Deborah Maccoby to Europe’s Jews: denounce Israel & live happily thereafter

Cross posted from the blog Simply Jews


Deborah Maccoby… yeah, I know, my American friends will question my preoccupation with such minor and generally obscure elements of British society. And I don’t think that next picture will change their opinion significantly:


Deborah Maccoby bills herself on some occasions* as “Executive, Jews for Justice for Palestinians”. Alternatively she presents herself as “a member of the Executive Committee of Just Peace UK, the Israeli-Palestinian peace group and the UK branch of ICAHD (the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions)”. At the same time she is gainfully employed “at the BBC World Service as a Production Assistant and has written book reviews for the Arabic Service”. Which is a significant point, showing a person with access to one of the heaviest propaganda juggernauts out there.

So, if after looking at the pictures, you have conjured in your mind an image of one of these slightly demented aunts that are very good in making their own preserves or jams, overcook the roast and are afraid of spiders – perish the thought. Deborah Maccoby is a very strong anti-Zionist presence on many fronts and, as a prominent member of the British “AssaJew” community, has quite a few ideas to offer on many subjects.

One of such subjects is a solution for antisemitism, which Ms Maccoby hinted about as early as 2009. In this letter that starts with predictable “Sir: I am a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and have participated in every one of the national demonstrations against Israel’s brutal onslaught against Gaza”, she offers the magic recipe in the last sentence:

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The tortuous un-logic of Will Self, a Jewish un-Jew

Cross posted from the blog Simply Jews

Reading an excellent article in Contentions, What Has the Guardian Got Against Jews?, I couldn’t help myself but click on a linked article by Will Self How I Stopped Being a Jew by Shlomo Sand and Unchosen: The Memoirs of a Philo-Semite by Julie Burchill – review.


Guardian contributor Will Self

What can I say? The article starts, as is proper for an article written by a writer – a member of the most narcissistic guild (save, probably, that of the Hollywood celebs) – with a highly personal statement:

In 2006, as the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) were undertaking their second major incursion into Lebanon, I resigned as a Jew.

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The Guardian: Confirming an obsession

Cross posted by Snoopy The Goon at Simply Jews

Verb: Confirm 

Establish or strengthen as with new evidence or facts

I was just making sure (establishing) that I understand the meaning of that word.

Anyway, looking for an old post on this blog, I have stumbled on another old post of mine (almost 6 years old). That post – Measuring an obsession – shows quite clearly the mind-boggling overabundance of Israel – related articles on the Guardian’s CiF (Comment is Free). It has to be read to be believed, I can assure you.

The obsession, as I said, is unbelievable. I doubt there is another non-Jewish media outfit dedicating so much space and effort to Israel – or to bashing Israel, to be precise. Of course, I clearly understand that this phenomenon is not necessarily mirroring the general sentiment of British society, which, by and large, couldn’t give a flying donut about Middle East in general and Israel in particular. I understand that Guardian, catering to a specific slice of British population, does what it has to do to keep its congregation happy, other means of entertainment like boob shots and juicy scandals being cornered by other media channels. Still, one would prefer the Guardian scribes and the multitude of CiF contributors to enjoy the said bashing of Israel a bit less obviously. But it’s a moot point anyway. 

So, for confirmation sake, I’ve decided to take a look at the last few days of the Guardian’s output, to see if something changed. Here come a few of the headlines for three days, from February 13 to February 15:










Three days and nine articles, all of them strictly negative, and this is only a partial selection! Now you tell me – is it sick or is it sick?

So, the conclusion cannot be anything but a confirmation: indeed, in our ever-changing world there remains at least this one steady and permanent fixture: the Guardian relentlessly whacking the Zionist entity, no matter what. And you can take it to the bank – not that the banks, owned by the Elders, as it is well-known to the readers of the Guardian, will take it from you as a collateral for anything.

Now, you may ask: how could a minor newspaper with a limited customer base be of any significance in this big and busy world? The answer is: this small newspaper with a relatively minuscule customer base punches way above its weight. This is one of the remaining paradoxes related to the twilight of the British Empire: even powerless and reduced (more or less) to confines of that wet island, its press has an influence that still transcends borders. When BBC barks, people still listen. When Guardian yaps, people at least check their shins for damage. 

You may be sure that any “criticism” of Israel that appears in the Guardian will be widely disseminated by eager followers of the same ilk. And even by people who are (ostensibly) Guardian’s enemies, such as assorted right wing extremists, neo-Nazis and other gutter life, who know a good thing when they see one. 

So you can now better understand why a CiF Watch post about the Prisoner X affair starts with: 

Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor at the Observer (sister publication of the Guardian), has already authored, or co-authored, six separate reports (totaling over 5000 words) in less than two days at the Guardian on the row over ‘Prisoner X’.

(Emphasis mine).

Now remind me again: is it sick or is it sick?

What Jonathan Freedland doesn’t get

Cross posted by SnoopyTheGoon at Simply Jews

I’ve stumbled on a (new to me) appearance of Jonathan Freedland under the auspices of Open Zion section of the Daily beast, edited by Peter Beinart. It was surprising, since I thought that being a columnist for the Guardian and the Jewish Chronicle makes him busy enough, without resorting to another venue. But the article, titled What U.S. Jews Don’t Get About European Anti-Semitism was interesting enough by itself.

The general purpose of the article (and the venue used), if I get it right, is to prove to American Jews that the fears displayed by some of them about the allegedly precarious situation of the European Jewry are just undue histrionics. 

The article is full of arguments in favor of this attitude: from the mistaken outcry by prof Rubin (6 years ago, what a memory!) through the finely nuanced analysis of different anti-Jewish sentiments in different European countries and the right wing extremists supporting Israel (proving what, exactly? – but let’s leave it alone) to the rosy perspective for the British Jews…

There even is an illustration of the idyllic life led by the British Jews in that article:

BritishJewsWith a capture: “Jewish men walk along the street in the Stamford Hill area of north London, Jan, 19, 2011.” Wow, man, you don’t say…  unfettered Jews working around Stamford. How cool. 

All this sounds like a serious and overwhelming tranquilizer attack, but more about it later. What really made me mad is the following: 

“Beneath these two headline cases are a hundred other lesser points of friction, often on campus, situations where Jews and Muslims have clashed, frequently over the politics of the Middle East. A consistent trend, noticed by those who monitor anti-Semitism, is a surge in anti-Jewish hatred whenever the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians escalates.”

One does his best, trying to ignore that “situations where Jews and Muslims have clashed”, as if European Jews are equally guilty in the “clashes”. Of course, one should be careful not to favor any side, especially when that “Islamophobia” label is circling the air, looking for another warm body to stick to – but imagine the folks like the ones in the picture above attacking innocent London Muslims…

But Freedland’s matter of fact acceptance of the inevitable “clashes” (read “European Muslims attacking European Jews”), whenever the Zionists perform their usual dastardly deed – this is what really gets my goat. Ten years ago that point of view was aired by one of the biggest stains on British journalism, one Seumas Milne, in his slimy Guardian piece ‘This slur of anti-Semitism is used to defend repression. Its lead sets the tone:

“Ending Israel’s occupation will benefit Jews and Muslims in Europe”

While it’s unclear how European Muslims will benefit, the benefit for the Jews, according to Milne, is obvious: stop the occupation and the attacks by Muslims stop.

Which, in effect, makes the European Jews into hostages for the Muslim rage, whenever and for whatever reason they become unhappy with Israel (or anything else, for that matter – after all blaming the Jooz is customary). And it’s quite painful to see how a “progressive” Jewish journalist repeats this deranged viewpoint as accepted and acceptable by using it as a side remark, without any comment.

Speaking of comments, it would be interesting to understand Freedland’s personal view of the other passage in that text:

“Others have long been alarmed by the case of Malmö, Sweden, a city whose 45,000 Muslims make up 15 percent of the population and where Jews have been on the receiving end of persistent anti-Semitic attacks—a fact denied by the town’s Social Democratic mayor, who instead criticized Malmo’s Jews for their failure to condemn Israel. As he put it, “We accept neither anti-Semitism nor Zionism in Malmö.””

Why didn’t Jonathan comment on this is unclear, and I would love to be certain he thinks what I do about that dreck of a mayor. But how could one be sure?

Very sad. And now about the general thrust of the article, the tranquilizer attack. It is hard to argue the fact that some responses, coming from US Jews to the shenanigans of the various antisemitic elements in Europe, could be over the top. But the sad tradition of European Jewry to stick its collective head into the sand and to ignore the signs of danger couldn’t be overlooked. And no matter how much Valium does Jonathan shove down our craw, a brief detour to a moment of European history could put it into perspective:

  • From hereBy the end of 1920, the Nazi Party had about 3,000 members.
  • From here: In the 1928 German elections, less than 3% of the people voted for the Nazi Party.

The humble results brought up above are easily dwarfed by current popularity of Front National in France, Jobbik in Hungary etc. One would say that there are very good reasons for the Jews (and other minorities) in Europe to feel somewhat shaky, especially as the economic crisis takes it toll. But no, Jonathan has an easy answer for that one too: 

“Episodes that Americans see as evidence of growing European hostility to Jews are often understood by European Jews to be criticism of Israel—in fact, not even criticism of Israel itself, but rather of a specific strain of Israeli policy: what we might call the Greater Israel project of continuing and expanding settlement of the West Bank.”

Clumsy. Very clumsy, Jonathan.

But probably heartily approved by Peter Beinart. So be it.

BBC and the Guardian cover for Baby Assad

Cross posted by our friends at Simply Jews

(By now it should be Bloody Baby Assad, of course, but the force of habit…)

Anyway, I am really not into the issue of biased/not biased BBC and Guardian’s obsession with all things anti-Zionist. This case is so ridiculous it’s too funny to get on a high horse of injured dignity. The story of the Turkish F-4 downed by Syria is probably coming to a close with profuse expressions of regret from Baby Assad in his interview given to a Turkish newspaper. The world newspapers are reporting Assad’s words in slightly different translations. Let’s go to a Turkish source, Hurriyet, first:

“The plane was using a corridor which Israeli planes have used three times before. Soldiers shot it down because we did not see it on our radar and because information was not given.”

Of course I might have been happy if this had been an Israeli plane,” Assad said

Now let’s check out CNN:

“The Turkish people are our brothers and something that would make them sad would never make me happy and it did not. If this was an Israeli plane, of course, I would have been happy.”

Fair enough. And what about Israeli Ynet? Here it goes:

“Soldiers shot it down because we did not see it on our radar and because information was not given. Of course I might have been happy if this had been an Israeli plane,” Assad said.

Now check out the articles on the subject by BBC and The Guardian. Hint – search for the word “Israel”…

Tee hee… really!

If Carlsberg did blogs…Why you should put Richard Millett’s blog on your personal list

Per Brian Goldfarb at Simply Jews

[You should put Richard Millett’s blog on your personal list] mainly because he constantly risks, if not life, then certainly limb in bringing both pictures and videos of really not very nice anti-Israelis to his website. Quite often, he is physically threatened for filming/snapping anti-Israelis and has actually been physically attacked on occasion, although fortunately not seriously hurt and his assailant was arrested.

This posting is about the very unlovely Lady Jenny Tonge (the one who can’t seem to distinguish between antisemitism and anti-Israelism [tho’ I find it difficult to distinguish the two myself, but for very different reasons, of course]), at a meeting in the House of Commons. The title of the article says it all:

“Jenny Tonge rants about the Holocaust and idolises Ismail Haniyeh”.

She is one of the original users of the Livingstone Formulation. For those who don’t know of this, it’s what happens when someone criticises Israel unfairly, without supporting evidence, and is called on the lack of evidence, their response is on the lines of “Whenever I criticise Israel, I’m accused of being antisemitic”, when no-one, other than them, has mentioned the “a” word. Not surprisingly, it’s named after the late and unlamented Mayor of London. In the second video clip in this article, Jonathan Hoffman calls Tonge on this very matter, and she fails to provide an example of this happening to her or anyone else.

For a fuller version and discussion of the term, you need to go to the Enagage website and put “Livingstone Formulation” into their own search facility and see what comes up. 

Note that the fourth illustration down the article features the equally unlovely Gerald Kaufmann. 

Most of Richard Millet’s postings are about the anti-Israel, pro BDS crowd, by the way, but the two immediately previous articles on his blog are especially worth reading.

The first article, on Tonge, is here.

Indeed, Millett’s post are required reading for those of us troubled by antisemitism and anti-Zionism in the UK, and we are proud that he often allows his personal encounters with such malign forces (often directly from the belly of the beast) to grace our pages.

In praise of Richard Millett!

The Guardian and Brian: The end of the affair

This was written by Brian Goldfarb and cross posted at the blog, Simply Jews 

The heading is not meant as a reference to the Graham Greene novel, just a useful, jokey title. Anyway, Snoopy urged me to write this, so here goes!

Back in 2006, on the last day of a great holiday in Canada, I read an article in a Canadian paper. It was an article by Timothy Garton Ash, writer and commentator, entitled “The Place of Europe in the Rise of antisemitism in the 20th Century.”

The article was interesting, but that’s not what this is all about.

Arriving back home, I found out, via the Engage online website, that The Guardian (which also printed the original article) had illustrated the letters responding to Garton Ash with a “pocket cartoon” size map of western Europe overlaid with a Star of David. 

Not surprisingly, I tackled the paper about this, and before long found myself in an email exchange with the Letters Editor. Their starting position was that the letters weren’t just about the actual subject matter of the original article, but widened the area to include “Europe’s role in the rise of Zionism…” Given The Guardian’s take on the middle east, I supposed I shouldn’t have been surprised that (a) the readers wrote letters off the topic but on their favourite subject, and (b) the Letters Editor would print them.

Despite this, I soldiered on, arguing that their use of the Magen David echoed the New Statesman’s “A Kosher Conspiracy?” cover (a Magen David piercing a Union Flag – bet they wouldn’t have dared shown a red crescent moon piercing the same flag, heading it “An Islamist Conspiracy?”) and The Independent’s Stars and Stripes, with the stars replaced with 50 Magen Davids, which was how I’d perceived the illustration in the first place: as, frankly, an allusion to the “Lobby”. To my lack of astonishment (although I was hopeful for a different response), this line or reasoning wasn’t accepted.

The focus switched to the Readers’ Editor, one (at the time) Ian Mayes. Unsurprisingly, he, too, failed to take my arguments on board. He even argued that the paper’s intent was benign and carried an innocent meaning, so that was alright.

Then I brought out what I expected to be my heaviest weapon: logic and intellectual argument. I should have known better. I argued that, as a sociologist, I knew very well that the meaning people attached to the symbols that they used, the words that they used and the evidence they deployed in an (intellectual) argument could well have other meanings than those they intended; I suggested, quite strongly, that this was the case here, with the Magen David on the map of western Europe. I, of course, reiterated that my initial reaction had been as stated before: it was a coded reference to “The Lobby”. His response was that (implicitly allowing that mine was a possible, if in his view an unlikely, one) as they (the paper) hadn’t meant it like that, so that was alright.

It was at this point, after something like a month or more, I emailed back to say that we had just become ex-Guardian readers. Ian Mayes response was to regret our leaving them. I couldn’t resist the obvious counter, to which he failed to reply, that far from it, The Guardian had left me. It was no longer the genuinely liberal paper I had first started reading 40 years earlier.

You know something?

I don’t miss it one little bit, and every time I log onto CiF Watch, I know why I don’t miss it.

Gilad Atzmon vs Tony Greenstein, in “Battle of the self-hating Jews”

This is cross posted by our friends at Simply Jews. (Title courtesy of CiF Watch, graphic courtesy of someone out in Google Image land)

Self-Hating Jew Quarterly: A Guardian Group Publication

“Gilad Atzmon’s book ‘The Wandering Who?’ may not match the sales of Mein Kampf, but it is without doubt a poisonous anti-Semitic tome. Atzmon’s politics also represent a threat to Palestine solidarity as they turn the focus away from Israeli settler-colonialism and its US backers onto Jews as individuals”

The above words have been written by one of Atzmon’s fellow travelers, a founder member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Tony Greenstein.


Greenstein wants the J-Big (Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods) to leaflet Atzmon’s book launch this evening. Which proves that even asajews have standards. Who knew?

Being branded by Greenstein as “anti-semitic” is weird enough. I guess Greenstein’s world consists of bad Israeli/pro-Israel jews, good anti-Israel jews, and Atzmon.

The catch, as shown by the above quote, is that Atzmon’s ideas are against the sacred socialist anti-imperialist pro-palestinian ideology that demands to destroy Israel and if possible the US first, then deal with brain-washing individuals into an obedient flock. Atzmon is a dissenter, he must be punished. The call to leaflet the book launch is not a call against anti-semitism, but the punishment for a traitor.

Chomsky vs. Chavez and/or Chomsky vs. The Guardian

This is cross posted by our friends at the blog, Simply Jews. (The cartoon below, which I simply couldn’t resist including, was posted at the blog of one of the characters in the following saga, Alek Boyd)

Mastermind of the Century (the last one) decided to spice the current century. The story is simply delicious. It starts with an article by Rory Carroll where Chomsky criticizes Comical Hugo for his inhuman treatment of judge María Lourdes Afiuni, for his dictatorship, including hardly believable (for Chomsky) sentences like “Concentration of executive power, unless it’s very temporary and for specific circumstances, such as fighting world war two, is an assault on democracy.” 

One might want to ask the Mastermind where has he been for the last twelve years, when Caudillo stripped Venezuela of its democratic institutions, building up his ersatz socialism. Weren’t Chavez’ intentions clear from the day one?

But let’s go back to the story. Guardian, you see, was very excited for some reason about the rift opening between the hitherto best buddies: Noam and Hugo. So excited that the headline they’ve chosen says Noam Chomsky denounces old friend Hugo Chávez for ‘assault’ on democracy. Which is a bit of exaggeration indeed: whatever Mastermind said is not such a scalding denunciation of Comical Hugo, rather a liver-spotted finger shaken in his general direction. Of course, our Mastermind, hilariously egged on by a blogger, blames the hapless Guardian in “extreme dishonesty”. A classic case of pot calling kettle.

Well, the next act of the drama follows: The Guardian, hurt to its bone marrow by the accusations of the Mastermind (but also mindful of their previous clash with the latter) produces a transcript of Rory Carroll’s interview. It’s quite a boring reading and, to be frank, still doesn’t support the headline that so riled the Mastermind.

So, we have here not only a rift opening between Chaves and Chomsky but also one opening between two important disinformation sources of the free world. Two birds and no stone wasted. Cool.

And, of course, as a bonus, the priceless correspondence between the Mastermind and Alek Boyd – the blogger mentioned already. Here is the second part of it. There are quite a few interesting passages in both parts, but I shall quote only a sentence: 

The world needs to understand just how unhinged you, those you admire, and those who admire you, are, and these exchanges are just the perfect way to do it.

Indeed. I would suggest adding ” and those who admire those who admire you” for completeness, but it’s excellent as it is.

P.S. Still, I tend to disagree with Alek on Manning. Whatever the rights and wrongs, the man took the POTUS’ dime

“As a Jew” explained

This is cross posted at Simply Jews by SlingshotKiller



The term “asaJew” is a marker of identity politics. It says that I, the speaker, have some special authority to say what I’m going to say because of my identity. Usually identity politics is adopted by people who claim to speak for their collectivity. The “asaJew” says that non-Jews should pay special attention because they are raising an issue which is more easily seen from a Jewish point of view. So an “asa Jew” might say that Jews are able to sense or sniff antisemitism when a non-Jew might have been unaware. Jews might be sensitive to certain attitudes, figures of speech, images, to which a non-Jew might not be.

Jewish anti-Zionists give their identity politics a strange twist. Instead of claiming to represent the opinion of most of their fellow Jews, they mobilize their identity “asaJew” in order to give their oppositional view more legitimacy. They are saying to non-Jews that this or that might seem to them as though it was Antisemitic, but I, the Jew, am happy to reassure you that it isn’t.

But if the thing which the anti-Zionist asa Jew is trying to inoculate against is a thing which most Jews do find troublesome, then they employ another little twist. They claim that their Jewish identity is authentic in some way that most Jews’ identities are inauthentic. So the anti-Zionist “asaJew” may be in a tiny minority but she is claiming that she, nevertheless, is the real Jew. The ethical Jew. The critical Jew. The anti-nationalist Jew. The courageous Jew. The far-sighted Jew. And the other Jews, the herd, are actually not such real Jews; their Jewishness has been subverted by Zionism and Islamophobia and a secular unconcern with Jewish ethics.

There are two possible critiques of the “asaJew” rhetoric. One is the critique of identity politics in general, which says that you should just say what you think to be true, you should present evidence and argument, and hope that people listening will be persuaded by that – those who do this prefer to leave the claims to particular identity-based authority behind.

The other possibility is that somebody might accept that Jews in general, or Jewish communal bodies, for example, might speak with some added legitimacy. This might come from either their particular standpoint or from their claims to represent the collective. So you might think that these ways of speaking “asaJew” are more legitimate than that of the anti-Zionist Jew.

The anti-zionist Jew says “asaJew” in order to turn opinion against the majority of her fellow Jews. She wants to say that because she doesn’t find something to be antisemitic, for example, and she is a Jew, and she speaks as a Jew, then they should accept that it isn’t antisemitic. Because if a Jew says something isn’t antisemitic then it can’t be. Right?

Tony Kushner and the curious case of professor, and CiF columnist, Kristofer Petersen-Overton

This is cross posted by our friends at Simply Jews

Reading up on the facts behind (and around) the storm raised by The Guardian around the honorary degree refused and eventually granted to the anti-Israeli playwright Tony Kushner, I couldn’t miss an article by one Kristofer Petersen-Overton Tony Kushner and the corporatisation of CUNY. Aside of “corporatisation” being an ugly word, the article was of certain interest. The author is claiming essentially that there is “corporatisation and the adoption of a boardroom mentality in university administrations”. One aspect of this mentality, according to Mr Petersen-Overton is that “CUNY no longer has much time for those with views likely to upset the largesse of its donors”. That’s real bad. This means, in effect, that the issue of hiring progressively-minded teaching staff becomes secondary to political considerations, as is displayed only too clearly in Mr Petersen-Overton’s own case of dismissal from Brooklyn College, barely overturned at the last moment due to the fact that “a small but diverse and dedicated group of people helped mobilise responses and direct media attention”.

That’s real bad. Not only does CUNY allow all kinds of political considerations impact granting richly deserved honors to one of the leading American playwrights, it is denying work to a talented young historian, which act is based solely on his views of Israel. One’s blood starts to boil indeed, reading about all that depravity.

To dispose first of the leading American playwright’s case: his honorary degree aside, he is one of the selected group of AssaJews that have never hid too well their visceral hate of Israel. If you feel not too queasy, Adam Levick of CiF offers a sampler of Kushner’s soundbites. This sampler makes clear why Kushner became an instant darling of The Guardian. It’s also quite clear why his defender, Petersen-Overton, avoided mention of all that music.
Now to the Kristofer Petersen-Overton (KPO) himself. I have looked up some of his articles on the internet. His scientific objectivity comes through loud and clear in the his work Counting Heads: Israel’s Demographic Imperative. Apparently transfer is all Israel is about. His scientific way of collecting facts comes through clearly as well, when you browse through his other opus: Beyond the Threshold of Atrocity: Nationalism, Biopower & Israel’s Occupation of Gaza. Since this is work in progress, possibly scheduled to become KPO’s doctoral dissertation, I am prevented from quoting it. But like many other propagandist pieces on Gaza’s history, it carefully avoids talking about the period immediately after “disengagement”, when naive Zionists ex-occupants allowed thousands of Gazans to work in Israel, coordinated construction of an airport and planned for a sea port in Gaza – all this to be thwarted by the wave of violence that put an end to the attempt to build up good neighborhood relationships. And this work purports to become a dissertation of a scientist…

Should I linger on the KPO’s choice of references, such as Mearsheimer and Walt, Chomsky, Pappe, B’Tselem etc? Hardly…Should I linger on this quote from KPOs’ own bio that hardly qualifies him as a scientifically dispassionate observer:

Outside the academy, I worked for some time as a human rights activist in Gaza and the West Bank and I still maintain close contact with the Palestinian activist community.

Not worth a discussion, methinks. Still, if you want to read more about KPO’s political leanings and objectivity, here is a detailed piece by Bruce Kesler.

It is quite clear by now that KPO is neither personally nor scientifically objective and that his teaching will be rather an uninterrupted anti-Israeli propaganda rally. But what about his professional credentials: do they entitle him to become what is inevitably termed “professor” in Brooklyn College/CUNY? Dr. Robert David Johnson, a man with really impressive academic credentials, is of an unequivocal opinion

The hiring of former Brooklyn College adjunct Kristofer Petersen-Overton was quite extraordinary. Even though New York’s fiscal problems have led to a slashing of the adjunct budget for required, undergraduate Core classes, Brooklyn’s Political Science Department chose to assign an adjunct to teach a Masters’-level elective course, on Middle Eastern politics. And then, even though graduate-level classes in the humanities and social sciences are almost always taught by full-time faculty, the department inexplicably hired to teach the class a second -year Ph.D. student (at the CUNY Graduate Center, Ph.D. students generally take their oral exams in their third year, so the student almost certainly hadn’t even completed his required coursework).

It’s hard to escape the likelihood that a department known for its close ties to the anti-Israel leadership of the CUNY faculty union hired Petersen-Overton because of his extremist views on Israel-related matters (he has, for instance, accused Israel of “colonial genocide,” and his website boasts of his close ties to “activists” in the West Bank and Gaza). Petersen-Overton certainly wasn’t assigned to teach an M.A. course because he possessed the educational credentials to do so.

This certainly puts the matter in an interesting perspective, doesn’t it?

I wouldn’t go on about the academic freedom in general, seeing as how academic freedom usually works only one way with the left wing members of academic circles. The readiness of hard boiled left wing professors to accept the freedom of otherwise-minded people to express their opinion is rather a boring subject.

As for our main protagonist, KPO: I have stumbled on something that is indeed a crowning achievement in KPO’s fight for freedom of speech: his interview to Iranian Press TV:

QED as they say in the scientific circles. After all, who is better qualified to support a valiant fighter for academic freedom than Iran? Well, maybe Fidel Castro or…nah, let’s leave it alone.

I guess the next rally for Kristofer Petersen-Overton’s freedom of speech will be held in Tehran then.

Now we know. Hamas has a partner at the Guardian

I meant to post this piece by our friends at Simply Jews a few days ago, but, given the amount of material we had over the initial days of the “Palestine Papers”, I wasn’t able to do so.  Though it was written a week ago, their observations on the Guardian are quite interesting – especially given the blog’s eclectic politics – and, as with most of what they write, definitely worth the read.

It certainly pays off to sit for a while on the fence (I wonder why that activity is called this way in English – after all, normally fence is the last place you would choose to plop your backside upon). The media is raging for the last three days with a new PaperGate, this time with a scandal called “Palestinian papers”, carefully brewed by Al Jazeera and The Guardian.

Both Al Jazeera and The Guardian are under full steam, feeding the histrionics caused by the initial publication, publishing more new “material” daily. It is not for nothing that I put that word between quotation marks. The eggs are already in the air and no matter whether PaperGate is a deliberate hoax or just a self-delusion, the eggs are going to cover quite a few faces. Read the article SCOOP: Explaining How The “Palestine Papers” Story Is A Fabrication That Teaches Us The Truth. So far it’s the best guide for the perplexed. Only one quote:

Abbas suggests that the documents or the translation reverses the Israeli and Palestinian positions. In other words, it is Israel offering compromise and the Palestinians rejecting it. In general, it is Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, not the PA that is proposing to divide east Jerusalem and so on.

This single possible explanation of the whole affair will be hardly accepted by the main publishers, at least not immediately. It will mean too much egg too soon. Better to let the story fizzle slowly and then, in some distant future, fess up using a corner of the mouth only…

But this is not why this post. Folks like prof. Barry Rubin will get eventually to the roots of this sham. What was of a special interest to me is rather on the sidelines of the whole story.

To start with, two (purportedly) different authors submit two articles. One is Jonathan Freedland, a Jewish lefty, with his Palestine papers: Now we know. Israel had a peace partner and the other Karma Nabulsi, an Oxford academic (I already had a dubious honor to reflect on her peculiar academic achievements) and a former PLO representative (in fact, today she is more of a Hamas mouthpiece than anything else). Karma Nabulsi calls her opus This seemingly endless and ugly game of the peace process is now finally over. Read both, there hardly is a need to quote anything. Of course, Ms Nabulsi is more incendiary of the two. Of course, her call for cessation of any negotiations and return to killing is not restrained much. But if you try to filter out the chaff, the gist is striking: both anti-Israeli extreme and “pro-Israeli” lefty are fully ready to accept the version fed to them by the Al Jazeera / The Guardian pair. Both don’t question for a moment the truth of the matter (well, Freedland left himself just a bit of wiggling out room, but far from being enough) – obviously the story told fits their point of view too well.

Now the more important issue: the role of The Guardian in this PaperGate. While general anti-Israeli trend of Al Jazeera is open for all to see, The Guardian is, on the face of it (OK, I know), interested in peace and tranquility in the Middle East. May the lions lie down with the lambs and all that jazz…

So, wouldn’t it be kind of natural to ask a simple question: even assuming that the story touted by Al Jazeera and The Guardian is correct in all its details (which assumption is bullshit), why would The Guardian participate in an act that blows away the current PA leadership, only to install a new regime that will be much less inclined to talk and much more inclined to shoot? Why would The Guardian give a willing hand, in fact, to a new intifada? Why is The Guardian so bloodthirsty?

You tell me…