Recently, I waded into the Campus Watch campaign against Nadia Abu El-Haj, who is seeking tenure at Barnard College. Since 2005, pro-Israel academics, Campus Watch and Frontpagemagazine have been calling for her head. I was helped in my research into the Jewish neocon campaign by several academics who found the tactics of Abu El-Haj’s opponents to be odious. Scott MacEachern, in particular, made me aware that Alexander Joffe wrote the first bitterly negative academic review in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, which was published in 2005. MacEachern pointed out that at the time of publication Joffe was the director of Campus Watch. I asked in my blog why neither the Journal nor Joffe saw fit to mention this affiliation, which created a clear conflict of interest considering Campus Watch’s harsh, ideological campaign against her tenure.
Today, Joffe replied to my charges and apparently he’s oblivious to any ethical issue:
I wrote and submitted the review in question in 2003, and began working for MEF [Middle East Forum–a Daniel Pipes group related to Campus Watch] a year later. It appeared in the journal in 2005.
My assessment of the book has nothing whatsoever to do with politics and everything to do with scholarship. This should be evident to those who have actually read the review.
The issue is not institutional affiliation, identity, or demanding that editors change lines in pieces that have gone to press. it is the content and coherent of the critique.
So his answer is essentially, I wrote the review before working for Campus Watch, therefore I’m home free. The fact that he was working for Campus Watch WHEN it was first published doesn’t faze him in the least. And the fact that Campus Watch’s campaign against Abu El-Haj was anything but “scholarly” also doesn’t phase him. In his world, you can lead a bifurcated existence as director of an ideologically driven propaganda outfit while also being a dispassionate scholar.
I replied thus to this e mail:
You were intellectually & politically dishonest in not reporting yr affiliation to the publication & asking them to note it so that readers could put into context your vested interest in trashing her work.
And by the way, how did Campus Watch come to be interested in trashing her work to begin with? Through your own interest in her possibly? And who is the real Hugh Fitzgerald, whose hatchet job on Abu El Haj in Campus Watch & Frontpagemagazine published around the same time your review was published & while you were director?
And any time you ever write about any academic subject on which Campus Watch has campaigned (including attacks on Arab researchers) I will expect you to note your former affiliation and if you do not I will do my best to ensure it is noted for you. I will also circulate this information in the archaeology field among your peers who will have more opportunity than I to monitor your publications.
I didn’t expect Joffe would like reply and he didn’t disappoint:
Fortunately I do not have to satisfy your expectations in any sphere of endeavor, nor append my life history to everything that I write. Writing and analyses stand on their own merits, something which you evidently cannot comprehend– rather than on the presumed politics, identity or motives of the writer. Sadly, academia operates almost exclusively on your principles, and this is another reason I am glad to no longer be wasting my time in that area.
I have some sympathy for those who’ve left academia without fulfilling their ambitions as I’m one of those people myself. But to blame one’s failures or dissatisfaction on the alleged political machinations or vendettas of other scholars seems downright bitter and just plain sad. You’ll also note that Joffe condemns my allegedly poisoned political principles while denying that he has any such principles that might be relevant to what he writes on this subject.
And this, it seems to me, is precisely the subject of Abu El-Haj’s book: that archaeologists like Joffe do their work in a vacuum that ignores the political, national, and historical assumptions they bring to that work. And these assumptions often unconsciously inform their judgments and decisions. But I wouldn’t expect someone as obtuse as Joffe to begin to understand this.
I also note that Joffe did his doctoral disseration under William Dever who, it should be noted, is another one of the archaeologists to call for Barnard to deny Abu El Haj tenure. And where did Prof. Dever make his views known? In the pages of the neocon New York Sun, which served as a willing media conduit for the charges of Campus Watch. Do I detect a unifying theme here?
A commenter notes below that Joffe currently serves as director of research for the David Project, a Jewish ultra-Israel group which also monitors campuses for alleged Islamist hate. The David Project spearheaded the attack on Columbia Arab studies professors like Joseph Massad and Rashid Khalidi. The attacks against Abu El-Haj (who teaches at Columbia-affiliated Barnard College) fit in nicely with the David Project/Campus Watch MO.
Oh and here are some of the distinguished academic achievements of the professor accused of “junk scholarship” by one of her academic detractors (not an archaeologist of course):
She held fellowships at Harvard University’s Academy for International and Area Studies, the University of Pennsylvania Mellon Program, and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. She is, in addition, a former Fulbright Fellow and a recipient of awards from the SSRC-McArthur Grant in International Peace and Security, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the National Endowment for the Humanities among others. Professor Abu El-Haj has lectured widely at the New York Academy of Sciences, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, the University of Cambridge, the London School of Economics (LSE), and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London
Abu el-Haj should likewise add a disclaimer to any work that she does that she is an anti-Israel activist. She might want to mention that her name appears on a petition calling for an end of military and arms sales by the US government to Israel so that readers of her work will understand that her conclusions are clouded by a preformed political outlook hostile to the state of Israel. (Some have pointed out that her name is #1 on the list, but it should be acknowledged that the list is in alphabetical order.)
The assertion that Joffe has to inform the journal that he has been apointed director of Campus Watch one year after he wrote the aforementioned review is absurd.
Ironically most of what Nadia Abu El-Haj is saying about the politicization of and rampant nationalism in Archeology by our government has been echoed by serious archaeologists and historians working in the field.
Joachim Martillo says
Facts on the Ground is a reworking of Abu el Haj thesis, which was reviewed by scholars at Duke, and the University of Chicago is a reputable purblisher of scholarly texts. We can assume that her book meets reasonable standards of evidence and proof in her field.
Alexander Joffe was already publishing articles that must be considered propaganda in 2003. Just take a look at Death Is Celebrated and Life Means Less Than Nothing Three Authors Strive To Understand the Violent Evolution of Modern Terrorism by Alexander Joffe in the Forward, Fri. Oct 03, 2003 ( http://www.forward.com/articles/8273/ ). He is already spewing nonsense about Islamic totalitarianism, and for a scholar of the Middle East to claim that Islamists celebrate death more than life without mentioning the Zionist Masada death cult, which starts in the 1920s, is intellectually dishonest to say the least.
I have little doubt that I will find Joffe involved in a whole host of pre-2003 Zionist hasbara activities that invalidate any claim he might have to genuine scholarship. He currently works for the David Project, which has a history of running campaigns through secret operatives like Rachel Fish.
Personally, I do not have a problem when Joffe writes Hasbara screeds. I do have a problem with his claim of scholarly status. He lost that long ago, and it is completely offensive when his review of Abu el Haj’s work is called scholarly.
You (Richard Silverstein) “note that Joffe did his doctoral disseration under William Dever who, it should be noted, is another one of the archaeologists to call for Barnard to deny Abu El Haj tenure. And where did Prof. Dever make his views known? In the pages of the neocon New York Sun,” which you say “served as a willing media conduit for the charges of Campus Watch,” but don’t say those charges have been leveled by others too. Clearly, you think this all probative of something, whatever that may be, since you punctuate this with a rhetorical question, “Do I detect a unifying theme here?”
Edward Said, as much a darling of the Left and as determined an enemy of Israel as Noam Chomsky, commended Nadia Abu El-Haj’s book (http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-18298887_ITM), and Abu El-Haj has written has made clear her admiration for Said and intellectual debt to the late Columbia professor’s “Orientalism” thesis. The Guardian, a newspaper as far to the Left or farther than the New York Sun is to the Right, and definitely no friend of Israel’s, has been a media conduit for the likes of Said and Abu El-Haj, as well as defenders of them like Richard Silverstein. A unifying theme here?
(Richard Silverstein): “Oh and here are some of the distinguished academic achievements of the professor accused of “junk scholarship” by one of her academic detractors (not an archaeologist of course):” …Dever is an archaeologist, of course, but you won’t hear what he has to say about Abu El-Haj’s scholarship because he made his views known in the New York Sun and because he is one of those meddlesome outsiders who would try to affect the sacrosanct tenure process. (And he is also not to be credited because he mentored Joffe?) Levitt is “not an archaelogist of course,” but then Abu El-Haj “is not an archaelogist.” (And furthermore, Levitt, someone with solid creditentials as an academic mathematician and philosopher of science, is a friend and co-conspirator of Alan Sokal, who so mightily embarrassed the academic Left with his spoof of post-modernist nonsense.)
As for that list of Abu El-Haj’s “distinguished academic accomplishments,” ask me sometime about the awesome lists of “distinguished academic accomplishments” by individuals later exposed as among science’s greatest fraudsters (e.g., Cyril Burt). But then that isn’t the same as actually scrutinizing the scholarship in question, is it?
Mr. Silverstein, you are quite certain that there is not even a whiff of ad hominem in your responses to Abu El-Haj’s critics? I smell it and a lot of unpersuasive “arguments” on her behalf.
Richard Silverstein says
That’s an unfair comment & you should know it. First, there is no rule in academic that you can’t have political opinions or express them. 2nd, the petition you note has nothing whatsoever to do w. her academic work. My claims about Joffe relate to his direct involvement in a specific piece of writing in which his views might’ve been compromised by his political investment in a group commited to Abu El Haj’s ouster from Barnard.
Abu El Haj has taken no role whatsoever in defending her own work & won’t even talk about it in the media. She’s not responding in kind at all in this battle. In fact, colleagues of hers have told me that she’s relatively apolitical compared to other academics involved in this & related fields. She deliberately wants to distance herself fr. the type of charges you level. And her work stands of its own. If you can find elements of her work which point to a “pre-formed” political outlook hostile to the state of Israel why don’t you present them? Signing a petition is not an element of her work. It is external to her work.
Congratulations, Mr. Silverstein, I see that the earnest antisemite Joachim Martillo (a.k.a. Juan Carlo Santos Martillo Ajami), husband of Karin Friedemann (a.k.a. Karin Maria Friedemann-Hussain, a.k.a. Maria Hussain), another antisemite, has joined you in your attack on Alan Joffe and support of Nadia Abu El-Haj. [Joachim Martillo who, it should be noted, rivals David Duke as an antisemite, is satisfied on the basis of the weakest of circumstantial “evidence” that Abu El Haj’s “book meets reasonable standards of evidence and proof in her field.” And where did Martillo make his views known? In the pages of Leftie Richard Silverstein’s “Tikun Olam” Web site, which serves as a willing platform for the charges of Abu El-Haj’s supporters.]
[By way of context, let it be noted that Ms. Friedemann, a convert to Islam, has made her thinking clear enough, writing as she has, “Muslims … are not seeking peace. We get peace from Allah. In Palestine, we will stop only at victory, which will be, inshaAllah, in the end, a just implementation of Islamic religion. We have to guard against the Palestine movement being represented primarily by homosexuals and feminists.”
And hubby Martillo, a contributor to the unabashedly antisemitic website , has also been featured prominently on the Somerville Divestment Project’s Web site which features a telling little essay in it’s Counterpoints Section titled “How to Talk About Zionism: The New Improved Guide” which includes the following over-the-top talking point:
“…Zionist propaganda reinterprets the Ashkenazi ethnic group as the pan-Judaic
ethnonational group in order to make a ridiculous primordialist claim to Palestine just as
German Nazi propaganda equated modern Germans to ancient Teutonic and Gothic tribes
in order to claim that only pure Germans had a right to reside in German territories.”]
Do I detect a unifying theme here?
Richard Silverstein says
If you can find me a critic of Abu El Haj who doesn’t have a neocon pro-Israel perspective on this I’d like to know about it. Find me a critic who doesn’t have a vested interest or some connection to Campus Watch or the neocon community. Yes, there are some Israeli scholars made uncomfortable by her research. But that’s to be expected since she’s criticizing their scholarly methods. For every scholar who trashes her work I can point to one who supports it (& I’m not counting people like Chomsky–just those in her specific field).
This tells us much more about yr political prejudices than about the subject you’re commenting on. The Guardian is one of the world’s most important newspapers, read closely by those on the right and left because of the superb quality of its journalism. Can anyone besides you say the same of the Sun??
More disingenuousness. Abu El Haj is an anthropolgist writing about archaeology. In order to do so she had to study the archaeological principals & methods she intended to write about just as any archaeologist would. Would you like her to tell you how she prepared to do so to satisfy yourself that she grounded herself in the discipline she intended to write about?? Oh that’s right, nothing she could say to you would satisfy you since you’ve pretty much made up yr mind she’s a charlatan.
As for Levitt, how did he prepare himself to criticize Abu El Haj? Did he read up on his archaeology? No. Anthropology? No. He doesn’t even made a pretense of arguing against her from evidence. Did he even read her book? Perhaps. Perhaps not. His claim is based solely on his loathing of modern critical theory. As far as he’s concerned, if you’re a member of that class you’re a piece of junk scholar.
You sound like you might be an intelligent person. If so, I can’t understand why you don’t know the meaning of the term ‘ad hominem.’ None of my substantive arguments are ad hominem. If any are, pls. point them out. For you, ‘ad hominem’ seems to mean any argument to which you object.
Richard Silverstein says
Oh puh-leeze. You don’t like Joachim Martillo. I mostly don’t agree w. his views either. But should I ban him to saisfy the likes of you? And if I ban him shouldn’t I ban you who publishes screeds attacking a reader w/o providing a shred of documentary evidence? Not even a single link?
And while we’re examining people’s prejudices and supposed political affiliations will you lay yr cards on the table? Who are you? Who are you affiliated with? I’m an open book. You know my name, you can read my blog & know where I stand. Likewise, you know Joachim and his blog. What about you? Or are you going to hide behind yr anonymity & not tell us about your own vested interests. You wouldn’t work for Stand with Us, David Project, Campus Watch or any similar group now would you? Or be a member?
Besides the most interesting thing that Joachim posted was the news that Joffe now works for our Islamophobic Jewish friends at the David Project. That statement isn’t propaganda. It’s fact. At least I assume it is since you didn’t dispute it. And the fact that Joffe has gone from one Jewish neocon Islamophobic group to a second even further undermines any scholarly or academic credibility he might have.
And btw, you ought to spend a bit more time knowing the names of people you’re allegedly defending. His name is Alexander Joffe, not Alan.
Scott MacEachern says
amir: As the person who first noted the issue of Dr. Joffe’s affiliation, I’d say that the primary question is: this a good review or not? (That can mean a lot of things: is it comprehensive/does it give a good global idea of the text/is it productively critical/is it balanced/and so on.) Reasonable people can disagree on the strengths and weaknesses of this review. However, affiliations can be significant, too, especially in contentious cases of this sort, where different institutions and organisations (like Campus Watch) have taken very particular stances on the issues in question. Now, it _might_ be possible that the issue in question was entirely out of editorial hands and sitting at the printers for a full year, the period over which Dr. Joffe was working for Campus Watch before it appeared, but that would be pretty unusual. This would be a relatively minor editorial change to make, but I think a significant one to readers judging the background of the book and the review. I’d further note that the extended, on-line version of the review appeared just a couple of months after Dr. Joffe’s departure from Campus Watch, with an affiliation again listed as SUNY-Purchase. In that case, of course, we certainly have to take account of the speed with which material can be put up on the Web.
In sum, though, we have two versions of a highly critical book review – now being referred to by campaigners for denial of Dr. Abu El-Haj’s tenure as objective analysis – and published in a period bracketing the author’s tenure as Director of an organisation a priori critical of work like hers. However, that tenure is nowhere reflected in the information available in the reviews in question. I think that that is a problem, and that good academic practice would have been to make the Campus Watch affiliation plain.
So if Joachim Martillo says Joffe works for the David Project than you accept that as a fact unless DC-DOC disputes it? Holocaust revisionists don’t need to supply links at your blog. Why don’t you read the “unrepentant genocidaires” and decide for yourself. Link: http://eaazi.blogspot.com/2007/08/unrepentant-genocidaires.html
Then, you may want to look at Joffes scholarship at wikipedia to see if he has credentials as an archeologist (he puts Abu el-Haj in his little pocket). Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_H._Joffe
The review wasn’t sitting at the printers for a year, but most likely was sent to peer review, the editorial committee and then the printers. During this time, Joffe took a position at campus watch. So you think he should have mailed the journal a letter to indicate this? That sounds very unusual to me. And why would campus watch be apriori against el-Haj? I’ve already stated that i am in no position to judge Abu el-Haj, her work or criticism of her work and have not signed either petition, but i would like to ask you Dr. MacEachern, knowing that Joffe was in Campus watch, and having read Abu el-Haj’s book and I presume Jaffe’s review – what is your opinion of his review. Does he make any credible points? Is it well supported?
One last question, don’t you thnk an academics political orientation or personal involvement in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (whether Arab or jewish) may compromise the objectivity or quality of their work?
Why didn’t you quote the entirety of my characterization of The Guardian (“The Guardian, a newspaper as far to the Left or farther than the New York Sun is to the Right, and definitely no friend of Israel’s, has been a media conduit for the likes of Said and Abu El-Haj, as well as defenders of them like Richard Silverstein.”), and say what exactly it is that you dispute, rather than trying to infer my “political prejudices.” (BTW, what might we infer about your “political prejudices,” or do imagine that you have none?) Do you think The Guardian is not decidedly Leftist, arguably more than the NY Sun is Rightist? Do you think The Guardian is a friend of Israel’s? Have you ever read anything in The Guardian that could be understood as disagreement with or disparagement of Said, Abu El-Haj, or any of the “Orientalist” crowd? You have been a defender of Abu El-Haj (and Said), have you not?
And did you see no similarity between your impeachment of Alexander Joffe (first paragraph), not Alexander Joffe’s published critique in a scholarly journal of Abu El-Haj’s published work, and my use of comparable “evidence” to impeach you as a “politically aroused” critic of Alexander Joffe (following paragraph), not of his critique of Abu El-Haj, because you didn’t go into any of the substance of what archaelogist Joffe had to say about non-archaelogist Abu El-Haj’s book about archaelogy? I thought it all rather obvious.
(RS): “As for Levitt, how did he prepare himself to criticize Abu El Haj? Did he read up on his archaeology? No. Anthropology? No. He doesn’t even made a pretense of arguing against her from evidence. Did he even read her book? Perhaps. Perhaps not. His claim is based solely on his loathing of modern critical theory. As far as he’s concerned, if you’re a member of that class you’re a piece of junk scholar.”
(DC Doc): As for Silverstein, how did he prepare himself to defend Abu El Haj against her critics? DId he read up on his archaelogy? (He doesn’t say, but probably not.) Anthropology? (Again, he doesn’t say, but probably not.) He has made pretense of arguing for her from evidence, but since he has not engaged with the substance of critiques of her work by those like Joffe, Dever, and others, it hasn’t been much more than pretense. Did he ever read her book? Perhaps. (If in a previous post he said that he did, I missed it. And I have missed any attempt to address the work as a whole rather than go at it as something other than an exercise in exegesis of snippets to which others have called attention. Silverstein dismisses out of hand whatever Levitt would say about “modern critical theory,” though Abu El Haj went there in her introduction and Levitt is certainly well-qualified to speak about the philosophy and structure of science. (Anthropology and archaelogy are to be counted as “sciences,” aren’t they.) But as far as Silverstein the ABD comparative lit blogger is concerned, if you diss a crit lit “scholar,” you are an ideologic enemy.
(RS): “You sound like you might be an intelligent person.” (DC Doc): Thank you, and so do you.
(RS): “If so, I can’t understand why you don’t know the meaning of the term ‘ad hominem.’” (DC Doc): But I do, and when the attack is directed at individuals (e.g., Paula Stern, Alexander Joffe, etc.) rather than their arguments, I see that as “ad hominem.”
(RS): ” None of my substantive arguments are ad hominem. If any are, pls. point them out.” (DC Doc): Which “substantive arguments,” were they in your previous posts? Surely “substantive arguments” don’t include demands that Ms. Stern disclose the name of the recent Barnard grad who brought the Abu El-Haj matter to her attention. Nor, Alexander Joffe is “intellectually & politically dishonest” because you think that he had a duty to disclose that after submitting his review, he went on to work for Campus Watch. (But in your view it is an irrelevancy that Abu El-Haj signed that divestment petition along with 11 MEALAC faculty and individuals on her tenure committee(!), because “there is no rule in academic that you can’t have political opinions or express them.”) Nor DC Doc’s, contributes only “more disingenuosness” because any fair-minded person would appreciate that “El Haj is an anthropolgist writing about archaeology…(who) had to study the archaeological principals & methods she intended to write about just as any archaeologist would.” (In order to write about the involvement of prominent American physicians in an important social movement, I read a great deal of the relevant history and spoke with a number of experts on the subject. I thought, and a scholarly journal agreed, that what I turned out was of high quality, but I do not for a moment count myself a “historian.)”
(RS): “For you, ‘ad hominem’ seems to mean any argument to which you object.”
(DC Doc): And for you it cannot be ‘ad hominem” if it is any ‘argument’ you have made yourself.
Mr. Silverstein, I too have “rules” for discourse. One of them is that I don’t engage with those who dedicate themselves to the promulgation of antisemitism, nor go where they go if I don’t have to. If you allow the likes of Joachim Martillo into what you regard as the equivalent of your “living room”, then I won’t be returning and I would advise others who do not want to encourage antisemites to do so either.
Joachim Martillo says
I probably have forgotten more in Jewish Studies than most of the people ever knew that accuse me of anti-Semitism.
In any case if you want to find out Joffe’s current employment status, please look at the end of the article on http://www.azure.org.il/magazine/magazine.asp?id=395 . Here is what it says:
Joachim Martillo says
BTW, sorry for the separate comment, but Richard’s article https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2007/08/17/rightist-jewish-campaign-to-deny-nadia-abu-el-haj-tenure/ drew my attention to this blog. Because of his analysis of the quotations. I went through the accusations that Abu el Haj does not know Hebrew. Guess what. Except for a few places that look like typos — but I can’t say for sure because I have not looked at the maps that the State of Israel published in the 1950s — Abu el Haj is correct about Hebrew meanings and usage whereas her critics are completely wrong. The situation is not surprising. Abu el Haj, Stern and Maeir all learned Hebrew as a second language. Jews do not have any more inherent facility with Modern Israeli Hebrew (MIH) than non-Jews One of the best stylists in the language is Anton Shammas while from my experience in Israel and the Occupied Territories I have the impression only about 1/3 Israeli Jews at most have command of MIH at college level.
Scott MacEachern says
amir: Book reviews aren’t themselves peer-reviewed: that would get pretty contentious. In addition, Dr. Joffe said in his email that the piece had ‘gone to press’. And yes, I think that good practice would have been to send a note to the editor asking that the change in affiliation be noted. It is somewhat unusual, but not entirely so, and the change in affiliation, from an academic institution to an advocacy group directly involved in the issues covered in the book, was significant.
Campus Watch was set up essentially to ‘guard’ American academia against people like Nadia Abu El-Haj, and in fact the first article in which she is mentioned negatively by the managing editor of Campus Watch is in 2003 (http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/638). In that article, she’s supposed to share Edward Said’s “obsessive hostility toward Israel”. The first negative article devoted to her appeared at the same time as Joffe’s review.
I did read that review (in both its versions) when this first came up. From my point of view, it was a middling review, in that it really didn’t give a good picture of what the book was actually about, but instead prosecuted some academic debates that Joffe is interested in and that are in fact involved in the book… but are not the whole story. Joffe obviously knows the material, but a bit more attention to the book itself would have made for a better review, I think.
Are the times shown for different posts PST? They are hours earlier than the EST time here when I sent them. And I missed a number of things that went up before my posts did. So I would add the following by way of clarification/response:
Joachim Martillo. I should have thought it was enough to identify Martillo as a contributor to those two openly antisemitic Web sites and as the husband of Ms. Friedemann, whose own rabidly antisemitic ravings I quoted for you. If you are skeptical of Martillo’s bona fides as a active promoter of antisemitism, all you have to do is Google him and click on a few of the many links you will come to. Does it matter, though, to the host of the pretentiously named Tikun Olam if a raging antisemite roosts in his “living room?” RS, you say you “mostly don’t agree w. his views either,” but you don’t say exactly which of Martillo’s views (those in whole or in part outside the “mostly you don’t agree with). And RS, if I understand what you are saying, you won’t be ejecting this loathsome “guest” from your “living room” in any event, notwithstanding your “rules” for “guests” there. Are you so needy that you will take support from wherever/whomever you can get it from?
RS, you really show your true colors when you come back with, “But should I ban him to saisfy the likes of you? And if I ban him shouldn’t I ban you who publishes screeds attacking a reader w/o providing a shred of documentary evidence? Not even a single link?” I am objectionable because I have called out as an antisemite someone who has agreed with you? If I provide you with those links that will give you the “documentary evidence” that confirms Martillo to be the antisemite he is, then will my contribution still be seen by you as a “screed,” a libel of an antisemite? Or presented with the evidence, will you then toss him? (It’s your Web site and you are free to keep him if you want. But others may see his presence as a reflection on you and your Web site.)
(RS): “And btw, you ought to spend a bit more time knowing the names of people you’re allegedly defending. His name is Alexander Joffe, not Alan.” (DC Doc): You don’t feel silly retorting like that? Or going with the “Abu El Haj, not El Haj” one? Really, you undermine yourself and all that you would say with such nonsense. (Having “Alan Sokal” at the back of my mind and writing in one place “Alan Joffe” rather than “Alexander Joffe” may be the contrapositive of an “ad hominem” attack, like the ones you direct at interlocutors who disagree with you and then deny, and of a “pro hominem” endorsement, like yours of Abu El Haj on the basis of those “distinguished academic achievements.” (Some of those protesting a grant of tenure to her do so because they belief that “academic achievements” ought to be earned, not “gifted” by like-minded academic ideologues who have taken over university departments, e.g., MEALAC.
(RS): “…our Islamophobic Jewish friends at the David Project.” What supports the “Islamophobic,” is it the objection to the gift of valuable city land for the construction of a mosque? (You have heard of the First Amendment, haven’t you?) And would you name some of your friends at the David Project, or was that just snarkiness in lieu of persuasive argument of any sort? Do you share Martillo’s dislike of Rachel Fish, who as a Harvard Divinity School student had the temerity to organize a protest of the school’s acceptance of $2M from Sheikh Zayed of the UAE, a world class antisemite? Please explain, because I am truly confused about your position.
RS, maybe you will respond in a very different way than you have previously. (If you do, I will be glad to identify myself, something the pseudonymous Jerry Haber of The Magnes Zionist will not do.) If not, I don’t know why anyone not already persuaded to your point of view would bother.
[Amir, I’m clear why you mentioned me in your post. You don’t think that I have a scintilla of affection for Mr. or Mrs. Martillo or any of their ilk, do you?]
(I see there is a 4 hour difference betweeen the time I post and the time shown for the post, the latter that much earlier than the former.)
DC-DOC: I have noticed that RS usually likes people that disagree with him to provide links to back up their claims. And then he said “Besides the most interesting thing that Joachim posted was the news that Joffe now works for our Islamophobic Jewish friends at the David Project. That statement isn’t propaganda. It’s fact. At least I assume it is since you ( I assume RS referred to you dc-doc) didn’t dispute it,” which he is willing to accept at face value.Though JM has now shown to be true with a link.
Joachim Martillo says
The time difference relates to the timezone that has been selected as default for the blog.
Richard Silverstein says
This is practically nonsensical. Go back & read what I read. I accepted what Martillo alleged because it was incredibly easy to check whether or not he was correct. I did a 30 second Google search & discovered that he was correct. Joffe is director of research for the David Project a kissing cousin group to Campus Watch. So what’s yr problem?
Well, that’s easy to answer. Campus Watch’s campaign against her began around the time Joffe began working for them. Pretty clearly he brought his animus against her with him to Campus Watch & influenced, if not inspired its campaign against her.
Richard Silverstein says
I have already written at least 3 posts analyzing in great detail all the arguments raised by her attackers against her work & method. I wrote those posts before I discovered Joffe’s review. Due to yr challenge I will read Joffe’s review & critique it here. But since he wrote the first hatchet job against her fr. which many of her later attackers took their inspiration, I’m virtually certain that most of what I’ve already discussed here will be in Joffe’s review. You should spend a few minutes finding my critiques before assuming I haven’t delved into the arguments against Abu El Haj.
As I wrote above this is a lie. A lie you could’ve avoided had you spent 2 minutes doing a search of my blog for the numerous posts I’ve written on this subject. In fact, Jesse Walker of Reason Magazine & I were the first researchers to discover that Abu El Haj’s attackers had actually fabricated quotations fr. her work. So much for “not engaging the substance of her critiques.”
Indeed you did & merely show yr bad faith in doing so & yet presuming yr assumption is correct when it is not. Also, you seem to misunderstand something fundamental here. Norman Levitt is an academic and scholar. He is attacking someone within the academy. I am a learned layperson with no academic position. I was drawn into this argument by the puerile mess spewed by Paula Stern, another non-academic who has presumed to fabricate quotes probably provided for her by Campus Watch ideologues (possibly including Joffe). I don’t know why other academics didn’t discover the fabrications and lies about Abu El Haj’s record which Walker & I did. But I don’t presume to have an archaeology or anthropology PhD nor do I believe I need one to read propaganda & analyze it. And btw, I have relied in some of my critiques on material provided to me by scholars aghast at the hatchet job against Abu El Haj. I am not doing this alone.
Abu El Haj is not a crit lit scholar, whatever that is. yous can’t be bothered to be precise in much of what you write can you? And I am an enemy to whoever distorts truth, lies about facts & fabricates scholarly work. Campus Watch and its Hugh Fitzgerald/Alexander Joffe hit men are part of this operation with willing help fr. the Paula Stern know nothings of the world.
My critique of Stern is based on a close reading of her petition & a careful dissection of it along with research on who may’ve influenced or inspired her campaign. That’s called investigation though you call it ad hominem attack. I criticized Alexander Joffe for refusing to disclose affiliations that most scholars would find relevant to his review. In fact, when I pointed out a similar failure on the part of Diana Muir in another hit piece at History News Network against Abu El Haj’s review they essentially agreed with me & published my criticism of their work.
An ad hominem attack involves attacking personal aspects of a speaker that are irrelevant to the intellectual argument. If I call you a fat shlub that is ad hominem. My attacks are not ad hominem & you should go back to a rhetoric manual & review the definition.
Oh puh-leeze. Spare me the moralizing. I didn’t invite you here. As long as you are polite you are welcome to post here. When you decide your time has come & you leave you’re welcome to do so as well. Any commenter who posts anti-Semitic content here will be banned faster than they can hit the Submit Comment button. And believe me I have done so before & will doubtless do so again.
If Martillo doesn’t post material I find objectionable I won’t ban him. I run my blog the way I choose. You don’t like it, go home, go complain about me elsewhere. Plenty of other right-wing Jews do so. I welcome the notoriety. And you’re also welcome to create yr own blog & set up rules w. which you feel comfortable. Don’t hector me about how I should run my blog. I don’t need it.
No, you are objectionable because you refuse to provide any links, quotations or other documentary evidence to support yr claims. That’s the way the academic & blog world work. You make a claim you back it up. If you don’t you’re not credible. We’re still waiting for links.
What is this? Some kind of a game. If you provide links then I’m supposed to provide a quid pro quo. Not the way it works. You provide links because you want to be believed. Don’t provide them, you won’t be believed. I have no doubt Mr. Martillo has written things I’d find objectionable. If he wrote them here I’d object to them. When he has written things here I objected to I told him so.
Have you also taken Philip Weiss to task for not banning Martillo? Or any other Jewish site he publishes at? Why single me out? Frankly, I admire Phil Weiss’ openness to arguments of all stripes. I’m a bit more censorious than him. But Phil hasn’t banned him & that’s good enough for me.
You mean you, Campus Watch, Rachel Neuwirth, Alyson Rowan Taylor, ProSemite Undercover, Masada2000, Paula Stern, & Frontpagemagazine acolytes? Pls., I don’t need their approbation or yours.
Are you saying you don’t credit the need to name things properly? If Alexander Joffe’s mother gave him his first name & he’s used it his entire life don’t you owe him a modicum of respect by calling him by his proper name? If names aren’t important then tell me yours & I’ll mangle it & see how you feel about that. So no, I don’t feel silly at all. Giving things their proper names is an elemental rule of rhetoric and language.
You really don’t have a clue about rhetoric or about how scholars are evaluated or known to their peers. Her achievements are integral to her scholarly reputation. Are you arguing that whether or not she has a PhD makes no difference in yr evaluation of her work? Or that her having a PhD from the Uni. of Chicago compared to Podunk U. makes no difference. Really. Again, pro hominem would be me calling her a ‘learned babe’ (as Diana Muir’s review actually did except to make the argument in reverse–that she was too attractive to be taken seriously). So again, go study some rhetoric before you sling around yr hominem claims.
You think her achievements were “gifted” to her? Really. How little you really know about academia & just how hard it is to achieve distinction there. For you, academia is a neat little cabal. Pathetic. You really have given yrself away as a denizen of the Campus Watch/David Project cesspool. If so, deny it. I notice you’ve refused to identify yrself. You don’t have to. But as long as you don’t people here will wonder what, like Alexander Joffe, you might have to hide.
Maybe because you & the ferrets at Campus Watch are trying to smoke out HIS identity to give his school grief just as you have done for so many others who don’t have sufficient love for Israel (in yr eyes that is). I know who Jerry Haber is. I guess it’s for you to find out. I’m sorry he feels the need to disguise his identity. But with witch hunters like you going around I can see why he’d feel the need. And if you won’t reveal yr own identity, why should he?
RS: “Those who comment here are like guests in my home.”
DC-DOC: So you may know whom it is that you are hosting as “guests in (your) home,” here is some of Joachim Martillo.
Joachim Martillo discovered that the Save Darfur Genocide PR campaign was arranged and orchestrated by the American Jewish network “David Project” and its affiliates in order to demonise Muslims and Arabs and to recruit non-Jews [See his revelations on http://eaazi. blogspot. com/ and http://karinfriedem ann.blogspot. com/ ]
author Israel Shamir, renowned antisemite, reprinted
Truman supported the theft of Palestine by racist Eastern European ethnic Ashkenazi colonists…Even if Truman’s decision had been brave, it was still completely evil as a matter of ethics, and it has gradually poisoned US foreign policy and domestic politics to the point that a political clique, whose primary loyalty lies with Zionism, has manipulated the US government into invading and occupying Iraq to the benefit of the State of Israel and to the detriment of America.
(DC Doc: Why doesn’t Martillo just come out and say he sees lurking in the background those Elders of Zion?)
letter to Boston Globe, 5/29/07
It is a major error to describe any populations before the 10th century as Jewish. Modern Rabbinic and Karaite Judaism do not crystallize until the time of Saadya Gaon.
(DC Doc: Another strut in Martillo’s argument that Jews have no legitimate claims to the Holy Land.)
In one posting on an internet newsgroup, Martillo wrote: “Racist ethnic Ashkenazi American traitors and their non-Ashkenazi panderers should be denaturalized, stripped of their property to cover the damages their criminal manipulation of the US political system has cause [sic] the USA, and they should be sent to prison camps like Guantanamo where they can be interrogated to determine the extent of their treason to America.”
Another one of Martillo’s postings stated the “only unfortunate aspect of a suicide attack on murderous racist genocidal Zionist colonizers is the death of the heroic Palestinian partisan.” Given the indiscriminate nature of suicide bombing, the conclusion is inescapable: The murder of Israeli children is acceptable to Martillo.
Martillo has uttered a similar statement in the presence of a reporter. For example, the Harvard Crimson has quoted Martillo as saying “suicide attacks against Israel are completely justifiable.”
Dexter Van Zile
Mrs. Martillo (nee Karin Friedemann, a.k.a. Karin Maria Friedemann-Hussain, a.k.a. Maria Hussain): Muslims … are not seeking peace. We get peace from Allah. In Palestine, we will stop only at victory, which will be, inshaAllah, in the end, a just implementation of Islamic religion. We have to guard against the Palestine movement being represented primarily by homosexuals and feminists. (DC Doc: whaddya think Mr. and Mrs. Martillo talk about before they go to bed each night?)
more Mrs. Martillo: Jacobs’ pro-Israel advocacy organization spearheaded the campaign to vilify the Islamic Republic of Sudan, and provided huge quantities of lurid, both popular and pseudo-academic material, in which Sudan is described as a “terrorist, genocidal” state engaged in a “holy war.”
(DC Doc: That “pro-Israel advocacy organization” she is railing against is the same one RS refers snarkily to as “our Islamophobic Jewish friends at the David Project.” Does RS share Mrs. Martillo’s view of efforts on behalf of Darfur as a “campaign to vilify the Islamic Republic of Sudan” with “huge quantities of lurid, both popular and pseudo-academic material, in which Sudan is described as a ‘terrorist, genocidal’ engaged in a ‘holy war'”? On what does RS agree/disagree with Mr. and Mrs. Martillo?)
Mrs. Martillo: JCRC sponsored organizations that are staffed by Israel advocates trained by the David Project have further poisoned human rights discourse with the dishonest Save Darfur campaign aimed at divesting from Sudan as well as from any country which does business with Sudan. The David Project has proven uncommonly effective at changing US policy in a matter of months to listing Sudan as a terrorist nation and barring all trade with the country.
(DC Doc: To hear Mrs. Martillo tell it, it would seem that all this Darfur business is nothing but Jewish “Islamophobic” propaganda. RS, what do you think about the involvement of “our Islamophobic Jewish friends at the David Project”?)
Mrs. Martillo: The David Project regularly placed racist anti-Arab and anti-Muslim speakers on Harvard campus, but its first major accomplishment was blocking a $2 million donation from the late president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, for a chair in Islamic Studies at the Harvard Divinity School.
(DC Doc: Google on Zayed, Harvard Divinity School, and Rachel Fish to get links to Harvard Crimson, NYT, and other coverage of this story, so you can see whether Zayed could be fairly viewed as a heavyweight sponsor of antisemitism.)
I expect that with some more time and effort, we could come up with a great deal more on the Martillos. What is above should be more than enough, though, for you to know who you are hosting as a “guest” in your “living room,” RS. They are not the sort I would ever allow in mine, even if they were to limit themselves to more obliquely antisemitic contributions to a conversation like the one going on here. But it is indisputably your “living room” (Web site), so you can decide whether you prefer them to “the likes of (me)”. (BTW, out of curiosity I would ask you what exactly have I said that allows you to infer what you have about me, e.g., “a denizen of the Campus Watch/David Project cesspool,” “right-wing Jew( ),” etc.?)
RS: “Due to yr challenge I will read Joffe’s review & critique it here.”
DC Doc: Right, the Red Queen approach – verdict first, trial afterwards. (Silly of me to think you might ever see yourself as silly.)
“He (Martillo) referred to Jews affiliated with Israel’s cause as ‘Ashkenazis’ and in one e-mail compared Harvard Hillel and Harvard Students for Israel to pro-Nazi youth organizations.”
(DC DOC: We know that trope don’t we, Jews = Nazis.)
Martillo said in the question-and-answer period that “suicide attacks against Israel are completely justifiable.”
[NOTE: The link for previous Crimson piece with Martillo’s Jews = Nazis was cut off at bottom of post.
One more try to show Martillo links…
Joachim Martillo says
I was curious about “the heroic Palestinian partisan” quote.
It seems to come from a bunch of Zionist propaganda sites that quote some comments on an article “Detroit Imam’s Hypocrisy” on a web site called “Sons of the Republic.”
It only refers to “the Palestinian partisan.” It is a fairly good pastiche of pieces of articles that I have written in the past, but I do use the phrase “Jewish supremacist,” for I consider it misleading. I usually use the more technical term “ethnic fundamentalist” or occasionally ethnocratic, both of which are fairly commonly used by Israeli sociologists like Uri Ram or Barukh Kimmerling.
I hope the author of the article never met me because he seems to consider me about 20 years older than I am, for in 2005 I was 49 and certainly could not have been a right-winger for 50 years.
Dexter Van Zile used to work for The David Project and now works for Camera, and he can now selectively quote with the best of Zionist propagandists. I was comparing Palestinians suicide attackers to John Brown, who is considered a hero in Boston for having slavery-supporters hacked to pieces during Bleeding Kansas. I made the point that Palestinian attacks could certainly be justified by American history and precedent even if they could not be justified from the standpoint of Islamic jurisprudence.
As for the other material, it is an ongoing dispute in academia when Jewishness or Rabbinic Judaism begins. Shaye Cohen of Harvard takes one position. Jacob Neusner another, and I take a third. Cohen says the fourth century. I say the 10th and Neusner has a date in between. I do not consider Cohen’s position particularly defensible. Obviously he would argue otherwise. Neusner has more justification, but I will point out that matrilineality is a fairly specific defining characteristic of Rabbinic Judaism, but some geniza texts show patrilineal practices persisting in Egypt in the 12th and 13th century. It could be argued that Rabbinic Judaism does not fully crystallize until the 13th century, and it is proverbial “From Moses (Rabbeinu) to Moses (Maimonides) there is no one like Moses.”
In any case, I believe Cohen, Neusner and I are all in agreement that many individuals and peoples adopted practices of various currents of Judaism from the Persian imperial period through late antiquity and the early Middle Ages.
Joachim Martillo says
but I do use the phrase “Jewish supremacist,” for I consider it misleading
should have been
but I do not use the phrase “Jewish supremacist,” for I consider it misleading
Richard Silverstein says
OK, so you’ve proven, if yr sources can be believed, that Martillo has said odious things. But actually you have disseminated views of his here that he hasn’t, in effect giving him a broader distribution than he otherwise would have had.
As I said, I ban people based on what they say or do here. Now go & rant elsewhere to all yr right wing friends that I coddle anti Semites (that’s meant ironically for all you right wing literalists out there). But conveniently neglect to say that I clearly object to views in this blog I disagree with whether they be fr. Joachim Martillo or DC-DOC.
This thread will return to its original subject which was not Joachim Martillo. Do not continue this particular conversation here (& I include Mr. Martillo in this admonition as well). You’ve had reams to say on the subject. Day kfar.
Darfur divestment is a red herring that Israel advocacy organizations have cooked up as a distraction. Militant Zionists have used this sort of tactic for decades. In the 1930s the most extreme Americans Zionists invariably opposed discrimination against African Americans in order to obscure the key racist principle of Zionism:
Zionism presupposes that the historical or national rights of Jews to Palestine are superior to the human rights of the native population.
(DC Doc: Martillo sees evil Jewish cabals at work against the interests of the United States; Jews = Nazis; Jews as disingenuous opponents of discrimination against African Americans; Jews as falsifiers of history; suicide attacks against Jews as “justifiable;” etc. This is whom RS choses to host as a “guest” in his “living room.”)
[Note: Lindsay says Martillo is himself Jewish, which seems highly improbable, though not impossible. And according to another Web site, before Martillo became fixated on Jews, he was rabidly anti-Arab, but no supporting evidence was cited for that allegation.]
RS, please don’t let me egg you into doing what you wouldn’t otherwise do, whether that is banning Martillo or bothering to read the Joffe review you have been railing about for days. Better that I go, so you will be spared further agita.
Richard Silverstein says
Don’t flatter yrself. It would take far worse than you to give me agita.
Let’s also note that when I asked you & Joachim to return this thread to its original subject you couldn’t be bothered to care enough to respect my wishes.
If I counted correctly Joffe has written 93 book reviews for the Journal of Near Eastern Studies. So he reviews her book and (apparently) thought it stunk (I didn’t read the review). One year later he joins CW which is dedicated to “reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America, with an aim to improving them. The project mainly addresses five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students” so he obviously decides to go after Abu el-Haj. That doesn’t mean he was a-priori biased against her book.
Sorry for the misuse of
Richard Silverstein says
Campus Watch is “dedicated to improving” ME studies in the same way that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI was dedicated to making the U.S. a better place to live. Don’t believe everything you read, esp. at a site like CW. The biggest bunch of liars and scumbags this side of Mendacity. They should talk about “mixing politics and scholarship.” Apparently there’s nothing wrong with mixing right-wing Israeli nationalist politics with scholarship. It’s just scholarship not sufficiently adulatory of Israel that is verboten.
You’re still not getting the pt after both Scott MacEachern and I have mentioned it several times. It might’ve been the most sterling review ever written (it just so happens it wasn’t–but that’s another story). It still should’ve noted his affiliation. Because he didn’t do it then and now denies he needed to–if he ever decides to publish another review on any subject remotely similar to this his scholarly biases will be called into question; and needlessly so if he’d acted differently earlier or even in his interaction with me.
RS at 11:15AM: “And if I ban him shouldn’t I ban you who publishes screeds attacking a reader w/o providing a shred of documentary evidence? Not even a single link?”
RS at 10:09PM: “OK, so you’ve proven, if yr sources can be believed…”
RS, you and your skepticism are a hoot! The Harvard Crimson, a letter to the Boston Globe, Mrs. Martillo’s own blog, etc.,… Your ideologic faithfulness is truly something to behold.
I agree with RS that enough has been said about JM. He has made clear that he finds some of the things he writes “odious”.
“The biggest bunch of liars and scumbags this side of Mendacity.” Is this an ad hominem attack?
Since campus-watch is not an academic institution I agree with him that I don’t think he has to mention his affiliation with it even though it does expose a political bias (though he probably should have during the time period it was relevant, certainly not before or after). Everyone writing about the middle east has a political bias, including Abu el-Haj. It’s a politically charged subject.
(Amir): I agree with RS that enough has been said about JM. He has made clear that he finds some of the things he writes “odious”.
(DC Doc): Mr. and Mrs. Martillo are representative of a certain species of antisemite, the pseudo-intellectual type. Though of possible interest to students of psychopathology, they are in and of themselves no particular consequence. Referring to Martillo, RS did say here, “I mostly don’t agree w. his views either.” He hasn’t said which of those views he does and doesn’t agree with, however. (Speaking of Lillian Hellman, Mary McCarthy famously said that every word Hellman wrote was a lie, including “the,” “and,” and so on. If we are to give RS the benefit of the doubt, which he seems unwilling to give many others, especially those he senses don’t share his political views, then maybe what he agrees with Martillo about are ever “the,” “and,” and other article or conjunction the undeniably antisemitic Martillo uses.)
And though RS called for proof that Martillo is an antisemite, when provided with such proof, RS rejoins, “OK, so you’ve proven, if yr sources can be believed…” (Note, if you will, that those “sources” RS is not willing to accept unquestioningly include the Harvard Crimson, republication of a recent letter from Martillo to the Boston Globe, and others that most of us would not think to doubt as accurate reporting of Martillo’s views on Jews and Israel. Indeed, Martillo doesn’t deny most of it, only attacking those who have put together a “best/worst of Martillo” and trying to explain away his public statement about the justifiability of suicide attacks on Jews and Jewish targets.) I agree that it should not be necessary to say more of Martillo, especially since what will say whatever else ought to be said is whether RS allows Martillo to remain as a “guest” in what RS sees as his “living room.”
(Amir): “The biggest bunch of liars and scumbags this side of Mendacity.” Is this an ad hominem attack?
(DC Doc): You are putting that question to the speaker, RS himself?! You and I may consider that ad hominem, but RS believes Campus Watch and all their “ilk” (a great many that RS perceives as right-wing tools, spies, agent provocateurs, conspirators, henchpersons, etc.) are indeed “The biggest bunch of liars and scumbags this side of Mendacity.” And because he believes that to be an accurate characterization of them, he doesn’t see it as an ad hominem attack. (I expect RS will tell us he has proved up his case against them in the past, the evidence is incontrovertible, and this bit of name-calling was not an ad hominem attack, but rather a shorthanding of a previously delivered just verdict.)
(Amir): Since campus-watch is not an academic institution I agree with him that I don’t think he has to mention his affiliation with it even though it does expose a political bias (though he probably should have during the time period it was relevant, certainly not before or after).
(DC Doc): I presume the “him/he” refers to Joffe, and thus it is with Joffe’s defense of himself that you agree.
(Amir): Everyone writing about the middle east has a political bias, including Abu el-Haj. It’s a politically charged subject.
(DC Doc): RS has already denied on Abu el-Haj’s behalf that she has any relevant political biases, or if she does, then that they might have affected her scholarly ouevre. RS is confident that political bias has affected Joffe’s critique of Abu el-Haj’s, though RS has yet to read that critique that has him so exercised, preferring to rely on the accounts of those who share his (RS’s) own political views. (RS can’t have much other than a political view of it all, since while he claims to be able to read and understand crit lit speak, he freely admits that he has no special expertise in archaelogy or anthropology.) RS is equally confident that political bias has NOT affected Abu el-Haj’s book, though RS has yet to read that which he is so passionately defending against its barbarian detractors, preferring to rely on the accounts of those who share his (RS’s) own political views.
Working with the same facts and law, some lawyers will make a notably strong case on behalf of the client or cause, while other lawyers will make a notably weak one on behalf of the client or cause. One needs no special, if any, knowledge of the relevant subjects (archaelogy, anthropology, philosophy of science, crit lit theory, etc.) to see that RS has done a very poor job of advocacy on behalf of this client and cause. (I have personally witnessed a lawyer standing in the well of the Supreme Court get reamed out by the Chief Justice for coming unprepared. That lawyer was on the other side of the issue and it was a pleasure to witness.) If you were being represented by someone you had retained to defend you against your critics and it turned out that your advocate, who has been furiously waving his arms, pounding the table, hurling insults and accusations of all sorts against the other side, admits in the course of it all that he has never bothered to read the other side’s brief (e.g. Joffe’s review) that he is now attempting to rebut, let alone read your book that has been attacked so vehemently attacked along with you personally, what would you think of your representative? Believe me, if I were the opponent you were facing, I would be mightily amused, delighted to sit with my mouth shut and arms fold, just watching your counsel at work.
Richard Silverstein says
DR-DOC: since you seem to have a case of Martillo logorrhea & have deliberately ignored two requests that you cease posting off topic, I’ll relieve you of the temptation of posting any more comments here for a time. If you ever decide you can regain control of your mouth or hand & get off this topic let me know & I will renew your commenting rights here.
When you work on a dig with someone, you learn their preoccupations pretty well. I think I’ve met Joffe once or twice, under my real name, and he didn’t strike me as the arab-hating sort of anti-semite. Same for Dever whom I’ve met once or twice: not a degenerate Arab-hater. Of course, maybe 9-11-01 brought out latent prejudices not obvious before.
In any case, I grow gladder I live in China everyday. Teaching English here, even as a Gypsy scholar, is a good alternative to US academe, esp. as politicized.
Zhu Bajie, alive in the bitter sea
Scott MacEachern says
amir: Actually, if you look at the Campus Watch web site, the ‘problems’ it focuses on are by its own lights that Middle Eastern Studies in America is not sufficiently pro-Israeli and pro-American. All of the issues that you mention flow out of that: there’s no suggestion that, for example, intolerance of the views of people like Nadia Abu El-Haj could even potentially be an issue. If Dr. Joffe as an archaeologist _hadn’t_ been a priori biased against the work of Dr. Abu El-Haj, he would never, ever, ever have been hired as the Director of Campus Watch.
Joachim Martillo says
For Zhu Bajie (in the USA we swim in a poisoned sea)
I have taken David Project Israel advocacy sessions, and I did a lot of research on Charles Jacobs, the David Project, and the AASG during the conflict over the Roxbury Mosque. It is not the type of language that I normally use, but “degenerate Arab-hater” is not an inaccurate description of anyone that would work for Jacobs and the David Project.
Take a look at my web site and search for “Roxbury Mosque,” “Charles Jacobs,” and “David Project.”
I have to hand it to you, Richard – you have way more patience that I would have had in slogging through all of this. However, I fully agree that if Joachim has relevant things to say, and is civil, then he should be allowed to comment here, and that what he has written elsewhere is irrelevant. And I would have cut DC-DOC off when he dragged Joachim’s wife into the discussion, which was totally uncalled for.
I have my own rejoinder to something Amir said in the very first comment:
“She might want to mention that her name appears on a petition calling for an end of military and arms sales by the US government to Israel so that readers of her work will understand that her conclusions are clouded by a preformed political outlook hostile to the state of Israel.”
More than a few people, including some Israelis, hold that it would do Israel a world of good to cut the umbilical cord and learn how to not be dependent on American aid – to put it another way, only in the world of Orwell’s ‘1984’ does dependency equal strength. One could straightforwardly argue that signing such a petition reflects a PRO-Israel outlook.
One last minor point:
“The fact that he was working for Campus Watch WHEN it was first published doesn’t phase him in the least.”
The correct spelling is “faze”, not “phase”.
Richard Silverstein says
Norman Levitt used the term “degenerate left” in one of his diatrbes against Abu El Haj here & I responded by telling him how uncomfortable I was with bringing such red flag terms into a political debate. I agree with you completely that Jacobs and everything he touches is treif & slimy. But to call him or David Project degenerate? I don’t know where that gets you that you couldn’t get by arguing facts & issues. In fact, the Kahanists who revile me at a number of their websites love to call me terms like “fag” and “kapo” which seems to me only a slightly more extreme form of calling someone degenerate. I just don’t much go for it.
Richard Silverstein says
Andy: Yr perspective on this & yr supportive comment means a lot to me. ANd thanks for reminding me how to spell too.
About the issue of U.S. arms sales, there are even ardent right wing Israelis who’d like to see Israel completely self-sufficient for nationalist reasons. So while it’s true that her signature reflects a critical stance toward the Israeli military complex, I wouldn’t say it reflect an anti-Zionist position at all. I’d probably be willing to sign such a petition myself. Some of the new U.S. weapons systems which Israel is using & which I’ve written about here including DIME) are incredibly & scarily destructive of human life.
I am in favor of a reduction or cut in US aid to Israel if it is done in a cooperative manner and aid is reduced to Israel’s enemies and potential enemies as well. But your comment about her petition being “pro-Israel” is extremely cynical. Just for the record the petition calls: “…to encourage the United States government to suspend its military aid and arms sales to Israel, and (2) to divest from all companies that manufacture arms and other military hardware sold to Israel, as well from companies that sell such arms and military hardware to Israel…”. emphasis added. So, even though you nearly convinced me that this was a pro-Israel petition calling for greater independance for the Jewish state (sarcasm) a careful reading of the petition has convinced me that signing this petition reveals an anti-Israel bias.
Richard Silverstein says
I am opposed to the U.S. providing Israel cluster bombs used in their hundreds of thousands against Lebanese civilian & probably in contravention of U.S. agreements with Israel. I am opposed to the U.S. providing Israel its most dangerous weapons such as DIME & others which have never been tested in battlefield conditions before & whose lethality is beyond many conventional munitions. I am opposed to the U.S. providing Israel weapons which Israel uses in ways that contravene international laws of war. I am opposed to the U.S. providing weapons to Israel which incinerate Palestinian organs from within the body in horrifying and excruciating ways. I have written about ea. of these subjects here. If you need links you can search the blog or ask & I’ll provide them.
Does that make me anti-Israel? If it does in yr book then we simply will never agree on what constitutes being anti-Israel.
And btw, I’m not in favor of most U.S. arms sales including those to Arab countries & I’ve written that here in this blog.
I’m not going to argue about thoe weapon systems. I don’t know if you’ve ever met a weapon you liked. It’s not relevant to the petition signed by Abu el-Haj since they are talking about a complete divestment of all military sales and aid.
Joachim Martillo says
There are several different meanings of “degenerate” beyond simply a vacuous epithet to throw at despised people or political movements.
The root meaning, which we find in extermist German nationalist tracts and in German Zionist social critics like Max Nordau, who wrote Entartung/Degeneracy, is “removal from one’s kind” with an implication of inauthenticity.
The other meaning relates to the development moral corruption and turpitude. Several social historians have described tendencies of Germans to develop negative beliefs about Jews in order to justify ex post facto the mistreatment that Jews received from the Nazi German government.
Not only do David Project productions evince a desperate quest to find more and more justification after the fact for Israeli brutality towards Palestinians, but the intrinsic evil of Arabs and Muslims as identified and elaborated by the David Project has increased steadily with each passing year.
It is a very good example of the 2nd form of degeneracy, but I have rarely attributed degeneracy to the DP because for the most part “degeneracy” has been drained of meaning in common political discourse.
Richard, I see that you continue to host Joachim Martillo as a “guest” in your “living room,” the both of you railing together against the David Project. Eenjoy the antisemite’s company there in your “living room;” I prefer the company of philosemites.