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More Mondoweiss Madness

April 28, 2013 – 8:43 pmNo Comment
Screenshot from Mondoweiss as captured by the blog Elder of Ziyon

Screenshot from Mondoweiss as captured by the blog Elder of Ziyon

This is the second part of a two-part series on Mondoweiss by David Schulberg.  To read Part I, click here.
Margaret Cassar, an organiser of the BDS protest movement in Adelaide, in a Mondoweiss article decried the lack of publicity her group had received. She lauded the persistence of her loyal band of followers, unrecognised by the media for their ‘dedication’ in a piece “Nearly 100 weeks of protest in Adelaide: serenaded by buskers, and Christian Zionist unprintables”. She had previously been given an opportunity to tell us about BDS in Adelaide with a piece “44 weeks of pro-Palestinian protest in Adelaide and not a word in print”.

Philip Weiss, a cofounder of Mondoweiss with Adam Horowitz, celebrated sightings of anti-Zionism in the antipodes back in 2008, when Julia Irwin had expressed reservations about Zionism during Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations.  We were informed by Weiss that “‘a number of groups published a giant ad in The Australian saying that celebrating Israel’s birth was celebrating ‘the triumph of racism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.’”

Weiss revisited the Australian topic space early in 2009 with “How the Australian papers defer to Israel” which involved a dialogue with Glenn Condell, a staunch anti-capitalist who moaned about the lack of action from the Australian political leadership about Operation Cast Lead, expressing annoyance about there not being enough being published in the media critical of Israel and contended that former Middle East correspondent Ed O’Loughlin was a sane and balanced journo.  Condell saw ‘Zionist media gatekeepers’ as holding the fort in Australia on behalf of the oft touted Israel lobby and referred to Jews defending the Israeli cause as ‘sayanim’ – Jews born and raised in their home country, who, regardless of the blessings and financial rewards bestowed on them there, are turncoats and traitors.

And then came the Michael Backman column in The Age and Condell empathised with the poor innocent journos at The Age who were taking a beating over it, deriding Zio-pressure and any efforts made by suspected ‘members of the tribe’. Eventually The Age gave an apology that Condell thought shouldn’t have been necessary especially with all this disproportional killing of people in Gaza that was going on at the same time.

Even Weiss, who is Jewish, did not feel totally comfortable with the slagging that Condell was giving out to Jews as such in his commentary, but still he left Condell’s dirty remarks intact, exposing his own obviously hateful feelings about Jewish influence.  This was an example of the sort of anti-semitism that Mondoweiss lets roam free as long as it happens under the universal banner of fighting against Israel.

Weiss continued to gloat about how Australia seemed to be moving away from support for Israel after the Dubai assassination when Australia abstained on the vote in the UN calling for further investigation of the 2008-09 Gaza War, stemming from the Goldstone Report.

Last year Mark Leibler was denigrated in an article “Leader in fight for indigenous Australians’ rights is on board for denial of those rights in Israel and Palestine” suggesting that he was hypocritical in fighting for indigenous rights in Australia when he did not endorse those same rights for the supposedly indigenous Palestinian inhabitants of Israel-Palestine.

In 2011 Australia voted against the proposal for Palestine to be admitted to UNESCO, just one of 14 nations who did so. This led to an outbreak of discussion lambasting Australia for its attitude. One person suggested that Australia would have voted differently if Rudd had been prime minister, although there was immediate disagreement by another who said that Australia is too closely aligned with the US to act differently on Israel. Rudd had supposedly wanted to vote for the motion to gain favour for its bid for a seat on the Security Council. With Australia economically focussing on Asia the thinking was that Australia would eventually realign more closely with “the next big boy on the block” China.

When it came to the UN vote for non-member status for Palestine, Mondoweiss sniffed a possible change in Australia’s position not wanting to be on the “wrong side of history”. One person pointed out that Bob Carr had emerged as a figure who might influence the Labor Party to move away from Julia Gillard’s pro-Israel stance. He referred to when Carr had been Premier of NSW and supported Hanan Ashrawi, the well-known Palestinian, being awarded the Sydney Peace Prize.

The furore over a controversial cartoon by Leunig was discussed in “Citing growing division among Australian Jews over Israel, cartoonist refuses to apologize for likening Gaza to Nazis’ victims”. The insinuations that Leunig was fundamentally anti-semitic were refuted. One contributor said, “the subsequent attempts to smear his work as motivated by anti-semitism have only strengthened his resolve not to be cowed and silenced. Might it be more generally the case that the increasingly desperate and inept tactics used by Israel’s apologists only embolden its critics?”

One person not convinced by Leunig’s excuses and explanations said,

How quick are the hypocrites to spring to the defence of a cartoonist who claims his God given right to tread willy nilly into anti-semitic territory. This cartoonist’s work was illegally entered in a cartoon competition in an Iranian newspaper about the Holocaust. The artist’s work was considered eminently suitable by those who did this.

The point is that while the Muslim world goes bananas over cartoons that depict Mohammed in ways they do not like, Jews are supposed to accept this kind of veiled anti-semitism without complaining. Hypocritical double standards reign supreme.

The retaliation from Leunig’s sympathisers was quick. One comment straying into the usual realm of lambasting Israel and avoiding the topic was

And meanwhile, Israel keeps dispossessing more natives, laying endless siege to Gaza, putting the natives on “a diet,” murdering native kids, jailing them, assassinating native leaders. What Muslim country has been doing this for such a long time? None. And you seek a moral equation re cartoons.

And there were many more defences of what the great majority of Jews would consider to be anti-semitic that anti-Zionists like to reckon differently.

When ‘Breaking the Silence’ visited Australia, Weiss wrote “Australian papers cover atrocities documented by Israeli soldiers group, but Aussie Jewish organisations blindly deny the reports”. This is a typical misrepresentation of what actually happened at the time where there was open discussion about the validity of the assertions by ‘Breaking the Silence’. Often an inflammatory title will be used to lure readers as was the case with a piece “A pogrom in Qusra”, where the author Robbins had no idea what a pogrom really is.

Most recently we have had the Ben Zygier affair and Mondoweiss relied on Anthony Loewenstein to express an opinion, which was a copy of what he had published at ‘New Matilda’ titled ‘Israel’s image takes another hit with the ‘Prisoner X’ scandal’. Loewenstein resorted to speculative remarks as he did his usual shtick of demonising Israel.

Loewenstein also wrote about Australian detainee Mamdouh Habib.  Our courts delivered a verdict in favour of the former Guantanamo Bay inmate, declaring that he had been defamed by News Ltd columnist Piers Akerman. Loewenstein informed that Australia had launched an investigation into Habib’s allegations that Australian officials were present during his interrogations in Cairo in 2001, when the then vice-president of Egypt Omar Suleiman and former intelligence chief had been involved in interrogations where Habib was tortured. Suleiman, who failed to win enough signatures to stand in Egypt’s first post-Mubarak presidential vote, died in hospital in the US last year.

In a sense it is encouraging to be confronted by an army of abusive bloggers as they toss reason and argument to the wind and rely on hateful invective to oppose you.  Mondoweiss condones dishonesty and untruths for the sake of the Palestinian cause. If I posted a serious challenge to the Mondoweiss ethos it wouldn’t get published, because it was seen to be undermining the basic message that Mondoweiss aims to deliver. It is no wonder that we are as far from a peace agreement as ever, because such disingenuousness and intransigence is typical of the Palestinian position.  There is no willingness to admit being wrong on any major issue; the essential attitude is to stubbornly oppose reconciliation or any form of compromise.

This ultimately reveals the great fallacy behind the Mondoweiss mission. If the Palestinian cause cannot withstand every challenge it will buckle under the weight of its deceptions. This is a delusional policy which believes prolonging the Israeli/Palestinian conflict will eventually enable the Palestinians to jockey themselves into a more powerful negotiating position to put more and more pressure on Israel.  This is exactly what Omar Barghouti admitted in his justification of BDS in a debate with Rabbi Arthur Waskow, when he affirmed that BDS aims to improve the ‘balance of power’ in the conflict. Mondoweiss goes a long way in supporting the likes of Omar Barghouti by putting huge pressure on Israel to succumb to a constant barrage of vicious international criticism, criticism that too often masks duplicitous intentions and vile hostility.

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