I know The Tablet is a project of Nextbook, which has a fairly serious reputation among Jewish literati and that it features Alana Newhouse as editor, whose work I admired when she helped edit The Forward (disclosure: she was the only editor who ever accepted anything of mine for publication there for which I am ever thankful).
But the writing, political orientation, and editorial choices of Tablet strike me as bordering on the bizarre. I suppose they’re competing with sites like Heeb, Zeek, Jewcy and Jewlicious for the most outre, hip, cool iterations of Jewish identity. But I find the attempt falls flat.
Last week, I took Tablet to task for featuring a major story on the wondrous achievement of the first gay porno flick featuring an all-Israeli cast and the producer’s boast that his efforts amounted to doing Israel a favor by promoting its extraordinary beauty and vital society. You’ll have to excuse me while I giggle over the self-serving hypocrisy involved in this self-promotion.
This week, the magazine continues along a similar path by promoting the launch of one of the flimsiest excuses for an organization to grace the Jewish stage in a long time. Z Street (no accident that they chose the last letter of the alphabet as all the others undoubtedly refused to participate), presents itself as the uber-tough guy among hardline pro-Israel groups. Its “leaders” are two of the most laughable Jews ever to beg for media attention. The Tablet snippet about the group does contain a great deal of perhaps inadvertent comedy (at Z Street’s expense):
Z Street founder Lori Lowenthal Marcus…compares her efforts to those undertaken by American Jews who fought to draw attention to Nazi atrocities during World War II.
Ah yes, the ever-popular-with-right-wing-pro-Israeli-types Nazi meme. They’re shouting from the rooftops about the world’s perfidy against Israel and the mortal danger in which the tiny, vulnerable state finds itself. Bravo for these brave Warsaw ghetto heroines! Lowenthal Marcus’ blog is titled (seriously) No More Boxcars.
But how will her group be different from political allies like the Zionist Organization of America and Young Israel? “We intend to be more activist, not so involved with the academic side and the lobbying side,” Marcus told Tablet.
I really had not idea there was any “academic” component to ZOA or Young Israel. I frankly was under the impression that Mort Klein was a pandering, ranting, fulminating maniac. I had no idea he had a PhD (he doesn’t) and did rigorous research to come up with his pro-Israel tirades.
“We want to have people’s attention grabbed and then confront them with the facts that have been obscured by the current discussion on the Middle East.”
Lowenthal Marcus wouldn’t know a fact if it jumped up and bit her, especially not one related to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Currently, she’s working to get comedians in on the effort: “Humor is not a tool that’s been used from the [sic] staunchly pro-Israel organizational efforts.”
Now, THAT is truly funny! I can see it now: the comedy stylings of that staunch (and FUNNY) anti-jihadi Islamophobe Jackie Mason, at a benefit concert hosted by Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz on behalf of the Jewish Bobbsey Twins of Z Street.
The Tablet does get a dig in at Lowenthal Marcus’ partner in pro-Israel “crime,” Allyson Rowen Taylor, for her accusation against Adam Horowitz that he supported the murder of his fellow Jews through his work for the American Friends Service Committee. By the way, Cecilie Surasky and I provided that information to The Forward reporter who wrote the original story about that nasty smear.
Is it any wonder that after I wrote my first post ridiculing Z Street that this sort of garbage graced by spam filter:
Submitted on 2009/08/05 at 7:04am
We at Z Street are offering for sale Richard Silverstein’s foreskin with his penis still attached. It is our way of saying thanks to all those who support our now campaign against treason and self-hatred.
Probably not quite the pornographic style even of low-lifes like Rowen Taylor and Lowenthal-Marcus, but birds of a feather do flock together. By the way, there are a number of other similar offerings also written in Z Street’s name.
If you’d like to be “entertained” by more anti-J Street Jewish wingnut hysteria get a load of Pam Geller at Atlas Farted (er, Shrugged).
Finally, the Tablet features an entirely tasteless and unfunny attempt to portray David Axelrod as the self-hating Jew that Bibi Netanyahu has called him. The short piece is meant as parody, but there is entirely no humor or wit in it which is very sad. It was written by Gabriel Sanders who’s written for The Forward and even Vanity Fair. Suffice to say, this isn’t his best effort. The following purports to be from Axelrod’s personal diary:
Woke up at 5:30. Total of three hours of sleep. Finished health care strategy memo around 2 and then spent a half hour reading Mondoweiss on the separation wall. Good stuff. Examined face through bloodshot eyes. That beak! It’s not getting any smaller. Thought the mustache would maybe minimize it, but all it does is make me look more hairy. Caught glimpse of Washington Monument out the window. Kind of reminds me of the mezuzah that hung on the door of grandma’s Lower East Side tenement. What a horror show that place was. Reeked of cabbage and B.O.
Well, you get the idea. I kinda thought that jokes about bubbeh’s B.O. would be treif for all sorts of reasons. But I guess when you’re desperate everything’s game. Alana, you can do better.
H/t Joel Katz.