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In a radio interview today, left-leaning Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz called on Media Matters to disassociate itself from the views and ideas of anti-Israel writer M.J. Rosenberg.
Amid a series of reporters detailing his activism, Rosenberg stepped down from the Fox News-bashing activist group earlier this month.
“Media Matters has taken an important first step to disassociate themselves from this bigot,” said Dershowitz. “Now they have to take a second step and disassociate themselves from his ideas.”
Dershowitz was speaking on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio.
In February, Dershowitz took to Klein’s program to vow a campaign to personally make the Media Matters for America controversy into a re-election issue for President Obama.
Dershowitz took particular issue with Media Matters coverage of Israel, primarily rhetoric from then-Media Matters Action Network senior fellow M.J. Rosenberg, who is known for his extreme anti-Israel views.
Rosenberg has been pushing the phrase “Israel Firster,” implying those who support the Jewish state put Israel’s needs before those of the U.S.
Earlier this month, Rosenberg announced he is leaving Media Matters to maintain his own blog.
Rosenberg also got himself into hot water for falsely accusing the Drudge Report of racism claiming the popular website used an incorrect photo of shooting victim Trayvon Martin. Rosenberg tweeted an apology saying he had mixed up Drudge’s correct photo with one used on the website of pundit Michelle Malkin that had incorrectly identified Martin.
“The reason for this step is that it disturbed me greatly to see an organization to which I am devoted facing possible harm because of my critical writings about Israel,” he wrote.
“I have no doubt that the crowd that opposes any and all criticism of Israeli government policies will continue to turn its guns on Media Matters if I am associated with it,” he continued.
“I could not live with myself if that happened – not only because I care deeply about the organization and my colleagues, but also because Media Matters does such important work confronting the lies that emanate from the far right and especially Fox News.”
Dershowitz says Rosenberg’s move is not enough.
“I am not satisfied with Media Matters,” the lawyer told Klein today. “I think they fired him, even though he says he’s retired. He’s still being funded apparently by that mysterious Hong Kong person who supports all the anti-Israel stuff along with George Soros.”
Continued Dershowitz: “Media Matters hasn’t indicated any apology for using a blogger that calls us all Israel-firsters, which suggests that we are not loyal to our country. This wasn’t just anti-Israel. This was classic anti-Semitism. Saying that AIPAC doesn’t have loyalty to America. Accusing many senators and congressmen of dual loyalty. That’s just old fashion anti-Semitism, and it’s a good thing Media Matters disassociated itself from it.”
Asked if he’ll continue his campaign to make Media Matters into an election issue for President Obama, Dershowitz replied: “No, No. I have won this issue.”
“Rosenberg has been fired. He’s no longer with Media Matters. As far as I am concerned the campaign has succeeded. Let’s move on. Obviously if Media Matters hires someone like, you know, Norman Finkelstein to replace him, I’m back at work. But at the moment I’m moving on to other things.”
A series of reports has exposed the embattled Media Matters’ purported illicit tactics, including compiling a de facto enemies list; announcing an all-out campaign of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” aimed at the Fox News Channel; and reportedly seeking to investigate the personal lives of reporters and news personalities.
The information came amid reports White House staffers held regular meetings and even a weekly conference call with Media Matters.
Is this why Media Matters hired anti-Israel activist?
Prior to joining Media Matters, Rosenberg worked for a progressive Mideast policy organization that shares the same top donor as Media Matters.
A WND review of finances has found that Rosenberg’s former employer shares the same top donor as Media Matters.
WND previously reported the George Soros-funded Tides Foundation is the single biggest donor to Media Matters, providing a total of $4.1 million to the media attack group during the fiscal years of 2004 through 2009.
Tides is also a prominent donor to the Israel Policy Forum, where Rosenberg worked as director of policy analysis until switching in 2009 to the Media Matters Action Network, the anti-Fox group’s affiliated progressive lobby
Rosenberg was by far the loudest voice at the Israel Policy Forum, a tiny New York-based organization that largely disappeared from the public debate after Rosenberg departed.
WND found the Tides Foundation provided the Israel Policy Forum with $35,500 in 2004; $27,000 in 2005 and $26,000 in 2006. Smaller grants of $1,000 in 2007 and $500 in 2008 were provided, as well.
Rosenberg previously explained why Media Matters hired him.
“Until I got there [Media Matters] had nothing on foreign policy. They hired me specifically to be involved with this issue, with the Palestinian issue, with [the issue of] stopping the war with Iran.”
Anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi websites
Rosenberg has long held controversial views. His writings are routinely found on anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi websites. He doubles as a columnist with both the Huffington Post and Al Jazeera’s English website.
He has called Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu a “terrorist” and Israel’s President Shimon Peres an “uberhawk on Iran” who has “undermined” Obama.
He has denied that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ever threatened to wipe Israel off the map, suggesting it was a mistranslation despite similar rhetoric being regularly repeated by top Iranian officials.
Rosenberg has compared the violence of terrorist-supporting anti-Israel activists on recent Gaza flotillas with “civil rights demonstrators who sat down at segregated lunch counters through the south.”
He recently defended reporter Helen Thomas against charges of anti-Semitism for saying the Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” while he criticized Obama for “diss[ing] her,” calling instead for Thomas to be “salute[d].”
Media Matters tied to MoveOn.org, ACORN
Tides, meanwhile, is a controversial far-left clearinghouse that funds groups such as MoveOn.org, ACORN and a litany of anti-war organizations.
The Tides Foundation is funded in part by Soros, himself a prominent Media Matters donor via his Open Society Institute.
Tides functions as a money tunnel in which major leftist donors provide large sums that are channeled to hundreds of radical groups.
Tides documentation reviewed by WND shows the group provided a total of $4.1 million to Media Matters during the fiscal years of 2004-2009.
During that same time period, Tides provided an additional $110,000 to the Media Matters Action Network.
The Tides Foundation funding to Media Matters was most significant during the progressive news organization’s startup year in 2004, when Tides granted it $2.2 million.
In 2005, Tides sent another $1.1 million to Media Matters.
The years 2006 and 2007 saw smaller Tides donations of $56,223 and $38,225 respectively.
In 2008, a significant Tides donation of $659,500 came in to Media Matters, with another $106,038 in 2009.
In 2010, the Tides Center expressed public support for Media Matters when the media group stepped up its activism against Fox News by posting a Web page dedicated to anti-Fox material along with an online petition that pressed Fox’s advertisers to “Drop Fox.” At the time, Tides chief executive and founder, Drummond Pike, endorsed Media Matters’ campaign.
Media Matters already admitted to taking $1 million directly from Soros. The billionaire has donated more than $7 million to Tides over the years.
Now the revelation of Tides donations to Media Matters may raise more questions about the partiality of media group. Tides is one of the biggest financial backers of progressive and radical left groups in the U.S.
For example, Tides is a primary funder to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, and is closely tied to the group implicated in voter fraud. The Tides Center’s board chairman is Wade Rathke, ACORN’s founder and chief organizer.
Tides also is a primary funder to MoveOn.org, the American Civil Liberties Union, Campaign for America’s Future; the Center for American Progress; the Center for Community Change; the socialist-leaning Democracy Now!; the Marxist-founded Free Press; and Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies.
Tides has been closely linked to Occupy since the anti-Wall Street movement’s inception. The Tides-funded Adbusters magazine is reported to have come up with the Occupy Wall Street idea after Arab Spring protests toppled governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. The Adbusters website serves as a central hub for Occupy’s planning.
The Tides-funded Ruckus Society has been providing direct-action training to Occupy protesters as well as official training resources, including manuals, to Occupy training groups. Ruckus, which helped spark the 1999 World Trade Organization riots in Seattle, was also listed as a “friend and partner” of the Occupy Days of Action in October.
Another grantee of Tides, MoveOn.org, has joined Occupy.