Would the ‘NY Review of Books’ have printed an article on George Wallace in Alabama without talking to any black people?

Josh Hammer has a pretty-good piece in the NY Review of Books about Avigdor Lieberman, called "I’m a Realist." Any knowledge Americans get about this racist politician is to the good, but the piece is marred by the usual problem: American Jews are afraid to convey the blunt truths that leftwing Israeli Jews convey about their society, let alone what Palestinians say about that society. Israel comes off as a healthy democracy that is struggling with the devilishly charming Lieberman, who has a "controversial" belief in "transferral" of Palestinians, rather than as a society in crisis because of the continuing dispossession of minorities (as Bradley Burston would tell you, or Noam Sheizaf, or Mustafa Barghouti, or Ali Abunimah).

This limitation is typical of the New York Review of Books. The editors  can’t give up on the ideals of Zionism, and so they publish Michael Walzer and Avishai Margalit, and keep Tony Judt in the back room, and refuse to review The Israel Lobby. The clearest indication of this bias in the NYRB’s Lieberman piece is the list of people Hammer quotes:

Lieberman

Yossi Beilin

Mikhail Philippov

Gideon Levy

One of Lieberman’s aides

Yair Tzaban

Alex Magidov

Danny Ayalon

Misha from Uzbekistan

Natasha from Siberia

Lily Gallili, reporter for Haaretz

Michal Kupinsky

There is not one Palestinian on the list. The only Palestinian even mentioned in the piece is Azmi Bishara. It doesn’t seem like Hammer tried to talk to him. So a racist politician rises, and a leftwing NY publication makes no effort to talk to the victims of the racism. Huh.

I admit it: I’m an ethnocentric Jew; and in Israel I recognize my tribe, and when I went to Israel and Palestine recently, I talked mostly to Jews. Still, I am stretching, I talked to Mustafa and Omar Barghouti and to Adnan Mahamid; it is essential for Jews to get out of their comfort zone; I try on this site to have Palestinian and other Asian voices. The New York Review of Books is sticking right in that Jewish comfort zone.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 28 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Les says:

    When Barbara Epstein died, so did the Palestinians according to the NYRB,

  2. Citizen says:

    I’ve heard that stretching is actually good for your muscles.

  3. Cheryl says:

    Josh Hammer wrote a 2003 article on Rachel Corrie’s death which was published in Mother Jones. The website http://www.rachelswords.org took issue with Hammer’s slant. They sited both Hammer’s article and Phan Nguyen’s Counterpunch article which basically pulls apart Hammer’s work.
    I have to wonder if Hammer is “afraid to convey the blunt truths” as Phil believes or if Hammer cannot see the blunt truths….Phan’s 2003 rebuttal to Hammer’s Corrie article is quite damning to the investigative reporter’s work.

    From http://www.rachelswords.org:

    MYTH: Rachel was a naïve young woman who was exploited by the International Solidarity Movement, an extremist group that supports terrorism. Rachel did not understand the context she was in or the dangers she was facing.

    FACT: One article that has fostered this myth and others is “The Death of Rachel Corrie” by Joshua Hammer, published in Mother Jones.[21] However, Phan Nguyen proved that Hammer’s article was littered with errors, and that important parts were culled from right-wing websites with little credibility.[22]
    The following are the sited articles:
    [21] The Death of Rachel Corrie, Joshua Hammer, Mother Jones, September/October, 2003, link to motherjones.com

    [22] Mother Jones Smears Rachel Corrie, Phan Nguyen, September 20, 2003, link to counterpunch.org

  4. yossi beilin and gideon levy excellent indications of their right wing israel bias!

    the outrage!

    • jimby says:

      Hey genius, they are to the right of the real Albert Einstein.

      Einstein supported a “homeland” for Jews in Palestine, but he opposed a Jewish state “with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power.” Since two-thirds of the population of Palestine consisted of Arabs, he preferred bi-national status with “continuously functioning, mixed, administrative, economic, and social organizations.” Only cooperation with Arabs, led by “educated, spiritually alert” Jewish workers, he wrote, “can create a dignified and safe life?. What saddens me is less the fact that the Jews are not smart enough to understand this, but rather, that they are not just smart enough to want it.”

      read it for yourself:
      link to haaretz.com

      • Jimby,
        You have a jaundiced view of Albert Einstein. Many of the practices that you describe as ethnic cleansing or persecutorial, intentional settlement, Jewish institution building and reliance on Jewish labor rather than Arab in the 20′s and 30′s and 40′s, Einstein advocated for, financed, spoke for publicly.

        He was a sensitive man, a kind man, as are many liberal Zionists.

        When posed as either/or, which side are you on, they are either quiet, or reluctantly pick a side hoping that that status is short.

        • jimby says:

          Why would you say that my view is jaundiced? I have great admiration for the man. This statement that I posted is beautiful, at least to me if not to you. I find it ever so apt to the current situation. I don’t hate Israel or Jews. I think the brand of nationalism of zionism to be way way over the top. Jews are merely human beings like the rest of us. I lost a friend just for saying as much. Let’s put out welcome mats and invite them back to the human race, none of this superman horseshit. I like Jews. I even have a Jewish brother.

        • Citizen says:

          Witty you mean as you address BDS, your either-or approach there? BDS is demonizing, it’s opponents are wise, tolerant, accepting of the Other. BDS defeats the humanitarian cause, while its opponents only seek live and let live. Right?
          We get it. Thanks.

        • You speak as if Einstein were an anti-Zionist, but that is just not true. Even the question of the Jewish state, the most that he had was reluctance (noting the dangers of nationalism that he had seen everywhere exagerated).

          In the reality of defenseless Israel vs defended Israel, he choose defended, a state.

          He advocated for reform and compassion from that state, but not seriously for defenselessness.

        • aparisian says:

          Witty i think you should revise your readings on Zionism, Herzel and co.
          Before the creation of racist Israel, Jews were allowed to reside in Palestine, Jews lived in complete harmony with Pals and Arabs. What i m trying to say here that Zionism has nothing to do with Judaism, stop playing this game you are a sophisticated Ziocaine and you know what i m talking about.

        • get over my name…dumbasses and address my comments.

          jeez, how often do we need to go through this?

          the comment was that Gideon Levy and Yossi Beilin aren’t exactly great examples of being Lieberman lackies. i think that mr. levy would be very offended by mr. weiss’ treatment or categorization with respect to this post.

          anyone out here have anything intelligent to say regarding this?

          no of course not. this is just a support group (er…cuircle jerk) for anti-semites (er…sorry how un-pc of me…anti-Zionists)

        • oh look who is here to argue that zionism has nothing to do with Judaism…rabbi “my mother is Jewish”

          please rabbi parisian, teach us the true tradition of the Jewsih people?

        • Aparisian,
          You also have a fraudulently rosy view of relations between Jews and Arabs. There was much co-existence and much tension, and yes, terror early.

          Zionism is a part of Judaism, ancient and modern Zionism. Zion is both literal and metaphorical. 2000 years of primarily diaspora Judaism could only refer to the metaphorical, but Judaism is qualitatively different with a homeland.

          There an aspect of “so what” about it. You go there and its just land and just a place with a lot of Jews. And, you go there, and in ways it is home (and not).

        • aparisian says:

          Hey Einstein the spokesman of Judaism, maybe you should ask your rabbi if the ethnic cleansing, genocides, Zionist Jewish occupation, the killing of children by cluster bombs and white phosphorus are part of the true tradition of Jewish people? Or maybe you believe in the exceptionalism of some of the Jewish people.

        • aparisian says:

          Witty, in my entourage some Jews are originally from Egypt and their grand parents lived in peace and harmony there at the time Jews were persecuted in Europe, and how we honoured Arabs? We committed the worst human atrocities against them. Just tell me whats their fault?

          Zionism is the colonial movement has nothing to do with Zion which is Jerusalem, Zion is important for Jews and non Jews.

          There an aspect of “so what” about it. You go there and its just land and just a place with a lot of Jews. And, you go there, and in ways it is home (and not).

          right but at the price of other people.

        • lots of very powerful words parisian, very loaded and troubling indeed…
          however, are you actually saying that Israel committed/is committing “Genocide”?

          if thats what you believe, then I should just ignore you as you are clearly mentally handicapped.

          again rabbi parisian isn’t it you that thinks himself eceptional, as you still have not explained how zionism is not traditonal judaism whereas witty has,but you are the jewish authority as your mother birthed you and hence your racist exceptionalism….

        • aparisian says:

          Oh Einstein i think you need to read Goldstone report about Gaza but also some history, of course Israel committed Genocides and is enduring the longest modern occupation in modern History? Do you keep deny all this? Tell me just one thing do you recognise that these atrocities were committed or not against unarmed civilians?

          if thats what you believe, then I should just ignore you as you are clearly mentally handicapped.
          personal attacks means that you were hit by the arguments i advance here. Wake up Einstein!

          again rabbi parisian isn’t it you that thinks himself eceptional, as you still have not explained how zionism is not traditonal judaism whereas witty has,but you are the jewish authority as your mother birthed you and hence your racist exceptionalism….
          I really dont know what you re talking about? I told you that i am technically Jew when you called me anti-semi but never used this to have any exeptionalism privileges. And how come i m racist? racist against? i m here to combat racism and Zionism which is clearly racist. Zionism is the Jewish AlQaeda but with international complicity and with military arsenal. Both of these movements use religion to accomplish colonial ambitions.

        • Citizen says:

          Nazi Germany was both literal and metaphorical too. The concept of the Aryan
          went back many centuries; Himmler’s archeologists tried to find the artifacts, and failed, same as the Israelis have failed to find artifacts mutely testifying to
          their Big Picture.

          In fact, Zionism was not a part of Judiasm, same as Aryan myth was not a part of Germany before the 19th Century. Both movements grew simultaneously in the same place. The result was Nazi Germany, followed by the current state of Israel. Eventually Nazi Germany had to be corraled. Now it’s Israel’s time. We’ve seen enough.

        • Zionism is intrinsically part of Judaism. (The current form is not.)

        • Shingo says:

          “Many of the practices that you describe as ethnic cleansing or persecutorial, intentional settlement, Jewish institution building and reliance on Jewish labor rather than Arab in the 20’s and 30’s and 40’s, Einstein advocated for, financed, spoke for publicly.”

          Based on what Evidence Witty?

        • Shingo says:

          “Zionism is a part of Judaism, ancient and modern Zionism. Zion is both literal and metaphorical. 2000 years of primarily diaspora Judaism could only refer to the metaphorical, but Judaism is qualitatively different with a homeland.”

          False. In the earli 1900′s, mos Jews were not Zionists and most Zionists are not Jews.

          Learn your hitory Witty.

        • Shingo says:

          “Zionism is intrinsically part of Judaism. (The current form is not.) ”

          Is not nor has ever been.

        • Zionism in some form is intrinsic to Judaism.

          Again, the current form of that is not intrinsic to Judaism. Learn your English.

  5. seafoid says:

    The New York Review recently ran an article about South Africa and JM Coetzee and how even if the young JM loved the Karoo he knew it didn’t didn’t really belong to him because the land was stolen. But it would never say that about Israel. Because Israel is somehow different. At least for the moment it is.

    In the same issue a superb article by Tony Judy where he nailed Zionism as essentially a provincial inward looking ideology where thinking is frowned upon (even in pre 1967 Israel) and tribal loyalty is everything. If you read ha’aretz long enough the same thing comes through.

    I was disappointed the Review published a recent article by prominent Zionist Tom Segev dissing Avi Shlaim and implying that Israel can get away with it for the next eternity because it’s Israel. Ultimately the provincialism and tribalism is going to hit Israel regardless of the fact that it is Israel.

    • Citizen says:

      And so who is the “Philistine?” It will take awhile for many to get the picture, in fact it will take WW3; Iran’s the likely catalyst for a reframing of the Hebrews biblical framing of
      bad guys versus good guys–time to get rid of fairy tales, once and for all.

      • MHughes976 says:

        ‘Philistine’ and ‘Palestinian’ seem to be the same word. ‘Hebrews’ is generally taken to be the same word as ‘Apiru’, a name which appears in the Amarna Letters and other second millennium documents referring to armed groups who disturbed the peace.
        Jonathan Tubb of the British Museum tells us in his book about the Canaanites that the name ‘Canaan’ comes either from an Indo-European word meaning ‘blue cloth’ or a Semitic word meaning ‘to be subdued’. The latter and more likely etymology suggests that ‘Canaan’ means something like ‘conquered’ or ‘occupied territory’ (of the Egyptian Empire?), which would be amusing in a grim sort of way.
        There are lots of ways in which things don’t change, aren’t there?

  6. RE: “I try on this site to have Palestinian and other Asian voices.” – Weiss

    A NATIVE AMERICAN VOICE: Russell Means Breaks the Silence on Obama, By Brenda Norrell, COUNTERPUNCH, 01/12/09
    (EXCERPT)…Speaking on Red Town Radio today, Means said what is happening now [note the date] to Palestinians is what happened to American Indians. “Every policy the Palestinians are now enduring was practiced on the American Indian,” Means said on the Blog Talk Radio show, hosted by Brenda Golden, Muskoke Creek. “What the American Indian Movement says is that the American Indians are the Palestinians of the United States, and the Palestinians are the American Indians of the Middle East,” Means said…
    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to counterpunch.org

  7. kapok says:

    “We’re realists; they’re brutal dictators.”