The Heresy Of Rosenthal

Go read Hannah Rosenthal's interview with Ha'aretz, and you will see why the neocons are so hostile to her appointment as the Obama administration's Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Here are her offensive remarks:

"We have seen huge increases in anti-Semitism. Research shows that 46 percent of the population in Spain has negative views of Jews - in Spain. Two days ago it was reported that anti-Semitic incidents in France more than doubled last year. Ninety-five percent of the Jordanians and Egyptians have negative views of Jews. How can we hope to get to this goal with this climate."

She goes on:

"I do believe that some of the criticism against Israel is anti-Semitism but not all of it is. And I think that healthy democracies - and Israel is one - has to do self reflection and the world looks at the light unto the nations and says I agree to this policy or I don't agree - that is not anti-Semitism. But having the UN single out Israel for 170 resolutions over the last five years - when everybody knows that Sudan is committing genocide and they have only five resolutions. When Israel is the only agenda item on the human rights council - I think it's legitimate to look at this singling out, holding Israel to a different standard than the rest of the world. I think that crosses the line to anti-Semitism."

"But it is not anti-Semitic to look at a certain policy of Israel and say - I disagree with it. Half of the population in Israel isn't anti-Semitic by not agreeing with policies."

This breaks the AIPAC unofficial line that any criticism of Israel's policies is anti-Semitic unless proven otherwise. But this is the last straw: she criticized the Israel ambassador Michael Oren's remarkable, undiplomatic snub of AIPAC's generational rival, J-Street:

Remarks by Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, against the liberal Jewish lobby J Street were "most unfortunate" according to Hannah Rosenthal, head of the U.S. administration's Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.

This is how my colleague Jeffrey Goldberg responded to this comment:

Talk about sticking your nose in places where it doesn't belong. The Obama Administration official charged with monitoring worldwide anti-Semitism makes her first target... the Israeli ambassador to the United States? I'll be taking bets now on how long Hannah Rosenthal lasts in the job.

First, this is untrue. As you can see, in this same interview she is highly critical of the UN and brutally frank about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and the Middle East. But for simply criticizing Oren's direct intervention in domestic Jewish-American politics, and his picking and choosing which pro-Israel group to snub or endorse, she is beyond the pale.

How long before she too is called an anti-Semite? Or has she been already?