Yair Rosenberg moves to ‘Atlantic’ to be the ‘Israel’ expert who ignores all the news from ‘Israel’

Yair Rosenberg moves to ‘Atlantic’ to be the Israel expert who ignores all the news from Israel

Yair Rosenberg is now ensconced at the Atlantic spreading his hasbara culture misunderstanding of the world’s response to Israel and Jews into American opinion, for years to come.



Hasbara Culture with Yakov Hirsch. A Mondoweiss Series.

Editor’s Note: The article is part of our series Hasbara Culture from Yakov Hirsch. You can read the entire series here.

In my writing I have shown that those who speaks for the Jews on antisemitism have had a big influence on political culture here and in Israel. That’s why it’s news that Yair Rosenberg’s newsletter, “Deep Shtetl,” was just picked up by Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic. This is a significant cultural event. Yair Rosenberg formerly of Tablet is now taking his worldview mainstream.

The reason why Jeffrey Goldberg chose Yair Rosenberg’s newsletter is because Rosenberg is an intellectual disciple of Jeffrey Goldberg. They both share and proselytize the same hasbara culture worldview. The hasbara culture worldview on antisemitism uses “ideas” about historical antisemitism in Europe to make sense of the place of Jews and Israel in the world today. Most people that hasbara culture claim are antisemites are no such thing. It’s all hasbara culture projection. (You can read further analysis here.)

But that’s now Yair Rosenberg’s job: He is going to take events from the real world and interpret them for the gentiles. He writes, “I am not so much writing for the Jews as from the Jews.” He will preach the “larger meaning” of the event. That larger meaning is inevitably, a demonstration of the world’s negative obsession with Jews and Israel.Advertisement

Rosenberg also told Jewish Insider that he wants to “upend our understanding of anti-Semitism.” That should not be allowed to happen. “Never again” journalists (as Goldberg was once described in the Washingtonian) should not be writing “from the Jews” to the world.

It is crucial that Atlantic readers understand what Yair Rosenberg has been up to the last ten years. The back story is important because like his mentor Goldberg, Rosenberg now plans on ideologically transforming himself. No more agitating against Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and other Democrats. For the sake of his mainstream career, it’s better for Rosenberg to ignore the left and turn himself into a J Street supporter. This is the only space available in mainstream anti-Trump Democratic culture: The ideological struggle going on in the Jewish world is between rightwing ZOA types and J Street. You must at least make lip service against the occupation to be taken seriously in liberal circles. And that’s where Rosenberg is heading.

That is why it is important to show that Yair Rosenberg has a very different view of the world than J Street supporters. You can separate the Jews in America between those who have felt pride in Netanyahu and those who have felt disgust. J Street has been standing up to Netanyahu since 2009. And from Rosenberg? Not one peep about Netanyahu’s war on democracy in Israel. No, Rosenberg shept nachas (experienced pride) from Netanyahu’s supposed intellectuality (below).

Rosenberg has nothing to say about the crimes of the occupation. Nothing in support of Israeli human rights organizations under assault.

Here is some of the latest news from Israel that Rosenberg will ignore. He has one foot in the hasbara culture world and one foot in the world of liberal conventional wisdom. That’s why he will not take a stand on anything. He’s the Israel expert who ignores all the news from Israel.

Goldberg and Rosenberg don’t bother with the news from Israel because their claim to fame is as experts on the enemies of the Jews. “Never again” journalists excel at sanctimonious moralizing when it comes to the sins of rest of the world but go silent when it is their own communities’ transgressions.

“Never again” journalists preach to the rest of the world how to get rid of hate in their midst while ignoring all the hatred coming from Israel.

“Never again” journalists never moralize about Israel the way J Street does. Every day there is some new information about Israel’s unconscionable behavior. But as I have shown, when it comes to ethnocentric hasbara culture, everything Israel “must” do (to defend itself) is “understandable.”

So, what does Yair Rosenberg stand for? Where along the Jewish ideological spectrum is he to be found? What has he sounded like the last ten years?

The fact is that Rosenberg like Goldberg has been a Netanyahu ideological ally. Rosenberg has cultivated and proselytized the same hasbara culture worldview and identity that Netanyahu promotes.

Let’s take an example from the real world. Netanyahu and Rosenberg proselytize a world view that makes peace in Israel/Palestine impossible with their portrayal of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

Is Abbas someone (from the Israeli perspective) that they can reach a peace agreement with? Is he trustworthy? Israel’s security services certainly think so. Even a couple of former prime ministers say so too. At the cost of being thought a traitor to his own people Abbas has been an Israel subcontractor in suppressing Palestinian resistance. From the Israeli perspective the 86-year-old leader is the best Israel is going to get.

We know what J Street feels about Abbas:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=mondoweiss&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1227381656945938432&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fmondoweiss.net%2F2021%2F11%2Fyair-rosenberg-moves-to-atlantic-to-be-the-israel-expert-who-ignores-all-the-news-from-israel%2F&sessionId=df17f814c2e4df6525a2d8075ff7e37cbc5ac9e5&siteScreenName=mondoweiss&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9fd78d5%3A1638479056965&width=550px

And we know how Netanyahu and the Israeli right feel about Abbas:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=mondoweiss&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1227455264791629828&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fmondoweiss.net%2F2021%2F11%2Fyair-rosenberg-moves-to-atlantic-to-be-the-israel-expert-who-ignores-all-the-news-from-israel%2F&sessionId=df17f814c2e4df6525a2d8075ff7e37cbc5ac9e5&siteScreenName=mondoweiss&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9fd78d5%3A1638479056965&width=550px

So, what does Yair Rosenberg make of Abbas?

(I cannot put the actual thread here because, like many other hasbara culture tweets, this one has been deleted by Rosenberg.)

When you follow the logic of Rosenberg’s tweet, when you accept the “meaning” he attaches to Abbas you end up with the very same Jewish worldview of Caroline Glick that Abbas is a Holocaust-denier, a terrorist, and an antisemite. Or else you are a hypocrite. And if Abbas is a true “antisemite” the way hasbara culture thinks of the antisemite, then Israeli Jews would have to be crazy to make deals with Abbas, and J Street is a “stab in the back”-“worse than kapo” organization.

It was not only Rosenberg who proselytized that Abbas was not a partner for peace. Rosenberg’s mentor Goldberg also took Abbas’s innocent error involving a story about Palestinian wells when speaking to the European parliament as evidence he was intentionally spreading a Jewish “blood libel.”

As I have written elsewhere, in the hasbara culture discourse, violations involving historical “tropes and canards” merely confirm a belief about someone who is already thought a Jew hater.

And it’s not only Abbas that Goldberg and Rosenberg have special insight into. It’s all forms of Palestinian resistance to occupation and expanding settlement.

Here Goldberg and Rosenberg claim to be giving the “historically informed” truth on the “deeper” meaning of Palestinian violence. They are gifted with insight into “the roots” of Palestinian resistance to Israel.

That is why Rosenberg’s ideas must be publicized. Because Rosenberg is the last person to listen to on antisemitism. He has little understanding of the “enemies of Israel” and the “antisemites.”

It’s important to emphasize that Rosenberg was the reasonable one at Tablet. He was no Liel Leibovitz who no objective person takes seriously. Rosenberg speaks and makes pronouncements from the sane Jewish community.

Here are some more “historically informed” Rosenberg “ideas” about Abbas.

Abbas has not only denied the Jewish genocide, he has falsely accused the Jewish state of perpetrating genocide. In September 2014, addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Abbas proclaimed that it was “a year of a new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people.”

Another Rosenberg variation on that theme:

“Thus, while admitting that the Holocaust did technically transpire, he [Abbas] nonetheless manages to blame the Jews for it.”

Rosenberg’s article about Abbas’s “blood libel” tells us more about Rosenberg than about Abbas. If one thinks of the world from Abbas’s perspective, he is guilty of nothing.

Rosenberg is so ethnocentric that he can’t imagine that Abbas is ethnocentric too. Hasbara culture can’t grasp that Abbas is thinking from the Palestinian perspective not the Jewish one. Because everything according to hasbara culture is about the Jews.

Rosenberg has plainly (mis)interpreted Abbas for a Jewish audience.

And this same Yair Rosenberg is now ensconced at the Atlantic spreading his misunderstanding of the world into American opinion, for years to come.

With “Deep Shtetl” Jeffrey Goldberg is trying to sneak in hasbara culture through the back door. Neither Jeffrey Goldberg nor Yair Rosenberg are “historically informed.” And they need to face resistance when attempting to speak “from the Jews.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *