Richard Silverstein’s racist abuse of Chloe Valdary continues: calls her a ‘house slave’

It is impossible to understand how anyone at this point can defend Richard Silverstein from charges of racism.

To quickly recap:

Five days ago, Silverstein posted the following on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, referring to a young black Zionist named Chloe Valdary who had published an op-ed at Times of Israel critical of Judith Butler.

Not only did Silverstein fail to apologize for, in effect, accusing Valdary of betraying her race by supporting Israel, he actually defended it in the following Tweet.

Then, after Valdary penned an essay at Times of Israel responding to Silverstein’s vile comments, they engaged each other on Twitter – a series of exchanges which include this Tweet today:

So, Silverstein, a Comment is Free contributor, has now called Valdary a ‘Negro Uncle Tom’ and a ‘House Slave’!

This blog has previously exposed Silverstein’s defense of Hamas, his suggestion that Israel behaves like Nazi Germany (and, of course, his faux scoops), but after his latest racist outburst is there really anyone who can honestly claim that the Seattle-based Jewish blogger represents anything resembling liberal values?

 

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The content of her character: Chloe Valdary responds to Richard Silverstein

On Saturday we commented on a racist Facebook update and Tweet by “liberal” Jewish blogger Richard Silverstein, which he posted in response to his apparent ‘outrage’ at a pro-Israel op-ed written by an African-American woman named Chloe Valdary.

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Chloe Valdary

Today in Times of Israel, Valdary published a new op-ed addressing Silverstein’s attack, and the broader issue of racism and anti-Zionism.

Here are some excerpts:

On February 22, a gentleman by the name of Richard Silverstein took considerable issue with an article I wrote in the The Times of Israel about the contentions of one Judith Butler, professor at the University of California, Berkley. I find Butler’s analysis regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict lamentably disagreeable.

Silverstein did not point out any possible faulty premises in my column. He did not question the evidence I presented. He did not find I was lacking in my analysis. Instead, to illustrate his (ahem) intellectual prowess, he shared a Facebook status linking to my column and in his commentary, wrote: “They finally did it: found a Negro Zionist: Uncle Tom is dancin’ for joy!

His intention is obvious: I am an African-American, and Silverstein believes that all African-Americans are monolithic. Indeed, he believes that because of my skin color, I must think, act, and behave in the certain way — a manner in which he perceives black people to be. Like the old white masters in the antebellum American South, Silverstein believes that he and his ilk alone can be the bearers of opinions which must be held by African-Americans. To think for oneself, to formulate an opinion independent of his consent — well now, this is unacceptable. The consequence is a verbal lashing on social media; an attack on my character because of my skin color, and because, I am, as he puts it, “a Negro,” who does not feel the need to make her analysis contingent upon his approbation.

Moreover, I am a Zionist. I am unabashedly pro-Israel, and a proponent of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their ancestral homeland. Silverstein is not a Zionist, and because I disagree with him —  like the old slave masters who believed that their view of the world was superior to and should be foisted upon the negro slaves — he contends that I am an “Uncle Tom” (a derogatory term meaning “house slave,” or one who is subservient and servile to white masters.).

I am certain that Silverstein does not comprehend the irony. After all, white supremacists tend to possess an astounding propensity for cognitive dissonance. It isn’t evident to Silverstein that to assert that a human being must, by virtue of her skin color, behave in a certain manner, is itself prejudicial and bigoted. Silverstein is judging me on the color of my skin, not on the content of my character, or rather, the content of my treatise.

Silverstein [a 'Comment is Free' contributor] inverts terms, making them devoid of any meaning, all the while having the temerity to believe his musings are erudite, when in point of fact they are ludicrous, and contributory to the cause of mass homicide. That such obscene characters are given license to spew nonsense in prominent newspapers like The Guardian, I find lamentable

You can read the rest of her essay, titled ‘In Defense of Liberty’, here.

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Richard Silverstein’s meltdown continues: Defends “Negro” “Uncle Tom” slur

Yesterday we posted about a racist Facebook update and Tweet by “liberal” Jewish blogger Richard Silverstein, which were posted in response to his ‘outrage’ at seeing a pro-Israel op-ed at Times of Israel by an African-American Zionist named Chloe Valdary.

He’s been roundly criticized ever since on Twitter, and many have asked that he do the decent thing and apologize. 

Instead, he actually defended his shameful racial slur in a recent Tweet:

Priceless: He’s not the racist for using such pejoratives to characterize a young, black Zionist, but his accusers are betraying their own “right-wing political prejudices”.  

His decision to double-down in the face of such criticism shouldn’t surprise anyone, as the white liberal privilege possessed by Silverstein and his ilk means never having to apologize for even the most incendiary and cruel racist invectives – especially if the target is a Zionist. 

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Richard Silverstein accuses African-American Zionist of being a ‘Negro’ Uncle Tom

The racism of blogger Richard Silverstein was laid bare today when he posted the following on his Facebook account, referring to an African-American Zionist named Chloe Valdary who had published an op-ed at Times of Israel about Judith Butler.

silverstein

Here’s his Tweet:

Silverstein - a ‘Comment is Freecontributor through 2012 who, until now, was best known for his anti-Israel (and at times pro-Hamas) activism and his faux scoops - has now revealed himself to be bigoted towards black Americans as well.  The term ‘Negro” stopped being used in America in the late 60s or early 70s, and the term ‘Uncle Tom‘ of course is a horrible epithet used historically to accuse African-Americans of being subservient to whites, and betraying their own group by participating in systematic white racism.

As Valdary’s column about Butler had nothing to do with the issue of American racism, Silverstein’s ugly assault seems to have been motivated by his disgust at seeing a woman of color expressing support for Israel.

Silverstein seems to have deleted the post from his Facebook account (though the Tweet is still there), but let the snapshots above serve as a reminder of the narrow-mindedness of some on the Left when confronted with information contradicting their anti-Zionist assumptions.

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Execution, Inc.: Quick tutorial for Peter Beaumont on an Iranian moderate’s first 100 days

A guest post by Gidon Ben-Zvi

Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor for the Guardian and Observer, argued in a November 30 article that the interim deal inked in Geneva between Iran and the world’s six leading powers could, “redraw the map of an area that has been gripped by conflict or the threat of conflict for generations.”  Specifically with regards to Israel, Beaumont notes that “An Iran a step further back from conflict with Israel, and potentially minded to meddle less in the region, would be a good thing if Tehran sticks to its part of the deal.”

Beaumont is placing his faith in a regime founded on the systematic suppression of Iranian citizens and dissidents – a nearly thirty-five year record of domestic oppression which has been facilitated to a large extent by a decidedly expansionist foreign policy. Indeed, creating scapegoats - such as Iraq, Israel and the United States - for tens of millions of Iranians to target their rage and misery allows Iran’s ruling clerics to legitimize their barbarity under the cloak of religion.

Beaumont believes that that the “…diplomacy that led to the interim six-month agreement is the first indication that [Iran’s] new president Hassan Rouhani now sees the benefit of negotiating solutions to the region’s problems.”

However, Rouhani’s domestic policy to date is one marked by executions, persecution, torture, denial of political rights and a general assault on the rule of law.

Frequently hailed at the Guardian as a moderate and a pragmatist, the Iranian leader’s actions over the course of his first 100 days in office leave little doubt that – behind the diplomatic window dressing – little has changed. In fact, since Rouhani’s election, the rate of executions has actually accelerated.  Iran’s regime imposed the death penalty on over 200 people during Rouhani’s tenure, including a record number of 50 executions during a two-week period in September. So far in 2013, Iran has executed more than 400 of its citizens.

Ahmed Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, said in a report presented to the General Assembly on October 31 that he’s “alarmed by the spate of executions.” 

And while Rouhani’s rhetoric inspired hope in Geneva, it is not being matched by his regime’s draconian policies vis-a-vis Iran’s minorities. The best hope for peace in our time’s government continues to disregard the rights of its Christians, Bahais, Sufis, Jews and members of other religious groups. Furthermore, homosexuality under Iranian law remains punishable by imprisonment and even the death penalty.

Yet, just when this bloody tyranny was beginning to wobble as a result of a crippling sanctions regime that was battering the nation’s economy, the thuggish Mullahs were handed a lifeline: the release of approximately $7 billion – a sum equivalent to 1.4 per cent of Iran’s entire national income.

As a result of this partial lifting of sanctions, Beaumont postulates that “Tehran’s clerical regime might now see the benefit of negotiating solutions to the region’s problems, rather than its previous angry posturing…”.

Yet the tone inside Iran has been anything but conciliatory. Here’s a direct quote from the state-controlled Press TV: “…but so far with the Geneva joint plan, the knife has scarcely been pulled out [of Iran’s economic back] three inches.”

Has ‘conflict resolution’ ever sounded more ominous?

(Gidon Ben-Zvi is a Jerusalem-based writer who regularly contributes to Times of Israel and the Algemeiner)

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Towards a new ‘liberation theology’: Will progressives ever learn to embrace Jewish success?

Here are the first few paragraphs of my Times of Israel essay published today:

If the progressive community was truly concerned about the fate of historically oppressed minorities, and sincerely moved by a passionate desire to find the social and economic remedies to ameliorate the condition of the marginalized, the example of Jews in the late 20th and early 21st centuries would serve as a model for all future campaigns.

Progressives who are unburdened by the fetishization of victimhood, and misplaced faith in ‘systemic’ root causes, would have to be inspired by the example of world Jewry – a community which not only survived the  Holocaust, but quickly re-established their communities and, within a short period of time, could boast of social, economic and political success (in Israel and the diaspora) quite ‘disproportionate’ to their miniscule numbers.

Howard Jacobson has forcefully argued that the world has never forgiven Jews for the collective guilt driven by memory of the Holocaust. However, it seems equally as urgent to acknowledge that the progressive movement seems not to have forgiven Jews for a success born largely of their own perseverance.

Read the rest of the essay here.

Ahmad Hashemi: ‘Anti-Semitism is why the Arab Spring failed’

Ahmad Hashemi is a former Iranian foreign ministry employee who worked as an English and Arabic interpreter.  He was actively involved in the pro-democracy Green Movement protests in 2009, and in early 2012 was nominated to run for parliamentary elections.  However, he was disqualified from running by the Guardians Council.

In May 2012, he was dismissed from his foreign ministry job.

Beginning in early May 2012, he began to contribute articles to the leading reformist papers but was subjected to constant threats and restrictions from the Iranian regime.  He then fled Iran and is currently seeking political asylum in Turkey where he works as a freelance journalist.

He wrote a powerful essay at Times of Israel on April 9 titled ‘Anti-Semitism is why the Arab Spring failed - one which we strongly urge you to read.

The moral necessity of despair when Arab teachers object to the humanization of Jews

Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard once commented that, sometimes, the only proper reaction to a particular event is despair.

The following represents such an example.

According to a recent reportrumors of a UN decision to introduce Holocaust studies in schools in Palestinian refugee camps run by UNRWA  have outraged Jordanian teachers, who say they will refuse to teach history that “harms the Palestinian cause.”

Roughly two million Palestinian refugees are registered with UNRWA’s Jordan offices, and they operate 172 schools in 10 refugee camps across the kingdom.

The Executive Committee of UNRWA teachers in Jordan responded to news that Holocaust studies would be added to the curriculum on ‘conflict resolution’ by issuing a statement which reads in part: 

“We condemn this decision, which equates the butcher and the victim,” [emphasis added]

The teachers’ statement demanded instead classes on the Palestinian “right of return” to Israel.

The statement continued:

‘Teaching UNRWA students about the so-called ‘Holocaust’ as part of human rights harms the Palestinian cause … and changes the students’  views regarding their main enemy, namely the Israeli occupation.”

“We shall monitor the curriculum being taught under the title ‘concepts of human rights’ [which is] aimed at reducing [Palestinian] students’ awareness of the right of return…” 

The reaction by Jordanian teachers follows a decision last year, by the association of UNRWA employees, to ban the introduction of Holocaust studies in UNRWA schools.

Remember that these are not Islamist extremists we’re talking about, but middle class Jordanian educators, ordinary men and women who evidently are outraged by “rumors” of a UN decision to teach children about the Nazi slaughter of one out of every three Jews on earth.

Identifying with six million victims of Nazi genocide is evidently seen as harming the Palestinian cause.

Moreover, it’s important to understand that though the Holocaust did not come close to putting an end to antisemitism across the world, news of the unspeakable horrors in extermination camps such as Auschwitz, Sobibor, Treblinka and Majdanek did attach to expressions of Judeophobia, in most of the enlightened world, a significant moral stigma. 

Holocaust memory in our times creates a bulwark of sorts against the most virulent expressions of antisemitism, as it demonstrates the potential deadly consequences of unchallenged racism against Jews – and, indeed, against other minorities.

It is indeed telling that the central address of antisemitism in modern times is the Arab and Muslim Middle East – where the cultural antibodies against Jew hatred have failed to materialize.

If the citizens of the Middle East were to internalize the lessons of the Holocaust they would be forced to confront their own society’s often homicidal  antisemitism – a self-reflective habit of mind which the honor-shame culture of the Arab world does not promote.

The reaction by Jordanian teachers to the suggestion that they educate Palestinian children about the unspeakable crimes committed against Jews is, therefore, not surprising, as such a curriculum would necessarily turn a mirror on their own extensive moral and cultural shortcomings.

Finally, how can anyone seriously contemplate Palestinian peace with living Jews if they are often unable to reconcile themselves with even the humanity of murdered Jews?

The only healthy response to such stories is simply despair.

My ‘Times of Israel’ post: In firing Treviño, Guardian’s hypocrisy laid bare

The following was published today at Times of Israel.

The Guardian’s August 15 announcement that Joshua Treviño would be joining its US politics team provoked predictable outrage by some of the most virulent Israel-haters.

One of the first screeds published on the appointment of Treviño was by “one-stater” racist Ali Abunimah, himself a contributor at the Guardian’s “Comment is Free” through June 2009, who wrote a piece for Al Jazeera, as well as several others at his own Electronic Intifada site, to protest the Guardian’s apostasy.

MJ Rosenberg and Richard Silverstein also condemned the appointment.

On August 19, the Guardian published a letter criticizing the appointment of Treviño, by a who’s who of anti-Israel campaigners, chastising the Guardian for employing someone they characterized as holding “extremist views.”

The main complaint of all Treviño’s critics is the now-famous flotilla-related tweet by Treviño in June 2011 – 106 characters which, according to Abunimah and his anti-Zionist friends, represent “incitement to murder:”

The hypocrisy of this group of hardcore Israel-haters and apologists for Islamist extremists — who comically wear the mantle of “anti-racists” — is staggering.

None of these sensitive souls was the least bit bothered by “Comment is Free” publishing, for instance, Azzam Tamimi – who supports suicide bombing against Israelis. Indeed, in 2011, Guardian editors published a letter by a UK professor explicitly endorsing, on ethical grounds, deadly terrorist attacks by Palestinians on Israeli civilians — a decision which was later defended by Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott.

Read the rest of the essay, here.

My ‘Times of Israel’ essay: ‘Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian and the anti-imperialism of fools’

The following was published at Times of Israel

The Guardian’s most egregious moral blind spot – especially in light of the media group’s claim to represent anti-racist values – pertains to their editors’ licensing of commentators who possess an antipathy towards Jews and routinely advance tropes indistinguishable from what is normally associated with far-right Judeophobia.

Such polemicists (who are granted the media group’s progressive kashrut license) are typically of the radical Islamic variety – those who espouse values which are incompatible with even the broadest understanding of progressivism yet are given a moral pass by virtue of their cynical use of the language of human rights. (Richard Landes refers to such political posers as “demopaths.”)

Indeed, Guardian editors often grant members of terrorist groups, or their supporters, space at the Guardian’s blog, ‘Comment is Free‘.

However, the Guardian-approved socially acceptable anti-Israel brand of reactionary politics isn’t limited to those of the Islamist persuasion.

Ben White, who penned an appalling apologia for anti-Semitism for the extremist publication CounterPunch, is routinely published at “Comment is Free” – and given a platform to advance his malign obsession with the Jewish state.

The Guardian even offered space, in their letters section, to Alison Weir - accurately characterized as one of the few modern-day promoters of the ancient anti-Semitic blood libel.

Gilad Atzmon, who has literally endorsed the conspiracies advanced in the Elders of the Protocols of Zion that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world, has been the subject of quite laudatory profiles at the Guardian – and also had a letter published.

More recently, it was announced that Salon.com blogger, Glenn Greenwald, will be moving to the Guardian.

Greenwald (who blogs at Salon.com) advances a brand of anti-imperialism, much in the tradition of Guardian Associate Editor Seumas Milne, informed by a palpable loathing of America, a nation he sees as a dangerous force of evil in the world. Greenwald’s anti-Americanism is so intense he once compared the US overthrow of Saddam Hussein to the Nazi conquest of Europe.

As is often the case with Guardian-brand commentators, Greenwald’s anti-imperialist ideological package includes a vicious anti-Zionism, and a corresponding belief on the injurious influence of organized US Jewry on American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Here’s a sample of his musings on the villainy of organized Jewry.

  • “So absolute has the Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy been that the US Government has made it illegal to broadcast Hezbollah television stations.”
  • “Not even our Constitution’s First Amendment has been a match for the endless exploitation of American policy, law and resources [by the Israel lobby] to target and punish Israel’s enemies.”

Read the rest of my essay, here.

Faces of the IDF, faces of stereotypes: Countering the Guardian’s crude caricature of Israelis

My friend Judy Lash Balint, who blogs at Jerusalem Diaries, published an essay recently at Times of Israel.  Balint wrote:

The so-called Global March on Jerusalem [GMJ] and the annual Land Day ritual that took place last Friday fizzled to a predictable end. But the non-event did produce yet another series of images that reinforce the world’s perception of Israel as a place of conflict and violence.

I’m an occasional stringer for a photo news site based in the U.K–here’s what the assignment editor sent out to his Israeli contacts on Friday:

Like almost every other news editor, he isn’t interested in seeing Israelis in all their complexity and color, it’s just so much simpler to portray us as tear-gas firing, helmet-wearing, faceless aggressors.

Clearly, the Guardian got the memo. Their photo story on GMJ protests, Israeli police and Palestinians clash during Land Day protests, included this:

The propaganda value of this photo is priceless, and represents quintessentially Guardian caricatures of cruel, sadistic Israelis juxtaposed with innocent Palestinians – devoid of any trace of context.

There were hundreds of Palestinians rioting on Friday, many throwing rocks and firebombs at uniformed Israelis, and the IDF, as they always do, employed non-lethal riot dispersal means to quell the violence in a manner most likely to minimize injury.  This was no small challenge in the context of a broader GMJ movement which clearly wanted to provoke violent confrontations to achieve propaganda victories.

Balint concluded:

So, for the record, here are some faces of Israel and her security forces that may shed a little light on just who we are as we approach Passover 2012.

Here are the photos she took and posted at Times of Israel:

Police on patrol at Jaffa Gate

Posing in Akko…

Consulting with the locals at Qasr al Yahud in the Jordan Valley

Naval cadets in Jerusalem

Border patrol in Jerusalem

Visiting Herodian

Local coordination at Wadi Kelt

IDF Entertainment Group welcoming new olim at Ben Gurion Airport

IDF conquers the Old City

Border patrol on break at Kikar Safra, Jerusalem