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September 19, 2011

More from an Angry Mackey

Robert Mackey

Even while announcing that there’s “no room for dialogue? with anyone “hysterical? enough to disagree with him, Robert Mackey seems intent on continuing his dialogue with Snapshots. And that dialogue has proved quite revealing.

To summarize the discussion thus far:

* Mackey doesn’t like that we’ve highlighted his penchant for posting predominantly anti-Israel material on his blog, The Lede, on the New York Times website. He insisted that he can’t be considered biased since, he admitted, his output was “almost all based? on the writings of anti-Israel bloggers and activists who are just trying to save the country from itself. For good measure, he added that our criticisms are “hysterical,? and represent an attempt to silence him.

* In response, we noted that seeking out harsh criticism and passing it off as if that’s where the conversation begins and ends is the very issue: “It pushes aside other facets of the debate. Mainstream Israeli voices are virtually silenced. Mackey leaves little room for commentary that's more understanding of Israel's challenges. He leaves little room for criticism of the Palestinian Authority.? We also drew attention to specific examples of his unfair treatment of Israel, and addressed his (rather un-self-aware) confusion about the distinction between criticizing someone and attempting to "silence" them.

Mackey’s latest rejoinder, which is republished below (and can be seen in its original context here) seems especially angry. It’s not just that he uses the word “hysterical? twice this time instead of just once. More striking is that he leveled charges that are so easily belied by a quick glance at his website.

He asserts:

There's obviously no room for reason in a dialogue with someone who feels the need to devote a fresh hysterical post to preface my comment on his previous hysteria, but thanks for neatly illustrating my main point by claiming, falsely, that I compared the raid on the Gaza flotilla to the one on the Exodus - a comparison that was, in fact, made by an Israeli blogger and journalist.

Did he not compare the raid to the Exodus (and thus, by extension, compare the I.H.H. thugs to Holocaust survivors)? Let's start with his title:

robert makey exodus.jpg

"Echoes of Raid on ‘Exodus’ Ship in 1947." That's certainly an analogy by Mackey.

And what about the first sentence of the post?

To some Israeli observers, it was impossible to miss the parallels between Monday’s killing of pro-Palestinian activists by Israel’s military in international waters, as commandos intercepted a flotilla of ships trying to break the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza, and a seminal event in the Jewish struggle for an independent homeland.

Mackey does not merely relay someone else's comparison here. He says in his own voice that there are parallels, which are so obvious that they were impossible for other "observers" to miss. (That's not to say the blogger's integrity would have been intact if he stopped at approvingly citing someone else's disgraceful analogy.)

And here's more analogizing in the blogger's own voice:

On Monday, activists wounded by the Israeli military during the raid on the ships were brought to Haifa for medical treatment. Sixty-three years ago, the world saw photographs and newsreel footage of dazed Jewish refugees, some wounded by the British military, disembarking the Exodus 1947, under armed guard, in Haifa.

Not obvious enough? Mackey continues, "Another parallel between the events of 1947 and those on Monday is ...." The rest of the sentence doesn't matter. He is clearly comparing the Mavi Marmara to the Exodus, and its activists to Holocaust survivors. (Not a single voice was quoted taking issue with that offensive comparison.)

It's as good a time as any to scroll back up to first block quote above, in which the blogger flatly denied making a comparison that he clearly made.

His complete comment follows.

There's obviously no room for reason in a dialogue with someone who feels the need to devote a fresh hysterical post to preface my comment on his previous hysteria, but thanks for neatly illustrating my main point by claiming, falsely, that I compared the raid on the Gaza flotilla to the one on the Exodus - a comparison that was, in fact, made by an Israeli blogger and journalist. It was the voices of bloggers in various countries that my Times blog was devoted to covering - and the fact that you can only see that as some sort of attack on Israel exactly echoes the response of ultra-nationalist extremists in several other countries - including Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Serbia and Northern Ireland - who also leaped to the same, erroneous conclusion when forced to read the criticism of dissidents from their own nations.

You other objections - that describing an anti-Palestinian group as 'anti-Palestinian' is a slur; that I reported that a video "showed police preventing a Palestinian mother from boarding a police van hen I simply wrote or suggested no such thing - are similarly based on either intentional distortion on your part or a shocking lack of reading comprehension, so there's clearly no need to bother disturbing further you with the facts.

Posted by GI at September 19, 2011 04:35 PM


starting to look like fish in a barrel. he denies what he has written in his own voice.

Posted by: a reader at September 19, 2011 06:18 PM

Although I came here by chance and (from a quick glance) probably don't agree with everything in this site's position on the Israel/Palestine (my own stance is probably more leftwing) I do agree entirely about Robert Mackey: his anti-Israel bias is very obvious. Once I tried to point out that two Israeli politicians were misquoted and another time I tried - in a very civil tone - to correct several errors in Mackey's version of an incident. Neither comment was posted. I asked why but never received a reply. On another occasion (the fake "Syrian woman" blogger) I pointed out the blogger's clear anti-Israel message. My comment was posted but Mackey added his own dissent. When I tried to show why he was mistaken, my comment was not posted. By my rough count the ratio of pro-Israel comments to anti-Israel comments on Mackey's posts was 3 to 1 and some of the anti-Israel comments posted ventured very close to racism. If my own experience is any indication, I can understand why the numbers were so skewed. Apparently he is now moving to The Guardian. That paper's vehement anti-Israel bias will probably make him feel right at home.

Posted by: Kyle at September 19, 2011 08:27 PM

Isn't he gone yet? Mondoweiss has congratulated him on his stellar work and will miss him very much.

Posted by: Bella Center at September 19, 2011 09:46 PM

The problem is that the archetypal ultranationalism that Mackey alludes to is the status quo ACROSS the Palestinian political spectrum. If ultranationalism is that offensive to him, I would have expected analysis along those lines of various Palestinian political actors and their supporters ( -- not just occasional lip service about Hamas as extremists and committed guerillas). Mackey doesn't seem to know himself very well on this point.

Furthermore, Dennis Kucinich, Michael Moore and Code Pink have railed against ultranationalism in American society and foreign policy, but the mere fact that they are Americans and profess to care about America doesn't (1) validate the substance of their criticisms or (2) suggest the journalistic responsibility of amplifying their criticisms and comparatively ignoring people in the American center who disagree with them. Mackey's argument about fairmindedness and good journalism falls short here.

Posted by: Adam at September 19, 2011 11:54 PM

Did you email the public editor, Arthur Brisbane, about this? He seems fair minded and responsive.

Posted by: dave at September 20, 2011 10:24 AM

You're so right. I too was censored from Mackey's blog when I tried to post reasonable comments presenting Israel's POV. How rich that Mackey was so concerned that his comment wouldn't be published. Hypocrisy, perhaps?
A censored Lede poster

Posted by: a censored Lede poster at September 20, 2011 11:34 AM

Nothing new here. Mackey is the prototype of an unobjective, biased journalist...

Posted by: George at September 20, 2011 03:44 PM

Just a small correction in my previous comment: 3 to 1 is the ratio of anti-Israel to pro-Israel comments in Mackey blog (not the reverse!). And a small addendum: once I tried to counter a blatantly anti-Jewish comment (how "Jewish" money had "bought" the US Congress and made them indentured to the interests of a "foreign" country) with a bit of sarcasm about "Israeli oil money". The comment was not posted. I tried a straightforward (no sarcasm) comment about oil interests. Again not posted. I asked why? I received no answer. It was at that time that I first began noticing the lopsided ratio of anti-Israel to pro-Israel comments. This can't have been accidental.

Posted by: Kyle at September 20, 2011 07:04 PM

to kyle; The same thing happens to me everytime I post a comment in the WBUR blog section . Anything I write defending Israel is not posted .If I was paranoid , I would say its a plot!!

Posted by: R at September 22, 2011 01:03 AM

I agree with Kyle and others, Mackey always censored the pro-Israel comments. If a comment showed his ineptitude at reporting, he blocked it. That's a cowardly way for a blog to operate.

Thank you for exposing him.

The New York Times had to know what was going on. Mackey is a joke in the journalistic community. He often quoted discredited writers such as Max Blumenthal. His main sources appeared to be Mondoweiss, Electronic Intifada and any anti-Israel blogger he could dig up.

Posted by: Craig at September 22, 2011 08:28 AM

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