Widespread Anti-Semitism on Progressive Websites UPDATE
by MainStreet, Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 03:43:00 AM EST
The full title of Joshua Holland's article in AlterNet is Ridiculous "Study" Supposedly Finds Widespread Anti-Semitism on Progressive Websites. It was written by Adam Levick.
As intellectually dishonest as this study could get, to quote Holland, it is not actually far from the discourse occasionally seen on progressive blogs like Daily Kos and MyDD. Take this exchange in the comment section of a diary recently posted about the Gaza siege (edited for generality):
Israel is perceived as the bad guy by some people.... That certainly seems to be the popular position in the more liberal corners of the Democratic party.
I'm a liberal, but I cannot help but notice the rise of anti-Zionism within the grassroots / netroots of the Democratic party.
If it continues to gain traction it will likely alienate the hell out of the Jewish liberal community and supporters of Israel.
Obama got something like 80% of the Jewish vote, but I'm guessing that percentage will be considerably lower next time around because of the way that he has seriously mishandled I-P.
In a previous comment, Commenter B ended a sentence with this phrase: "their ideological predisposition to blame everything onthe JewsIsrael," made evident that a charge of anti-Semitism is implicated in such remarks.
The report from the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs as discussed by Joshua Holland mentioned large blogs like Daily Kos, Huffington Post, and Glen Greenwald's, Salon. The article is too long to quote in its entirety, but these paragraphs get to the gist of it.
Given how ubiquitous unsubstantiated charges of anti-Semitism have become in the debate over the Middle East conflict, I'm tempted to ignore the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs' recent "report" supposedly exposing the liberal blogosphere as a teaming hotbed of raw Jew-hatred.
It's easy to dismiss. It may dress itself as some sort of empirical research project, but the "study" is transparently devoid of any informational value, intellectually bankrupt and clearly the product of working backwards from a conclusion arrived at on ideological grounds.
Progressive blogs and news sites in the United States are a new field where Jew-hatred, in both its classic and anti-Israeli forms, manifests itself. This incitement is hardly monitored, as many of the most popular blogs are only a few years old and it seems counterintuitive that such anti-Semitic expressions would be found in this political milieu. Monitoring the media for anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli bigotry has so far almost exclusively consisted of reading the major American newspapers, magazines, and journals and attending to the three major news networks, as well as radio broadcasts. However, the huge amount of content in the political blogosphere makes such monitoring - which is increasingly necessary - much more difficult to achieve with any degree of thoroughness.
The report uses just three prominent blogs -- Daily Kos, Salon, and the Huffington Post -- as a sample supposedly representing the entire liberal online world....
Cecile Sarasky of Muzzlewatch had similar sentiments:
Most of what passes for anti-Semitism in this new "report" is nothing new to readers of Muzzlewatch, and you should read Holland's full piece where he does a fantastic job of dissecting the terrible methodology of this blatantly propagandistic report.
Daily Kos was taken to task in the "report" with specific mention of two diarists, Heathlander and jon the antizionist Jew, both of Jewish heritage, as being notable purveyors of anti-Semitism.
Heathlander, who has his own blog, provided the best critique of the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs article. His summary said it all:
It is of a piece with the broader efforts by the "new antisemitism"-mongers to detect antisemitism, in the form of criticism of Zionism and of Israeli-policies, on the liberal-left, and of the recent push by Israel and its apologists to aggressively market Israel's image and arguments online. This is largely a reaction to the fact that Israel is increasingly losing the propaganda war as the realities of its brutal repression of the Palestinians become increasingly well-known. If (Adam) Levick's half-baked ramblings are the best that Israel's apologists can come up with to reverse this trend, the prospects for Palestinian solidarity activism in the US and Britain look very good indeed.
A final point: it is worth noting that Levick's piece, while ostensibly opposing antisemitism, in fact propagates and indeed relies upon a central antisemitic theme, namely the conflation of Israel with Jews. Hence, for example, his listing of "Israel is demonized" as an example of a "historical anti-Semitic staple", and his concluding call for progressives to show "moral clarity" by condemning criticisms of Zionism as antisemitic. Clearly such manifest racism should not be tolerated. Will the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs follow Daily Kos's admirable example and ban Levick from publishing on its site, or will it follow Levick's more stringent demands and delete this piece of trash altogether?
The meme, criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, will probably never lose favor, but at least it is recognized for what it is.
UPDATE: Interesting article from the Alternative Information Center, Jerusalem
An Outrageous and Pathetic Weapon Against BDS: Stop Instrumentalizing Anti-Semitism!
Every time the State of Israel is confronted with substantial international criticism for its political behavior and its violations of basic international standards, it counter-attacks by using the infamous tool of accusations of anti-Semitism. One remembers the campaign on anti-Semitism launched by Ariel Sharon and his friends throughout the world, Jews and non-Jews, after the murder of Muhammad al-Dura in Gaza in September 2000, in order to create a diversion (in the very words of Roger Cukierman, then chairman of the French Jewish umbrella organizationCRIF) and to transform the victim into a victimizer and the victimizer into a victim: for more than two years, western media exposed the anti-Semitism of the critics of Israel instead of denouncing the massacres committed by the Israeli military in Gaza and the West Bank.
Sixty five years after the end of WWII, the ashes of the victims of Nazi genocide have not yet disappeared from the sky of Poland, and the accusation of anti-Semitism remains connected to one of the bloodiest crimes of the twentieth century; as French journalist, Daniel Mermet, one of the targets of this campaign, pointed at, no accusation can be worse, and even after you are proved not guilty of charge, the bad smell of such an accusation will be with you forever.
BDS means Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, which may now be Israel's most feared assault against its occupation and colonialism of the Palestinian territories. So charges of anti-Semitism have increased accordingly.