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Reasons for the Kamm Gag, Perhaps Not What You Think

I was just talking to Avner Cohen, who has been my magnetic north in parsing various aspects of this story.  He pointed out a consideration for the gag order which I’d never thought of and it has great validity.

If the Israeli authorities realized that throwing the book at a young Israeli woman for espionage might be problematic for many reasons, and they feared the uproar that the news of her supposed perfidy (“spy,” “traitor,” etc.) would arouse in the right-wing press and among the political ‘hanging judges’ in the Knesset, they might’ve presented the gag to her as a means of removing the case and plea bargaining from the political realm.  They might worry that once this story is widely known in far right nationalist circles, they will no longer have discretion to negotiate a lighter sentence for her.  This may be why Kam and her attorneys have also seen it in their interest to attempt to enforce the gag on Israeli Hebrew language sources.  It may also be why the gag is scheduled to end just before the beginning of her trial, so that there will be almost no overlap between a plea bargain agreement and the trial date.  This would essentially present the public and especially the far right with a fait accompli (and certainly drive them crazy).  We will see in the next few days whether the plea offered by the prosecutor is light or harsh.  If it is relatively light, then we’ll know Avner is right.

hear no evil, speak no evil

A nation of the deaf, dumb and blind thanks to the Israeli authorities (Index Open)

The truth of the matter is (and these are now my views and not to be confused with Avner’s) that in a truly free-wheeling democracy in which there was a political equilibrium between left and right you should be able to put this story out there and let both sides have at it.  In that free for all, a political consensus might emerge and a compromise approach might evolve which would find a way of addressing Kam’s alleged crime and punishment.  But in Israel now, the far right is in such ascendancy that if the case was made public the political hatchet folk might have her locked up forever.  “No punishment is good enough for her.”  That sort of thing.  It is the sad fact of contemporary Israel that Anat Kam may need to be protected from the baying hounds who would love to tear her limb from limb.

An Israeli journalist just sent me links to two new pieces published in Yediot Achronot and Seventh Eye about L’Affaire Kam.  They’re more of the “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” variety which refuse to name names.  But they’re still worth noting.

Israeli human rights lawyer Lila Margalit writes in the most important of the two pieces:

China, Burma, Iran–these are nations expert in the use of secret proceedings in their battle with opponents of the regime…In a democratic country, on the other hand, one of the clearest signs of a free government is that people are not judged in secret.  They don’t disappear into secret prisons.  They are not brought to justice through a process about whose existence the public doesn’t even know.  It is the right of a person in a democratic state to have a public trial.  This is a basic right understood a priori.  This is one of the foundation stones on which is based the rule of law…

The principle of the public nature of proceedings serves as a major red line against government tyranny.  It prevents the abuse of criminal proceedings for political purposes and guarantees transparency in regard to the considerations of the state in bringing an individual to justice.  It enables the public to criticize in the conduct of criminal proceedings and acts as a constructive means of guaranteeing the authenticity of justice.

There are situations in which it is important to preserve secrecy during legal deliberations…But in this matter as in all that concern constraints upon human rights the principle of proportionality is the key…A sweeping black-out that extends over a prolonged period of time is not proportional.  And the longer it lasts the more questions arise about the security considerations of the authorities…

Further, prolonged investigations conducted in absolute secrecy not only isolate the accused from society, but prevent a constructive public deliberation on the substance of the charges.  And in this particular case, even the willingness of the accused to maintain silence doesn’t make the reptile kosher.

The preservation of the all the democratic and legal rights mentioned above protects all of us.  Damaging them doesn’t only trample on the rights of one particular accused, but rather threatens us all.

I agree with Avner’s criticism of the piece as being too vague, basic, and unwilling to deal even with the generalities of the case.  There is an Alice in Wonderland quality to all this, with even a human rights lawyer having to speak in round about fashion about a specific, egregious violation of Israeli democratic values.  Even the greatest eloquence in such circumstances can’t hide the fact that the writer is crippled in an essential way.

The second piece in Seventh Eye lays out the Anat Kam story as if it was the Chad Gadya Passover song.  It’s meant to be humorous and satirical at the same time.  One element of it that made me chafe referred to me:

He who arrived at the report of JTA was connected to a blog which was the first (according to its claim) that exposed the story in the U.S.

“Claimed?”  I realize that journalists who don’t personally know a particular blogger may feel it necessary to protect themselves in the event of error.  But this smacks of condescension and annoys me as a serious blogger.  Is it possible that Israeli journalists find it distressing that an American Jewish blogger could’ve exposed such a major Israeli story?  If so, get over it.  But also keep in mind that I couldn’t have exposed this story without the help of Israeli journalists and other insiders.  It was a two-way street between Israel and Diaspora, between journalist and blogger.  It’s the way good journalism should be practiced, but rarely is in the Israeli context.

I understand a Judith Miller piece may be coming out in The Daily Beast tomorrow.  [UPDATE: The story is here.]  Despite my misgivings about her overall politics, it’s a good sign that she is as disturbed as some of us are about the free speech-free press implications of this incident.  We need allies to bring this story home to a wider public.

{ 39 comments… add one }
  • Shraga Elam April 3, 2010, 4:16 PM

    Avner’s theory as reproduced by you doesn’t hold water, because the right wing people are lengthily aware of the story and discuss it freely, while leftists give in to pressure from Anat Kam and remove their blog entries.
    The reason for the gag on the side of the Israeli authorities are obvious: they did not want re-warm the article of Uri Blau publicly as especially following the international debate on the Goldstone report this issue is considered to be highly unfavorable.
    If I understand Avner correctly he is talking about the reasons why Kam’s lawyer supports the gag as well, namely that he is afraid that his client will be branded as a traitor and accordingly molested by right wing people.

  • Avner Cohen April 3, 2010, 5:21 PM

    Shraga: the point here is not how many know about it–say a few thousands or even a little more–but rather politicizing the issue by right wing politicians. Right now the issue is not in the public domain in Israel, so it generates no public discourse. See the lame editorial in YNET by Lila Margalit. I think both the fraklitut (justice system) … See Morepeople and Anat agree on not politicizing the case. Doing so would worsen her to the point that it could even undermines any plea bargain that leads to lenient sentence.

  • Jerry Haber April 3, 2010, 5:57 PM

    But, Avner, if the plea bargain is light, then all hell will break loose on the right. The story will not die, especially since Uri Blau is involved. I understand why Anat Kam’s lawyer wishes to hush up things at this juncture. Frankly, that’s why many of us imposed self-censorship weeks ago. It’s one thing to strike a blow for freedom in a blog; it is another to refuse the request of somebody who is facing 16 years in jail — or even any time in jail. I did not receive a personal request directly from her people; but I was told that she was not interested in Israeli bloggers discussing this, and that’s why relatively few Israeli progressive bloggers are discussing it.

    We are all in Richard’s debt for pursuing this story. And Richard, although I am not a big fan of Miller, to say the least, we all know why *she* will be covering the story.

  • Ilene April 3, 2010, 6:56 PM

    Here is Judy Miller’s story in the Daily Beast. Hey! She cites you guys!


  • We want the truth about Anat Kam – רוצים את האמת על ענת קם

  • Ex-Insider April 3, 2010, 11:39 PM

    We hear that Ms. Kamm’s attorneys are in favor of complete media silence. Such an idea would sound feasible to a middle-aged attorney who does not know Facebook and who is used to representing printed newspapers (plural). I thought of that when noting that Ma’ariv was the first to print anything at all. Not hinting anything – just sayin’. An example of why transparency is so needed.

    Another point for your your consideration: we hear about Anat Kamm’s attorneys. But what about Mr. Blau’s attorneys? And what about the newspaper’s attorneys? If they are one and the same, there’s obviously a possible conflict of interest. If they are not one and the same, maybe you would want to hear from the other two before self-gagging.

  • Shirin April 4, 2010, 1:30 AM

    A nation of the deaf, dumb and blind thanks to the Israeli authorities

    Couldn’t happen without the willing compliance of the people of Israel. Don’t forget they elected the authority that rules them today.

  • Shirin April 4, 2010, 1:39 AM

    Despite my misgivings about [Judith Miller’s] overall politics…

    It is not her politics that should be cause for misgivings, it is her utter dishonesty, and her complete lack of ethics or journalistic integrity or in fact ethics or integrity of any kind. It is her eager willingness to publish utterly false words that result in mass murder, and destruction of an entire country, society, and culture. She should never again be trusted to publish a single honest word.

    • evildeor April 4, 2010, 3:09 AM

      I agree. There is a quaint notion called ‘disgrace.’ There should be a ban on her. She didn’t even recognized what she did and she is now forgiven?

  • Suzanne April 5, 2010, 3:05 PM

    The Judy Miller article at the Daily Beast is quite good and should be welcomed. It does give credit to this blog ( deserved).

    I hate knee-jerk responses to people who may have gone wrong in the past but certainly should be given a chance to rectify. It’s obvious to me that the article is good and that Miller’s enduring interest is at least about journalist’s freedom to break a story and not to have to reveal sources.

    • Shirin April 5, 2010, 8:52 PM

      “Gone wrong”?! Judith Miller knowingly played a major role in the deliberate construction of the deception that has violently ended an estimated million Iraqi lives, sent millions into exile, produced a generation of children who have grown up with ptsd as a normal part of life, shredded a diverse society made up of peoples who had shared the same land for many centuries, and destroyed an entire country. What does it take to rectify something like that? I can tell you that it is a great deal more than writing one decent story. As far as I am concerned that woman belongs in the trash heap of history.

      • Suzanne April 6, 2010, 3:45 AM

        I thought someone would say just this, Shirin.

        Your real anger ( and mine) is with GW Bush. Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, and Colin Powell ( he of the UN appearance). It was not Judy Miller or even her editor at the NYTimes ( who bears some responsibility) who violently ended those lives. The American people voted for GWB a second time don’t forget as well. And also where are we with holding these folks accountable?? Ask Obama.
        Ask your reps. And by the way we are doing the same in Afghanistan — all this in the name of our national security.

        Judy Miller has and is paying the price. I assume she has learned something. You can keep your heavy foot on her if you so choose- and vent “it all”, including the ptsd of Iraqi children on her- not me.

        What about her article- not good?

        • Shirin April 6, 2010, 11:02 PM

          How dare you? How dare you presume to inform me with whom my “real” anger is and is not? Who the hell do you think you are?

          For your information, my very, very real anger – no, rage, outrage, and disgust – with so-called “journalists” such as the self-servingly mendacious Judith Miller and her ilk, is more than justified. Judith Miller, had she chosen to tell the truth instead of adding to the lies, might very well have been able to stop the aggression against Iraq. Instead, she apparently felt it was better for her career to put all her efforts into promoting it.

          And are you really so foolish and shallow as to assume that by holding Judith Miller responsible for her part in this crime against humanity, I am letting anyone else off the hook? My rage, outrage, and disgust are aimed at everyone who conceived, promoted, and executed this egregious and still ongoing crime against humanity including the narcissistic sociopath George W. Bush; Colin Powell who stood in front of the Security Council and the world and lied again and again and again and then later sniveled and whined that he had been deceived into it; the P.R. firms and their employees who accepted tens of millions of dollars to design and deliver a marketing campaign for the destruction of an entire country and a millennia-old society; the so-called journalists, led by Judith Miller, who decided it was better for their careers to help promote and justify atrocity than to try to stop it; the other so-called journalists who forgot that their job is to question, fact check and investigate, not act as stenographers for the war mongers; the media decision-makers who chose to cheer-lead and who silenced the voices of dissent, or for that matter of anyone who actually knew anything real about Iraq; the American people who allowed themselves to be led unquestioningly, and the ones who, worse yet, knew it was wrong, but supported it once it became fait accompli, because after all we have to support our country when it is “at war”; by no means least “our troops” who with their own hands, and sometimes with obvious pleasure carried out the mass murders, the torture, the destruction, the humiliation, and who with their own hands destroyed millions of lives and left a generation of children for whom ptsd is a normal part of life.

          And by the way since you insist that Judith Miller has and is paying “the price”, you must be able to tell me what the price is for mendaciously promoting an action that left a million dead, five million displaced, a country destroyed, a millennia-old society shredded, and an entire generation of children who will never know life without ptsd. So, please do tell me, what is the price for all that, and how much of it has Judy Miller paid, and in what form? Do you really think that one decent article is a fair price for all that?

          • Richard Silverstein April 7, 2010, 1:39 AM

            I believe this is the same Suzanne who like clock-work springs up to defend Ethan Bronner & Tom Friedman whenever I criticize their work. She seems to have a very soft spot for current & ex-NYT reporters.

          • Suzanne April 7, 2010, 4:13 AM

            Not whenever Richard. I let a lot go here and I am not always checking your blog for Bronner. Occasionally when I read a good one by Bronner- a fair one- sure enough ( when there is nothing much else happening maybe) you are ripping it apart and unfairly so. You used to be somewhat fair- now it’s your obsession to parse and dis. Bronner is not an activist, alas. Were he, he would not be at the NYT. The New York Times needs more reporting from the territories by a Palestinian, granted but the New York Times is no longer the big edifice you claim either but it it’s a great paper. I hate knee jerk criticisms that turn out, in my judgement, to be as unreasonable as yours is.

            Google “Bronner” and your name is right at the top.

            Friedman-I no longer read mostly except lately and sometimes in the past he has had some good ones. He is influential still.

            Judy Miller was a huge disappointment and she was punished. I am not a conservative- and I don’t read her views or articles. Prior to the Iraq war she wrote an excellent series of articles on Al Qaeda- when no one else was on the subject. She writes well. We went off track big time- also an obsession.

            Watch out for obsessions.

            I am not reading Shirin’s since it starts out with “how dare you”. That I don’t need.She is entitles to her anger. I think it’s misplaced. People don’t have to swallow whole what they read and the world does not run to the NYT for absolute TRUTH. Shame on those who do.

          • Richard Silverstein April 7, 2010, 5:14 PM

            Bullcrap. If Bronner wrote well & fairly I’d be applauding him as I have previous NYT Israel correspondents. Until he does, he’ll receive precisely the measure of scrutiny & skepticism he deserves, which is a lot.

          • Suzanne April 7, 2010, 4:29 AM

            Shirin- I did read this, through all of your anger. And as it turns out you are really angry at all those others at the top I mentioned- including the American people who fell for it all and supported it. Still you can hear people say we are over there “protecting our freedom” It makes me as sick as you.

            Where I part ways with you is that I can read a Judy Miller article on the Daily Beast and say it’s good. I am inviting her for dinner. She is no longer reporting for the NYTimes, spent time in jail, has taken a job on Fox news which places her a a certain catgary. I’d say her career as an independently journalist is over. She will have to deal with her own conscience as well. For you maybe no punishment is good enough. For me- I would like to see Obama’s administration hold the PRINCIPALS accountable so that we can say to the world and to ourselves- we don’t do this… we as a country did wrong.

            She did write a decent article- you agree.

          • Suzanne April 7, 2010, 4:30 AM

            Sorry- I meant to write :

            I am NOT inviting her to dinner.

          • Suzanne April 7, 2010, 4:40 AM

            Sorry again for the typos- I should re-read before I post:

            Regarding Judy MIller I meant to write:

            “She went off track big time- also an obsession.”

            I think she became obsessed. Also she was indulged, like a spoiled child at the NYT. Howell Raines left as a result. The NYT I think has also paid a price- and if we all read the times now with a little less of a feeling that it’s holy writ and learn to seek information from many sources, we are the better for it.

          • Shirin April 7, 2010, 7:09 AM

            Google “Bronner” and your name is right at the top.

            Liar. Richard has one entry out of the first hundred hits, and it is about 90% down the page.

          • Shirin April 7, 2010, 11:23 PM

            She is no longer reporting for the NYTimes…

            Big whoop. She lied in order to aid and abet the destruction of an entire country, and the murder of a million or so people. You think losing her job at the NYT is adequate payment?

            spent time in jail

            She did not spend time in jail for her real crime of aiding and abetting mass murder.

            has taken a job on Fox news which places her a a certain catgary.

            It places her exactly where she has always belonged.

            And when has she ever acknowledged what she did? When has she ever expressed regret for the massive death and displacement and destruction of property and lives she lied to promote? The woman is not worth the crud on the sole of one Iraqi’s shoe. She is one of the lowest forms of life.

  • Yael Pedhatzur April 6, 2010, 9:37 PM

    It seems to me that in your zeal to denigrate Israel at any price you will accommodate conflicting points of view as long as each of them provides yet another “putdown” of Israel.
    Anat Kamm, for whatever reason, committed a crime that is recognized in just about every legal system. This is what transpires from Judith Miller’s article and from other sources as well.
    Should it be censored?? Is that the only measure of a democracy??
    There are gag orders for ongoing trial & investigations in many legal systems. Maybe it is a cover-up, that she was able to get the information out, and that the security apparatus was unable to intercept her.
    Please stick to the facts, it is not about lack of democracy, it is a lively subject on every media channel in this country (Israel), and all sides of the political spectrum are in on the discussion, civilly and rationally.
    Please remember, she committed a crime; that is what is important, the gag order is really a minor issue. I too believe it is a stupid decision, but not a criminal one and certainly not a sinister one. We live in a slightly different reality.
    To be consistent with all the opinions in the readers’ comments as well as in the original article, you should all be rooting for the release of Jonathan Pollard.

    • Richard Silverstein April 8, 2010, 9:06 PM

      Anat Kamm, for whatever reason, committed a crime that is recognized in just about every legal system.

      Oh, you mean the “crime” of being a whistleblower exposing the far greater crimes of her IDF superiors??

      it is a lively subject on every media channel in this country

      How can a supposed democracy have a full, lively debate when it doesn’t even know what it’s talking about since the facts are concealed by the authorities??

      Please remember, she committed a crime; that is what is important

      Certainly the way the Israeli right sees it. But that’s not the way I see it.

      you should all be rooting for the release of Jonathan Pollard.

      You nauseate me. Jonathan Pollard who betrayed actual U.S. miltiary secrets to Israel you equate with Anat Kam who leaked documents proving IDF crimes? Gimme a break.

  • Suzanne April 7, 2010, 8:57 AM

    Shirin- last time I looked this was so and nearer the top but lo and behold it STILL is. Google Ethan Bronner. Silverstein is right after the usual Times ref, wiki ref and google images- The Angry Arab comes then SilversteinYou don’t want to discuss- you want only to vent your anger and name call. I never called you foolish or shallow, nor a liar- which is more about yourself. You are obviously too hysterical to calm down and admit you agree with me essentially. I realize it would be hard to say anything good or in defense of anyone being hammered here. I don’t make it a habit, contrary to what Richard says, of popping up every time he goes on and on about Bronner. That too can be checked.

    • Shirin April 7, 2010, 9:56 PM

      You’re full of it. You said “Google ‘Bronner’ and your name is right at the top.” Well, I googled “Bronner”, and out of the first hundred hits Richard’s name appeared only once and it was nowhere near the top. In fact, it was very close to the bottom. Then I googled Ethan Bronner, and once again out of the first hundred hits there was one and only one entry for Richard, and it was not “right at the top”, though it was among the first five or six. In any case the position on the page is hardly significant when there is only one hit out of 100, now, is it?

      As for Bronner, he is little more than a shill for Israel. His latest piece is a perfect example of propaganda disguised as positive news. He pretends that non-violent resistance is something brand new that the Palestinians are trying these days. He either doesn’t want to mention or hasn’t bothered to find out about the very long history of Palestinian non-violent resistance that goes back nearly 100 years to the 1920’s.

      • Suzanne April 8, 2010, 9:29 AM

        You’re full of it. Whoa your nastiness is astonishing. This will be my last I hope. I should not have looked.

        Google :”Ethan Bronner” which is even better. FOR ME -out of almost 50,000 possibilities page one has him in the TOP 5 ( really 2nd after the normal refs) and he’s on TOP of page two. Prior to the brouhaha the NYT brought on by the public editor Hoyt- Richard’s blog was much more represented in the first several. I know, I looked to research his claims for awhile.

        This is not the point. The point for me is that you don’t know how to be civil and non-belligerant which colors all else that you say. You seem to be simply ratifying and mimicking Richard’s opinion, defending him. Blogs have their little clubhouses. RS adds to the end some credit to Miller above by the way I notice. Good for him. That was my only point. I don’t defend what Judy Miller did that helped persuade folks to be for the Iraq war. But my good sense tells me that she was not responsible for it and that it’s way too easy to blame her to make yourself feel like you are an activist. There is plenty of blame to go around and she has paid and is paying for her part. while others are absolutely not at all.

        On Bronner: Read entries for Bronner you will see that he is also being accused of being anti-Israel. Here is one:

        Ethan Bronner Attacks Israel, Says Country should be “Ashamed” for Media Blackout”

        Tagreed Kodary btw reports from Gaza and the WB. She reported from there during the Gaza War. So she is the closest the NYT has for a reporter that is Palestinian. And she is good.

        Bronner, I find pretty good and even steven. Nothing activist about his reporting. Others have made the point that should he leave, he would be replaced by someone else similar. This is the NYTimes. I’ll take it.

        There I gave you more than I intended.

        • Richard Silverstein April 8, 2010, 7:37 PM

          you don’t know how to be civil and non-belligerant [sic]

          Perhaps if yr arguments weren’t so patently self-serving Shirin wouldn’t feel the need to take you to the woodshed. Shirin is a spirited debater but I’ve found she only reserves her real venom for those who wander far off the reservation as I think you’ve done in this matter.

          Shirin doesn’t mimic my opinion. In fact there are times when she disagrees with me even strongly. It’s quite insulting to hear you say that Shirin is my rubber stamp. Nothing could be farther fr. the truth. She is an independent person w. totally independent views.

          Tagreed Kodary is a junior reporter who never gets an independent byline in the NYT, ever. I meant that the Times treats her as a junior reporter, not that she is of that stature.

        • Shirin April 11, 2010, 12:00 AM

          you don’t know how to be civil and non-belligerant

          Oh, I know very well how to be civil and non-belligerent as anyone who knows me at all will tell you. In fact, that is my default mode with those who deserve civility, and even with those who do not a good deal of the time. People who have the effrontery to lecture me in a patronizing tone on such personal matters as where my real anger lies certainly do not deserve a civil answer, nor are they likely to get one.

          You seem to be simply ratifying and mimicking Richard’s opinion, defending him.

          LOL! You haven’t read much of what I have written here or anywhere else, have you?

          And I don’t have any need to “feel like I am an activist”, whatever that even means. I have no stake in being an “activist” or being seen by anyone as an “activist”. I am a person with a career, and a life, and a somewhat exceptional combination of knowledge and comprehension of a set or particular subjects. All that has led me to engage in certain activities that may or may not marginally qualify me as an “activist”. (I think of activists as people who put their bodies, freedom, and lives on the line far more than I have ever been prepared to do), and I really don’t care.

          Judith Miller lied to help sell the aggression against Iraq, so yes, she is very responsible for it, and she has yet to acknowledge, let alone take responsibility for her part in it. She has not begun to pay the price for what she has done. Bronner is simply a shill for Israel. He writes propaganda disguised as journalism. He ought to hang his head in shame.

          • Suzanne April 12, 2010, 1:11 PM

            “LOL! You haven’t read much of what I have written here or anywhere else, have you?”

            No. I just know you from this exchange which is pretty distasteful as it goes on and on about how offended you are. You don’t know me either. But anyway you have taken offense immediately giving no benefit of doubt.

            And that Richard would jump in to defend you ( from what?) and call my comments “self-serving” ( ???) to me says he really does not like my criticism of his Bronner obsession. I was not the one who took this all out of bounds. In any case my comments are not welcome here apparently…fine.

          • Richard Silverstein April 12, 2010, 1:35 PM

            my comments are not welcome here

            As for being welcome, I don’t know, but your comments are accepted here along with any other commenter. If you choose to misconstrue deliberately my attitude toward yr comments that’s your problem.

          • Suzanne April 12, 2010, 4:17 PM

            Richard- you needn’t have come in to explain me to Shirin in the first place if you were neutral.

            And it should have been obvious to you ( and I think it was b/c you defended it) that Shirin was going nasty ballistic simply because I DARED say that her real anger belongs not with Judy Miller. She went off the deep end righteous defending herself at the nerve of me when she actually agreed with me. Did she say it was a good article?- which you finally did ( as others did elsewhere). I was not trying to tell her anything more than she already knew either. So it would have been just as easy for her to agree and be friendly… and for you to stay out of it.

            I am remembering now that you told me to start my own blog if I disagreed with you re Bronner. And now you really don’t know if you welcome me or not. I congratulate you on the Kamm story and let’s leave it at that. Enjoy your achievement.

            I don’t think I misconstrue yr attitude.

            Re Bronner- maybe one or two points of all the many that I have read here (of which I read no more b/c they are so off the deep end) made any sense to me. I think the obsessive almost indiscriminate harping negates anything useful you have to say b/c it’s usually a total trashing and about more than Bronner – really about the NYTimes. Lately his articles have been good. And yr point about Khodary is typical- just complaints.

          • Richard Silverstein April 12, 2010, 5:34 PM

            now you really don’t know if you welcome me or not.

            Oh please stop the self pity & stop looking for reasons to be offended. I won’t defend or explain my views of your particpation here. You can comment here just like anyone else can. Or not.

          • Shirin April 12, 2010, 9:53 PM

            Shirin was going nasty ballistic simply because I DARED say that her real anger belongs not with Judy Miller.

            Good grief. After all this you don’t even get what I was angry about? I went “ballistic” because you had the effrontery – that means the unmitigated gall – to tell ME where MY real anger lies. as of I need you to tell me what I am angry about. Read your words. You didn’t tell me where my real anger “belongs”, which would be irritating enough, you told me where it IS. You don’t have any business telling where my anger belongs, and you have a great deal less business telling me where my “real anger” lies. At least try to understand that much.

          • Shirin April 12, 2010, 10:13 PM


  • Aryeh April 7, 2010, 10:11 PM

    “I realize that journalists who don’t personally know a particular blogger may feel it necessary to protect themselves in the event of error. But this smacks of condescension and annoys me as a serious blogger. Is it possible that Israeli journalists find it distressing that an American Jewish blogger could’ve exposed such a major Israeli story? If so, get over it. ”

    Here’s Benziman on behalf of his colleague Nahum Barnea, who was under fire for bashing the credibility of bloggers in general and Huffington in particular:

    This was a stormy issue in the Israeli blogosphere a few months back, and while Benziman tries to leave the impression of being impartial, the impetus for writing this, as well as siding with Barnea, made it quite clear that he was (unsurprisingly) Old Guard.

  • Suzanne April 12, 2010, 5:00 PM

    As for Bronner, he is little more than a shill for Israel. His latest piece is a perfect example of propaganda disguised as positive news. He pretends that non-violent resistance is something brand new that the Palestinians are trying these days. He either doesn’t want to mention or hasn’t bothered to find out about the very long history of Palestinian non-violent resistance that goes back nearly 100 years to the 1920’s.

    Shirin: I won’t call you a liar ans you have called me but this is a misreading and ( I won’t say deliberate but maybe I should) misrepresentation of what Bronner said. He did not in any way “pretend” that non-violent or passive resistance is totally new. He said it never took hold. Regarding shill- this is familiar language…

    Okay I am done- obviously I could go on about the outlandish hyperbole in the material you provide.

    • Richard Silverstein April 12, 2010, 5:32 PM

      Shirin is dead on accurate regarding the lameness of Bronner’s story. Non-violent resistance is a story that Bronner made up. There is absolutely no hope for truly non violence resistance ending the Occupation since Israel is prepared to exert maximum lethal force in quelling ANY resistance whether it be violent or non violent. There is no conscience in Israel as there was in the U.S. or Britain that could be shamed or pressured into moderating Israel’s behavior.

      Gandhi and MLK were fond of saying that non violence would work in all circumstances regardless of the enemy. I used to believe this but no longer do. Non violence can only work when there is a minimal level of receptivity among the target national audience to a moral/political critique of colonial injustice. There isn’t any such thing in Israel; or at least the heartbeat of Israeli resistance to Occupation is so faint as to be non existent.

      • Shirin April 12, 2010, 10:12 PM

        I have to agree with you here, Richard. Non-violence is a losing proposition when you are faced with a ruthless force determined to crush you as the Palestinians are.

        I think it is also important to make note of the fact overlooked by Gandhi, MLK, and their proponents, that their non-violent movements were not the only aspect of the liberation of India and the gaining of civil rights. There were in the same periods movements that struggled for the same things they did, and used violence as at least one of their forms of struggle. This calls into question whether they would have achieved what they did without the accompanying violent movements. In other words, maybe it needs a combination of non-violence and violence to overcome those who gain by oppressing others. I think that is something worth thinking about.

    • Shirin April 12, 2010, 10:05 PM

      Come on! The title alone, “Palestinians Try a Less Violent Path to Resistance” is pure propaganda. The Palestinians have tried every possible non-violent path going back to the ’20’s, and they have tried it again and again and again and again and again. The First Intifada was primarily and overwhelmingly a non-violent effort that included all kinds of different forms of resistance from pulling their money out of Israeli banks to boycotting Israeli-made goods for which they were a captive market, to various forms of civil disobedience. Bronner utterly ignores all that and makes it sound as if this non-violence thing were something new the Palestinians were trying out for the first time.

      No, I have not misrepresented Bronner. His bias is absolutely clear.

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