Tebow knows I’m not a speech police, and I agree with John that there’s nothing wrong with describing Jeff Goldberg as a “former Israeli prison guard”, given that his best known work is about his experiences as an Israeli prison guard, but I think everyone should stop using the phrase “Israel firster”. People like Spencer Ackerman have the same attitude and opinions about US policy towards Israel that I (and probably most of you) have, but unlike me (and probably most of you), they’re actively involved with trying to change it. If your political allies find the language you are using offensive and alienating, just better not to use it. What’s the point? Maybe when you say “Israel firster” you mean the real lunatics, but if other Americans who are interested in US policy towards Israel think that you’re questioning their loyalty to the US, then it’s just not productive to use the phrase.
I’ve described Jackson Diehl and Jennifer Rubin as “Israel firsters” before but I won’t again. Yes, they care primarily about what is going on in Israel to the exclusion of other issues, but that’s not what’s wrong with their punditry. What’s wrong with their punditry is that it advocates simple-minded, militaristic right-wing solutions to all of Israel’s problems.
I don’t call Rick Santorum an America-firster, I call him a bigoted, homophobic, right-wing asshole. Diehl and Rubin are bigoted, Islamophobic, right-wing assholes and should be described as such. To describe their support for self-destructive Likud party policies as “pro-Israel” cedes them ground they don’t deserve: I don’t think their blatherings are in any way beneficial to Israel as a nation, in point of fact.
There’s been a lot of discussion of the language that gets used here in the discussion of Israel, and I just wanted to get this off my chest.