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Coordinated American-Israeli effort working to smear critical voices

Last Friday evening, B’Tselem employees were busy sending out press releases and compiling media kits detailing the use of tear gas by the Israeli military in the West Bank.  For the past ten years, B’Tselem has been one of the only Israeli organizations documenting routine violations of military and civilian law by Israeli soldiers.  On Friday, an unidentified Israeli soldier shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian protester, with an American-made tear gas canister, who was throwing stones at armoured military jeeps in the village of Nabi Saleh. The military claims this was an ‘exceptional’ incident but the facts show that it is not.

Due to the great fear of factual discourse regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is an unprecedented attack taking place on the free flow of information underway in Israel and the United States. In Israel, organizations like B’Tselem have been targeted with anti-democratic legislation in the Knesset. Even former Israeli combat soldiers brave enough to openly talk about their experience in the West Bank and Gaza are labelled terrorists and marginalized in society. Israel’s democratic safeguards, for the Jewish citizens of the country, are eroding at an astonishingly fast rate. Some might argue that this was bound to happen in a country which deprived the democratic rights of 1.7 million citizens since its inception.

The seamlessness of the occupation, its entrenchment and maintenance, is taking place on both sides of the Atlantic. Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich’s recent comments regarding the “invention” of the Palestinian people confirm that those who wish to defend or at least ignore Israel’s occupation are increasingly interested in the elimination of the Palestinian people from American minds. Surprisingly, or maybe not, this corrosive thinking is now a component of the US presidential election.

Supporters of Israel’s current polices have renewed efforts to smear journalists and policy pundits who engage in factual discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Josh Block, former hit man of AIPAC, was exposed last week as leading a campaign of conservative journalists to smear journalists as “anti-Israel” and “borderline anti-Semitic” if they fail to follow the carefully scripted narrative of Israel discourse in the United States.  Block’s attack strategy specifically targeted liberal policy outfits like the Center for American Progress (CAP) and Media Matters with the intention to paint them as anti-Semitic based on their Israel coverage. Jennifer Rubin, the conservative Washington Post blogger who has endorsed calls for the genocide of the Palestinian people, dutifully used her position to amplify the unfounded calls.

Nowhere is this tactic of intimidation and narrative control clearer than in the work of the self-appointed sage of all things Israel, Jeffery Goldberg. Perhaps it was his time as prison guard at the notorious Ketziot prison during the first Intifada where Goldberg learned the tenacity necessary to defend irrational behaviour in a seemingly rational way. Taken as a whole, Goldberg’s body of work will likely be studied when this conflict comes to an end as one of the most powerful examples of rationalizing the devolution of Israel’s democracy for its Jewish citizens and defending the entrenchment of occupation.

Last week, Goldberg used his prowess to attack American journalist Max Blumenthal. Blumenthal, an award winning journalist with deep knowledge of the conflict, recently wrote a lengthy piece in Al Akhbar on the growing influence of Israeli military tactics in the United States. In the piece, Karen Greenberg, the director of the Fordham School of Law’s Center on National Security, is quoted:

After 9/11 we reached out to the Israelis on many fronts and one of those fronts was torture,” Greenberg told me. “The training in Iraq and Afghanistan on torture was Israeli training. There’s been a huge downside to taking our cue from the Israelis and now we’re going to spread that into the fabric of everyday American life? It’s counter-terrorism creep. And it’s exactly what you could have predicted would have happened.

Goldberg, unwilling to engage in a factual discussion on the content of Blumenthal’s piece, went to Greenberg, acting on a tip from one of his readers. The Israel sage then wrote a post claiming that Greenberg told him in a phone conversation that “she never told Max Blumenthal any such thing [referring to the above quote].” With smoking gun in hand, Goldberg claimed that Blumenthal made up the quote.

Blumenthal responded to Goldberg’s nefarious claims, citing Greenberg’s publishing record on the torture issue:

Greenberg’s statement to me did not come out of the blue: A book she co-authored with Joshua Dratel, “The Road to Abu Ghraib,” contains a lengthy section on Israeli court rulings authorizing torture and torture techniques refined by the Shin Bet. In a subsequent article, Greenberg and Dratel proposed questions for Donald Rumsfeld about torture. Here is one: “Did your discussions of torture involve consulting experts in Israel..?”

Enter liberal Mother Jones blogger Adam Serwer. Continuing the Blumenthal smear campaign, Serwer proved that the entire thing was without merit and basically amounted to a personal attack for writing a bold piece. In a series of private emails with labor journalist Mike Elk, Serwer admitted that Blumenthal could have quoted Greenberg’s words more or less accurately, but he still does not believe the content of Blumenthal’s piece. The following is a direct quote from one of the emails:

[Karen] Greenberg is a frequent source of mine. She felt misquoted/taken out of context, and she doesn’t have the knowledge to back up the claim Max attributed to her. Even if Max quoted her words accurately, the underlying claim that Israeli interrogators trained the US in torture isn’t proven. I have no idea if it’s false or not, but it’s not proven, because (a) Max didn’t prove it and (b) the person he quoted to substantiate the claim says she doesn’t know if it’s true.

Jeffery Goldberg has failed to provide a comment on the developing story. I would not hold your breath for one either – that is not his function here.  Serwer’s piece, not unusual for the likes of Goldberg, is notable since it raises important questions concerning the editorial line of Mother Jones on such a sensitive topic. In light of Serwer’s admission, journalist Mark Ames asks the right questions about Mother Jones:

Is Mother Jones now in the business of smearing journalism that dares to investigate the ties between U.S. police departments responsible for violently crushing the Occupy protests, and Israeli occupation forces that violently repress Palestinians? What are the venerable labor-left magazine’s editorial guidelines and ethical standards?

A coordinated international effort is underway to smear and discredit those journalists and policy people who engage in factual discourse regarding Israel’s current policies in the West Bank and their effect on the country’s democratic institutions. Everyone from Israeli NGOs to Jewish American journalists bold enough to draw attention to the policies used to maintain and profit from Israeli occupation are legitimate targets. Given the absence of facts to support Israeli positions vis-a-via the Palestinians, narrative control is the only mechanism that Israel and its supporters can activate. Facile attempts to paint skeptics as anti-Semitic (Josh Block’s attacks on CAP, e.g.), or smear campaigns against journalists (Goldberg’s attacks on Blumenthal, e.g.) serve to demonstrate the precarious position of those defending irrational and even suicidal Israeli policies.

For the Israeli government and its people, the ultimate objective in all of this is maintenance of the status quo. Continued entrenchment of occupation, low levels of violence from occupied Palestinians and increased revenue from the mighty Israeli military-industrial complex must be protected. Those that detract will be side-lined, outcast and ignored at all costs, including the destruction of Israel’s democratic standards for its Jewish citizens.

Ultimately, the narrative is changing and Israel is failing to catch up. The reality of the occupation is becoming impossible to conceal in the social media age. The smug and heartless reaction of various Israeli army officials on Twitter to the killing of Mustafa Tamimi is the most recent example that Israel has lost its moral compass. Attacks on credible and courageous journalists like Max Blumenthal will intensify as McCarthyite smear campaigns are the last option for the defence of Israel’s current policies. All the while, Israel’s moral fabric will continue to disintegrate in plain sight. Unsustainable is an understatement.

*UPDATE*

An update on this story by Max Blumenthal:

Serwer’s source: a Holocaust survivor denier
Why did Serwer decide to publish his smear in the first place? Who inspired him to publish such a baseless screed? I have learned that Serwer’s original source was a small-time pro-Israel activist named Zachary Novetsky, who is better known as the full-time Twitter troll @ZachofArabia.

Novetsky is a Fordham University student whose anti-Palestinian sentiments are well known, and who once claimed that Hedy Epstein, a Palestine solidarity activist who escaped Nazi Germany before losing her entire family to the Holocaust, was not in fact a Holocaust survivor. Indeed, Serwer was taking his cues from a notorious nut job; a frenetic Twitter troll and Holocaust survivor denier who any self-respecting journalist would have immediately shunned.

After the publication of my piece, Novetsky said he approached Greenberg on campus to confront her about her statement. Then he approached journalists with the claim that I had “fabricated” Greenberg’s quote. “You know Blumenthal fabricated that Karen Greenberg [quote],” Novetsky wrote to a journalist who requested to remain anonymous [see embedded images]. “I asked her, she said it’s ‘misattributed’ and she’s ‘not happy about it.’

Direct Twitter messages a journalist who requested to remain anonymous

Direct Twitter message from ZachofArabia to journalist who requested to remain anonymous

It is hard to know what Greenberg meant by “misattributed,” but she certainly did not tell Novetsky that I invented her quote, as he claimed. Neverthess, two days later, Novetsky queried Serwer on Twitter, claiming to him (before referring to me as “Maxi-pad”) that my quoting of Greenberg was “a lie.” “Wait you mean she literally DIDN’T say that? Not that she’s wrong?” Serwer breathlessly responded to Novetsky. “Literally,” Novetsky assured him [see embedded Tweets below]. After being egged on by Novetsky, aka @ZachofArabia, Serwer went straight to Greenberg to extract the quote he sought.

Zach of Arabia tweets to Adam Serwer

Zach of Arabia tweets to Adam Serwer

Zach of Arabia tweets to Adam Serwer

Zach of Arabia tweets to Adam Serwer

Serwer’s motives are now out in the open. He never intended to engage in a serious appraisal of my reporting on the Israelification of local law enforcement. His goal was the same as his source, the hasbarist Novetsky, who routinely uses Twitter to harass me and other critics of Israel with juvenile, insulting remarks — “Maxi-pad.”

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Noah

      Why does Dana complain that “Israel has lost its moral compass.” This is classic concern-trolling, as Dana doesn’t think Zionism is legitimate or that Israel should exist in the first place. If he’s going to Israel-bash (it’s how he makes his living, after all), Dana should show a little respect for his readers by not dishonestly claiming that he writes out of some profound concern for Israel’s “moral compass.” His “moral compass” points him in the direction of destroying Israel. He should be more willing to say so.

      Reply to Comment
    2. I think Zionism is legitimate like all other nationalist movements. I think that it has failed in Israel. I also believe that Israel has a right to exist. I never said that I was writing out of concern for Israel’s moral compass, I just noted that it had lost it. But Mr. Pollak, you should use your full name. You are helping to lead the exact campaigns which are the subject of this post. I look forward to reading you next tirade about the issue in Commentary. At least, do your best to quote me accurately, as difficult as it may be for you.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Whoever

      What I see here is one ex-AIPAC staffer involved in one incident, and in an entirely distinct and separate incident a recovering neoconservative journalist and a liberal journalist taking issue with Max Blumenthal’s “journalistic style” which has at times included misrepresenting facts and selectively quoting out of context in order to support his preexisting political biases. The notion that the actions of Block, Rubin, Goldberg & Serwer were coordinated by a secret American-Israeli cabal is blatant conspiracy theory more suited to JewWatch.com than 972mag.com.

      Reply to Comment
    4. You know, it is brilliant that you left this comment Noah Pollak. It confirms, in explicit detail, how the smear campaigns work. I could not have written a better comment to demonstrate all of these ideas in practice. Thank you.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Whoever, I never said that this was a secret cabal. It is all in plain sight. Nice try though. Please keep them coming.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Kibbutznik

      Noah,

      As a very very concerned Israeli citizen I read Joseph Dana’s above article and then I read your comments !!

      Cant you see that in attacking him personaly you are confirming what he is trying to tell us ??

      Do you think the Israeli public is blind and dumb ? It is not .

      Reply to Comment
    7. Kibbutznik,

      Sadly Noah Pollak does believe that you are that blind and dumb. Tough situation.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Mikesailor

      It seems all too common that Zionist hasbaristas attack the messenger rather than the message itself. The author writes of a concerted effort to ‘discredit’ journalists who critically write about Israel. Is there such a concerted effort? If anyone peruses the main stream media in either the US or Israel you can see a marked reticence in reporting anything critical of Israel. Case in point: A CNN staffer writes that she will miss a sheik in Lebanon who, although anti-Israel, promoted women’s rights in that country and she is fired after an uproar from Jewish organizations. Meanwhile, Jennifer Rubin of the Washigton Post tweets a call for the murder of innocent Paloestinians and is allowed to remain employed. Why? Even the ombudsman at the WashPo seemed to be questioning the difference although he dutifully backed Rubin’s comments.
      It seems that anyone critical of the so-called ‘Jewish’ state places him/herself in the bullseye, not because what they write isn’t accurate, but because any criticism is, in the eyes of the moral dwarfs, somehow ‘antisemitic’. And the writer must be punished or somehow discredited because the facts underlying the story are undisputed. Therefore it is much easier merely for most journalists to self-edit, or have editors ‘soften’ stories rather than face such concerted ad hominem attacks. For instance, Noah does not dispute the facts of this article, he merely attempts to attack the writer apparently for having a ‘moral compass’. He should wear the title of ‘hasbarista’ proudly. For between a misguided defense of the indefensible and truth, most citizens of whatever country or self-appointed ‘group’ deserve Truth, whether unpalatable to the majority or not.

      Reply to Comment
    9. ‘First they ignore you. Then they fight you. Then you win.’ – Gandhi

      I know, I know. Kind of trite to start off a comment with a Gandhi quote. But I think that the struggle, the fight, is going to go a lot longer, and we’ll begin to see more targeting of journalists.

      Given the history of American training of Iranian prison guards in the methods of torture, I’m worried that the crackdown on journalists and activists covering Israel and the United States will soon move from the realm of debate, obfuscation, and propaganda towards more physical attacks. I think that the new US National Defense Authorization Act, by allowing for the military trial of suspected ‘terrorists’ (definition pending), will see new efforts in American repression.

      I bring up the point of Iran because that seems to be the trend in American police efforts – send the harshest and most brutal tactics to Arab nations, or against Arab peoples, and then justify these tactics with Orientalism. But the US does use some of these tactics against the Occupy movement (as Blumenthal documented), have used them at G8, WTO, and GOP National Conventions.

      And as Occupy grows, so too will the violent counter-revolution.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Kibbutznik

      ‘First they ignore you. Then they fight you. Then you win.’ – Gandhi

      http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/silencing-the-lambs-1.400444

      Noah Pollak can believe what he likes Joseph what Americans like him believe means nada to me .
      Today after last nights attack on the IDF I have had it with the settler movement and with this Gov , we are heading towards a civil war .
      Time to take to the streets again and show them that we are neither blind or dumb.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Shua Frazer

      As part of the under 25 crowd, I will admit that I’m frighteningly liberal and this kind of stuff just depresses me to no end. I can’t understand what AIPAC and similar minded groups have against some criticism of Israeli policies. Maybe it’s because I was raised in the US, with a separation of church and state, but I don’t see how there’s anything “un-Jewish” or “anti-Semitic” about calling out the Israeli government for things that make us uncomfortable. Maybe I’m just naive.

      Reply to Comment
    12. yair

      So, last Friday an Israeli soldier killed a Palestinian protester and this is part of a plot. Goldberg is part of such a plot: as it is shown by an article published one week before.
      Of course, everything was written from the very beginning in those Protocols, was it?

      Reply to Comment
    13. Richard Witty

      Welcome back Joseph.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Mitchell Cohen

      “Today after last nights attack on the IDF I have had it with the settler movement and with this Gov , we are heading towards a civil war .” [End of Kibbutznik] Only after last nights attack, Kibbutznik? You have been talking about “fighting the right” for at least a year now. What does a “civil war” mean for you in practical terms, Kibbutznik? I thought you were a member of Gush “SHALOM” (peace)?

      Reply to Comment
    15. Richard,
      As I noted in my farewell, I am leaving at the end of the month and will continue to write during December but thanks.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Kibbutznik

      when Rabin was asassinated I had already had it Mitchell Cohen thats much longer than a year

      Peace aint working

      Touch our sons and you are done , enough already !!

      Reply to Comment
    17. Mitchell Cohen

      “Touch our sons and you are done , enough already !!” [End of Kibbutznik]

      Who is “our sons”? If you mean the IDF, then haven’t you paid attention? The IDF is “infiltrated” with the religious and settlers, at least that is what many posters on this site are lamenting.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Mitchell Cohen

      Kibbutznik, I am not playing with anybody. It is not “me” threatening anybody with a “civil war”. You keep using the word “you”, like those thugs represent “me”. They don’t. So give it a rest. And, quite frankly, with the state of mind you are in, I am more worried about you “touching my kids” then the other way around.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Great. Everyone has spoken on this issue. If you would like to continue this specific conversation please find another forum. Let’s leave this for comments regarding the posted piece.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Max

      Hate to say it, but I’m not going to miss you, Joseph.
      .
      The Block emails were real, and as you say pundits like Rubin don’t exactly conceal their shilling for whoever or whatever cause, Israel included. (Though in Rubin’s case she shills for others as well.) Nowhere, however, have you demonstrated that either Goldberg or Serwer were part of these emails. Can you show that?
      .
      If not, then how is what you write here any less of a politically-motivated smear than what Block was doing? Do you think that because your cause is righteous, and Block’s isn’t, you therefore don’t need to hold yourself to a basic, ethical standard of journalism?
      .
      If Serwer and Goldberg were advised by others to attack Blumenthat’s credibility, and you can demonstrate it, do so. If not, this piece reeks of the same mud-slinging you claim to be against.
      .
      Even in your own piece you seem unable to deal with the crux of the Blumenthal issue, which is that *Greenberg herself* says she was misquoted. Blumenthal’s defense, apparently, is that in a book she wrote she asked a similar question to the question he asked. Serwer and Goldberg are absolutely right to consider this insufficient. They smelled a rat, followed up, and got confirmation from the source that the quotes were inaccurate. The fact that you and Blumenthal cannot imagine this scenario playing out without someone intimidating Greenberg (! seriously?) says a great deal about the level of professionalism you bring, or fail to bring, to your work.
      .
      If Blumenthal has proof that Greenberg said what he says she said, he should make it available. (And no, notes that he wrote down pretty obviously do not count.) If he doesn’t have proof, and Greenberg insists he misquoted her, then he’ll have learned a valuable lesson – when you are asking sensational questions in a formal interview, best bring a voice recorder.
      .
      Either way, Serwer and Goldberg are doing nothing more or less than what actual journalists do – seeing something fishy, tracking down the facts (as well as they can be tracked), and reporting them. You have managed to do none of that in this piece, and that is why I am pleased to see you depart 972.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Max, *comment updated*

      As I am sure you are well aware Block’s email listserve was quickly shut down after it was discovered by Justin Elliot. This has led some, like Andrew Sullivan, to raise questions as to who exactly was on there. No one is disputing their ‘realness’ here. I have not directly claimed that Goldberg and Serwer were attacking on Block’s request. As noted in the piece, Block asked journalists to attack CAP and Media Matters. It is unfortunate that you were unable to understand the flow of this piece.

      In reference to your second series of points. I believe that Adam Serwer’s conversation with Greenberg, linked to in my piece, as well as his email conversations with Mike Elk, quoted in my piece, exonerate Blumenthal concerning the quote. I suppose for readers of your caliber, linked articles need to be spelled out a little clearer.

      I never wrote anything about Goldberg intimidating Greenberg. You are clearly confusing pieces published on this subject and should read carefully before commenting or at least know which piece you are commenting on. In the absence of time, I recommend that you read the links that I provide concerning Blumenthal’s quoting. Goldberg acted on an anonymous tip from one of his readers clearly hoping to take down Blumenthal. I believe that the Goldberg’s source here is crucial to understanding his motivations in tracking down Greenberg. Hopefully in the coming days more light will be shed on this important issue. My argument stands regardless.

      My piece attempts to show that when you combine these issues, Block’s attacks and Goldberg’s smearing, which may or may not be connected, as well as the attacks on freedom of speech in Israel by Netanyahu’s government there is a clear and coordinated attack on Israel critics taking place on both sides of the Atlantic. Naturally, this is nothing new especially for Goldberg who has built career on attacking others while maintaining a posture that anything written against him is ipso facto anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic. Just look at the comment in this thread by Noah Pollak, the director of the Emergency Committee for Israel and his complete disregard for the content of piece and personal attacks on me. Curiously, he does not take issue with the fact that Israel has a moral problem, just with me writing about it. Lastly, my personal feeling is that Serwer got caught in over his head. He is a good reporter that got mixed up with some very bad people. But anyway, thanks for your comment full of baseless insults!

      Reply to Comment
    22. Max

      You may debatably consider my pleasure at your departure to be an insult. Were there others in my post? I didn’t notice any. I made a specific charge: that your piece engages in the same tactics you are speaking out against. Is that insulting to you? Perhaps you should strive to be a better journalist, and then people won’t say it.
      .
      You say “I have not directly claimed that Goldberg and Serwer were attacking on Block’s request.”
      .
      Then you say “Block’s attacks and Goldberg’s smearing, which may or may not be connected”
      .
      So which is it? Either there is evidence to suggest that Goldberg and Block acted in collusion, or there isn’t. If you have evidence, produce it. If you don’t, I believe my points about your lack of professional standards stand.
      .
      I can’t say I’m shocked by your petulant response, which bears all of the Dana hallmarks: pettiness, gradiosity, and the overweening and gross delusion that people far above your caliber care one whit about what you write, or don’t. Please enjoy these preceding insults, I make them as a favor to you to validate your never-ending sense of victimhood.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Max,

      You made a lot of charges, all of which I have shown to be baseless. We both can’t rule out a connection between Goldberg and Block but this piece does not make that connection explicitly. Your puffed up words about my journalistic credibility would have so much more weight if you could back them with the ease which you produce insults. By the way, I am under no illusion that people, especially from your circles, care about what I write here.
      *update*
      .
      One bad thing about blogging are those that comment without revealing their identity. I believe that it allows them to write things that they would not choose to say publicly with their own name. That is why it interesting is that, as the editor of presentense and an educator at Temple Sinai, Max chooses to make these statements with just his first name. Why do want to conceal your identity, Max Socol? I respect the points that you raised and answered them accordingly, but why the insults? Would you have made them under your full name? If you used your full name would you have been able or willingness to engage in respectful discourse. The internet is a spooky thing.

      Reply to Comment
    24. invisible_hand

      oy vey, i love you guys at +972 and i respect your work, joseph. it really pains me that you are going after a fine reporter like serwer, a man whose work i have followed for a number of years now.
      nowhere is serwer denying the pervasiveness of torture and paramilitary policing in israel. his point is that the USA has its problem whose history is welk-documented, and to claim that israel was a causative force is a claim that needs more proof.
      to lump him in with the apologists is in bad form. just because someone disagrees does not make them a slanderer or a writer of “baseless screeds.” one of the worst aspects of the social media landscape is the way all differences are heightened for sensationalistic effect.
      lastly, blumenthal and serwer have a personal history, and blumenthal’s update is nothing more than mudslinging. the fact that an asshole fascist from fordham tipped someone is no reason to completely deny the merits of the case.

      Reply to Comment
    25. I hear you, Invisible_Hand. I was trying to make some other points in my point and Serwer was, sadly, at part of it. I think your comment about social media is excellent. We need to keep all in mind when dealing with these new media landscapes. I can’t comment on Max’s update though and I am not privy to any details concerning Max and Adam’s ‘history’. You know it is funny, someone just tweeted me: “it looks like the twitter troll is the one who “literally” fabricated quotes from greenberg.” Funniest thing i heard all day. Best, Joseph

      Reply to Comment
    26. @Shua Frazer: Link – http://www.irmep.org/11-3-2009AIPACFARA.pdf – to the AIPAC registration complaint submitted November 4, 2009 to the head of the Foreign Agents Registration Act section, Helen Hunt.

      It documents AIPAC’s emergence from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign agent activity in great detail.

      So basically, the problem that AIPAC has with criticism of Israel is that AIPAC is actually working on behalf of the Israeli government.. And instead of being punished for crimes, they make shit up and pay people off.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Henry Weinstein

      “One bad thing about blogging are those that comment without revealing their identity”, one evil thing I would say, Joseph. They play a part, most of them. The fake identity is the first lie. And very soon they are incapable to care for truth: their lies are more important than truth. And the consequence is loss of moral compass. Irresponsibility. They are lost in their lies. Terrified. Deception has eaten their moral conscience. Banality of evil, because no one can see what is in control in their minds. Hatred.
      Only The Few care for Truth. Franz Kafka knew this. My Dad too.
      .
      I don’t understand why people commenting on such crucial political issues are enjoying this license to hide their identity. There are so many psycho-killers, lost souls, mentally sick people wandering on the web.
      .
      Thank you for this powerful analysis, Joseph. I will miss your edgy words on +972.
      .
      Je m’appelle Henry Charles Weinstein et je suis né le 10 novembre 1959 à Chalon-sur-Saône, Bourgogne, France. And I’m very tired, because overworking to earn peanuts like most of us. But I will not surrender, become a puppet. Like Eichmann and Co.

      Reply to Comment
    28. David

      Mr. Dana,

      I think “Whoever” made a valid point. No doubt in my mind that their are people working alone and together to make Israel look good and its opponents look bad. Still, to say that Block, Rubin, Goldberg and Serwer are all coordinating together seems a little absurd. Especially considering the much ado about nothing Goldberg initiated against the Israeli government earlier this month. They may be unwittingly feeding the beast, but the word “coordinated” implies a greater conspiracy and conspiracy talk is never any good for Jews.

      - David

      Reply to Comment
    29. David

      Whoops! Didn’t see a whole day of posts since I had opened this link. I think you responded to my thoughts before I’d even posted them. Still skeptical that Goldberg is in on any coordination. He may be a fence-sitter and apologist, but he’s no right-winger.

      Reply to Comment
    30. poco

      You know, I used to really admire Adam Serwer–especially his tweeting during the Sonia Sotomayor conformation hearings–he was pretty much my go-to source for that.

      But this hack attack job that he has engaged in, its really, really disappointing. I see a smart young journalist, doing some excellent work, getting a name for himself, and then deciding that the way to the big leagues is to join with AIPAC and the Israel lobby to smear those who are critical of the policies of Israel. Its not a shocking career trajectory, just very disappointing.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Jeff Blankfort

      I do not know what Karen Greenberg did or did not say to Max Blumenthal but I do know that the US military did look to Israel for instruction when it came to occupying Arab land, beginning with the presence of the US marines who accompanied Israel’s occupying army in its operation in Jenin during the Al-Aksa intifada.

      I also do not believe it was a coincidence that the US military’s tactics in fighting the Iraqi insurgency were modeled after those of Israel’s in previous wars on Lebanon. That it would ask for and receive guidance on the most effective torture techniques to apply to “Arab terrorists” of which Israel is a past master would therefore be expected. After all, what do people think all those US cops are learning on their all expense paid visits to Israel? How to write a speeding ticket?

      Reply to Comment
    32. Ed Frias

      Joseph Dana, Max Blumenthal is wrong when he says Hedy Epstein is a Holocaust survivor.
      She spent the entire war in England. (39 to 45)
      How can you say that she’s a Holocaust survivor when she spent the entire war in England.
      Where not talking about her family.
      Where talking about her.
      Tell me what concentration camp she survived?

      Reply to Comment
    33. Ed Frias

      Joseph, Max Blumenthal is the same nut job that tried to say a thai worker commited the massacre of the Fogel family in Itamar.
      Blumenthal seems to be silent on the Palestinian genocidal media against Israel.
      http://www.palwatch.org/

      Reply to Comment
    34. par-for-the-course … but good it gets exposed

      Reply to Comment
    35. Mikesailor

      The comedians are out in force again. Today, in major newspapers in the US, the ‘Emergenvcy Committee for Israel’ a group headed by Bill Kristol, put in full page ads complaining that “Obama uses Israel like a Punching Bag”. Never does anyone mention that Kristol is a Jewish Zionist. Nor do they mention that he, and a group of Jewish neocons were major contributors to the Project for a New American Century which advocated US troops in the Middle East, especially the invasion of Iraq which they wrote would have the side effect of aiding Israel.(The road to peace lies not through Jerusalem but through Bagdad) They also led the authorship of a paper for Netanyahu in his first premiership, “A Clean Break” which advocated the use of Israeli military force and reneging on any real peace negotiations.Is it any wonder the Atab Peace Proposal of 2002 has been mothballed or ignored by Israel along with any obligations under the “Road Map’?
      The strange thing is that the main stream media, even when examining the rise of the neocons during the Bush administration, never admitted the fact that most of these ‘authors’ were Jewish. Nor that they had Zionist ties. It was silent lest Americans begin to blame Jews, especially all American Jews, for the ensuing fiasco that was Iraq. Of course not all Jews were to blame, but ignoring the contributions of Jews like Kristol, Podhoretz, Elliot Abrams, Robert Kagan, Daniel Pipes, and the prince of darkness, Richard Perle, was an extreme example of journalistic self-censorship.
      By the way, what is the emergency in the name of the ‘Emergency Committee’? Is it that the US will not attack Iran? Or that many Americans are sick of giving at least three billion dollars worth of aid to Israel, especially when the US budget must be cut? By the way, Israel is the only country to receive foreign aid as an entitlement, they only need to reapply every ten years. No questions asked nor brooked. Smears appear to work only one way, against critics. And the new definition of antisemitism seems to be: Antisemitism is not those who hate Jews for being Jews, it denotes those the Jews hate, especially Zionist Jews.

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    36. Sky7i

      Ed: “How can you say that she’s a Holocaust survivor when she spent the entire war in England. Where not talking about her family. Where talking about her.”

      People who have their families tortured and killed are most definitely survivors. If you don’t believe me, try sending your family to be slaughtered and tell me how it affects you. You may be sociopathic enough to not be traumatized by such an event, but normal people are not.

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    37. Lorrie Hall

      The saddest thing about many of the comments above is that the hasbaristas always attack the messenger, NEVER the message. Because they can’t; the cruelty to Palestinians is so bad it’s impossible to justify it.

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    38. Mercy

      “Nowhere is this tactic of intimidation and narrative control clearer than in the work of the self-appointed sage of all things Israel”…hold on…Max Blumenthal objected to Helen Thomas participation in Move Over AIPAC…move over Joseph, he could object to you too. Max has an obsessive compulsive disorder, often “smearing” friends and foes, creating conflict. You and Max seem to want to be seen as flawless, infallible, holier than thou… kind of foolish.

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