Every now and then, I come across an article about the Pacifica Forum, a moonbatty discussion group that meets at the University of Oregon. They are dedicated to “providing information and perspective on the issues of war and peace, militarism and pacifism, violence and non-violence. “And, in the name of promoting free speech on issues related to the Middle East, they have a habit of inviting white supremacists and Holocaust deniers. Last year, for instance, they sponsored multiple talks by Valdas Anelauskas, a native of Lithuania who describes himself as a journalist, researcher and “white separatist and racialist.” Anelauskas dedicated one of his lectures to a Holocaust denier.
The co-founders of Pacficia Forum are two former professors: Orval Etter and George Beres, who is a contributor to (surprise!) Counterpunch.
Their latest invitee: Mark Weber, director of the Holocaust-denying Institute for Historical Review, who will speak on “The Israel Lobby.” A local Oregon newspaper reports:
Etter said he has long been impressed with the Institute of Historical Research’s work, and that he and other forum members decided several months ago to invite Weber.
Weber’s institute “has been battling Israel and the Jews for a long time,” Etter said. “They sort of lead the parade against those who say any extensive criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.”
Etter said he welcomes the controversy sparked by Weber’s appearance because it will “improve understanding in this community about what’s been going on for a long time in regard to Israel and the Israeli lobby …. This will be another pinnacle of free speech.”
Weber said his talk will focus on contemporary U.S.-Israeli policies, not historical events….Weber said it’s “probably” true that his critique of Israeli political power would carry more credence if he didn’t also challenge history’s understanding of the Holocaust. “But I see the two as connected.”
Bummer! What kind of country is this when something as trivial as Holocaust denial undermines your credibility?
Weber, by the way, is a longtime fan of Walt & Mearsheimer. He attended one of their book tour lectures last month and wrote: “At the book-signing session afterwards, the authors autographed copies of their book, including one I had bought (and read) a few weeks earlier…Last week I was interviewed about the Walt-Mearsheimer book for a broadcast on Iran’s English-language external radio service.”
And, no, I’m not claiming that Walt & Mearsheimer are Neo-Nazis or Neo-Nazi sympathizers. But, I think their scholarship is so simplistic and so obsessed with scapegoating that they shouldn’t be “shocked” when they find it appeals to the likes of David Duke, Mark Weber, and the so-called “progressives” at the Pacifica Forum.
An article in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles describes the essential scholarship of Raymond Ibrahim, a Library of Congress researcher who developed an intense fascination with the many Arabic books, articles and communiques dealing with al-Qaeda:
What Ibrahim noticed was that Osama bin Laden and the other leaders of al-Qaeda say one thing to the West, and another to themselves and their followers.
In their videotapes and communiques to the West, the leaders cite a laundry list of grievances as the reason for their “martydom operations:” United States support for Israel, U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and President George Bush’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Accords on global warming (really).
But Ibrahim discovered, or proved, that these reasons are strictly for Western consumption. They are, in short, lies.
What really motivates al-Qaeda is a narrow religious theology that cannot abide coexistence with non-Muslims. As Ibrahim writes: “It soon became clear why these particular documents had not been directed to the West. They were theological treatises, revolving around what Islam commands Muslims to do vis-a-vis non-Muslims. The documents rarely made mention of all those things — Zionism, Bush’s ‘Crusade,’ malnourished Iraqi children — that formed the core of Al-Qaeda’s messages to the West. Instead, they were filled with countless Quranic verses, hadiths [traditions attributed to the Prophet Muhammad], and the consensus and verdicts of Islam’s most authoritative voices. The temporal and emotive language directed at the West was exchanged for the eternal language of Islam when directed at Muslims.
Or, put another way, the language of ‘reciprocity’ was exchanged for that of intolerant religious fanaticism. There was, in fact, scant mention of the words ‘West,’ ‘U.S.’ or ‘Israel.’ All of those were encompassed by that one Arabic-Islamic word, kufr — ‘infidelity’ — the regrettable state of being non-Muslim that must always be fought through ‘tongue and teeth.’”
Yet, “scholars” like Walt and Mearsheimer (who don’t read Arabic, and aren’t even Middle East experts) rely on al-Qaeda’s communiques to the West as a foundation for their research.
A new review in the UK publication Spiked says it best:
Walt and Mearsheimer continually cite the declarations of radical jihadists, which means they effectively rely on rhetoric and propaganda as the empirical foundation of their core argument. The methodological naivety of these two seasoned academics is striking. Classically, propaganda declarations, including those uttered by radical Islamists, are made for political effect – often to divide opponents and to isolate targets. For example, no credible historian would uncritically accept Hitler’s declarations as proof that he had no problem with the French or the British, only with their support for the Czechs and the Poles. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that it is a mean-spirited mood of appeasement, rather than an objective assessment of the evidence, that motivates Walt and Mearsheimer’s views on Israel and the US.
Saying that they are fed up with “aggressive incursion of partisan politics into universities’ hiring and tenure practices,” five prominent academics have begun a campaign to “defend the university” and gathered dozens of backers in what they view as a new way to bolster academic freedom.
The Ad Hoc Committee to Defend the University has issued a statement (because that’s mostly what Ad Hoc Committees do) and is asking professors and others to sign on.
As Inside Higher Education reports:
While the statement identifies the problem as a broad one, it notes that many of the recent incidents have involved the Middle East. “Many of the most vociferous campaigns targeting universities and their faculty have been launched by groups portraying themselves as defenders of Israel. These groups have targeted scholars who have expressed perspectives on Israeli policies and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with which they disagree. To silence those they consider their political enemies, they have used a range of tactics,” including “unfounded insinuations or allegations” of anti-Semitism or anti-Americanism, the broadening of the definition of anti-Semitism to include “teaching that is critical of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and of Israel,” and “pressures on university administrations by threatening to withhold donations if faculty they have targeted are hired or awarded tenure.”
Hilariously, one of the leaders of this Ad Hoc Committee is Joan W. Scott, a professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, N.J., and former chair of the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) Committee on Academic Freedom. Scott demonstrated her commitment to academic freedom last year by organizing a conference on academic boycotts.
The conference never took place. Over at Engage, Michael Yudkin explains why:
The office that was organizing the meeting sent out to delegates a package of reading materials which (through circumstances that have never been adequately explained) included an article, taken from a Holocaust-denying magazine, entitled “The Jewish Declaration of War on Nazi Germany: The Economic Boycott of 1933”. As a result of this extraordinary error the Ford Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, two of the sponsors of the meeting, issued a joint statement saying that the credibility of the Conference had been undermined, and the third sponsor, the Rockefeller Foundation (which owns the villa in Bellagio at which the Conference was to have been held), asked the AAUP to delay the meeting. Put under this pressure the AAUP reluctantly agreed to postpone the Conference; in fact it has never been rescheduled.
The postponement of the Conference enraged its chief organizer, Professor Joan Scott of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, who on 9 February published an intemperate note on-line blaming the postponement on “a carefully-orchestrated campaign to abort the conference by a lobby of people (pro-Israel occupation) who believe that any representation of a point of view other than theirs is anathema.”
Likewise, Jon Pike of Open University, who serves on the editorial board of Engage, recounts this story:
Towards the end of this dispute over the conference, Joan Scott, a left academic and trade unionist fingered me, also a left academic and trade unionist, as a supporter of the Israeli occupation. She said that those who were critical of the Bellagio conference were “supporters of the occupation”.
When Joan Scott denounces me as a supporter of the Occupation and an enemy of academic freedom, I find myself in an interesting phenomenological position — the whole experience of being lied about, misrepresented in this way. I’ve opposed the Occupation of the territories all my political life….However, I strongly oppose a boycott….it’s clear that she is just happy with a politically motivated falsehood.
Long live Joan Scott, defender of “academic freedom.”
It’s round three in the Marxist vs. Moonbat rumble, and this time the venue is The Nation.
Daniel Lazare writes a scathing critique of Walt & Mearsheimer’s book, The Israel Lobby:
Just because a book is not bigoted does not mean it is good, and the one that Mearsheimer and Walt have written suffers from significant methodological deficiencies, which is a polite way of saying it’s a mess. In expanding their 13,000-word article into a 500-page book (with more than 100 pages of notes!), they have succeeded mainly in exacerbating the flaws of their original argument. They seem to know little about how American government works, how lobbyists function or how the United States interacts with the world at large. They are blind to history and tone-deaf to ideology. Because they blame America’s Middle Eastern rampage on a knot of wily Zionist agents, they seem to think that the US role in the region would turn benign if those agents were removed.
I know. Surprising stuff from The Nation, which gives voice to the likes of Counterpunch’s Alexander Cockburn and Walt & Mearsheimer groupie Philip Weiss.
But, then again, not so surprising when you read such passages from Lazare’s essay as this:
The result is, bizarrely enough, an exculpatory portrait of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and the rest of the “Vulcans,” whom Mearsheimer and Walt depict as naïve but fundamentally well intentioned. The American people should not blame them if they’ve made a mess of things in Iraq. It’s not their fault, you see. Foreigners made them do it–or, if not foreigners, then Americans loyal to foreign interests.
According to Mearsheimer and Walt, the lobby has pushed Bush “to take a more confrontational line toward Syria than he would probably have adopted on his own,” while “Israel and the lobby…are the central forces today behind all the talk in the Bush administration and on Capitol Hill about using military force to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities.” If it wasn’t for the lobby, they add, “the United States would almost certainly have a different and more effective Iran policy,” which is to say, one that relied more on persuasion than military force.
The United States as inherently diplomatic and nonconfrontational? Few people, on either the right or left, would take such a notion seriously. Mearsheimer and Walt assume a degree of pliability on America’s part that is astonishing given the record of American belligerence during the postwar period and especially since 9/11, when the United States has gone into imperial overdrive….If Iraq had not been an oil exporter–if, as Noam Chomsky once observed, it had been a pickle exporter in the middle of the Indian Ocean–it would never have come into America’s line of fire. Mearsheimer and Walt’s failure to consider this is perplexing….
As I’ve noted before, the issue of “The Israel Lobby” has revealed a fault-line on the Left: On the one side, there is the Old School Left who see Israel merely as a tool of U.S. imperialsm and who view diatribes about Jewish lobbies and zionist neocons as a way to avoid holding the U.S. government accountable for its behavior abroad. On the other side, you’ve got the noueveau anti-imperialist moonbats who never met a zionist conspiracy theory they didn’t like.
Predictably, not all of the Nation’s readers were fond of this essay. One of the Web letters responding to Lazare–and, I should emphasize, an “Editor’s Pick”–declares: “Having massively participated in the push for war in Iraq the Lobby is fully mobilized for a war in Iran. One wonders what sermons were given recently during the High Holy Days of Judaism: was the word, ‘send your checks, Israel needs you, Iran is a threat’?”
As you’ve read by now, James Watson–the Nobel Prize-winning DNA pioneer (and first-class schmuck)–provoked global outrage and a firestorm of media coverage when he said he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really.”
As a result, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has suspended James Watson from his duties as chancellor. The announcement came a day after the lab issued a press release explaining that “The Board of Trustees, administration and faculty vehemently disagree with these statements and are bewildered and saddened if he indeed made such comments.”
Of course, this is not the first time Watson has uttered racist nonsense. In a January 2007 interview with Esquire magazine he declared: “Some anti-Semitism is justified. Just like some anti-Irish feeling is justified. If you can’t be criticized, that’s very dangerous…. I’ve wondered why people aren’t more intelligent. Why isn’t everyone as intelligent as Ashkenazi Jews? And it may be that societies work best when there’s a mixture of ability– the bright people would never be an army.”
Ken Jacobson, the deputy national director of the ADL, not only objected to Watson’s “disturbing” endorsement of anti-Semitism, but also objected to Watson’s statement that Ashkenazi Jews are more intelligent than other people.
“That also is a genetic stereotype,” Jacobson said. “We believe that if Jews have succeeded in a certain field, it has been due to Jewish traditions, culture, and the valuing of education. We don’t get into all the genetic stereotyping.”
Yet, Watson’s remarks on Jews barely generated any media coverage. And he wasn’t suspended from his position at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
So…where was the outrage?
News publications, ranging from AP to The Wall Street Journal, have hailed the new Iranian Holocaust drama “Zero Degree Turn,” as sympathetic to the plight of Jews during the Shoah. But, as the Jewish Journal of LA reports, Jewish experts fluent in Persian have analyzed the program more closely and have come to a different conclusion:
“This TV program lists in its credits a man named Abdollah Shabazi, who was an ideological strategist for the Iranian government, and he gave this idea to make this propaganda film to show that Iranians are ‘good with the Jews,’” said Bijan Khalili, a Los Angeles-based Iranian Jewish activist and Persian-language book publisher. “But in reality, this man is the author of many anti-Semitic and anti-Bahai [Persian-language] books.”
The show focuses on an Iranian Palestinian Muslim man who, over the course of 22 episodes, helps his French Jewish lover and her family escape Nazi-occupied France by providing them with forged passports. Khalili and other L.A.-area Iranian Jews say the program is laced with blatant historical inaccuracies and messages of hate for Jews and Zionists.
“One of the objectives of this program is to show that Jews are corrupt, because they are shown as both giving bribes and accepting bribes,” Khalili said. The story includes a character called Homayoun Talab, an Iranian diplomat, who accepts bribes in order to provide false papers to Jews.
Talab, Khalili said, is loosely based on Abdol Hossein Sardari, Iranian ambassador to German-controlled France during World War II, who forestalled the deportation of 200 Iranian Jews living in Paris at the time.
Fariborz Mokhtari, a professor of Eastern studies at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., recently completed a book on Sardari’s life. He said “Zero Degree Turn” egregiously misrepresents Sardari, who never accepted money for giving Jews in France Iranian passports.
According to online English translations of the series’ second episode, prepared by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute, Zionist Jews in the program go so far as to kill an Iranian rabbi in Paris and collaborated with the Gestapo in order to compel Jews to immigrate to Palestine.
Khalili also said that other episodes of “Zero Degree Turn” make repeated references to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which are historically out of place, because the issue was not prevalent in the 1940s. Likewise the Jewish characters in the series are shown in a poor light, because they speak an improper form of the Persian language, as compared to the Muslim characters, Khalili said.
“We have a responsibility as Iranian Jews living outside of Iran to reveal to the rest of the world how anti-Israel and anti-Semitic the Iranian government is through this program and others like it,” Khalili said.
This news is sadly unsurprising:
Turkey’s rage over a U.S. congressional resolution accusing it of genocide against Armenians nearly a century ago is being felt in quarters far removed from Washington: its own Jewish community.
Turkish Jews’ concerns for their safety have been fanned by comments from Foreign Minister Ali Babacan that there’s a perception in the country that Jews and Armenians “are now hand-in-hand trying to defame Turkey.” Turkey’s complaint: Its usual allies among pro-Israel U.S. lobbyists didn’t work hard enough to block the resolution.
Even as support for the measure fades in Congress — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday backed off her promise to bring it to a floor vote — it has intensified feelings of vulnerability among Turkey’s 23,000 Jews, who have been subjected to terrorist bombings.
“Public opinion is so emotional on the issue that they seem to blame everyone who may not have been able to block it,” Sami Kohen, a prominent member of the Jewish community in Istanbul and a columnist for the Milliyet newspaper, said in an interview. “Some elements — Islamists and ultranationalists — might use the Jews as a scapegoat and say they have failed, they have done nothing.”
Yet another example of the damage wrought by fostering the belief in an all-powerful Israel Lobby…When “the Lobby” doesn’t produce the desired results, it is deemed an act of Jewish treachery.
The last few years have seen a proliferation of Jewish-oriented programs to “cure” people of homosexuality. (Kind of like the way Ann Coulter wants to “cure” me of being Jewish…)
Most “gay cure” programs tend to be dominated by Evangelical Christians (quelle suprise!), so gay Jews tend to flock to two groups: Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) or the self-proclaimed “scientific” and “secular” National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).
The two groups closely collaborate, and much of JONAH’s literature comes from NARTH’s library.
But, as the blog “Ex-Gay Watch” points out: “Jews who align themselves with NARTH don’t just align themselves with bad science – they align themselves with Holocaust revisionism and hateful rhetoric that parallels the language of Nazi Propaganda”
Case in point: NARTH promotes a Take Back The Schools! handbook for parents, written by Scott Lively.
Scott is also the author of publications such as The Pink Swastika (which sounds a bit like a marshmallow in Lucky Charms cereal that has gone very, very wrong). The Southtern Poverty Law Center has this disturbing report:
Written by fundamentalist activists Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams, The Pink Swastika says that rather than being victimized by the Nazis, gay men in Hitler’s inner circle actually helped mastermind the Holocaust.
“While we cannot say that homosexuals caused the Holocaust, we must not ignore their central role in Nazism,” write Lively and Abrams. “To the myth of the ‘pink triangle’ — the notion that all homosexuals in Nazi Germany were persecuted — we must respond with the reality of the ‘pink swastika.’”
Historians agree that this “reality” is utterly false. But many anti-gay crusaders have used the “gay Nazi” myth as proof that gay people are immoral and destructive.
“When lawlessness is abroad in the land, the same thing will happen here that happened in Nazi Germany,” Pat Robertson once warned viewers of his 700 Club. “Many of those people involved with Adolf Hitler were satanists. Many of them were homosexuals. The two seem to go together.”
I guess the people who run JONAH are really the ones who don’t give much thought to who they get in bed with…