What A Shock (Andrew Sullivan Edition)

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on March 29, 2010

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Since Javert-like investigations into Trig Palin’s matrilineal line appear to have died down for the moment, Andrew Sullivan has decided to accuse Dennis Ross of dual loyalties, stating that “Ross is more concerned with Israel’s side of the story than with America’s.”

Gee, that’s a new tactic. Of course, no Jewish person has ever been subjected to that kind of charge.

Sullivan gleefully notes that an anonymous “U.S. official” appears to back up Sullivan’s charge that Dennis Ross is a lackey for the Netanyahu government. He doesn’t note the following from the same Laura Rozen story in which the smear occurs:

[UPDATE]: NSC Chief of Staff Denis McDonough fiercely rejected any such suggestion. “The assertion is as false as it is offensive,” McDonough said Sunday by email. “Whoever said it has no idea what they are talking about. Dennis Ross’s many decades of service speak volumes about his commitment to this country and to our vital interests, and he is a critical part of the President’s team.”

If Sullivan thinks that McDonough is lying, it would be a first; he usually takes anything said by anyone in the Obama Administration at face value, offering only rapturous encomiums to the person making the statement–and Barack Obama for giving that person a job–by way of any additional commentary.

A few questions come up upon reading Sullivan’s post; questions other than “why did Andrew Sullivan omit a quote from an Obama Administration official who was willing to go on record debunking smears accusing Dennis Ross of dual loyalties?”:

1. If Sullivan thinks that Ross “bats for Netanyahu” by having written a speech for Obama in which the President stated that “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” and that “the city should never be divided again,” then didn’t the President also “bat for” an expansionst Israeli policy concerning settlements by delivering a speech containing those words?

2. In the same speech–which according to Sullivan, Ross “helped write”–the President stated the following:

Israel can also advance the cause of peace by taking appropriate steps — consistent with its security — to ease the freedom of movement for Palestinians, improve economic conditions in the West Bank, and to refrain from building new settlements — as it agreed to with the Bush administration at Annapolis.

(Sullivan’s italics.) Since the President delivered those words, since Ross “helped write” the speech in which those words appeared, and since Sullivan approves of the passage, stating that pursuant to the passage, there should be “[n]o new settlements; no new building over the 1967 line,” then how does Ross’s assisted authorship of the speech containing those words show that he “bats for Netanyahu” or for an expansionist Israeli policy concerning settlements, given that the passage goes against the Netanyahu government’s position on settlements?

3. Why hasn’t Andrew Sullivan been fired from the Atlantic yet?

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