Anti-semitism charge against Mearsheimer failed

Israel/Palestine
on 37 Comments

Time marches forward. In 2011, Croton-Harmon High School in New York decided to honor John Mearsheimer with its Distinguished Graduate Award. Josh Blumberg, then a senior at the school, was vexed by this. He had learned about Mearsheimer’s work when he was a member of “Write On For Israel,” The Jewish Week newspaper’s advocacy program for high school students. He complained in emails to the school superintendent, principal, vice principal and school board.

The school postponed the award indefinitely.

Then last November, Blumberg, now a student at University of Michigan, was home for Thanksgiving when he got upsetting news: Mearsheimer was granted the award after all!

Blumberg looked into the matter; and he has penned an article for the Jewish Week, “My effort to prevent John Mearsheimer from being honored,” that relates his post-award investigation: 

Why was the award granted despite the concerns expressed by the Croton community that the superintendent, and presumably other school officials, had previously thought to be prohibitive?  Had the new committee that was to be formed actually materialized, and did it decide that Dr. Mearsheimer was worthy of the award?  Why were objections from school board members, which I learned were raised again in 2012, also deemed to be insignificant?

On January 4, [2013] I sent an email to the superintendent, principal, vice-principal, and school board asking these questions, as well as expressing my disappointment in this decision. I told them that Croton-Harmon High School officials owe the community an explanation as to why they felt that Dr. Mearsheimer is to be regarded as a role model for the students of the Croton-Harmon School District….

In a response from the superintendent on January 7, he stated to me that additional research had been done in a newly formed committee that included “a board of education representative and a former board member, and a full representation was achieved including members of the faculty, administration, and student body (which was lacking on the original process).  After extensive research and discussion, the group did not find Mr. Mearsheimer to be anti-Semitic.  While there were some in the community who might not agree, the committee believed it needed to make an informed decision based on their research and is comfortable with that decision.”

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

37 Responses

  1. Marshall
    March 14, 2013, 1:07 pm

    Ha! Who among us has a certificated, official finding of non-anti-semitism? Congratulations to Prof. Mearsheimer.

    • pabelmont
      March 14, 2013, 2:01 pm

      Yes, but at least some of us were (once upon a time) on an AIPAC or Israel “enemies list”. ADC probably has info on that, maybe 1980s, thing. Such a listing was a GRAND thing! Imagine AIPAC officially saying to you (and to all your neighbors, employers, etc.) so-and-so really gets under my skin!

  2. Dan Crowther
    March 14, 2013, 1:14 pm

    Josh Blumberg will probably never understand why people don’t like him.

    • marc b.
      March 14, 2013, 1:33 pm

      Josh Blumberg will probably never understand why people don’t like him.

      i don’t like him because he appears to be another self-important, pseudo-ivy half-wit in need of a logic mentor.

      Then last November, Blumberg, now a student at University of Michigan, was home for Thanksgiving when he got upsetting news: Mearsheimer was granted the award after all!

      hilarious. the teenager leaves town only to later learn that people were able to independently reach conclusions about the ‘fitness’ of mearsheimer as a distinguished graduate? oh my. what other developments have occurred in the croton-harmon school district without josh’s approval?

      • ritzl
        March 14, 2013, 2:48 pm

        @marc b. You know that when he searches his name in an hour or so, his feelings are going to be hurt by what you said… Where’s your humanity, sir? ;)

      • marc b.
        March 14, 2013, 3:04 pm

        oy, ritzl. we can only hope he’ll pull through. but did you read his whole article? not that you need to waste your time. the excerpt is a sufficient sample for a thorough forensic psychoanalyis of josh. (how could i not hurt his feelings, when his feelings have a glass jaw?)

      • ritzl
        March 14, 2013, 3:43 pm

        Yep, the article was a 1000 word whine, but the comments were, surprisingly, 100% critical.

        I always wonder what an experience like this does to a younger person (this person). Do they become more insular or less insular? More thoughtful, or more reflexive?

        Cheers.

      • bilal a
        March 14, 2013, 6:31 pm

        Dear Future Employer of Josh Blumberg, university of michighan student, and ethno supremacist , Right On Israel !

        Boycott, Divest, Sanction Josh Blumberg.

        He will make your workplace a nightmare of diviseness and ethno bigtry.

      • marc b.
        March 15, 2013, 8:52 am

        bilal, not to pile on poor, beleaguered josh, but the thin skin and psycholgical fragility of youngish employees has become an increasing concern for employers, who’ve noticed a trend of sorts. with all the emphasis on positivity and self-esteem, many 20-somethings are incapable of accepting criticism, and even more incapable of modifying their conduct in response to criticism. to answer ritzl’s question, my experience is that criticism causes many josh types to become more reflexive. not that i’ve conducted a scientific study of the phenomenon.

      • Dan Crowther
        March 15, 2013, 7:00 pm

        It’s shockingly true marc- no study necessary

    • MLE
      March 14, 2013, 2:10 pm

      I had a guy like that in one of my college classes. He thought I should back up his obnoxious views because I was also Jewish.

      • Krauss
        March 14, 2013, 3:35 pm

        People like that are racists. I had a guy who was Italian in my high school class and who started to harass an Italian girl for dating a black guy. Why? Well, just because they’re both Italians she must apparently subscribe to what he feels is best for the Italian community, which basically means that her body should’ve belonged to him.

        This is the same mechanism, but instead of going after the boyfriends it is going after your views simply because of your genes. And if you don’t agree, the “self-hating Jew” attacks come. What was it the Jim Crow racists used to attack white women with who were dating interracially, ‘n*ggerlovers’ I think.

        Scum of the earth.

      • MLE
        March 14, 2013, 9:24 pm

        He was interning at MEMRI. It explained a looooooot.

  3. Chu
    March 14, 2013, 1:37 pm

    Aww, poor little Joshie. Perhaps his friends at Mich. Hillel can lick his wounds.
    Edit comment

    So sick of these brats. Israel creates a entire new sets of spoiled american children, whining about nothing. They are like little parrots that haven’t been fed.

    Focus on the country you live in and how you can improve it. Stop the sniveling about pet projects. Loyalty earns respect. It’s a class of whiners, that are often encouraged by their parents, shuls and inward-looking communities.

  4. lysias
    March 14, 2013, 1:43 pm

    I have a feeling the Hagel confirmation hearing was the new McCarthyism’s “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” moment.

    • Krauss
      March 14, 2013, 3:31 pm

      Except that McCarthy was a lone nut. AIPAC owns the senate, except maybe Rand Paul, Bernie Sanders and a few stray dogs. There will be no such moment. But there should’ve been.

      That’s why SNL, House of Cards, Colbert and others had to jump in. Even notorious Zionist Maher quipped that based on what he saw during the last few years, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Congress is in Israel’s lap.

      Where the pols won’t go, popular culture will.

      • lysias
        March 14, 2013, 6:33 pm

        McCarthy was no lone nut (except after he had discredited himself). Up to then, he had lots of support from the American people, and from Republican politicians. The FBI was secretly feeding him information.

      • MLE
        March 14, 2013, 9:31 pm

        McCarthy might have been the public face of the communist scare but it wasn’t just him. It’s like saying Pam gellar or david horowitz are nuts but there are a lot of people who think like them.

  5. Ellen
    March 14, 2013, 2:31 pm

    What is amazing is that Blumberg concludes his report with.
    I am disappointed that they would grant this award to someone who has so greatly and vehemently attacked a minority group for exercising its rights.

    This is dripping with nonsensical Hasbara, lies and defamation. Blumberg makes an accusation that Mearsheimer has vehemently attacked a minority group, but does not (cannot) back up his lie thrown out in print.

    Blumberg’s display of self preoccupation and narcissism is also striking.

    • Krauss
      March 14, 2013, 3:31 pm

      Actually, it is Blumberg who has attacked a minority group. They’re called truth-tellers and it is rare that they are as strong as Mearsheimer, for which we should be grateful.

  6. Les
    March 14, 2013, 2:45 pm

    Poor Josh Blumberg who fails to understand that his would be “revelation” is treated as common as household dust which it is. How would he respond to the likes of Fran Korotzer?

    link to mondoweiss.net

    • Citizen
      March 14, 2013, 11:23 pm

      @ Les
      It’s really alarming that such a snotty little ignorant brat has had any influence at all in the character assassination of such a brave, educated, and intelligent American man like Mr Mearsheimer.

  7. seafoid
    March 14, 2013, 4:06 pm

    Antisemitism. They need a GM version. The original has lost its punch through overuse.

    • Taxi
      March 15, 2013, 2:07 am

      Antisemzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

      Even the actual sound of the word ‘antisemitism’ makes one’s eyelids flutter fighting off a snooze. So often has the ear heard it falsely cried out that now it’s become like a word a hypnotist at a circus might use repeatedly and sonorously before mesmerizing a gullible volunteer from the audience.

      I question how many zionists actually understand the meaning of the word and the specifics of the definition – or even know the actual definition itself. Oh that’s right, only jewish people are allowed to define the meaning of the word ‘antisemitism’ – in multiple opportune ways, no less.

      There needs to be a word for abusers of words.

  8. yourstruly
    March 14, 2013, 5:10 pm

    religions & such?

    the beginning & the end of it all?

    meanwhile?

    imagining?

    one’s dream world?

    what it would be like?

    justice for palestine?

    the startup?

  9. just
    March 14, 2013, 5:13 pm

    Poor underprivileged Josh– he needs another hobby.

    “The median income for a household in the village was $84,744, and the median income for a family was $100,182. Males had a median income of $65,938 versus $46,029 for females. The per capita income for the village was $39,441. About 1.8% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.2% of those under age 18 and 1.2% of those age 65 or over”

    (wiki– Croton- on- Hudson)

  10. LanceThruster
    March 14, 2013, 6:28 pm

    The saddest thing about this is that often this is all it takes to get the smear accepted as fact; some blowhard declaring they know the mind of the accused.

    Spare me.

  11. sardelapasti
    March 14, 2013, 7:42 pm

    The comments rock. More of this and I’d start believing that something starts changing. Look at this comment (c0uldn’t link directly here):
    —————-
    Submitted by Jerry Haber (not verified) on Wed, 03/13/2013 – 19:06.
    I would like to congratulate John Mearsheimer for being awarded the Distinguished Graduate award from Croton Harmon high school; the school for responding to Mr. Blumberg’s objections by convening the committee; the committee for making the right choice over Mr. Blumberg’s (and other’s) objections; and, finally, Mr. Blumberg himself, for doing what he felt was right and acting responsibly according to his convictions. All parties behaved admirably, and the school should be proud of alums like Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Blumberg.

    Around forty years ago, I was in a similar situation. My high school had invited a former alumnus, a retired State Department diplomat, to speak to the students, mostly non-Jewish, on the Middle East. At the time, I had been indoctrinated with the classic Zionist narrative that nowadays very few thinking Israelis would accept. I protested to the school, which as a result decided to invite a pro-Israeli speaker for balance.

    It took me around thirty years of reading and thinking to be weaned away from the hasbara (It wasn’t called that at the time) that I had been fed at my afternoon Hebrew school. I also had to make aliyah, serve in the army, and see my children serve in the army before I came to the conclusion that the pro-Israel speaker was much less correct than the retired diplomat. No doubt I, too, may have thought someone like him to be “anti-Semitic,” simply because I had been predisposed to think that way by the indoctrination that I had undergone. I know now, having read Prof. Mearsheimer’s work and after some personal contact, that this is a false and defamatory charge, and that the Israel Lobby book, agree with it or not, has nothing to do with anti-Semitism; to think otherwise is to trivialize and politicize the term, as much of the study of anti-Semitism in recent years has indeed been trivialized and politicized.

    • HPH
      March 15, 2013, 2:50 am

      In response to a comment like this one, I think a normal person would focus on thinking and listening instead of regurgitating.

    • Fritz
      March 15, 2013, 3:06 am

      Great reading, thanks for that. In thirty years or so, we will hopefully have such comments by Josh Blumberg, but then it will be to late for a whole generation of Palestinians and thousands of hasbara fellows will also be on place for Josh. Tragic.

  12. ToivoS
    March 14, 2013, 7:49 pm

    My first reaction to this story was that this is really minor news. No more important than the politics inside one school district — after all there must be many thousand of those across the nation. But on second thought, I think Phil showed good judgement in presenting this. I believe it is symptomatic for what could be going on in many local jurisdictions across the nation. I have reported here a number of times that I see very little lobby influence inside local — meaning city, county and state legislature — races. On the contrary, I do see quite visible influence of Americans with South Asian, Persian and ME backgrounds.

    I would really be interested in seeing a breakdown of the committee that finally decided that Mearsheimer was not an anti Semite.

  13. braciole
    March 14, 2013, 9:43 pm

    My effort to prevent John Mearsheimer from being honored

    Why was the award granted despite the concerns expressed by the Croton community that the superintendent, and presumably other school officials, had previously thought to be prohibitive?

    Since when has a “community” consisted of one person? Has he no friends who would support his campaign?

  14. Sin Nombre
    March 15, 2013, 3:00 am

    Actually I think this story just highlights something terrible.

    So okay, that is, Mearsheimer got an award from his high school.

    But otherwise Mearsheimer has spoken/written about how, since the book he and Walt wrote came out he has experienced *continued* massive shunning very different from what he got before.

    And I don’t recall him saying anything to the effect that it’s lessened one bit.

    And thus what’s this seem to reveal given that plenty of time has elapsed so that a patently non-anti-semetic, non-hysterical, realistic understanding of his book and his views has been made clear?

    That despite all of same, despite it seeming that almost nobody would even *try* to call him an anti-semite anymore, the forces of protecting Israel especially in the media but also in academia are *still* blackballing and trying to hurt him.

    So *that’s* the takeaway from this story, it seems to me. Not that the Croton-Harmon High School seems to be free of any figures, claques or cabals which wishes to blackball and inflict harm on John Mearsheimer; who ever would have believed that anyway?

    But let’s then talk about CBS, and NBC, ABC and the PBS and The New Yorker, and the New York Times, and The Washington Post, and the elite universities who seem delighted to put on symposia concerning other authors of however controversial books or even simple articles about other subjects or etc.

    And let’s talk about just how nasty such figures, claques and/or cabals can be given that enough time has passed so that it’s clear that Mearsheimer is no anti-semite.

    I.e., that they *still* want to injure him. That they *still* want everyone to take note of same.

    And just as the case with, say, Senator Percy or others, this isn’t something these folks are *ever* going to forgive or forget. *Ever.* And if they can find a way to grind a heel into your eye even when you’re in the grave, you can bet your bottom dollar that’ll be done with great glee as well.

    • ToivoS
      March 15, 2013, 5:59 pm

      Sin you are half right. The lobby has tremendous influence in the national media, in Washington, LA, Boston, Chicago and a few other big cities. But they are losing their influence in smaller jurisdictions across the country. There simply are not enough of their activists to pressure every city council, county and school board around the nation. Perhaps in the 50s local Jewish communities would get together to support Israel but today that spontaneous support is not there.

      Obviously, Blumberg’s letter struck fear in the heart of the school board, but when they assessed community feelings, there was little support for his paranoid ravings.

  15. Ecru
    March 15, 2013, 9:49 am

    Does the antisemitism charge even work anymore? It’s been so overused and abused that now claiming somebody is antisemitic is basically laughable unless they’re wearing a Nazi uniform, doing a goose-step and trying to conquer Europe on two fronts at once.

    Two example of how debased the term has become spring to mind.

    1) Some years ago on a British talk show about the fur trade a furrier attempted to use the antisemitic smear to silence anti-fur campaigners (apparently in the UK most furriers were Jewish). He was greeted with groans of derision from everybody. Even the host.

    2) Around 4 years ago the BBC aired a series of programmes about the Spice Trail – the trade route between Asia and Europe. In the programme a passing mention was made of a Yemeni Jewish massacre of Christians in 6th Century Najran. This was met with claims of antisemitism from the British Board of Deputies. IT’S A HISTORIC FACT! Israel even named a Jerusalem street after the instigator of the massacre! The Board didn’t even shut up when ISRAELI historians told everybody it was true, still they tried desperately to twist things. Thankfully the BBC stood firm (for a change) and ignored them. So now, according to the UK Jewish Board of Deputies, antisemitism is just mentioning historic facts. Ridiculous.

    Seriously, as somebody once said (I forget who maybe somebody else can enlighten me?) it seems more and more true that antisemites are not people who don’t like Jews but instead people Zionists dislike. And the worst thing? Because of all this crying wolf to shut down any and all discussion of Israel, to “protect” the Jewish state, REAL antisemitism in the world will be ignored.

  16. Sumud
    March 15, 2013, 12:40 pm

    A most satisfactory outcome – and the right one at that.

    Puffed-up zionist bigot: 0
    Reality: 1

  17. mmayer
    March 17, 2013, 1:20 am

    Oh my, poor, poor, misunderstood Josh. Sorry to be politically incorrect and insensitive, but the first thing that popped into my head was either lack of breastfeeding or cessation of breast feeding far before little Joshie was ready (perhaps his mother didn’t want to schlep herself up to U of M to continue this practice).

    “Why were objections from school board members, which I learned were raised again in 2012, also deemed to be insignificant?”

    Perhaps because the “objections” were found to be fictitious and had no “umph” behind them.

    I can guarantee you if Josh marries, he will certainly make future wife (or husband for that matter) miserable, his future employer will rue the day that he hired him, and those he considers his friends will roll their eyes behind his back so much that they will need to have glasses. I wonder if he is available to play the young Dershowitz if a movie is ever made of that pompous ass’s life?

Leave a Reply