A 70 year old zayde opens his morning’s New York Times. Confusion reigns. “Dershowitz, I know, sure. But who is this Spencer Ackerman? Is that name even Jewish?”
So the Emergency Committee on Israel, a hysterical right-wing organization determined to de-kosherize President Obama and cleave American Jews from their traditional liberalism, decided to hijack a quote of mine from the Tablet piece. They took out a Times ad to bash the Center for American Progress and Media Matters. Weigel did a recap here, including with the kind-of-weird spectacle of one friend interviewing another. Anyway, odd thing to wake up to this morning.
As I told Dave, they didn’t ask me about this. And that’s just to clarify: to be clear, what I wrote is public, and ECI is within its rights to use whatever. Had ECI asked me, though, this is what I would have told them: Guys, c’mon. Here I am, trying to carve out a space for liberal Zionism, and that includes calling out anti-semitic dogwhistles when they get on my nerves. You guys aren’t liberal Zionists, and we disagree on a lot of shit, but I would hope you’d agree that as long as we’re all Zionists, it’s better for liberal Zionism to exist than not exist. Putting my quote in your ad will make liberals suspicious of me, which in turn makes it harder for me to make a case for liberal Zionism. How is that helpful? Besides, people who read New York Times print ads probably have no idea who I am, but I guess that’s your business.
Anyway. The Forward weighed in on this and things got truly bizarre:
The ad… uses quotes from two Jewish leaders, Alan Dershowitz and Spencer Ackerman, who were not consulted and disapprove of the ad.
Inside the shtetl of American Jewry, the Forward is kind of a big deal. Which makes me the most heavily tattooed Jewish leader in our people’s proud, long history.