In May 2015, Washington Post columnist David Bernstein, after years of snarky comments about Jews who criticize Israel, named the Mondoweiss blog a “hate site.”
For those of you unfamiliar with Mondoweiss, the blog is subtitled “the War of Ideas in the Middle East” and includes a wealth of progressive reporting and commentary on Middle East issues, particularly the Israel-Palestine conflict. (Full disclosure: I’ve published a few pieces on Mondoweiss myself.) Bernstein’s aspersions against the site – particularly against co-founder Philip Weiss – were eloquently answered on the blog itself long ago, so I won’t bother going over that terrain except to note that the refutation hasn’t prompted any sort of retraction from the likes of David Bernstein.
But since Bernstein seems to take special exception to “hate sites” that discuss Israel and the Palestinians, it’s odd that neither he nor other bashers of Mondoweiss have exposed the vastly more offensive material to be found at the on-line site for the Jewish Press, the largest English-language Orthodox Jewish news outlet in the world, as far as I know. What follows is a recent and typical sampling.
In response to a story about West Bank Palestinians who were arrested for allegedly plotting to kidnap some Hebron settlers, a Jewish Press reader complained, “When in the hell [is] Israel going to learn to kill all these SOB’s?” Another reader agreed that arresting the accused wasn’t enough: “They should have just disappeared, never to be heard or seen, or fed, or mentioned. Erased” – advice to which two other posters promptly noted approval.
I should mention that every “comments” section on the Jewish Press site is emblazoned with a warning that “debate” must be conducted in “a civilized manner”; noting that “we are a religious Jewish website,” the editors explicitly urge posters to avoid “inappropriate language at all cost.” So it’s significant that the editors have never seen fit to take down the comments I’ve just quoted – nor this one, posted after two alleged Palestinian attackers were shot dead: “2 more Muslim skunks DEAD. Keep them dead Muslims coming! Eliminate the stink!” Or this one: “You can’t blame Muslims for the rise in rapes in Sweden. Logically, you have to blame Muslim penises for the rapes. Remove the penises and there are no more rapes in Sweden.”
In fact, the Jewish Press editors’ notion of “civilized” discourse wasn’t offended when a reader described the body of a 13-year-old girl shot dead by a West Bank “security guard” as “trash on the street” – nor when another reader complained that the guard didn’t simply murder the girl on sight, while noting optimistically that there was a good side to the story: “At least she can’t breed more terrorists.”
Amazing, yes? But then, according to their “comments” warning, the Jewish Press editors also forbid any post that “advocates violence (except against terrorists)” – yet they had no qualms when, after two Palestinians were reported killed, a reader posted, “Two down, millions to go.” Nor did the editors remove either of these similarly genocidal chestnuts:
“WHEN IS YISRAEL [sic] FINALLY GOING TO ONCE AND FOR ALL EXTERMINATE WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE THESE [Palestinian] VERMIN?”
“Islam itself must be outlawed and eradicated.”
Since these posts were evidently within the bounds of the Jewish Press’ “no advocacy of violence (except against terrorists)” policy, one must conclude either that the Jewish Press editors consider every Palestinian and every last Muslim a terrorist, or else that the mass murder of Muslims isn’t “violence” – as defined by the Jewish Press, at any rate.
And lest anyone imagine that the only offensive material on the Jewish Press consists of readers’ posts, consider this column published on the site on January 21 by Moshe Feiglin, the racist wingnut who is also, alas, a member of Israel’s parliament. Feiglin’s latest Jewish Press column claims that Syrian refugees are deliberately fleeing to Western European countries in order to gang-rape “secular” women as part of a Muslim takeover strategy. Here is an excerpt:
[T]he motivation [for Syrians migrating to Europe] is not just economic…. Western Europe is the most secular place in the world. Most of humanity believes in G-d. Most Americans are believers. Western Europe, on the other hand, is an oasis of heresy. It is a culture that removed G-d from its consciousness. It eliminated G-d from daily life and imprisoned Him in museums. The intense pressure in the religion of “Allah hu akbar” naturally bursts into this faithless vacuum. It is pure physics. Intercontinental masculinity and femininity.
As if that weren’t hateful enough, the Jewish Press editors allowed Feiglin to insist that non-religious European women actually want to be raped – since they have no God, they need a man to dominate them:
Western Europe is on its knees and invites the noble Muslim wild-man to rape her….
Generations of exclusion of G-d gave rise to a hunger for authority and meaning. The police do not attempt to prevent the rape… Because in truth, they want the refugees. The battered wife syndrome, the subconscious, Markel’s politically correctness [sic], and those who invite the refugees – actually want them…. Because of the same hunger for absolute – violent – authority.
Were readers of the Jewish Press surprised by such neo-Nazi bigotry and misogyny? Not if one judges by their posted comments, one of which suggested that Syrians “ran to European countries where welfare benefits are generous and where liberalism will allow them to do as they please,” which is why “thousands of them [are] raping their way through New Years eve in Europe.”
But really, it’s no wonder readers weren’t shocked: for all its raw racism, Feiglin’s column wasn’t out of line for the Jewish Press. This week, the same site hosted an op-ed by one David Israel that defends the mass murder of Palestinians by Baruch Goldstein, and accuses an American rabbi who had the temerity to criticize such acts of “concoct[ing] a poisonous potion that “justifies maligning fellow Jews, libeling them, dubbing them murderers and thieves.” And so on.
So, at the moment, I’m waiting for the David Bernsteins of the media to devote a few words to the exposure of a real Jewish-oriented hate site. The proper target is obvious, and an honest journalist could do no less.
But, of course, a mouthpiece for Israeli propaganda wouldn’t dream of it.