In my column for The Week, I discuss the recent debate in the left-wing bloggosphere over former AIPAC spokesman Josh Block:
A blogosphere spat is revealing an important fracture in the Democratic Party and liberal institutions.
The spat erupted nearly a week ago. The website Salon.com published a story reporting that Josh Block, a former spokesman for AIPAC, America’s pro-Israel lobby, had collected a trove of provocative quotes from anti-Israel bloggers.
Here’s Justin Elliott’s breathless Salon lead:
The former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is shopping a 3,000-word trove of opposition research against bloggers critical of Israel to friendly neoconservative journalists.
I’ve obtained an email sent by Josh Block to a private listserv called the Freedom Community, in which he throws around accusations of anti-Semitism against liberal bloggers and calls on other list members to “echo” and “amplify” his assault and “use the below [research] to attack the bad guys.”
You might wonder: Where’s the story here? AIPAC exists to support Israel and refute attacks on Israel. In order to refute attacks, you have to keep tally of those attacks. As for “throwing around” accusations of anti-Semitism — well, here’s what Salon goes on to say. (Some of the references will be a little obscure, but we’ll circle back and clarify as the story unfolds.)
He [Block] wasted no time throwing around more accusations of anti-Semitism.
“This kind of anti-Israel sentiment is so fringe it’s support by CAP is outrageous, but at least it is out in the open now — as is their goal — clearly applauded by revolting allies like the pro-HAMAS and anti-Zionist/One State Solution advocate Ali Abunumiah and those who accuse pro-Israel Americans of having ‘dual loyalties’ or being ‘Israel-Firsters’ — to shape the minds of future generations of Democrats,” Block writes. “These are the words of anti-Semites, not Democratic political players.”