Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


Video: Arizona State’s SJP debka flashmob

Apr 09, 2012

Allison Deger

Video by Saiaf Abdallah.

On April 3, 2012, Arizona State University’s (ASU) Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) staged a debka flashmob on their campus. With knockout rhythm, the students danced for their classmates who look to be either surprised, or delighted, stomping their feet and waving their keffiyehs to Maher Halabi’s “Ya Tair Ya Tayer.” But, the pièce de résistance comes at the end when SJP steps in time while holding big placards that read: “ISRAEL STOP Erasing Palestinian Identity.”
Israeli Big Brother makes the occupation ‘a reality’ on TV

Apr 09, 2012

Allison Deger

Israeli Big Brother’s Saar Szekely’s criticisms of Israel, video subtitles: Yaniv Eidelstein.

Last week, as Israel’s hit-show Big Brother approached its seasonal finale, underdog and hunky left-wing darling Saar Szekely, held his own big finish with a groundbreaking reality TV conversation. He debated the occupation while shirtless and sunbathing with housemate Eran Tartakovsky, a former military officer. Their conversation went viral over social media, and even caught the eye of Al Jazeera’s The Stream, who brought Szekely on the show last week. Though other housemates stormed out over criticisms of the Israeli army as “murderers” the discussion was hailed for bringing the occupation to the forefront. While this type of debate is not yet a reality in Israeli political discourse, at least it is in the realm of reality TV.

Al Jazeera’s The Stream “Is the debate on Israel changing among American Jews?,” with guests Saar Szekely, Dana Goldstein and Daniel Levy.


Israel’s man in Egypt throws his hat into the presidential race

Apr 09, 2012

Alex Kane

Former Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Photo: Getty Images Europe)

Hosni Mubarak’s closest adviser and former head of intelligence Omar Suleiman has thrown his hat into Egypt’s presidential race. The announcement of his candidacy last Friday has scrambled the first presidential elections to be held since the overthrow of Mubarak’s regime, although it’s important to note that the vast majority of Egyptians won’t vote for him, according to polls.

Suleiman’s candidacy has been welcomed by at least one Israeli lawmaker, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (though if he wants Suleiman back in power, he should shut up considering Egypt’s revulsion at Israeli interference in their affairs). It’s safe to assume his candidacy is also warming the hearts of the entire Israeli security establishment, given Suleiman’s past role as the point person on Egyptian-Israeli relations, which were close until Mubarak’s overthrow last February.

Suleiman’s candidacy has enraged Egyptians who took part in the popular uprising to topple Mubarak. Earlier today, an Egyptian parliamentary committee passed a bill amending Egypt’s election law to ban former regime figures from running for president, a measure aimed at Suleiman.

“Omar Suleiman has made a big mistake. He will only win through forgery and, if this happens, the revolution will kick off again,” Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Khairat al-Shater told Reuters.

The Associated Press reports that Ben-Eliezer, a Labor Party member in Israel’s Knesset, told Israel’s Army Radio that Suleiman would be the best president for Egypt in terms of Israeli interests. Ben-Eliezer has long had close ties to the Mubarak regime, and has said that Israel had offered Mubarak safe harbor after his overthrow.

Israel, as well as the US, have good reason to welcome Suleiman’s candidacy. WikiLeaks cables offer a glimpse into why.

An August 2008 cable reports that “there is no question that Israel is most comfortable with the prospect of Omar Soliman” as the successor to Mubarak. The reason for why Suleiman was liked by Israel comes out in other documents.

2007 cable quotes Suleiman as saying that he wanted Israel’s blockade to cause “Gaza to go ‘hungry’ but not ‘starve.'” Suleiman has also told US officials that the Israel Defense Forces would be “‘welcome’ to re-invade Philadelphi, [a strip of land between Gaza and Egypt]…Mubarak and his security chiefs viscerally want Hamas ‘to fail.’” Suleiman has alsoexpressed hope that the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority would return to Gaza.

Suleiman’s positions outlined in those cables–supporting the crippling blockade of Gaza and blocking reconciliation efforts between Hamas and Fatah–is exactly the Israeli position.

Suleiman was also close to the US. As Jane Mayer notes in the New Yorker, Suleiman was the “C.I.A.’s point man in Egypt for renditions—the covert program in which the C.I.A. snatched terror suspects from around the world and returned them to Egypt and elsewhere for interrogation, often under brutal circumstances.”

Lisa Hajjar, a professor at the University of California and the co-editor of Jadaliyyawrote on Suleiman’s close US ties last February:

On January 29, Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s top spy chief, was anointed vice president by tottering dictator, Hosni Mubarak. By appointing Suleiman, part of a shake-up of the cabinet in an attempt to appease the masses of protesters and retain his own grip on the presidency, Mubarak has once again shown his knack for devilish shrewdness. Suleiman has long been favoured by the US government for his ardent anti-Islamism, his willingness to talk and act tough on Iran – and he has long been the CIA’s main man in Cairo.

Mubarak knew that Suleiman would command an instant lobby of supporters at Langley and among ‘Iran nexters’ in Washington – not to mention among other authoritarian mukhabarat-dependent regimes in the region. Suleiman is a favourite of Israel too; he held the Israel dossier and directed Egypt’s efforts to crush Hamas by demolishing the tunnels that have functioned as a smuggling conduit for both weapons and foodstuffs into Gaza.


Romney has friends in all the right places

Apr 09, 2012

Philip Weiss


Netanyahu and Romney
Netanyahu and Romney

It never ends; many of you read the frightening article in the New York Times over the weekend by Michael Barbaro, describing the close relationship between Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu, forged in business 35 years ago.

Only a few weeks ago, on Super Tuesday, Mr. Netanyahu delivered a personal briefing by telephone to Mr. Romney about the situation in Iran.

“We can almost speak in shorthand,” Mr. Romney said in an interview.

How many other heads of state of countries of several million people get this kind of access? After Romney and Gingrich sparred in debate about who could be more responsive to Israel, Democratic Israel lobbyist Martin Indyk comments that Romney would “subcontract Middle East policy to Israel.” Meantime,  Netanyahu is reported to have signalled Romney that he had nothing to do with his other good friend Sheldon Adelson giving millions to Newt Gingrich in December.

The relationship between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Romney — nurtured over meals in Boston, New York and Jerusalem, strengthened by a network of mutual friends and heightened by their conservative ideologies — has resulted in an unusually frank exchange of advice and insights on topics like politics, economics and the Middle East.

In a telling exchange during a debate in December, Mr. Romney criticized Mr. Gingrich for making a disparaging remark about Palestinians, declaring: “Before I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: ‘Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?’ “

…Martin S. Indyk, a United States ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration, said that whether intentional or not, Mr. Romney’s statement implied that he would “subcontract Middle East policy to Israel.”

..Mr. Netanyahu was startled in January by an article exploring why Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino executive and outspoken supporter of Israel, was devoting millions of dollars to back Mr. Gingrich. It described Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Adelson as close friends.

Mr. Netanyahu’s office quickly relayed a message to a senior Romney adviser, Dan Senor: the prime minister had played no role in Mr. Adelson’s decision to bankroll a Romney rival.

Oh and here is Boston Magazine’s 2003 list of 100 women who run this town. #7 is Orit Gadiesh at Bain, Romney’s former shop (h/t Scott McConnell):

Orit Gadiesh 52, Chair, Bain & Company She stands over 6 feet tall in heels. She worked in military intelligence in her native Israel. And she runs one of the world’s largest, most elite business-consulting firms, with big-hitter clients like De Beers, ITT, and Dell. Twelve years ago, Gadiesh succeeded Mitt Romney as head of what was once called the KGB of consulting firms. Given her connections to the governor, it was no surprise when he named her to his transition team. Gadiesh was one of only two Bostonians listed the last time Fortune magazine published its female power list in 2000.

Book recounts Mike Wallace being attacked at NY party by Barbara Walters and Mort Zuckerman over ’60 minutes’ Israel coverage

Apr 09, 2012

Linda Lotz

As we watch the many accolades coming in regarding Mike Wallace, there’s an important story to remember from Michael Emery, the late journalism professor at Cal State Northridge.

Described in part in the November 13, 1990 Village Voice and in more detail in On the Front Lines – Following America’s Foreign Correspondents Across the Twentieth Century, Emery explains how Mike Wallace helped to bring the truth forward about what happened during the October 8, 1990 shooting at the Haram Al Sharif in Jerusalem which left 22 Palestinians dead and more than 100 more injured, and how the Israeli government officials completely distorted what happened. It cost Wallace a great deal, personally, to bring this story forward.

Initially, news reports indicated Palestinians threw stones from the Haram al Sharif on Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall. Upset Israelis began shooting at Palestinians. However, a nine month investigation headed by Judge Kama concluded the opposite: Israeli police rather than Palestinians provoked the violence.

It turned out two different tourists captured the event on video and became the basis for Emery’s writing and later a segment on 60 Minutes. In his book, Emery explains the incident began when Border police used tear gas against “a group of Palestinian women which led Palestinian men to throw rocks. Border police began firing while being forced out of the grounds by the stone-throwing crowd.” “The hail of rocks featured prominently on world television was aimed at the Israeli border police… those standing beneath a seven meters high wall could not see into the Western Wall Plaza… Border police stormed back into the Haram al Sharif and assumed control of the area after opening fire on unarmed Palestinians, some of whom were shot in the back from long-range distances. Hundreds of rounds were fired and audible on the two videotapes.”

According to Emery, none of the Israelis featured in TV and newspaper photos had been praying at the Western Wall, rather they had been in rooms adjacent to it. “Careless or opportunistic television editing gave the impression that the rocks were falling as they fled. A CBS editor said to me when he learned of the private videotapes, “You mean that we got the story backwards?”

Emery charged: “Many of the so-called witnesses (quoted in the global press) … were persons set up by Israeli agents or were agents themselves…” He also claimed Israeli officials created a “bogus story” that Saddam Hussein had plotted with Palestinians who had packed away tons of rocks for the occasion.

Emery traveled to the Middle East and was able to obtain a copy of one of the videotapes. He provided it to Wallace. 60 Minutes producer Barry Lando was in Jerusalem, working on a segment related to the First Intifada. An interview with an injured Palestinian nurse had convinced Lando to devote the entire segment to the shootings. Wallace personally interviewed her as well.

Wallace later told Emery that the story was one of the most riveting in his 60 Minutesexperience… and one of the two most satisfying in his long career. Several days after the segment ran, Wallace told the journalism professor that there had been quite a few complaints. Moreover:

Wallace and (Don) Hewitt were attacked at a New York party by ABC’s Barbara Walters, Mort Zuckerman of US News and World Report, and others who felt the show had been unfair and “anti-Israel.” Hewitt walked out in a huff, leaving Wallace to defend the ship, which he did with his usual bluntness. The Jerusalem Post also attacked Wallace in its media review columns, calling him a “self-hating Jew.” All I felt I could “add to this debate is that I found Wallace completely faithful to the facts as we knew them, honest in his evaluation of the people involved, and courageous in his telling of this bizarre incident. The entire team did a highly professional job, from start to finish…

Hasbara in 1988: ‘despite difficulties, South Africa is a vital, progressive state with much to admire ‘

Apr 09, 2012

Phan Nguyen

A promo for Radio RSA.

This is the first of an ongoing series of articles I’ll be writing on the use of the apartheid analogy (as opposed to the application of the term “apartheid” under international law).

In this initial piece, we’ll explore some of the themes utilized in propaganda on behalf of South African apartheid. Defenders of Israel seek to stress Israel’s unique situation in order to excuse actions against the Palestinians. Yet if we look at the propaganda employed to defend apartheid in South Africa, we find the same arguments in use.

The lesson is that if supporters of Israel want to distinguish Israel’s oppressive regime against non-Jewish populations from that of South African apartheid, they should consider avoiding the same specious arguments made to defend South African apartheid. And if we want to know what is wrong with arguments made in defense of Israel, we need only consider why the same arguments fail to make the case for apartheid in South Africa.

Here I rely on a study conducted by Philo C. Wasburn of Purdue University (citations at the end).

Radio RSA: The Voice of South Africa

In 1988, Wasburn’s students analyzed five weeks of nightly radio broadcasts from Radio RSA (“The Voice of South Africa”), the South African government’s international radio service, which sought to improve world opinion of the apartheid regime.

Fanus Venter, then head of Radio RSA, referred to its mission as “the ultimate public relations challenge.”

According to Venter, the main objective of the station is to foster understanding of South Africa’s unique situation in the world and to counteract the untruths and the halftruths about the nation which has been spread worldwide. To this end, the [South African Broadcasting Corporation] claims that Radio RSA presents balanced and objective information which enables its audiences to make a more accurate assessment of South African affairs against a background of what it describes as inaccurate and often one-sided coverage given events in South Africa by foreign media.

The study took forty-five hours of Radio RSA broadcasts and categorized the narrative into six interrelated propaganda themes, which I summarize below.

1. Brand South Africa

The most common theme sought to deflect from the apartheid issue and instead focus on “positive” traits shared between South Africa and other Western nations:

Theme 1. South Africa is an unusually complex, modern society with a pro-Western government, a vital capitalist economy, vast natural resources, and a rich cultural life with ties to Western Europe. While the nation faces serious, continuing problems of race, exclusive focus on this single aspect of South African society, by the media of other countries, has produced a highly distorted and misleading international image of the nation.


[T]he view of South Africa as a modern, productive society with strong cultural links to the West, working to achieve greater participation for all of its citizens in national political and economic life through gradual reform, is introduced in a piecemeal fashion. Nevertheless items depicting day-to-day life in South Africa, music, literature, art, business, science, flora and fauna all carry Radio RSA’s most important message: contrary to the image of South Africa constructed by the international media, and despite admitted difficulties, South Africa is a vital, progressive state with much to admire and is deserving of support from the West.

Wasburn explained how something seemingly innocuous, such as focusing on South Africa’s achievements and rich culture, sought to mask the country’s crimes through an “apolitical” filter:

The accusation that a nation is insensitive to human rights or is militarily adventurous calls for the construction and presentation of a national image inconsistent with the labeling. The distinction between issue-specific and what will be termed thematic counterpropaganda is not hard and fast. However, it does clarify how manifestly nonpolitical material can be employed as a form of counterpropaganda.

Even the most cursory glance at the programming schedules of the major international broadcasting organizations reveals that a substantial amount of broadcast time is devoted to the transmission of materials such as music, sporting events, verbal travelogues, cultural affairs, business, and features purporting to depict daily life in the nation.

Although lacking obvious political content, numerous analysts have contended that such cultural materials can effectively promote particular values and national images that serve political and economic interests. Benevolence–malevolence is a common cognitive dimension of international images attributed to nations. A likely reason for allocating time to materials lacking obvious political intent is that they can cultivate a more benevolent image of a nation. Such materials do not evoke the resistance aroused by assertions that deal explicitly with political events, conditions, policies, principles, or other potentially controversial matters.

The goal of such strategy is to disprove that Country X is a “bad” country by demonstrating that it produces some “good.” If the country does good, then criticism of the country as “bad” cannot be correct. This assists us in parsing the strategy behind campaigns such as pinkwashing. Of course the flaw is that good actions do not offset bad ones, and criticism of a nation’s actions are not offset by positive labels ascribed to the country as a whole. The branding theme seeks to determine whether a country is inherently good or bad, thus deflecting criticisms of what the country’s government is doing.

2. Singling out South Africa

Theme 2. South Africa is wantonly and hypocritically singled out as a nation that oppresses its people. The government of South Africa is committed to democratic development. To this end, it is working to promote economic advancement, literacy, order, and stability, all of which are social preconditions for the maintenance of political liberties. The great threat to continuing social improvement in South Africa comes from revolutionary forces that are committed to violence and attempt to disrupt peace and legal order.

Radio RSA cited an opinion piece by British writer and commentator Simon Jenkins, who at the time had just returned from trips to Israel and South Africa.

Jenkins’s piece, titled “People Who Live In Glass Houses: Before the British Begin to Criticise Other Nations on Human Rights, They Should Go to See Ulsters’ Peace Wall,” was published in the Sunday Times on February 28, 1988.

Radio RSA quoted from the piece two days later:

“The past week saw media attention being paid to the violence in Northern Ireland, Israeli soldiers beating Palestinians, the reporting of uprisings in the Soviet Union as well as the news of the restrictions placed on organizations in South Africa … (I was) shocked by the complexity of the problems in Israel and South Africa, many of which were inherited from British policy decisions. (I was) impressed, however, by the efforts being made to overcome these problems. (I do) not believe that either Tel Aviv or Pretoria takes any more delight in increasing the permanent emergency powers than does the British government in extending its own increasingly permanent emergency powers.”

3. There are prominent and successful blacks in South Africa. Blacks are better off here than elsewhere.

Theme 3. South Africa has undertaken major programs to improve black–white relations—particularly through increasing black participation in the management of the South African economy.

This theme attempted to counter accusations of racism by demonstrating a commitment to improving the situation of blacks in South Africa.

For example, the director of the International Executive Service of South Africa discussed a program to develop small, black-owned businesses in Soweto (March 9, 1988) and the director of South Africa’s Urban Foundation described how the South African business community has tried to respond to the social needs of black South Africans (February 19, 1988).

Moreover, Radio RSA cited studies proving black success in South Africa.

“Contrary to much international criticism that blacks in South Africa lack opportunities, a recent survey shows that increasing numbers of black businessmen are reaching the top in the executive field with local companies.

“(Voice of Trevor Woodburn, head of the Woodburn-Mann consulting organization that conducted the survey) I was absolutely shocked to find that we, in fact, have placed far more blacks at the senior executive levels than most of the consultants around the world—in countries like Britain, Australia, Canada, for example, or even Italy or Germany…”

4. South Africa wants peace and good relations with its neighbors

Theme 4. South Africa maintains a policy of peaceful co-existence and helpfulness toward the other nations of Africa.


“A spokesman for the South African Department of Foreign Affairs said the positive areas of cooperation between South Africa and Mozambique are often overlooked by the international community. A group of diplomats had been invited so that they could be shown an aspect of the cooperation that existed. The spokesman said it was significant that representations of countries such as Canada and Australia, which have been so vociferous in their criticisms of South Africa, had failed to use the opportunity to see the true state of affairs.” (March 5, 1988)

As well, Radio RSA boasted that South Africa’s “economic strength” and “agricultural and technical know-how” could benefit less-developed countries in Africa:

“South African presence in central Africa has been criticized by the Nigerian government, according to two articles in the Johannesburg press yesterday. But South Africa’s aid to the development of agriculture in Equatorial Guinea will achieve wider acceptance of the fact that South Africa, with its economic strength and depth of agricultural and technical knowhow, is well placed to contribute significantly to development in Africa.” (February 10, 1988)

5. BDS is “counterproductive”

Theme 5. Efforts by foreign states to influence South Africa’s domestic policies through the imposition of negative economic sanctions are both futile and counterproductive. South Africa’s economy is fundamentally sound. A slide backward into recession, unemployment, and falling real income would worsen social problems. The nation’s social-political difficulties are complex and can be solved best by its own people.

Critics of BDS against South Africa often claimed that reforms were under way but could be hindered by negative actions that forced white South Africans to react defensively and “circle the wagons”—often referred to by its Afrikaner term as the “laager” mentality.

Moreover, BDS would hurt the population it sought to help:

“The London branch of the Washington based International Freedom Foundation has issued a publication that questions whether massive disruption of the South African economy is either in the interest of, or supported by, the blacks in South Africa. Entitled Understanding Sanctions, it analyzes opinions held by black South Africans and finds that opposition to sanctions encompasses all sectors, including trade unionists, church and tribal leaders, and the ordinary black population. It say disinvestment hurts no one except those too poor to do anything about it, and that means the vast majority of the black population of South Africa. The publication concluded that for positive reform to accelerate, the West has to take moral courage and positive action in the form of investment in South Africa.” (February 19, 1988)

The International Freedom Foundation, cited above, was a DC-based think-tank covertly funded by the South African government to promote the government’s interests.

6. South Africa resides in a tough neighborhood; South Africa is an asset to the West.

Theme 6. Political and economic instability is widespread across southern Africa. The chief sources of such problems are tribalism, incompetence, crime, corruption, and, most important, foreign interference. South Africa deserves Western support because of its potential as a major stabilizing force on the subcontinent.

With the assertion of this theme, South African national image construction comes full circle. It has moved from the defensive position that criticisms of South Africa’s domestic and foreign policies are based, for the most part, on misunderstanding are hypocrisy, to the offensive position that criticism and negative sanctions should be replaced by various forms of support for South Africa from the West.

To pursue this offensive strategy, it was first necessary to establish that factors, other than the activities of South Africa itself, were responsible for the region’s political and economic problems…[N]umerous items appeared in the top-of-the-hour newscasts that dealt with lack of cooperation, incompetence, and corruption in other African nations and even in Africa’s international organizations…

The position that the Republic of South Africa contributed to such stability as there was in southern Africa, rested on many of the same items presented in support of Theme 4, which expressed South Africa’s helpfulness toward the other nations of the continent. Additional items also were presented that expressed South Africa’s importance to the overall economy of Africa.

Invest, don’t divest

An additional argument stressed in both themes 5 and 6 called for investment, not divestment or sanctions, as a positive and constructive solution for South Africa:

“Investment, not sanctions, is the only way in which Europe (can) contribute towards a peaceful resolution of southern Africa’s problems. South Africa needs assistance in its struggle for stability, not avoidance or neglect.” (March 12, 1988)

And, as previously quoted:

“[D]isinvestment hurts no one except those too poor to do anything about it, and that means the vast majority of the black population of South Africa…[F]or positive reform to accelerate, the West has to take moral courage and positive action in the form of investment in South Africa.” (February 19, 1988)


I have provided only a brief introduction to the themes employed by South Africa in defense of its apartheid regime.

The study cited here had significant limitations. It was an analysis of a one-month period of radio broadcasts, from February 6 to March 5, 1988, constituting forty-five hours of programming. The themes were acknowledged to be both arbitrary and interrelated.

Moreover, the study only concentrated on one medium through which the original apartheid regime disseminated propaganda. There were other methods by which it attempted to get its narrative across and defend itself from criticism.

In future articles, either on Mondoweiss or elsewhere, I will address more specific arguments made in defense of South African apartheid and directly relate them to current arguments in defense of Israel.

I will also be addressing other aspects of the apartheid analogy beyond the arguments made by both South Africa and Israel.

Work cited

Wasburn’s study was published in at least three different sources, cited below.

“The Construction and Defense of National Self-Images: The Case of South Africa,” Journal of Political and Military Sociology, 17:2 (Winter 1989), pp. 203–221.

“The Counter-Propaganda of Radio RSA: The Voice of South Africa,” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 33:2 (Spring 1989), pp. 117–138.

Broadcasting Propaganda: International Radio Broadcasting and the Construction of Political Reality, Westport: Praeger, 1992, pp. 117–138.

Israel bars Gunter Grass from entry under law barring former Nazis

Apr 09, 2012

Philip Weiss

The latest in the Gunter Grass story. Sydney Morning Herald

Israel’s Interior Minister has barred the German author Gunter Grass from entering the country because of a poem that accuses Israel of being a threat to world peace.

”Grass’s poems fan the flames of hatred against Israel and the Israeli people, thus promoting the idea he was part of when he donned an SS uniform,” the minister, Eli Yishai, said on Sunday, referring to Grass’s admission that he had been a Nazi soldier as a 17-year-old. ”His distorted poems are not welcome in Israel. I suggest he try them in Iran where he will find a sympathetic audience.”


Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood:

On Sunday, Israel’s interior minister Eli Yishai used a law permitting a bar on entry to former Nazis to declare Grass persona non grata for his “attempt to fan the flames of hatred against the state of Israel and its people, and thus to advance the idea to which he publicly affiliated in his past donning of the SS uniform”.

…Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, added his voice to the storm of criticism, saying Grass’s poem was the expression of “egoism of so-called western intellectuals who are willing to sacrifice the Jewish people on the altar of crazy anti-Semites for a second time, just to sell a few more books or gain recognition”.

When did ‘Shady companies with ties to Israel’ become a term of derision not praise in the US press?

Apr 09, 2012

Philip Weiss

Great headline on a piece by James Bamford at Wired: “Shady Companies With Ties to Israel Wiretap the U.S. for the NSA.” You get the picture.

CLM: Jeffrey Goldberg snits where he eats

Apr 09, 2012

Philip Weiss

Jeffrey Goldberg
Jeffrey Goldberg

This is interesting. I regard Jeffrey Goldberg as a master navigator of his own career, but in hislatest blogpost, his sextant is off. He suggests that Roger Cohen of the New York Times is not a real journalist and also attacks the editors of the Atlantic, where his blog appears. The Cohen bit:

I would like to draw your attention to this Haaretz piece, in which Ari Shavit schools Roger Cohen on how to be a journalist.

Nasty. Cohen is universally admired. He’s had a long distinguished career, he’s actually a gentleman and a scholar, plus he’s got intellectual honesty.

As for attacking the editors of the publication that runs your stuff– wow, that’s a CLM (career-limiting move; Jim Cramer taught me that great line when he was at Goldman, Sachs; some guy was wearing loud ties). Goldberg’s take on his editors comes in a riff about a Daniel Levypiece in favor of boycotting settlements that appeared on the Atlantic site and that criticized Goldberg.

The intricacies are too much to go into, or follow– but Goldberg twice questions the wisdom of the editors:

Always nice to find out on the Atlantic website that I’ve failed the intellectual scrutiny whiff-test. Of course, I never mentioned the Holocaust in this tweet, and I wasn’t thinking about the Holocaust.

And as a bonus, Levy shamelessly mischaracterizes my interview with President Obama… I’m sure Levy knows this, having read the interview, which was about only one thing. So, here’s Levy’s neat trick… Of course, Levy could have called me, or e-mailed me, to ask me what I meant, but he didn’t. Nor did his Atlantic editor apparently suggest that he do so, either.

I know, I keep predicting Goldberg’s eclipse by other Jewish writers; and I keep being wrong. But I do believe the sungod has passed his apogee.

Iran has ‘promised’ ‘another Holocaust’ — CBS commentator

Apr 09, 2012

Philip Weiss

Ben Stein is a commentator on CBS’ Sunday morning show. Yesterday his essay was titled “Israel faces another Holocaust.” Pure hysteria. The commentary angered a friend who told me about it– Israel is the one pushing us into war– and it has generated more than 300 comments on the CBS site, I assume many of them dismissing it. Stein:

At many [Passover] services in people’s homes and at synagogues, prayers will be recited which proclaim that in every generation, enemies of the Jews arise to kill the Jews, but God always saves the Jews in the end.

Sadly, this section is now obsolete.

About 75 years ago, enemies of the Jewish people rose up in the form of the Nazis in Europe and their many eager helpers, from France to Russia. Their hands were not stayed. In the cruelest imaginable ways, they basically wiped out the Jews of Europe – a staggering six million men, women and children. That was roughly half of the Jews on Earth.

Basically, the world did nothing to save them…

Now, Israel is threatened with another Holocaust as Iran races towards building a nuclear bomb and missiles to deliver it to Israel. The mullahs and other men who rule Iran have explicitly promised to wipe Israel off the map. Israel is a tiny country, and one nuclear bomb detonated over Tel Aviv would indeed make another Holocaust.

If you wonder why Israel may be planning to strike Iran pre-emptively, you have only to go back two generations – the wink of an eye….

If they are to be saved, they have to save themselves.

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