Monday, February 22, 2010

Calm Yourself Cecile

The level of hysteria over at Muzzlewatch seems to have reached fevered pitch lately.

As has been continually demonstrated, the mission of Muzzlewatch has nothing to do with free speech, and everything to do with getting those of us who actually care about free speech to question ourselves when criticizing political positions embraced by Muzzlewatch’s “parent company” Jewish Voice for Peace.

Similarly, Jewish Voice for Peace gets rather hot under the collar when it’s pointed out that – despite their name – their organization is dedicated to war with propaganda as its chosen method of militancy.

It makes no difference whether Muzzlewatch attempts to stifle debate and JVP plays its Orwellian game of “Peace is War” out of a deep cynicism or self-righteous fury. Whether they include themselves in the list of people they are trying to bamboozle is of no material interest.

Which gets us to Cecile Surasky’s latest tirade against yet another organization that has dared to use its free-speech rights to point out the truths Surasky and her friends so desperately want to remain hidden. In this case, an Israeli think tank has simply pointed out that, just as there exists an organized pro-Israel community of individuals and institutions dedicated to support of the Jewish state, so too there exists an organized anti-Israel community dedicated to the marginalization, demonization and (for some members of this group) elimination of said Jewish state.

JVP/Muzzlewatch frequently acknowledge the existence of a pro-Israel “scene,” imbuing it with as much sinister motive and scary implications as they can manage to cram into any paragraph that includes the acronyms ADL or AIPAC. But when someone else dares make mention of the obvious: that Israel’s critics are also organized into a community of individuals and institutions with a coordinated (if somewhat loose) organizational structure, out comes a new round of accusations and hilariously impotent threats.

“It’s not our tireless efforts on behalf of boycott, divestment and sanction that’s behind the BDS movement,” shouts Muzzlewatch (I’m paraphrasing): “It’s you lousy Israel supporters who refuse to do what you’re told and continue to insist that your political, civil and free speech rights include criticizing us in any way.”

“End the Occupation!” they shout, “The Occupation” being not so much a political state as it is a sacred talisman to members of Jewish Voice for Peace, a holy totem which magically washes away every sin of the Palestinians they claim as their moral lodestone: from rejecting countless offers of peace to starting one war after another.

It may seem petty to keep reminding people of Muzzlewatch’s choice to shut down their comments section on the flimsiest of pretexts, all to avoid the scrutiny of motives they demand as their right to dish out, but refuse to take. But now that the cat has escaped the bag, with the true nature of Muzzlewatch, JVP and its friends and allies becoming clearer by the day to more and more people, can you blame them for refusing to engage in the type of open dialog they pretend to crave?

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