NYU academic rock star Tony Judt could have kept quiet when the Polish Consulate decided to cancel his talk on US foreign policy and the Israel Lobby. Instead, Judt wrote to his email list which included numerous academic and publishing machers, and the story ended up splashed all over the papers.
Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League denied it was his last minute call that prompted the sudden cancellation, but The Washington Post reports that the Consul General begged to differ:
“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.”
Over 100 of Judt’s colleagues, including strong supporters of Israel like The New Republic’s Leon Wieseltier, side with the Consul. In this open letter to Foxman in the NY Review of Books, they write:
Though we, the undersigned, have many disagreements about political matters, foreign and domestic, we are united in believing that a climate of intimidation is inconsistent with fundamental principles of debate in a democracy. The Polish Consulate is not obliged to promote free speech. But the rules of the game in America oblige citizens to encourage rather than stifle public debate. We who have signed this letter are dismayed that the ADL did not choose to play a more constructive role in promoting liberty.
Showing that there is no limit to the ability of political gunslingers to trivialize the serious charge of anti-Semitism, MoveOn.org has suddenly become public enemy #1 starting here with this oped in the Washington Times.
Hmmm, silly us, it must be a total coincidence that the campaign started right before the elections. What is even odder is the fact that they are being attacked for anti-Semitic forum comments Moveon.org staff and members didn’t make and which they took down immediately. At least it’s good to know that the conservative commentariat suddenly cares deeply about the Jewish people.
MoveOn’s Noah Winer sets the record straight in this Jewschool interview on the source of the comments posted on a MoveOn forum.
We discovered and removed the posts before the scandal broke. Almost all the comments were posted and rated highly by non-MoveOn members who joined the forum with multiple accounts to create trouble.
In other words, most of the comments aren’t the real views of anyone, just an effort to smear MoveOn and its members for political gain.
And frankly, even if they were posted by bonafide MoveOn supporters, has anyone read comments on Haaretz lately? Of course, one wonders why Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League wrote a public letter to MoveOn after the comments had already been removed. To his credit, he backed off.
Fortunately, MoveOn has a lot of friends. Jewish Funds for Justice posted this petition, and former representative
Who set up Moveone.org? Bill “there is only a military solution” Levenson of super scary IsraPundit says in this Jewschool post.
I, William Levinson, am one of the people who exposed MoveOn.org’s welcoming of racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Catholic hate speech at its Action Forum until the widening scandal forced MoveOn to shut the forum down in late September. It is my intention to spread the word as widely as possible, demolish the credibility of this organization, and send it to the ash heap of history where it belongs (to join the Million Mom March, which I was largely responsible for putting down in 2000).
We found his comments funny, if not downright megalomaniacal, pathological and creepy, especially when we remembered how easy it is to find racist hate speech on Israpundit. Oh yeah, but it’s not just the comments, it’s Bill himself!
Here is a string of responses to Bill’s post about the “true voice of militant “Islam” and its supporters: grunting apelike screeches such as might be emitted by enraged baboons or chimpanzees…”
Welcome to MuzzleWatch, the new blog dedicated to tracking efforts to muzzle critics of US-Israeli foreign policy. We, the folks at Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), decided to start this blog because we’ve simply had enough.
We found ourselves getting disinvited from too many speaking engagements. We saw too many groups we like get called anti-Semitic. We encountered too many people who capitulated to pressure to simply shut up.
MuzzleWatch is dedicated to creating an open atmosphere for debate about US-Israeli foreign policy by:
- shining a light on incidents that involve pressure, intimidation, and outright censorship of critics of US-Israeli policy
- showing that there is an environment of intimidation that keeps far too many people from speaking honestly and openly
- demanding accountability from groups that use silencing tactics
It is simply absurd that these issues can be debated much more openly in Israel than in the United States. Continue reading