Writes my friend Rahim:
Just wanted to chime in on the topic of journalistic racism against Palestinians. I thought you would appreciate hearing last week’s Slate Political gabfest, a podcast where two of the panelists are left leaning–Slate editor David Plotz and writer/Yale Law School faculty member Emily Bazelon. They brought up the topic of Israel, framed of course in the Israeli perspective (what’s best for Israel, why are Jews defecting from Obama, etc), but in the midst of this discussion Plotz bemoaned a lack of Palestinian non-violent protest–
“What I’ve never understood is why the Palestinians have not embarked on a very long term highly-engaged thorough campaign of nonviolent protest.”
and Bazelon responded by saying it was hard, and on top of that Palestinians have a violent culture.
“They’re just beginning to do that…. [It’s] insanely difficult to pull that off. It also goes against the grain of their culture and the whole way the Middle East operates. It’s just a violent combative, vengeful place.”
Nobody blinked an eye, so to speak, when she said that, even though if someone said that same thing about another group of people it would be totally unacceptable, or at least more obviously racist. The culture of racism against Palestinians extends to both liberal and conservative journalists. It is rather amazing that David Plotz is willfully ignorant of Palestinian non-violence, but I get the feeling that if he was aware of it, he’d find some other reason to be critical anyways. I wonder what is worse, conservative Jennifer Rubin’s endorsement of genocide, or liberal Emily Bazelon’s casual racism towards Palestinians.
I listened to some of the conversation myself and agree with Rahim. The Arab Spring has been noteworthy for the restraint of the people. There is now a long long tradition of nonviolent protest in Palestine that Slate evidently feels no need to cover.
Plotz is much smarter about Jews. Here is the Slate editor talking about the political significance of American Jews for Obama. I see that he agrees with me entirely about the money question, and Obama’s loss of Jewish donors/fundraisers. Is that why Dennis Ross left the administration?
President Obama… got an enormous amount of support from Jews… They were huge donors to his campaign… They have lapsed as Obama supporters. Jewish support is down, hovering about 50 percent… It’s a gigantic drop. And moreover the Obama administration has embarked on a pretty significant campaign of outreach to Jews, because they’ve lost– because there are so many people who raised funds for them who’ve said they’re not going to raise funds for them this time around. They’ve appointed a Jewish liaison. They’ve got Debbie Wasserman Schultz running the Democratic National Committee, a big prominent Jewish congresswoman. David Axelrod has sent out messages to lots of supporters saying here are the facts of Obama’s Israel policy…
[Nonetheless we see] effective Republican attacks on Obama over Israel… [It’s a] pretty stunning moment, for Obama. There’s some thinking among conservatives, that this is a time to break the traditional alliance between … Jews and Democrats… by showing Obama to be unreliable on Israel
To their credit, Plotz and Bazelon both question the Israel lobby and Bazelon, breaking with the new strategic asset line, says Netanyahu’s gov’t is “provoking” the Arab world, against the interests of the United States. Good on ya, Bazelon.