Monday, January 4, 2010

Censorship at Mondoweiss

CIfWatch routinely documents how the Guardian staff censors opinions it disagrees with. This morning I tried to post a comment at Mondoweiss. First I had to register (why?). Then I had to re-register twice until the system let me in. I then posted a comment, which has yet to appear, even though in the ensuing hours Phil Weiss has put up a post of his own, so apparently he has been online. Will he eventually authorize my comment? I don't know. May he be waiting until the post it's appended to, sinks so far from the top that no-one will read it? I also don't know. So for the sake of documentation, I'm putting it up here. Perhaps Fake-Ibrahim, who seems to have no problem posting comments at Mondoweiss, will link to this post in a comment. Though I wouldn't count on it.
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To the Mondoweiss community,

This will be my one and only comment on this website.

As a regular reader of Mondoweiss, I have long since resigned myself to the spite and the malice which are its main fare. Indeed, one reason I regularly visit is to keep updated on the themes and argumentation of the enemies of my nation. Perhaps someday we will manage to make peace with our Palestinian neighbors: I certainly hope so, having lost far too many of my friends in wars with them, and wishing them better than what they've got.

We will never be able to make peace with the sort of people who write at Mondoweiss and frequent its comment sections, however, since the source of your enmity is irrational, it's resistant to facts, and there's no common ground from which to begin a discussion. Ask yourselves a simple question: is there a theoretical interpretation of the facts as they seem, which might lead you to a different understanding of the reality; is there any explanation of Israel's actions which might weaken the template always used here at Mondoweiss? Not: Do we agree with that interpretation, simply: could it exist?

One of the oddest things a regular reading of Mondoweiss demonstrates is that the Mondoweiss community has not the slightest interest in the Israelis as human beings. There is never any honest attempt to understand who they are, how they see their world, and how this understanding informs their actions. Yet odder, however, the exact same thing holds also for the Palestinians. The Mondoweiss community loves the Palestinians, automatically sees them as beautiful people and wonderful, but never sees them as human beings. There is no slightest interest in who they are, how they see their world, and how this understanding informs their actions.

The Israelis are cardboard figures of evil, devoid of any real life. The Palestinians are cardboard figures of virtue, devoid of any real life. It's weird.

Dr. Yaacov Lozowick, Jerusalem

24 comments:

zionist juice said...

and it is all about the olive trees:

"We saw field after field of olive tree stumps, 100 year old trees that once belonged to the Bedouins..." (bedouins that make in olive trees! in jerusalem!)

and the jews?!
they do not only steal land, but also olive trees (is there maybe an article in the GC for the trees?)

"In the center of each of the roundabouts on the way up is an olive tree, but not just an ordinary olive tree, but a wide squat one that is perhaps 400 or even 500 years old, likely an olive tree likely taken from Palestinian land."

and even cities: "in this stolen city"

it is so wonderful, all this mondoweiss, middle east journalists, human rights activists, they all now exactly what land belongs to which nation, and to argue for that they talk about times before the concept of nationalism was even known to any levantine....


how refreshing it is to read pipes' "greater syria".....

NormanF said...

Its very difficult to post dissenting opinions on a leftist website. They don't like to be jarred out of a pleasant daydream. That's not how they operate there.

violet said...

It's not just the Guardian that censors comments. After the Livni arrest warrant brouhaha, I submitted three comments to related articles in the Times (U.K.). They were not insulting or inflammatory, but none was published. In the meantime, comment after comment from Jayil London was added. If you've ever read the Times' comment sections, you'll recognize that name as he obsessively posts anti-US and anti-Israel messages.

Yaacov said...

Regarding the "dead olive trees" trope, it's simply not true. Not olives, not cut down, not Palestinian, nothing of it is true. I wrote about this more than two years ago:
http://yaacovlozowick.blogspot.com/2007/11/miliband-sees-what-isnt-there.html

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

I've linked to this post from Mondoweiss. There are sometimes problems with the registration process, especially if you use Internet Explorer. There's no censorship at Mondoweiss. Anyway, you don't censor anyone either, so I think it's fair that your views reach the MW community.

As for the stolen olive trees, see here.

Dan said...

Oh boy. Not a single one of them failed to get insulted, allowing them the opportunity to prove your point for you...

Anonymous said...

How come pro-Israel blogs are invariably rabidly right wing?

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

That's right; your comment did get published, only under an "unverified" nickname. Not a hint of censorship.

Jon said...

Ibrahim, you do realize that the only thing your linked story shows is that settlers sometimes have domestic disputes with Palestinians?

This Is Hell said...

Well to be fair Harry's Place rarely prints my comments and I generally agree with them. But you are substantially correct. On Salon.com Glenn Greenwald automatically deletes any comment he disagrees with and comments in his own comments section, browbeating and threatening submitters and anyone who so much as quotes those quasi-banned submitters even if it's to heap scorn on them themselves. And what remains is anti Israeli antisemitic raving on par with Counterpunch.

Gavin said...

I see you figured out that fake Ibrahim has been a regular reader Yaacov. He put some bait out for you at Mondoweiss, with a quote from your book. I never bothered mentioning it, thought you'd read it & see it for what it was. He's not game to take you on here, he's already tried & failed miserably, so he attempted to lure you in to Mondoweiss where he thought he had enough support to win a few points.

These characters remind me of a rat. They know you're here, they keep sniffing around, but they don't have the nerve to take the cheese on offer. Your traffic logs must be interesting reading.

Gavin

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Yaacov, your comment has now appeared at MondoWeiss, followed by several responses.

Lee Ratner said...

Please let us not make this a left versus right thing. I consider myself a leftist and I'm pro-Israel. I have met several people who consider themselves on the right who are anti-Israel. The Islamists are on the right by any sensible definition and they are very anti-Israel. I have met several libertarians, in the American sense of the word, and other American rightists who are anti-Israel. So while the far left might be anti-Israel by nature, many people on the left, and I'm using the European right-left spectrum not the American one, are pro-Israel.

sammy said...

Hi

Just popped in from Mondoweiss to say that their comment form drives me nuts as well. Sometimes I log in gazillion times and still cannot get the window to post in. I resolved that by never logging out.

Meanwhile, per your post, I don't think Mondoweiss is anti-Israel so much as it is anti-occupation from a Jewish perspective. If the situation were reversed and it was Jews under occupation, not having a voice in the multimedia, you'd want Phil Weiss to speak out.

It is disappointing that Israelis think their occupation is unique and exceptional and somehow deserved. Its unfortunately, like any other settler colonial enterprise, except that its too late. We live in the post colonial age and blowbacks to 1 BC or even 1945 are out of fashion. Israelis can choose to live in denial or face up to what they have done, its their choice, whether they want to live with the world, or against it.

Anonymous said...

"I resolved that by never logging out."

A good and sensible solution, indeed.
There is no censorship at Mondoweiss. They even let me post, and I'm Jewish!
But I appeal to you, my brethrens-in-arms, the Zionist viewpoint is going unrepresented at Mondoweiss! Can we let this stand, lieing still for it? No!
First, famaliarise yourself with the facts:

http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2008/07/how-to-make-case-for-israel-and-win.html

And then go get 'em!

Yaacov said...

Sammy,

If the situation were reversed and it was Jews under occupation, they'd be dead.

sammy said...

Yaacov: "If the situation were reversed and it was Jews under occupation, they'd be dead."

Glad to see you at least know where its heading.

Victor said...

Sammy, that last remark could be read so many ways...

Eurosabra said...

I've pretty much been banned everywhere in succession, Jews Sans Frontieres, Mondoweiss, Tikkun Olam, Lenin's Tomb, etc. It seems they can't take knowledgeable argumentation from a Zionist perspective, moreover, my sensibility (as a survivor of terror thrice over, and a former urban search-and-rescue medic in J'lem) is just too dark for some. "Jerry Haber" at The Magnes Zionist is the last non-Zionist still publishing my comments, and to be blunt, he is the last real competition the ideology of Israel faces, as the rest of those blogs mindlessly reprint the blatherings of blowhards like Barghouti, Zahalka, and Tibi.

Anti-Zionists are interested in Zionism's erasure, which is why they obsess about the few fora in Israel that discourage them. Projection.

Danny said...

Sammy, in what way shape or form are the palestinians ignored in world media?

Jon said...

Euro, I've also been banned from Tikun Olam. But that's because Silverstein is one hell of a piece of work, possibly the best embodiment of every negative stereotype of leftists in the world. Definitely the best such embodiment I've ever seen, and it's hard to imagine someone topping him. Nothing to do with resisting a certain type of argument, everything to do with just being a sack of ****

Sammy: Define occupation (instead of using such a loaded term indiscriminately) and then perhaps we can have a conversation. But until that happens, well we'll just be talking past each other, won't we?

Jerry Haber said...

Thanks Eurosabra, I value your comments. I value Y. Ben David's comments. I value Yisrael Medad's comments. I have banned one or two people temporarily in the past, but we made up. One guy from Efrat got me really annoyed, but I annoyed him, too, and I have lots of friends in Efrat, so what the heck.

Folks, if you write respectfully, you won't be banned. I know Richard S. and Phil W., and they don't ban lightly. They are also nice guys. I know leftists who are not nice guys, but these folks are not like that.

You also have to understand something about the emotional involvement of us guys on the left, or the extreme left, if you like, actually, anybody who writes a blog or posts a comment is emotionally involved. So we lose it, especially since we are writing on laptops in the privacy of our rooms.

So we should all take a deep breath -- actually, I am a big supporter of meeting in person friends and critics and putting a face to the blogger/commenter. I know that this sounds strange coming from a pseudonym. But I have no problem (besides time) with meeting with critics just to get to know people, because I have found that it is harder to diss somebody you know personally.

That doesnt mean that I want to meet everybody who leaves a comment, but I know that in other situations (um...like davening or eating felafel) we would get along.

Jews have been fighting each other since Cain and Abel, oops, I didn't mean that, let's say, since the brothers of Joseph, and that doesn't bother me, provided that the fighters have certain values in common. And we do.

Jerry Haber said...

One more thing

I feel guilty about not responding to some of the better comments for lack of time (I should be marking papers as I write this), so I hope those folks forgive me. It is not because I don't think they don't deserve comment.

Jon said...

Jerry Haber: it's possible you know them. It's possible you do not. I'm inclined to believe you. But I cannot believe that you've spent even a moment looking over Silverstein's comment sections. Almost every single blog post has another banning. Said banning usually follows the commenter attempting to engage Silverstein in a reasonable discussion, and Silverstein responding with invective, straw-men, deliberate misquotation, and vitriol. Unless Silverstein has the right on his side (which happens from time to time) or has a straw-man to put in place of the commenter's arguments, (more often the case) he does not respond. At best, he'll mock the commenter for his/her "obvious" hawkishness, racism, neocon-ness, etc. I am not just saying this, and I would not say this unless I'd seen this happen to others, besides just me, on a regular basis. A casual perusal through the archives will bear this out 100%. So I recommend you take a look, and find out for yourself just how easily Silverstein censors opposition from his blog.

Emotional involvement is no excuse. In fact, I have a hard time buying that that emotional involvement stems from a genuine place, seeing as Silverstein does not live in Israel, will not live in Israel, indeed the conflict will affect his life in basically 0 meaningful ways. And somehow, my interactions with him haven't left the impression that he's some sort of Knight in Shining Social Justice Glory just unable to sleep while there exist oppressed people in this world (of course, they don't exist anywhere else in the world but Israel, and they're only ever Palestinians and/or Iranians, etc.) But even barring the sense I've gotten, that he's simply THE paradigm for understanding the Kaczynski's depiction of social activists and their "surrogate activities," (not that I'm opposed to social activism per se, but I feel like the Kaczynski's hit the nail on the head with Silverstein) even assuming my impression is completely 100% the result of my own prejudices, that's no excuse. I entered, and I saw others enter, his comment sections seeking rational discourse with someone with different views. I didn't say a word that could be construed as offensive by anyone in their wildest imaginations. All this, despite the highly contentious tone of Silverstein's posts themselves, and my considerable emotional involvement in these issues (I daresay more than Silverstein, seeing as I am a religious person who takes morality quite seriously, and also a Zionist who seeks to make aliya in 3 years.) I left with a lot of venom and very little enlightenment. In fact, I even protested my bad treatment very politely - I simply asked "what did I do to deserve this vicious response? What did I do to offend anyone? I apologize for whatever it was." If you look through, you'll see it yourself, though I may have paraphrased a bit. I did not get a response to that, but I got plenty more invective. So sorry, I'm simply unconvinced.