Voting for this year’s Brass Crescent Awards ends on December 14th. These are awards bestowed by the Arab-Muslim blogsphere on the best of their own (though voting is open to all regardless of religion). There are some fine blogs nominated with whose authors I have communicated over the years including Akram’s Razor, Raising Yousouf and Aqoul. But the category that interests me most is the Best Non-Muslim Blog (“Which blog writen by a non-Muslim is most respectful of Islam and seeks genuine dialogue with Muslims?). Last year, On the Face won in this category. This blog, written by Israeli-Canadian Lisa Goldman, seems to have a following though I can’t for the life of me understand how any Muslim interested in the Israeli-Arab conflict could vote for it.
Goldman is the editor of Global Voices Israel section in which she regularly features the right-wing anti-Palestinian blogger, Aussie Dave. [Note: It appears that Goldman has not contributed a post to GV in a year–so she may no longer be the Israel section editor.] She doesn’t offer any Israeli Arab blogs, nor does she offer such wonderful progressive Israeli blogs as Yudit Ilany’s OCCUPIED or Robert Rosenberg’s Ariga.com, which was historically probably the first Israeli blog. That could be because Robert didn’t offer her a job at Haaretz when she applied for one. Though Robert pased away tragically last year, the site still continues written by a friend. My quarrel with her editing of this section is that she retains no sense of balance in who she features. Maybe she features bloggers who are her friends (mostly Anglo or American-Israelis like herself) or blogs she likes. But she clearly doesn’t go much out of her way to find blogs that offer a progressive perspective on the conflict. I should add that it’s possible she, or the site’s editorial management have embraced more diversity in her choices since I last reviewed her portion of the Global Voices site some time ago. I would hope so.
I also never understood why Tikun Olam, which regularly deals with the Israeli politics and society was rejected for the Israel section while other blogs are included though the blogger does not live in Israel (this is also true of other national sections). The Palestine and Lebanon GV editors have included links to my blog, but not the Israel editor. It’s a little strange if you ask me.
Goldman makes a big point at On the Face of how eager she is to dialogue with Arabs, but her efforts seem devoid of any political understanding of the conflict. The fact that Aussie Dave could be one of her most quoted blogs at Global Voices only confirms this. It’s as if for her dialogue existed for its own sake rather than to advance any particular social good. Perhaps if she were engaging in this work here in the States with African-Americans it might be one thing. But to try to speak with Arabs or Muslims without talking about politics and the terribly hard choices each side will have to make to find peace seems like ignoring the 800 pound elephant sitting in the room.
Also, useful to note that during the Lebanon war she blogged for the right-wing Pajamas Media and wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal none of which are especially known for their fondness for Muslims.
Which brings me to the point of this post. There are three excellent blogs I know which are nominated in this category: Juan Cole’s Informed Comment, Glenn Greenwald’s Unclaimed Territory, and Jews Sans Frontieres. I recommend voting for any of them. Anyone can vote–you don’t have to be a Muslim. This year, as opposed to last, this category is much more competitive and I believe a better choice will be made by voters.