Jewish censorship

One evening early on in my career as an opinion journalist in the USA,
I found myself in a roomful of mainstream conservative types
standing around in groups and gossiping.
Because I was new to the scene,
many of the names they were tossing about were unknown to me,
so I could not take much part in the conversation.
Then I caught one name that I recognized.
I had just recently read and admired
a piece published in Chronicles under that name.
I gathered from the conversation that the owner of the name
had once been a regular contributor
to much more widely read conservative publications,
the kind that have salaried congressional correspondents
and full-service LexisNexis accounts,
but that he was welcome at those august portals no longer.
In all innocence, I asked why this was so.
“Oh,” explained one of my companions, “he got the Jew thing.”
The others in our group all nodded their understanding.
Apparently no further explanation was required.
The Jew thing.
It was said in the kind of tone you might use
of an automobile with a cracked engine block,
or a house with subsiding foundations.
Nothing to be done with him, poor fellow.
No use to anybody now. Got the Jew thing.
They shoot horses, don’t they?

Plainly, getting the Jew thing was a sort of occupational hazard
of conservative journalism in the United States,
an exceptionally lethal one,
which the career-wise writer should strive to avoid.

John Derbyshire,
The American Conservative, 2003-10-03
(Emphasis in original.)

Who was the subject of the adverse career action described above?
I don’t know for sure, but a likely candidate is Joe Sobran.

In any case,
one of the most analyzed incidents of censorship by Jews
of gentiles who dared to question
whether unswerving American support of Israel was good for America
involved Joe Sobran.
This incident was analyzed extensively in
William F. Buckley’s In Search of Anti-Semitism.
Below are most of the parts of that book that deal with the censorship of Sobran.
But first, here is a brief summary of the situation.

Joseph Sobran wrote for the National Review in the mid-1980s.
His writings re Israel aroused the ire of some prominent Jews,
who communicated their concerns to William F. Buckley Jr. at NR.
Buckley, being a prudent man, took their concerns seriously
and attempted to counsel Sobran
on the need to be sensitive to Jewish concerns.
Sobran made some efforts to do so,
but found it impossible to reconcile his sense of what needed to be said
with those Jewish sensitivities..
After further perumbulations with his boss Buckley,
it was finally decided that he would be better off leaving NR.

In 1992 Buckley wrote In Search of Anti-Semitism,
the issue of anti-Semitism, real and alleged, in America,
using as case studies the above case, and others involving
Patrick Buchanan, Gore Vidal, and an incident at Dartmouth.
This goes into great detail on who said what to whom
regarding the case of Joseph Sobran.
Significant excerpts from that book appear below.
They begin with the story as told by Buckley.
The high point, in my view, is
Sobran’s eloquent rebuttal to the charges of anti-Semitism,
which appears under the title An Essay by Joe Sobran.

Now for the (extended) excerpt from
William F. Buckley’s In Search of Anti-Semitism.

Buckley’s 1986 chastisement of Sobran

1.2 What about Joe Sobran?

Joe Sobran was born in 1946 in Detroit, and I came across him
when he was doing graduate work in English at Eastern Michigan University.
My host showed me a letter Joe had written to a professor who had volubly objected, in the student newspaper,
to my having been invited to speak in the first place.
I spotted in that letter an extraordinary polemical skill,
as also a capacity to arrange thought with lucidity and wit.
I approached him.
Soon after, he began flying to New York from Detroit every fortnight
to do editorials for National Review.
A year or so later he emigrated to New York to work full time for the magazine;
in due course he went to Washington,
reducing his commitments to regular editorials and criticism,
and coming in to New York once every month.

Meanwhile, he had begun publishing a syndicated column.

[As background for what comes next,
here is an excerpt from the 1992-02 Commentary article
What is Anti-Semitism? An Open Letter to William F. Buckley, Jr.
by Norman Podhoretz:
In 1986 [Joseph] Sobran, then a senior editor of National Review,
wrote a number of syndicated columns
which many people regarded as unambiguously anti-Semitic.
Complaints were made both orally and in writing
to him, to you, and to some of your colleagues.
You responded in due course
with an extraordinary editorial in National Review....
(The editorial appears in full below.)
Now back to Buckley’s description of how he responded to this Jewish pressure.
By the way, I believe this next paragraph is worth close attention.]

Early in 1986 I scheduled a private dinner with him at which
I told him that I thought he should know
that in his syndicated column he was gradually giving his readers
the impression that he was obsessed on the subject of Israel.
More, I told him that unlike obsessions with, say,
Nicaragua or China or even Russia,
an obsession with Israel at the expense of Israel
gives rise to suspicions of
an awakening anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism, I told him, is a mortal disease in his profession.
I even joked about it a little.
William Scranton (I remember saying) had for a generation
been among the two or three most influential Republicans in the country.
Then President-elect Nixon sent him to the Middle East to survey the scene.
He returned to say
he thought the Nixon Administration should be “more even-handed”
in managing the problems of the Middle East,
“and he has never been heard from since!”
[That’s not strictly true:
see his biography.
But Scranton’s biography does say:
Scranton recommended a more even-handed policy in the Middle East,
but his remarks offended the American Jewish community
and caused Nixon
to disassociate his administration from this recommendation.
Plus ça change...]

We both laughed.
One does laugh when acknowledging inordinate power, even as one deplores it.
It would not have occurred to me, that evening, to suggest to Joe
that he avoid anti-Semitism.
[Emphasis in the original.]
Because to do so would have sounded as patronizing and unnecessary
as to warn him against contracting syphilis.

But six months later I judged it to be crisis time.
I called the senior staff of National Review together.
We met three times, twice with Joe.
What led to those meetings, and what issued from them,
is compactly [hah!] explained in the editorial note I published
[in the section “This Week”] in the issue of 1986-07-04:

In Re Joe Sobran and Anti-Semitism

Complaints have reached us concerning a series of [six] columns written by my colleague Joseph Sobran
under the aegis of his newspaper syndicate.
It is charged that these columns constitute anti-Semitism.
In the columns, Mr. Sobran, among other things, has declared that
Israel is not an ally to be trusted;
surmised that the New York Times endorsed the military strike against Libya
only because it served its Zionist editorial line; and
ruminated that the visit of the Pope to a synagogue
had the effect of muting historical persecutions of Christians by Jews.
In that last column, Mr. Sobran, exasperated, wrote,
“But it has become customary recently
to ascribe all Jewish-Christian friction to Christians.
If a Jew complains about Christians, Christians must be persecuting him.
If a Christian complains about Jews, he is doing the persecuting—
in the very act of complaining.
It simply isn’t fair.”
And in his most recent column on the theme,
Joe Sobran complains that
he is criticized for being anti-Semitic unwarrantedly:
“I find that the more I say what I really think,
the more I’m accused of thinking something else.”
Again he says that
“the word ‘anti-Semite’ is more potent
than most of the charges of bigotry that are flung around these days.
It carries the whiff of Nazism and mass murder.
‘It means,’ as a friend of mine puts it,
‘that you ultimately approve of the gas chambers.’ ”

It is appropriate, on my own behalf and on that of my other senior colleagues,
to comment on what is becoming a public quarrel
involving Joe Sobran and those who impute anti-Semitism to him.

What needs to be said first is that
those who know him know that Sobran is not anti-Semitic.
Neither is he (begin counting)
a) anti-black,
b) anti-Italian,
c) anti-woman, nor even
d) anti-gay,
to list some of the controversies he has got into
that have resulted in such allegations.
He is against
a) some things done by blacks,
b) some things done by Italian-Americans,
c) some things done by the women’s liberation movement, and
d) some things done by gays.
With learning and eloquence,
his acute eye roams the universe day and night in search of paradox and irony.
In doing so he finds his quarries;
but sometimes, in exposing them,
he expresses himself with excessive liberty from accepted conventions.

Now ethnic sensitivities vary.
It doesn’t matter what John Cheever or John O’Hara or John Updike or anybody else writes about them—
you cannot really succeed, in America, in riling the WASPs.
Their sense of security is as solid as Plymouth Rock,
and incidentally as insensate.
Blacks, yes, are sensitive,
but black lobbies are not powerful enough
to punish nonpolitical transgressors against such taboos.
(A black book-buyers’ boycott against a novelist would not impoverish.)
[I think many observers of the actions of, say, Jesse Jackson, would think Buckley is minimizing the power of organized blacks.]
If the spoken or written offense is egregious enough,
as in the case of the joke told [in 1975]
to John Dean by Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz,
a Cabinet officer gets fired.
If a district attorney is named to a federal judgeship
and it is revealed that he once made a pot-valiantly genial reference to the Ku Klux Klan,
he can be defeated on the floor of the Senate.
And no one running for office
in a state in which the black population is significant
would consider, post 1965, violating the taboo.
On the other hand, there is discussion of such questions as
relative black intelligence, sexual promiscuity, and upward mobility
that still gets a sober hearing in sober surroundings.
About the American Indians one can say most things with impunity;
about gays, progressively less as, emerging from the closet,
hey consolidate and give strength to their retaliatory powers.
[Recall this was written in 1986.]

In respect of American Jews, the sensitivity is of an extremely high order,
and for the best of reasons.
The toniest “liberal” universities in America would not,
until about the time Joe Sobran was born, give tenure to Jewish professors.
To elect a Jewish student to most social fraternities
was quite simply unthinkable a generation ago.
The designation of Jews as mortal enemies of civilization
by the same European power that had given us Bach and Goethe, Kant and Einstein,
reminded the Jews (those Jews who survived)
that no society, however civilized its pedigree,
can complacently be trusted to desist from the most ferocious human activity:

It is a far cry from Auschwitz to the suggestion (Joe Sobran’s)
that the Israelis are “frequently duplicitous” in their behavior toward America;
but it ought not to surprise Sobran that such charges tend to alarm American Jews.
[“Surprise” is the wrong word here.
If you look back at Sobran’s comments,
as quoted by Buckley in the first paragraph,
nowhere does Sobran register surprise.
He is merely, at a minimum, observing; more likely, decrying.
That Buckley criticizes Sobran for something he didn’t do
seems a cheap rhetorical trick.]

And given Sobran’s high intellectual acumen,
one wonders that he should, on the one hand, quote with evident concurrence
[I did not read concurrence into Sobran’s quote.]
an anonymous friend’s warning that the word “anti-Semitic”
“...means that you ultimately approve of the gas chambers,”
and yet be surprised—indeed, be deeply hurt—
by the intensity of the criticism he has experienced.
When, 35 years ago, I wrote that
an anti-conservative, anti-Christian consensus prevailed in the Yale faculty,
I would not have been justified in registering surprise
when conservative Christian scholars at Yale failed to achieve tenure.

My own evaluation of the public question in which Joe Sobran is involved—
and here I speak also for the other senior editors—is this:
  1. The structure of prevailing taboos respecting Israel and the Jews is welcome.
    The age calls for hypersensitivity to anti-Semitism,
    over against a lackadaisical return to the blasé conventions of the pre-war generation,
    which in one country led to genocidal catastrophe.
    [This is clearly the fallacy of the false alternative.]
    Needless to say,
    this is hardly to dignify the preposterous charges of anti-Semitism
    occasionally leveled, ignorantly and sometimes maliciously,
    at anyone who takes a position contrary to that of organized Jewish opinion,
    whether in Israel or elsewhere.
  2. Any person who, given the knowledge of the reigning protocols,
    read and agonized over the half-dozen columns by Joe Sobran
    might reasonably conclude
    that those columns were written by a writer inclined to anti-Semitism.
    A savage entering a Catholic church who absentmindedly chewed on consecrated wafers would not be thought blasphemous.
    The non-savage, doing the same thing, would.
    Naïfs cannot commit a black mass; cosmopolitans can, and do.
    [The issue here is: What is anti-Semitism?
    Violating “the reigning protocols” or hatred of Jews?
    Sobran surely knows that he violated “the reigning protocols”
    but he might (and I certainly do) argue that
    “the reigning protocols” give Jews unfair advantage in our society,
    and are not warranted by any realistic threat to them in America.]
  3. Those who know Joe Sobran know not only that
    he does not harbor ethnic prejudices, but that
    he regards such prejudice as sinful, despised by God,
    and therefore despised by man.
    But the personal integrity of a private man
    is a matter adjudicated between him, his family, and his conscience.
    The integrity of a public figure is public business.
    If the public establishes a consensus that
    during the playing of the National Anthem
    hands should not be placed in one’s pockets,
    than to do so from the dais is an affront on the assembly,
    never mind that the clinical argument can be made
    that hands in pockets are not intrinsically an act of disrespect.
    [I once passed by Lenin in his tome, hands in pockets,
    and was told to remove them.
    I did so, understanding.]
    [The analogy Buckley deploys here argues that,
    when it doesn’t hurt you any to follow the reigning conventions,
    why not follow them?
    But I would argue that the reigning convention
    that the organized behavior of Jews must never be questioned,
    while it surely benefits the Jewish community,
    when considered in the aggregate,
    harms our society at large.]
  4. In the last fifteen or twenty years [say, 1970 to 1985],
    under the leadership of the Soviet Union,
    it became plain that institutional anti-Semitism
    was consolidating around the political Left,
    where, ideologically, class hatreds belong.
    A scholar,
    recently commentating on the drift away from Communism by the American Left,
    acutely observed that their disillusion with Communism
    was rather a reaction against Communism’s “ungainly” cultural performance in literature and the arts,
    than against human depravity.
    In England, anti-Semitism (disguised as anti-Zionism)
    is the property of the political Left.
    So does the animus move in the United States, where The Nation magazine
    exhibits the same kind of toleration toward anti-Semitism
    (witness the recent essay there by Gore Vidal,
    in which neoconservatives are dismissed as Zionist imperialists)
    that it shows to Fidel Castro, the Sandinistas, and Alger Hiss.
    The movement of anti-Semitism
    from unexamined prejudice of the political Right
    to inchoate agenda of the political Left
    is of epochal [?] significance.
    The call, on the Right, fully to excrete [“excrete”?] its old prejudices is, accordingly, of first strategic and tactical importance.
  5. National Review has, since its inception,
    declined association with anti-Semites,
    and indeed on one occasion went a generic step further.
    When it became clear, in 1957,
    that the direction The American Mercury was headed was anti-Semitic,
    I ruled, with the enthusiastic approval of my colleagues,
    that no writer appearing on the Mercury’s masthead,
    notwithstanding his own innocence on the subject,
    could also appear on National Review’s.

The relationship of this journal toward our highly esteemed and beloved colleague, Joe Sobran,
is one that will ultimately reflect
a mature and civilized resolution of our commitment to these positions.
We know him not to be what he is thought by some to have become;
but what they suspect is not, under the circumstances, unreasonable.
I here disassociate myself and my colleagues
from what we view as the obstinate tendentiousness
of Joe Sobran’s recent columns.

We are confident that in the weeks and months to come,
he will charitably and rationally acknowledge the right reason
behind the crystallization of the present structure of taboos,
and that he will accordingly argue his positions
in such fashion as to avoid affronting our natural allies.

Secions 1.3 through 1.7 give endless waves of reaction to the above decision.
The next major development occurs in Section 1.8.

1.8 Partial Resolution

Four years later, in September 1990, after reading two pieces by him which I judged indefensible, I resolved wearily and sadly to dismiss Joe from the board of senior editors of National Review.
I wrote out a personal letter:
I read your column (1990-09-20) last night, and this morning reread the piece you submitted to National Review
(“Why National Review Is Wrong”).

I can only conclude that you can’t stay on as a senior editor of National Review.
You have made it plain that you are embarrassed by the positions we are taking
[about the Iraq war and the need to move against Saddam Hussein by military force, positions motivated, Joe had said, primarily by the desire to help Israel].
I don’t want to have to make plain how greatly embarrassed I am by the positions you are taking, but I am.
Why don’t you send in a letter of resignation as senior editor.
Stay on as a contributor, if you wish.
You know what I think of your talent, and I have to hope you have some idea of the sadness I feel about the turn of events.

As ever affectionately…

I didn’t send the letter.
It was suddenly the season in which Pat Buchanan and Abe Rosenthal were locking horns on the subject of anti-Semitism and became the center of journalistic attention.
I was persuaded by my colleagues that it would be a mistake to proceed against Joe on the eve of my resignation as editor-in-chief, distracting attention from NR’s thirty-fifth anniversary….

Three months later—by which time Joe had become, for all intents and purposes, a member of the American pacifist movement—Joe agreed, most agreeably, to step down as senior editor, to occupy instead the position of critic-at-large, in which position he has no responsibility for editorial policy.
And as such he writes for us, week after week, anthologizable copy about everything in the world west, south, north, and east of Tel Aviv.

An Essay by Joe Sobran

From William F. Buckley’s In Search of Anti-Semitism,
pages 93–103:

When a man shouts “Wolf!” it’s not really necessary
to remind us that the wolf is a dangerous animal, or
to inform us that its Latin name is Canis lupus, or
to discourse on its breeding and migratory patterns.
We just want to know if there’s really a wolf there.
And if we can find no race of a wolf,
it may be helpful to know whether the man doing all the yelling
uses the word “wolf” to include, say terriers and spaniels.

The uninitiated reader,
seeing the title of Bill Buckley’s essay, “In Search of Anti-Semitism,”
might assume he was going to read about
racial theories, vandalism, legal discrimination, cross-burnings, riots, mass expulsions, expropriations, persecutions, lynchings, massacres, and genocide—
or, at the very least, the snobbish exclusion of Jews from polite society.

That reader may be surprised to find that
Bill isn’t writing about any of these things, or even their advocacy.
He’s hardly writing about anti-Semitism at all.

He is actually writing about charges of anti-Semitism—
charges leveled against a few journalists,
charges made in the context of disagreement over Israel,
charges that have the odor of political ideology about them.
And though he announces that will examine both sides
(“What Christians Provoke What Jews? ... And Vice Versa”),
the “Vice Versa” never really shows up.
He doesn’t even provide us with a helpful definition of anti-Semitism
for purposes of evaluating the charges.

Bill’s whole essay has a curious tone.
It’s as if a particularly scrupulous judge were presiding at a show trial,
without realizing that the verdict had been decided in advance.

Throughout the chapters on Pat Buchanan and me,
Bill seems to take for granted the good faith and sanity of our accusers.
They are never put on the witness stand for cross-examination.
The entire burden of proof seems to be on the accused,
even though the accusation remains vague.
(John O’Sullivan’s attempt to paraphrase the charge is tellingly nebulous:
Pat and I are “suspected of harboring anti-Semitic feelings.”
Suspected of harboring feelings?)
Bill doesn’t ask whether the accusers have an obvious interest of their own
in discrediting critics of Israel
whose arguments they can’t refute on their own terms.

Worst of all,
Bill never suggests any penalty
for making false or loose charges of anti-Semitism.
This omission makes it hard for me to credit the rest of his argument.
If there’s no penalty for making serious charges
(and all “anti-Semitism” seems to be equally serious),
it’s open season for slander—
as, in fact, I happen to think it is.
The graver the crime, the more culpable the false witness.
But Bill doesn’t even acknowledge this as a problem.

I submit that anyone can see that it’s not only a problem in this country today,
but a far more pressing problem than anti-Semitism—real anti-Semitism, that is—
which has been properly discredited.
In a society where Jew-hating was rife,
charges of anti-Semitism would have no bite.
But what, in the current atmosphere,
is to discourage the Rosenthals and Podhoretzes
from defaming and trying to ruin anyone
who says openly that the U.S.-Israeli alliance
is detrimental to this country’s best interests?

[Since Bill wrote his essay,
Abe Rosenthal has upped the ante by likening Pat Buchanan to David Duke ….]

The chief polemical project of modern Zionism has been
to forge an ideological high redefinition of anti-Semitism
that puts criticism of Israel on the same plane with Nazism—
as if these were merely different degrees of the same metaphysical evil.
And once this bogus continuum is established,
even differences of degree don’t seem to matter much.
The point of the devil-term is not to distinguish, but to conflate.
A Buchanan somehow gets no credit
for confining his supposed animus to verbal criticism of Israel;
there are no venial sins in this department.
On the contrary,
he is attacked with as much fury
as if he’d called for a nuclear first strike on Tel Aviv.
Yet we all sense something unreal about the accusations.
Buchanan’s foes would be as amazed as his fans
if he were arrested for actually harming a Jew.

Everyone heatedly denies equating “legitimate” criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism,
but somehow the equation keeps popping up.
Everyone makes devout obeisances to free speech on the matter, but somehow critics of Israel keep finding their careers at stake.
Time observed recently that Patrick Buchanan had “survived” Abe Rosenthal’s attack on him.
You don’t have to “survive” a debate, a discussion, a difference of opinion.
You only “survive” an attempt to destroy you.

Measure Israel by the same yardsticks you apply to other regimes,
and you’ll get more than an argument.
You’ll find your reputation and sources of income under attack.
This has been not only Pat’s and my own experience,
but that of many journalists;
a number of them—
Fred Graham of CBS, Jeremy Levin of CNN (a former hostage in Beirut),
columnists Georgie Anne Geyer and Bob Novak—
have told me their stories, which usually don’t reach the public.
The average American has no conception
of how the range of opinion about Israel in the media
is constricted by backstage pressures.
When I began questioning Israel’s value to the U.S.
as a “reliable ally” and “strategic asset,”
my employers, editors, and syndicate were all besieged
with demands for my dismissal.

I am grateful that most of the people I write for were as firm as they were;
I must specially mention the dauntless Lee Salem of Universal Press Syndicate,
who politely told Richard Cohen where to get off
when Cohen was calling for my head.
I have some pity for those who were less firm;
it can be unnerving to a civilized man to be suddenly confronted with fanaticism—
in the form of people so committed to a cause
as to be incapable of detachment or irony about it,
unable even to imagine an alternative view of it, and
possessed with a powerful urge to punish anyone who disagrees.

Such vindictive zeal is so incommensurate
with the ordinary give-and-take of civil society
that one hardly knows how to cope with it.
Israel, as my sociologist friend, Jack Cuddihy,
a profound student of Jewish-Christian relations, observes,
is “the issue that makes strong men tremble.”
Everyone in journalism knows you criticize Israel at your own risk.

This is not a two-way street.
There is no hyphenated cussword in general use
to stigmatize hostility to Christianity.
Popes and cardinals come in for abuse
when they speak of the rights of Palestinians.
Leon Wieseltier can call a cross on a convent in Auschwitz “sickening,”
and nobody condemns him.
Norman Podhoretz doesn’t hesitate to publish, in Commentary,
long essays by Henryk Grynberg and Hyam Maccoby
blaming Christianity for the Nazi extermination of millions of Jews;
no uproar ensues, nobody tries to get Podhoretz fired.
Israeli soldiers can beat up a priest on the West Bank,
then shoot up his church during Mass,
and only the Catholic press takes note.
(I called attention to the story at an NR editorial conference;
nothing came of it.)
If Christians had done such a thing to a synagogue, anywhere,
it would have been front-page news, everywhere.
This is the “Vice Versa” Bill never gets around to discussing.
In controversy over Israel, the ad-hominem argument is the norm—for one side.
The motives of Israel’s critics are always fair game for discussion.
No matter how cogent their arguments,
their inner lives become the subject of unflattering speculation.
(The motives of Israel’s partisans, on the other hand,
are assumed to be honorable.)

Now it’s one thing to reproach a man who makes an anti-Semitic argument,
one that arouses or appeals to hostility toward Jews.
If he argues against American aid to Israel
only on the grounds that it’s a Jewish state,
he is in the wrong.
But if he argues against such aid because he opposes foreign aid in general,
or because Israel has dealt ungratefully with the U.S.,
or simply because Israel has nothing to offer this country
that justifies the costs of supporting it,
his argument has to be met on its own grounds,
and it’s irrelevant, and unfair, to accuse him of ulterior motives.
Besides, those who make glib and cynical judgments
about the motive of people they disagree with
(and whom they have an obvious interest in discrediting)
ought to be distrusted.

An “anti-Semite,” in actual usage,
is less often a man who hates Jews than a man certain Jews hate.
The word expresses the emotional explosion that occurs in people
who simply can’t bear critical discourse about a sacred topic, and
who experience criticism as profanation and blasphemy.
The term “anti-Semitism” doesn’t stand for any intelligible concept.
It belongs not to the world of rational discourse,
but to the realm of imprecations and maledictions and ritual ostracisms.
And woe unto him, even in this modern secular world of ours,
upon whom this curse is pronounced.

The word “anti-Semitic”—
like its cousins “racist,” “sexist,” and “homophobic”—
has become a monotonous expletive, like the obscenities in action movies.
It’s tempting to ask whether the people who constantly resort to it
have ever learned to use a thesaurus.
Can’t they describe the behavior they object to in vivid nouns and verbs?

Not without losing the effect they desire.
To say, for example, that
Buchanan overstates his case against Israel here and there
would be much less dramatic than uttering the formulaic malediction.
And in pronouncing the curse, as in performing an exorcism,
it’s vital to adhere strictly to every syllable of the prescribed formula.

We’re not being asked to show merely reasonable respect and consideration
for minorities these days.
We’re being required to internalize their ethnocentrisms,
to make ourselves satellites of their indomitable self-absorption—
a mentality perfectly expressed by Meyer Lansky,
whose notoriety was such that Israel refused to accept him under the Law of Return.
“When you’re a Jew,” Lansky moaned, “the whole world’s against you.”
If Abe Rosenthal and Norman Podhoretz talk in their sleep,
this is probably what they say.

Any reasonable and decent man must reject anti-Semitism,
or any other irrational and unfair prejudice,
especially when it becomes, or threatens to become, state policy.
The whole idea of the rule of law is that the state should treat everyone alike.
This is not only my sentiment but my guiding principle,
as anyone who knows my work understands.

But if you apply this simple principle consistently,
the Orwellian minority lobbies will accuse you of hating minorities.
Oppose special government favor to any special interest—
the race-quota lobby, Zionists, homosexuals, feminists, “artists”—
and you are tagged as racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist, or Jesse Helms.

Replying to Bill’s essay in the February 1992 issue of Commentary,
Pohoretz all but equates opposition to Israel with anti-Semitism.
And in his mind,
“opposition” to Israel seems to mean
rejecting any of its claims and demands against the American taxpayer.
In other words, desiring merely normal relations with Israel is anti-Semitic!

But there is no reason why the American taxpayer
should be forced to subsidize any foreign regime.
He is already overtaxed to pay for
his own government’s constant pandering to domestic interests.

In the mental prison of his self-absorption,
the minoritarian polemicist can only understand criticism of Israeli “democracy”
(or of “civil rights,” or federal grants to artists)
as the expression of a special animus.
It never occurs to him that the critics
may be speaking out of their own principles,
and he senses that he can’t afford to subject his own interest
to the scrutiny of principle.

So his endeavor is to sow suspicion against the critics.
He has no other defense against them except the accusation.
If he had to make his case on the presumption that
others could disagree in good faith,
he would be speechless.

I’ll tell the full story of my own encounter with the Israel claque,
and answer Bill’s observations in detail, someday soon.
For now this abridged account will have to do.

I had been pro-Israel—emotionally pro-Israel, in fact—
for some years after the 1967 Six Day War.
That changed with the 1982 Lebanon War,
when the ruthless bombing of Beirut, and the attendant slaughter of Palestinian refugees,
became too much for many of Israel’s former admirers.
[It is remarkable how many observers were revolted by Israel’s siege of Beirut,
and even more remarkable how many Jews accuse the media of anti-Semitism in their coverage of same.]

I was disgusted with the trite phrases and revolting excuses
that were being made for our “reliable ally.”
Menachem Begin, moreover,
had lied to Ronald Reagan about his intentions in Lebanon.
Some friend.
We were being implicated in Israel’s crimes.
What were we getting out of this dubious alliance?

My mind really changed
when I reread some old columns and editorials by James Burnham
in, of all places, National Review.
By then Jim was no longer with us—a stroke had forced him to retire in 1978—
but his writings on the Middle East held up well.
He had written that American and Israeli interests were basically divergent;
that when push came to shove,
the chief American interest in the region was access to Arab oil,
which was threatened by American patronage of Israel,
a relation that catered to the Israel lobby in America.

The more I reflected on this, the more obvious it seemed.
I asked various pro-Israel conservatives for their views,
but none of them made nearly as much sense as Burnham.

Taking his logic further, I concluded that
it was in the interests of Israel
to set the U.S. in opposition to the Arab world.

But it was not in our interests.
Such an alignment could only please the Soviet Union,
which was seeking it for its own purposes.
The idea that Israel was our “only reliable ally in the region,”
when it was alienating friendly Arab nations from us,
recalled the old joke illustrating chutzpah:
the man who kills his parents, then asks the court for mercy as an orphan.

An alliance is a hard-headed affair:
your interests may require an alliance with someone you’d never want for a friend,
just because you have a common enemy.
Stalin is the notorious example.
First you have enemies, then you form alliances.
But in the Middle East, it seemed to be the other way around:
first we got the “ally”—
then we got the enemies.

The claim that Israel was our “strategic asset”
died an embarrassing death during the Gulf War,
when the Bush Administration had to beg Israel to stay out of the fighting,
lest the anti-Iraq coalition fall apart.
I never thought the Israelis wanted to fight,
when the U.S. could dispatch their chief enemy for them;
I predicted, though, that they would later demand American money
for what was fulsomely called their “amazing restraint”
in letting the U.S. do the fighting.
Sure enough, they were soon demanding $10 billion in loan guarantees.
And when President Bush stipulated conditions,
an Israeli cabinet minister accused him of guess what.
[Answer: anti-Semitism.]

I knew, nearly a decade ago now,
that to write in this vein in my syndicated column
would be to antagonize various Jewish neoconservatives,
such as Norman Podhoretz and his wife, Midge Decter.
I respected the neocons in those days,
but I thought of them essentially as New Dealers who were beginning to see the light.
I really had no idea how central Israel was to the Podhoretzes’ politics.
I figured that though we would differ on Israel, we agreed on most other things,
so Israel wouldn’t matter too much.
I was yet to learn that they reasoned the other way around:
if we differed on Israel, nothing else mattered.

The neocons could tolerate criticism of Israel from liberals and socialists,
whom they dismissed as bleeding hearts.
But criticism from a conservative—
precisely on the grounds that
Israel was neither a “reliable ally” nor a “strategic asset” to the U.S.—
undermined the very basis on which they promoted American patronage of Israel.

By the spring of 1986, the Podhoretzes and their set were in full cry.
They never argued with me;
they accused me, publicly and privately, of “anti-Semitism,”
and they took their complaints to Bill and other editors,
whom I gather they urged to fire or drop me.
This is denied all around,
but Bill’s essay shows at least that their modus operandi is to communicate primarily with the editors and employers of writers who incur their wraith.
[Sobran adds a footnote here:
The only time I heard from them directly
was when Midge wrote me an accusing letter,
copies of which were also sent to most of my principal editors.
She told a reporter that she had tried to “keep it private,”
but circulating the letter among journalists
proved an unsuccessful method of keeping it out of the papers.]
(In his reply to Bill’s piece,
Podhoretz complains that Bill broke his “promise”
to prevent me from writing about Israel and Jewish topics in NR.
What “promise” is he referring to?
This comes as news to me.
But whether or not any such promise was in fact made to him,
we see here how he does business.)

Bill was very rattled.
He published the strange statement he quotes in full in his essay,
denying that I was anti-Semitic
but saying it was perfectly reasonable to conclude from my columns on Israel
that I was,
with a pointed digression on the relative retaliatory powers
of Jews, blacks, and homosexuals.
(The statement appeared, as impish fate would have it,
just below an editorial plangently affirming
that free speech must never be squelched by pressure groups.)

Naturally, I was upset.
But Bill discouraged me from writing a reply,
arguing that I’d only be hurting myself;
better to let the whole thing blow over.
I accepted this unwise advice,
assuming that I’d be vindicated by the letters from our readers in my behalf.
The mail was pouring in, angry, eloquent, and overwhelmingly on my side.
I was moved and gratified by those letters;
some of them brought me close to tears.
I never felt so proud of NR ’s readers.

But Bill gave orders that none of those letters were to be published.

The result was that everyone got the false impression
that our readers took no interest in the affair.
I think I was more disheartened by that
than by anything else in the whole episode.

The ultimate target of the silencing campaign, it should be remembered,
is not the relatively few writers under attack, but the public.
Israel’s little helpers want not so much to prevent us from speaking freely
as to prevent us from being heard by people who may be listening intently.
Israel’s subsidies depend
on maintaining an illusory monopoly of opinion in the media
that will keep American taxpayers uninformed and passive.
It’s not enough that one side should be heavily overrepresented;
no other side should even seem to exist.

It pains me to reflect that National Review came into being
precisely to counteract such lopsidedness and false unanimity
in public discussion.

Bill Buckley is lovable, brilliant, funny, generous,
and innumerable other endearing things,
but he is not always the keenest listener.
He can make distinctions that would dizzy Bertrand Russell,
but when he’s determined not to see your point,
a team of logicians armed with red-hot pokers can’t make him see it.
So when he summarizes my views on Israel,
he fatally omits something obvious and central to them.
What he calls “my burgeoning case against Israel”—
as if I were likening Israel to North Korea or Uganda—
is really my burgeoning case against Israel as an ally of the United States.

I don’t know how I could have made this plainer than I have over the years.
It’s not that Israel is such a horrible state, as modern states go;
it’s a farrago—rather typical of the Middle East—
of socialist, ethnic, and religious elements.
We have no stake in its feud with its Arab and Moslem neighbors.
This is just the sort of quarrel
America has successfully avoided at home for two centuries.
Why should we plunge into one on the other side of the world?

We live in an age so intent on motive-hunting
that it has forgotten how to argue.
Before Bill undertakes to grapple with my motives and purposes,
I wish he would at least get straight what I’ve actually said.
Anyone who has read as much Burnham as he has
shouldn’t find my meaning impenetrable.
If I were wrong on every detail he has collected against me,
my general argument would be unaffected.

For example, he writes:
“Joe Sobran never spent a lot of time blasting apartheid.”
Well, I’ve never blasted bribery in Mexico,
polygamy in the Moslem world, or
female circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa either.
Deplorable as these things are, they don’t affect American global interests.

Bill is right to call Israel’s domestic policies “analogous” to South Africa’s.
But this is hard to square with his fantastic assertion that non-Jews
(he says “Arabs,” as if there were no other restricted minorities in Israel; Christian Armenians, for example)
enjoy virtually “equal rights” with Jews in Israel proper—
where Jim Crow laws and quasi-legal arrangements,
enforced by the agriculture minister,
forbid non-Jewish residence on more than 92 per cent of the land.
Bill once sent me a propaganda sheet from the Zionist outfit FLAME
to assure me of this supposed equality,
apparently not realizing that FLAME is to Israel
roughly what Corliss Lamont was to the Soviet Union.

Does he, or anyone else, seriously believe
that Arabs can be equals in a polity officially dedicated to Jews,
and in which the total expulsion of Arabs is a live topic of discussion?
In his book Chutzpah, even Alan Dershowitz
admits that Arab equality in Israel is a fiction.
The New York Times has recently carried several stories
about Arabs being driven from their homes to make way for Jews;
such news items ought to catch the eye of champions of private property.
They illustrate the warnings of von Mises and Hayek
about the malign uses of socialist state power.
Socialism is a lousy system for producing wealth,
but it’s an excellent system for controlling a subject population.
Ask any Ukrainian.

The South African analogy fails on several key points.
  1. We aren’t taxed to support South Africa.
    We are taxed to support Israel.
    We’re usually free to find fault
    with that which we are forced to pay for.
  2. There is no shortage of critics of apartheid;
    whereas Israel has not only a powerful lobby in America,
    but a big claque in the press constantly repeating its propaganda claims.
  3. Most pertinent here,
    no journalist takes a risk to his career by criticizing apartheid.
    The power of the pro-Israel forces not only siphons off American tax money,
    but seriously impedes free discussion of Israel in this country.

Bill himself has sometimes noted ruefully that
there is more freedom to criticize Israel in the Knesset
than in the American press.
For some reason, he doesn’t address this problem in his essay.
Not only is it pertinent;
the essay itself is indirect proof of how serious the problem has gotten.
Pat Buchanan and I are far from the only journalists
whose livelihoods have been threatened because we criticized Israel.
Everyone in the business knows
you mention Israel’s shortcomings at your own risk.

Very well, then; but must I criticize Israel so much?
Must I be so … “obsessed”?
I note that this word is applied exclusively
to pundits on the wrong side of the unwritten law.
If I were writing frequent columns faulting (say) Mali,
when nobody else was even defending Mali,
I’d have to say,
Yes, it looks as if I’m a little obsessed with Mali.

But take a quick inventory (only the Census Bureau could do the job exhaustively) of the commentators who constantly defend Israel:
Podhoretz, Rosenthal, Dershowitz, Martin Peretz, George Will, Mortimer Zuckerman, Morton Kondracke, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Kenneth Adelman, Amos Perlmutter, Eric Breindel, Cal Thomas, Max Lerner, Ben Wattenberg, Charles Krauthammer, William Safire, Fred Barnes …
Peretz and Zuckerman have bought three major magazines—
The New Republic,
U.S. News & World Report, and
The Atlantic
and turned them into organs of pro-Israel apologetics.
The U.S. government and the news media
give enormously disproportionate attention to Israel,
which gets the lion’s share—more than a quarter—of U.S. aid.
(How much goes to Mali,
which has twice the population and fifty times the acreage of Israel?
Where the hell is Mali?)

I don’t put Israel on the front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post.
I don’t make Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw talk about it.
I don’t fly Secretaries of State to Jerusalem every few weeks.

The truth of the matter is that I’m responding to an obsession—
a more or less official national obsession
with a tiny, faraway socialist ethnocracy,
which, I agree, ought to be a very minor concern of American policymakers,
but isn’t.
The orthodox view that Israel is a “reliable ally”
is so brittle that a single maverick can ignite a frenzy.
The reason, I repeat,
is not that critics of Israel are so numerous,
but that even one, as far as Israel’s claque is concerned, is one too many.
There is the terrible danger that the public may be more interested
in what he has to say
than in the party line the rest of the chorus is emitting.

I’m also responding to a very loud silence.
Obsession is not always overt.
It can also take the form of evasion,
of a jittery refusal to face a thing that cries out for frank discussion.
I find this obsession
in people who suspend their professed principles when it comes to Israel;
in liberals who damn discrimination everywhere but in Israel; and
in conservatives who overlook everything from socialism to espionage
when Israel is the perpetrator.
I guarantee you,
I’ll criticize Israel a lot less
when other conservatives criticize it a little more.

Or when they feel free—really free, as an American should always feel free—
to criticize it at all.
It’s really the silence that bothers me.
Above all, I’m responding to the fear that creates that silence.
Anti-Semitism, as the term is used by honest people, is contemptible.
But so is the dishonest imputation of it.
Not long after the Podhoretz crowd’s attack on me,
Midge Decter accused
the most venerable of American conservatives, Russell Kirk,
of “anti-Semitism” for a perfectly harmless quip:
he had remarked that some neoconservatives appear to think
the capital of the United States is Tel Aviv.
Her smear was neither reported nor rebuked by National Review.
I think NR
finds it easier to stand up to Saddam Hussein than to Midge Decter.
[No doubt.]
It can be witty and sassy on every subject but one.

I very much mind
the tens of billions of dollars Israel and its partisans have taken from us.
But I mind much more
the freedom they have taken from us—
the full freedom to discuss our own country’s best interests.
And I mind that it’s a freedom Bill and National Review
seem indisposed to exercise, or even to lament having lost.

William F. Buckley's Response

[ISAS, pages 103–106]

1. I don’t understand Joe Sobran’s saying that
in my essay I never write about the “Vice Versa.”
In the essay I deplore
  1. unwarranted imputations of anti-Semitism;
  2. the intimidating activity
    of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC);
  3. heavy pressures, some Jewish in origin,
    by the abuse of the First Amendment,
    to cultivate an unnatural secularism
    (the essay even quoted at some length two Jewish critics,
    Irving Kristol and Michael Kinsley,
    who deplore this practice.
Longtime readers of the magazine will remember that
  1. back when the Anti-Defamation League
    was tempted to identify American conservatism with fascism and racism,
    we regularly gave the organization hell.

2. It is true, and should not surprise anybody,
that as often as not
there are no penalties imposed on minorities who abuse majorities.
Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall referred to President Reagan as
the “greatest racist” in the history of the White House
[Greater than Woodrow Wilson? Greater than the pre-Civil War slaveholders?]
and nobody except Reagan seemed to notice
(President Reagan invited him over to the White House and they had a nice chat).
The head of the NAACP said roughly the same thing about Reagan,
more or less repeatedly.
Anti-Christian and especially anti-Catholic abuse
is everywhere engaged in, notably in Hollywood, and everywhere tolerated.
Our own religious editor, Richard John Neuhaus,
commented some time ago that in the view of the New York Times
“the only good Catholic is a bad Catholic.”
And it has been suggested that
no Catholic or Christian fundamentalist should be heard in public debate
on those questions where
their opinions derive from their underlying religious philosophy.

But this does not mean that the reputations of fanatics don’t suffer.
Professor Dershowitz is taken less seriously by serious people
since the publication of a rabid book.
One must assume that such folk can be “hurt,”
even if nobody sues them for damages or puts them in the pokey, or in Coventry.

3. It is true that to criticize Israel
is often to invite critical biopsies by people
a) looking out for Israel and
b) looking for anti-Semitism.
That there is a hard lobby working for Israel is nowhere denied;
on the contrary it is stipulated in the essay.
There are other lobbies.
Is it more dangerous for a congressman to antagonize AIPAC,
or the National Rifle Association?
A draw, I’d guess.
We spend $3 billion per year on Israel.
The Grace Commission
showed how we might save annual expenditures of $400 billion.
To blow one’s stack over
that relatively small part of the budget that goes to Israel
is only absolutely safe to do—
if fiscal husbandry is the objective—
if one has a whole lot of other stacks lined up to blow,
in protest of other federal expenditures.
If it isn’t the money, but the moral question,
indignation over expenditures in countries with unsavory governments
should be consistent
(how much did we invest in the Philippines when Marcos was in charge?).
Otherwise the suspicion can and will arise
that there is animus behind
the objective of trimming the budget at the expense of Israel.

4. It does not occur to Joe to meditate on
the exchanges with his colleagues during the period in question:
three protracted sessions, two of them lasting over two hours,
at which the other Senior Editors, plus the Managing Editor, plus the Publisher,
endorsed the analysis that went into the editorial he classifies as “strange,”
and the action to which that analysis pointed.
All five of us joined in warning him that what he was then writing
inevitably gave rise to conclusions that
what burns up Joe Sobran is the Jewish operation in Israel.
Joe does not call attention to his praise of Instauration magazine (later withdrawn),
or to some of the language used in his column
(“Holocaust Update” for the New York Times).
Dammit, people who provoke—
and that often includes National Review and its Editor-at-Large—
have got to face up to the consequences of provocation:
people get mad and they fight back.
The question here is whether they fight back fairly—
in this case by alleging anti-Semitism.
It was precisely the purpose of the essay to probe that question.
When Pat Buchanan said that
only the Israeli Defense Ministry and its “amen corner”
were in favor of resisting Saddam Hussein’s war of aggression
he certainly provoked me, by God:
I’m neither an Israeli Defense Ministry nor an “amen corner,”
and I and fellow editors had written several columns and editorials
backing Bush’s tough response to Iraq.
So Joe and Pat should be surprised
that some people suspect, others proclaim,
that Sobran and Buchanan are bent on provoking friends of Israel?
Well they succeeded in their provocations
and have to live with the hounds they unleashed.
This is hardly an endorsement of such as A. M. Rosenthal,
who indefensibly situated Pat Buchanan alongside David Duke,
or of Richard Cohen,
who goes so far as to contend that no anti-anti-Semite
should consent to appear on the same television program with Buchanan.
And of course it is supremely deformed to suggest that
Pat Buchanan’s campaign in New Hampshire
[he ran against Bush-41 in the 1992 Republican primaries]
was in any significant way related to the question here being discussed.

5. When the editorial about the disavowal of Joe’s columns
was published in NR,
this was not an invitation to our readers
to comment on who was right, who wrong, in the adjudication.
[Why not?]
In the first place, none of our readers (that we knew of)
had studied the scarlet dozen of Joe’s columns.
[I would guarantee that some NR readers would study them,
so as to offer an informed opinion.]

They could not have known the hours of thought given to the decisions
arrived at by a unanimous senior staff
whose responsibility it is to make policy and personnel decisions.
[So that means the decisions can’t be criticized?]
I did not elect to embarrass Joe in the editorial I wrote—
by reproducing the offensive columns.
[Many readers might have found them not offensive at all.]
Nor did I dilate on the number of times I had told him
about the minefield he was electing to kick up his heels in.
And it is critical to recognize that we are talking about
a minefield the editors of National Review substantially approve of:
alarms that go off when people venture, inadvertently or by design,
toward a dark and toxic house,
whose identity becomes decipherable only after one had trod too far.
There is a graffito there that reads:
ezra pound slept here.

6.I do not understand Joe’s extraordinary suggestion
that Israel is immune from critical attention
by me or by National Review
(or, for that matter, by the New York Times, CBS, or Garry Trudeau).
We reproduce, on pages 106–108 [omitted here],
brief excerpts from published criticisms of Israeli practices which did not provoke charges of anti-Semitism.
But any useful commentary on the Israeli phenomenon
has got to begin by understanding that
an explicitly Jewish state isn’t going to be a multicultural state.
Much that goes on routinely in Israel, and certainly in the West Bank,
would be forbidden under the U.S. Constitution.
Accept this, and much else is merely derivative.
Christians are not free to proselytize in Israel.
Israel isn’t a state within which there is civil equality.

On this subject I have written, if I may say so, vividly.
I have also written
(the phrase is reproduced in the excerpts of criticisms of Israeli policies)
our concern for Israel is “one part geopolitical and nine parts moral”;
and that was written even before the cold war ended.
In 1946 the feeling in America among the morally alert was that
something should be done to revive Jewish hope,
to help to remoralize a people wounded and humiliated by the Holocaust.
That sentiment, so widely held, diminished today
because of the excesses of the Shamir government.
But although our help over the years was largely that, a benefaction—
even as we exercised charity toward Japan and Germany—
Israel was, also, over a particular period,
a strategic asset whose government reflected majority opinion.
It is absolutely incorrect to suggest, as Joe does,
that South Africa’s apartheid policies lay outside his interest
inasmuch as South Africa was never a strategic asset.
On the contrary, it was:
the source of minerals not elsewhere procurable,
and the Gibraltar of the South Atlantic.
The embargo on South Africa, at the time it was imposed,
imperiled our strategic interests;
which is why National Review opposed that embargo
even while disapproving of apartheid.

7. National Review came into existence to endeavor to speak the truth
and to encourage discriminating thought.
It continues to be proud of one of its primary achievements,
namely to have encouraged Joe Sobran to harness up and come on into our tent,
where he is much admired, much beloved;
and, as should certainly be evident, much prayed over.

Miscellaneous Articles and References

Tony Judt Speech Shut Down by ADL

Historian Tony Judt, a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and director of the Remarque Institute at NYU, writes,
I was due to speak this evening, in Manhattan,
to a group called Network 20/20
comprising young business leaders, NGO, academics, etc,
from the US and many countries.
Topic: the Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.
The meetings are always held at the Polish Consulate in Manhattan.

I just received a call from the President of Network 20/20.
The talk was cancelled
because the Polish Consulate had been threatened
by the Anti-Defamation League.

Serial phone calls from ADL President Abe Foxman
warned them off hosting anything involving Tony Judt.
If they persisted, he warned,
he would smear the charge of
Polish collaboration with anti-Israeli anti-Semites (= me)
all over the front page of every daily paper in the city
(an indirect quote).
They caved and Network 20/20 were forced to cancel.

Whatever your views on the Middle East
I hope you find this as serious and frightening as I do.
This is, or used to be, the United States of America.

The Islamic World Needs to Practice Free Speech.
So Does the Jewish World.

by Philip Weiss
Mondoweiss, 2007-08-17

[All but the very beginning of the article; emphasis is added.]

[O]ver the last year and a half,
a strong pattern has emerged inside the Jewish community
of suppressing free speech.The list goes on and on.
No wonder Jewish Voice for Peace started a new website called Muzzlewatch
to track the stifling of debate over Israel/Palestine.

All of this comes out of
the Jewish community’s dedication
to protecting Israel no matter what.

“A sacred mission” (as Dershowitz wrote in The Vanishing American Jew).
Thou Shalt Not Criticize Israel in the United States
(as a girl from the ZOA stated in my presence last year).
When it comes to a free-form conversation about Israel,
we’re as bad as the Catholics were over
Andres Serrano’s Piss/Christ or
the elephant dung virgin at the Brooklyn Museum.
Only our omerta is distorting foreign policy.

[I don’t think that’s an accurate comparison.
The “art” was a deliberate insult to (other people’s) religion,
a time-worn practice of (some) Jews.
The discussions on Israel that Jews are suppressing
are aimed at clear injustice.
While all the above involve (attempted) censorship,
what is being censored is quite different.]

We’ve got a problem.
A lot of Arab intellectuals are embarrassed
by their communities’ behavior over women’s rights and free speech, and
I’m embarrassed by my community over free speech issues.
The Jewish community needs to reform.
If you can’t have conferences about Walt and Mearsheimer,
can you have them about censorship?

Radical Fundamentalism in Three Flavors
New York Times, 2007-08-21

[The NYT review.]

Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent,
is more tour guide and history teacher than reporter in
“CNN Presents: God’s Warriors,”
and that makes this ambitious look at three flavors of religious fundamentalism
less than it could be.

This three-part series, which begins tonight on CNN,
is a fine primer on the emergence of strains of Judaism, Islam and Christianity
that want to fuse politics and religion,
and have shown a willingness to blow things up and kill people to do it.
But too often Ms. Amanpour relies on talking heads
rather than on actual representatives of these groups,
and when she does get a live specimen
she rarely bores in with hard, blunt questions.
Maybe that’s by design;
the point seems to be to describe rather than challenge.
Still, given the waves these movements are making,
it would be nice to hear their leaders talk about
what specifically they have to offer the world.

Tonight’s opening installment, God’s Jewish Warriors,”
seems particularly timid, spending more time than necessary
on clips of the Six-Day War and other familiar historical episodes.
The warriors are Jews who have forcefully pushed settlements
into areas even the Israeli government has placed off-limits,
making political inroads at the same time.
We’ve already heard quite a lot from these people;
Ms. Amanpour’s most interesting contribution is a segment on
the fund-raising in the United States that supports them.

“God’s Muslim Warriors,” tomorrow, is sharper,
with Ms. Amanpour finally showing some aggressiveness,
on the issue of women’s rights under radical Islam,
brashly confronting leaders about things like stonings.
But mostly she’s polite and lets her subjects stay in their comfort zones.
The most compelling interview in the segment is not with a radical
but with a former radical, Ed Husain.
And it turns out he’s just hawking a book.

In Part 3, “God’s Christian Warriors,” on Thursday,
the focus shifts to the United States and its electoral politics.
The issues on these Christian warriors’ minds seem positively quaint
next to the agendas of the people in Parts 1 and 2.
The episode includes the final interview with the Rev. Jerry Falwell,
who died in May.

[For a rave review of the Jewish section of this program,
see God’s Jewish Warriors by Kevin MacDonald.]

CNN Comes Under Unprecedented Attack
by Nathan Guttman
Jewish Daily Forward, 2007-09-05

[The full article; emphasis is added.]

Washington -
A CNN documentary about religious extremists has prompted
an unprecedented outcry from the organized Jewish community,
including a call to advertisers to pressure the network.

The three-episode special, “God’s Warriors,”
by CNN’s chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour,
is being characterized by Jewish groups as
equating Jewish extremists in West Bank settlements with Muslim jihadists.
The program is also accused of containing numerous factual errors.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations,
which represents more than 50 national Jewish organizations,
convened a special discussion with its members
following the airing of the program last month,
has urged them to take up the issue
with companies that have bought advertising slots during the show.

In the past,
there have been widespread complaints about the media’s treatment of Israel,
but this appears to be the first time that
so many organizations have come together
in opposition to a single media outlet.

“This was not an average show,”
said Jennifer Laszlo-Mizrahi, founder of The Israel Project.
“CNN bought full-page ads promoting the show and ran it on prime time.
The perspective the show left the viewers with is that
Israel doesn’t want peace
and that
Israel’s friends in the United States don’t want peace.”
The Israel Project,
a group focused on providing information to the press and the public
about Israel,
broke a five-year tradition of not reacting to media reports on Israel
and put out a press release about the Amanpour show,
detailing Israel’s efforts to promote peace in the region.

[For skepticism, primarily from Jews,
towards Israel’s interest in compromising with the Palestinians,
see this.]

“The program definitely has a great damage potential
because of the people who watch CNN,”
Laszlo-Mizrahi added, pointing to the fact that
foreign officials and decision makers
tend to view CNN as an important news source.

Relations between Jewish organizations and American media outlets
were rocky during the first years of the intifada
when Jewish activists
protested outside almost every major media outlet
and threatened to embark on reader boycotts.
As violence on the ground died down, though,
so did the tensions over media coverage.
Now, “God’s Warriors” has the potential of
drawing the Jewish community into the media debate once again.

The vigorous response appears to be due, at least in part,
to the coincidence of the program’s screening
just before the release of “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,”
a book by scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.
The book levies serious charges against the power of the Jewish lobby
which, it states,
influences the United States to choose a foreign policy in favor of Israel
against its own interest.

In the CNN program,
among those interviewed are Mearsheimer and former president Jimmy Carter,
who has been controversial in the Jewish community
since the publication of his book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”

In a letter to CNN’s vice president,
the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, Abraham Foxman, wrote:
“The program made a huge and unfounded leap
from legitimate pro-Israel advocacy in the U.S.
to nefarious support for Jewish extremists.”

The first episode of Amanpour’s trilogy, titled “God’s Jewish Warriors,”
dealt mainly with extreme Jewish settlers in the West Bank
who vow never to leave the land
because of biblical traditions and religious beliefs.

Amanpour interviews a member of the former Jewish underground who not only planted bombs in cars of Palestinian mayors but also plotted to blow up the mosques on the Temple Mount.
In addition, the show deals extensively with
the relations between Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the territories,
and with
the support for settler groups
from Jewish and Christian groups in America.

Critics of the show point to a series of inaccuracies and claim that
little was done to maintain a balance in choosing interviewees.
But the main issue for [Zionist] media watchers
is the equation that the series appears to make
among extremists in all three major monotheistic religions.

[The problem,
which Jews in America seem almost totally unable to acknowledge,
is that the Israelis are thieves, of Muslim land.
The counter-argument to that assertion requires a certain religious belief.
But, of course, American Jews are the first to decry
the desirability of using religion as a guide to public policy.
Except, also of course, when it works to their advantage, as in this case.
Is it any wonder that Jews are considered by many to be colossal hypocrites?]

“The whole setup from the start is false,”
[How typical of Zionists -- to deny everything about criticism of Israel.
Critics of Israel can get nothing right, according to these Zionist extremists.]

said Andrea Levin, executive director
of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America —
a media watchdog group that follows coverage of the Israeli-Arab conflict
in American media outlets.

A CNN representative would not remark on the complaints of Jewish groups.
The representative said that the network will respond directly
to media-monitoring organization Camera
and other groups that voiced concerns about the program.

The strongest reaction so far came from the Presidents Conference.
An e-mail sent by
its chair, June Walker, and Malcolm Hoenlein, its executive vice president,
details steps taken by the Jewish community since the program aired.
Conference members have asked CNN to avoid rerunning the show
before concerns about factual errors and bias are addressed and corrected.
It is also requesting that the network invest similar resources
to produce a new program that would
“rectify the bias and inappropriate context.”

“We are aware of some advertisers
that have already distanced themselves
from ‘God’s Jewish Warriors,’ ”
the e-mail reads.
“It was recommended that all advertisers be contacted
to express concern at their association with this offensive program.”

God's Jewish Warriors
by Kevin MacDonald
Kevin MacDonald’s Blog, 2007-10-01

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

The Jewish segment of Christiane Amanpour’s God’s Warriors
is doubtless

the best and most refreshing comment
about what’s going on in Israel
ever to appear on American television.


Amanpour does an excellent job showing how
the organized Jewish community in America, and especially AIPAC,
has rallied to the defense of the settlements
in defiance of international law and every president since Jimmy Carter.
Missing is a depiction of the internal politics of American Jews in which
Jewish voices who oppose support for Jewish radicals are rendered powerless.

this is an incredibly brave and informed presentation
of the radical vanguard of the Jewish community
that is having such a huge impact on the Middle East
and, via its effects on US foreign policy, the entire world.

Archbishop Tutu barred by U. of St Thomas because of criticism of Israel
Muzzlewatch.com, 2007-10-03


Jewish Identity Can't Depend on Violence
by Arun Gandhi
Washington Post Blog, “On Faith”, 2008-01-07

[This short essay by Arun Gandhi
set off a firestorm of protest,
leading to Gandhi being forced to resign
his position with a peace institute associated with the University of Rochester.
For coverage of that firestorm, see 2008-01-26-WP-Gandhi.

I would be the first to agree that it is overstated in places,
placing Israel and “the Jews” in a more negative light than they deserve.
It goes too far in blaming Israel and “the Jews”.
Gandhi himself, in his followups, has said essentially the same thing.
He has said it was written in some haste (note the grammatical errors),
while he was on a trip back to his native India.

Even so, it seems an intellectual crime to me to not allow him to
ameliorate the overstatements and hyperbole,
keep the valid criticism of Israel’s militarism, and
keep his job.

Here is his essay, grammatical errors left in.]

Jewish identity in the past has been locked into the holocaust experience --
a German burden that the Jews have not been able to shed.
It is a very good example
of a community can overplay a historic experience
to the point that it begins to repulse friends.
The holocaust was the result of the warped mind of an individual
who was able to influence his followers
into doing something dreadful.
But, it seems to me the Jews today
not only want the Germans to feel guilty but
the whole world must regret what happened to the Jews.
The world did feel sorry for the episode but
when an individual or a nation refuses to forgive and move on
the regret turns into anger.

The Jewish identity in the future appears bleak.
Any nation that remains anchored to the past is unable to move ahead and,
especially a nation that believes
its survival can only be ensured by weapons and bombs.
In Tel Aviv in 2004 I had the opportunity
to speak to some Members of Parliament and Peace activists
all of whom argued that
the wall and the military build-up
was necessary to protect the nation and the people.
In other words, I asked, you believe that you can create a snake pit --
with many deadly snakes in it --
and expect to live in the pit secure and alive?
What do you mean? they countered.
Well, with your superior weapons and armaments
and your attitude towards your neighbors
would it not be right to say that you are creating a snake pit?
How can anyone live peacefully in such an atmosphere?
Would it not be better to befriend those who hate you?
Can you not reach out and share your technological advancement with your neighbors
and build a relationship?

Apparently, in the modern world, so determined to live by the bomb,
this is an alien concept.
You don’t befriend anyone, you dominate them.
We have created a culture of violence
(Israel and the Jews are the biggest players)
and that Culture of Violence is eventually going to destroy humanity.

Arun Gandhi Quits Peace Institute in Flap Over Blog Posting
By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post, 2008-01-26

[For more on this story, consult Google and Google News.]

[Here is the full WP story;
paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

The grandson of Indian spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi
resigned yesterday
as president of the board of a conflict resolution institute
after writing an online essay on a Washington Post blog
calling Jews and Israel “the biggest players”
in a global culture of violence.

In his resignation letter
to the board of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence,
founder Arun Gandhi wrote that his Jan. 7 essay
“was couched in language that was hurtful
and contrary to the principles of nonviolence.
My intention was to generate
a healthy discussion on the proliferation of violence.
Clearly I did not achieve my goal.
Instead, unintentionally, my words have resulted in
pain, anger, confusion and embarrassment.”

The institute is housed at the University of Rochester
and has a university-paid director.
Gandhi submitted his resignation to the board Thursday
and it was accepted yesterday.

Board members could not be reached immediately yesterday,
but a brief unsigned statement on the university’s Web site said:
“The essence of Arun Gandhi’s work has been
to educate and promote the principles of nonviolence.
In that spirit,
the Institute plans to work with
the University of Rochester and other community groups
to use the recent events as an opportunity
to deepen mutual understanding
through dialogue employing the principles of nonviolence and peace.”

Gandhi’s comments were part of a discussion about the future of Jewish identity
on the religion blog On Faith at washingtonpost.com.
He wrote that

Jewish identity is “locked into the holocaust experience,”
which Jews “overplay . . . to the point that it begins to repulse friends.”
The Jewish nation -- Israel, he wrote --
is too reliant upon weapons and bombs
and should instead befriend its enemies.


“Apparently, in the modern world, so determined to live by the bomb,
this is an alien concept.
You don’t befriend anyone, you dominate them.
We have created a culture of violence
(Israel and the Jews are the biggest players) and
that Culture of Violence is eventually going to destroy humanity,”

he wrote.

The posting drew 438 comments --
an exceptionally high response for an On Faith essay --
and prompted such a backlash that Gandhi later posted an apology.
The Web site also apologized.

On Jan. 11, university President Joel Seligman [in this statement]
labeled Gandhi’s initial comments stereotyping
and said
they were “fundamentally inconsistent with the core values” of the school.
Yesterday, he called the resignation “appropriate.”

The institute will remain at the university,
which will host a forum later this year “to provide
Arun Gandhi,
a leader of the Jewish community
and other speakers
the opportunity to address
the issues raised by Mr. Gandhi’s statements and related issues.
A University can and should promote dialogue
in which we can learn from each other
even when the most painful or difficult issues will be discussed,”
Seligman said in his statement yesterday.

[I am familiar with this kind of ritual show trial.
Normally they have someone who speaks the truth, like Mr. Gandhi,
or Norman Finkelstein,
opposed by
a whole panel of people who will pronounce how “hurtful” his words were.
What is missing is someone who could really bring balance to the panel,
who would speak for the Palestinians,
who are the ones who have been really hurt,
as opposed to the claims of psychological hurt
which some Jews profess any time actions which they so manifestly support
are criticized.
Such a speaker would put Mr. Gandhi in the middle, as a peace-maker,
where he properly belongs,
as opposed to out on the fringe.
But those who control America’s society
are unwilling to do very much
which would give America a truly balanced picture
of what is happening in the Middle East.
This is just another example of the real bigotry in America,
favoring the Israeli/Zionist point of view
over that of most of the rest of the world.

For how this affects the American image overseas,
here is how an Indian website described the situation
(emphasis is added):
America’s all-powerful Jewish community
forced Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson,
to resign from MK Gandhi Institute for Non-violence,
the institute he had founded 17 years ago in the United States,
to spread the message of the Mahatma.


Experts in the US believe that India is not likely to defend Arun Gandhi.
Indian governments had relied a lot
on the American Jewish community in the last few years
to improve Indo-US relations and so
there is the least chance that they would even indirectly try
to involve and annoy the community.

The Jews sent lots of letters attacking Gandhi and the newspaper website.
David A Harris,
the executive director of the dominant American Jewish Committee
hinted in a speech that
India was showing no gratitude
for all the committee did for the country.
This is seen by the analysts
as an attempt to pressurise the Indian government
and stop them for interfering or even making an attempt to do so.
When was the last time you saw American media refer to
“America’s all-powerful Jewish community”, or
an American MSM news report
that puts responsibility so squarely on Jews
for an adverse personnel action.?]

The loathsome smearing of Israel's critics
by Johann Hari
The Independent (UK), 2008-05-06

[The full text; paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

In the US and Britain, there is a campaign to smear
anybody who tries to describe the plight of the Palestinian people.
It is an attempt to intimidate and silence – and to a large degree, it works.
There is nobody these self-appointed spokesmen for Israel
will not attack as anti-Jewish:
liberal Jews, rabbis, even Holocaust survivors.

My own case isn’t especially important,
but it illustrates how the wider process of intimidation works.
I have worked undercover
at both the Finsbury Park mosque and among neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers
to expose the Jew-hatred there;
when I went on the Islam Channel to challenge the anti-Semitism of Islamists,
I received a rash of death threats calling me
“a Jew-lover”, “a Zionist-homo pig” and more.

Ah, but wait.
I have also reported from Gaza and the West Bank.
Last week, I wrote an article that described how
untreated sewage was being pumped from illegal Israeli settlements
on to Palestinian land, contaminating their reservoirs.
This isn’t controversial.
It has been documented by Friends of the Earth,
and I have seen it with my own eyes.

The response?
There was little attempt to dispute the facts I offered.
Instead, some of the most high profile “pro-Israel” writers and media monitoring groups – including Honest Reporting and Camera –
said I an anti-Jewish bigot akin to Joseph Goebbels and Mahmoud Ahmadinejadh,
while Melanie Phillips
even linked the stabbing of two Jewish people in North London
to articles like mine.
Vast numbers of e-mails came flooding in calling for me to be sacked.

Any attempt to describe accurately the situation for Palestinians
is met like this.
If you recount the pumping of sewage onto Palestinian land,
“Honest Reporting” claims you are reviving
the anti-Semitic myth of Jews “poisoning the wells.”
If you interview
a woman whose baby died in 2002 because she was detained – in labour –
by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint within the West Bank,
“Honest Reporting” will say you didn’t explain “the real cause”:
the election of Hamas in, um, 2006. And on, and on.

The former editor of Israel’s leading newspaper, Ha’aretz, David Landau,
calls the behaviour of these groups “nascent McCarthyism”.
Those responsible hold extreme positions of their own
that place them way to the right of most Israelis.
Alan Dershowitz and Melanie Phillips are two of the most prominent figures
sent in to attack anyone who disagrees with the Israeli right.
Dershowitz is a lawyer, Harvard professor and author of The Case For Israel.
He sees ethnic cleansing as a trifling matter, writing:
“Political solutions often require the movement of people,
and such movement is not always voluntary ...
It is a fifth-rate issue
analogous in many respects to some massive urban renewal.”
If a prominent American figure
takes a position on Israel to the left of this,
Dershowitz often takes to the airwaves to call them anti-Semites and bigots.

The journalist Melanie Phillips performs a similar role in Britain.
Last year a group called Independent Jewish Voices was established
with this mission statement:
“Palestinians and Israelis alike have the right to peace and security.”
Jews including Mike Leigh, Stephen Fry and Rabbi David Goldberg joined.
Phillips swiftly dubbed them “Jews For Genocide”,
and said they “encourage” the “killers” of Jews.
Where does this come from?
She says the Palestinians are an “artificial” people
who can be collectively punished because they are “a terrorist population”.
She believes that while “individual Palestinians may deserve compassion,
their cause amounts to Holocaust denial as a national project”.
Honest Reporting quotes Phillips as a model of reliable reporting.

These individuals spray accusations of anti-Semitism so liberally
that by their standards,
a majority of Jewish Israelis have anti-Semitic tendencies.
Dershowitz said
Jimmy Carter’s decision to speak to the elected Hamas government
“border[ed] on anti-Semitism.”
A Ha’aretz poll last month found that
64 per cent of Israelis want their government to do just that.

As US President, Jimmy Carter showed his commitment to Israel
by giving it more aid than anywhere else
and brokering the only peace deal with an Arab regime
the country has ever enjoyed.
He also wants to see a safe and secure Palestine alongside it –
so last year he wrote a book called Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.
It is a bland and factual canter through the major human rights reports.
There is nothing there you can’t read in the mainstream Israeli press every day.
Carter’s comparison of life on the West Bank (not within Israel)
to Apartheid South Africa is not new.
The West Bank is ruled in the interests of a small Jewish minority;
it is bisected by roads for the Jewish settlers
from which Palestinians are banned.
The Israeli human rights group B’tselem says this
“bears striking similarities to the racist Apartheid regime”.
Yet for repeating these facts in the US,
Carter has widely called “a racist”.
Several universities have even refused
to let the ex-President speak to their students.

These campus battles often succeed.
Norman Finkelstein is a political scientist in the US
whose parents were both Jewish survivors
of the Warsaw ghetto and the Nazi concentration camps.
They lost every blood relative.
He made his reputation exposing
a hoax called From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters
which claimed that
Palestine was virtually empty when Zionist settlers arrived,
and the people claiming to be Palestinians were mostly impostors
who had come from local areas to cash in.
Finkelstein showed it to be scarred by falsified figures
and gross misreading of sources.
From that moment on,
he was smeared as an anti-Semite by those who had lauded the book.
But it was when Finkelstein revealed two years ago
that Alan Dershowitz had, without acknowledgement,
drawn wholesale from Peters’ hoax for his book The Case For Israel,
that the worst began.
Dershowitz campaigned to make sure
Finkelstein was denied tenure at his university.
He even claimed that Finkelstein’s mother –
who made it through Maidenek and two slave-labour camps –
had collaborated with the Nazis.
The campaign worked.
Finkelstein was let go by De Paul University,
simply for speaking the truth.

Are the likes of Dershowitz and Phillips and Honest Reporting
becoming more shrill because they can sense they are losing the argument?
Liberal Jews – the majority –
are now setting up rivals to the hard-right organisations they work with,
because they believe this campaign of demonisation is damaging us all.
It damages the Palestinians,
because it prevents honest discussion of their plight.
It damages the Israelis,
because it pushes them further down an aggressive and futile path.
And it damages diaspora Jews,
because it makes real anti-Semitism harder to deal with.

We need to look the witch-hunters in the eye and say,
as Joseph Welch said to Joe McCarthy himself:
“You’ve done enough.
Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?
Have you left no sense of decency?”

Conspiracies vs. Networks
by Steve Sailer
Isteve.blogspot.com, 2008-08-12

[Most of this post deals with the Georgia/Israel/U.S. Jew relation,
but the last part is particularly relevant to the current topic.
Emphasis is added.]

These network biases are natural.
What is unnatural is that we Americans
have unilaterally disarmed our national immune system
against people yanking our chains.

We aren’t supposed to ever notice the pattern.
When we hear this kind of propaganda,
we aren’t allowed to laugh and say,
“Oh, man,
this isn’t another one of those Israeli weapons deals again, now is it?”

And of course

we absolutely aren’t allowed to mention
what a large fraction of
American pundits, reporters, editors,
owners, and advertisers
are Jewish.

Once again, this is not an example of Jewish conspiracy,
but of Jewish networks and neuroses.

What American needs are
a sense of humor about Jewish networks and neuroses
and their impact on American foreign policy,
but that’s not permitted.


Lobby? What Lobby?
by Michael Scheuer
Antiwar.com, 2009-02-10

[Emphasis is added.
As of September 2009, Obama’s Mideast policy
has been less Israeli-centric than Scheuer here forecast;
nonetheless, the fact that he was effectively censored and blackballed
for his perhaps less than fully accurate prediction
I think is still of importance.]

Last December, I spoke to the nonpartisan Jamestown Foundation’s
annual conference on al-Qaeda.
My talk was
a worldwide survey of how America’s war against Islamism had gone in 2008;
an analysis of al-Qaeda’s current fortunes and growth potential; and
an assessment of whether U.S. policies
were adequately protecting genuine U.S. national interests
as the Obama administration began.
I concluded that 2008 was a year of setbacks for America,
and that the future appeared rather bleak.

For the speech, I took as my text a truncated version of
the introduction I wrote for the paperback edition of my book,
Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq.
In preparing the new text
I was pleased to find my predictions in the hardcover had been accurate,
but saddened that
Americans had not faced the fact that
our Islamist foes are motivated by U.S. foreign policies and their impact.
One policy I am critical of in Marching Toward Hell is
the nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship.
I argued that
unqualified, bipartisan support for Israel damages U.S. national security,
and I damned those who identify critics of the relationship
as anti-American, anti-Semitic,
or, in my case, according to AIPAC leader Morris J. Amitay,
a man who would make Mein Kampf  “required reading” at the CIA.
[The complete quote from Amitay appears in Chapter 7 of MTH.]

In the course of analyzing 2008 events, I found no reason to alter my view.
And after hearing McCain and Obama during the campaign,
there was no reason to expect change in Washington’s Israel policy.
At the Jamestown Conference,
I therefore first discussed the abject failure of President Bush and his advisers
to recognize that al-Qaeda and its allies
are waging war because of U.S. policies –
one of which is Israel policy –
and not because of our lifestyle and domestic politics.

I next offered an estimate of Mr. Obama’s potential
to change these terrorism-motivating policies.
While admitting an inability to read Obama’s mind,
I noted that he had given at least two strong hints –
to Americans and the Muslim world –
that he would be as pro-Israel as Mr. Bush.
I noted that
  1. Mr. Obama spent the last months of the presidential campaign
    “dancing the Tel Aviv two-step,”
    promising to protect Israel as if it were located inside the United States

  2. Obama appointed Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff,
    a U.S. citizen who during the 1991 Gulf War
    left America to serve in Israel’s military

[The references above are to the relevant parts of the text of the
Introduction to the Paperback Edition” of Marching Towards Hell.]

These statements of fact suggested to me that
U.S. policy toward Israel and the Muslim world
would be identical to Mr. Bush’s,
albeit couched in softer, come-let-us-reason-together rhetoric.

My speech seemed well received,
but in January I received a call from Jamestown’s president telling me
I had been terminated as a senior fellow
by the Foundation’s board of directors.

Why, I asked?
He responded by citing
my comments about Obama doing the “Tel Aviv two-step” [cf.] and
my description of Emanuel’s record [cf.],
both of which he said might be in a speech by Rep. Ron Paul.
[What’s wrong with that?
Further, even if Ron Paul were radioactive, for some of his views,
would that make everything he said radioactive?
(For a sample of Paul’s views, click here.)]

My remarks about Emanuel
apparently sparked particular anger among the Foundation’s directors,
as Jamestown’s president referred to them at least three times
in a short telephone conversation.
In any event, the president said

several major financial donors to Jamestown
threatened to withdraw funding
if I remained a senior fellow,
so I was getting the boot.

Then he added that
my every-other-week essays for Jamestown’s Terrorism Focus
had attracted readers and praise for the Foundation,
so the directors said I could keep writing for the journal.
I declined this honor,
which seemingly was a bribe made in the hope that
I would not speak publicly about being terminated as a senior fellow
for saying the current state of the U.S.-Israel relationship
undermined U.S. national security.

I regret leaving Jamestown,
as I have great respect for its analysis on several vital U.S. security issues.
But at the same time,
I am grateful to the Foundation’s directors for terminating me.
In the hardcover of Marching Toward Hell,
I condemned the U.S.-Israel relationship
and those who take it “upon themselves to decide
who is and who is not a ‘good American,’ ”
based on his or her views of U.S.-Israel relations,
and “then mete out punishment to those of their countrymen
who do not make the grade.”
At the time,
my view was based on what pro-Israel U.S. citizens had done to
Pat Buchanan, President Carter, and Professors Walt and Mearsheimer.
[One might also mention Norman Finkelstein.]

Now, however,
I have the personal experience of losing both position and income
for condemning Washington’s status quo Israel policy
as a threat to U.S. national security.
The introduction to my paperback, therefore,
can be said to be credibly written by
an author with firsthand knowledge of how the Israel Lobby works.
After my experience with the “nonpartisan” board of directors at Jamestown,
I can only say of them what FDR said of his domestic foes:
“They are unanimous in their hatred for me – and I welcome their hatred.”

[It is not clear to me at least
how much of Scheuer’s loss of income was due to
his involuntary removal as senior fellow versus
his voluntary decision to stop writing for the foundation’s journal.

For the (currently imperceptible) impact of this in the news, click here.]

Billboards criticizing US aid to Israel taken down under pressure
by Philip Weiss
Mondoweiss, 2009-04-29

A few week ago we posted about
ten billboards going up around Albuquerque, NM
calling for Congress to cut off aid to Israel.
They were put up by The Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel,
a multi-ethnic, multi-religious coalition working to
“end to the ten year commitment of
$30 billion in U.S. taxpayer-funded military aid
pledged to Israel in 2007 by the Bush administration.”
Today, the coalition sent out a press release saying that
although Lamar Outdoor Advertising had signed a contract
to run the billboards for eight weeks,
they are coming down after three.
From the press release:

On April 8th, the Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel
erected the billboards throughout the Albuquerque area
in order to inform the public about the misuse of their tax dollars,
denominated in human lives.
The group was motivated by concern for the Palestinian people
who had recently been subjected to a massive invasion of the Gaza Strip
by the Israeli military.
Over 1,400 Palestinians – mostly civilian, including three hundred children –
were killed and over 5,000 were injured.
In 2007 the Bush administration signed a Memorandum of Understanding
that provides $30 billion of U.S. taxpayer dollars to Israel
over a ten year period beginning in 2008.
The majority of these dollars will be used to purchase American-made weapons.

The design of the billboard had been approved by Lamar
and the billboards’ wording and final image
were suggested by Lamar’s graphics designer.

According to information from Lamar,
it appears groups claiming to be pro-Israel
have conducted a campaign to pressure Lamar to remove the billboards.
The Coalition believes this is a deliberate attempt
to silence its right to free speech
because the humanitarian message of the billboards
supports equal rights for the Palestinian people,
thereby necessitating criticism of Israel.

C-SPAN tolerates anti-semitic rants
By Eric Rozenman (Washington director of CAMERA)
Washington Examiner Op-Ed, 2009-05-20

If passivity in response to anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish rants
can become complicity,
perhaps C-SPAN, cable television’s public affairs channel,
is an accomplice.

On May 5’s “Washington Journal,”
host Bill Scanlon and guest David Sanger, a New York Times’ correspondent,
were discussing foreign policy:

“If you’ve read the statements of Osama Bin Laden,
you would understand that
his motive for destroying the World Trade Center
was America’s creation and support for Israel.
It was an invasion of Muslim Palestine.”

The caller insists that Israel resulted from
“an invasion” of European and North American Jews,
that it must “take down that flag with the Star of David on it
and put the name of that territory back to Palestine.
It is an apartheid state, just like South Africa was ....”

[Scanlon]: “That was Mike from York, Pennsylvania ....”

Scanlon ignores the screed.
He does not point out that
bin Laden’s primary motivations have been
to overthrow the Saudi ruling dynasty
and reestablish an Islamic caliphate.
He does not mention that
it was not the United States but the United Nations
that helped re-establish a Jewish state.

[This is really characteristic of
the massive propaganda efforts of Zionist information warfare.

Rather than acknowledging data which support the caller’s very valid points,
he ignores all that, as if those statements don’t exist,
and instead points to a lot of extraneous statements;
in other words,
the old Zionist shell-game.

For a look at that to which the knowledgable caller refers,
and the CAMERA spokesman and American media in general
totally (I don’t think that’s much of an exaggeration) ignore, see
what Osama bin Laden himself said about his motivation for 9/11.

Too bad CAMERA would have you ignore that.
Too bad the media consistently supports this Zionist shell game.]

The host fails to remind viewers there was no “Muslim Palestine”
but rather British Mandatory Palestine,

[The term “Muslim Palestine” may refer to either of two things:
who governs Palestine or who populates it.
As to who populated it before the start of the Zionist onslaught,
here is a quote from page 4 of Righteous Victims by the Israeli historian Benny Morris:

By 1881, on the eve of the start of the Zionist Jewish influx,
Palestine’s population was 457,000—
about 400,000 of them Muslims,
13,000–20,000 Jews, and 42,000 Christians (mostly Jewish Orthodox).
In addition,
there were several thousand more Jews
who were permanent residents of Palestine but not Ottoman citizens.

So, in terms of population,
the caller was entirely correct to refer to Muslim Palestine.

As to governance,
Palestine was governed by Muslims, the Ottoman Turks,
up until the British conquest during World War I.
(The “British Mandate” was only in effect from 1920 to 1948.)
So here again, referencing before Western powers arrived,
calling Palestine Muslim seems quite accurate.
It is true that it was only a province of the Ottoman empire
rather than a self-governing entity,
but that does not diminish the fact that it was governed by Muslims.]

that half of Israel’s Jewish population
is comprised of refugees from Arab countries and their descendants,

[Here again is a quote from Righteous Victims by Benny Morris,
this time from pages 259–60:

The [new Israeli] government’s attention [after its victories in the 1948 war]
was focused on economic consolidation
and absorbing as many immigrants in as short a time as possible.
Ben-Gurion believed that
a certain demographic mass was necessary for the country’s survival,
and a massive influx during the three years after the war
doubled the Jewish population.
The original 650,000 Jews,
with the aid of contributions from American Jewry,
housed, fed, and provided employment and schools for another 700,000 people.
Most had arrived destitute, many traumatized.
Of those coming from the Muslim world,
many were illiterate
and lacked skills useful in a semi-European, twentieth-century state.
The newcomers were settled in the abandoned [that is an extreme euphemism] Arab urban neighborhoods
or sent to establish settlements along the borders
and in the emptied areas of the interior.
In the course of 1949–50,
most of the abandoned Arab fields, groves, and orchards
were parceled out to and cultivated by kibbutzim or immigrant settlements.

In the summer of 1948, refugees—
propelled by poverty, homesickness, or the desire for revenge—
began to infiltrate in large numbers into Israel.
Many West Bank farmers,
from about eighty villages that had fields on the Israeli side of the new border,
also regularly crossed over to work “their lands,”
even though these were now increasingly cultivated by Jewish settlers.

Most of the migration into Israel from Muslim or Arab countries
came after the 1948 war.
The chain of events basically was:
first, Israel in 1947 and 1948 defeated and drove out
hundreds of thousands of Arabs, making space for new immigrants;
second, Muslim and Arab countries,
in retaliation for those actions by Israel,
expelled many of their Jewish citizens;
Jewish immigrants arrived both from Europe and from Muslim and Arab countries,
as described above,
to fill the space that had been created by the ethnic cleansing.]

and that Israel is not “an apartheid state”

[Many disagree with that:
see, for example, the discussion started by Jimmy Carter.]

but the Middle East state in which Arabs are most free.

[That may, arguably, be true for Arabs who are Israeli citizens.
It most definitely is not true for those in the occupied territories.
They, for example,
have no voting rights whatsoever over the terms of their occupation.]

Syndicated columnist Mona Charen, on “Washington Journal” May 10,
listened to a caller rant that
pro-Israel lobbyists picked President Obama’s cabinet.
“C-SPAN gets these callers all the time,” Charen observed.
“It’s an ugly thing -
this tendency to call up and demonize Jews and demonize Israel ....”

[Just what does that have to do with
the validity and relevance of the caller's comment?]

On April 19, Steve Scully hosted “Washington Journal”
with Congressional Quarterly magazine’s tax policy reporter, Richard Rubin.
The topic was tax code changes.

“I just wanted to say that
we are paying all these tax dollars to fight wars for Israel.
We were attacked on 9/11 because of our support for Israel ....
And when is C-SPAN going to do a segment with Charles Freeman - a doctor -
who was with the Middle East Policy Council?”
The caller also talks about
“the Likudnik neocons that took us into the war for Israel with Iraq.”

Freeman, appointed to chair the National Intelligence Council,
faced congressional opposition due to his Saudi Arabia and China ties,
but Scully doesn’t say so.
Rubin, the guest, replies,
“Well, if you look specifically at aid to Israel,
it’s only a very small portion of the federal budget.
As to what took us into the war in Iraq ... it’s debatable ....”

C-SPAN’s Judeophobic obsessives make outlandish claims

[Hey, wait a minute.
Just what is outlandish about
“We were attacked on 9/11 because of our support for Israel”?
That is exactly what Osama bin Laden said.
The only remaining question is
whether the CAMERA guy is too a) stupid, b) crazy, or c) ignorant
to know that.
Or if he does know that, but hid it,
it demonstrates his intellectual dishonesty.]

The United States has been “sending $20 billion a year” to Israel
“and that’s why we’re so deeply in debt right now”;
“we must stop support for Israel
and get all the congressmen that have dual citizenship -
there’s about 35 of them - out of our government”;
and that Jews have no right to a state in part of what was Mandatory Palestine.

Hosts have failed to respond that aid to Israel runs about $3 billion,
not $20 billion annually;
[What the CAMERA guy misses is that
Israel is the prime cause of
the multi-trillion-dollar war with Muslims that we are mired in.
(Although it must be admitted that feminism has become another reason for
our consistent efforts to meddle in the Muslim world.)]

that no members of Congress hold dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship;
or that the Mandate itself recognized
the Jewish people’s historic claims in Palestine.

In February,
a program host said C-SPAN was considering how to deal with the problem.
Evidently, that consideration went nowhere.

Why not a brief delay, like those commonly used on radio shows?
Why should C-SPAN continue spreading
crude propaganda against Jews and the Jewish state?

[To make the obvious point,
which is clearly beyond the capability of CAMERA and those who support it
to understand,
what is “crude propaganda” to one person
is truth-telling and whistle-blowing to another.
It’s called free speech, stupid.]

Eric Rozenman is Washington director of CAMERA,
the 65,000-member, Boston-based news media monitoring organization.

In a Home to Free Speech, a Paper Is Accused of Anti-Semitism
New York Times, 2009-11-28

BERKELEY, Calif. —

For the last six years,
The Berkeley Daily Planet has published
a freewheeling assortment of submissions from readers,
who offer sharp-elbowed views
on everything from raucous college parties (generally bad)
to the war in Iraq (ditto).

But since March, that running commentary has been under attack
by a small but vociferous group of critics
who accuse the paper’s editor, Becky O’Malley, of

publishing too many letters and other commentary pieces
critical of Israel.

Those accusations are the basis of
a campaign to drive away the paper’s advertisers and
a Web site [www.dpwatchdog.com]
that strongly suggests The Planet and its editor are anti-Semitic.

“We think that

Ms. O’Malley is addicted to anti-Israel expression
just as an alcoholic is to drinking,”

Jim Sinkinson, who has led the campaign to discourage advertisers,
wrote in an e-mail message.
He is the publisher of Infocom Group, a media relations company.
“If she wants to serve and please the East Bay Jewish community,
she would be safer avoiding the subject entirely.”


Whether right or wrong,

Mr. Sinkinson’s campaign has left The Planet —
a weekly already hammered by the recession —
gasping for breath.

Advertising sales revenue is down some 60 percent from last year,
Ms. O’Malley says.
In October, the paper trimmed its skeleton crew of full-time reporters
to one from three,
and has begun a fund-raising drive to keep publishing.


In addition to the letter-writing campaign,
the paper has faced online criticism from dpwatchdog.com,
a site that contains pages of
what it calls anti-Semitic writings published in The Planet.
The site’s editor, John Gertz, says
his goal is not to close the paper, but “reform” it.

“The object is not to attack the press,”
said Mr. Gertz, the president and chief executive of Zorro Productions,
which owns the trademark and copyrights on the Zorro franchise.
“The object is to turn the press into something responsible.”

Mr. Gertz complains that The Planet does not fact-check reader submissions,
something Ms. O’Malley says is well beyond its resources.

“We make a serious effort to get most words spelled right in the headlines,
which we don’t always achieve,” Ms. O’Malley said.
“And we of course never knowingly print something that we know to be untrue.
But, frankly, there are things we don’t know.”


“It never occurred to me, frankly, till
somebody submitted the research to us about her background,
to begin to ask the question of, well,
‘Maybe she learned this stuff on her daddy’s knee,’ ”
Mr. Gertz said.


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