‘NYT’ reporter who grooved on Jewish terrorism made Chomsky out to be ‘self-hating’ nut

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 74 Comments

In the same piece in the NYT Magazine in which she glows that the days of Jewish terrorism were "romantic," reporter Deborah Solomon serves up several softball questions to Tzipi Livni. And this at a time when Israel is approaching a crisis stemming from many facts– oh, that half the population it governs are not represented by its government, that the world is sick of Israel’s murderous behavior and Livni has lost some freedom to travel out of fear of being indicted, that even U.S. Jewry is beginning to leave the stadium. But things seem pretty darn good in this interview, which offers the usual piety about the two-state solution, and no mention of the fact that two of Livni’s former fellow gov’t ministers have warned about apartheid.

Compare Solomon’s Livni interview with this bit of her interview of Noam Chomsky in 2003:

But, unlike many reconstructed leftists, you have not changed your political views one iota since the 60’s. For instance, you have remained a vocal critic of Israel.

I objected to the founding of Israel as a Jewish state. I don’t think a Jewish or Christian or Islamic state is a proper concept. I would object to the United States as a Christian state.

Your father was a respected Hebraic scholar, and sometimes you sound like a self-hating Jew.

It is a shame that critics of Israeli policies are seen as either anti-Semites or self-hating Jews. It’s grotesque. If an Italian criticized Italian policies, would he be seen as a self-hating Italian?

Have you ever been psychoanalyzed?

I do not think psychoanalysis has a scientific basis. If we can’t explain why a cockroach decides to turn left, how can we explain why a human being decides to do something?

Notice the suggestion that reconstructed leftists are supposed to embrace Israel… Very 2003.

74 Responses

  1. Psychopathic god
    June 26, 2010, 11:15 pm

    Italy was occupied by far more foreign ‘entities’ and for far longer than Jewish people have suffered persecution. For an Italian to criticize his/her government is a badge of honor.

    Self-hating Italian. Absurd concept.

    • pjdude
      June 27, 2010, 10:32 am

      last time I checked 2500 years is more than 1600 years

      • Psychopathic god
        June 27, 2010, 1:24 pm

        pick a number any number.
        Jews make up so much history that nothing, repeat NOTHING that is said re history of Jews is more than 1/3 believable.

        so we’ll use your number — 2500 yrs X .333 = 832.5 yrs.

        an Italian half-life

        now go away and quit whining

  2. RoHa
    June 26, 2010, 11:40 pm

    What has the psycholanalysis bit got to do with it?

    (And he’s right. It’s crap.)

    • hughsansom
      June 27, 2010, 8:15 am

      Solomon’s psychoanalysis ‘question’ is a jab designed to suggest that Chomsky’s criticism of Israel is actually based on conflict with his father.

      It’s rare to get so clean an example of the hysterical double-standards of pro-Israel New York Times bigots.

  3. RoHa
    June 26, 2010, 11:41 pm

    Ah! Is it the suggestion that to object to Israel one has to be a loony?
    If so, then we’re going to need a huge loony-bin.

    • Avi
      June 27, 2010, 2:03 am

      Aren’t you aware of the fact that those who criticize Israel have an under-developed part of the frontal lobe, resulting in a condition known as Ziomarginal Gyrus.

      • Frances
        June 27, 2010, 4:30 am

        Is it treatable with ZioCaine?

      • Avi
        June 27, 2010, 5:08 am

        Recent studies conducted at Harvard University show that more than 90 percent of Ziomarginal Gyrus cases are treatable. Researchers used several control groups and in all the cases, Ziocaine successfully increased the subject groups’ Ziothalamus to normal size, however. Doctors are still puzzled as to the failure of the drug in 10 percent of the cases. “Further testing is clearly needed”, said Dr. Martin Kramer, but added that he is, “Confident that an upcoming trial at our research lab in Bet Shemesh, Israel will lead to further breakthroughs in this field”, citing a new pilot program known as Megaphone.

      • Frances
        June 27, 2010, 5:23 am

        Perhaps the 10 percent have been rendered immune to the glorious effects of ZioCaine by the nefarious Iranian vaccine: NuclearWeaponsThatDontExistButWillNonethelessBeUsedToDestroyIsraelCaine. Will no one save them? Where is Dr Mooser when you need him?!

      • Mooser
        June 27, 2010, 10:34 am

        Who needs Dr. Mooser when you mayvens from the Mayonaisse Clinic are on the case? Such naches I get (try one, they’re excellent! And mucho caliente!) from knowing that research on the physiological basis of Zionism is proceding apace, and is in such capable hands. Still to be investigated, of course, is the relationship between self-self-determination and the ziocaine syndrome.
        My own research cannot be fostered, if grants are not forthcoming. If adequately pelfed, I see vast vistas in ziocaine research opening beneath me. Why, if I had $2 million dollars for research, I would fly to Israel, and keep right on going! Shalom suckers!
        Anyway, it’s time for breakfast. Yum! Kippers!

      • Psychopathic god
        June 27, 2010, 1:27 pm

        are you aware of Israel’s GLORIA think tank, Frances? (it’s real)

        The nefarious Iranian vaccine is stored in a locker on the campus.

      • Sumud
        June 27, 2010, 6:42 pm

        “said Dr. Martin Kramer, ”

        LOL nice bit of casting Avi.

    • hughsansom
      June 27, 2010, 8:17 am

      You’ve nailed the whole strategy. If you’re anti-Israel, you are somehow “wrong” — anti-Semitic, self-hating, deluded, psychotic — take your pick.

      The Soviets were found of this strategy, too. Dissenters were mentally unfit and had to be re-educated.

      The US buys into it also with the derogatory name “lunatic fringe”.

  4. hayate
    June 26, 2010, 11:47 pm

    Isn’t livni the offspring of a terrorist? Or was that another israeli female? So many are the offspring of terrorists, I frequently get them confused.

    • Sumud
      June 27, 2010, 3:28 am

      You might not have got there yet:

      link to mondoweiss.net

      • hayate
        June 27, 2010, 6:35 am

        “You might not have got there yet”

        Common train robbers, eh? Hardly romantic. It’s not like they were Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, vying for leadership of the gang by kicking each other in the nuts. Now that was romantic. Can one imagine what would happen if one kicked livni in the nuts? One would never be able to get their boot clean after.

    • Citizen
      June 27, 2010, 8:00 am

      Livni, on her parents: “Both of them were in the Irgun. They were freedom fighters…”

      Perhaps a future Palestinian leader, acceptable to Uncle Sam after the war with Iran, will say about the parents, “Both of them were in HAMAS. They were freedom fighters…”

      So how’s the current Great Game stacking up?

  5. DICKERSON3870
    June 27, 2010, 12:05 am

    RE: “In the piece in tomorrow’s NYT Magazine in which she describes the days of Jewish terrorism as ‘romantic,’ reporter Deborah Solomon…” – Weiss
    SEE: New York Times reporter calls Zionist terrorism ‘romantic’ ~ By Daniel Tencer, Raw Story, 06/26/10
    (excerpt)…”I’ve met interviewer Deborah Solomon — smart lady,” writes Philip Weiss, who brought attention to the comment on his blog. “I wonder whether she was inoculated, as I was, by Zionism, and to what degree. This is typically one-sided.”
    Weiss points out that Irgun, which was fighting for the creation of a Jewish state, was responsible for the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946. That attack killed 91 people, including US and British nationals, and is believed to remain to this day as the most deadly militant attack in the history of the conflict between Israel and its neighbors.
    Irgun’s membership was absorbed into the Israeli Defence Force after the creation of Israel. Its political arm is a predecessor to today’s Likud party, whose leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, is prime minister of Israel.
    Matt Duss at ThinkProgress goes even further than Weiss in his criticism of the Times’ portrayal of Irgun….
    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to rawstory.com
    MATT DUSS – link to thinkprogress.org

    • Psychopathic god
      June 27, 2010, 1:30 pm

      interesting photo of Livni. she looks very semitic —

      Where exactly is the Semitic section of Eastern Europe?

  6. Debonnaire
    June 27, 2010, 12:51 am

    Although he’ll never say so publically Tom Hayden is deeply embarrased that he came out in support of Israel in 1982. He sold his soul to the Waxman-Berman-(Levine) machine and they showed their appreciation by later stabbing him in the back which effectively ended his political career. This Deborah Solomon sounds like a mental defective.

    • DICKERSON3870
      June 27, 2010, 6:37 pm

      RE:”Although he’ll never say so publically Tom Hayden is deeply embarrased that he came out in support of Israel in 1982.” – Debonnaire

      SEE: I Was Israel’s Dupe, By Tom Hayden, Counterpunch, 07/20/06
      (excerpt) …But that summer I made the mistake of my political career. The Israel Defense Forces invaded Lebanon, and Benny Navon wanted Jane and me to be supportive. It happened that I had visited the contested border in the past, witnessed the shelling of civilian Israeli homes, and interviewed Israeli and Lebanese zealots—crazies, I thought, who were preaching preventive war. I opposed cross-border rocket attacks and naively favored a demilitarized zone.
      Ever curious, and aware of my district’s politics, I decided we should go to the Middle East—but only as long as the Israeli “incursion,” as it was delicately called, was limited to the 10-kilometer space near the Lebanese border, as a cushion against rocket fire. Benny Navon assured me that the “incursion” was limited, and would be followed by negotiations and a solution. I also made clear our opposition to the use of any fragmentation bombs in the area, and my ultimate political identification with what Israeli Peace Now would say.
      There followed a descent into moral ambiguity and realpolitick that still haunts me today. When we arrived at the Israeli-Lebanon border, the game plan promised by Benny Navon had changed utterly. Instead of a localized border conflict, Israel was invading and occupying all of Lebanon—with us in tow. Its purpose was to destroy militarily the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) haven in Lebanon. This had been Gen. Ariel Sharon’s secret plan all along, and I never will know with certainty whether Benny Navon had been deceived along with everyone else.
      For the next few weeks, I found myself defending Israel’s “right” to self-defense on its border, only to realize privately how foolish I was becoming. In the meantime, Israel’s invasion was continuing, with ardent Jewish support in America…
      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to counterpunch.org

  7. sky7i
    June 27, 2010, 3:04 am

    Solomon also did an appallingly ignorant interview with an appalling ignorant Ayaan Hirsi Ali :
    link to muslimcomment.com

    Apparently American Muslims are never preached to (yeah, right!) and apparently Islam has no scholarly traditions, only mosques where men casually (but nefariously!) shoot the breeze.

    Judging by what I’ve read from her, I don’t think she’s ever really stepped outside her ethnocentric New York clique to actually spend time with Muslims or any other folks who might think a little differently.

    link to jewishjournal.com
    Is the greatest Diaspora of Jewish history taking place right now on the Upper West Side of Manhattan? (asks Solomon) “As I see my neighbor, Phillip Roth, buy his groceries every day, and as I see him traipsing up Columbus Avenue murmuring to himself, no doubt about the paragraph he just finished writing, I often wonder, ‘Is this the greatest Jewish Diaspora? Has there ever been a moment like this scene in New York, which is so full of literary promise and intellectual accomplishment? What other moment in history can compare to this one?”

    • Citizen
      June 27, 2010, 5:44 am

      On Philip Roth as overrated:
      link to litkicks.com

      Do we need Beck to read The Plot Against America and pick up his
      chalk, walk to his chalkboard?

      • Mooser
        June 27, 2010, 10:48 am

        Citizen, I don’t think it’s so much a matter of over-rating, it’s just that once a guy has written “Portnoy’s Complaint” he can’t help but let his public down. It’s like the circus performer who says he has the greatest trick ever, but there’s one little problem. He climbs to the top of the tent, sets himself on fire, is shot out of a cannon, through a pane of glass, and lands on a steel spike. “That was great!” said the ringmaster, “So what’s the problem?” Replies the performer: “Yeah, it’s spectacular, but I can only do it once!” and expires.
        Stop me if I’ve told you that one before. No point in wearing out my welcome.

      • Citizen
        June 27, 2010, 1:30 pm

        You made a good point, Mooser. His other good book was Good-by Columbus. It was pretty hilarious back in the days when Commentary attacked him for aping Julius Streicher, especially since any possible attack he had already made in the very books of his which Commentary attacked. A real macher mocker mocks all sides, but Commentary never learned that.

    • Psychopathic god
      June 27, 2010, 1:32 pm

      I know I know the answer, call on me:

      The greatest moment, full of literary promise and literary accomplishment in New York, is when African Americans dominated Harlem.


  8. Richard Witty
    June 27, 2010, 5:44 am

    When you’ve had opportunities to interview contreversial individuals, did you antagonize them, or ask them softball questions?

    Did you disagree with the assertive conclusion, “There is no possibility of negotiating a reliable peace agreement with Hamas”, and then all that follows from that?

    • Philip Weiss
      June 27, 2010, 11:04 am

      i disagree

      • Richard Witty
        June 27, 2010, 12:26 pm

        You think that it is possible to negotiate a reliable peace with Hamas?

        How do you see that happening?

      • Sumud
        June 27, 2010, 7:07 pm

        What is your damage Heather?

        Hamas are on board for two-state, as they’ve said over, and over, and over.

      • Shingo
        June 27, 2010, 7:33 pm

        “You think that it is possible to negotiate a reliable peace with Hamas?”

        The question is whether it is possible to negotiate a reliable peace with Israel.  The French foreign minister said that Israel does not want peace.
        Hamas support a 2 state solution.  israel does nto.

        Hamas suport the Arab PEce initiative, Israel rejects it.

        Hamas agreed to a ceasfire and stuck to it.  Israel violated it from day 1 and then again on November 1st.

        Israel proposed a long ceasefire which Israel rejected because as Tzipi Livni said, it was not in Israel’s strategic interests.

        The impediment to peace is Istael, not Hamas.

      • Shingo
        June 27, 2010, 7:35 pm

        Give up Sumud. Witty is mentally and ideologically incapable of seeing the facts. He’s like A Metenyahu, who thinks that it’s 1939 and always will be.

      • Keith
        June 27, 2010, 10:55 pm

        RICHARD WITTY- Do you think it is possible to negotiate a reliable peace with Israel? When has Israel EVER honored their commitments?

      • Schwartzman
        June 27, 2010, 10:56 pm

        How bout Jordan and Egypt, the only true peace agreements reached between Israel and her neighbors.

      • Schwartzman
        June 27, 2010, 10:57 pm

        Hamas won’t negotiate a truce with the PA, how on earth are they going to negotiate a settlement for two states?

      • Keith
        June 27, 2010, 11:04 pm

        SCHWARTZMAN- It should go without saying that I was referring to an adversary, not a US/Israel client state.

      • James Bradley
        June 27, 2010, 11:09 pm

        That’s very facetious of you to claim.

        How can Hamas negotiate a peace with the PA when they are merely acting as enforcers of Israeli policy?

        Really now.

      • Sumud
        June 27, 2010, 11:13 pm

        “Give up Sumud. Witty is..”

        I know. It’s force of habit Shingo: Richard issues some intellectual abortion, we correct him.

        I don’t know if he truly is a lost cause – part of me believes there’s always a way back, for everybody. Still, he gives a good [bad] impression, the mind is definitely closed.

      • Sumud
        June 27, 2010, 11:18 pm

        “How bout Jordan and Egypt, the only true peace agreements..”

        Was sending Mossad to Amman on Canadian passports to kill Khalid Meshal covered under the peace treaty? King Hussein was pretty pissed off and Netanyahu sent the antidote, so I’m guessing not.

      • Shingo
        June 27, 2010, 11:19 pm

        “Hamas won’t negotiate a truce with the PA,  how on earth are they going to negotiate a settlement for two states?”

        They were on the verge of one before Tel Aviv and Washington ordered the PA to launch a coup to overthrow Hamas.  The last thing Israel wants in a unified government between Hamas and Fatah.

      • Sumud
        June 28, 2010, 12:22 am

        Shingo, Hamas & Fateh actually did form a unity Government after the election Hamas won.

        They agreed to form a government in June 2006, signed the Mecca Agreement in early 2007, and the attempted coup by Fateh occurred in June 2007.

        link to en.wikipedia.org
        link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Citizen
      June 27, 2010, 1:33 pm

      Mmmm, do Hamas members bleed when you cut them? Too assertive a conclusion? How about old Stern Gang members?

  9. Sin Nombre
    June 27, 2010, 5:47 am

    I like how this I/P issue can—or at least should—persuade people on different sides of the partisan perspective to see commonalities that they didn’t know they shared/ones that got lost in the heat of battle and etc.

    E.g., this “more romantic era” language of Solomon inflaming Lefties/progressives here (totally justifiably) being so tremendously similar to the language Vivian Gornick used in her 1977 book “The Romance of American Communism,” and how that so inflamed conservatives. Back then of course the reaction of the Left/Progressives was to defend Gornick, tsk tsking that the conservatives were making a mountain out of a molehill, saying that it was no big thing to paint those communists of the 30’s and 40’s in a wonderful mauve light and indeed that they deserved it as they were so “passionate” and “committed” and blah blah blah.

    You get old enough you have to laugh at the inevitability of things coming around full circle so precisely. Unfortunately maybe it does just take time to see this enough so that you begin to also see the need to just apply the same standards across the boards no matter what, with this being something that the young will just never be able to perceive very fully.

    • annie
      June 27, 2010, 7:52 am

      nice spin sin. from the reviews ‘This is, ultimately, a story of American activism: of Depression-era socialism, New York City liberals, and California farmworkers; of the thrill of organization, and the loneliness of another Saturday night peddling the Daily Worker door to door. ‘

      here’s anotherOne of the most important points to grasp is the diversity of the ex-Communists who tell their stories here. Immigrants and natives, from all sorts of religious and educational and social backgrounds. Many joined the Party as young adults during the Depression in the 1930s, a few were brought up so that the Party seemed their destiny, but they come from all over.

      maybe you can juxtapose these w/some alternate narrative demonstrating how the communist movement in the US carried out terrorists acts and ethnic cleansing referring to it as romantic.

      • Donald
        June 27, 2010, 8:19 am

        He’s not entirely wrong. Sin is a Chomsky hater, so it won’t gratify him to hear that Noam has also compared the romance the 30’s American left had with Stalin with the romance some progressives have had with Israel. There’s the same uncritical moral blindness in both cases.

        And the romanticization of Stalin and communist revolutions overseas is presumably what Sin Nombre is talking about–what he’s not acknowledging is that the same people who were so blind about the Soviet Union really did (in many cases) fight for human rights here.

        There’s also this longstanding tendency among some lefties to romanticize revolutionaries, to glorify violence in the name of a just cause, though of course the center and the right also do this. It was the center and the right that loved the Afghan freedom fighters so much and mostly lefties (like Chomsky) who pointed out that though the Afghan mujahadeen had every right to resist the Soviet invaders, they were a pretty ruthless bunch.

      • Sin Nombre
        June 27, 2010, 8:21 am

        annie wrote:

        “maybe you can juxtapose these w/some alternate narrative demonstrating how the communist movement in the US carried out terrorists acts and ethnic cleansing referring to it as romantic.”

        Amazes—and saddens—that you see a difference here annie given what seems to me to be the absolutely identical parallel. Solomon painting the life and times of the Irgun as “romantic” and Gornick painting the life and times of those defending Lenin and Trotsky and Stalin and Mao with the exact same word even. I can only imagine how hard it would be to get you to see any similarity between two things if non-absolutely identical words are used, no matter how how identical their meaning and intent.

        Per what I said above I’d bet you’re young yet. But passion and idealism untethered from candid analysis leads to the same result in both personal and political matters.

      • annie
        June 27, 2010, 10:27 am

        one caveat, i have not read The Romance of American Communism but if the reviews are correct it sounds to me as tho it is referencing the followers. perhaps someone should write a book about The Romance of American Zionism which is certainly not a thing of the past.

        the life and times of the Irgun as “romantic” and Gornick painting the life and times of those defending Lenin and Trotsky and Stalin and Mao

        well, i guess i do see a difference between followers wrapped up in their visions (glorifying revolutionaries) and the objects of glorification. whether the irgun, lenin, trotsky , stalin, mao , jim jones or charlie manson, none of them are romantic. however the cults that followed were romanced. solomon referenced the days of jewish terrorism as “romantic” (she’s romanced), gornick’s subjects were the romanced. the subjects of her book were not terrorists or responsible for terror they were the followers.

        solomon demonstrates by her pandering zionists remain in the romantic era, romanticized still by zionist terrorism whereas gornick writes about an era from the past and her subjects (unlike solomon’s) were not terrorists, merely the ones romanced.

        what saddens me sin nombre is not that you can’t see the difference, but that the era of romance of american zionism is still upon us, full throttle in fact.

      • annie
        June 27, 2010, 10:33 am

        i guess i do see a difference between followers wrapped up in their visions (glorifying revolutionaries) and the objects of glorification.

        i meant the subjects of glorification.

      • Donald
        June 27, 2010, 10:39 am

        That’s a good point, if I understand you correctly. Solomon romanticizes the actual terrorists–the Irgun. People who romanticize the 30’s American communists are praising them for how they fought on behalf of the oppressed in this country, and not praising them for their starry-eyed idiocy in thinking that the Soviet Union was a worker’s paradise.

      • annie
        June 27, 2010, 11:53 am

        that’s correct donald. and if someone in the future was to write a book about this era of americans romanced by zionism i imagine it would have a very different outcome. wrt sin’s idea here:

        You get old enough you have to laugh at the inevitability of things coming around full circle so precisely. Unfortunately maybe it does just take time to see this enough so that you begin to also see the need to just apply the same standards across the boards no matter what

        i’m certainly not advocating another mccarthy era to end the influence of zionists in our midst but i wouldn’t object to aipac having to register under FARA.


      • Sin Nombre
        June 27, 2010, 12:31 pm

        Hello again Annie (and Donald):

        Well of course one can’t deny some distinction between an actual actor and their “followers,” but I guess I just don’t see it as being as fully meaningful as you, and indeed in the end it seems to me to lead to some considerable incoherence. If, for instance, you object to Solomon’s painting of Livni’s Irgun father in rose-colored glasses, are we really supposed to then say it’s a totally different and okay thing as regards the *followers* and supporters of the Irgun? In essence that it was okay to be cheering them on, almost certainly with the desire to help them politically with that cheering, very possibly giving them money, and etc. and so forth…?

        Indeed, annie, after trying to make this great distinction you yourself seem to then miss it naturally enough when you say it saddens you that “the era of romance of american zionism is still upon us.” I.e., of *course,* as only seems reasonable, and as I only submitted was reasonable, you are objecting not only to zionism’s actual actors there but the romance that their “followers” now feel too, right?

        So while of course one can see a difference in degree, to my eye I don’t know that one can say that there there’s a big huge meaningful difference in kind.

        Take, for another example, even just the people who handed out the Daily Worker back in the 30’s and the 40’s celebrated by Gornick. (To simultaneously use the example you quoted from a review of her book and to address what seems Donald’s main point.) What were they really doing? (And indeed many many were doing far far more, with Gornick of *course* being ever *more* admiring of those who did ever more.)

        They weren’t “just” sitting in their houses “romantically” feeling sympathy. Nor most emphatically were they “just” feeling for the plight of African-Americans or the others oppressed here which no doubt was a target of the Daily Worker, although in my opinion an utterly opportunistic one. Again, though even if handing out the paper was *all* they did, they were pushing some of the the most disgusting lies imaginable with so much of the rest of what the Daily Worker printed and its just impossible to believe that they were pushing them but not desiring any effect.

        …. Denying the imposed famine in the Ukraine, for instance, or the brutal nature of the Soviet regime, and indeed denying there was a Gulag at all. Picturing FDR even as being a closet Hitler lover when the Soviet line was that everyone should go to war against Hitler, and then turning on a dime after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact came out and then, until the Soviets were attacked, accusing FDR and damn near everyone else of wanting war with Hitler for profit reasons. (Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, for instance, writing a song called “Plow Under” back then claiming the government wanted to have Americans soldiers slaughtered in a war like it had hogs slaughtered in the New Deal.) And on and on. (And again, here we are simply talking about those who *only* handed out the Daily Worker, and of course not even mentioning those who wrote for it, or who gave away A-bomb secrets to the Soviets, or who gave money to them or any of their front organizations, and etc., etc.)

        I’d agree with you wholeheartedly however when you characterized those as “romanced,” although, on the other hand and again I don’t know that I see all that much distinction between “actors” and “followers” here either. Many if not most of the actual “actors” we are talking about for instance—whether in the Irgun or among the Soviets—were “romanced” too by the ideas in their heads: Engaged in what they saw as a desperate, historical struggle, few likely took great pleasure directly in the ugly aspect of what they were doing, but instead saw it as only … regrettably necessary. But, just as you’d agree that this hardly absolves those “actors,” again, I just don’t see how that romanticism totally absolves their “followers” either. As Auden brilliantly put it in his ’37 poem “Spain” (which, not coincidentally at all, used the word “romance” or “romantic” quite a bit if I recall correctly), he talked about how moral corruption goes far beyond just direct “actors” in his famous words speaking about “the conscious acceptance of guilt in the necessary murder….”

      • Sin Nombre
        June 27, 2010, 12:44 pm

        P.S. And, in further terms of arguing the culpability of mere “followers” or supporters, it was after all Lenin himself who recognized that even though many of same who followed or supported him were “idiots,” in terms of their functionality, they were still “useful idiots” at least, right?

      • Donald
        June 27, 2010, 12:56 pm

        There are gradations of guilt here, and if some rank and file communist joined the party in the 30’s thinking that it was the best way to struggle for social justice I could praise him or her for that and still condemn them for willful moral blindness about Stalin (or Trotsky, depending on the faction). For that matter, many Zionists might have been admirable people in many ways, but morally blind about their own ideology.

        I think Zionism is fundamentally flawed, morally speaking (leaving aside cultural Zionists who wished, perhaps naively, for Jews to immigrate to Palestine and live in complete equality with the Arabs, with no desire to construct a Jewish state against their wishes). But I think a person could be a Zionist, especially living in America, and be a good person in other respects who is morally blind on this one point–that’s what “Progressive except for Palestine” often means. People are complicated. I grew up around people who were racist to varying degrees–they weren’t demons. A friend of mine had a father who was racist, but in one-on-one relations was very generous to people of any and all groups.

        And going back to the 30’s, who do I prefer–the commies or most of their rightwing critics? It would probably come down to knowing what the motives of the individual happened to be–I can’t answer the question in general. Rightwingers, of course, were more than willing to link the civil rights movement and the fight for worker’s rights with the evils of communism–that is, if anything, worse than some young radical foolishly thinking that Stalin was a good guy. In fact, conservatives of that ilk were probably more effective in spreading communist propaganda (advocacy for civil rights= communism) than any leaflet spreading done by the radicals.

        There’s a similar dynamic with the I/P conflict–the more the Zionists link advocacy for Palestinian rights with terrorism, the more they make terrorism seem justifiable. (Which is a wrong conclusion to reach, just so nobody misunderstands me.)

      • Donald
        June 27, 2010, 1:09 pm

        Taking it a step further, the best propagandists and the most useful idiots for spreading communism would be those who defended colonialism or opposed civil rights or supported death squads and unjust wars or in other ways went out of their way to link communism with legitimate struggles against some form of oppression. Again, this is similar to how Zionist accusations of support for “terrorism” whenever one supports Palestinian rights is self-fulfilling propaganda for terrorism. (Though not so much in the US, where the Israel lobby has largely controlled the terms of the debate, at least until recently.)

      • annie
        June 27, 2010, 1:15 pm

        i never stated nor implied those romanticized were “totally absolved”. i noticed you never took me up on my challenge.

        maybe you can juxtapose these w/some alternate narrative demonstrating how the communist movement in the US carried out terrorists acts and ethnic cleansing referring to it as romantic.

        oh wait, you’ve already stated

        Well of course one can’t deny some distinction between an actual actor and their “followers,” but I guess I just don’t see it as being as fully meaningful as you

        well in that case i’ll call solomon , thomas friedman, jeffery goldberg and joe lieberman all terrorists and then maybe you’ll see the meaningfulness of my distinction. or maybe you’re right and there’s just no difference between those who carry out terrorist attacks vs those who romanticize them.

      • annie
        June 27, 2010, 1:26 pm

        donald, you make excellent points. i couldn’t have stated it better. i wish i had read your comment before responding again to sin nombre.

      • Citizen
        June 27, 2010, 1:41 pm

        Actually, much of the details McCarthy said have turned out to be true regarding reds high up in government offices. And yes, things take time to learn, especially since governments wait decades before opening up much government documentation to the public–the USA is not immune from this, despite the FOI Act–sometimes you get
        more blacked out text than text–if you get text at all.

      • Sin Nombre
        June 27, 2010, 2:49 pm

        Donald said:

        “There are gradations of guilt here….”

        My point exactly.

        annie said:

        “i never stated nor implied those romanticized were “totally absolved”.

        Oh, I think you’re being a bit coy here, annie. After all the *entire* purpose of your replies to my original post was to make a *very* great distinction between supporters and actors via saying “I guess I do see a difference between followers wrapped up in their visions (glorifying revolutionaries) and the objects of glorification. whether the irgun, lenin …,” and then going on to call the former the merely “romanced.” Pretty absolving to my ears at least.

        and further:

        “i noticed you never took me up on my challenge…. maybe you can juxtapose these w/some alternate narrative demonstrating how the communist movement in the US carried out terrorists acts and ethnic cleansing referring to it as romantic.”

        Well, gee, for one stealing the secrets of the atom bomb which, being a non-pariel weapon of terror…. Or, say, endeavoring to cover up Stalin’s ethnic cleansing of lots of different places in the USSR. Or, say….

        and further:

        “well in that case i’ll call solomon , thomas friedman, jeffery goldberg and joe lieberman all terrorists and then maybe you’ll see the meaningfulness of my distinction….”

        But annie, it’s *your* original distinction that would indeed absolve (if not totally then at least substantially) “followers” like Solomon and Friedman and etc., don’t you see? Because it’s obvious you don’t regard them as just mere, poor “romanced” souls.

        “i never stated nor implied those romanticized were “totally absolved”.

      • lysias
        June 27, 2010, 5:22 pm

        It certainly is possible to have a certain sympathy for Irgun, the Communists, and their sympathizers of yore. What is not possible is not to have the same sympathy for Hamas and its sympathizers, unless one is operating purely on the basis of prejudice.

  10. Gellian
    June 27, 2010, 7:02 am

    Solomon’s remark is monstrous. Her interview embodies the apartheid mentality — everyone is human, but some humans are more human than others. Sickening.

  11. ish
    June 27, 2010, 7:33 am

    There was another priceless bit of NYT’s double standard a week or so ago in their report of an attempted hijacking in the Soviet Union by dissident Jews.

    See my own blog:
    link to thecahokian.blogspot.com

  12. potsherd
    June 27, 2010, 9:36 am

    I like how they say “boarding” the train – as if they had tickets.

  13. Debonnaire
    June 27, 2010, 9:57 am

    This Solomon harpie has terrible hair and a face like a flatworm. Dresses badly too. Cleary, a very troubled broad. Re Phillip Roth: Three American novels explored the What If The Nazis Had Won? scenario: THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE (Philip K. Dick) and FATHERLAND (Robert Harris) were superb, electrifying. THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA by Roth was dull, schlocky, and overwrought.

    • Donald
      June 27, 2010, 10:41 am

      Your criticism of Solomon’s personal appearance says more about you than her. Who gives a damn? Stick to the point.

      The literary criticism might be valid–I’ve only read Dick’s novel (a long time ago), so I can’t say you’re right or wrong about that.

      • Donald
        June 27, 2010, 11:21 am

        Also, that’s not Solomon.

    • Citizen
      June 27, 2010, 1:45 pm

      Inter alia, Roth sure smeared Lindbergh. What I’d like to know is how did Roth get out of US Army basic training with nothing but a sprained back–talk about a quickie honorable discharge. I’m jealous.

  14. ahmed
    June 27, 2010, 12:13 pm

    Another NYT reporter, Jennifer Steinhauer, thinks “Arab” and “terrorist” is interchangeable. See this recent correction:

    A Political Memo article on Tuesday about Senator John McCain’s having gone from presidential candidate to a senator furiously defending his seat quoted incorrectly from a comment about Barack Obama at a town-hall-style meeting during the 2008 campaign. Mr. McCain came to the defense of Mr. Obama when a woman at the meeting called him “an Arab” — she did not say “a terrorist.”

  15. Debonnaire
    June 27, 2010, 12:18 pm

    Donald, “There’s nothing more profound than the superficial” (Oscar Wilde) Looks, appearances say almost everything about a person. If you don’t take that into consideration, you’re debasing the work of the soul. Do you think it’s a coincidence that Ayn Rand was a loathesome looking woman with body odor? That John Boehner and Mitch McConnell look like something out of Cruickshank?

    • Donald
      June 27, 2010, 12:28 pm

      Maybe you are a fraud. Nobody could be this stupid.

    • Sumud
      June 27, 2010, 7:19 pm

      If that’s your reading, you need to dig a little deeper with Wilde.

  16. Citizen
    June 27, 2010, 3:00 pm

    George Orwell’s Notes on Nationalism (h/t Hume’s Ghost):

    All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side . . . The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

  17. MHughes976
    June 27, 2010, 3:44 pm

    Are you sure that O.Wilde said that? He did say that to ‘the elect’ beautiful things ‘mean only Beauty’ (isn’t this in the intro to Dorian Gray?), which is Platonist language recalling Plato’s perhaps reluctant admission that Socrates, who had a really beautiful soul, looked quite odd. I don’t know if we have evidence about the whiff he gave off. I suppose that Hitler’s famously excessive perspiration must have caused problems to those near him.

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