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Did I Get ‘Journolisted’?

After writing an expose of J Street, I was the target of character assassination from Journolist members — including a violent threat from Spencer Ackerman.

by
Lenny Ben-David

Bio

July 22, 2010 - 2:36 pm
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This week, the Daily Caller published transcripts from the Journolist, a listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists. Among other things, the transcripts show a coordinated effort to bring a halt to articles and analyses about Barack Obama’s decades-long relationship with his pastor, radical Chicago preacher Jeremiah Wright.

According to the Daily Caller:

At several points during the 2008 presidential campaign a group of liberal journalists took radical steps to protect their favored candidate.

One “journalist” wrote to his colleagues:

In my opinion, we all have to do what we can to kill ABC [the leading newshound on the Obama-Wright relationship] and this idiocy in whatever venues we have.

Also according to the Daily Caller:

Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. … What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. … In other words, find a rightwinger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

I was not surprised by the account.

Reading the report, I realized Ackerman and his friends used this same strategy against me, attacked me as a racist, and attempted to put me through the plate-glass window because of my exposés on the supposedly “pro-Israel” lobbying organization J Street.

All of a sudden, at the end of October 2009, a pack of howling bloggers started nipping at my heels, accusing me of racism. I had written for PJ Media a fact-filled exposé about J Street’s founders, and about some of the contributors to the J Street PAC who were well-known pro-Saudi, Palestinian, Arab-American, and pro-Iranian activists. I added a few State Department Arabists for good measure.  How could this group call itself “pro-Israel?” I asked.

Immediately, a torrent of condemnations hit from some of Israel’s strongest critics and from J Street advocates (I prefer “J Street-Walkers”):  Spencer Ackerman, Andrew Sullivan, Daniel Luban, MJ Rosenberg, and Max Fisher. Lara Friedman from Americans for Peace Now also weighed in.

They focused on my naming someone with an Arab surname from the Arab-American Institute who contributed to J Street’s PAC. Typical of other contributors, I pointed out that her affiliation with one of the premier Arab lobbies in Washington was nowhere to be found in the Federal Election Committee public records.

Their responses were brutal:

Ben David is a cowardly racist … East German Stasi spook, believes everyone with Arab blood in their veins is The Enemy,  Joe McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, etc …

Spencer Ackerman even issued a threat:

Lenny Ben-David, you and I will meet someday, face to face. I hope it comes very soon. I promise you it will be an unforgettable experience.

MJ Rosenberg endorsed the threat, saying:

If there’s anything left of him.

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