Is he a reliable narrator?

Israel/Palestine
on 14 Comments

A year ago, Jeffrey Goldberg approvingly quoted a reader who said that the Jewish settlement of Gilo is part of Jerusalem:


First of all, Gilo is not a suburb of Jerusalem.  It’s a neighborhood in the city, i.e., within the city limits, forming the southernmost part of the city (not in “east” Jerusalem as a number of ignorant journalists have reported).

If you visit Gilo, you see that it is at the very least a suburb. It is on a hill a few miles south of Jerusalem and it is now gobbling up the lands of Walaje, a Palestinian village. There are demonstrations against this further illegal expansion all the time. Palestinian houses are being demolished, lands seized, farmers dispossessed. The unending narrative of 43 years of military-religious occupation.

And now we read in the Jewish Journal that

Goldberg forged his Jewish identity in response to some schoolyard anti-Semitism whose traumas left him longing for the so-called muscle Judaism represented by Zionism. As a teenager, he voraciously consumed Zionist literature by Theodor Herzl, Max Nordau and Vladimir Jabotinsky, and chose to go to a socialist Zionist camp in the Catskills, where summer games like “Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” and “Siege of Jerusalem” were imbued with historic seriousness [emphasis mine]

So you have a race man schooled in passion plays about Jerusalem. Is Goldberg a reliable narrator for Americans about what is or isn’t the occupation?

14 Responses

  1. Avi
    October 29, 2010, 9:06 am

    If Gilo is a neighborhood of Jerusalem, then Oakland, CA is a neighborhood of San Francisco and Alexandria, Virginia is a neighborhood of Washington, DC.

    Goldberg should stick to being a military prison guard in the Israeli military.

    • Richard Witty
      October 29, 2010, 10:11 am

      There are wonderful elements of all the writers that were quoted. Admiring an idea of someone that you disagree with, even strongly, is NOT a description of their views.

      “Is Goldberg a reliable narrator for Americans about what is or isn’t the occupation?”

      I thought that his comments on the Iraq War, and recent articles on his interpretation of the relations with Iran, were your main concern.

      I’m not sure why you seek to portray his comments as valueless or dangerous. Intelligent people can distinguish their own conclusions from even confusing facts and/or interpretations.

      “I differ” is more honest and representative than “he is evil” because at one moment he referred to Gilo as a suburb rather than a neighborhood.

      Are you certain that is the standard of distinction of use of words that you want to be held to?

      • Richard Witty
        October 29, 2010, 10:13 am

        Also, what was the context of his comment on “suburb”. Was it in writing, in dialog commenting on another point, for another purpose?

        Or, do you think that he intentionally and insidiously inserted under the radar assumptions (like I accused Anna Balzer in correspondence about her presentation in Brattleboro, VT).

      • Shingo
        October 29, 2010, 9:47 pm

        “I’m not sure why you seek to portray his comments as valueless or dangerous. ”

        Yes Witty, nothign wrong with advicating the mass murder on 1 million Iraqis and taking the country to war based on lies is there?

        So long as Israel isn’t harmed in any way.

        “Intelligent people can distinguish their own conclusions from even confusing facts and/or interpretations.”

        In that case, 80% of Americans are unintelligent.

    • seafoid
      October 29, 2010, 11:53 am

      If Gilo is a suburb of Israeli Jerusalem, Ciudad Juarez would become an integral part of El Paso.

  2. bijou
    October 29, 2010, 9:33 am

    How soon we forget…Some historic background on Gilo.

    Quote:

    In the year 1970, the Israeli government confiscated 2,738 dunums from Beit Jala town, Beit Safafa, and Sharafat villages located at the northwestern side of Bethlehem District. The majority of these lands (41% – 1120 dunums) belong to families living in Beit Jala. In 1971, the Israeli bulldozers started to construct Gilo settlement, and since then Gilo has gone under an intensive urbanization process….

    • Philip Weiss
      October 29, 2010, 10:25 am

      Thanks for this Bijou, very helpful. And yes: Gilo feels like part of Bethlehem, not Jerusalem….

    • pabelmont
      October 29, 2010, 10:53 am

      Suburb? Neighborhood? Who cares? Does it depend on commute-time? Amount of un-built-up space in between? Are we talking city-planning here? Again, who cares? Let Israelis and their friends discuss these unimportant distinctions if they like. Again, who cares?

      “Suburb” and “neighborhood” are less pressing elements of description than “district within occupied territory massively and illegally settled by Israel”. that is what matters to me. “District within occupied Palestinian territory which must be returned to Palestine, without its Israeli settlers in residence, and possibly without its buildings either, if international law is to be complied with and also if there is to be a just and lasting peace.

      That’s at least what I care about.

      • MarkF
        October 29, 2010, 11:23 am

        Right, it’s like the scene in My Cousin Vinny. To paraphrase, the IDF comes in and evicts you from your home, throws you in the street and removes all your posessions and some one moves into your home – do you give a flying f$%## whether they call the location a neighborhood or a suburb?

      • annie
        October 29, 2010, 1:18 pm

        do you give a flying f$%## whether they call the location a neighborhood or a suburb?

        because of the whole one jerusalem attachment syndrome. israel keeps expanding jerusalem and insisting it all falls under the same umbrella.

  3. bijou
    October 29, 2010, 9:34 am

    And a helpful area map…

  4. MRW
    October 29, 2010, 3:17 pm

    muscle Judaism/socialist Zionist camp

    And who sez Jews don’t have their madrassas….

  5. DICKERSON3870
    October 29, 2010, 8:47 pm

    RE: “Goldberg forged his Jewish identity in response to some schoolyard anti-Semitism whose traumas left him longing for the so-called muscle Judaism represented by Zionism” – Jewish Journal
    MY COMMENT: So the Palestinians (and the Lebanese, Syrians, Iranians, etc) must be made to pay for anti-Semitism many decades ago on US schoolyards. If that isn’t sick, I don’t know what is.

  6. lyn117
    October 30, 2010, 4:13 pm

    “But the more insidious critique came when others denounced him for peddling Israeli propaganda, charging him with a deep, subconscious bias. As if somehow his Jewishness makes him unfit to write fairly about Israel.”

    I don’t know who accuses him of subconscious bias, it seems pretty conscious to me. But notice the typical Zionist illogic. His Jewishness isn’t making him unfit to write fairly about Israel, its his pro-Israel bias. Even some Zionists (Goldstone & ilk) are capable of writing fairly about Israel. Goldberg doesn’t appear to be.

    Sometimes I think I’m anti-Israel as much for their supporters’ assaults on logic (and truth) as their human rights violations.

Leave a Reply