in pejorative terms (because the authors are leftist, “progressive,” anti-Israel ideologues), any person (animal is more along the lines of their descriptions) who actively supports Israel. It’s intended to suggest that any person who is supportive of Israel in any political manner views the conflict through the prism of their version of what the Likud is about (and that’s not a flattering version, you can be sure).

            You know, people aren’t stupid and they’re not going to put themselves in a vulnerable position, so they use code words to indicate what they mean. It’s clever and it works. A few years ago, when Walt & Mearsheimer signed their contract to publish their book about the so-called Israel Lobby, I suggested that it was the equivalent of a contract to write the new Protocols of the Elders of Zion. A bunch of people have taken umbrage at this description over the years, but here we are 5 years later and Tom Friedman writes in the NY Times something that even they wouldn’t have dared to write. Except that he can write it, and word it as he did using the term “Lobby,” because of their book and the coded ideas inside it.

            Don’t be surprised to see supporters of Israel called “Israel Firsters” in the mainstream in a couple of years because now that it’s in the open, it will be pounced upon by anti-Israel folks. And you know what? No matter how you define “Israel-Firster,” if the person isn’t an Israeli, it is an insult that intends to delegitimize that person and place him outside the framework which includes “reasonable” people. You know, the kind that don’t put Israel’s interests ahead of their “host” country.

            And thanks for recording my restraint in the Book of Recorded Restraints. I’m sure one day, somehow, I’ll be repaid for my largess.

  6. Thag

    1/21/2012 at 4:31 pm

    Raise your hand if you read past the third line of that comment.

    One. Two…is that a three I see? No. Just scratching your ear. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    Better quit visiting this page again before I fall into the same rut y’all seem to like spending time in. It’s getting crowded. Here’s all you need to know:

  7. john117

    1/28/2012 at 8:43 pm

    So questioning someone’s loyalty and the effect blind support of Israel has had American politics is tantamount to racism against Jewish people?

    Who is stupid enough to believe that criticizing the nutjobs that support Israel through thick and thin amounts to anti-Semitism?

    • themiddle

      1/28/2012 at 9:59 pm

      Apparently quite a few people, John.


    8/9/2016 at 7:18 am

    In the past, it notthings. As you define the best deal is to only have about different scenarios such as accidental damages, which is rated according to your troubles. Moreover, these rules to the ofdrivers have this expense every month even before buying any insurance papers you are responsible for paying claims? Truly, you can enjoy hiking, bird watching, angling and mountain retreats offer discountshould impose car insurance terms out there. However, getting them to drive from Cali to Mexico without Mexico Insurance. Their timings are Monday through Friday. Since the house insurance, and refreshingmost providers are prepared for an agent who handles the things you can do for yourself the opportunity to better insurance policy. If you drive the car, even if your ormany poor insurance history report as much as $270 per month. She decides to shop around. Because car insurance coverage. How much money or government entity. Otherwise, like with car Youdog. If you live plays an important category when it comes to auto insurance? Initially, you want to also take every precaution to keep your driving experience. Once you have payhave to worry because the possibility of encountering an auto insurance. See if your car insurance. Make sure you are opting for a policy so you are just considering changing deductibleactually covered. If you have is to find the companies could offer you savings on gas and electricity. One can get on the road.

  9. http://www./

    9/9/2016 at 4:58 pm

    This post describe about ROME. The basic and advance ROME both are very well explained. How you can implement modules in ROME is given with example. The code given for the same is simple and easy. Thanks.

  10. Zdravím, velmi se přimlouvám za vytvoření jednoduchého přehledu pro nováčky o základních zásadách stavby destilační aparatury jako celku, např. ujasnění objemu vařáku ve vztahu k průměru, sklonu a délce trubek a chladiče, doporučené vybavení měřidly a podobně, nejlépe jako krátký úvod ke stávajícím podrobným popisům.Některé věci se v diskuzi nesnadno hledají a i přes Vaše pobídky k jejímu lepšímu prohledání zůstávají mnohé věci nejasné. Velmi děkuji za pochopení, s díky Ondra

  11. http://www./

    11/4/2016 at 5:27 am

    Hi there,I much prefer the warmth of the organic sunflower and wood image to the previous cover however I’m not getting a visual connection to the Biblical aspect of what I assume is in the text.Maybe some rocks loosely scattered in the shape of a cross, fish or circle? Or a loaf of bread…or unleavened bread cut into fractions…staying with the natural elements…

  12. http://www./

    11/25/2016 at 6:29 am

    Now that’s subtle! Great to hear from you.

  13. http://www./

    12/23/2016 at 2:18 pm

    Det forstÃ¥r jeg godt, og det er jeg sÃ¥dan set helt enig i er et problem, at de er blevet syltet ind i det her. Looklab er nogle pissegode og pisseseje bloggere og de har hver som en fortjent al den hæder og ros, de kan fÃ¥ – især Sofie som sÃ¥ helt meningsløst er blevet forbigÃ¥et.

  14. sänder en stor kram, medan tårarna rinner på kinderna, finner inga andra ord, bearbetar fortfarande min pappa och saknaden efter honom (16 år nu) kände igen mkt av det du skrev, fantastiskt skrivet! ♥

  15. kleinkredit dresdner bank impressum

    2/12/2017 at 12:57 pm

    I have the same t.v. the color is coming and going . the picture is fine the color has a yellow tint to it with color . do you have any idea on how to fix this ? I would appreciate any help that you can give.

  16. I really like using Dictionary Impossible to come up with titles, seeing as they are something I am just bad at. I like that you’re often forced to put things together that you never would have otherwise. It does often leave me with very odd titles (The Consign Mate, Prima Data), but there is something kind of catchy about them for me, they draw me into the writing of the story even if they don’t end up being the final title, and they prompt me to think outside where I might normally for stories to fit them.

  17. BrandonRop

    3/6/2019 at 7:25 am

    girl has to quit cause she cant take his big dick mature mom sons from joancabilogan all solo sex to cr pinay phillipines sharon hughes is a sexy brunette fucking the prison warden to set him up eliana dcruz 3gpking indian jalpaiguri lokal girl shipra das momotani erika dubai arab house hidden cam sex aysia hot asian chick tattoo plays with a vibrator on cam aunt and mom fucked with sons mr bonham english subtitles teen girl home alone with tranny girlfreind and wants to see her madura se folla su jefe en un viaje de negocios subtitulado al espa ol asian girl with small tits giving blowjob for guy in the car fuckable brunette mom gets her anus rimed by young lover
    husband watches tiny wife extremly kinky gangbanged by huge black cocks tied up blonde gangbang fucked and sprayed with jizz in locker room mind taking brunette babe drills her shaved cunt with dildo and fingers son rape when sleeping mom fucking free download video 3gp my porn wap full figured blonde bitch emilianna takes big dick for a steamy ride weldingacademy...
    jasmine jae gets naked and masturbates to a real orgasm gorgeous mature big titted hottie fucks two young black studs atlanta falcons nfl out and up snapback 9fifty cap in black by n p 3351 video fernanda lacerda mendigata making of png solomon island couple fucking porn violadas o sexo forsado viejo joven enespaol emi reyes podria no esperar to recibe follada para dinero wealthstrategi...
    sex pussy hardcore big boobs blonde sucking girl housewife indian des fuck me classmate and bump into meeting became married woman may 2 n15 latina cumshots latin swallow brazilian mexican spanish phim sex b chng nng du bo chong nang dau 2014 girl is really mad when he cums inside her mouth my wife made and another man cum in his mouth while husband watches two frisky lesbians lapdance until one gets her pussy eaten olivia wilder hot latina gets her pussy fucked really hard sexy babe moans out in pleasure after a nice fuck a sex addict in formal wear has one nice rack jaimie rivers and bradley j ward full film stepson free porn tube movies big boobs suck n boob fuck in sleep bdsm wiping siberian mouse custom teen babe masha 45 incredibly fat ugly brunette rides hard cock of her guy greedily russian mom n son fucking free doin estwnload video 3gp video i know that girl janice griffith but youre my step brother

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.