Siun and Philip Munger say FDL has offered a platform for criticism of Israel

My post yesterday on Firedoglake suppressing criticism of Israel has hit a nerve; even neocon Eli Lake has commented on it. I’m going to respond later but in the meantime, I wanted to post two sharply-critical comments that we’ve received from two longtime contributors to FDL, the blogger Siun and the composer Philip Munger. Their responses are in the comment thread, but this is an important conversation on the left (as Alex Kane notes); and it feels right to highlight these criticisms from the FDL community. On a defensive note, I’d add that Jane Hamsher, FDL’s founder, has been tweeting that I’ve been in favor of McCarthyite tactics. That’s not me. She is referring to a post by Jack Ross about blacklists. Yes I like Jack’s independent mind, which mingles anti-Zionism and libertarianism; and we post a lot of stuff I don’t personally agree with but find interesting.

Now here’s Siun, followed by Philip Munger:

I am stunned by this given our continuing overage of IP issues, particularly the free rein and encouragement I’ve received from Jane to write on our flagship front page, warning of the run-up to Cast Lead, 2-3 posts a day during that horror, live blogging of the assault on the Mavi Mamara and much more. I’d suggest you and your readers take a look before launching such an unfounded attack.

Also, I’ve made a point of linking to you on many occasions and encouraging our readers to follow things here as well.

While the progressive blogosphere has persistently avoided IP issues, Jane has been one of the only site owners to offer a platform for precisely this type of coverage – and I’d note I have never had my work on IP issues edited or censored in any fashion, only encouraged and promoted.

Thanks for just dismissing several years of my work and for attacking one of the few spots where IP issues reach a larger audience.

Philip Munger:

I’ve been involved with how firedoglake deals with the inevitable hassles that ensue in an online community when I/P gets brought up as long as anyone. I post there as Edward Teller, and have written a few front-page articles for fdl and hundreds of essays for The Seminal, the fdl niche at which the exchange between Leen and Rayne occurred. Several of my Seminal diaries have been front-paged at fdl. Some of my I/P diaries have been headlined, but I’m more likely to get headlined there when I write about Alaska politics, as I live in Wasilla and I’m a long-time critic of you-know-who (see chapter 13 of Eric Boehlert’s Bloggers on the Bus).

I started commenting at fdl shortly after the blog was created. I was one of the first people to attempt to write there about Palestinian rights, militant Zionist expansionism and the concerns many have about the power of the Israel lobby, particularly their influence on congressional decisions.

From early 2005 until about the time of the 2006 Hezbollah War, it was extremely difficult to comment about I/P without your comment going into moderation for minutes or even hours. If you entered the term “AIPAC” in a comment, the comment went into long, long moderation. We got around that by entering the term “A*P*C,” which skirted the filters.

That changed in July-August 2006. Since then, there have been hundreds of diaries at various fdl niches that are critical of policies and issues that pertain to Israel.

In a comment here several weeks back, I linked to a question I had posed in October 2006 to then-Adm. Joe Sestak at a Blue America session at fdl that sought to clarify Sestak’s position on Israeli settlement expansion. Sestak replied. Nobody moderated the exchange. Nor have any of my thousands of comments at fdl on the topics of I/P been moderated or deleted since mid-2006.

I’m not quite sure what Rayne is attempting to achieve in her very hands-on interjection as “site editor” into some diaries at fdl, but this interjection has not occurred at any of my diaries there. I haven’t written any I/P diaries there since August 8, and this tempest only began last week, from what I’ve been able to determine, so I can’t write that if there is a new policy at fdl regarding I/P diaries, I had noticed it in my contributions.

I would like to stress, though, that more than any multi-issue progressive blog in the country, fdl has attempted to honestly record the changing environment in how the blogosphere, American politics, cultural trends and other related issues reflect current events in Israel, the occupied territories, Gaza and our own country. Here are the titles of my last five diaries there on I/P-USA issues:

Thoughts on Abe Foxman’s Speechlessness over Fareed Zakaria’s Return of the ADL’s Humphrey Award

Israeli Troops Violate U.N. Resolution 1701 in Provocation that Kills at Least Five – War, or Communications Probe?

Time for Abe Foxman to Apologize to Jimmy Carter

British Prime Minister Calls Gaza a “Prison Camp”

Andrew Breitbart’s Next Target? – Oliver Stone

These are recent, and were written in less than two weeks. Nobody hassled me about writing them. fdl live-blogged the Mavi Marmara fiasco and MV Rachel Corrie interception better than any other multi-issue blog in the western hemisphere.

I’ve discussed I/P coverage at fdl in e-mails with fdl editors, contributors and Jane Hamsher herself, many times over the past four years. In all these communications, I felt that the people with whom I was corresponding were very fair, and that in the exchanges progress was made.

What more can one ask of the site, Phil?

About Philip Weiss

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

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

  1. Walid says:

    Siun and Philip Munger are right on this one, Phil and you are wrong. On the other FDL thread, I copy-pasted Siun’s article in the FDL on the assault on the Marmara in which Israel is dragged over the coals and which include links to about 5 other titles equally unflattering to Israel and you and your readers chose to ignore it and the posters continued bashing FDL on your signal to do so. Munger on a couple of occasions posted on Mondoweiss links to articles he had written on FDL that were very unflattering to Israel and those too were not taken into account.

    I’m left with the impression that posters on Mondoweiss spring into action when they hear the sound of Phil’s little bell and they do it without analysing if Phil call to do so is right or wrong. In this situation, Phil is wrong. I’m not defending FDL’s pro-Israel position as much as I’m attacking Phil’s statement about FDL suppressing anti-Israel stories.

    • For the record, my comment in the prior FDL thread is not addressed to FDL specifically as I am not personally that familiar with their structure. I’ve gone there as bloggers I like migrated to FDL, but ultimately gravitated to other sites on a more regular basis. Should they actually allow and foster open discussion of the I/P conflict, regardles sof their own position, I’d certainly want to participate (I think my account is still valid).

  2. HPH says:

    This exchange reminds me that during a basketball game last week I got between two really big guys who were about to get physical while arguing over the score. They were on the same team! I’m happy to report that they shook hands and chatted after the game ended.

  3. clenchner says:

    Siun and Munger confirm more factually what I felt reading Kathleen Galt’s/Leen’s post.
    Jane Hamsher and the rest of the FDL crew didn’t deserve to be attacked that way. Leen comes off as shrill and argumentative.
    The question for me is, given all this, why were her charges megaphoned so easily by Phil and so many other voices? Why this obsessive examination of progressive media outlets for what they don’t say (as opposed to what they do say)?
    That kind of media criticism makes no sense.
    Progressive outlets might devote more space to the Israeli-Palestinian issue or less; more to social security privatization or less; more to US policy towards Cuba or less. Interpreting the number of column inches and prominence that individuals choose to focus falls under my working definition of ‘McCarthyism.’ Might as well accuse poor Hamsher of sympathy for the right wing Cuban exiles because of a lack of column inches on the Cuban 5….
    The small-tent far-left that is angry when some progressives won’t ‘behave’ by adopting their positions, then resorts to attempted punishment of miscreant media.
    Luckily, this boomerangs quite well in favor of FDL.

  4. annie says:

    since i haven’t been visiting fdl for a long time outside of siun’s (always awesome contributions i shouldn’t have spoken wrt my ‘impressions’ earlier without giving thought to the rukus that might ensue from the hurt feelings.

    ultimately to those of us who think this issue is vital to our national interest, global peace, human rights, and mankind it’s in all our interests to reach across the aisles with encouragement and not alienate people.

    maybe my defenses went up when i read that exchange and maybe (as i expressed in the earlier thread) i thought the request (for a whisper from jane) was not as offensive as the responses to it implied and could have been diffused by a less defensive response. that goes for me too. i’m sorry for not being more ‘fair’ and also acknowledging while addressing siun (truly unprecedented interviews on iraq btw) how jane did host and facilitate all that.

    so in the interest of peace in our blogging world i’d like us to make up and hope going forward into the next election work together to expose more and have a productive dialogue about israel and palestine to facilitate progress during this tumultuous time.

    peace.

  5. RE: “My post yesterday on Firedoglake suppressing criticism of Israel has hit a nerve…” – Nostril Weiss
    MY COMMENT: You devil, you. You’re such an unrepentant polemicist. A veritable “fire starter”.
    A LATE SUMMER EVENING’S MUSICAL INTERLUDE:

    “…And we’re caught up in the crossfire
    Of heaven and hell
    And we’re searchin’ for shelter
    Lay your body down
    Lay your body down
    Lay your body down…
    …Tell the devil that he can go back from where he came
    His firey arrows drew their bead in vain
    And when the hardest part is over we’ll be here
    And our dreams will break the boundaries of our fear
    The boundries of our fear…”
    – Brandon Flowers

    Brandon Flowers, Crossfire (VIDEO, 04:13) – link to youtube.com
    P.S. Flowers should do more acting. He’s a “natural”!

    • P.S.S. Perhaps it’s just me, but I thought Flowers (formerly the lead singer of The Killers) looked very much “at home” hanging upside down in a ‘straight jacket’ near the end of the video. I don’t know what, if anything, to make of that.

  6. Kathleen says:

    Know the folks here at Mondoweiss will keep pushing and bringing people here to read important information about the I/P conflict.

    And yes Siun and Ed Teller have written about the I/P conflict at FDL. Although the issue is not a huge focus at FDL. At least in proportion to its stated importance by many middle east experts, world leaders etc . And I understand that that is the owner and teams choice. But noticed. The heavy hitters over at FDL seem to avoid. Understand to some degree that it is clearly not their interest. But in the often stated importance of this issue one might consider that such a so called progressive site would take this issue on more vigorously. Could Siun or Ed be paid ?

    We need to keep hammering our MSM the progressive bloggers etc. This issue is we all know one of the most if not the most critical issue to resolve in the middle east. And critical for folks to become far more informed about

    Please contact Rachel Maddow, Keith , Matthews, Ed, Dylan Ratigan and ask them why they do not touch this issue. They did not even whisper about the Goldstone Report. Silence

    Will be out of the loop the next few days. Painting metal roofs if the whether stays clear.

    • Kathleen says:

      oops “weather”

      thanks Phil and team for all you are doing to open up this debate, and link to critical information that we do not hear reported in our MSM or elsewhere

  7. Kathleen says:

    Siun” While the progressive blogosphere has persistently avoided IP issues, Jane has been one of the only site owners to offer a platform for precisely this type of coverage – and I’d note I have never had my work on IP issues edited or censored in any fashion, only encouraged and promoted.”

    As Phillip writes later. FDL has come along way since you could not put in Aipac with out being moderated. FDL did start offering a platform. But more than any other topic moderators jump on (to some degree understandable). But some moderators clearly come with their own baggage and bias

    David Corn’s original sites was one of the first to open up this debate. But was heavily attacked and shut down. Norman Finkelstein, Muzzlewatch (also chose to shut down comments due to attacks) Raw Story, Glenn Greenwald’s threads over at Salon, were open. Huffington Post has opened up quite a bit the last year.

    Wondering if there could possibly be any movement towards the idea that there is plenty of room for improvement. Progressive bloggers besides Gleen Greenwald being willing to bring this critical issue up when they have the opportunity to mention it in the national spotlight. Mention it

  8. Kathleen says:

    Sincerely hope this conversation, debate, challenge moves in the direction of…there is room for improvement, doors opening further etc. At the same time a big thank you to the work of Phillp Weiss, Jane Hamsher, Siun, Ed etc for all you folks do. Let’s keep pushing those doors open more.

    Room for improvement a consideration

    • Kathleen,
      FDL is not on my radar at all- I’ve peeked in a couple times, that’s all.

      I do appreciate your efforts, Kathleen, to track and draw attention to the way I/P reporting and commentary is, shall we say filtered on several major purportedly not-conservative blogs and major non-mainstream media outlets, such as Diane Rehm, Rachel Maddow, even C Span Washington Journal.

      Since I’m not a regular at FDL, this is just a speculative comparison, based on extensive observation of what takes place on the big orange: Siun’s and Phil Munger’s free-wheeling ability to post diaries on FDL (now that they are able to mention a*p*c) is the equivalent of deference paid to The Heathlander and maybe one other diarist (TomJ comes to mind) on DKos. The commentariat on the orange blog still features a swarm of political correctness monitors who behave like fifth-grade teacher’s pets enforcing the interpreted wishes of The Principal* and casting a chill on informed discussion; to be fair, the same pc monitors drive off strident attacks on the ‘P’ side of the debate, and to be even more fair, with the absence of some strident commenters and with the effects of time and maturity, more intellectually honest debate is now possible on I/P issues on DKos. For example, similar to the a*p*c situation at FDL, formerly, to use the word “hasbara” in a DKos comment was to invite “hide rating” if not banning; now, it can be more readily discussed. To be sure, DKos still indulges in childish behavior under the misnomer community moderation, and applauds its Mondoweiss bashers, but several persistent and fairminded bloggers have moved the discussion of Palestinian rights and the ability to critique Israel onto a more open and intellectually honest platform. Eventually, the Orange may achieve Mondoweiss stature.

      *Markos Moulitsos has been quoted as not finding the situation of Israel-Palestine conflict worthy of significant attention on DKos, which is reflected in the fact that the subject receives scant attention at annual conferences organized by DKos. Fair enough, it’s his blog. But one would think the blog that represents itself as a major voice for the Democratic party would be attuned to the political influence of a*p*c.

  9. Thanks for highlighting Siun’s comment and mine, Phil.

    Two points now, as I have to go perform our monthly lake water quality testing this afternoon and early evening:

    1) In an oversight, I neglected in my recent fdl article list, the most recent, “Did Harvard Quietly Divest from Israeli Companies – or Not?” I wrote it August 16th.

    2) This current post at mondoweiss went up, somewhat ironically, as Siun’s post, “The Theatrics of Obama’s Israeli Palestinian Negotiations,” was on the front page at fdl. At this time, some of the commenters are discussing how mondoweiss has approached what is claimed to be happening over at fdl.

  10. For a bit of background before I head out onto the lake, here is a post I wrote at my blog late last year, that explains why I consider writing about Palestinian rights and Israeli exceptionalism to be important, from my little nook in Wasilla, where – at least on the surface – one might think spending time on I/P is a bit obsessive:

    PA and the Palestinians

  11. CTuttle says:

    Phil,
    Like Philip Munger, I’m a longtime FDL contributor and blog extensively on I/P issues (take a gander…), Jane and the larger FDL community should not be construed as ‘Progressive, except for Palestine’… That is factually inaccurate…! Leen and I are great friends (at least in my eyes) and frequently contribute to each other’s Diaries…! Please do not paint FDL with that paint brush…!

  12. Siun says:

    Thanks for front paging this Phil.

    I had no idea this whole uproar was going on until I emailed our editors to let them know I had an extra post this week (on Rabbi Yosef’s call for genocide) and my colleagues pointed me to all this.

    I’ll be interested to see your next.

  13. Danaa says:

    Philip Munger and Siun, your contributions on FDL were notable indeed, especially during the Gaza flotilla discussions. Personally I have not commented at FDL due to lack of time (got to pick some), so what perspective I have may be quite incomplete. What I do know is that FDL is a good step beyond DKos when it comes to issues of importance to progressives, and I have taken every opportunity to so say on DK and elsewhere. Jane Hamsher’s courage and focus on substansive issues are certainly commendable, and I’d imagine her plate is quite full without having to venture into foreign policy or the murky middle eastern waters.

    That being said, I think it would help if you could look at some of the comments on the other thread (including mine, I hope), which covered rather far ranging ground, not just FDL related – as to what and why many of us feel the permissible discourse on the left is woefully limited. The issue Kathleen brought up was the heavy handed moderation she encountered, voicing her opinion, which admittedly she does quite passionately. Perhaps you two are more diplomatic and know how to present the issues with less combativeness. More likely you have acquired – over time – enough reputation to where you get a pass from site’s owners and are trusted not to cross certain red lines. Or perhap you are the token voice offered by FDL (which is what some might imply). Yes, it so happens that the recent actions of Israel – murdering peace activists in cold blood – were so egregious that it opened up considerable space where none was available before, and kudos to you both for doing both the walk and talk through. To be fair, it’s not jusst FDL For example, I saw, for the first time substansive posts on the front pages of OpenLeft, leaving no room for doubt as to how people there felt – and where they have been, probably all along. And the ensuing comments were quite good as well. I was epecially gratified by the posts made by Paul Rosenberg and Chris Bowers, which were very well received, all in all. It’s just that the question remains – where have they been all along?

    What I think is needed is not just criticism of Israel’s actions which are getting wore by the day. The real conversation that needs to take place – is the role played by the lobby in co-opting essentially the entire political class in the US and subverting the US’s foreign policy to a direction that is at serious odds with the US’s interests. And in that J street is complicit, as is Grayson as is Obama’s cabinet, a is Martin Indyk and Rahm Emanuel and chumer and Al Franken and pretty much the rest of congress (with the notable exceptions of Kucinich and Ron paul). My take is that unless the left is willing to take on the issue of the total take-over by the lobby (made worse by the fact that it does not even represent the majority of jewish american), we have no hope of tackling any progressive issue successfully, be it foreign or domestic. And that’d be my one key message to Jane.

    That Israel’s actions are so blatantly inhumane helps and allows a few like you two – and kathleen, and Tom J and Assaf at DK – to post serious critiques – give or take a few tiffies along the way. But this is far from enough as you would surely well know. The reason many come to this blog is that there are no artificially drawn red lines here, plus we get to hear from Arab and Palestinian voices aplenty, as well as quite a few radical Jewish voices, like Jeffrey Blankfort and Joel Kovel and many others. More importantly, Mondoweiss is one of the few places where non Jewish people can come together with Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian andf international voices from everywhere without fear of being called anti-semites or drugged through the mud (not that things don’t flare up occasionally, of course). I know of no other blog (well, perhaps Greenwald’s, but that’s a special case) where comments are as far ranging as what one finds here.

    Personally I’d simply like to see more of that because it is, IMO, well past time to get beyond the gingerly stepping around of toes. Israel is moving further to the right by the day, dragging us all with it, and it will not be long before many more jewish people (ie, the progressives/liberals) will have to make difficult personal choices. The coming schism is nothing we have seen yet, again, IMHO. I happen to believe that on a global level, Judaism is splitting into different streams, with the coming divergence every bit as wide as eg, the catholic/protestant split was at the time, or the sunni/shia or England/America. This is likely to be quite traumatic and may even come with some violence (in Israel I expect it will).

    And that is why conversations about lobbies, and money, and undue influence, and mayhem committed in our name are important – and the heck with those artificial, politically motivated red lines, and delicate feelings. This is really about life and death for the Palestinians and the peril to all of our souls, Jewish and not. Compared to what’s at stake, the quibbles about how far what blog is willing to go when is just petty stuff.

    Too long a post, yet again. Darn.

    • CTuttle says:

      Danaa,

      Col.(ret.) Pat Lang, at Sic Semper Tyrannis has done an admirable job screaming about the need to impose the FARA requirements for AIPAC, ADL, JDL, ad nauseam, members that are lobbying directly inside Foggy Bottom, the Pentagon, and, the halls of Congress…!

    • Siun says:

      Danaa,

      I freely admit FDL is not a single issue blog – and that I do not post daily on the range of topics you suggest but I would note that I have been a frontpager at FDL for years now and have a scheduled slot in which I write every single week about Middle East issues – including such things as hosting conversations with Iraqi contacts and discussing the deep connections between the US and Israel. If you have not read my work – and if you like Kathleen – chose to not consider me “a heavy hitter” that’s your view but it does not reflect my role on the FDL team nor the value placed on our coverage. As just one example, I will note my coverage of Operation Cast Lead which included multiple front page posts almost every day, many picked up by major aggregators at the NYT amongst others and many of which broke before the included news hit any US sources. Or consider our all night live blog of the attack on the Mavi Mamara during which we noted the actions of the Israeli troops which we saw on the live Turkish feed before that news hit the press.

      I have to admit I find it frustrating that folks who do not read my work feel so comfortable assuming it is simply a “token” or a “pass.” That I have often linked to here – though more commonly to local middle eastern sources since I believe that we need to begin to hear local voices without intermediaries – again, seems to be ignored.

      Perhaps you should actually read us before deciding we’re doing a lousy job.

      • Danaa says:

        Siun, if you read my comment again, you’ll see that I was far from dismissive. No denigration was intended to either the value or quality of your work. The issues I took were not with you or Munger, as you both go well beyond the call of duty; neither would I criticize which particular aspect of I/P you choose to highlight and when; that is your prerogative, as well it should be. My comments were intended to be general. There’s simply not enough out there in the left blogosphere. Not when it i compared to the “dark side” on the right and not when the politics and MSM are not exactly our echo chamber. I brought up a couple of issues that I think need exploring – badly. Namely the powerlessness of our congress- and the entire political system to stand up to one lobby. Not even big pharma or big oil or big insurance or the gun lobby get the kind of pass AIPAC-and-friends get. But that is an aspect that interests me and may not be of similar interest to others, which I’m willing to accept. Kathleen’s request from Jane was that she use the public space she is given to at least mention – however briefly – the importance of I/P to progressives everywhere (and to libertarians and even to some conservatives). I saw absolutely no reason to take offene at such a request that is, in a way, a compliment.

        Anyways, you shouldn’t have taken such umbrage at the word ‘token”. Thorgood Marshall may have been a token too, a was judge Brandeis in hi day. Sally Field was a token at first, then many others followed. I certainly did not mean it in the sense of Mike Steele tokenism, but only brought up the word in comparison to the world of the left blogophere at large. Even if there are 20 superb commenters, they’d still be token, ie, a drop in the bucket, becaue the bucket itself i o deep and amply funded. Surely you don’t mind being in the company of Greenwald, who is definitely a tolerated token, at least on some level. Or Roger Cohen, who’s NYT’s token, as able as he is. So here’s to first class tokenism – I just want more of the same….

        Oh yes, a bit less sensitivity wouldn’t be bad either.

        • Danaa says:

          I meant, of course, Sally Ride, not Sally Field (hey, that’ an easy slip, token or not). Such carelessness plus the many unfortunate missing ”s” letters should explain why I am not out there doing the good work of blogging….or does it?

      • Kathleen says:

        Siun your post are great. So are Ed’s But do you really post about the middle east “every single week”? I have been going to FDL for years and have not been aware of you writing something “every single week”

        Questions
        Do you think it would have been appropriate for Jane (or any other so called progressive blogger) during her interview on CSpan’s Washington Journal to have included the I/P issue in the list of issues that progressives are not happy with the OBama administration about? Just a whisper. Whisper

        Do you think Rayne is going over the top demanding that commenters define terms like “zionism” more than is demanded of other overused general terms at FDL

        Do you think the I/P issue is critical enough issue to shed the light on on a so called progressive blog weekly?

        Do you think it is important to question or challenge so called progressive bloggers when one thinks that there are huge and contradictory gaps on critical issues?

        From what I understand Jane has sunk to calling people names in her tweets. Not facebook person. This is too bad. I have endlessly repeated that I have a deep and enduring respect for the work that Jane has and continues to do. Sinking to these levels is a pathetic and childish way to deal with the questions and challenges put forward.

        Hoping that folks could move towards admitting that there could be room for improvement in regard to mentioning, addressing, writing about, shedding the light on this critical issue. A whisper.

      • Kathleen says:

        Siun do not get me wrong. Your post are terrific and informative. But do you really post “every single week” at FDL about these issues?

        “I freely admit FDL is not a single issue blog – and that I do not post daily on the range of topics you suggest but I would note that I have been a frontpager at FDL for years now and have a scheduled slot in which I write every single week about Middle East issues – including such things as hosting conversations with Iraqi contacts and discussing the deep connections between the US and Israel.”

    • annie says:

      not too long danaa, excellent comment.

    • Kathleen says:

      Bingo

      “That Israel’s actions are so blatantly inhumane helps and allows a few like you two – and kathleen, and Tom J and Assaf at DK – to post serious critiques – give or take a few tiffies along the way. But this is far from enough as you would surely well know. The reason many come to this blog is that there are no artificially drawn red lines here, plus we get to hear from Arab and Palestinian voices aplenty, as well as quite a few radical Jewish voices, like Jeffrey Blankfort and Joel Kovel and many others. More importantly, Mondoweiss is one of the few places where non Jewish people can come together with Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian andf international voices from everywhere without fear of being called anti-semites or drugged through the mud (not that things don’t flare up occasionally, of course). I know of no other blog (well, perhaps Greenwald’s, but that’s a special case) where comments are as far ranging as what one finds here.

      Personally I’d simply like to see more of that because it is, IMO, well past time to get beyond the gingerly stepping around of toes. Israel is moving further to the right by the day, dragging us all with it, and it will not be long before many more jewish people (ie, the progressives/liberals) will have to make difficult personal choices. The coming schism is nothing we have seen yet, again, IMHO. I happen to believe that on a global level, Judaism is splitting into different streams, with the coming divergence every bit as wide as eg, the catholic/protestant split was at the time, or the sunni/shia or England/America. This is likely to be quite traumatic and may even come with some violence (in Israel I expect it will).”

  14. Oscar says:

    Phil is to be commended for providing clarification and amplification to this issue — as we always appreciate Philip Munger’s contributions to Mondo.

    Meanwhile, still waiting for the NYT to correct its article claiming that the Turkish charitable organization IHH was deemed by the German government to be a terrorist organization . . . tick tock tick tock. . .

  15. Class act all around….. -N49.

  16. I’m left with the impression that posters on Mondoweiss spring into action when they hear the sound of Phil’s little bell and they do it without analyzing if Phil call to do so is right or wrong.

    Actually, I find it comparable to the Dan Rather / Bush National Guard controversy. Dan Rather broadcast information which turned out to be questionable, which conveniently distracted everyone from the reality of Bush’s special treatment, and failure to serve out his enlistment regardless of the veracity of the letter.

    What those comments showed me was how common the practice was and having the opportunity to say so clearly hit a nerve. There’s times a technical difficulty or an excessive delay makes me jump the gun and assume something more nefarious is taking place, but that doesn’t change the reality of the amount that filtering that goes on, distorting the discussion altogether. If a blog has substantial traffic but is perceived as avoiding key issues or being to heavy-handed with commenters, it does build resentment.

    I have often gotten lengthy rebuttals with all citations from legitimate sources blocked, but a short post noting that and complaining of not getting posted inevitably has someone respond, “that came through so obviously you’re mistaken about the gatekeeping.”

    Someone can say some stereotypically offensive nonsense about Palestinians/Arabs/Muslims but a statement highlighting the offensiveness and asking them to try replacing the names with chosenites to see if that wouldn’t be a clear example of bigotry does not go up. I think some of the worst gatekeepers (with only small variations in egregiousness) are Daily Kos and Huffington Post. Crooks & Liars does not allow any 9/11 conspiracy discussion (don’t know if that’s still accurate) but seems pretty good otherwise. Balloon Juice will give posters their say on issues even when I/P conflict disagreements get heated. I’m drawing a blank on others I’ve seen agenda driven moderation (other than the right wing sites which pretty much let none of it past), but probably because if it feels that way, they’re not worth going back to and driving up their traffic numbers.

    This particular exchange in regards to Mondoweiss publishing critiques of FDL from participants in the FDL community is quite informative. Instead of two sides talking past each other, enough information has been brought forth so that some have decided that revising their initial perception is called for.

    I would love to see a follow up article in FDL (and/or here) about progressive sites that have a rep for rigidly controlling or avoiding discussion of the I/P conflict. I learned from one poster at HuffPo in a difference of views on Hugo Chavez about something called an international corruption perception index (based on a number of survey questionnaires on selected quality of life issues). I would love to see something similar created to determine the perception of hidden agendas of various blogs with regards to the I/P issue. I feel it’s not without significance that “Pam Atlas” (Oshrey/Geller[sp?]) of Atlas Shrugs cites Huffington Post as a hotbed of anti-Semitism because whether intentional or not, serves to provide cover for the fact that heavy filtering in the other direction regularly takes place.

    This happens with so-called mainstream publications such as when a reference says, “Even the ultra-liberal New York Times feels Israel is right to [insert latest outrage here]” I’m sure there are other examples along those lines as well in the rest of the MSM.

    The closest thing I’ve seen to that is orgs such as Media Matters and FAIR. Many times I’ve seen Israel apologists quote some site prefacing a statement with, “Israel-hating Media Matters says…” Noam Chomsky in “Manufacturing Consent” documents the absence of legitimate competing views on ABCs “Nightline” among others. I remember a weekend early morning public affairs program on KNBC-TV 4 several decades ago with a panel discussion of the I/P conflict, and to them “balance” meant moderate Zionist, “regular” Zionist, hard right Zionist, and extreme hard right Zionist. It never occurred to me at the time that a truly fair forum might have representation of the Palestinian side, or Israelis that felt full equality should be the goal.

    If FDL is more open than depicted, I’m thankful for that, but without embarking on a witch hunt, it would still be worthwhile to gauge sites for their transparency and fairness in regards to issues sealing with Israel and Palestine. Where that might lead to difficulty would be in honestly assessing the impact that has caused in other areas such as politics and media and if that is discussed. It’s no accident that so many others avoided what Walt and Mearsheimer had the courage to tackle.

    • Kathleen says:

      Jane Hamsher demands complete devotion to her ways and demands.

      A lefitie fundamentlist. Someone who calls out our Reps, Obama, Rahm Emmanuel for his low life below the belt comments. Yet when Jane is challenged, constructively criticized she is unable and refuses to budge (whisper about the I/P conflict when obviously appropriate). In fact she not only does not budge she resorts to being vindictive and hitting below the belt by calling people names “mentally ill troll” and banning them from her blog. Jane Hamsher does the very same thing with her power that she calls Rahm Emmanuel out on. She is vindictive and acts like a two year old who has been challenged. She throws a hissy fit Jane is Rahm Emmanuel’s female equivalent

      so hypocritical and unnecessary

      Rahm Emanuel: Liberals Are “F–king Retarded”
      link to fdlaction.firedoglake.com