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July 22, 2010

Mainstreaming Anti-Semitism on the Internet

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Comment appearing in a Huffington Post talk-back thread

In the on-line Jewish journal, Tablet Magazine, Lee Smith provides a compelling indictment of how "media companies are using the internet to make anti-Semitism respectable." Smith describes a growing community of anti-Israel commenters who flock to blogs hosted by mainstream media companies to defame Israel and promote conspiracy theories about Jewish influence in America. Smith points to the likes of Stephen Walt, Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan and Philip Weiss as the "cesspool’s avatars" who lend an air of respectability to hateful fantasies about Jews found on the political fringes.

Smith draws attention to the example of the Washington Post hosting a site,, that regularly features a blog by Harvard professor, Stephen Walt. Walt was the co-author of a notorious and poorly researched book , "The Israel Lobby," which alleges that neo-cons (among whose ranks the Jewish names are always prominently cited) and other supporters of Israel are intentionally deceiving Americans and acting for the benefit of Israel against American interests. (See CAMERA's analyses here and here and critiques by other well-known authors. ) Smith observes " the bulk of the book’s research was based on secondary sources, most of which came from the web."

The charges coming out of Walt and Mearsheimer's book and from the "cesspool" of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish invective on the web are not new according to Smith, "they are throwbacks to the 1930s and earlier." But what is new is the medium being used and the acquiescence of mainstream media companies to host these forums. Smith observes,

Walt and his anti-Israel blogging colleagues have become the respectable face of Jew-baiting.

Their immediate goal is clear, as Smith spells it out:

They tried very hard to marginalize American citizens of the Jewish faith by questioning their loyalty.

Where does this lead? Well, Smith doesn't mention the comments made by the co-author of Walt's book, U. of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer, who labels supporters of Israel as racists. At a recent speech at the Palestine Center in Washington, Mearsheimer revealed a penchant for selecting and categorizing Jews into "righteous Jews" and "new Afrikaaners" and those in-between. Of course the "righteous Jews" were those willing to villify Israel and its supporters, including the obscene Norman Finkelstein, who uses the Holocaust to sadistically chide Jews. The "new Afrikaaners" would include the bulk of the nation's Jews who support Israel.

The critical issue Smith's piece highlights, though, is the acquiescence and even encouragement of this vitriol against Jews by major media companies. Smith observes,

What’s original, what makes this period alarming, is that The Washington Post Company would give a Jew-baiter a platform.

Posted by SS at July 22, 2010 04:22 PM


"We will not post comments that include racism, bigotry, threats, or factually inaccurate material" - this essentially means you won't accept anything that does not suit your agenda. This renders the blog useless for any bettering of the world.

Posted by: vovchik at July 23, 2010 06:08 PM

So don't read the blog, vovchik. Problem solved.

Posted by: Ben at July 24, 2010 07:29 PM

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This is a moderated blog. We will not post comments that include racism, bigotry, threats, or factually inaccurate material.

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