I’ll get straight to the point: This is my final post. I am shutting down Judeosphere.
I did not arrive at this decision lightly. I began blogging for two reasons: (1) I felt that I could offer some value-added information and commentary on such vital issues as anti-semitism and anti-Zionism. (2) I found it rather cathartic to vent on these issues, and I discovered that blogging is far less disruptive than shouting at strangers on street corners.
So, what’s changed? For starters, it is increasingly difficult to find time to write quality blog posts. Various other matters (aka “real life”) keep interfering. Second, blogs that cover the issues that concern me are flourishing (see, for example, recently launched Z-Word). The blogosphere is in good hands.
Maybe (if someone is gracious enough to allow me), I’ll submit occasional guest posts to other sites. You can always reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, I’ll leave my blog posts up for posterity.
Finally, the most gratifying part of blogging has been the extraordinary people that I’ve had the opportunity to meet and greet online. If you read this blog, you probably know most of them, but a special tip of the hat to the gang at Harry’s Place (especially Gene), “Snoopy the Goon” over at Simply Jews, Fabian, David Adler at Lerterland, David Hirsh and the remarkable folks fighting the good fight over at Engage, ModernityBlog, and, of course, Norman Geras (who never did a Normblog Profile on me…but I’m not bitter. Really.)
My best to you all,
The latest plots of the Elders revealed:
– In the UK, the odious MP George Galloway informs the Associated Press of Pakistan that the “Jewish lobby” is working against the re-election of the odious Mayor Ken Livingstone “because of his support for the Muslim community of the capital.”
– The always-creepy website, “The People’s Voice,” has found a novel way to blame the Jews for….ethanol: “Those supporting crops for cars include the biofuel industry, reformist environmentalists, the car industry, and, in America, a rather surprising defender, the Jewish lobby. It was the Jewish lobby that initiated and publicized the idea of energy independence and had the political clout to pressure the Bush regime into adopting extreme policies that might help to undermine Arab oil producers but which were otherwise not in America’s national interests. The Jewish lobby will help the biofuel industry to compete for grains against the Animal exploitation industry and the world’s poor. The world’s poor do not stand a chance against these major political powers.”
– The National Review reports on the UN Preparatory Committee for the Durban II Conference against racism: “Three quarters of the entire opening day was spent on one subject — an Iranian-driven attempt to deny participatory rights or accreditation to the nongovernmental organization called the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy. Their crime? Algeria was concerned about Jewish money, or ‘their sources of funding.’”
– The Tehran Times goes ballistic over the presence of Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni at the 8th Doha Forum for Democracy, Development, and Free Trade. “Ignoring their national and regional interests under the influence of the United States and the Zionist lobby, the Persian Gulf littoral states are trying to allow the Zionist regime to enter the Persian Gulf,” the newspaper warns. What’s more, the Tehran Times exposes the evil genius behind the forum: “This ominous presence is a prelude to the implementation of the plan of Israeli President Shimon Peres to penetrate into Arab countries’ markets.”
The media and blogosphere are abuzz about “J Street”—the new lobbying organization that describes itself as a liberal alternative to AIPAC. Lots of chirpy quotes, such as this one from M.J. Rosenberg, an analyst at the Israel Policy Forum: “Most Americans and most Jewish Americans support the two-state solution and are tired of having a Likud-oriented lobby speaking in their name. Let’s see what happens but I think this could be big.” Meanwhile, Philip Weiss praises the leaders of J Street for specifically attacking “neoconservative Jews.”
The dominant tone of the media coverage is that J Street is going to be hammered by conservative, pro-Israeli U.S. factions. In fact, Richard Silverstein opines that the fledgling organization might be threatened by AIPAC itself.
However, I’m going to offer a counterintuitive prediction. Once J Street moves past the crowd-pleasing soundbites and gets down to the business of trying to influence policy, some of the fiercest critics of this “progressive” Israel lobbying group will be…progressives.
Consider just these three policy statements on J Street’s website:
(1) “US policy towards Iran is not working. The threat of a nuclear Iran, its destabilizing regional influence and the vile rhetoric of its President are all real…J Street recognizes the existing and potential threats represented by the Iranian regime. However, we believe that the United States should have in its diplomatic toolbox the option of direct high-level negotiations with Iran to address all issues of mutual concern.”
(2) “J Street believes that maintaining a strong, vibrant U.S.-Israeli relationship based on shared values and goals is a core American interest. U.S. support for Israel as a Jewish and democratic state is an historic and legitimate commitment. An enduring relationship between the US and Israel can promote common interests. American assistance to Israel, including maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge, is an important anchor for a peace process based on providing Israel with the confidence and assurance to move forward on a solution based on land for peace.”
(3) “J Street believes that reaching a sustainable two-state solution that meets the needs of both sides and that lays the basis for real reconciliation is critical to American interests in the Middle East – and serves the interests of the region and the world community. It is also an essential security interest of the state of Israel.”
Sounds harmless enough, but to the ears of many self-described “progressives,” these positions border on heresy.
First, Iran: Stating that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, that it is a threat to the region, and that its president engages in “vile rhetoric” are all no-no’s among many progressive groups these days. The “official” position is that Iran is pursuing peaceful nuclear energy and that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been routinely misquoted and mistranslated. And, how could J Street possibly accuse Iran of being a threat to the region without acknowledging Israel’s nuclear arsenal and hostility towards it neighbors?
The predicted progressive verdict: J Street is aiding the Bush administration and neocons in “demonizing” Iran.
Second, the U.S.-Israeli relationship: J Street believes in continued U.S. aid to Israel, and believes that “maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge is an important anchor for [the] peace process.” Yet, many progressive groups and anti-Israel campaigners argue that the U.S. gives too much money to Israel, that cutting off U.S. support is the only way to pressure Israel into making concessions, and that Israel already has a qualitative military edge over its adversaries. The best way to deal with Israel, they say, is through boycotts.
The predicted progressive verdict: J Street is guilty of sustaining economic and military aid to Israel, which will only prolong the Middle East conflict (and serve the interests of the military-industrial complex!)
Third, the “two-state solution”: The consensus among the far-Left these days is that the only solution is the “South Africa solution”—to create a single, democratic state of Palestine where everyone will live in harmony.
The predicted progressive verdict: J Street is legitimizing the imperialist Zionist borders.
Watch for this type of commentary in the usual haunts (Counterpunch, etc.) in the coming days, as Israel’s critics line up to expose J Street as AIPAC in sheep’s clothing. J Street is going to be in for a rude awakening when they learn that “progressive” Zionism is just as unpopular as “Likudnik” Zionism.
Jimmy Carter has announced his intention to meet with Hamas leaders. Barack Obama has said that, if elected president, he’d meet with the leaders of several U.S. foes, including Iran.
So, bored political pundits–both liberals and conservatives–decided to “connect the dots,” and have concluded that, if elected president, Obama would want to negotiate with Hamas (Q.E.D.).
Here’s an excerpt from the April 10th edition of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: And still to come tonight, Jimmy Carter is headed to visit Hamas. Yes, Hamas. Is this what the Obama foreign policy will look like when he says he wants to talk to everyone, including Ahmadinejad? Lots more to come as Hannity & Colmes continues straight ahead. [...]
HANNITY: In Gaza, Jimmy Carter reportedly makes plans to meet — get this — with Hamas. The same Jimmy Carter has been accused of anti-Semitism. Could this be a preview of Barack Obama’s foreign policy strategy?
However, the left-leaning media watchdog Media Matters was quick to dismiss this speculation, noting that, in early March, Obama explicitly backed the Bush administration’s policy of shunning contact with Hamas. Obama stated: “You can’t negotiate with somebody who does not recognize the right of a country to exist so I understand why Israel doesn’t meet with Hamas.”
Apparently, though, this distinction was lost on Ezra Klein, at the liberal magazine The American Prospect, who argued that Obama would logically want to meet with the leaders of Hamas, but blamed you-know-who for the alleged reversal of his position:
So Obama, despite his willingness to negotiate with most every other dictator on earth, would not negotiate with Hamas, despite the fact that they’re the popularly elected government in much of Palestine. This doesn’t really track with his past approach to foreign policy, so one has to wonder why he’s taking such a hard line. It’s almost as if he fears pressure from some sort of organization, maybe a lobby, centered around Israel issues…
Klein’s post prompted this commentary from Jonathan Chait at The New Republic:
I think there’s a pretty clear principle operating here. When you merely have strong differences with an adversary, like the Soviet Union, you can negotiate. When your adversary is committed to your destruction, there’s nothing to talk about.
Refusing to negotiate with Hamas is clearly a consistent application of that thinking, and I would argue that it’s the most consistent application of that thinking. Klein’s post is telling, though, because it reflects a common tic of lefty foreign policy types: to assume that their position is so obviously correct that the only reason Democratic politicians could possibly oppose it is the muscle of the Israel lobby.
ESPN has posted an excerpt from Jeremy Schaap’s book Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics, which recounts the fascinating history of a U.S. campaign to boycott the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)delegates voted 58.25 to 55.75 in favor of participation. If three more delegates had voted to boycott the Games, the Nazis would have presided at a meaningless event.
Oddly enough, the most vigorous and effective proponent of an American boycott of the 1936 Olympics in Germany was not a Jew. Instead he was a devout Irish-American Catholic known all his life for his stubborn opposition to racial and religious discrimination. Born on Manhattan’s East Side in 1878, Jeremiah Titus Mahoney worked his way through New York University — where he played football, baseball, and lacrosse and high-jumped — and then NYU’s School of Law. In 1923 Governor Alfred E. Smith appointed him to the state Supreme Court, where he served for six years before returning to private practice.
By 1935, Mahoney had ascended to the presidency of the Amateur Athletic Union, making him responsible for the selection of America’s Olympic team. After long reflection, he came to the conclusion that American participation in Hitler’s Olympics would serve only to legitimate a wholly evil regime, a regime that was discriminating against its own Jewish citizens as it chose its Olympic teams.
“There is no room for discrimination on grounds of race, color, or creed in the Olympics,” Mahoney said. “The A.A.U. voted in 1933 to accept an invitation to compete at Berlin in 1936, provided Germany pledged that there would be no discrimination against Jewish athletes. If that pledge is not kept, I personally do not see why we should compete.”
Despite the assurances of American Olympic Committee (AOC) president Avery Brundage to the contrary, anyone could see that the Third Reich had no real intention of allowing Jewish athletes to compete fully on its Olympic teams….Dismissing Mahoney’s concerns, Brundage declared that the Olympics “are an international event and must be kept free from outside interference or entanglements, racial, religious or political.” He also said, “Certain Jews must understand that they cannot use these games as a weapon in their boycott against the Nazis.”
Even American diplomats thought that Brundage was dangerously myopic.
“Should the Games not be held in Berlin,” George Messersmith, the United States consul-general in Berlin, wrote to his superiors in the State Department, “it would be one of the most serious blows which National Socialist prestige could suffer within an awakening Germany and one of the most effective ways which the world outside has of showing to the youth of Germany its opinion of National Socialist doctrine.” It was “inconceivable,” he continued, “that the American Olympic committee should continue its stand that sport in Germany is non-political, that there is no discrimination. Other nations are looking to the United States before they act, hoping for leadership; the Germans are holding back on increased economic oppression against the Jews until the games are over. America should prevent its athletes from being used by another government as a political instrument.”
Every week, the American Jewish Committee airs a 60-second ad on national radio stations. But, their latest ad was rejected by WQXR, a popular classical music station owned by the New York Times.
Here’s the script for the ad:
Fifteen seconds. Imagine you had fifteen seconds to find shelter from an incoming missile. Fifteen seconds to locate your children, help an elderly relative, assist a disabled person to find shelter.
That’s all the residents of Sderot and neighboring Israeli towns have.
Day or night, the sirens go on. Fifteen seconds later, the missiles, fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza, hit. They could hit a home, a school, a hospital. Their aim is to kill and wound and demoralize.
Imagine yourself in that situation.
The sirens blast. 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. The time to seek shelter has ended. The missiles hit.
This is what Israelis experience daily. But, amazingly, they refuse to be cowed. Help us help those Israelis. Visit ajc.org.
Why did WQXR refuse to broadcast the ad? Here’s the written explanation from Tom Bartunek, president of New York Times Radio and general manager of WQXR:
“In my judgment several elements of this spot are outside our bounds of acceptability. First, the opening line— `Imagine you had fifteen seconds to find shelter from an oncoming missile’—does not make clear that the potential target of the missile is not our listening area, and as a consequence, runs the risk of raising anxiety in a misleading way. Second, the description of the missiles as arriving `day or night’ and `daily’ is also subject to challenge as being misleading, at least to the degree that reasonable people might be troubled by the absence of any acknowledgment of reciprocal Israeli military actions. Finally, in my judgment the `countdown’ device and the general tone of the message do not meet our guidelines for decorum.”
I’m sure the residents of Sderot have a few thoughts about the issue of “decorum.”
Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, recently conducted an online question and answer session on an Islamic web site. A number of the questioners–frustrated that the establishment of a Global Caliphate seems to be slightly behind schedule–had critical words concerning Al Qaeda’s tactics and grand strategy.
You can read the transcript here [pdf].
One Q&A that particularly stood out:
Q: The questioner Mudarris Jughrafiya [Geography Teacher] asks, “Excuse me, Mr. Zawahiri, but who is it who is killing with Your Excellency’s blessing the innocents in Baghdad, Morocco and Algeria? Do you consider the killing of women and children to be Jihad? I challenge you and your organization to do that in Tel Aviv. Why have you – to this day – not carried out any strike in Israel? Or is it easier to kill Muslims in the markets?
A: I would like to clarify to the brother questioner that we don’t kill innocents: in fact, we fight those who kill innocents. Those who kill innocents are the Americans, the Jews, the Russians and the French and their agents.
The Crusader-Jewish propaganda claims that the Mujahideen kill the innocent, but the Muslim Ummah knows who its enemy is and who defends it. Shaykh Usama bin Ladin says in his latest speech…”our hostility is directed towards the puppet rulers, those whom we don’t reassure, but in fact strive to topple them and bring them before the judiciary of the Shari’ah.”
As for the statement of the questioner, “I challenge you and your organization to do that in Tel Aviv,” I don’t know – hasn’t the questioner heard that Qaida al-Jihad struck the Jews in Jerba, Tunisia, and struck the Israeli tourists in Mombasa, Kenya, in their hotel, then fired two missiles at the El-Al airliner carrying a number of them? Hasn’t the questioner heard what Shaykh Usama bin Ladin (may Allah protect him) mentioned in his latest speech, that the battalions of the Mujahideen, after expelling the occupier from Iraq, shall make their way towards Jerusalem? Hasn’t the questioner heard that Allah (the Glorious) has honored us with the dealing of blows to America – the head of international unbelief – and its allies – like England, Spain, Australia and France – in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen, and Algeria? And those are Israel’s fathers, creators, guardians and protectors.
And then why does the questioner focus on how al-Qaida in particular must strike in Israel, while he didn’t request – for example – the Jihadist organizations in Palestine to come to the aid of their brothers in Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq? If this is become of his good opinion of al-Qaida and that it must strike Islam’s enemies everywhere, then we thank him for his good opinion, and we promise our Muslim brothers that we will strive as much as we can to deal blows to the Jews inside Israel and outside it, with Allah’s help and guidance. And from Allah we seek help.
Here’s what I find noteworthy about this exchange: Folks like Walt & Mearsheimer claim that U.S. support for Israel was a principal motivation for the 9/11 attacks and Al Qaeda’s terrorism more generally. But, genuine Middle East experts recognize that Al Qaeda is first and foremost an organization seeking to overthrow apostate regimes in the Muslim world, and targets any country that supports those regimes or is seen to be waging war against Muslims (U.S., Israel, Russia, France, etc.). I find it telling that not only does Ayman al-Zawahiri put the “liberation of Palestine” at the very bottom of Al Qaeda’s to-do list, but he actually chastises Palestinian militants for not doing their part in the wider Jihad against apostate regimes and their patrons.
The Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram has just published a column commenting upon the recently concluded Cairo Conference. For those not familiar with the Cairo Conference, it is an annual meet-and-mix that brings together far-left Westerners and Islamist political activists—which culminates in a ritual declaration against the evils of imperialism, Zionism, globalism, and all the other usual “-isms.”
Walberg, who appears sometimes to write under the pseudonym Simon Jones, is a Canadian economist and a frequent contributor to Canada’s Peace Magazine, a reputable journal based out of Toronto. Walberg has also been a regular contributor to the deliberations of a notoriously anti-semitic thinktank known as the Adelaide Institute, whose leader, Frederich Töben, has done hate-speech jail time in Germany. Töben was one of the more prominent guests at Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust-denial conference last December.
A survey of Walberg’s writings show that he regards Jews as having been the authors of their own misfortunes over the past 2,000 years, and all the great wars of the past century can be laid at the feet of shadowy Zionists – even the “still mysterious collapse” of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11. He has written approvingly of the contents of the Protocols of The Elders of Zion – that classic text of pathological Jew-hatred.
As far as I can determine, Walberg’s last real job was a public-relations gig in Tashkent, in the Office of Uzbekstan President Islam Karimov – a dictator who reportedly murders his opponents by boiling them in oil. I’ve also confirmed the substance of an Adelaide Institute report that Walberg was turfed out of Uzbekistan after being sloppy in the work of hiding his identity behind the pseudonyms he adopts. Writing favourably about underground Uzbek Islamist groups was not so smart, it would seem.
Nor, does it seem, that Walberg has gotten much smarter. He uses this year’s column to denounce the “political poison” of Zionism that is corrupting Western governments. In particular, he is outraged that the Canadian parliament extended the troop presence in Afghanistan to last until 2011. “How is this possible?” wonders Walberg. Three guesses at his answer:
All this is in fact an eerie replay of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s argument about the Israeli lobby in the US, whose “core” is “American Jews who make a significant effort in their daily lives to bend US policy so that it furthers Israel’s interests.” Its Canadian counterpart, led by the CJC and Bnai Brith, through extensive media control and privileged access to the highest levels of government, has poisoned the Canadian political scene, paralysing the anti-war majority and choking all debate, pushing the Liberals into the Conservatives’ arms on the one issue that could win them the next election. Canada’s continued agony in Afghanistan is vital to the Israeli lobby; after all, a rejection of the Canadian role in the genocide in Afghanistan is a step down the slippery slope of a rejection of blind support for Israel’s genocide in Palestine.
Ah, Walt and Mearsheimer must be so proud. And, for fans of British politics, there’s this additional, priceless excerpt:
The sorry state of Canada’s political scene is replicated in Britain, according to peace activist Ian Taylor, who told the Al-Ahram Weekly the one hope to fight their Israeli lobby, George Galloway’s newly minted Respect Party, is collapsing under the weight of too many expectations and media loathing.
Collapsing under the weight of too many expectations and media loathing? Nice to know that British socialists have mastered the art of political spin. More accurate to say that “George Galloway’s newly minted Respect Party collapsed under the weight of George Galloway,” since the party, in fact, self-destructed over Galloway’s decision to align the Socialist Workers’ Party with right-wing Islamists.
Iranian lawmaker Javad Arianmanesh is calling for a boycott of Dutch products to protest the anti-Islamic film produced by right-wing politician Geert Wilders.
Despite the fact that Dutch Jews have waged a vocal protest against the film, Arianmanesh sees it as the latest evidence that “Zionist agents working against Islam have resorted to using art in a bid to prevent Islam-promoting dialogues.” (So, we control the art world as well as the international banking system? Rock on!)
Quick addendum: If Iran continues to boycott every country that it finds offensive, the international community might not have to go through the trouble of imposing sanctions.