Walt and the Dish sweep Mondoweiss under the carpet

Over at Stephen Walt’s blog at Foreign Policy, Mondoweiss has been taken out of the short list of links under the heading “Daily Reads.” (Instead, he’d rather read this self-declared Zionist who argues for “Zionism without a Jewish state.”)

So Walt has stopped regularly reading Mondoweiss over his morning coffee … When did this happen? After or before Lee Smith’s sloppy articles at Tablet, about Foreign Policy condoning Jew-baiting controversy in exchange for increased web hits?

Here was Walt responding to Smith’s first article:

The first thing to observe about Smith’s screed is that even though he accuses me and my fellow bloggers of being anti-Semites and “Jew-baiters,” his article contains not a scintilla of evidence that Sullivan, Greenwald, Weiss, or I have written or said anything that is remotely anti-Semitic, much less that involves “Jew-baiting.” There’s an obvious reason for this omission: None of us has ever written or said anything that supports Smith’s outrageous charges.

Very soon after, in a prodigious post at Mondoweiss about Chelsea Clinton’s upcoming wedding to a Jew, Phillip Weiss himself seemed to heed the call:

I’m out of it, so I searched the power people at second wedding. Cohen, the groom, is a Washington Post pollster. Kornblut is a reporter for the Post who I often see on MSNBC. Here she reports for the Post on her own wedding guest Sarah Feinberg– very incestuous, huh?– who was an aide to Rahm Emanuel (who by the way is Jewish and took a vacation in the Occupied Golan Heights recently) and is now at Bloomberg (which is owned by Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York, etc). Campbell Brown converted to Judaism to marry Dan Senor, the AIPAC apparatchik. Todd Harris is the Republican consultant on Chris Matthews all the time who strikes a neconnish tone re the Islamic world. Jessica Yellin is a CNN anchor; no data. Bill Burton is another Obama aide. So is Stephanie Cutter. Russ Schriefer, another political consultant on the right, son of a Long Island butcher, seems to have married up. His wife Nina Easton works at Fortune and was formerly married to Ron Brownstein, per Wikipedia. Seems that Nina is Episcopalian; but that’s the point, there are plenty power goyim here too.

And I bet that with folks like Senor and Harris there, Zionism is written into the Kornblut-Cohen ketubah (formal agreement in Jewish weddings).

Though I bet the Clinton intermarriage will have its share of dinner-table fights about Zionism. NBC said that George Soros would play a part in the Clinton wedding; he’s a liberal Zionist. But Marc Mezvinsky’s uncle is the great Norton Mezvinsky, an anti-Zionist. And Chelsea’s got to be hip…

The Daily Dish has a habit of rehashing the main points and examples for argument of posts by Walt and Greenwald. [I will furnish some evidence for this later, but in the meantime, it’s important to say that I’m not accusing the Dish of plagiarism.] So taking the cue from Stephen Walt, Sullivan had written:

I, Glenn Greenwald, Stephen Walt, and Philip Weiss are operating an “open sewer of hate,” for arguing that US interests lie in getting a two-state solution sooner rather than later,

So now Phillip Weiss should be credited with an argument that U.S. interests lie in a two-state solution? — As though Weiss does not think a one-state solution is also in America’s interest …

and in our outrage at the way in which the Israeli government has shown contempt for the US president in the last couple of years, egged on by many neocons. There are no substantive arguments in the piece, and there are no quotes in the piece from any of the bloggers and writers concerned that could even faintly be called anti-Semitic.

Well, Smith did point out that his argument was not that the writers themselves were antisemitic, but that they were employing the question of antisemitism to agitate Jews and increase the curiosity of potential readers. (I think that was implicitly Jeffrey Goldberg’s argument too, based on how he was quoted in Smith’s first piece.)

But now Andrew has been answered, like Walt, and we should remember that the Dish’s chosen naivety about Weiss and the existence of the Jewish State is relatively new. In reply to Jay Adler’s email about why the Dish was giving a two-state seal of approval to pseudo-journalist Max Blumenthal, Sullivan wrote that anti-Zionism:

may be true of phil weiss but it isn’t of blumenthal and their position, while i disagree, is a legitimate one, worth arguing about. at the rate things are going i cannot imagine israel having a 60th [sic] anniversary.

Israel already had its 60th anniversary, but I’m sure Weiss and Blumenthal can’t imagine them having a 90th. Regardless, in passing over Weiss as a mere voice for a two-state solution’s being in America’s interests, Andrew is forgetting his own paralogic which says that both dividing Jews into good or bad and accusations of dual loyalty are antisemitic only when the person is arguing explicitly against the existence of the Jewish state. Weiss should appear like an antisemite because of Andrew’s argument alone, if we believed that Andrew was sincere in his argument about tropes.

Instead, we have Andrew gleaning from Peter Beinart’s first of several pieces that falsely equate Meretz-like positions with the tradition of “liberal Zionism,” and making a mental note for himself and Dish readers:

American Jewish Establishment (AJE, a useful new term)

Well, that depends. I’m not sure the term lends itself well to accuracy, if that’s what Andrew means by “useful,” but I don’t think so. Useful for what? That might be the right question.

Mondoweiss uses a variation of the term as the title of his post quoted above, “The New Mixed Jewish Establishment,” a post which is purely antisemitic. Stephen Walt will use it for different purposes, perhaps Lee Smith and Jeffrey Goldberg are right about which ones. I’m sure Andrew will use the term for something else.

I wrote once before, in the wake of the Wieseltier-Sullivan controversy:

I tend to think people can flirt with a discourse of hatred, for various reasons [other than the hatred itself].

One major reason might be the sense of autonomy, of individually achieving more intellectual freedom, by breaking what part of your audience considers a taboo. That sense of earned freedom is partially guaranteed by the fact that you know you are not a hater, so you do not feel so in danger of losing the freedom of the individual voice to the group voice of hatred.

In the case of the “group voice of hatred” that is antisemitism, we rightly associate this prejudice with “the rabble,” i.e., people who feel deprived by Life or Fortune and retaliate by collectively stoking and feeding off each other’s prejudices. But frissons at ruffling the feathers of groups of people united by ethnicity, and at the waves of web hits associated with such posts, seem to be a Cartmanesque pleasure, not fitting our ideal of an intellectual.


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  1. […] Wolcott, does identifying the danger of Jewish-Christian miscegenation among political elites count as “shining the lighthouse beam”? Mondoweiss is holding a fundraiser and is one […]

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