The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency – Chas. Freeman

Since writing this, I have added another detailed post regarding Freeman. Of course it is highly recommended. 😉

I read a terrific editorial by Matt Welch of Reason Magazine which is worth a look. By the way, I’ve read that Reason is a “Libertarian” mag, so it is certainly not my political cup of tea.

Anyway, in their magazine’s blog, Hit & Run, Welch, who is Reason’s editor-in-chief, republished an op-ed that he wrote for the LA Times responding to their editorial taking at face value Charles W. Freeman’s outburst attacking the “Israel Lobby” for undermining his candidacy for chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

Vehement objections came from several of Israel’s most loyal supporters in Congress, from some journalists and lobbyists known for their strong support of the Jewish state, and from other members of what some would no doubt call, well, the Israel lobby.

Freeman, as the Times editorial pointed out had said in the past,

“the brutal oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli occupation shows no sign of ending.” He also said: “American identification with Israel has become total.” Israel, he once said, “excels at war; sadly, it has shown no talent for peace.”

When he resigned as a candidate, Freeman, proving that he not only would have been biased in a position requiring objectivity, but also showing a serious lack of judgment and perhaps a need to be less, uh, zealous, in his views said:

“The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency” and reflect “an utter disregard for truth.”

Who did he mean by mentioning the Israel Lobby? Well, there were a number of Jewish bloggers and editors who criticized him for being a mouthpiece for the Saudis and for having strange views about Chinese human rights (he seems to think the Chinese Gov’t was more than fair at Tiananmen Square). AIPAC did not enter the fray or take a position and neither did most other Jewish organizations being wise enough to recognize a losing proposition when they see it.

Still, if you have a bunch of bloggers and reporters criticizing you and they happen to be Jewish and you are a critic of Israel, then it’s easy to call them the “Israel Lobby.” That’s the same tendentious logic used by Walt & Mearsheimer where, if you read them carefully, they basically lump about over 60% of American Jews into the supposed “Israel Lobby.” You give money to a synagogue and some Jewish lobbyist in Washington talks about having the support of synagogues? Well, congratulations on being part of the “Israel Lobby.” For part of our coverage of Walt & Mearsheimer, go here and you will find other links as well.

One of the key bloggers who criticized Freeman is Steve Rosen, formerly of AIPAC and now suing AIPAC for defamation in connection with the espionage case that cost him and Keith Weissman their jobs at the lobbying organization (see our stupendous 😉 coverage of the case here, here, here and here.

But they weren’t the only critics, and their criticism did not revolve around Israel. This is where Welch’s op-ed comes in. The LA Times declares there was indeed an “Israel Lobby” and lectured:

“But we do not believe that Israel should be immune from criticism or that there is room for only one point of view in our government…U.S. policy has been extremely supportive of Israel over the years, as have many of our policymakers. That’s fine. But theirs should not be the only voices allowed in the room.”

Welch responded:

As Michael Moynihan pointed out here recently, Freeman stands accused, plausibly, of sending out an e-mail to a diplomatic listserv arguing that “the Politburo’s response to the mob scene at ‘Tian’anmen’ stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership, not as an example of rash action.” This is plausible, since it’s of a piece with Freeman’s referring to an anti-Chinese Tibetan protest as a “race riot,” and leaning more toward the Beijing side when it comes to the dispute over Taiwan. And it’s perfectly consistent with his long track record of issuing apologia for Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most illiberal countries, with whom he describes himself as a “friend.”

“Saudi Arabia needs to make more serious long-term efforts — not just making new friends in the United States but helping its existing friends to be friends,” he lamented in a remarkable September 2003 interview with the Saudi-American Forum. “Sometimes it’s difficult to be a friend to Saudi Arabia. The current atmosphere brings you no public credit instead it brings you sometimes vicious criticism.”

Later, Welch adds about Freeman’s Saudi views:

It is possible to believe fervently that America should not exert its will onto the rest of the world, without crossing into a fantasy land wherein a country with no real press freedom, no elections, and no legal culture even allowing for anything resembling “introspection” is held up as an intellectual example from which the United States needs to learn. This is the definition of clientitis; it exhibits not a “startling propensity to speak truth to power” but rather a startling propensity to lob bouquets at dictators.

And he concludes,

This is a man with warped judgment, and I’d rather not pay his salary, let alone have him screening important national intelligence.

Read it all at Reason Magazine.

About the author



  • The anti-Zionist nature of Freeman’s sour grapes is hardly surprising. No one cares about his views. The question is, why the hell was he named for this intelligence post in the first place?

  • Lots of people care about his views, especially those for whom his rant offered an excuse to proclaim the “Israel Lobby” theory true. Reason was responding to an LA Times editorial. The LA Times is one of the country’s biggest papers and they were eating this up like latkes at chanukkah.

    Why was he nominated? Good question. It’s ironic that by taking his fit in public, he proved his critics right.

  • By the way, Tom, feel free to grab a photo of Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, and use it on that Dance with Matisyahu software. Then send the video to ck and demand that he publish it next to the dancing Pope.

  • Middle, I kinda like the Benny video…. Just to be clear, my point about Freeman is that we wouldn’t have to trouble ourselves with his repugnant views if the administration hadn’t seen fit to pull him out from under a rock in the first place.

    Kudos to the Washington Times and Marty Peretz for keeping the heat up about this story. The (NY) Times and others were prepared to keep this under media radar.

  • Well, add the Freeman appointment to the appointment of Samantha Power, the recent snubbing of Gaby Ashkenazi who was treated like a batlan on his recent trip to DC, and other incidents, and I think the pattern is pretty clear. The Obama administration is anti-Israel to its core.

    The Freeman imbroglio is just the beginning. Things are going to get a lot worse.

    Also, notice how His Highness the Great Oz….I mean, the Great Obama, hasn’t said one single thing about Freeman, one way or the other? Even worse, no one appears to have had the cojones to ask him a single question about it.

    How does he get away with this stuff?

  • Samantha’s back, eh? Maybe this will encourage Tim Geithner to resign. Someday, all will be forgiven.

  • You didn’t know that? She’s been back for a couple of months now.

    Of course, they say that she isn’t in a policy-making position, etc., wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

    After a while you just have to stop making excuses. I don’t care if Power were nothing more than a secretary or an office gofer. When you go out of your way to hire people who are on the record as being in favor of, essentially, invading Israel with US troops to stop the imaginary “genocide of the Palestinians”, and people who are on the Saudi and Red Chinese payroll (and who spend all their time tut-tutting that the Chicoms were too pusillanimous about Tienanmen; referring to Tibetan resistance to Chinese oppression as “race riots”; and calling the king of the most intolerant, anti-Semitic, barbaric and backward country on the planet “Abdullah the Great”) it means something.

    Who you hang out with is important. Obama hangs out with notorious anti-Semites and puts them on his payroll (or tries to). That’s all I need to know about the man.

    Oh, yeah: a while back he said something about how his job was to “explain the US to the Muslims” or some such bullshit.

    No, it’s not, you jagoff. It’s to defend the Constitution of the Unites States of America and to protect the country from its enemies, foreign and domestic.

    And this idiot went to Harvard? I guess its true what they say about Ivy League educations being overrated.

  • Obama is not an idiot and his education is apparently very fine. Those are silly comments.

    Your point about the people who surround him is a more valid one, but there are a lot of Clintonians who work for him and who didn’t exhibit the type of political leaning seen by Freeman and Power.

    Has no reporter asked Obama for a comment about Freeman’s comments about the “Lobby?”

  • There’s an old saying:” Some scholars are like donkeys. They just carry a lot of books.”

    So far as I can tell, all of Obama’s book-learning has not given him any sense. He’s stiffing Israel while crawling on his hands and knees to people like Assad and Imadinnerjacket. Sorry, but those are the actions of a fool, and craven one at that. I don’t care how many fucking degrees the guy has or how many books he’s read. He doesn’t understand the first thing about how to play with the big boys. Everything he’s doing is an admission of weakness.

    Sometimes, people are too smart for their on good. Obama appears to be one of those. So, yes, I think he’s a fool, just like Neville Chamberlain was, who, you can be sure, went to all of the right schools too.

    Hillary has no principles and she will do whatever Obama tells her to do.

    Just wait. Pretty soon Israel is gong to be pilloried for refusing to talk “peace” with Hamas. Fortunately, Hamas is so inflexible that they are probably not going to give Obama the fig leaf he needs to force Israel to talk to them by joining a “Palestinian unity government”, so maybe Israel will be able to dodge that bullet, at least for a while. But the pressure to agree to establish a “Palestinian” state without insisting that Hamas and Fatah lay down their weapons is going to be relentless, even worse than it was under Bush in the last part of his presidency.

    I’m still hoping that the Arabs will do something so egregious that even Obama won’t be able to ignore it.

  • Do any of you seriously doubt that he was lobbied against mainly by Jews who were pro-Israel? If not, what is incorrect about what he said? It is the Israel issue and Jews who sunk his chances.

    Further, no one here has addressed whether it is actually true or false that his words have been taken out of context or mischaracterized. I would not be surprised if that is the case, as it’s all too common among all political factions nowadays.

    Seriously, why should the US be wed to Israel when Jews comprise only 3% of this country? If you could think in the interests of the US rather than yourselves for a minute, you’d realize that US support for Israel is out of all proportion to its objective value to the US and the vast majority of its people.

  • Yeah, supporting democracies against racist, genocidal Islamist maniacs doesn’t benefit the US at all.

    I mean, when are we going to get practical? There are, like, a bazillion Muslims with all that oil, and only a few measly Israelis, and all they do is cause trouble and make the Muslims mad. And when they get mad they start blowing shit up and flying planes into buildings. But, who can blame them? Those Israelis are so stubborn! I mean, if, say, a country I thought should be destroyed kept on beating me in all the wars I started to try to wipe them out, I’d be pretty pissed off too. And who could blame me? I can really understand a Palestinian mother who raises her kids to strap bombs on and blow up Jewish women and children. makes perfect sense to me.

    What does sucking up to the Jews get us? Isn’t it better to kiss Arab ass so that maybe they’ll be nice to us and sell us their oil cheap so we can continue to have cheap gas? I mean, what is a few million Jews compared to my fuel bill? I know that we could drill our own oil, build nuclear power plants, develop oil shale, conserve, build electric cars or whatever, but that so, you know, inconvenient. It’s easier to suck Arab dick. I mean, there are more of them than the Jews and they have the oil, right?

    I don’t see why this is so hard. I mean, we sacrificed a bunch of democracies to warmongering dictators about 65 years ago, and nothing happened, right? What’s the harm in doing it again?

  • Obviously there are some benefits to being an ally of Israel, and I’m not suggesting anything too radical.

    I am suggesting that we don’t need to keep supporting them with billions like some welfare state. If Israel can survive, it should be able to do so mainly on its own by now — Taiwan certainly can… other small countries can as well.

    I am also suggesting that we should not be so worried about their wars with the Palestinians — these are essentially internal foreign matters like China’s problems in Tibet. There’s nothing wrong with being concerned for human rights, but it’s not our fight and that should not be forgotten.

  • I would like nothing better than for Israel to be able to wean itself off of US aid. It would be best for both countries. As it stands now, the relationship is distorted. The US is forced to intervene in a conflict that we really shouldn’t have to worry about, and Israel is often forced to do things that are against its best interests.

    I also think that it would be beyond awesome if the US, and the rest of the world, would stop worrying about Israel’s relationship (however you want to describe it) with the Palestinians. If the world just left it alone, the “Palestinian resistance” would stop tomorrow since it depends on foreign aid. And most of it is from Europe and the US. The Arabs do little or nothing to support their “Arab brothers”. Without it, the Palestinians wouldn’t be able to blow anything or anyone up, and they actually might have to think about how to create a society that could actually be worthy of the name instead of the cesspool they have now.

    Good to see we’re on the same page.

  • anon, if the US withdrew all its support for Taiwan/ROC tomorrow, what do you suppose would happen there?

  • The internet has been a powerful tool for Israel and Jew bashing for years. That’s what brought me on to the internet in the first place, Xisnotx. Those of us who just lead normal lives view these conspiracy theories as vile have no choice but to debate and fight back, despite our much smaller numbers. The internet has allowed conspiracy theories against Jews to flourish to a point where I worry about my son’s future anywhere in this world. It is the internet that has fed what we’re seeing on campuses such as those we showed in the Canadian videos a couple of weeks ago.

    This site, an openly Jewish and pro-Israel site, for example, has never taken the approach that Israel can do no wrong or that the Jewish community is anywhere near perfect. Criticism is fine and improves the world. The distance between seeing flaws and seeing a manipulative conspiracy, or discussing “genocide,” however, is vast. The internet has permitted this type of extremism to flourish and most important, for extremists to insert their views into mainstream debate as if they are mainstream as well.

    The emphasis in Mearsheimer’s article on Jewish journalists and newspapers that he claims hew to a pro-Israel line is exactly my point. He purposely minimizes what Pelosi said, claiming she was a victim of this broad manipulation. Of course, she’s the only non-Jew mentioned in the article who took an official line against Freeman. You see how sneaky and wily he claims those Jews like Schumer must be that they always manipulate the stupid non-Jewish leaders who don’t know any better or who feel the heat that those heavyweight Jewish organizations like AIPAC – WHICH OFFICIALLY KEPT OUT OF THIS FRAY – must be imposing on those weak-minded, un-influential, easily duped, non-Jewish leaders like Pelosi and Obama?

    This disgusting attempt to depict what happened here along lines of ethnicity and dual loyalty is what I would expect to read on Stormfront. Instead, Mearsheimer writes:

    Freeman’s remarkable statement has shot all around the world and been read by countless individuals. This isn’t good for the lobby, which would have preferred to kill Freeman’s appointment without leaving any fingerprints. But Freeman will continue to speak out about Israel and the lobby, and maybe some of his natural allies inside the Beltway will eventually join him. Slowly but steadily, space is being opened up in the United States to talk honestly about Israel.

    So Freeman’s statement is read and published widely. But of course, it’s IN SPITE of the, you know, conspiracy by the “Israel Lobby” (read: those Jewish names he had just listed). And who is telling us this? That poor schlub, John Mearsheimer, who is nothing less than the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago.

    Oooh, he is so stifled and critics of Israel are so stifled, that they need the internet to tell the world how things really are. Really?!

    Maybe the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, one of the most important and powerful universities in the US, would be kind enough to tell the world how many interviews, conference talks, op-eds, public talks and books he has written in the couple of years since he began his attacks on me and all the other Jews in this country whose support of Israel he calls a conspiracy? Has he really been stifled?

    The R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago fights his fight by claiming that anybody who challenges him or any person, function or position (that HE prefers and) opposing America’s policies towards Israel, is guilty of participation in the “Israel Lobby” if they are Jewish. He claims that if they are not Jewish, they are duped, manipulated or have Christian religious blinders. Reread this op-ed to which you’ve linked, Xisnotx, and tell me I’ve somehow misread what he’s saying.

    Now tell me, should I fear a conspiracy against me led by people like him? I ask because I don’t see how what he’s doing differs from this.

  • That’s it? That’s all you have to say to what I wrote? You give me an article by an author who is so openly anti-Israel that it’s laughable in a magazine that has become so anti-Israel that I canceled a decade-old subscription?

    Okay. So let’s see what the authors of the quoted letter, Walt & Mearsheimer, wrote:

    …since the publication of our original article on the Israel lobby, we have appeared either singly or together at a number of different venues, including Brown University, the Council on Foreign Relations, Columbia University, Cornell University, Emerson College, the Great Hall at Cooper Union, Georgetown University, the National Press Club, the Nieman Fellows Program at Harvard University, the University of Montana, the Jewish Community Center in Newton, Massachusetts, and Congregation Kam Isaiah Israel in Chicago.

    You and I both know that’s a heavily abbreviated list which indicates the opposite of being stifled. The National Press Club? The Council on Foreign Relations? Wow, how will they ever get their message out there with all that stifling?

    How much do these places pay to speakers? What’s the going rate for W & M to come and speak to your group?

    By the way, their attempt to compare their books and message to Michael Oren is ridiculous. In fact, it seems downright dishonest.

  • “You and I both know that’s a heavily abbreviated list which indicates the opposite of being stifled”

    as I said, M is admitting that when he lists all those places.

    “That’s all you have to say to what I wrote?”

    I posted the link as an FYI, not endorsement. i;ll think some more on
    you wrote

  • Wait, before you think about it, take a look at this article.

    This line of argument could be considered a precarious one for two blue-eyed men with Germanic surnames. And, indeed, Walt seemed defensive about the charges of anti-Semitism. He cautioned that the Israel lobby “is not a cabal,” that it is “not synonymous with American Jews” and that “there is nothing improper or illegitimate about its activities.”

    But Mearsheimer made no such distinctions as he used “Jewish activists,” “major Jewish organizations” and the “Israel lobby” interchangeably.

    When the two professors finished, they were besieged by autograph- and photo-seekers and Arab television correspondents. Walt could be heard telling one that if an American criticizes Israel, “it might have some economic consequences for your business.”

    I have a feeling it’s articles like this, exposing W & M’s ugly commentary, that make Mearsheimer attack the Washington Post as harshly as he does.

  • M is not a thin-skinned guy, I don’t know that bad coverage explains his stance towards WaPo. At any rate, he was pleased with David Broder’s article — someone who is about as centrist as they come — you as the middle ought to appreciate that:) — which fingered the Israel & Tibet lobbies. Did you read Broder?

    Note how the NYT chose to headline its coverage:

    “Israel Stance Was Undoing of Nominee for Intelligence Post”

  • re: stifling, have a look at this interview with Salon’s Michelle Goldberg:

    TPMtv: Michelle Goldberg On Zionism And Liberalism
    By Justin Elliott – March 20, 2009, 2:16PM

    Elliot asks, Have you experienced “pressures” as a journalist not to say things?

    “Yes, to be honest, there are certain things I’m not going to talk about [because I don’t want this to be about myself]. Everybody knows that if you write certain things you put yourself beyond the pale of certain publications. And not just the obvious ones like the New Republic. I mean you take a certain stance and you consign yourself to the loony left. I think that is maybe becoming less and less true.” She has been told on some occasions, “You can’t write something,” and there “is a degree of self-censorship as well.”

    — Goldberg wrote a piece on M&W in ’06 that was critical towards them for being “insensitive.”

    “The authors seem oddly oblivious to why this subject is so sensitive for Jews”

    “Walt and Mearsheimer’s arguments are too often clumsy and crude”

  • Look above. I quote nothing less than the Los Angeles Times. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the second largest newspaper in the country in terms of circulation. Their editorial was unequivocally in Freeman’s corner and even provided a lecture to Israel’s supporters that appears to be a veiled attempt to say, “shut up.”

    Okay, where was Michelle Goldberg constrained in this article?

    And here’s a suggestion. Why don’t you enter the phrase “Israel apartheid” into the Google News search box. I see hundreds of articles there that discuss everything from apartheid week to apartheid in Israel. Is that censorship or self-censorship or evidence of neither? I suspect it’s the last.

    I agree with Goldberg that there are certain things one can say which will change people’s opinion of the reporter as if he or she is of the “loonie left” but you have to go pretty far to fall into that category. Philip Weiss is probably a good example of that categorization. But I don’t think it applies to most journalists who are critical of Israel, and there are quite a few of them, as there are no end to publications and tv networks who will give them space to publicize their views.

    The fact is that the constant refrain that somehow Jews constrain debate about Israel is simply untrue. There is a tremendous amount of debate about Israel out there. Do we forget how CNN and every news channel used to give Hanan Ashrawi endless, unchallenged and sympathetic interviews? Was that because they were refraining from criticizing Israel? In her own articles, Goldberg criticizes Israel and some of its supporters.

    Would an organization like CAMERA exist if criticism of Israel was somehow constrained? Take a look at their roster of newspapers and networks which require corrections or complaints because of unfair representations of Israel.

  • “Would an organization like CAMERA exist if criticism of Israel was somehow constrained?”

    They play a role in that constraining, and they have an agenda of their own.

  • here’s an example of CAMERA trying to stifle the Rev. Naim Ateek:

    now you’ll likely reply it’s all legit since Ateek is like M&W and beyond the pale of discourse, it’s reasonable to silence him because it’s hate speech. But note what Rob Eshman of the LA Jewish Journal concludes:

    “Meanwhile, I, for one, want to hear what the man has to say. I believe Israel is strong enough to withstand the rhetoric of a 70-year-old cleric dedicated to nonviolent coexistence.

    “If it’s not, even CAMERA can’t save us. “

  • No, they play a role in watching. They have no ability to constrain. None. What they do well is report and that is their key function.

    Their letter writing campaigns are, in my opinion, useless. In fact, they are counter-productive because most reporters and editors cherish their freedom to write what they want.

    But you need a CAMERA to keep watch over what is said out there because so much of it is unfair to Israel. That’s the point here, isn’t it? The assertion is, whether by W & M, or by Freeman, or even if you stretch what she says, by Goldberg, that vital information and news are being kept from the American people. Or further, that policy and appointments are dictated by this cabal of Jews. I’m suggesting that the Freeman case doesn’t prove this and as for stifling in media or in public talks, if any of these claims were true, then CAMERA would be out of business, not busy as they are.

    You’re also skipping many of my other points, Xisnotx. I bring you articles about apartheid by the dozens, you ignore them. I bring you an openly critical article by Goldberg about the supposed “Lobby” (or, taking Juan Cole’s directive, as she calls them “Likud” supporters), I quote the LA Times editorial page, and you come back at me with some letter writing campaign by CAMERA seeking to prevent somebody from speaking somewhere. Are you evading my contentions?

  • “as for stifling in media or in public talks, if any of these claims were true, then CAMERA would be out of business, not busy as they are.”

    that’s silly. it’s a battle they’ve been fighting for years. they succeed or don’t sometimes, but constraining the public discourse — as they tried to do when they tried to prevent Ateek from speaking — is not something they can accomplish once and for all and then fold up their tent, they work and work at it.

    I’m not ignoring your points — I started out by pointing out that Mearsheimer himself lists numerous appearance he’s made. but the phenomenon of trying limit the access of critics of Israeli policy exists, what happened with the Chicago Council is an example of that.

    & CAMERA and Ateek are another example. Countering that by saying, there’s tons and tons of articles on apartheid out there is proof no one is trying to limit the discourse, doesn’t wash when CAMERA tries to silence Ateek — for example. Another example — when the ADL intervened to get the Polish consulate to cancel a talk by Tony Judt.

    If you don’t believe anyone is trying to stifle debate, how do you explain the following, from Muzzlewatch:

    “Yes Virginia, there really is a Hasbara Handbook. You can download your very own copy right now – this one, by the World Union of Jewish Students, is from 2002 and aims to help students make the case for Israel.

    “You could, the book suggests, try one of two methods. You could engage in real debate or you could “point score.” As it says on page 9 under the title “How to score points whilst avoiding debate”,

    “Point Scoring
    Point scoring is a method of communication that prioritises making certain points favorable to the speaker, and attacking opponents of the speaker by trying to undermine their positions. Point scoring communication ought to give the appearance of rational debate, whist avoiding genuine discussion. The aim of the Israel activist point scorer is to try to make as many comments that are positive about Israel as possible, whilst attacking certain Palestinian positions, and attempting to cultivate a dignified appearance.”

    Need one say more?

  • That’s ridiculous, CAMERA exists because there is widespread misinformation about Israel and Jews out there. Not the other way around. It was created because there was nobody out there pointing to the very thing you’re claiming doesn’t happen because of stifling.

    Second, Mearsheimer may have been excluded from speaking at the Chicago Council, but he has no shortage of other places where he has spoken, where he speaks and where he publishes. The story is coming from him and we are not seeing the Chicago Council’s version. The assumption he makes, as a result, may or may not be valid. He sees a Jewish conspiracy around every corner. In the meantime, he was published by a Jewish publisher, he is invited to speak at Jewish congregations, and many of the Jewish-owned publications to which he points critically, publish what he has to say regularly.

    He has benefited from his notoriety and his attacks on the “Lobby,” and has not suffered at all. In fact, he needs incidents such as this one to paint himself as a victim. As I wrote earlier, I’d love to see an accounting of how many speaking engagements (and the pay involved) he and Walt have enjoyed since they published their lousy article in London.

    Third, the ADL did NOT do anything to stop Judt from speaking at the Polish consulate, as has been reported by the consulate itself. They received a phone call in which the ADL described some of Judt’s views. That was the extent of the call. The Poles decided for themselves they didn’t want Judt there. And that again proves the point. Does Judt have a problem having his opinions published? Not at all. Does he have a problem getting numerous speaking engagements wherein he attacks the idea of Israel? Not at all. We know of one incident where he was asked not to speak and the ADL denies vehemently that it asked anybody to prevent him from speaking and the only evidence we have, that of the Polish consulate’s remarks about this, agrees with the ADL’s version, not Judt’s victimization story.

    Kudos to Muzzlewatch for digging up something that none of us know about. I mean, you’ve been on this site for years. Do I or the others avoid challenging you head on with facts?

    Or are you trying to tell me that some informational guide for Jewish students who have to deal with the bullshit that’s plied all over the internet and all over North American campuses by the Muslim and Left Wing groups indicates to you that there is “stifling” going on by Jews?

    I mean, really, who gets shouted down at universities? Is it Daniel Pipes and Bibi Netanyahu, or is it, for example, the vile speakers who come and represent the Palestinian side on campuses like University of California, Irvine?

    Our own Rabbi Yonah has been trying for years to inform the UC Irvine campus of the hatred these events inspire and has had no luck in effecting any changes. In the meantime, they come to campus, spend days there with all kinds of speeches, costumes, fake security walls and their Hamas-like chants. They give talks where they forbid recording, but as we’ve posted in the past, in these talks you sometimes get base anti-Semitism. And still, the all-powerful, stifling Jews can’t get the university to change a single thing. So a manual exists to help Jewish students debate the newly inculcated students who have been fed a week of this hatred and somehow Muzzlewatch (and you) believe this is an example of stifling speech?

    By the way, the deepest irony took place when Muzzlewatch muzzled discussion on their website by eliminating comments after some of their posts were, GASP, criticized. Hahahaha. They closed the comments! Talk about stifling!

    But since we’re on the topic of tactics used to promote a side, did Muzzlewatch happen to look for the pro-Palestinian version of how to promote their side?

    No? Didn’t they look for that document? Well, let us see whether we can find a series of coincidences that help us learn something about how the other side gets its message across. Wait for my next post.

    A self-described non-partisan group, CAMERA professes no public interest beyond the promotion of accuracy in news reporting on the Middle East. Critics of the group dispute that characterization, saying CAMERA is a right-wing outfit masquerading as an impartial media-monitoring organization.

    “I don’t at all buy the fact that what they’re looking for is balanced coverage,” said Samuel Freedman, a professor of journalism at Columbia University and a regular contributor to the New York Times. “What they’re looking for is coverage that subscribes to their view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is a pro-Israel view.”

    That the Jewish “defamers” targeted Sunday were virtually all figures of the political left will do little to dispel that notion.

    Andrea Levin vehemently rejected the suggestion that CAMERA is a partisan group, saying it is interested solely in accuracy.

    Also from that article:

    The conference [called “Jewish Defamers of Israel”] comes amidst a growing assault on American Jewish supporters of Israel for their alleged role in stifling free debate of American policy in the Middle East. At a conference in Chicago earlier this month, several “defamers” fingered by CAMERA in the past accused the pro-Israel community of working to suppress criticism of Israel.

    In her opening remarks, Levin insisted that it is not criticism that is at issue, but defamation, which, when coming from Jews, is afforded added potency. She singled out Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper, one of the country’s most respected news sources and – through its English-language edition and Web site – a chief source of media perspective on Israel abroad. Levin accused the paper of printing outright lies and failing to issue corrections, even when the mistakes are pointed out.

    David Landau, Ha’aretz’s editor-in-chief, refused – “as a matter of policy and principle” – to respond to the substance of Levin’s criticisms because they came from CAMERA, an organization that he dismissed as “Mcarthyite.”

    “I advise your readers to relate to CAMERA’s tendentious statements and comments with the same measure of skepticism,” Landau said, “and to read Ha’ and draw their own conclusions as to the veracity of our reporting and the contribution of our op-ed columns to honest and caring debate within Israel and the Jewish world.”

  • “So a manual exists to help Jewish students debate the newly inculcated students who have been fed a week of this hatred and somehow Muzzlewatch (and you) believe this is an example of stifling speech?”

    The manual admits it helps the students give merely the APPEARANCE of rational debate — while avoiding genuine discussion!! Again: The manual freely admits, the tactic is to AVOID genuine discussion. does that not amount to PREVENTING discussion, thus STIFLING it? sheesh.

    “Point scoring communication ought to give the appearance of rational debate, whist avoiding genuine discussion.”

  • CAMERA goes beyond merely pointing out what it says are errors or bias; they actually led a divestment drive against NPR in Boston! If that is not trying to stifle & bully media, what is?

    Despite its reactionary bent, CAMERA – through sheer perseverance and political know-how – has managed to carve out an important role for itself behind the scenes of the public debate on the Middle East. Last November the respected Jewish weekly newspaper the Forward named CAMERA executive director and regular Jerusalem Post contributor Andrea Levin America’s fifth most influential Jewish citizen, saying “Media-monitoring was the great proxy war of the last year, and its general is Andrea Levin.” CAMERA associate director Alex Safian told us the organization has more than 50,000 members, approximately 15 full-time staff, and expects its annual revenues to exceed $2 million this year.

    NPR has had the unfortunate distinction of emerging as one of CAMERA’s favored targets. In CAMERA’s hometown of Boston, CAMERA and the Boston Israel Action Committee have succeeded in costing local NPR affiliate station WBUR 90.9 FM between one and two million dollars in sponsorship funds, according to WBUR spokesperson Mary Stohn. Safian explained that in addition to calling on individual donors to divest from the network, the group has concentrated on targeting NPR’s underwriters, many of which he said contribute $50,000 to $100,000 at a time to the network.

    CAMERA charges NPR with allotting a full 77 percent of its Middle East coverage to pro-Palestinian views – an allegation stemming from a study conducted by the organization over the two-month period of Sept. 26 to Nov. 26, 2000, and echoed repeatedly by the May 14 protesters.

    “Nonsense,” responded NPR’s Dvorkin, who bristles at the allegations. In a telephone interview with the Bay Guardian, Dvorkin accused CAMERA of using selective citations and subjective definitions of what it considers pro-Palestinian bias in formulating its findings. “I don’t think they’re particularly interested in accuracy,” he said. “I think they want us to tell one side of the story…. It’s a kind of McCarthyism, frankly, that bashes us and causes people to question our commitment to doing this story fairly. And it exacerbates the legitimate anxieties of many in the Jewish community about the survival of Israel.”

    Dvorkin reports that out of 45,000 e-mails he received last year in response to NPR’s coverage, 25,000 were related to programming on the Middle East. As a result, NPR has made transcripts and audio files of all its Middle East reporting available, for free, on a prominent and specially dedicated page of its Web site ( What’s more, “we have gone back to our journalists and reinforced our own policies on attributions, use of sound, writing, commentary balance,” Dvorkin said.

    In NPR’s most recent self-assessment of its coverage, for Jan. 1 to March 31 of this year, the network found a predilection toward relying most heavily on Israeli government sources, with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Major Sharon Feingold accounting for the top two most frequently quoted voices, respectively. (NPR president and CEO Kevin Klose argued that coverage of the Israeli elections during that time period accounted in part for the extra reliance on such sources.)

  • Um, no! We began this discussion by talking about whether Jewish groups stifle the speech of others. To that end, I keep showing you how nobody is stifled: speakers speak openly and publicly in many places, op-eds are published freely, editorials critical of Israel and American Jews get published in the largest US papers, campuses are full of speech denouncing Israel, etc.

    You are now claiming that some manual which some Jewish pro-Palestinian site had to dig up from god knows where is evidence of “stifling” because it provides one debating tactic of which you disapprove. How the hell does that relate to what we were discussing earlier and how the hell does that relate to stifling?

    I have just read the section which you so proudly point to and it actually makes perfect sense. The writer states that there are many times when an audience is only half listening to a debate. Maybe they’re not familiar with the topic or the details are too hard to follow. In those instances, he suggests that the Israel advocate maintain a posture where he or she maintains a civil discourse and doesn’t go into the very details that would bore the audience. Wow, talk about EVIL incarnate. Talk about STIFLING. LMAO.

    Focus, Xisnotx, focus. Stop reaching because you look a little desperate right now. We were talking about the supposed “Israel Lobby,” and how people are prevented by the so-called “Lobby” from expressing views…

    Oh, and the funniest thing about all of this is that Muzzlewatch doesn’t allow comments. They blame it on people who disagree with their viewpoints!!! Hahaha.

  • David Landau, Ha’aretz’s editor-in-chief, refused – “as a matter of policy and principle” – to respond to the substance of Levin’s criticisms because they came from CAMERA, an organization that he dismissed as “Mcarthyite.”

    This would be the same Landau who whispered in Condee’s ear that Israel needs to be raped?

    I encourage you to read that article by me, Xisnotx, because it talks about how supporters of Israel are stifled.

  • Okay, I went back to your article claiming that CAMERA was trying to boycott NPR. There is nowhere in the article where this claim is made. It states that many of the people who were actively protesting were familiar with CAMERA’s reports on NPR. That appears to be the extent of CAMERA’s involvement.

    You will note that the ombudsman for NPR had no trouble getting his attacks on CAMERA published, by the way.

    Anyway, you can read what CAMERA does do right on their website. You’ll notice it says nothing about stifling anybody.

  • I will read it, TM. but i do actually have to get some work done now. doubtless, this discussion isn’t over.

  • “If you don’t believe anyone is trying to stifle debate, how do you explain the following, from Muzzlewatch…”

    You just lost any credibility you had by linking to that site.

  • It’s funny how the centrists always identify the extremists, WEVS1. Every time I think about Muzzlewatch, I laugh at the fact they terminated comments on their site!!

  • TM:
    NPR has had the unfortunate distinction of emerging as one of CAMERA’s favored targets. In CAMERA’s hometown of Boston, CAMERA and the Boston Israel Action Committee have succeeded in costing local NPR affiliate station WBUR 90.9 FM between one and two million dollars in sponsorship funds, according to WBUR spokesperson Mary Stohn. Safian explained that in addition to calling on individual donors to divest from the network, the group has concentrated on targeting NPR’s underwriters, many of which he said contribute $50,000 to $100,000 at a time to the network.

  • The information is coming from Mary Stohn, not from CAMERA or the supporters who are being interviewed. I just ran a search for WBUR on CAMERA’s website and none of the results that I saw mentioned a divestment campaign. Why don’t you go to their site and search? If you find the information I will concede that you are right. Wouldn’t they be boasting about this type of victory if they were responsible for it?

  • The Boston Globe February 9, 2003,

    “In a relentless Mideast conflict in which media images are a crucial battleground, CAMERA has become a major combatant. It has been a driving force behind an underwriter boycott of public radio, felt most acutely at the powerful Boston outlet WBUR-FM. ”


    Even among pro-Israeli groups, CAMERA’s tactics and values are not universally shared. Somewhat diplomatically, the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman points out how his organization diverges with CAMERA. “Where we part company is certainly on boycotts,” he says. While “there are problems in the media, [CAMERA has] a very broad brush. . . . They are a one-issue organization, which makes it easier for them to focus with intensity on their issues, and they don’t have to balance other issues, other concerns, other sensibilities.”

  • Nope, what happened there, according to the same article you quote, is that a couple of businessmen, two of whom were CAMERA members, decided that they wanted to stop providing funds to the station after they saw some of CAMERA’s criticism and they influenced others to join them.

    Although the reporter calls this a boycott, CAMERA, as an organization, does not appear to be involved other than to have provided information. There is no indication in the article that this was an organized boycott.

    Perhaps the most potent measure of that effectiveness is the underwriter boycott of WBUR that began in 2001 when two prominent businessmen – WordsWorth Books president and CAMERA board member Hillel Stavis and Cognex CEO and CAMERA member Robert Shillman – became so convinced of that bias that they withdrew their financial support for the station. (Stavis said he had donated “tens of thousands” to WBUR over the years; Shillman said his company had doled out more than $120,000 in the previous five years.) WBUR says it has lost a total of seven key underwriters, including Brandeis University, and between $1 million and $2 million in funding.

    They decided on their own.

    CAMERA has a search function on their site. I’m sure that if they were involved in boycotts and divestment drives that they would say so somewhere on their site. It’s not as if they are hiding what they’re doing. I invite you again to search their site for this information since they appear to catalog all of their activities. If you find something solid, I will accept it, it’s very possible I missed it or didn’t put in the right search terms. I didn’t find anything though.

  • “I’m sure that if they were involved in boycotts and divestment drives that they would say so somewhere on their site.”

    maybe the following will shed some light on that:

    “Complicating the debate over whether or not to boycott is the apparent reluctance of Jewish American groups to acknowledge they are engaged in boycotts.”

    New York, Friday, August 2, 2002

    Fears That Protests Inspire Israel’s Foes

    Hadassah Is Boycotting All Boycotts

    Forward staff

    Hadassah is calling for an end to all boycotts, including Jewish-led boycotts against Israel’s critics.

    Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, passed a resolution at its national convention in Buena Vista, Fla., last week saying it “strongly condemns all forms of organized boycott.”

    The resolution follows months during which Jewish groups have led boycotts against, among others, American newspapers and broadcasters for perceived anti-Israel bias and France for its perceived tolerance of antisemitism. But boycott calls against Israel and its institutions are also mushrooming.

    “It is exactly because Israel has been the target of boycotts, that Hadassah opposes boycotts — even by well-intended parties — as a strategy that only results in harm,” said Hadassah’s national president, Bonnie Lipton, in a press release.

    Asked by the Forward if she thought that Jewish-led boycotts could backfire by lending legitimacy or encouragement to anti-Israel boycotts, Lipton said that was one reason Hadassah opposed boycotts. “It will haunt us,” she said. “It also doesn’t work. It’s not democratic and there are other ways of expressing one’s position.”

    But Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, which has suspended its travel program to France, criticized Hadassah’s resolution.

    “We shouldn’t be sending out blanket statements that under no condition are boycotts justified,” Rosen said. “We shouldn’t be fearful to call for actions such as boycotts if in fact they are justified. I’d be surprised if Hadassah didn’t support boycotts against South Africa opposing apartheid or Nazi Germany.”

    Hadassah officials declined to comment on the merits of past boycotts.

    Complicating the debate over whether or not to boycott is the apparent reluctance of Jewish American groups to acknowledge they are engaged in boycotts.

    For example, although AJCongress’s Los Angeles regional office runs the Web site, Rosen denies that the national group supports a boycott. The suspension of trips to France is not a boycott, Rosen argues, because it only affects AJCongress members.

    Likewise, Fred Ehrman, the sponsor of a recent campaign to suspend subscriptions to The New York Times, called his campaign a “protest,” not a boycott, because it doesn’t target an entire country, but only a “faulty product.” “When the Arab nations boycott Israel and do not import their computers or medical devices, it’s not because there is a problem with the product, they are trying to harm the State of Israel,” he said.

    A senior vice president of the Orthodox Union who sponsored the ads as a private citizen, Ehrman said he is against boycotts — as he defines by them — which would include Jewish-led embargos on German products after World War II.

    To complicate the matter even further, community leaders who refuse to call their own economic protests boycotts have been quick to apply the “B” word to similar actions taken by other Jewish groups. They are also quick to criticize those efforts.

    About the call to suspend Times subscriptions, Rosen said: “If you call on people to not purchase goods and services, I think that would be a boycott. In many of these media outlets, although there is a bias there is still fair reporting. I don’t think a boycott would necessarily serve our purpose in that case.”

    Rosen is also willing to apply the term to an effort by the Committee on Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, or Camera, to convince corporate underwriters to withdraw support for WBUR, a Boston National Public Radio affiliate.

    Camera officials are much less willing to do so. “We’re informing people that [NPR] programming is anti-Israel,” said Alex Safian, associate director of Camera. “It’s not a boycott. We can’t force anyone to do anything.”

    Safian, however, called the Times protest a boycott and said the AJCongress’s travel suspension “is in a sense a boycott.”

    Ironically, both Safian and Rosen questioned Jewish groups’ reluctance to apply the “B” word to their efforts.

    “I don’t know why suddenly Jewish leaders are so afraid of the use of the word ‘boycott,'” Rosen said. “We’re all concerned because we fought the Arab boycott for years, but we shouldn’t be squeamish. We’ve come an awfully long way from some dark moments in our history that we can stand up and make our position clear.”

    Safian called Hadassah’s resolution against boycotts “a strange, illogical position.” “The idea that boycotts have been used against Israel and therefore people who are pro-Israel should not use boycotts, that’s like saying weapons are being used against Israel, so Israel should disarm.”

    But the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, praised Hadassah’s resolution and said his organization is opposed to boycotts as well. Foxman said that Camera, AJCongress and Ehrman are all engaging in boycotts that “will not serve the Jewish community.”

  • Sorry, I don’t buy it. CAMERA is an in-your-face outfit, as the article you quoted earlier repeats over and over. Their intention is to educate media outlets and get them to correct misinformation and be more careful in the future. If they wanted to boycott or cause divestment, they would make sure their adversaries knew it. Instead, Safian, one of their two key players, actually denies that they did anything in Boston while explicitly calling two other actions by two other organizations “boycotts.”

    Rosen is also willing to apply the term to an effort by the Committee on Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, or Camera, to convince corporate underwriters to withdraw support for WBUR, a Boston National Public Radio affiliate.

    Camera officials are much less willing to do so. “We’re informing people that [NPR] programming is anti-Israel,” said Alex Safian, associate director of Camera. “It’s not a boycott. We can’t force anyone to do anything.”

    Safian, however, called the Times protest a boycott and said the AJCongress’s travel suspension “is in a sense a boycott.”

    This is straightforward stuff. Even if the outcome is that some people feel strongly enough about CAMERA’s reporting that they seek to punish the news outlet, that does not indicate that CAMERA was involved in any way.

    So far you haven’t produced evidence. So let’s get back to the topic of this discussion. We were talking about “stifling” that occurs out there. We’ve gone through a number of accusations which you’ve made with confidence and in every single instance, I’ve disputed your claim. The ultimate proof is that Walt, Mearsheimer, Judt, Jimmy Carter and Freeman himself all speak regularly and openly about Israel and the “Israel Lobby” with no problem. They get invited to prominent speaking engagements, publish op-eds liberally, speak to tv networks and have been able to ensure that the phrase “Israel Lobby” is bandied about openly. NPR and the LA Times have published about the “Israel Lobby” openly and so have other news outlets.

    If that’s what the “Lobby” has achieved with all of its supposed attempts to stifle, perhaps they’re not so big and powerful. Or perhaps THEY DON’T EXIST.

  • What do you suppose Levin means when she says “other efforts?”

    “We’ve been trying to get a balanced presentation of this conflict over a long period of time, and the network has been unresponsive to our concerns, which has driven us into other efforts,”

    The Forward says it’s a boycott, the AJC says it’s a boycott, Foxman says it’s a boycott, Levin calls it “other efforts.” The first two to engage in these “other methods” by exraordinary coincidence are a CAMERA board member, and another member. your conclusion: there is no lobby. no one tried to organize boycotts of media outlets in 2002. the following article is all anti-Semitic slanders. it’s “the boycott libel”

    Jewish groups seek to influence US media coverage of Mideast conflict [Corrected 05/26/02]
    814 words
    26 May 2002
    Agence France-Presse
    (Copyright 2002)
    CORRECTION: ATTENTION – ADDS quotes, details

    WASHINGTON, May 26 (AFP) – An intense pressure campaign by several pro-Israel groups is seeking to influence US news coverage of the Middle East, with tactics including boycotts of several top media outlets and massive phone, e-mail and letter-writing campaigns.

    The ad hoc campaigns are directed at both large and small news operations, with a cascade of e-mails, letters and phone calls pouring in to editors and ombudsmen at newspapers, broadcast outlets and cable news channels across the United States.

    “No one has ever seen pressure like this before,” said Jeffrey Dvorkin, the ombudsman for Washington, DC-based National Public Radio (NPR), a US-wide radio network.

    “In the last three months I’ve received 14,000 e-mails and 9,000 of them deal with the Middle East,” he said. “E-mail traffic in the last month has overwhelmingly accused us of having a pro- Palestinian bias.”

    Such campaigns are said to be motivated by a concern that media coverage of the Middle East — especially articles and broadcasts deemed sympathetic to Palestinians — could weaken public support for Israel and influence what is generally seen as a historically pro-Israel US policy.

    The Boston-based public radio station WBUR, which relies on private donations, corporate sponsorship and some government funding for its operating budget, reports losing one million dollars so far in cancelled funding since the campaign began — seven percent of its annual financial support.

    Subscription boycotts also have been launched against the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune.

    About 1,000 subscribers to the Los Angeles Times newspaper suspended delivery for a day to protest its Middle East coverage, while a Chicago Tribune official said that since October, 47 readers had canceled subscriptions outright for the same reason.

    A boycott of the Washington Post is planned for mid-June, sponsored by a group charging that the newspaper “favorably reports the position of terrorists”.

    Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler, who like others with his title, is charged with assessing the fairness and accuracy of his newspaper’s coverage, refuted the charge of bias.

    “Is it possible that so many major American news organizations are getting this story wrong — that some sort of national media conspiracy is at work here?” he asked in a column appearing earlier this month in the newspaper.

    “That, of course, is not the case, and news organizations will persevere in reporting this story in an unflinching, unintimidated fashion that reports the news in the most accurate way possible for their entire readership,” he wrote.

    That viewpoint was echoed by other media executives.

    “It’s a little bit like ‘you’re with us or against us’,” said James Naughton, former executive editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer and now president of the Florida-based Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

    “What I found was that the more insightful and human the stories were, if they portrayed Arabs positively or Israelis negatively, then there was hell to pay,” Naughton said.

    But Michael Kotzin, executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, disagreed, insisting there was “a basis for legitimate criticism and finger-pointing”.

    “Justice and truth is on Israel’s side,” he said. “Newspapers and other media outlets don’t help when (they create) sympathies for those who would destroy Israel.”

    Andrea Levin, executive director of the Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), said her group’s efforts — targeted at NPR and at WBUR, her local public radio station — aim effect “balanced” Mideast coverage.

    “We’ve been trying to get a balanced presentation of this conflict over a long period of time, and the network has been unresponsive to our concerns, which has driven us into other efforts,” she said.

    Newsroom officials said pro-Palestinian groups now are beginning to expand their own lobbying and public-relations efforts.

    “People who are pro-Palestinian have gained a fair amount of sophistication in the communications efforts,” said Phil Bronstein, executive editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.

    “The Israelis have always been quite effective and the balance has shifted, and I suspect that has been worrisome to those who see their opponents being more effective.”

    While the lobbying efforts in pro-Israel circles is extensive, the Jewish community does not speak with one voice on the issue of Mideast coverage.

    One prominent detractor, Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the San Francisco-based Tikkun magazine, said the pressure campaigns are a form of “McCarthyism that is attempting to prevent the American media from telling any part of the story from the perspective of what is happening to Palestinians.”

    “In the long run this will produce more anti-Semitism and less security for Jews,” Lerner said. “This is counterproductive.”


  • I think she means letter writing campaigns.

    From their About page:

    How CAMERA works

    CAMERA systematically monitors, documents, reviews and archives Middle East coverage. Staffers directly contact reporters, editors, producers and publishers concerning distorted or inaccurate coverage, offering factual information to refute errors. CAMERA members are encouraged to write letters for publication in the print media and to communicate with correspondents, anchors and network officials in the electronic media. CAMERA’s combination of rigorous monitoring, research, fact-checking, careful analysis, and grassroots efforts have had a documented impact.

    Do you notice, by the way, that the same spokesman appears in this story about the Boston station as in the story you quoted above? Do you suppose the radio station called the press to get a story out there about how they were “victimized?”

  • This is total bullshit, x. Everybody in the US tries to influence public opinion and get their story out. This is America and that’s how things work. Do you think the news makes itself and that news organizations are actually “objective” and have no agenda? Everybody has an agenda. If they didn’t all the news from the ME would be “Today, a bunch of Jews and Arabs killed each other”.

    Only somebody who believe Jews don’t have the right to call foul when people print lies and slanders about Jews and Israel can believe that the “Jewish Lobby” is more sinister or nefarious than any other lobby (the Saudi oil lobby for example) or that Jews don’t have just as much right as anyone to form associations to pressure people to printing the truth instead of lies. If some people think that’s bullying or intimidation or censorship, fuck ’em.

    I certainly hope that people are boycotting public television and NPR. Nobody lies more about Israel than National Palestine Radio. I used to be a member like any good Leftie, but I stopped a long time ago. I’ll watch “Rick Steve’s Europe” or whatever, but somebody else can pay for it.

  • No, I don’t agree entirely, Ephraim. The problem is that you can’t just hound people until they do what you want. First of all, they won’t do it, and second, you’re on your way to making an enemy who will target you every chance they get.

    The far right will complain about the middle of the road report about Israel and the far Left will complain about anything to the right of the middle left. It diminishes from the debate and it stifles speech. As Jews, we should be well aware how important the concept of free speech is.

    As long as they’re writing letters, it’s fine. If they cross the line into threats and intimidation, that is not fine. If people are influenced by their information to stop giving money to a news organization that has been shown to be biased, that is perfectly kosher. There is no rule that people have to give money away or to give it to organizations whose work appears to oppose their beliefs and values. So this is also perfectly legitimate.

    Stifling speech, however, is a no no. My point to Xisnotx is not only that CAMERA isn’t stifling speech, but the few examples he can provide of supposed stifling (Mearsheimer at Chicago Council, Judt in New York) are so few and these people have so many avenues to publicize their views, that the accusation of stifling speech is not only false, but appears to be nothing more than a weapon to disenfranchise (and stifle) supporters of Israel who dare to speak up on its behalf.

  • I agree, physical threats are a non-no. When x can produce a recording of somebody from CAMERA saying “We know where your kids go to school”, tell him call me.

    Hocking someone’s chaynik until they say “all right, you win, we’ll retract our lies” is just good, old-fashioned persistence.

    Let us assume, just for the sake of argument, that CAMERA did “threaten” the Polish embassy. Of what did this “threat” consist? That if Poland let Judt speak that the Jews weren’t going to invite Poland over for cholent on Shabbes anymore or something? And let us also assume that Poland then said “You know, we like the Jews more than this guy, and they have such nice schnapps to go with the cholent. Let’s not make our friends mad.” This is just normal human interaction. If I want my wife to be nice to me, I will be nice to her. This happens every single moment of every single day to every single person. This isn’t “censorship” by any definition that I know of.

    And if we’re so fucking powerful, how come this “censorship” never seems to work? The very fact that we cannot get shitbags like Judt and Assheimer to shut up is proof that there is no censorship. The accusation is utter rubbish.

    Bitching about “censorship” nothing more than anti-Semites complaining about pushy Jews. You can argue that this sort of behavior is counter-productive. You know, the “let’s not make the goyim mad. That way they’ll like us” argument. (Gee, that sounds familiar. Where have I heard that before?)

    And we have to keep in mind that we are right and they are wrong. Israel is a nation under attack by genocidal lunatics bent on its destruction. The instant we agree that the “other side” might have a a case and that this is a fight between two rights instead of Good vs. Evil, which is what it actually is, we have lost.

  • “I think she means letter writing campaigns.”

    She said that in 2002; CAMERA’s probably been doing letter-writing campaigns to NPR for years.I can’t tell, since they don’t seem to list them at their website. I think you have to join to get their alerts.

    look again at this:

    Alex Safian, associate director of Camera. “It’s not a boycott. We can’t force anyone to do anything.”

    He knows people are boycotting the station, including a CAMERA board member & a member, but he has no criticism for them. Wink wink, nudge nudge…

  • As Ephraim points out, there is nothing wrong with people boycotting the station. As I pointed out, the benefactors who decided on their own to withhold donations included two members of CAMERA. That doesn’t mean that CAMERA is encouraging boycotts and it doesn’t mean that CAMERA is driving boycotts. It also doesn’t mean they’re “stifling” anybody.

    What it does mean is that they are putting pressure by making their accusations public. They are also informing their members who are driven to place pressure on the offending publications.

    One can argue about whether this is productive or counter-productive. One can’t argue that they are “stifling” anything because you have to have leverage and power to stifle. It appears WUBR, the only example you’ve provided so far, has fought back with a media campaign of their own. Are they trying to stifle CAMERA’s natural right to protest?

  • “As Ephraim points out, there is nothing wrong with people boycotting the station”

    take it up w/Foxman:

    But the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, praised Hadassah’s resolution and said his organization is opposed to boycotts as well. Foxman said that Camera, AJCongress and Ehrman are all engaging in boycotts that “will not serve the Jewish community.”

  • By the way, you still haven’t explained how there is no mention of their supposed boycotts on their site at all. Below are links to a search on CAMERA’s excellent blog and searches for “WBUR,” “WBUR boycott,” and “boycott” on their main site. No mention of any boycotts they have led that I can find and you’ve had two days to find them.

    When you’re done finding nothing, you’re welcome to stop distracting and concede the main points of the debate here. Nobody is getting stifled and nobody is getting boycotted by CAMERA or by anybody else when you get right down to it. In fact, there are very few cases of censorship or boycotting that you can find anyplace which is why you keep trying to stick to the WBUR story which was apparently driven by their PR person.

    This post, to remind you, was about claims of being stifled by the “Israel Lobby.” Claims are made by Freeman, which are proven false as can be seen in my latest post about him; claims made by Mearsheimer, who is not only not stifled but is given prominent speaking engagements all over the place; by Judt, whose story is negated by the very people who canceled his talk and whose successful speaking and op-ed career is roaring; etc. Jimmy Carter, far from being stifled, got a national speaking tour. Roger Cohen in the NY Times can say what he likes about Israel without any stifling, Michelle Goldberg can write articles critical of Israel’s WB policies and still get gigs writing, the LA Times can write an editorial saying in code that Jews should stop working against America’s interests through their supposed “Lobby” and they don’t even get criticized much less stifled.

    The fact is, and you should make an effort to address this point, Xisnotx, that the supposed victims of the Jooooos are not only not victims, but they actually appear to benefit from the accusations against the Jews of being their victims. It’s a sad and cynical play. The shame lies with people who support these lies and sites like Muzzlewatch.

  • I focused specifically on CAMERA because you challenged me on it when I brought it up. The Forward, Rosen of the AJC & Foxman all agree with me that CAMERA boycotted WBUR. CAMERA prefers a public posture of not being seen as behind a boycott, which is why it can’t be found on its website. As the Forward pointed out, CAMERA is not the only org behind a boycott that prefers to deny it. Your main argument is CAMERA had nothing to do with the boycott, because they deny it.

    “I thought Foxman caused the Poles to boycott Judt?”

    there’s an example of “point scoring” instead of engaging in “genuine discussion.” You chose not to address Foxman’s remarks on boycotting. An unfortunate choice, as Foxman notes these boycotts “do not serve the Jewish community.”

    As for what happened with Judt, you don’t think the Polish embassy might feel a bit nervous about hosting the talk after a friendly call from uncle abe? WaPo, Oct.9, 2006:
    ” Two major American Jewish organizations helped block a prominent New York University historian from speaking at the Polish consulate here last week, saying the academic was too critical of Israel and American Jewry.”

    “An hour before Judt was to arrive, the Polish Consul General Krzysztof Kasprzyk canceled the talk. He said the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee had called and he quickly concluded Judt was too controversial.

    “‘The phone calls were very elegant but may be interpreted as exercising a delicate pressure,’ Kasprzyk said. ‘That’s obvious — we are adults and our IQs are high enough to understand that.'” [I like that — “delicate” pressure. WaPo says 2 orgs “helped block” Judt’s appearance. let’s look again at how you put it: “Third, the ADL did NOT do anything to stop Judt from speaking at the Polish consulate, as has been reported by the consulate itself. They received a phone call in which the ADL described some of Judt’s views. That was the extent of the call. The Poles decided for themselves they didn’t want Judt there. And that again proves the point.” yep, tm; your argument is unassailable.]

    But this is reminding me of when we argue about the legality of settlements. we’ve thrown pretty much all the pro/con arguments about settlements at each other without making a dent in the way each other sees it. So i’m not sure there’s a point in going into the other examples you’ve raised, or bringing up other examples of “stifling.”

    Since Carter & W-M, I think there’s been a great improvement in the level of access of critical views on Israeli policy. The Forward’s Nathan Guttman notes that in his article today in Haaretz on Freedman:

    The eruption of public debate over the role of pro-Israel activists in shaping American policy toward the Middle East comes nearly three years after two leading scholars, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, published their article about the Israel lobby, which later turned into a book, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.”

    One of the authors’ key arguments was that there was a lack of open public debate in the United States over foreign policy issues relating to Israel, because the lobby and its supporters seek to stifle open discussion of the issue.

    Thanks in part to the Internet, the Freeman affair made clear that in one respect, this argument is no longer valid. [unlike you, Guttman says whether the lobby seeks to “stifle open discussion” was a “valid” argument till now.] Walt was among those leading the debate through his daily blog, hosted by the prestigious Web site He has been joined and supported by bloggers and columnists who are well within the mainstream.

    Still, the mainstream press was slow to pick up on the issue. And the outcome of the episode indicates that strong critics of Israel may be cut off from government positions of real influence. Several incidents in recent years also suggest that untenured faculty at some colleges may want to consider their career prospects before speaking out too boldly. [you can take that one up w/Guttman too]

    Some other interesting bits from that article:

    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel Washington lobby, issued a statement asserting that it had not lobbied against Freeman. And most large Jewish groups avoided the issue publicly. Still, it is now clear that pro-Israel activists were involved behind the scenes in conveying their displeasure with the choice of Freeman as National Intelligence Council chairman.

    “We made our representation to members of Congress and to people in the administration,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “Sometimes we talk publicly and sometimes privately.”


    For some of Freeman?s critics, the bottom line is what counts. “This shows the pro-Israel lobby is alive and well, and bipartisan,” declared Jonathan Tobin, executive editor of the neoconservative journal Commentary, at a public forum just five days after Freeman’s March 10 withdrawal. [take it up w/Tobin, not me]

    Indeed, with Freeman departing under pressure, pro-Israel activists succeeded in drawing a line in the sand and sending a strong signal to the Obama administration about what is acceptable in Middle East policy. President Obama himself made no effort to defend Freeman. He stressed, as the controversy escalated, that it was his director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, who made the appointment with no White House input.

    But critics, interestingly, are celebrating the bright light the Freeman issue shone on their own questioning of American policy toward Israel and on their claims that the pro-Israel lobby routinely uses its clout to ensure that dissenters gain no foothold. They say their attempt to discuss the Israel lobby issue won a legitimacy it never had before.

    “Freeman became sort of a martyr,” argued Ian Lustick, political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “The lobby might have won, but they paid a price.”

  • So the phone calls were elegant. That’s what the consul says. Then he adds that because of their high IQs, the Poles decided to cancel the talk having read into the elegant phone calls something that they, with their high IQs were certain was there.

    So there was no threat and no implied threat, only people who believed the powerful Jews would screw them if they let Judt talk. That reminds me of certain governments, like Russia’s and Turkey’s for example, believing that if they sidle up to Jews then somehow the US government will be influenced in their favor.

    You get it yet, Xisnotx? This was these Poles believing stereotypes and acting on those predisposed beliefs even if nothing about terminating the talk was said to them. Then, when challenged, they place the blame on the “elegant phone call.” Of course it was elegant, and it also didn’t demand or hint at stifling Judt. The ADL published a letter denying any such request or suggestion.

    As for “point scoring,” I have additional bad news in that I hadn’t read any manual about Israeli hasbara until you pointed one out a couple of days ago (by the way, that manual’s introduction speaks openly about there being multiple points of view about Israel and having to be open to them).

    You’ll agree, I believe, that I give you plenty of debate. I’ve given you plenty of reasoned and real debate here. You claimed that Foxman’s ADL caused the stifling of a Judt talk and then later you brought up Foxman’s opposition to boycotts. Did you really want me to point out the contradiction? Instead, I made a joke. Since you want to press the point, please explain how you reconcile his opposition to boycotts and what you accuse him or the ADL under his leadership of doing to Judt?

    I suggest to you that much of the criticism against the so-called “Israel Lobby” is based on similar misconceptions to what the Poles believed, and received by many as truth because they share those misconceptions.

    That there may be Jewish groups that speak out is certain but to suggest that they direct foreign policy or dictate so much of what happens in DC or in the media is false. Those who are lobbying don’t want to hear me say that because they rely on this super-image that has been built up for them to have some sort of impact, but I would suggest to you that other lobbies that never get publicity such as the Saudis and defense industry companies, are more influential when it comes to much of our foreign policy.

    When Walt & Mearsheimer neglect to discuss these other lobbies and their powers, they do an injustice to the truth and certainly to all the Jews in this country who have been put in the “Israel Lobby” box (you only don’t belong if you express open opposition to Israel or American positions regarding Israel).

    As Steve Rosen says in the article by Guttman,

    “I was taught that AIPAC cannot do anything against the will of its friends in Congress,” Rosen said, referring to his 23-year experience with the organization.

    Keerect. Because Congress is more powerful by far, its members are successful self-driven and confident individuals (many with a background in law) and all any group can do is present their case and hope the politicians agree. If Steve Rosen says this, you think he might know better than the two of us of what he speaks?

    Anti-Israel folks have no problem getting their message out, in DC, in NY, in LA, at the UN, on CNN, in the NY Times, the LA TImes, or anywhere for that matter. And it’s not as if people don’t read these articles or see these interviews. “Freeman became sort of a martyr,” argued Ian Lustick.” Yes indeed, he is a victim of the Jews, just like Mearsheimer and Walt, etc. I address that in my the final two paragraphs of my previous comment. If I wanted publicity, I’d write a book permitting me to show that I was a victim of the so-called “Israel Lobby.” Book tour, tv, newspaper interviews and the lot…Because the Jews are so powerful that they can just stop everything. It’s a bad joke already.

    Chas Freeman deserved to be booted because he has said some fairly stupid things in his time, showing support for questionable regimes and their deeds. He appears not to have the temperament or the neutrality necessary for the job to which he was nominated. If there was any question about that, I believe he provided evidence with his ill-mannered and brutish assertion about the “Israel Lobby.”

    There are some groups out there, Jewish groups, that have agendas and pursue those agendas vigorously. They are no different than many other groups with agendas who pursue those agendas vigorously. The implication made by Carter, W & M, etc., that these Jewish groups are actually the head of a large ogre called the Jewish community (but labeled the “Israel Lobby” just as these days the attacks are on “Zionists” not upon “Jews”) is false and, frankly, a heinous caricature that relies on historically negative views of the Jews.

  • lemme state for the record, i don’t agree with M&W on a lot of things. I’m sure you’re aware, there are leftists and Arab thinkers who are quite critical of M&W — Chomsky, Joseph Massad, the Angry Arab, etc., in terms of the extent of the lobby’s effect on policy. On the stifling issue, I’m more inclined to see that M&W have a point.

    “You claimed that Foxman’s ADL caused the stifling of a Judt talk and then later you brought up Foxman’s opposition to boycotts. Did you really want me to point out the contradiction? Instead, I made a joke. Since you want to press the point, please explain how you reconcile his opposition to boycotts and what you accuse him or the ADL under his leadership of doing to Judt?”

    Foxman was denouncing media boycotts. Apparently he thinks pressuring the Polish embassy to drop a speaker is acceptable, but not media boycotts. Is there an irony? Both are attempts to limit discourse, true; it may be that Foxman sees media boycotts as going too far.

    “The ADL published a letter denying any such request or suggestion.” Here you’re willing to take what Foxman says at face value. When it comes to him denouncing media boycotts, you deflect and ignore it. Do you see a contradiction?

    “I suggest to you that much of the criticism against the so-called ‘Israel Lobby’ is based on similar misconceptions to what the Poles believed, and received by many as truth because they share those misconceptions.”

    Suggest it to WaPo:”Two major American Jewish organizations helped block a prominent New York University historian from speaking at the Polish consulate here last week…”

  • But WaPo is mentioned by Mearsheimer as one of the publications that has it in for him because it defends the so-called “Lobby.” So who do I believe?

    Oh wait, I’m actually not confused at all. Reporters can get it wrong and often do. Newspapers can get it wrong and often do. In this post I criticize the LA Times editorial page for getting it wrong. Why should I accept what the WaPo says in this instance? How do I know the story wasn’t written after the story was influenced by one of their sources? Judt went all over the place talking this story up and maybe he found sympathetic reporters here.

    Nobody blocked Judt other than the Poles who took an informative, low-key phone call to mean something very different. Once again, I repeat, prior to and after that evening, Judt never had a problem being published or getting speaking engagements. In fact, this incident increased his notoriety. So why this time? Why would the “Lobby” get him this one time? It’s a bad joke, Xisnotx.

    The ADL may seek to project its ideas in a more subdued fashion, is that what you’re saying? Because I believe they have a pretty active media department. I actually think that Foxman is going by conventional wisdom about what certain groups are doing, and may not know directly. That’s why I accept what he says as being genuine and wrong (about the organizations he criticized), and that’s why I believe the ADL didn’t seek to stifle Judt. That’s why I believe the ADL letter, since it would have been better as far as fundraising goes to claim that Judt was “stifled” by them and to explain why. When they have “victories” they let their people know.

    You know what else we learn from this incident? They don’t work together. Each group has its own agenda, fundraising and elbows. And they often use those elbows against each other. In other words…they’re not a “Lobby,” just different groups with different missions and different concepts and different ideas about how to pursue their goals.

  • Seriously, x: so you think calling somebody and telling them “this guy is bad news and here’s why” is a “threat” now?

    And people “boycott” things all the time.

    I don’t eat at MacDonald’s and I don’t read “Time” or “Newsweek”. Does that mean I’m “boycotting” them?

    If you had your way, the Jews would never say anything about anybody.

    I’m glad somebody thinks we’re worth listening to.

    I can’t believe that you seem to think Jews shouldn’t stick up for themselves.

  • “You know what else we learn from this incident? They don’t work together. ”

    Lessee — Abe Foxman and David Harris both call the Polish embassy 1 hour before Judt’s speech. Great minds think alike? a happy coincidence?

    Maybe the Poles would have been less likely to misinterpret messers Harris & Foxman’s elegant calls if they been given a little more time to think it over. They might have felt less pressure, less likely to misinterpret the friendly fyi’s as threatening. OTOH, if Harris & Foxman wanted the Poles to feel more pressure, giving them less time to mull it over seems like a good tactic.

    at any rate, neither were disappointed with, or shocked by the results:

    “I think they made the right decision,” said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

    David A. Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Congress, took a similar view. “I never asked for a particular action; I was calling as a friend of Poland,” Harris said. “The message of that evening was going to be entirely contrary to the entire spirit of Polish foreign policy.”

    And just what was the “message of that evening?”

    ” Judt’s subject was the Israel lobby in the United States, and he planned to argue that this lobby has often stifled honest debate.”

    hmm… where doth he get such crazy ideas? I ask you.

  • On Tuesday, Oct. 3, Mr. Judt was scheduled to speak about the Israel Lobby to Network 20/20, a leadership organization for mid-career professionals, in space at the Polish Consulate. Network 20/20’s president, Patricia Huntington, called Mr. Judt around 5 p.m. and canceled. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Judt wrote in an e-mail to almost 100 “friends”—a list that includes David Remnick, Charlie Rose, Rashid Khalidi, Fareed Zakaria and Mr. Judt’s agents, Andrew Wylie and Sarah Chalfant— that, according to Ms. Huntington, “serial phone-calls from ADL president Abe Foxman warned [the Polish Consulate] off hosting anything involving Tony Judt.” The next day, Oct. 4, The New York Sun’s Ira Stoll reported that the Polish Consulate took responsibility for the decision to cancel the event. Ms. Huntington again said it was the A.D.L. that had scared the Poles off from Mr. Judt’s speech.

    Mr. Foxman admitted to contacting the consulate but denied pressuring them. “We received a couple calls and e-mails informing us that people heard that [Mr. Judt’s] speaking at the Polish Consulate and inquiring whether it was true,” Mr. Foxman told The Observer on Oct. 9, calling from a “quiet corner” in Rome. “One of our staff people called; they said they were just making the facilities available. We said, ‘O.K., thank you.’ As far as we were concerned, the issue was closed.” Mr. Foxman said he was pleasantly surprised the event had been abandoned. He also denied being the source of the story in The New York Sun. David Harris of the A.J.C did personally call the Polish Consulate. But he too was “shocked,” but pleased at the speedy results. “I told the Consul General that I had just learned about a meeting that evening—and I wanted to be sure that he was aware of it,” said Mr. Harris. “He already was [aware] when I called. I wanted to alert him because we’ve worked with Poland for a long time, and Poland has worked since 1989 to build a strong relationship with Israel after decades of poor relations under the Communist regime—and because I knew that Tony Judt was not a universally popular figure in the Jewish community. We had a nice conversation.” He denied asking the Polish Consulate to take any action.

    Then, late on Oct. 10, the Polish Consulate sent out a press release: “The unprecedented wave of press coverage of this incident is the result of misinformation released by Ms. Patricia Huntington …. Under no circumstance was the Consulate forced to do anything.” The release said that after the consulate canceled the event, Ms. Huntington phoned. “Since the [Consul-General] was engaged in a conversation with ADL at that very moment, he was unable to join, and Network 20/20 was so advised. This was the only bit of information on the contact between the Consulate and any Jewish organization or any individual that was passed on to Network 20/20.” It concluded by saying that on Oct. 4, “Ms. Huntington sent an apology letter to the Consul General.”

  • Okay Xisnotx, you’ve had two days.

    In that time, you’ve had a chance to describe the nefarious activities of the so-called “Israel Lobby.”

    So what did you come up with?

    You claimed that Jewish groups have caused one Boston radio station to lose funding, caused one NY professor to miss a speaking engagement, caused one prospective head of security apparatus for the US to resign instead of moving forward with his candidacy.

    Let’s put aside the fact I disagree with all of these comments and pretend you’re right.

    I have to tell you that it appears to me that if there is some sort of “Lobby” it is wasting resources if this is all that it has accomplished. It should be fired.

  • E writes:

    “And if we’re so fucking powerful, how come this “censorship” never seems to work? The very fact that we cannot get shitbags like Judt and Assheimer to shut up is proof that there is no censorship. The accusation is utter rubbish.”

    Yeah, I bring this up all the time as well. I can’t open the NYT without reading some sort of anti-Israel report. The paper refuses to call Hamas terrorists for crying out loud. And this paper is supposedly part of “the lobby” according to M&W, Judt, Chomsky and the rest of the hate Israel left. These people need to spend some time in a country that actually censors people and their writing.

    TM, re: Muzzlewatch, they are ostensibly “dedicated to creating an open atmosphere for debate about U.S.-Israeli foreign policy,” but, as you point out, the website shut down their comments page when folks showed up to, well…actually debate the issues! Faced with an informed and intelligent opposition they closed their website to dissenting perspectives. So much for open debate.

  • They didn’t just shut down the comments, they complained that the people who came aboard to debate were uncivil. After all, they were debating the very pleasant K. Silverstein. 🙄

    But it is hilarious that they call themselves Muzzlewatch and they’ve closed all comments. They should rename themselves Muzzle.

  • You should look into other blogging platforms, wordpress is getting slower and slower these days, I really like the site tho so its worth the wait!!