A few months back, Harry’s Place posted this quote from an Observer interview with John Malkovich:
At the Cambridge Union in 2002, Malkovich was asked whom he would like to fight to the death. He said George Galloway and Fisk, adding: ‘I’d rather just shoot them.’ It was a throwaway remark but Fisk blew it up into a major story with an article entitled ‘Why does John Malkovich want to kill me?’ The trouble was that nobody answered the question, so I asked it now: why did he want to kill Fisk? ‘I hate somebody who is supposed to be a Middle Eastern expert who thinks Jesus was born in Jerusalem. I hate what I consider his vile anti-semitism.’
In an interview (Review, 9 July), John Malkovich was asked about his ‘hatred’ for the Independent’s Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk. In reporting Mr Malkovich’s views, we did not intend to suggest in any way that Mr Fisk was anti-semitic and we apologise to him for any such inference.
Jonathan Cook, a Nazareth-based writer who has (of course) previously written for the Guardian, has just penned an article in (where else?) Counterpunch, dismissing claims of resurgent anti-semitism.
The essay has already been reprinted at all the usual haunts: Palestine Chronicle, Dissident Voice, ZNet, Media Monitors Network, and Indymedia. Cook’s central thesis: The “new anti-semitism” is a scare tactic devised by those crafty Zionists in Israel to boost their ranks:
Sharon’s government feared that well-off Israeli Jews might start to regard Europe and America as a safer bet than Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. The danger was that the demographic battle might be lost as Israeli Jews emigrated.
By suggesting that Europe in particular had become a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism, it was hoped that Israeli Jews, many of whom have more than one passport, would be afraid to leave. A survey by the Jewish Agency taken as early as May 2002 showed, for example, that 84 per cent of Israelis believed anti-Semitism had again become a serious threat to world Jewry.
At the same time Israeli politicians concentrated their attention on the two European countries with the largest Jewish populations, Britain and France, both of which also have significant numbers of immigrant Muslims. They highlighted a supposed rise in anti-Semitism in these two countries in the hope of attracting their Jewish populations to Israel.
In France, for example, peculiar anti-Semitic attacks were given plenty of media coverage: from a senior rabbi who was stabbed (by himself, as it later turned out) to a young Jewish woman attacked on a train by anti-Semitic thugs (except, as it later emerged, she was not Jewish).
Well, since Jews “faked” the Holocaust, it only stands to reason that they’d be pretty good at faking this new anti-semitism, right? I guess it’s only a matter of time before the intrepid Jonathan Cook exposes the lies of that 12-year-old Jewish girl who was recently beaten on a London bus. And those firebomings at French synagogues? C’mon, who are they fooling?
It’s bad enough that the far-left denies anti-semitism in their ranks. They’re also not satisfied unless they can deny anti-semitism altogether.
In the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, George Galloway has penned a diatribe against imperialism, occupation, and corrupt pro-U.S. Arab regimes–and heaps praise upon the global “resistance,” as embodied by Hezbollah, Hamas, and his good friend Hugo Chavez: “It is going to take the power of the popular resistance from Caracas to Cairo to throw back [the U.S.] behemoth and settle accounts with all the quislings who it depends upon but who crucially also depend on it.”
In other words, standard stuff. But wait…What’s Galloway’s view of the Western Sahara, which has been occupied by Morocco since 1975? Does he support the Western Saharan resistance against this quisling Arab regime? Does he recognize the government-in-exile, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which is officially recognized by the African Union and the government of Venezuela?
Short answer, no. Here’s his recent interview with the Morocco Times:
“I am for Morocco’s position (on the Sahara issue), and I always have been”, he said, stressing he is against “the balkanisation of the Arab region”. “We should not balkanise the Arab region … I am against the partition of Morocco,” added the British deputy, affirming that “there is no room for small entities”.
Vive la resistance.
Wow, the Elders have been busy this week.
Over in the UK, Jenny Tonge, a Liberal Democrat politico, declared that “The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the western world, its financial grips. I think they’ve probably got a grip on our party.” Oddly, she made these comments just after her party voted to condemn Israeli actions in Lebanon. (Insert inevitable bad pun here about the Liberal Democrats needing to bite their Tonge…)
Meanwhile, the London Review of Books has sent out this press release, promoting a forthcoming debate between Walt-Mearsheimer and their critics. “It is unfortunate that no American paper was willing to publish Mearsheimer and Walt’s article [on the Israel Lobby]. The United States has a long and rich history of open discussion on foreign policy, and this debate will continue that tradition,” said editor Mary-Kay Wilmers.
OK, again I ask…what evidence do these people have that nobody was willing to publish this paper? (See my previous post here) As always, though, it’s much simpler to see a shadowy conspiracy.
But wait, Mary-Kay Wilmers, the Fall issue of the presitigious U.S. journal Middle East Policy is also publishing the article! (Didn’t they get the memo? Why do I pay monthly dues to the Elders if this sort of thing keeps happening?!?) Chas Freeman, the president of the Middle East Policy Council and the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia (which, as we know, have absolutely no influence on American foreign policy) declared: “No one else in the United States has dared to publish this article, given the political penalties that the Lobby imposes on those who criticize it. So we continue to do important things that are not done by anybody else, which I think fill some gaps.”
And the plot thickens…Over at the New York Observer, the Nation’s Philip Weiss (the most die-hard Walt-Mearsheimer groupie in the blogosphere—and THAT says a lot) offers this blog entry:
Why is it that the most important advances in American understanding of the Middle East can only appear in papers that spell neighbor “neighbour”? Lately it was Tony Judt in the London Review of Books. Before that the LRB gave us Walt and Mearsheimer. And now it’s the Financial Times publishing the great Henry Siegman on the choice Israel faces, to live with its Arab neighbors or to depend on the United States… Americans are beginning to question the wisdom of the alliance. For now they are expressing themselves in England. Soon that will change.
Poor Henry Siegman…won’t anyone in the U.S. publish his work? Uh, actually yes…a quick search reveals that the New York Review of Books published pretty much the same article by Siegman five months ago.
To paraphrase Philip Weiss, why is it that comments supportive of Walt-Mearsheimer only seem to appear on blogs that can’t use “Google”?
Wow, I take a brief break from blogging for a couple of days, and what happens? The Pope starts a Holy War. (Has someone found a creative way to blame “the Zionists” yet? I can’t keep track…)
Anyway, while perusing commentaries over in the Catholisphere, I came across an essay by Magdi Allam. He’s an Egyptian-born, Italian journalist and the Deputy Editor of Corriere della Sera, one of Italy’s leading newspapers. Allam is a frequent commentator on Arab and Islamic affairs, and the winner of Tel Aviv University’s 2006 Dan David Prize “for his ceaseless work in fostering understanding and tolerance between cultures.” (Be sure to check out his essay on the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries.)
It is desolating and preoccupying to see Muslims who have given life to a unified international front to attack the Pope and demand public apologies. From Bin Laden to the Muslim Brotherhood, from Pakistan to Turkey, from Al Jazeera to Al Arabiya, there has risen anew the widespread and universal alliance that first emerged on the occasion of the events surrounding the cartoons about Mohammed….Why is it that Muslims, especially the so-called moderates, never stand up with similar and as much enthusiasm against the true and perpetual profaners of Islam, the Islamic terrorists who massacre Muslims themselves in the name of the same God, the Islamic extremists who legitimize the destruction of Israel and inculcate faith in the so-called Islamic “martyrdom”, while in the meantime they feel themselves dutybound to promote a sort of Islamic “holy war” against the head of the Catholic Church who legitimately expresses his evaluations concerning Islam, with respect but with just as much clarity about the diversity that naturally exists between the two religions?
This is the tragic reality of the ideology of hatred that is succeeding in solidifying the consensus among all those Muslims whose minds are clouded by being anti-American, anti-West, and by prejudiced hostility to the right of Israel to exist. The pretexts that can set off their fury change, from the Israeli occupation to the American war, from the Mohammed cartoons to the declarations of the Pope. But the problem is entirely internal to an Islam transformed by the extremists from a faith in God into an ideology bent on imposing a theocratic and totalitarian power upon all those who are not in their image and likeness. And it frightens me to note that even the so-called moderate Muslims have renounced the prudence of reason, and have aligned themselves with the “holy war” of which they will be the principal victims.
The Nation has just published a column titled “The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts,” which reads:
Do the military’s varying attempts to explain why F-15s didn’t intercept and shoot down the hijacked planes stem from predictable attempts to cover up the usual screw-ups, or because of conspiracy? Is Mr. Cohen in his little store at the end of the block hiking his prices because he wants to make a buck, or because his rent just went up, or because the Jews want to take over the world? Bebel said anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools. These days the 9/11 conspiracy fever is fast becoming the “socialism” of the left.
Now, here’s the real kicker…the author of the column is none other than Alexander Cockburn, editor of Counterpunch.
This is the same Alexander Cockburn who lent credence to the story that the 2001 anthrax attacks might have been the work of “a former government scientist, Jewish, with a record of baiting a colleague of Arab origins, and with the intent to blame the anthrax on Muslim terrorists.”
This is the same Alexander Cockburn who published an article by Amiri Baraka claiming that the Israeli government had advance knowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Was this The Nation’s attempt at irony?
The Australian newspaper, The Age, has an extensive report on how Leftist groups are fomenting anti-semitism to aid their recruitment efforts on university campuses:
Daniel Wyner is used to robust debate. A senior figure in the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, he moves around Melbourne campuses arguing for Israel. But he was taken aback recently when a Monash lecturer confronted him, almost incoherent with rage, and called him a Zionist oppressor and f—ing racist.
“He kept going on his rant and rave. He wasn’t Muslim or Arab. He may or may not have been a member of the arts faculty, and I may or may not have followed him back into the office to find that out.” The incident highlighted what many Australian Jews claim is a distinct rise in temperature on campus but the hostility has not come from Muslims.
Jewish groups claim some of the more radical left-wing groups are trying to exploit tensions in the Middle East to foment trouble on campus and increase their own numbers. An example, Wyner says, was the recent visit to Melbourne University by the Israeli ambassador: Socialist Alternative members disrupted the meeting and were asked to leave by the Lebanese students’ society. In Sydney last month, a Jewish student was pushed to the ground and others spat on. At Monash, a Young Liberal member staffing a stall supporting Israel was grabbed by the throat and threatened, while the table was kicked over.
“There’s a real feeling of threat,” says Deon Kamien, Victorian president of the Union of Jewish Students. “It’s not something I can put in words. A lot of students who would feel very comfortable wearing a kippah or T-shirt with Hebrew words on it now feel they are being targeted as Jews — not supporters of Israel, but Jews. When they walk past socialist stalls (on campus) they are called f—ing Jews.”
A Christian observer at Melbourne University, who did not want to be named, says “Jew-baiting” is rising, as opponents try to turn anti-Israel sentiment to anti-Jewish. “Socialists bait Jewish students. The intention is to get Jewish students to fight back so they can use them. It’s a deliberate incitement of people’s emotions to generate conflict.”
The Socialist Alternative tactics are outlined in an in-house publication. Daniel L. says the best response is to “immediately make a huge fuss — denounce them loudly, screaming ‘you’re a murderer, you support George Bush’s war, you support killing innocent people in the Middle East, you’re fascist scum’ and so forth. When we did this it had a huge polarising effect with people coming up afterwards to show their support. Often this was from the point of view of freedom of speech, rather than a willingness to support fighting Israel. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is excellent terrain for us.”
Muslims are distancing themselves. Chaaban Omran, national president of the Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth, says some left groups can be too aggressive. “They are using this momentum, the build-up of mistake after mistake (by Israel). At the end of the day they have their own agenda. We are quite happy to work with them about Lebanon or Palestine, but not the extreme views of being aggressive. We say there’s an intellectual way to do it.”
Omran says Islamic societies on campus are extremely cautious because they are so aware of keeping Muslim extremists out. “There are some Muslims and far-left students who see issues in black and white, but we try to promote that there’s a middle path.”
The Observer reports:
A group of prominent MPs, alarmed at the rise of anti-semitism in Britain, will accuse some left-wing activists and Muslim extremists this week of using criticism of Israel as ‘a pretext’ for spreading hatred against British Jews.
The charge is made in a hard-hitting report – by MPs from all three major political parties – which will be unveiled at a Downing Street meeting with Tony Blair on Thursday. The report is published in the wake of an alarming increase in verbal harassment, abusive emails and letters, and even violent assaults on British Jews. The number of incidents that took place in July, which came in the middle of escalating violence in the Middle East, was the third highest on record.
The 10-month inquiry into anti-semitism in Britain was chaired by the former Europe Minister Denis MacShane and included the former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Chris Huhne.
Details of the report are being kept confidential until its formal release. However, a draft of the document – seen by The Observer – reveals that incidents of verbal abuse, harassment and violence against Jewish community members and their institutions is reaching worrying levels. It urges more consistent action by police, prosecutors and the government. All have failed to tackle antisemitism with the same determination as other forms of racism, the report suggests.
The report voices particular concern over ‘a minority of Islamic extremists who are inciting hatred towards Jews’, and it criticises recent moves by left-wing academics to boycott links with Israel. Though emphasising the right of people to criticise or protest against Israeli government actions, it says ‘rage’ over Israeli policies has sometimes ‘provided a pretext’ for anti-semitism. ‘Calls to boycott contacts with intellectuals and academics working in Israel are an assault on academic freedom and intellectual exchange,’ the report says, adding that the response of university vice-chancellors to such campaigns has been patchy.
Interesting, because this report appears to echo the conclusions of the 112-page European Union report on anti-semitism that was suppressed in 2003. Still, while it’s refreshing to see these views finally get a proper airing by a government body, I’m not holding much hope that it will provoke a thoughtful debate in the UK. I expect the typical knee-jerk rejectionism, not least because the study was chaired by Denis MacShane, who pissed off all the usual suspects when he gave a speech in 2003 urging imams and other Muslim leaders to use “clearer, stronger language” to speak out against terrorism. (MacShane also recently had harsh words for some members of the British government. See this recent letter to the Telegraph, where he writes: “I see a number of named Cabinet minister are joining William Hague and Sir Menzies Campbell in attacking Israel. European politicians such as Jacques Chirac and Joschka Fischer have made clear their view that Iran and Syria are using Hizbollah as a proxy to launch war against Israel.What is it in the DNA of the British Establishment that blames the Jews first, last and always?”)
Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne is another matter–and his track record will make the endorsement of this report a bit more difficult to dismiss. In February 2006, for instance, he gave an interview to the always-wacky Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MAPCUK), wherein he spoke out against Britain’s recent anti-terrorism legislation, criticized the Danish cartoons as “insensitive,” blamed the invasion of Iraq for the rise of domestic terrorism, and supported continued financial aid for Hamas.
So, it promises to be an interesting week. Any British readers want to comment on this?
As the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank recently reported, at the recent CAIR event, Professor John Mearsheimer accepted a button proclaiming “Walt & Mearsheimer Rock. Fight the Israel Lobby.” (“I like it,” he said beaming.)
Well, it turns out that there is an entire line of Walt-Mearsheimer/Israel Lobby merchandise, courtesy of Carol Moore– the very same person who gave Mearsheimer his button at the D.C. event.
Who is Carol Moore? She is a self-described “student of consciousness and libertarian pacifist activist and writer” who authored a book exposing the government conspiracy in Waco titled The Davidian Massacre (which was published by the Gun Owners of America).
Carol’s views on Israel are best summarized in this post of hers at a Yahoo! peace board:
Dealing with the nefarious influence of Israel Firsters on Congress and in the media(which is mostly owned and/or controlled by pro-Zionists, mostly Jews) has got to be a prime goal of the peace movement –but good luck, with left and right wing pro- Zionists readyto yell anti-semite at the drop of a hat. Even the Buddhist Peace group I went to recently was dominated by pro-Zionist Jews. ARGHGH!!! What really is a joke is that Howard Dean is running on a theme of “let’s take America back” but he’s already met with Sharon and has stated he agrees with Likkud polices. Of course, if he wins, the pro-Israel anti-Democrats will be in a real tizzy since they’ll want to attack him for foreign policy and go after his wife — but his wife is Jewish (and doubtless very pro-Israel given her spouse’s views) so they’ll have to pull their punches.
Whoa, those Jews are everywhere. But now you can fight back, thanks to Carol Moore’s exclusive collection of t-shirts and buttons, with such catchy slogans as “Walt and Mearsheimer Rock!”, “Israel: Colonialists With Nukes”, and “Fight the Israel Lobby: End this Entangling Alliance!”
Her company slogan: “Buy and wear these! Patriotism at its BEST!!”
It seems like we’ve heard that one before…