MJ Rosenberg vs. ATFP

Readers of my work will be aware that I have frequently cited the articles of MJ Rosenberg, late of the Israel Policy Forum and who now works for Media Matters. In recent days, MJ has been going absolutely ballistic over the American Task Force on Palestine’s (ATFP) engagement with a group called The Israel Project.

In a recent piece on Talking Points Memo Café, MJ wrote: “…in sucking up to the pro-settler, anti-Palestinian Israel Project, they are trying (yes, I believe it’s intentional) to weaken the progressive forces in the pro-Israel community

MJ Rosenberg

like J Street, Americans for Peace Now, Jewish Voice For Peace, and the others. After all, if the Palestinians endorse a far right Zionist organization, why should Jews bother with the likes of J Street?”

Where I differ with MJ is that I do not think that ATFP did this intentionally. But other than that, I have to say, I think he’s right about how their recent actions undermine the efforts of Jewish peace groups and also give legitimacy to a group, The Israel Project (TIP), which is not just a right-wing group, but one that has actively promoted hatred and stereotypical images of Palestinians.

The JTA reported on the meeting between Salam Fayyad and TIP, and described ATFP’s involvement this way:

Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, which helped arrange the recent evening with Fayyad, said his organization sees engaging with the mainstream of the American Jewish community as critical to making negotiations work.

“We have to have the best possible relations with the widest swath of Jewish American groups,” Ibish said. “We want to talk with any organization that is interested in a two-state solution.”

The American Task Force on Palestine also dialogues with AIPAC and the American Jewish Committee, he said.

Ibish, however, questioned The Israel Project’s ties with Marcus and other figures who over the years have depicted the whole of Islam as implacably radical.

MJ linked to two articles that do a good job of reflecting the sort of “information” TIP puts out about Palestinians. This group goes well beyond the American Jewish Committee (AJC) or AIPAC in the sort of bile they put out about Palestinians. Continue reading