The End of “Israel-Firster”

Media Matters’ M.J. Rosenberg announces his retirement of the term “Israel-firster:”

Not surprisingly, I have been under assault by various people on the right for my vigorous criticism of AIPAC and its role in promoting confrontation with Iran. My critics are particularly irked that I use the term Israel Firster to describe people who, in my opinion, put the interests of the Israeli right above everything else. This includes politicians such as Newt Gingrich, who as far as I know, is not Jewish. Watching the AIPAC conference convinced me that I must recommit myself to fighting those who are working to lead this country and/or Israel to war in Iran.

But I will do so without using the term “Israel Firster.” The term was coined in 1960 by the late Abram Leon Sachar, founding President of Brandeis University, and a renowned Jewish historian (his son Howard Morley Sachar remains the greatest historian of contemporary Jewry) and was first used by the elder Sachar in a speech he delivered that year to a Zionist organization.

It has proven to be a distraction, allowing the pro-war lobby to focus on my choice of words rather than the substance of my arguments. I will not be using it again, for many reasons including the fact that some good people were genuinely offended by it. That was not my intention. My intention is to focus like the proverbial laser on the threat posed by war with Iran and the 45 year occupation.

I discussed the use of the term with Sarah Wildman recently on Bloggingheads; some background on the right-wing attack on Rosenberg and others for being “anti-Israel” is here

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