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Ron Radosh

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The Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles this week presented its year-end list of the top 10 antisemitic and anti-Israel slurs. It is an ecumenical list, containing the usual suspects, led by Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk, and Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters, among others.

The ninth listing was reserved for writers and is titled “The Power of the Poison Pen.” Sharing the Wiesenthal award is the novelist Alice Walker, who was awarded it for comparing Israelis to Nazis, and for writing that Israelis engage in “despicable and lawless sadistic behavior” and seek to “erase” Palestinians “from their own land.” Jews, she said, “know how to hate and how to severely punish others.”

Sharing the listing with Walker is none other than “journalist” Max Blumenthal, and the Wiesenthal Center makes it quite clear that a Jew can indeed be an antisemite, and that Blumenthal is one. Equating Israelis with Nazis, Blumenthal mentions the Holocaust “only to ask [is it right] to have the Jewish victims of the Nazis impose their independence on another people’s tragedy.” Blumenthal uses the term “Judeo-Nazis” and explains the Israeli-Arab conflict as the result of Israeli politicians “outdoing one another in a competition for the most convincing exaltation of violence against the Arab evildoers.” According to Blumenthal, it notes, Israelis incite “unprovoked violence against the Arab outclass.” They also “indoctrinate schoolchildren into the culture of militarism.”

Rabbi Marvin Hier, co-founder of the Wiesenthal Center, told the Jerusalem Post that he considers Blumenthal to be a “Jewish anti-Semite.” We “judge him by what he writes,” Hier added. “He crossed the line into outright anti-Semitism.”

As I have pointed out in earlier columns, Blumenthal had two appearances in Washington, D.C., one at the National Press Club and the other at the liberal New America Foundation, whose director, Anne-Marie Slaughter, approved his appearance.  Atlantic editor Steve Clemons promoted the first appearance. Writing in his announcement for the event,  he said:

Max Blumenthal’s new book on Israel has received a torrent of attention — some caustic and some effusive.  I think his book is important and revelatory of many untouched, taboo subjects both inside Israel and in its neighborhood

A group called the “Committee for the Republic” sponsored the event. According to Source Watch, it is an ad hoc group that includes C. Boyden Gray, Charles Freeman, Stephen P. Cohen, and William A. Nitze. All are self-proclaimed realists and conservatives who are opponents of both Israel and those they call neoconservatives, whom they attack as supporters of the American empire.

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" He cannot simply condemn the reprehensible Blumenthal without having to use the occasion to launch yet another blast at Israel."

This is a classical type of the rhetorical fallacy, which author Martin Amis named "the fetishization of balance":

“We are drowsily accustomed, by now, to the fetishization of “balance,”
the ground rule of “moral equivalence” in all conflicts between West and
East, the 100 percent and 360-degree inability to pass judgment on any
ethnicity other than our own (except in the case of Israel).”
The Second Plane, September 11: Terror and Boredom_ (2008)

Beinart has become very adept at this sleight of hand.

Another point: For Slaughter to ask Beinart to "clear" Blumenthal for her Institute suggests that Beinart is now regarded as some sort of an anointed gatekeeper of what is acceptable "criticism" of Israel. If criticized, she can always refer the critic to her proverbial Jewish fig leaf: I passed it by Beinart and he approved it...

It is a comedy of the utter absurd.

42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The real antisemites are the Islamists and Arab extremists and terrorists of Hamas and Hezbollah and the likes of those supported by Max Blumenthal, Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk and their brethren among old-style Western antisemites, which now include the American left, all of whom collectively hate and despise Israel."

Not going to defend Arab extremists(even though I have a sneaking suspicion you probably lump most Arabs into that category) or other groups.

I will, however, note that you essentially are saying that the entire American left - you say the words "all of whom" - hate Israel. What is your basis for this?

Secondly, given the total dominance of the American left in the media and academia, what is your plan? Ranting at PJ media, this media behemoth?(I only registered to make this single comment!)

Further, Blumenthal isn't a fan of ethnic nationalism. Would you, Ron, support a White Christian state in America?
If you're trying to duck the question, you could say it's too late for that now or something similar. But that's a tactical dodge. On principle you know you wouldn't.

And let's not pretend as if multiculturalism was always going to be inevitable. America was an explicitly white Christian(and in particular a WASP Christian) country for most of its formal existance. People like me or you wouldn't be welcome there.

You're basically the Jewish version of a WASP ethno-nationalist. I mean, you don't pretend to be liberal anymore.

But the problem with people like Eric Alterman and others on the left who barely, just barely, hang on to their respectable status among the rest of the left, is that they can't defend in America what they defend in Israel. And this hypocrisy is being increasingly noticed.

And since I strongly suspect you yourself wouldn't support a WASP-y Christian state in America, this means you yourself are unprincipled since you support the Jewish version. So taking your logic, someone in the 1960s could have attacked a Jewish or a non-WASPy critic of the ethnonationalist status quo as a "racist" who wants to "undermine and traditional America".

This is essentially the position you are taking, but for Israel. And you expect the left to accept this?
Over the long term, Israel's ethnocentrism will be treated the same way as we would treat a white advocate of a similar system in the Western world.

Also, a two quick notes.
1. As for the "the left singles out Israel" argument: no. No other country is being funded and supported the way Israel is by the U.S.
No other country comes even close. We don't coddle and often directly underwrite the transgression of China or Russia. Often we stay silent, shamefully so, but we don't finance it or underwrite it via military or diplomatic aid and support.

2. What about countries like Ireland that have an ethnic profile too? Well, Ireland has a preference for people with Irish ancestry. If you have it, you can claim citizenship right away. Unlike Israel, however, it doesn't limit non-Irish immigration. Irish folks have a leg up in the queue. They don't have it for themselves.

Countries like France give no ethnic priorities over a white American over a, say, Asian American. Germany gave up their racial citizenship laws in the late 1990s. The UK has no racial doctrine like Israel. Neither does Australia, Canada or New Zealand and so on.

Finally, it's not just immigration. There are numerous Jim Crow laws in Israel, such as the "small communities act" which give smaller communities the right to discriminate on the basis of race. And then you have the Jim Crow-like segregated school system where Arabs are quarantined. And so on, and so on.

How could anyone but someone who would have supported Jim Crow in the 1960s support this?
The answer: we cannot. And screaming anti-Semitism, to deflect the collective gaze from these facts, will not help you. And the more the Wiesenthal center lumps in people like Blumenthal, Walker or the ASA, the more your side will lose, even faster.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was ignorant about anti-Semitism until 1986, when the art historian Leo Steinberg urged me to study up. So this is my best piece on the subject, for it emphasizes switches: http://clarespark.com/2010/11/16/good-jews-bad-jews-and-wandering-jews/. Pictures terrific.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Or I could have posted this piece about Ben Urwand who loathes "Zionism" and mistakenly attributed to Ben Hecht his own views. Hecht supported the Irgun and caught hell for it from pro-British moderates. See http://clarespark.com/2013/12/07/ben-hecht-v-ben-urwand-the-un-jewish-left-and-assimilated-jews/.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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