A few months ago, some insignificant blogger called Richard Silverstein decided to talk trash about Pajamas Media and its associated blogs – yours truly included. At the time, I rebutted his points, and pointed out many factual mistakes in his post, which he subsequently deleted instead of posting updates and leaving his original post intact (as blogger etiquette requires).
Despite the fact that he came out of that exchange looking rather foolish, he has not let that experience deter him. In fact, he has come back charging like a rabid dog. His target this time? The JIB Awards, yours truly, and nominated right-leaning blogs.
I was surfing the web and came across a site that featured the logo of the Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards. I’ve seen the logo before at some sites and never sat down and looked at it in any great detail. Being a progressive Jewish blogger who often blogs about Israel; and being ever-ambitious and hungry for recognition of my blog I thought I’d check it out for myself.
If you take a look at their logo here you’ll notice the two sponsors: the Jerusalem Post and Israelly Cool. A little ideological background is in order. The Post at one time in its history (I know because I read it sporadically when I lived in Israel for two academic years) was a sleepy little Anglo-Israeli paper that took an uneventfully centrist political stance on Israeli politics. That all changed when Conrad Black (does he still have that Lord’s title or do they take it away once you’re accused of a felony??) bought the paper, turning it into the spitting image of his neocon, hardline pro-Likud views.Now the kleptomaniac buccaneer is gone. Derek Fattal, the Post’s director of internet services assures me that post-Black the Post moderated its politics:The Post’s position in the local spectrum is now straight center on most issues and I don’t think many informed pundits would currently cast us as right wing.
But that’s what George Will would say about Sam Alito’s judicial philosophy, now wouldn’t he? It all depends on where you locate your center. One could believe the paper has moderated its views. But I don’t believe it will ever fully divorce itself from Lord Black’s political philosophy.So you have a conservative Israeli daily allied with Israelly Cool. The latter is a hardline anti-Arab blog written by Aussie Dave, an Australian oleh (immigrant) to Israel. I should correct this statement. Dave doesn’t hate all Muslims. He only hates Muslim terrorists. Which Muslims does he have a hankering for?I hate the Islamic terrorists, and I make a point to distinguish between them and moderate Muslims, for whom I have the utmost respect.Here’s his description of one such individual profiled, where else, in the Jerusalem Post:Yunis Owaidah [is] a PLO Arab who is proud of the fact that he collaborates with Israel.The Jerusalem Post have [sic] a fascinating article on him, which I implore you all to read, if you have not already done so. Here is an appetizer:Owaidah explained that he decided to work with Israel “because of the injustice we saw when we were under Jordanian rule before the 1967 war.”“When the Jews came to Jerusalem, I saw how they were treating the people in a humane way,” he said. “By comparison, we had been oppressed by the Jordanians when they were here. Look how the Jews have built a modern and democratic state, and look where the Arabs still are.”Dave, you see, loves the “good” Muslims, those few quislings who exist among millions of Palestinians. And oh how he hates the “bad” Muslims. Those are the really rotten ones who want a state of their own and who detest the Israeli Occupation.
Actually, Silverstein, you have to understand what an “Israeli collaborator” does. They tip-off the IDF as to the whereabouts of terrorists. You know, those people who have a habit of blowing up, shooting, and otherwise murdering people who happen to be Jewish? This allows our army to find the terrorists and kill them before the innocent people are killed. So yes, that makes them “good Muslims.” Does a Muslim have to be an Israeli collaborator to be a “good”? Of course not, but they have to oppose the deliberate murder of innocent people. Just like a Jew who does not oppose the deliberate murder of innocent people is not a “good Jew.” Come to think of it, Silverstein, I see that Rafah Pundits – a blog that posted an obituary of a vicious terrorist – is on your blogroll…
And Dave isn’t afraid of obliterating a few innocent Palestinians if it means the IDF or Shin Bet can bag a Palestinian militant in a targeted assassination:While I am always opposed to the deliberate killing of innocent people, and saddened by any loss of innocent life, this does not mean that I oppose all targeted killings where innocent people are inadvertently killed.I guess Dave doesn’t have much use for this famous dictum:“it is better to let ten guilty men go free than to convict an innocent man.”
Furthermore, answer me this: if the allies had Hitler in their scopes and knew they could take him out, but perhaps some German civilians would be killed, would you support such an attempt on his life?
While I am always opposed to the deliberate killing of innocent people, and saddened by any loss of innocent life, this does not mean that I oppose all targeted killings where innocent people are inadvertently killed. It depends on the situation. Factors such as the elusiveness of the terrorist, his capability to kill innocent people, his role, and the opportunity to capture or kill him at another point without harming innocents, must be weighed against the possible number of innocent people that may be killed by attempting the targeted killing. I defer to the opinions of Israel security officials in these matters. This goes for the killing of Shehadeh. If it came out that we could have killed him without risk to the lives of civilians, then I would have opposed this action.
But what strikes me is why you did not ask why he deliberately chose to shield himself among civilians in a densely populated area. That to me is the real issue. He was the one who showed disregard for the lives of the civilians, and he is the one primarily responsible for their deaths.
I’ve written (see next link) about some of Aussie Dave more lovely characterizations of Palestinians and Muslims (Dave probably thinks “Palestinian” and “Muslim” are indistinguishable terms). Dave is also a member of Pajamas Media, that sterling collection composed of many pro-Likud bloggers founded by Roger Simon and Charles Johnson. I explored the pro-Likud bias of many of PJM’s bloggers here.Which brings me to Johnson’s Little Green Footballs, a nominee in the Israel Advocacy category. How does a blog written by a non-Jew and non-Israeli get into a Jewish and Israeli Blogging Awards competition?
The word JIB, besides being an acronym for Jewish and Israeli blog, also represents the small triangular sail of a sailboat, as compared to the main sails. The jib’s role is to direct the wind into the main sail, just like a role of Jewish, Israeli, and pro-Israel bloggers is to direct world opinion in favor of Israel. And to really stretch the metaphor, the object of these awards is to direct new readers towards Jewish, Israeli, and pro-Israel blogs.
While weblog awards of this kind mean little in the grand scheme of things, they are a fun way to increase blog readership, and, in the case of the JIB Awards, promote Jewish, Israeli, and pro-Israel blogs.
I guess if you really stretch you could say that Charles always is looking to uphold the most extreme right wing viewpoints offered within Israeli politics. So perhaps that rates him an “honorary Israeli” designation. But seriously, one of the main reasons Charles gets nominated is that he in turn invited Aussie Dave to join him in Pajamas Media (see the latter’s profile). So it’s only natural that Dave would return the favor.
4. A blog is ineligible for being nominated if, although it is written by a Jewish blogger, the content of the blog is virulently anti-Israel, or even anti-Semitic. The test is “Is this [blog] considered anti-Israel/anti-Semitic by the layperson, regardless of his/her political orientation?”
Fattal assured me the competition had no ideological bias:There are nominees of all political types and persuasions. Neither the Post nor Israellycool have any discretion over the voting and awards process.Notice that saying there are nominees “of all political types and persuasions” doesn’t mean that the competition isn’t dominated overwhelmingly by conservative blogs (which it is,more on that shortly). Jesus’ General has already examined some of the nominees and highlighted some of their more outrageously hateful anti-Arab bile. Most of the quotations cited here come from this terrific post.
I thought I’d take a stroll myself through the field looking for political orientations. If you review the Israeli Advocacy category, you’ll first note the title. “Israeli advocacy” is a code word among Israel’s supporters for pushing the “Israel right or wrong” line in debate about the Israeli-Arab conflict.Let’s test the hypothesis by examining the blogs nominated. I’ve written about Atlas Shrugged and its wild-eyed search for anti-Semites under every bed in my overview of the participants in the pro-Israel Pajamas Media blog. CAMERA Snapshots is the blog of Committee for Accuracy in Mideast Reporting in America. Those are the folks who are always accusing CNN, the New York Times and Washington Post of being anti-Israel because they cover both the Israeli and Palestinian side of the conflict. For CAMERA, writing a story about Palestinians is tantamount to anti-Israel propaganda. Or how about Joe Settler? Pretty much a given where this guy stands in the political divide. Ditto for Israpundit. You won’t find a dispassionate discussion of the conflict in any of these blogs. Of eleven blogs in “Group A” of this category, one, Dan “Mobius” Siedarsky’s Jewlicious, is progressive. Sound “fair and balanced” to you?
Oh, yes it’s a fine group of bloggers featured in this competition. A well-rounded slice of Jewish and Israeli life. Derek can make the claim that it’s a democratic selection process. But only because the nominees and those who nominate them are a self-selected group of hard-right pro-Israel bloggers.
I replied to Derek that when the Jerusalem Post severs its relationship with Aussie Dave and really attempts to recruit a broad cross section of Jewish and Israeli blogs, then it will be worthwhile for other types of blogs and bloggers to participate. Until that time, this competition is rigged for the right.
A word of explanation, there are MANY categories in the JIBS. I haven’t had time to explore every one. I selected the categories dealing with Israeli politics and examined them. There may be more diversity in some of the other categories. But please forgive me for being skeptical given what I found in my own review of the categories I chose to explore.