The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 1500 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in matters of public policy, today condemned media attacks against Anne Neuberger, recently selected by President Joe Biden to serve on his National Security Council as deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology. Neuberger was targeted by Mother Jones magazine solely for her family’s charitable donations to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The rabbis deplored the article as a “hit piece” exhibiting “classically Antisemitic” bias.
In Mother Jones, writer David Corn cites “anonymous national security experts” to suggest that the donations to AIPAC “raise concerns” and create “an appearance problem” for Neuberger, to date the only visibly-observant high-level Jewish official in the Biden Administration. To support his assertion of divided loyalties, Corn says that a “top AIPAC official once said that its job is generally to support the policies of the government of Israel,” and described AIPAC on Twitter as “a group aligned with a foreign government.” The article Corn cites, however, points out that this depiction of AIPAC’s positions is untrue.
Corn also reports that Neuberger’s wealthy father made a transfer of funds from his own charitable foundation to that of her and her husband for them to disburse — implying that this philanthropic activity was somehow relevant, much less nefarious. But this is hardly the only way in which Corn attempts to demonize Neuberger and her support of an advocacy group for the world’s only Jewish state. He reaches back nearly four decades to find a time when a US citizen transferred classified information to Israel without authorization, and also blames Israel for a private firm that builds spyware, baselessly implying a connection to Neuberger’s own classified work.
“To educated Jews, especially rabbis, all of this is familiar,” said Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, Vice President of the CJV. “Innuendos of financial corruption and dual loyalty, the stereotyping of an entire nation based upon the activities of a single private company — all of this is classically Antisemitic, and the fact that this detritus was published on International Holocaust Remembrance Day should remind us where this sort of bigotry inevitably leads.”
NBC News initially magnified Mother Jones’ story, reporting that, while there was no apparent legal issue with the family’s contributions, they “risk creating the possible appearance of bias” [emphasis added] — the three highlighted words indicate a vast distance between NBC’s statement and a credible assertion. Then, in response to “a number of readers [who] raised issues,” NBC acknowledged a litany of ways in which its own piece “fell short of our reporting standards” into bigotry: it relied solely upon anonymous sources, developed a one-sided narrative, and failed to provide the targeted individual “adequate time to respond.”
“NBC admits that its hit piece fulfilled the dictionary definition of yellow journalism,” noted Rabbi Yaakov Menken, the CJV’s Managing Director, “yet Mother Jones updated its own story to tout NBC’s mention, while obsessively retweeting the same ugly article to its followers. Neither outlet acknowledges the disgraceful animus that led to the publication of these pieces in the first place. While the media has been shamelessly partisan in recent years, this constituted a wholesale abandonment of basic journalistic obligations. This is the sort of ‘reporting’ on Jews that was common in Europe not so long ago, and that led to a history humanity is loath to repeat.”