Wednesday, March 18th, 2009
James Besser in Washington
I was going to write a long blog item about Steve Rosen, the former AIPACer, current defendant in a government secrets case and now high-profile blogger for a right-of-center Mideast group, but JTA’s Ron Kampeas covered all the bases in his long story on “the night flower” – referring to the infamous Rosen quote that AIPAC, the group that fired him after his indictment (and which he is now suing) is like a night flower that blooms only in the dark
The Kampeas story brings to mind an old joke in Washington’s pro-Israel circles: if you want to survive a nuclear war, be sure you’re standing next to Rosen when the bombs go off.
Translation: this guy is a survivor. He survived and triumphed in the internal wars that used to wrack AIPAC; it looks likely he’ll survive a prosecution that seems more and more like a government botch; he’s survived legions of detractors, many who believe they still have his knives in their backs.
Rosen has joined Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum as head of its new Washington Project; this week the group sent out a fundraising letter, looking for money to pay him a salary.
“Due to the economic downturn, the Forum lacks the financial resources fully to finance the Washington Project,” Pipes wrote. “I therefore turn to you in the hopes that you can help us fund Mr. Rosen’s work.”
Given Rosen’s success in raising the issue of Chas Freeman’s appointment to the National Intelligence Council and his years as AIPAC’s premier behind-the-scenes operator, he should give the Middle East Forum a much higher profile.
His own raised profile is probably prompting jitters at AIPAC headquarters. Rosen is suing his former employers for defamation, and a trial could prove uncomfortable for the “night flower” lobby group.
Oh, by the way: a reader of this blog objected to my calling Rosen an “arch neo-conservative” in a previous entry. So I asked Steve.
His response? “I call myself a post-neoconservative,” he wrote in an email. I’m not sure what that means, but I’m sure Steve will let us know in the weeks and months ahead.