Monday, May 10, 2010

Muzzlewatch's Broken Record

I suspect that Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is having trouble finding a way to portray the defeat of its beloved Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolutions up and down the State of California as a form of “censorship,” which is why JVP’s Muzzlewatch mouthpiece has had to suffice with acting like a broken record over the last month.

The groove on they seem stuck is their reaction to the fact that the organized Jewish community of San Francisco is starting to exercise some judgment with regard to whom it gives money to and how people are allowed to present themselves when traveling under the official Jewish Federation banner.

You see, last year JVP and its friends managed to hijack the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, turning it into an event created in their own image where films and lectures depicting Israelis as intentional murderers were welcomed and hailed, while those defending Israel against such outlandish charges were heckled and jeered.

Members of the community naturally asked what had led to such behavior and what mechanisms were in place to ensure that people were not using the community’s money, facilities and name to assault the very things that community held most dear (including not being accused of being accomplices to war crimes).

Despite the enormous bureaucratic inertia that usually prevents institutions like the Federation from enacting changes of this type, the behavior of JVP and its allies was so outrageous that reforms began to be put in place. And, right on cue, the notion that an establishment Jewish organization would not automatically continue to underwrite the defamation of the Jewish people brought howls of “censorship” from JVP/Muzzlewatch’s Cecilie Surasky.

Naturally, Muzzlewatch’s outrage is portrayed in the form of statements made and petitions signed by local Jewish organizations who are understandably concerned with decisions of this type. The fact that these statements/petitions need to be seen in the context of equally valid statements supporting the Federation’s position (not to mention the reasons for the change in which JVP was so intimately involved) are dealt with at Muzzlewatch by simply pretending they don’t exist. And thus their cartoon of Federation fat cats suppressing a silent majority of peace-loving Jews prevails (at least in the minds of the 30 or so people who regularly read Muzzlewatch for something other than a laugh).

Friday, May 7, 2010

Columbia Unbecoming

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has taken a few minutes off from injecting itself into every campus on the West Coast (where it’s been providing a Jewish face to the divestment votes currently failing all over the state), to have its Muzzlewatch mouthpiece issue a condemnation of Jewish organizations daring to play a role in the Middle East debate at Columbia.

This condemnation, a stretch even by Muzzlewatch standards, involves an actual Columbia student attending an actual Columbia class (gasp), even though he was not enrolled in it. Allegedly, his job in the classroom was to monitor what was said by a controversial teacher, supposedly at the behest of one or more super-duper-powerful Jewish organizations like CAMERA and (queue the mad-scientist organ music): AIPAC!

What do I think about that type of campus monitoring activity? In truth, I’m not particularly happy that it goes on. But I’m also not particularly happy that the phenomenon that triggered such activity (the politicization of the classroom by a number of professors who have abandoned academic principle for advocacy) takes place in far too many campuses, a fact known to all despite the best efforts of Muzzlewatch et al to cover it up.

I would far prefer it if the college campus was a place where important issues like the Middle East conflict were discussed civilly and rationally, where the best minds of the coming generation could be applied to the problems of the region, or at least taught enough understanding to prepare the way for peace sometime in the future.

But there’s not much chance of that with JVP/Muzzlewatch in the mix peddling its brand of toxic, uncompromising, dishonest rhetoric on every campus it can reach. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if it bothers the delicate souls at Muzzlewatch that those with whom they politically disagree are engaging in political activity on campuses that JVP considers it owns, they have a choice. They can keep turning these colleges into war zones year after year and live with the fact that their actions will cause an opposite reaction, or they can actually spend a few minutes reflecting on how much their activity is exacerbating and extending rather than solving conflict and behave accordingly.

Try as they might to get their political opponents to question (and censor) themselves via the ugly accusations that are the Alpha and Omega of Muzzlewatch, opposition to the assaults JVP and its friends have organized on college campuses is growing. And with every posting that appears on the Muzzlewatch site, the hypocritical “we get to do anything we want, but if you respond you’re censoring us” message becomes more laughably transparent.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The "Good Jews" of JVP Make Mearsheimer's List

Congratulations to MuzzleWatch! The group's parent organization, which calls itself Jewish Voice for Peace, made Mearsheimer's list of good Jews, alongside such notables as Richard "Israeli 'holocaust-in-the-making'" Falk and Norman "Israel is a 'satanic state' from 'the boils of hell' which 'is committing a holocaust in Gaza'" Finkelstein.

Mearsheimer divides Jews into three categories: Mainstream Jewish leaders and journalists are dubbed "new Afrikaners"; the majority of Jews who are simply not savvy enough to realize Israel is satanic are called the "great ambivalent middle"; and then there are the righteous Jews:

To give you a better sense of what I mean when I use the term righteous Jews, let me give you some names of people and organizations that I would put in this category. The list would include Noam Chomsky, Roger Cohen, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein, Tony Judt, Tony Karon, Naomi Klein, MJ Rosenberg, Sara Roy, and Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss fame, just to name a few. I would also include many of the individuals associated with J Street and everyone associated with Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as distinguished international figures such as Judge Richard Goldstone. Furthermore, I would apply the label to the many American Jews who work for different human rights organizations, such as Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch.

It seems that to be righteous, you have to be anti-Zionist, either in intent or in effect.

Likely "new Afrikaner" Jeffrey Goldberg would remove a couple of Jews from the List, but he keeps JVP in the lineup. I guess I can understand Goldberg's demotions. But if we do scratch Cohen and Goldstone, can we at least replace them with Neturei Karta?