Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Slandered in the Globe

Since the Boston Globe is unwilling to give Alterman enough space to react to charges that he's anti-Semitic, I'll help out by providing some additional space here. You can read about the entire saga from beginning to end here:

To the editor:
It is quite painful for a proud, practicing pro-Zionist Jew who was Bar Mitvah, educated in Israel, lights candles on Shabbat, attend shul regularly, contributes to the Forward, and educates his own child into the religious tradition, to be accused publicly of anti-Semitism. It has happened to me on occasion in extremely obscure, right-wing websites, but only twice in the mainstream media. Both times it has been done by Cathy Young on the editorial page of The Boston Globe. The last time I was denied the courtesy of a response. I hope that will not be the case today.

As most people are aware, the accusation of anti-Semitism, like that of anti-Americanism, can be employed by people to stifle debate and stigmatize points of view with which they disagree. In this case Cathy Young seeks to silence anyone who recognizes the reality of Jewish responsibility for Palestinian suffering. This is unfortunate, for many reasons—one cannot hope for peace in the Middle East without a mutual recognition of the pain the conflict has caused—but more to the point, phony accusations of anti-Semitism have the effect of weakening societal strictures against the real thing. By employing this slander against me, now twice, Cathy Young is actually aiding and abetting the anti-Semites by robbing the term of any coherent meaning.

Here, for the record, is the entire text of the blog text that has led Young to call me these horrid names. .

“I’m a Jew, but I don’t expect Arabs to pay tribute to my people’s suffering while Jews, in the form of Israel an its supporters—and in this I include myself—are causing much of theirs. Would Andrew [Sullivan] want to go to a service in honor of the suffering of gay bashing bigots? (Wait, don’t answer that. Would a gay person who didn’t regularly offer his political support to gay bashing bigots want to go?) Anyway, I’m sure what I’m saying will be twisted beyond recognition, and so I suppose that makes it stupid to do, but I’m sorry. The Palestinians have also suffered because of the Holocaust. They lost their homeland as the world—in the form of the United Nations—reacted to European crimes by awarding half of Palestine to the Zionists. They call this the “Nakba” or the “Catastrophe.” To ask Arabs to participate in a ceremony that does not recognize their own suffering but implicitly endorses the view that caused their catastrophe is morally idiotic—which is why, I guess, I’m not surprised Andrew’s doing it. Also via Little Roy, here’s another conservative Jew joining David Horowitz in endorsing Mel Gibson's anti-Semitism and even William Donahue’s disgusting anal-sex-obsessed anti-Jewish attack, which was broadcast on MSNBC and implicitly endorsed by Pat Buchanan. “

You can see from the above while the item does recognize the political folly of demanding that Arabs who have suffered their own catastrophe at the hands of Jews, be demanded to pay fealty to Jews without any recognition of their own suffering, the item also contains an attack on the genuine anti-Semitism of both the Passion of the Christ and the Catholic League’s William Donahue blaming America’s moral ills on “Hollywood’s secular Jews,” whom he informed MSNBC’s Buchanan, “like anal sex.” Nowhere do I, as Young accuses, hold “Jews responsible for ‘much’ of the suffering of Muslims everywhere,” as I was clearly talking about Palestine, and nor, for the same reasons can I be accused of arguing that “every Muslim is justified in viewing every Jew as the enemy.” As for her accusation that I actually blaming “long-dead Holocaust victims,” well, it boggles the mind that your editors would allow this hateful poison into your newspaper, whatever Young’s motives may be for spreading it.

That a newspaper with the reputation of the Boston Globe would allow itself to be used for Young’s vicious vendetta against me, now twice, is both shameful and shocking. I would appreciate a retraction and apology.
Eric Alterman
New York, New York