The blogworld is buzzing about a new development: a group of political bloggers is banding together to create Pajamas Media, an aggregated blog (think HuffingtonPost) featuring authors of many stripes, though almost all are on the rightward end of the spectrum. Their purpose is to persuade the visitors to all of these separate blogs to come together and spend their time at Pajamas Media buying products offered there (Dave of Israelly Cool in his diatribe against this post doesn’t seem to understand that I’m speaking of ads–so let me spell it out to ya Dave). A multi-author blog will (the founders hope) give the new site the heft needed to bring major online advertisers to the venture and pay the participants handsomely for their efforts.
There is much skepticism of the viability of this project both from the right and left of the web’s political dial. But I’m more interested in the ideological tilt of the venture. One of the founders is Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs fame. Many of you will know about LGF. But for those who don’t, I find it a biliously anti-Muslim, stridently pro-Israel site in which anyone who deigns to criticize Israel receives the “tar and feather” treatment. Think of David Horowitz and Frontpagemagazine in an IDF uniform.
There are two progressive bloggers participating: David Corn (he’s even on the editorial board of PJM fer chrissakes!) of The Nation and Marc Cooper of the LA Weekly. After reading some of the passages below, I wonder how these two can stand to be in the company of some of these bloggers.
Micah Sifry writes some very tantalizing bits about the unseen hand/s behind the venture:
…A quick glance at its overall contributor list shows one obvious ideological tilt, one that won’t make the hawks in Israel’s Likud party or their neo-con friends here unhappy. No word on who exactly is bankrolling this new venture, but my guess is it’s someone who wants more “pro-Israel” voices out there. One person’s bias is another person’s market opportunity, I guess.
What’s interesting about the bloggers in this group who write about Israel is that their views are not just pro-Likud, they’re extreme right Likud, farther even to the right than Ariel Sharon himself. This is yet another example of Jewish bloggers who are far to the right of the Mideast consensus in their communities (whether it be Israel, Australia or the U.S.).
So, either Charles Johnson has created a serious business venture which just so happens to have enlisted many of his dagger-wielding cronies in the “Israeli Right or Wrong/anti-Semites Behind Every Tree” blog community; OR he and his sugar daddy have created a venture designed to promote Israel’s far Right and dressed it in a fig leaf of ‘divergent’ blogging opinions (by including Cooper and Corn).
Let’s take a look at some of the blogging partners who’ll be featured and get a feel for their political viewpoint:
Little Green Footballs (Charles Johnson)
In a cursory glance around this shmatte (“rag” in Yiddish) of a blog, I could only find this relatively tame (for LGF, that is) anti-Muslim post from chief footballer, Johnson:
The Religion of Peace celebrates Ramadan in Somalia by destroying a movie studio. (Hat tip: Ethel.)
Ledeen is one of the infamous group who engineered the Iran arms for hostages deal. He made very comfortable bedfellows with international arms traffickers like Manucher Ghorbanifar. Ledeen was also the bright light who suggested, according to the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs website that “Ledeen argued that now is the time for Iranian liberation.” Meaning he called for a U.S. invasion of Iran. That’s even farther to the right than George Bush and Dick Cheney are willing to go (at least publicly)! Though one could argue that privately all three are probably in perfect accord–a notion that is even scarier.
Here are some more scary thoughts (again from the JINSA site) from Ledeen about the Mideast peace process (which he doesn’t believe in):
I cannot think of a single case in human history in which simply people sitting down at a table and ‘working it out’ has accomplished peace. So far as I can tell, every time there’s been peace, real peace in the world, it has happened the old fashioned way. One side beat up the other side and there’s a winner and a loser. The winner imposes terms on the loser and those terms are called ‘peace’.”
“Look at the great peace conferences in history — winners impose terms on the losers and that’s what peace is only unserious people could possibly believe that you can get peace by sitting real antagonists around a table and saying, ‘Well, now why don’t you all try to work this out? Let’s reason together.’ They’re not interested in reasoning together. They’re interested in winning. That’s what serious leaders want. We don’t have peace in the Middle East because the Palestinians, the Iraqis, the Syrians, the enemies of Israel, want to win. They’re not interested in peace. They’re interested in victory.”
“A successful operation is one that wins. A failed operation is one that loses. And it doesn’t matter what the national consensus is going in, the only thing that matters is the national consensus coming out. If you win, you’re going to have a big national consensus in favor of your policy whatever it was, and if you lose, you’re a bum and it doesn’t matter how well you rationalize. It’s all about winning and losing; what leaders are supposed to do is figure out how to win, and if they lose, they’re failed leaders, pure and simple.”
Or try this even more odious point of view:
“Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show we mean business”
Solomonia (Martin Solomon)
Solomon is one of the bloggers behind the David Project which attempted singlehandedly to destroy an entire academic program within Columbia University because of its alleged anti-Semitic teaching practices. Solomon is also on the warpath regarding Rashid Khalidi, one of the world’s leading Mideast academics, who holds a chair at Columbia:
Rashid Khalidi is the ‘Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies’ at Columbia University. The chair has provoked much controversy, starting with the controversial nature of the academic it is named for and the suspicion that it will serve as a highly political position — exacerbated by the fact that Columbia at first refused to release the names of the donors behind the chair. Finally, after doing so under great pressure, the controversial nature of some of the donors was revealed — including one donation from the government of the United Arab Emerates [sic].
Don’t you just love the quotation marks around the title of his academic chair? As if they could somehow discredit the value of the chair and its holder. People like Solomon view “good academics” as ones who always have good things to say about Israeli government policy. The bad ones are, well, “highly political” (in case you didn’t realize–that’s a really BAD thing in Solomon’s eyes). I’ve worked at two universities as a fundraiser and our practice is not to vet every donor BEFORE they get a chance to make a contribution. Again, Solomon’s rule appears to be that you can’t give a gift to Columbia (and especially not for a chair to be held by Khalidi or named after that scandalous anti-Semite, Edward Said) if you’re an Arab critical of Israel. Does that mean that no Jewish donor who’s made an anti-Muslim comment can contribute toward a chair in Jewish Studies?
Atlas Shrugs (Pamela)
This is typical of the obsessive compulsive disorder you’ll find regarding Pamela’s need to find Jews as always aggrieved and always victims:
Or this example of her obssessive compulsive disorder in finding anti-Semitism and the imminent demise of the Jewish people in everything she reads about Jews:
Middle East Journal (Michael Totten)
Totten writes articles in the Lebanon Daily Star like this one Lebanon and Iraq: Partners in Freedom (that slogan could’ve been penned by Karen Hughes, our new ‘ambassador of goodwill’ to the Arab world), which argues that both countries are blessed with a nascent democracy. Here’s a brief bit of Totten’s wisdom which he distributes freely to any Lebanese who’ll listen: “A democratic Arab world is all but inevitable…”
And this is the same fellow who reacts with petulant outrage (I am Not a Spy) when Lebanese who meet him accuse him of being a U.S. spy! I think we have another Stephen Vincent in the making here and I just hope this guy makes it out alive. I think he’s an utter fool (but one who doesn’t deserve to die for his blatant ignorance). If I could say one thing to the poor guy it’d be: “T.E. (as in Lawrence), come home!”
Israelly Cool (Aussie Dave)
This blog is typical of the Israel-apologia LGF philosophy. Within his Moderate Arabs category, he lists the post Wanted: More Like Him about a self-confessed (and proud) Palestinian “collaborator”:
Which is really funny in light of this exchange also at Dave’s blog:
Do you hate all Muslims?
Of course not. I hate the Islamic terrorists, and I make a point to distinguish between them and “moderate” Muslims, for whom I have the utmost respect.
So, Dave, to be a “good Muslim” must you be an Israeli collaborator? I guess you never heard the term “a good Negro” used during the 1960s. The term “moderate Muslim” as used by Dave is equally patronizing and betrays his utter ignorance and disdain for an entire people (Palestinian) and religion (Islam). His Israeli-exclusivist view of the universe allows him to have empathy for only one people to the exclusion of all others. Actually, he doesn’t bestow his empathy upon all Israelis. Only those on the far-right who toe the proper ideological line.
Protein Wisdom (Jeff Goldstein)
Here’s what passes for wisdom over at Protein Wisdom. In a discussion of Palestinian suicide bombings, he writes this witty and urbane passage:
…Exploding Arabs absolutely cannot be good for the environment — what with all that heat and those burning chemicals and what not.
Which means the Jews are to blame for the CO2 blanket, as well — which in turn is responsible for killing furry forest dwellers of all stripes.
A banner spotted at yesterday’s “peace march” in D.C.: “Jews: killers of all things cuddly!”
(Okay, so I made that up. But mark my words: it’s coming…)
The Big Picture (Vic Rubinfeld):
We’re really blessed in this country to have the Judeo-Christian tradition of wanting to love each other and help each other have better lives and to enjoy life and be good to each other. As opposed to the tradition of some Islamofascist localities where they do the reverse – sending their own children off to be blown up.”
The Big Picture
Don’t you just love it when people like this dragoon Judaism and its traditions into a culture war between Christianity and Islam? I say: “leave us out of it.”
The Corner, (John Podhoretz)
Podhoretz Jr. apparently doesn’t believe in a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Here’s what he had to say about the 1991 Madrid Conference (and by inference all subsequent negotiations like Oslo and Camp David):
When the administration of Bush the Elder complained in public that Israel wasn’t interested in peace, that complaint alone forced the Israeli government to betray its own principles and join an international conference in Madrid whence began the “peace process” whose end result is the bloody war on civilians we see today.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.