I’m a member of Democrats.com and participate in its forum. When I write a post about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that relates to the Democratic Party, I sometimes will post a summary of my post and a link to it at the forum. I should also note that I am a life-long Democrat.
After writing a post critiquing the Party’s hawkishly pro-Israel stance, I created a thread at Democrats.com and linked to my blog post. This is what I wrote:
The National Jewish Democratic Council & the National Democratic Committee itself seem to believe the only credible position to take on the conflict is one that is hawkishly pro-Israel. When Howard Dean goes to Israel he meets mostly with Likud politicians and security hawks. You’d never know there’s a dove in Israel based on his Israel trip blog. In fact, there aren’t any Palestinians or Israeli Arabs in the region either based on the names he met as listed on the NJDC site.
I’ve written this post on the subject.
Bill Harding, a forum moderator, took offense at my post. In his reply, he used anti-Semitic canards to denigrate my concerns about the Party’s position vis a vis the Mideast conflict.
In addition, Harding warned me not to include a link to my blog within my signature. Since the forum specifically allows links within signatures (some forums don’t) and since the site’s rules do not disallow signatures which include blog links, basically Harding was making up the rules as he went along. And of course, he was singling me out for special treatment. Harding claims there IS such a rule:
our policy is that you can post your own blog in your profile, but not with every post.
But I could find no such rule. To further reinforce the notion that he’s making up the rules as he goes along, Harding closed the thread so that no one can participate further in it and he provided no reason for doing so. He’s also prohibited me from creating any new threads. And he even removed the link to my blog post about the Party’s positions regarding the I-P conflict. The site definitely does not prohibit such linking nor did Harding ever object to that link. Quite an overreaction and I’d say Bill’s having a fit of pique. Bill claims he’s a Democrat, but to me he’s an Autocrat. But this doesn’t make for good moderation.
Harding writes in reply to my appeal for the Democrats to develop a more progressive and balanced view of the I-P conflict:
Your opinion is swayed by divided loyalties, and somewhat by religion. My opinion is based on nothing but pure, unadulterated, patriotic Americanism.
This is the tired old ‘dual loyalty’ canard raised by American anti-Semites from time immemorial. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about anti-Semitism and dual loyalties:
…Analysts of modern anti-Semitism point out that its essence is scapegoating: features…felt by some group to be undesirable…are believed to be caused by the machinations of a conspiratorial people whose full loyalties are not to the national group.
My religion does not motivate me to advocate a progressive approach for the Party toward Israelis and Palestinians and I resent anyone who claims otherwise. Helping Israelis and Palestinians make peace is of the utmost importance not only for the parties involved, but for all Americans and everyone around the world. It is not a narrow parochial or religious concern.
And this too from Harding is a deeply offensive:
“Your statement is typical of a special interest group seeking to put its own selfish interests before the wants and needs of ALL Americans.”
An American Jew who wishes the Democratic Party to have a more progressive view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is NOT a “selfish special interest.” I’m a good American, a good Democrat and I resent the hell out of Harding’s calcified, borderline anti-Semitism.
In addition, Harding’s defensiveness regarding criticism of the Party’s agenda (“You would do better to rail against the neocon PNAC Republicans for supporting the Saudis, than to blame Howard Dean for the problems in the Middle East”) does neither the Party nor the Mideast conflict a service. A party (or website supporting such a party) which does not want to hear criticism is a party which is in defensive mode and not ready to grow and change in seeking to make itself a majority party once more.
Harding also seemed more interested in policing my comments than in moderating a poster to the same thread who wrote this:
The easiest way to ensure this windfall for the few is to keep kids (like some I know) indoctrinated, so that “Niggers, Jews, and Faggots” roll off their lips.
Harding was in the thread attacking my own comments & yet did nothing to remove this far more offensive one.
I find it disturbing that Harding is a moderator of this forum espousing such classical anti-Semitic views. I suppose one could argue that his views are not intentionally anti-Semitic. If they aren’t then at the least they’re deeply insensitive and don’t belong at a site which supposedly supports the tolerant values of the Democratic party. In addition, as a moderator of a forum myself, I find it interesting that Democrats.com allows its moderators to take such adversarial, & offensive positions towards fellow members.
I’ve written a complaint about Harding’s behavior to the site. We’ll see what, if any response they have. More than likely, they’ll see me as the troublemaker and close ranks around one of their own. All of this begs the question: what positive role can Democrats.com play in the political debate when one of its moderators represents such backward views; and why would anyone, Jewish or otherwise, want to participate in its forums?