Monthly Archives: April 2007

The Undermining of Peace: Pelosi ambushed by Cheney

House Democratic leader Pelosi lead a bi-partisan delegation to the Middle East. Acting as a diplomatic messenger, she delivered, against Bush-Cheney desires, opening peace negotiation feelers from Olmert. This delegation included Tom Lantos who is about as strong an “Israel right or wrong” supporter as exists in the US congress, he even thinks its about time that talks with Syria, in line with the Baker-Hamilton study group recommendations on Iraq, should be attempted Of course, this was greeted with immediate suspicion in the NY Sun, which also reported that Olmert has denied any such Pelosi delivered message.

Now, the plot thickens, there is the strong possibility/speculation that Dick Cheney, in an effort to embarrass Pelosi, put the thumb screws to Olmert to retract/deny that he had given Pelosi any specific message beyond the typical contentless pabulum. This wouldn’t be the first time Cheney has pulled the rug out from diplomatic efforts he didn’t like – last year, hours after Secretary Rice secured a 48 hour cease fire from Israel, bombing started up again because Cheney had told Olmert to ignore the cease fire.

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Sam Zell: When Jews control the media

To be completely frank, I’m not sure what to make of this article in the (fair, venerable) Jewish Daily Forward. Billionaire Boychiks Battle for Media Empire is about Jewish billionaires vying to buy “one of America’s most powerful media companies, Tribune Company, which owns 23 televisions stations, a baseball team and many major newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.” (Chicago real estate entrepreneur Sam Zell likely has the deal. Liberal Jewish media mogul David Geffen is apparently in talks to buy the LA Times from Zell.)

It seems that both the Trib and the LA Times have a history of contentious relationships with local Jewish leaders, in part because of their histories of WASPish, button-down culture, and in part because of their coverage of Israel. (In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find a major American paper that has not been accused of being anti-Israel, or anti-Palestinian for that matter.)

But there is some real excitement about the possibility of a new Jewish LA Times owner as Bill Boyarsky writes in the Jewish Journal:

However it turns out, we’ll probably have a Jew in charge of the Times, which was once one of old Los Angeles’ most famous WASP institutions. What a great day for old L.A. Jews with long memories of country clubs and downtown clubs that banned them; restrictive covenants that kept them out of certain fancy neighborhoods; anti-Semitic fraternities and sororities at USC and UCLA and law firms that never seemed able to find a place for a smart Jewish attorney. They also may have memories of the old Times, which, while not anti-Semitic, was a perfect reflection of the conservative Republican WASP culture of Los Angeles’ upper classes.

Sam Zell, a major donor to Republican causes, has said he will stick to the business side and not get involved in editorial coverage. (I’m inclined to believe him and leave it at that, unless proven otherwise.) Nonetheless, the main thrust of Nathaniel Popper’s article in the Forward is about whether or not Zell, who Boyarsky says is “more Likud than Labor”, will change Israel coverage:

Still, Zell has made it clear that he does have an interest in the things his new media properties cover. In the interview last week, he said that his favorite newspaper columnists are Charles Krauthammer, Thomas Friedman and David Brooks, all of whom are Jewish and two of whom write frequently and sympathetically about Israel.

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Roundup: more on Finkelstein, Carter video

[Editor's note: There are times when I will link to stories that I believe are of interest to readers, but I may have neither the time nor the inclination to either look into or judge the merits of the case. These stories often appear, but not always, as quick links in the Roundup section. In these cases, it is my assumption that readers are smart enough to make up their own minds-you can use the comments section to bring in additional information and debate the issues.

But when it comes to debating Muzzlewatch or Jewish Voice for Peace opinions, a good rule to follow is if you haven't seen us state an opinion, don't assume you know what it is. After several months of watching folks do just that, sometimes projecting onto Muzzlewatch and Jewish Voice for Peace things we've never said, or positions that actually violate our policies, I felt it worth pointing out. ]

Peter Kerstein has this exclusive, the full unedited report by Finkelstein’s colleagues in which they examine Dershowitz’s 50 something page dossier of charges. Makes for interesting reading.

On YouTube, you can catch Norman Finkelstein give a talk at Harvard (Is Jimmy Carter an anti-Semite?) “which he was supposed to give at Brandeis University.”  (This video is in 5 parts)

You can also see Carter give his famous talk at Brandeis, otherwise known as the talk that lost Brandeis at least $5 million in donations, according to Jewish Week.

Cartoonist Tony Auth gets a chance to show he’s not an anti-Semite, gets welcome reception from Philadelphia section of the National Council of Jewish Women.

Richard Silverstein of Tikun Olam is on the front page of today’s New York Times because of the impersonator blog set up to mock him after he got Masada2000 taken down.

Simply Appalling is amazed at conservative columnist Robert Novak’s new take on apartheid after a visit with the Palestinians.

This one is not directly about muzzling- but Harvard’s Sara Roy has written an absolutely stunning essay about Jews, Judaism and the Lebanon war that left me speechless. If you want to understand what the “Jewish Divide” is really about, read her piece. Hers is a deeply moral voice.

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Roundup, tips from readers

New petition on behalf of Norman Finkelstein
We Support A Fair Tenure Process for Dr. Norman Finkelstein. Find it here.

Chomsky: Muzzling attempt fails in Massachusetts
The Jewish Week reports: “Despite mounting pressure, Newton South High School has decided to allow controversial figure Noam Chomsky to address students about his perspective on Iraq.”

Alan Ronkin, deputy director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, said:

“I haven’t read [Chomsky’s] views about Iraq, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he thought that the solution [to it] was the dissolution of the Jewish state or the end of occupation,” Ronkin said. “A person like Chomsky believes that Israel is the root of all evil in the Middle East.”

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation accused of cultural “insolence”
Australia’s PBS is under fire for giving a platform to critics of Israeli policies, Antony Loewenstein and Lenni Brenner.

THE ABC is facing a major Jewish community backlash on two fronts after featuring outspoken Israel critic Antony Loewenstein in a program on Islam that screened on first-night Pesach (Monday).

With the national broadcaster already under fire from the community’s antisemitism watchdog over a segment on its Religion Report radio show last month, Jewish MP Michael Danby said the decision to include Loewenstein on a television panel this week was “culturally insensitive” and offensive to most Australian Jews.

While the majority of Australia’s 100,000-plus Jews were attending seders on Monday night, Loewenstein, author of a controversial book on Israel and the co-founder of the Independent Australian Jewish Voices group, was the sole Jew on a four-person multi-faith panel on the ABC TV’s Difference of Opinion.

Planning Commission member resigns over blog comments about Israel
A member of a county-wide planning commission in Georgia resignedafter making controversial comments about Israel.”

Mary Catarineau wrote on a Web site two weeks ago that Israel “was artificially created to provide a place for Jews to avoid persecution after the Holocaust.” She also wrote about dismantling Israel as a way to achieve peace in the Middle East.

“My views are obviously controversial to some,” she said Wednesday.

She made her comments on her Web site — www.mydiarywithgod.com.

Her online apology states:

I said many harsh things about the Jews, yet I said many harsh things about the Muslims, too, which was ignored. For people focus on only what they wish to see.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution goes on:

Harry Johnston, the Cherokee County commissioner who appointed Catarineau, said that when making appointments to boards and committees, he does not take into account someone’s views “on religion, international politics, or anything else that’s not the subject of that particular board.”

“Still,” he said Wednesday, “growth and development in Cherokee County is a highly controversial subject. It’s probably wise not to pile on more controversy if it can reasonably be avoided.”

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment version for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile disfunction and similar states when erection is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile dysfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such drug experience erectile dysfunction. Such disease is best solved with professional help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common objectionable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this preparation is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

Dershowitz v. Finkelstein:Harvard Law Professor Works to Disrupt Tenure Bid of Longtime Nemesis at DePaul U.

That’s the headline from the April 5 Chronicle of Higher Education.

“His scholarship is no more than ad hominem attacks on his ideological enemies.” No, that’s not a statement about Alan Dershowitz (whose multi-part ad hominem attack on his ideological enemy Jimmy Carter is nicely dissected by Mitchell Plitnick here). That’s Dershowitz on Finkelstein, explaining why he sent a “dossier of Norman Finkelstein’s most egregious academic sins, and especially his outright lies, misquotations, and distortions” to “everybody who would read it ” at DePaul University. (Dershowitz says he compiled the file at the request of some 24 people associated with DePaul.)
We wrote earlier about The Holocaust Industry author Norman Finkelstein’s battle for tenure at DePaul. It should not come as a surprise that Dershowitz is back: several years ago the famed First Amendement advocate waged a scorched earth campaign, prior to publication, against Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah:On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, which contained several hundred pages chronicling, to put it more charitably than Finkelstein did, errors in Dershowitz’s book, The Case for Israel.

In this must-read article in the Nation in 2005:

What do you do when somebody wants to publish a book that says you’re completely wrong? If you’re Alan Dershowitz, the prominent Harvard law professor, and the book is Norman Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, you write the governor of California and suggest that he intervene with the publisher–because the publisher is the University of California Press, which conceivably might be subject to the power of the governor.

Payback looks an awful lot like this (from the Chronicle):

The highly public feud between Norman G. Finkelstein of DePaul University and Harvard Law School’s Alan M. Dershowitz has taken an unusual procedural twist, with Mr. Dershowitz attempting to weigh in on Mr. Finkelstein’s bid for tenure at DePaul.

How Mr. Dershowitz’s move will play out remains to be seen. Mr. Finkelstein’s department supported his tenure bid, but the dean of his college has refused to support him. A final decision is expected next month.

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Internationally Renowned Historian Tony Judt Barred From Lecturing: a case study

(Note: Although this happened in the Fall, its important to revisit this incident)

How is this for dark irony (or prescience)? A famous professor has his lecture on “How the Israel lobby in the US stifles honest debate” canceled one hour before he was to speak by what he claims, and easily defends, is the self-same lobby.

Tony Judt, is a New York University historian of European history with serious academic street cred – most recently he has authored the monumental “Post War” a thorough and deep discussion of European history since WWII.

He is Jewish and the Holocaust took much of his family. Professor Judt has also in the past half decade or so increasingly weighed-in on the Israel-Palestine conflict, most often in the pages of the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books and Haaretz.

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Ilan Pappe leaves Israel for England, cites harassment

I was boycotted in my university and there had been attempts to expel me from my job. I am getting threatening calls from people every day. I am not being viewed as a threat to the Israeli society but my people think that I am either insane or my views are irrelevant. Many Israelis also believe that I am working as a mercenary for the Arabs.”

Although a controversial figure in Israel, (he has called for an academic boycott of Israel), Ilan Pappe is a well regarded historian who was snapped up by  University Exeter in England.
This is a situation similar to that of Tanya Reinhart who, just before her death, had recently moved to the US because she was ousted from her chair as professor of linguistics and cultural studies. She also cited harassment as the main reason.

Both Pappe and Reinhart are/were top flight scholars in their fields. Having intellectuals leave Israel explicitly because of harassment is a dangerous trend, no matter their point of view. Intellectual growth is fostered by a multitude of voices. Special pleading that this is different because of …… pick a specious reason, 1) state security, 2) not being a friend of Israel, 3) neither was, in actual fact a very good scholar, or 4) that one or both acted in bad faith, broke rules, laws, etc. seems rather unpersuasive, to say the least.

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment option for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile dysfunction and similar states when hard-on is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile disfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such preparation experience erectile malfunction. Such disease is best solved with professional help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common unwanted side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this medicament is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

American Jewish Committee defines anti-Semitism for European Union?

As we reported yesterday, a spirited debate in the UK ended in the passage of a controversial definition of anti-Semitism by the National Union of Students. Arthur Neslen, in the UK Guardian’s Comment is Free, says that the definition, which declares that many forms of criticism of Israel are anti-Semitic, was in large part written by the American Jewish Committee’s Kenneth Stern. AJC caused an uproar in the Jewish community for their infamous pamphlet charging some of America’s best known progressive Jewish artists, like Adrienne Rich and Tony Kushner, with fomenting anti-Semitism.

Neslen writes:

What do Einstein, Mahatma Ghandi, Ehud Olmert and myself all have in common? We could each be censured for racism according to the European Union Monitoring Centre’s “working definition of anti-semitism” which was last week adopted by the National Union of Students as official policy.

This definition has lately been sweeping all before it, taking endorsements everywhere from the all-party parliamentary Report on anti-semitism to the US state department’s special envoy for combating anti-semitism. The British government has pledged to re-examine its own definition of anti-semitism if the EUMC’s successor body, the Fundamental Rights Agency, ratifies the new lingua franca.

So it’s actually a bit shocking to discover that the new definition was largely drafted by a pro-Israel advocate who gives talks on how to elide the distinction between anti-Zionism and hatred of Jews. Kenneth Stern is the American Jewish Committee’s expert on anti-semitism and in Defining Anti-Semitism, a paper published by Tel Aviv University’s Stephen Roth Institute, he explained how he developed the working definition “along with other experts” in the second half of 2004.

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All eyes on DePaul University: Norman Finkelstein and tenure battle

The tenure battle over The Holocaust Industry author Norman Finkelstein isn’t the only Israel-Palestine free speech controversy at DePaul in recent years.

In 2005, adjunct Professor Thomas Klocek sued DePaul for defamation and breech of contract after they suspended him following a heated argument with pro-Palestinian students. At the time, critics considered the case an example of the shutting down of free speech, in this case, of an advocate of Israel. The University said he was guilty of “threatening and unprofessional behavior.” Part of Klocek’s suit for breech of contract was dismissed, the rest is still pending.

Now, the Chronicle of Higher Education says reports are circulating that DePaul will deny Norman Finkelstein tenure despite the fact that “his department had voted 9-to-3 in his favor and that the College Personnel Committee had unanimously recommended tenure.”

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Rachel Corrie play cancelled in Florida

This appears to be classic: A respected theater announces they will produce the play My Name Is Rachel Corrie, based on the writings of the young Seattle woman who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to protect the home of a Palestinian pharmacist and his family. A short time later, after protests by a small minority (it’s not clear by whom), the play is cancelled. (The Rachel’s Words initiative offers more complete information about Rachel and the play).
The Miami Herald reported yesterday:

But Mosaic’s board of directors agreed to drop the play after phone calls, e-mails and comments on a special Rachel Corrie blog — which has now been removed from the company’s website — made it clear that an impassioned, vocal minority strongly objected to the play…
Artistic director Richard Jay Simon, who declined a request for comment, wrote in a release Monday announcing the cancellation, “Exploring critical issues to inspire healthy dialogue is and always will continue to be our mission at Mosaic Theatre. I believe strongly in the piece and, while I respect the board’s decision, I am obviously disappointed.”

A more telling sentence in the release notes that “numerous conflicts have arisen, and the associated risks appear too great for our community and our angel sponsor, American Heritage School.”

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