Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Top Ten "Anti-Zionist" Moonbats of 2007 (Judeosphere)

Anyone trying to compose such a list has to cope with an embarrassment of riches, but this compilation from Judeosphere is a pretty good effort (with a caveat mentioned below).

I also recommend his (or her?) earlier list of "Top Ten Double Standards On the Middle East", which does a nice job of being witty and serious at the same time. I wouldn't necessarily say that those are the top ten, but they'll do for a start.

Of course, poisonous moonbattiness comes in all varieties--and sometimes from Zionists, too, let us not forget. (David Hirsh of Engage recently denounced one egregious example HERE.) Judeosphere rounded out 2007 by flagging an unpleasant item from the often-unpleasant Daniel Pipes.

Onward to 2008 ...

Happy New Year,
Jeff Weintraub
Friday, December 28, 2007
Top Ten Moonbats of 2007

Well, the year is almost over, which means it’s time for everyone to draft their retrospective “Top Ten Lists” for 2007. The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles has just published its Top Ten Mensches. And Juan Cole has predictably published his Top Ten Myths About Iraq.

I’ve already written my “Top Ten Double-Standards On the Middle East.” But, in the spirit of the New Year, herewith Judeosphere’s “Top Ten Moonbats of 2007”

(1) Norman Finkelstein: In keeping with his academic background, when Finkelstein learned that he was denied tenure at DePaul University, he accepted the decision with quiet grace. Naw, just kidding—true to form, Finkelstein blamed the all-powerful Zionist cabal and opted for a public temper-tantrum (which apparently included physical confrontations with fellow faculty members). He revealed the frightening size of his ego when, speaking of his battle to earn tenure, he declared: “Two thousand years ago, another Jew tried that with mixed results.” Nowadays, he’s living more like Howard Hughes than Jesus Christ: According to an article in New York Magazine, “he is spending his days at home alone, surrounded by notes of support from his students, and a picture of him and Noam Chomsky bare-chested on the beach at Cape Cod [eeew!]. On the CD player: Gloria Gaynor's rousing 1978 disco song, I Will Survive.” Finkelstein is convinced that his academic career is over, but I bet that within a year he will take a position at a European university (Hello, University of London School of Oriental and African Studies?) and relish his celebrity status as an “academic refugee.”

[JW: I feel I ought to add a caveat here. Finkelstein is an appalling character, and he certainly belongs in a list of this sort. But the way that Judeosphere frames this item is misconceived and, in some respects, a bit unseemly. In particular, there is too much glee about Finkelstein's having lost his job at DePaul, especially given the circumstances in which that happened. I am not impressed by the attempts of Finkelstein's admirers to depict him as an academic martyr, but the issues posed by his case are complicated.

On the one hand--for reasons that are partly explained HERE and HERE--in my humble opinion Finkelstein is a dishonest, malicious, abusive, and pernicious intellectual charlatan who has made a career out of koshering anti-semitism for the goyim (to borrow a phrase from Philip Roth's The Plot Against America), and I find it a bit of a scandal that his department supported him for tenure in the first place ... but that was their prerogative. On the other hand, I also think that there were some genuinely troubling aspects about the manner in which he was denied tenure by the DePaul administration--for reasons that are partly explained by Norman Geras HERE. The DePaul administration indicated that part of their rationale for denying him tenure was that he was abrasive, un-collegial, and given to "deliberately hurtful" polemics and ad hominem attacks on other scholars; as Norman Geras points out, these are criteria that anyone committed to academic and intellectual freedom will not find appropriate or reassuring. Faculty appointments should not be decided on the basis of whether the individuals involved offend people or cause controversy, and scholars have no professional obligation to be pleasant.

A few years earlier, in a less publicized case, DePaul University fired a long-time adjunct professor, Thomas Klocek, for expressing the wrong opinions about the Arab-Israeli conflict in an argument with students (not his students) outside of class. Everything I have read about that affair indicates that the University's actions violated basic principles of academic freedom, free speech, due process, and elementary fairness. In Klocek's case the offending opinions were pro-Israel and favorable to Jews rather than the opposite, so viewing the Klocek and Finkelstein cases in tandem makes it seem unlikely that the DePaul administration is imposing a consistent ideological test on these issues. But the Klocek case does make on wonder whether the DePaul administration is more concerned with defending academic freedom or with avoiding anything that might offend, anger, or annoy any possible constituency, on-campus or off-campus--and that's a serious worry.

So I wish that Judeosphere had framed this particular example differently. The rest of the list, however, is straightforwardly on target.]

(2) Yvonne Ridley [British Stockholm Syndrome celebrity, born-again Islamist, and anti-Zionist obsessive --JW]: Really, she’s the gift that keeps on giving. It was another banner year for the Madame LaFarge of the Radical Islamist movement. She threatened B'nai Brith Canada with a lawsuit, after it issued a press release accusing her of "glorifying terrorism." She denounced the ongoing occupation of Western Sahara, arguing that "the Zionist and/or pro-Israeli lobby in Washington" is behind the Moroccan government's agenda. (Her colleague George Galloway defends the occupation of Western Sahara…which means that George Galloway is, in fact, a closet Zionist!) And, she blamed Hindus as being responsible for most of the world’s suicide bombings. Thanks, Yvonne! We’re all looking forward to your antics in 2008!

(3) Gilad Atzmon: No longer satisfied with just attacking Jews and Zionists, the jazzman has expanded his repertoire to include virulent attacks on Jewish anti-Zionists. He reached a new low point in 2007 (which says a lot) when he wrote an essay, “Saying NO to the Hunters of Goliath,” wherein he suggests, among other things, that Jews brought the Holocaust upon themselves, because they were, well, so unpopular.

(4) James Petras: The "anti-imperialist" author of such opuses as The Power of Israel in the United States continues his devolution into near-self-parody. In 2007, he proudly coined a new term, the "Zionist Power Configuration,” to document the vast Jewish conspiracy in the United States, which apparently includes "dentists” and “real-estate brokers.” Even Marxists are getting fed-up with his crap.

(5) Shiraz Dossa: The esteemed professor of political science at St. Francis Xavier University got a lot of flack when he attended Iran's Holocaust conference to deliver a "scholarly" paper. He was shocked (yes, shocked!) to discover that the conference was packed with Holocaust deniers. A reasonably sane person would have admitted error and then prayed for tenure. But Dossa instead went on the offensive: Declaring that he was the victim of an academic witch-hunt, he penned a diatribe in the Literary Review of Canada. His key assertion: Iran’s grotesque caricature of an academic conference was not about the Holocaust at all, but rather “a Global South conference convened to devise an intellectual/political response to western-Israeli intervention in Muslim affairs.” (Duh! How could I have missed that?)

(6) Media With Conscience: Criticizing an “alternative” media outlet is almost too easy—especially with the global moonbattiness that is IndyMedia. But “Media With Conscience” (MWC) distinguished itself in 2007 with its publication of virulent anti-semitic cartoons under the claim of progressive, open debate. When a reader complained about the publication of cartoons by Belgian cartoonist Ben Heine, the website’s editor replied: “It is very difficult for someone like me, an activist/advocacy writer whose writings are considered unpalatable – and non-publishable – in the mainstream corporate media, to identify with the idea that someone’s work (literary or artistic) is simply objectionable because it won’t be touched with a ten-foot pole by The Economist or any 'reputable' European newspapers.” (Hah, take THAT mainstream, corporate media). And, as if to drive the point home, two months later MWC published a cartoon depicting an ADL boot kicking over a Church--which originally appeared on the neo-Nazi site, rense.com.

(7) Ron Paul Supporters: You can count on three things uniting the far-left and the far-right: (1) Paranoid distrust of the U.S. government (2) Hatred of Israel (3) Ron Paul. While I personally have no strong feelings about Ron Paul, his campaign has engendered a weird-bedfellows coalition that includes 9/11 truthers, white supremacists [like these guys--JW], opponents of “world government,” and advocates for a return to the gold standard. I salute you Ron Paul: You’re a uniter, not a divider.

(8) Philip Weiss: His blog, Mondoweiss, vividly charts a spiraling descent into an all-consuming obsession with “Jewish power.” Weiss has become an “Israel Lobby" fundamentalist. In his eyes, to question the scholarship of Walt and Mearsheimer is to question truth. Every page of their book is gospel. Any negative review of their work is automatically dismissed as a “smear,” and every day that passes without an expose of the “Israel Lobby” on “60 Minutes” or the cover of Time magazine is further evidence of Jewish control over the media. One of his “high points” in 2007 was this commentary on the Obama campaign: “Obama was borne up on....idealism, and his campaign is about bringing that idealism to America's actions in the world....The ideology of Zionism is simply out of step with that spirit, and if Obama succeeds, Zionism will lose its hold on Jewish-American intellectual life.”

(9) War on Want: The British charity organization "War on Want," which is ostensibly dedicated to fighting global poverty, published a glossy, 15-page pamphlet outlining global strategies for “boycott, divestment and sanctions” against Israel. As the Jewish Chronicle noted in its assessment of the pamphlet: “Turgid text filled with references to economies driven by 'transnational accumulation' and 'the fusion of local capital into the
global circuits of ownership' is lightened only by images of Jaffa oranges dripping (presumably Palestinian) blood. It is hard to understand how such tedious academic drivel is supposed to further the cause of peace and understanding in the Middle East — even if anyone bothered to read it.”

(10) Joseph Massad: The associate professor of modern Arab politics at Columbia University—who became a focus of controversy for his alleged intimidation of Jewish students—has expanded his academic mandate to rant against the “Homosexual Lobby,” as evidenced by his latest book Desiring Arabs. Brain Whitaker, the Middle East editor of the Guardian who now edits the newspaper's "Comment is Free" section, offered this first-rate critique in Gay City News: “Massad talks of a ‘missionary’ campaign orchestrated by what he calls the ‘Gay International.’ Its inspiration, he writes, came partly from ‘the white Western women's movement, which had sought to universalize its issues through imposing its own colonial feminism on the women's movements in the non-Western world,’but he also links its origins to the Carter administration's use of human rights to "campaign against the Soviet Union and Third World enemies."

And that was the year that was....