It’s Always There

Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

A friend in Michigan sends me this opinion column that ran last week in a Michigan paper. In it, Mark Plawecki, a long-serving judge in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, claims that the Jews torpedoed his efforts to get the Democratic nomination for the state Supreme Court back in 2016. And yes, I use the phrase advisedly. The point man for the alleged effort, he claims, was Mark J. Bernstein, who Plawecki identifies as “a significant Benjamin Netanyahu waterboy vis-a-vis the Michigan Democratic Party.”

“The last thing the right-wing Israeli government wants,” writes Plawecki, “is a statewide elected official (in any state) who has a not only more than cursory understanding (sic) of its terrorist origins, but is willing to state publicly the truth about Israel’s more than 75 years of political and economic chicanery.”

As it happens, I’m told that Bernstein is a J Street type who can’t stand Netanyahu and is happy to say so. Of course, that shouldn’t matter. But it does suggest a rather knee-jerk “the Jews had it in for me” reflex to a professional disappointment. The conspiracy theory doesn’t even seem to add up on its own terms.

From what I can tell, no one had any real idea what Plawecki’s position on Israel was. He’s a local trial judge, after all. It’s not clear why anyone would. This isn’t like a reelect for Rashida Tlaib where an election is genuinely polarized around a candidate’s views about Israel or Jews or the Middle East. No one seems to have had any idea what Plawecki was talking about when this article hit last Friday. A shot out of the blue basically. Along the way he takes a hit at “Zionist Elissa Slotkin” and claims the passage of the Iraq War Resolution in the fall of 2002 as a product of the U.S. Senate’s “subservience” to Israel.

Bernstein is a member of the University of Michigan Board of Regents, a statewide elected position in Michigan. (He’s probably been partying for the last couple days.) With some quick googling I learn that Bernstein’s whole family is prominent in Michigan legal and political circles.

Wikipedia claims that Plawecki dropped out when his wife, Julie Plawecki, a state representative, died suddenly in June 2016 at age 54. But from what I can tell this isn’t true. A June 27th, 2016 press notice in the Bay City Times about Julie Plawecki’s death noted that Mark Plawecki had “recently suspended a campaign for Michigan Supreme Court justice.” So the decision seems to have at least briefly preceded her death. And since she died suddenly of a heart attack there wouldn’t seem to be any way the two events were related.

Latest Editors' Blog
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: