I was surfing the web and came across a site that featured the logo of the Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards. I’ve seen the logo before at some sites and never sat down and looked at it in any great detail. Being a progressive Jewish blogger who often blogs about Israel; and being ever-ambitious and hungry for recognition of my blog I thought I’d check it out for myself.
If you take a look at their logo here you’ll notice the two sponsors: the Jerusalem Post and Israelly Cool. A little ideological background is in order. The Post at one time in its history (I know because I read it sporadically when I lived in Israel for two academic years) was a sleepy little Anglo-Israeli paper that took an uneventfully centrist political stance on Israeli politics. That all changed when Conrad Black (does he still have that ‘Lord’ title or do they take it away once you’re accused of a felony??) bought the paper, turning it into the spitting image of his neocon, hardline pro-Likud views.
Now the kleptomaniac buccaneer is gone. Derek Fattal, the Post’s director of internet services assures me that post-Black the Post moderated its politics:
The Post’s position in the local spectrum is now straight center on most issues and I don’t think many informed pundits would currently cast us as right wing.
But that’s what George Will would say about Sam Alito’s judicial philosophy, now wouldn’t he? It all depends on where you locate your center. One could believe the paper has moderated its views. But I don’t believe it will ever fully divorce itself from Lord Black’s political philosophy.
So you have a conservative Israeli daily allied with Israelly Cool. The latter is a hardline anti-Arab blog written by Aussie Dave, an Australian oleh (immigrant) to Israel. I should correct this statement. Dave doesn’t hate all Muslims. He only hates Muslim terrorists. Which Muslims does he have a hankering for?
I hate the Islamic terrorists, and I make a point to distinguish between them and “moderate” Muslims, for whom I have the utmost respect.
Here’s his description of one such individual profiled, where else, in the Jerusalem Post:
…Yunis Owaidah [is] a PLO Arab who is proud of the fact that he “collaborates” with Israel.
The Jerusalem Post have [sic] a fascinating article on him, which I implore you all to read, if you have not already done so. Here is an appetizer:
Owaidah explained that he decided to work with Israel “because of the injustice we saw when we were under Jordanian rule before the 1967 war.”
“When the Jews came to Jerusalem, I saw how they were treating the people in a humane way,” he said. “By comparison, we had been oppressed by the Jordanians when they were here. Look how the Jews have built a modern and democratic state, and look where the Arabs still are.”
Dave, you see, loves the “good” Muslims, those few quislings who exist among millions of Palestinians. And oh how he hates the “bad” Muslims. Those are the really rotten ones who want a state of their own and who detest the Israeli Occupation.
And Dave isn’t afraid of obliterating a few innocent Palestinians if it means the IDF or Shin Bet can bag a Palestinian militant in a targeted assassination:
While I am always opposed to the deliberate killing of innocent people, and saddened by any loss of innocent life, this does not mean that I oppose all targeted killings where innocent people are inadvertently killed.
I guess Dave doesn’t have much use for this famous dictum:
“it is better to let ten guilty men go free than to convict an innocent man.”
I’ve written (see next link) about some of Aussie Dave more lovely characterizations of Palestinians and Muslims (Dave probably thinks ‘Palestinian’ and ‘Muslim’ are indistinguishable terms). Dave is also a member of Pajamas Media, that sterling collection composed of many pro-Likud bloggers founded by Roger Simon and Charles Johnson. I explored the pro-Likud bias of many of PJM’s bloggers here.
Which brings me to Johnson’s Little Green Footballs, a nominee in the Israel Advocacy category. How does a blog written by a non-Jew and non-Israeli get into a Jewish and Israeli Blogging Awards competition? I guess if you really stretch you could say that Charles always is looking to uphold the most extreme right wing viewpoints offered within Israeli politics. So perhaps that rates him an “honorary Israeli” designation. But seriously, one of the main reasons Charles gets nominated is that he in turn invited Aussie Dave to join him in Pajamas Media (see the latter’s profile). So it’s only natural that Dave would return the favor.
Fattal assured me the competition had no ideological bias:
There are nominees of all political types and persuasions. Neither the Post nor Israellycool have any discretion over the voting and awards process…
Notice that saying there are nominees “of all political types and persuasions” doesn’t mean that the competition isn’t dominated overwhelmingly by conservative blogs (which it is–more on that shortly). Jesus’ General has already examined some of the nominees and highlighted some of their more outrageously hateful anti-Arab bile. Most of the quotations cited here come from this terrific post. Several qoutes are from the post I mentioned which I wrote a few weeks ago about Pajamas Media.
I thought I’d take a stroll myself through the field looking for political orientations. If you review the Israeli Advocacy category, you’ll first note the title. “Israeli advocacy” is a code word among Israel’s supporters for pushing the ‘Israel right or wrong’ line in debate about the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Let’s test the hypothesis by examining the blogs nominated. I’ve written about Atlas Shrugged and its wild-eyed search for anti-Semites under every bed in my overview of the participants in the pro-Israel Pajamas Media blog. CAMERA Snapshots is the blog of Committee for Accuracy in Mideast Reporting in America. Those are the folks who are always accusing CNN, the New York Times and Washington Post of being anti-Israel because they cover both the Israeli and Palestinian side of the conflict. For CAMERA, writing a story about Palestinians is tantamount to anti-Israel propaganda. Or how ’bout Joe Settler? Pretty much a given where this guy stands in the political divide. Ditto for Israpundit. You won’t find a dispassionate discussion of the conflict in any of these blogs. Of eleven blogs in ‘Group A’ of this category, one, Dan ‘Mobius’ Sieradsky’s Jewschool, is progressive. Sound “fair and balanced” to you?
Group B contains the aforementioned Little Green Footballs and other gems like MyRightWord (guess which side of the political spectrum it’s on?), Zion Report, Only in Israel, and Soccer Dad. Here’s a pertinent quotation from the latter that Jesus’ General features in his blog post about this travesty of a competition:
Soccer Dad responds to the news that a the family of a brown [Palestinian] child killed by Israeli troops donated his organs to Israelis:
And in what circumstances did those minors die? Ahmed, was carrying a toy rifle in a place where the Israeli army was operating. Hardly a wise decision. And even if Israel apologizes, was it wrong for the Israeli soldiers to shoot first and ask questions later?
Zion Report views the granting of citizenship to Israeli Arabs as a “sign of weakness:”
You consistently hear Israelis brag about how allowing Arabs to hold Knesset seats displays our goodness. I disagree. I think it’s a display of weakness, and I know that our enemies see it as such.
To allow a sworn enemy, who actively supports the destruction of the nation who pays his salary, to maintain his position is suicidal at best.
By the way, did I also say that these chenyuk‘s (a disparaging Israeli colloquial term) can’t write?
Only in Israel possesses the proud distinction of being the creator of Rachel Corrie pancake jokes. Corrie was the American ISM member who was murdered by an IDF tractor driver which she was attempting to block from razing a Palestinian home. Did I mention that some of these bloggers strike me as little more than 14 year-old teenagers who haven’t quite been housetrained? They enjoy taking dumps all over the house…even on the memory of the dead. And they wonder why Palestinians perversely celebrate at Israeli misfortune??
Another blog nominee (in “Best Politics & Current Affairs” category), Aaron’s CC takes credit for marketing a mouse pad featuring an image of the armored Catepillar (known as “Cats”) bulldozer used by the IDF to destroy Palestinian homes. He markets it under the title, “I Love Big Cats.”
Oh, yes it’s a fine group of bloggers featured in this competition. A well-rounded slice of Jewish and Israeli life. Derek can make the claim that it’s a democratic selection process. But only because the nominees and those who nominate them are a self-selected group of hard-right pro-Israel bloggers.
I replied to Derek that when the Jerusalem Post severs its relationship with Aussie Dave and really attempts to recruit a broad cross section of Jewish and Israeli blogs, then it will be worthwhile for other types of blogs and bloggers to participate. Until that time, this competition is rigged for the right.
A word of explanation, there are MANY categories in the JIBS. I haven’t had time to explore every one. I selected the categories dealing with Israeli politics and examined them. There may be more diversity in some of the other categories. But please forgive me for being skeptical given what I found in my own review of the categories I chose to explore.