Rosenberg leaves Media Matters

M.J. Rosenberg, the controversial critic of Israeli policies who drew fire for using the term “Israel firsters,” is leaving the liberal media watchdog Media Matters.

In what he billed as his last column for the group April 6, Rosenberg said he would now blog on his own website,

“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.

The use of the term “Israel firster” by Rosenberg and a staffer for the Center for American Progress drew fire after an article in Politico suggested that pro-Israel groups saw both entities as posing dangers to traditional support for Israel among Democrats.

Pro-Israel lawyer Alan Dershowitz called on Democrats to distance themselves from Media Matters unless the group fired Rosenberg. Media Matters stood by the columnist.

The term “Israel firster” has been used by anti-Semites who charge Jews with dual loyalties, but Rosenberg was also able to trace it to use as a neutral term describing pro-Israel activists.

However, he has said he will no longer use the term. — jta