Monday, January 18, 2010

Muzzlewatch vs. the Elites?

According to Muzzlewatch’s self-declared Generalisimo, Cecilie Surasky, Israel’s latest dastardly attempt to thwart its critics by building relationships with leaders outside of the Jewish community is doomed to failure. For, as Surasky points out, the Muzzlewatch army no longer needs these elites to win their battles, for they are now an army of unstoppable, Internet-connected grassroots Davids which, as she describes:

“We’ve all bypassed the elites in the state/media/law/culture etc.. who have failed miserably to bring a just peace. The era of centralized power, and the associated power of the gatekeeper, is quickly ending. Today it is quick-moving, under-funded, decentralized, non-hierarchical, grassroots activism that is winning and unstoppable.”

To which I would reply:

(1) As one of the three Internet-connected, non-hierarchical, grassroots activists who contribute to a site with “Muzzlewatch” in its name (the other being the creator of this Muzzlewatch-Watch site, and the third being Surasky herself), I believe that it is only Cecilie who draws a paycheck for her political activity.

(2) As Surasky points out, an important priority for Muzzlewatch’s parent organization Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) “movement” targeting Israel. Yet as I’ve pointed out in the past, the only successes BDS ever achieved was in the Mainline Protestant Churches between 2004-2006 when JVP’s friends and allies exerted enormous effort cultivating the very elites Surasky now declares they are going to bypass.

In fact, it was only by going behind the backs of rank and file members of a church, city, union or other organization and appealing directly to these elites that JVP’s pet divestment projects ever achieved any (albeit temporary) success. Once grassroots church members discovered what was being done in their name (and without their consent), they rejected these JVP-supported divestment projects in democratic votes by margins of 95-100%.

In other words, the folks behind Muzzlewatch spent years chasing after the very elites they now claim to disdain and if an opening presented itself to get a college president, union leader or other elite leader to embrace the BDS project, JVP/Muzzlewatch would leap at the opportunity like a dog on meat.

So what seems to be driving the new-found populism of Muzzlewatch is not the existence of “elites” per se but the fact that these civic leaders are listening to the Jewish community and – more importantly – to their own members, rather than simply trusting Jewish Voice for Peace, Muzzlewatch and their like-minded friends in the BDS movement for all of their information. Given the penchant for JVP et al to manipulate civic organizations and dump information needed to make informed decisions about the Middle East conflict down the memory hole, this strikes me as a wise policy indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Now, this is interesting to me because mere months ago, Sydney Levy of JVP stood in front of 125 people and announced that JVP did not take a stand on BDS (He pretended not to notice that BDS literature was passed around at the talk). So the fact that JVP is admitting their involvement with BDS publicly is a sea change.

    American friends Service Committtee is another group that denies involvement with BDS publicaly, while they work feverishly behind the scenes for anything they can call a victory.

    But thats for a different blog.....


Comments are moderated. They should be civil.

(Note: If you're blocking cookies, comments might not work.)