Blogging Reduces Fever

I’m sitting alone in our apartment fiddling with my blog, which is always crying out for me to fiddle with it. I’m getting over a slight fever (at least I hope so). The windows are open and a nice Roman breeze is blowing in, which is probably contrary to doctor’s orders. But it feels good. Outside it’s around 80 degrees, and I’m sweating.

This is as good an excuse as any to overhaul one’s blog. I’ve changed the format slightly, making it easier to read (I think). Besides, I was growing tired of that old blue-grey tone—too damn confederate.

It’s been a while since I’ve visited Jeffrey Goldberg over at the Atlantic, who has dug up a weird photo of wookies in Teheran. The Iranians just seem to be floating further and further away from normalcy, which makes me sorry for all the Iranians who just want to live in a normal country.

In the Quagmire With Jeff and Mike

Today I’m linking to Michael Totten’s interview with Jeffrey Goldberg called The Real Quagmire In the Middle East. Not only is this a conversation between two intelligent, well-informed journalists about the problems that obsess some of us, it is also remarkably free of hate-speech, proving once and for all that it is still possible to have a reasonable discussion about Israel and its enemies without falling headfirst down the rabbit-hole of loshn hora.

Here’s a choice excerpt to whet your whistle with:

Goldberg: I imagine that if this situation gets more dire, America will say to the Iranians, secretly, in no uncertain terms, that “if you do anything to Israel, we will destroy you.” That just seems prudent to do. “Go ahead and have your dreams and desires, but don’t even think about transferring your nuclear technology to attack Israel in some way, because we will wipe you out.”

Bring the Iranian ambassador to the Strategic Air Command and show him all the missiles that are pointing at Iran. “This one is going to go here, and this one is going to go there. You’re wiped out. You’re finished. You’re done. You are exterminated.”

It wouldn’t really matter, though, because the Israelis would already be dead.

Totten: They can retaliate themselves anyway. They have nuclear weapons in submarines out in the Mediterranean.

Goldberg: Jews are floating around in the Persian Gulf with nuclear weapons in German subs that are aimed at the new Hitler. If you step away from your personal feelings about it, it’s just fascinating.

Most fascinating indeed.

Michael Oren On Why Israel Matters

A great historian, Michael Oren is also Israel’s ambassador to the US. In this interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, he discusses why Israel matters and the meaning of Jewish history. As articulate as he is in his writing, he can’t seem to quite find the words to express his sense of wonder at the longevity of the Jewish people and the existence of the State of Israel. But he wrote the book on the Six Day War.

Glick, Umglick, Goldblog

My friend ‘Chick’ (that’s not his real name, but if you read Saul Bellow you might catch the reference) told me that Caroline Glick is a fear-mongering journalist, and he may have a point. I can’t read her without getting a knot in my stomach, perhaps because I voted for Barack Obama, towards whom she is particularly unloving. I’m used to it, though; I have a lot of friends like Ms. Glick, so she doesn’t faze me.

Researching Glick on the internet yielded this gem by Jeffrey Goldberg. Now, I read Goldberg’s blog fairly regularly, and I consider him to be a moderate (liberal, if you prefer) Zionist–a bit like myself. He even has credentials, which I don’t. He made aliyah, fought in the army, and wrote a book about his experiences called Prisoners. I haven’t read it, so I can’t tell you what he has to say.  But I’ll bet he emphasises the humanity of both sides, judging from what he has written in the past. That’s just an assumption, mind you.

Last year he wrote an article for the Atlantic on Israel’s future. Caroline Glick chimed in from her perch in the Jerusalem Post, saying things like

Goldberg’s decision to focus his analysis on [David] Grossman was a revealing one. While Grossman enjoys a pride of place among the radical leftist elite, he is a marginal figure in Israeli society.

Never mind that David Grossman is a world-famous novelist and writer and my friend Yoni, who grew up and lives in Tel Aviv, couldn’t place the name ‘Caroline Glick’ even when I hinted that she was a widely-read journalist for the Jerusalem Post. “Nobody here reads the Jerusalem Post,” was his reply. Perhaps Glick got carried away with her own hubris. Whether or not you agree with Grossman’s politics, or those of his colleagues among the Israeli literati, they can hardly be called “insignificant.” Even Jose Saramago’s anti-Semitic screed of some years ago cannot be rightly called “insignificant”–though it is surely rubbish, it is highly significant rubbish, in its fashion.

Which all brings me one step closer to the point: Jeffrey Goldberg is one of the most liberal-minded Zionists out there. Another is Paul Berman. So this hatchet-job, which is in the top slot if you YouTube ‘Jeffrey Goldberg’, is a bit of a surprise. Not that it is a meaningful surprise, but the surprise is that it comes from the Saramagoan left, not the Glickian right.

Of course, this little video is full of cherry-picked quotes that mean nothing at all out of context. The “context” is provided by the overly-careful narrator, who sets Goldberg up as a kind of Israel-lobby straw man, then sets him on fire for a negative review he wrote of Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid–a review of shocking length, 1600 words! Am I missing something? Oh, Carter is the Peace Messiah. To criticize him is like rejecting Christ, I suppose: grounds for character assassination.

The video portrays Goldberg as a “Zionist” (understood here as “embodiment of evil”), sampling this video, in which Goldberg speaks of his youthful obsession with Jewish power, which is the keyword of anti-Zionism. It goes on to tell his story for him, through an interview with a Ghassan Andoni, a Palestinian Christian who was incarcerated in the Israeli “concentration camp” where Goldberg was stationed while in the IDF. As a follow-up to the Carter swipe, emphasizing that this man is a “Christian” is a sly swipe at Goldberg’s Jewishness: the evil, power-hungry Jew and the unjustly accused, mistreated disciple of peace fighting their eternal war for the soul of the Holy Land. It plays on the viewers bias, who will automatically assume all Chrisitans must be innocent in the land of Jesus, and that Jeffrey Goldberg (who, by the information given in this video, had nothing at all to do with the treatment of Andoni) is Pharisee swine.

Nowhere in the video does it mention the fact that Golberg wrote an entire book on his experiences as a prison guard. All he is quoted as “saying” in that the experience was “exotic” and “exciting.” The viewer is left to draw his or her own conclusions from the cunningly edited video. The coup de grace is the silent coda reading, “An If Americans Knew Production….dedicated to providing accurate information on topics that are misreported in the American media.” If Americans Knew is essentially an anti-Israel propaganda website disguised as a run-of -the-mill humanitarian one, run by Paul Findlay, an anti-Zionist pundit (and former member of Congress) who wrote the following:

“…once beloved worldwide, the U.S. government finds itself reviled in most countries because it provides unconditional support of Israeli violations of the United Nations Charter, international law, and the precepts of all major religious faiths.”

When I read this kind of stuff, I want to call Caroline Glick in the middle of the night and have a heart-to-heart.

One-State Solution Is No Solution

Jeffrey Goldberg has posted his interview with Shimon Peres. An excerpt:

JG: You hear this more and more, people talking about the one-state solution. It used to be a radical idea to suggest a two-state solution, now we’re moving toward a discussion — at least on the left, obviously — of a one-state solution. Do you think that the Palestinians and their supporters would ever agree to an end of claims —

SP: There is not a one-state solution; there is only one-state conflict instead of two-people conflict. Look, you have a conflict in Iraq; it’s one state. You have a conflict in Lebanon; it’s one state. You have a conflict in Sudan; it’s one state. Who says that one state puts an end to the conflict? On the contrary, it makes it more dangerous. You have one state in Pakistan. You have one state in Afghanistan.

You can read the rest here.

Who Takes Iran Seriously? Or Caryl Churchill?

Jeffery Goldberg does.

And he’s done the dirty work for you by compiling a long list of money quotes by the Iranian President about Isra…ahem, the Zionist Entity.

For instance, he said this in December, 2006:

“I want to tell [Western counties] that just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and does not exist anymore, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out and humanity will be free.”

The Soviet Union? Just compare Israel to any worst-regime-in-history in an all-out effort at character assassination. This is anti-Zionism 101.

And Goldberg gets my vote for the most perceptive critic of Caryl Churchill, as well:

“I think that people like Caryl Churchill have a kind of gross, sometimes pornographic interest in proving Jewish immorality. It makes them feel better. I believe that. It makes them feel less immoral if they can prove that Jews are immoral too — that the ultimate victims are just like everybody else. Or worse than everybody else!”

We should all be paying attention to him.