Jewlicious Promotes Finkelstein Book
It’s one of those delicious ironies of life when you find someone who is a true scumbag promoting a product that is actually virtuous. There’s a sort of karmic realignment that somehow pleases. So it was with a touch of wonderment and puzzlement I noted that David Abitbol features a flash ad for Norman Finkelstein’s new book, This Time We’ve Gone Too Far. The book is a polemic against Israel’s Gaza war and represents every value and political idea about Israel that Abitbol detests. The title of the book might also be a warning about some of Abitbol’s more egregious behavior.
I urge you to buy the book and raise Abitbol’s blood pressure a point or two. And then go see the new documentary, American Radical: the Trials of Norman Finkelstein, and make Abitbol just the slightest bit apoplectic.
Abitbol is the kind of scuzz who will counterattack by lying and claiming that Norman Finkelstein and I are anti-Israel soulmates. So I’ll deny him the pleasure of this lie (he’ll take advantage of others no doubt) by pre-empting it. I pick and choose the issues on which I support or oppose Finkelstein. And anyone who cares to actually do any research (something Abitbol has never heard of) will find that I’ve both praised and criticized the former. But my real intent is to point out that Abitbol is either a hypocrite or allows his blog to promote something he detests.
Abitbol also believes in stealing copyrighted images of those he wishes to insult (like me) and displaying them at his blog with suitably demeaning and lying captions. He panders to the worst prejudices common to some Jews.
UPDATE: I’ve learned that advertising is sold on Abitbol’s site by a third-party and that this individual was contracted by Finkelstein’s publisher to sell ads on Jewish blogs and websites. How the publisher allowed the third party to sell ads for this book on this site is way beyond me. Do advertisers ordinarily like having their products dissed on sites they pay to display their ads? I now feature the book in my sidebar with a link to the publisher’s website. If you’re a blogger I urge you to do the same. Maybe we can offset some of Abitbol’s cynicism and biting of the hand that feeds him.
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18 thoughts on “Jewlicious Promotes Finkelstein Book – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Richard, from your post, one would think that Jewlicious actually had a favorable review of Finkelstein’s book, but all there is a picture of the cover. Maybe Abitol is just waiting until the book is delivered and read before knocking it. He can’t do that as the publisher hasn’t released it yet. I’ve had my order in for some time, for multiple copies. I’ve seen the documentary, which I found very interesting, but I’m waiting for the book before I can judge it. From what I’ve read so far by and of Finkelstein, and from interviews, I think he’s right about Israel, and has the perfect cover for his opinions, having parents who experienced the holocaust. I certainly agreed with his thesis in “The Holocaust Industry”, and loved his attack on Jerkowitz in “Beyond Chutzpah.”
If you don’t mind, I’m going to make another pitch here for Shahid Alam’s “Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism.” If the going price (USD 85) is too steep for your readers, it will be out in paperback in September at a more reasonable price. Next to Shlomo Sand’s “The Invention of the Jewish People”, this is one of the best books I’ve read on the Israel.
Barnes & Noble has it for around $57, which is still quite dear in my view, even for a hardcover edition. Still, it is significantly less than the ridiculous sum of $85 for a book of fewer than 300 pages.
It’s listed at $20 on the publisher’s site. $57 is highway robbery. Not to mention that I don’t think the book is even going to be sold by B&N or Amazon. So I don’t even know how they’d procure copies to sell.
Barnes & Noble has it used and new at outrageous prices, but they do have it. Amazon has it available for same-day shipping, also at a ridiculously high price.
I don’t get the irony. Reading the posts on Jewlicious, it seems Abitbol put the ad up there on purpose. What followed were posts by him and others that were critical of Finkelstein. It also seems that the money earned by Jewlicious for the ad was used to buy Passover wine listed on a pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Web site and others were encouraged to make donations to that effect as well. This was part of a Jewlicious campaign to purchase Kosher for Passover food for poor Jerusalemite families. In one post, Abitbol even thanks Finkelstein!
Can I also ask what you meant by “He panders to the worst prejudices common to some Jews” – I don’t understand what you mean by that. What prejudices exactly and how can it be a prejudice if it is in fact common?
Have a happy Passover Richard!
Ah, so nice to have Abitbol fans & clones slumming on this site. I have no idea whether any of what you say is true since you don’t quote anything written by him at the site. If he did this it is typical of his childish, nyah-nyah-like behavior. What neither you nor he understand is that BDS will gradually become more and more powerful despite his childish antics & due to Israel making BDS so.
As for his prejudices, you’ll have to spend some time at this site Googling his name if you want more specifics (there is a lot). He’s exhibited prejudice against gays and critics of Israel who are in fact pro Israel. He’s basically a 12 yr old playground bully living in an adult body.
We’ve had this conversation before. I’m hardly an Abitbol fan or clone. Given the obvious enmity you have towards him, I didn’t think it would be wise to link too much to Jewlicious (you don’t link to it at all). Thus I provided one link in my comment that summarizes Abitbol’s position. I wasn’t being critical of your post, I was just seeking clarification. Had the ad appeared automatically, say the way ads for messianic Jewish organizations sometimes appear in your Google ad box, then the appearance of a Norman Finkelstein ad on Jewlicious would be kind of ironic. However, that does not seem to be the case. I was just giving you an opportunity to perhaps revise your content – again, given the enmity it’s less than likely that you read the posts related to the ad on Jewlicious.
In fact the only reason I went to Jewlicious was to see how such a thing could happen to a presumably net savvy blogger. Turns out it was placed there on purpose, both by Abitbol and by Finkelstein’s publishing company.
So to reiterate, while I’m not a big fan of the BDS movement, I’m hardly a big fan of Abitbol either. Also, I think your tone and language denigrates the effectiveness of your message, but hey, it’s your blog. You do whatever you see fit. And I checked out Jewlicious’ policy towards Gays. I found a session on Gays in Judaism at the Jewlicious Festival, a few articles and photos supporting the Jerusalem Gay pride parade, and a post on World AIDS day. Please enlighten me on that subject. I don’t know about the other stuff because you provide no links.
I’ll assume that the last sentence in the post was some kind of misstatement.
David Kelsey sold those ads to Abitbol. Clearly they have a cozy relationship but the publisher should have her head examined for allowing Kelsey to waste her money in this fashion. If it was a Google ad I wouldn’t have written my post. I’ve seen the Finkelstein flash ads before & they’re discrete ads not part of an ad aggregator like Google.
BTW, you also don’t seem to be able to understand English well as I said Abitbol had prejudices common to “some” Jews, not all Jews. Hence they remain prejudices since thankfully the majority of Jews are not as mean-spirited, churlish & prejudiced as he.
As for Abitbol’s gay prejudice, again you’ll have to do the work & find the post I wrote about this here (precisely what I suggested you do in my reply to yr first comment about this).
My tone in reply to yr comments matches your own toward me (I’m a little sharper I’ll grant). No doubt you think you’re being balanced & dispassionate. But you’re not. Your prejudices & pt of view are very evident.
I’m considering reading it, and I wouldn’t have even known about it before I saw that ad!
“Your prejudices & pt of view are very evident”
Wow. Ask too many questions or divert from the party line by one degree and suddenly your point of view is suspect! I thought I was contributing to the dialog! And despite the fact that I clearly did contribute in a positive manner, and your post has subsequently become better, I’m the one that’s prejudiced?? I guess I should have known better than to wade into what is clearly a very personal situation. Stuff like that plays havoc with one’s judgment. I’ll just let it go at this point because anything I say is likely to be misconstrued. And yes, English is not at all my Mother tongue.
Whining & playing the innocent do not become you.
You’re deliberately or unintentionally misconstruing this mahloket. This is a POLITICAL ‘situation.’ My differences with Abitbol are political. Everything I believe about him derives at least originally from this. But it is also true that his character flaws are deep and go beyond the political. But if he didn’t write about Israel and lie about me being anti-Israel I wouldn’t give a crap about him or his character flaws.
I’ve gone through the relevant posts and it seems Abitbol has actual friends on the left that may disagree with your characterization of him as a “scumbag.” These include Gershom Gorenberg and Haim Watzman over at southjerusalem.com and Joseph Dana at josephdana.com as well as Dvora Brous founder of Bustan.org. He’s had Code Pink activists at the Jewlicious Festival – as well as that panel I mentioned earlier on Homosexuality and Judaism featuring activists from Bat Kol etc. Some of these individuals are more machmir on the matsav than you are. I’m not the first to point this out and to note that you seem to be engaged in the same sort of activities that you deride him for. Justified or not, this personal spectacle… it doesn’t really make you look so good. But again, it’s your blog, you do as you see fit.
It is easy for you to make claims. Harder to back them up w. actual proof, which you haven’t provided. On what basis do you claim that any of these people are “actual friends” of Abitbol? I know Joseph Dana well & have talked to him about Abitbol & am reasonably certain that he feels nothing of the sort for Abitbol. Given that, I would doubt your claim about the other 2 as well, though I might add that Haim Watzman is by no means a “leftist.”
You neglected to acknowledge the insulting post he published about 2 teenage killers in which he “playfully” disparaged them as gay. The fact that you refuse to engage w. such egregious behavior shows yr bad faith.
That might concern me if anything you thought or said about me was of the least interest to me or anyone else reading my blog.
Come now Richard (may I call you Richard?), Dvorah Brous was at 2 Jewlicious Festivals. Abitbol designed Dana’s Web site and South Jerusalem.com. His name is right there. They both link to him. Whatever Haim Watzman is, he seems to be thick with Gershom Gorenberg. Judging by Watzman’s writing though, what do you consider him? A rightist?? Are you serious?? Yet despite the fact that you’ve straight up discussed Abitbol with Dana, you’re only “reasonably certain” that they aren’t friends or at least friendly? I would think that a person as cretinous as Abitbol would be reviled and shunned by all good people. And I read Abitbol’s gay slur. Oh Richard. In my humble opinion, you got it wrong there too. The balance of available evidence indicates that your assessment might be off, might in fact be distorted by your personal feelings. There are numerous unequivocally pro-gay posts penned by Abitbol on Jewlicious and one questionable one. It seems to be a stylistic thing with him. For instance he wrote a post about how sick he was of Gilad Shalit and how he’d like nothing better than to hit him upside the head. Right wingers took him to task for his lack of sensitivity but the point was that that Shalit would prefer being hit upside the head by Abitbol than to be in continued captivity under Hamas.
I don’t want you to take this the wrong way. I’m not attacking you. I enjoy this blog and I enjoy contributing to it with my comments – even if you think I am wrong or dumb or naive, at least there’s a conversation going on and I am always respectful and I try to be considerate. I just think, in my ever so humble opinion (I’m not being facetious, I mean that with all due respect) that posts like this and the language you use, even if everything you assert is 100% accurate, denigrate the corpus of your work.
I see my comments are already flagged for moderation. I’ve been accused of being a Mossad agent and a Likudnik despite the fact that ideologically we agree more than we disagree. I hope you’ll consider my comments in the spirit that they are offered – sincerely and with the very best of intentions. I’ll accept any and all sincere criticism, just try not to be unduly harsh.
4 posts defending David Abitbol are quite enough. You’re done on this subject.
You don’t mean to say that because David Abitbol designed someone’s website that this must mean that he’s a friend of theirs, do you? Or that they endorse ea. others politics, do you? If so, that’s a patently absurd claim. Of course, it’s POSSIBLE it’s true. But assuming it’s true merely because his name is listed on the site is just plain silly.
Joseph Dana IS NOT a friend of David Abitbol. Not remotely. You made the original claim that he is & never proved it. Stop hectoring me with stupid piddling nonsense & get yr claims & story right the first time. You called Haim Watzman a leftist. He is not. It’s not my job to define what he is. I know what he isn’t & that’s a leftist. There is a diff. bet. a centrist & a leftist but you don’t seem to understand the diff.
It’s not my job to count who considers David Abitbol a friend. But you claimed he had leftist friends & two of yr 3 claims were specious. I don’t even know whether yr claim about Gershom Gorenberg is true, but at least is he reasonably progressive 90% of the time (though he can be howlingly embarrassingly non-progressive & obtuse once in a while on these matters as well).
I have no doubt that you believe that to be so & don’t question yr sincerity on that score. But yr comments often come across differently to me. They sound condescending & sometimes dismissive. And it rubs me the wrong way.
I reserve such strong language only for the scum of the earth, represented by people like him. Otherwise, I try to rein in the fire & brimstone. And if you’re so concerned about morality, fairness & civility maybe you’ll request that he take down the images of me he’s stolen. I note that you have nothing bad to say about him & yr only criticism is of my behavior. That doesn’t really show good faith.
What I find curious — and mildly disturbing — is that there’s no mention of Finkelstein’s new book on Amazon.com.
None at all. You can find anything you want by the Marquis de Sade. If you ask for ‘Mein Kampf’ you’ll be asked whether you want the German or the English edition.
But Finkelstein’s latest? Not a whisper. I’ve read him occasionally. Generally, I agree with him too thoroughly to find him interesting, but he’s a perfectly good writer. Perhaps not a great one, but better than average.
And yet this work isn’t there at all. As I say, I don’t want to read it. I even know perfectly well where I can get it should I want to read it. It’s just somewhat surprising that it is being this determinedly silenced. That, I resent.
It’s not a conspiracy. The publisher isn’t selling it through Amazon or any other bookseller. You can only buy it through the publisher who I’ve linked to in this post.
interesting website. iv been trying to understand the issues related to the middle east. I have read some books, but recently I was instructed by friend to look at jewliceous, as a source. there I found you. So I looked into your perspective and found it refreshing. I usually only see one side. As for above, it does get petty. But I guess thats normal in passionate issues, and the middle east is definitely one. I hope to be a more informed person on the subject, and think your site will be an important counter wieght. thanks