Glenn Greenwald of Slate.com reports on censorship efforts by the leftist, George Soros-funded think tank Center for American Progress (CAP)—efforts which have sparked an internet feud and led to a “coordinated smear campaign. What’s of interest here is that at the center of it all is the powerful pro-Israel lobby and the abuse of the “anti-Semitic” epithet being hurled about tirelessly.
First, the self-censorship at CAP: both The Weekly Standard‘s Daniel Halper and Philip Weiss document how a post written by two of the targeted CAP writers, Ali Gharib and Eli Clifton, was censored in important, substantive ways. That post concerned a rabidly anti-Islam film, “The Third Jihad,” that was continuously shown to NYPD officials. Gharib and Clifton sought to investigate the donors behind the film, and wrote the following (emphasis added):
The film, the Third Jihad, was created by the shadowy Clarion Fund, which did not return the Times’ requests for comment.Clarion was started by Israeli-Canadian Raphael Shore, who, along with other early Clarion employees, is tied to the Israeli orthodox evangelist organization Aish Hatorah, which works within Israel’s right-wing and settler movements. The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has referred to Aish Hatorah as “Jewish extremists.”
But at some point after that was posted (Halper says it “seems to have been a few hours”), all of the bolded words were deleted, with no explanation that it had been edited, let alone any explanation as to why. Moreover, Gharib and Clifton noted that a prior film produced by Clarion focused on Iran and was directed by Alex Traiman, whom they identified as “an Israeli-American resident of an ideological settlement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” That bolded phrase was also deleted without explanation. Weiss summarized the censorship edits this way:
The piece originally contained four explicit references to Israel. Now it contains only one, at the end, an aside about Gingrich. This is a shocking effort to remove any description of the Israel lobby from a major ideological and political undertaking. Anyone who has had anything to do with Aish knows that it is a rightwing pro-Israel group. Imagine, that the Center for American Progress cannot say so!!
In other words, the smear campaign — to intimidate CAP out of allowing their writers to express prohibited thoughts about Israel — worked perfectly. And The Weekly Standard‘s Halper understandably gloats: “So the good news is that there seems to be at least one grown up at the Center for American Progress. Whoever he is, he can control what the bloggers are saying that might be interpreted as being borderline anti-Semitic. He can clean things up for outsiders—and make it look a little more mainstream than perhaps the institution really is.” But he also warns: “The bad news is that the grown-up is not always in the room (even if he corrects things when he returns!) and that the stable of bloggers over there have some biases that must be cleaned up by some unknown shady figure.” He adds: “it is clear the problem still remains: A think tank that is allied with the Democratic party and the president of the United States . . . is pushing troubling rhetoric.” By bowing to the discourse bullies, CAP only validates their accusations and makes them hungrier for scalps.
Meanwhile, those who have defended CAP writers from this smear campaign, including me, are now themselves being smeared — needless to say — as Israel-haters and even anti-Semites. So trite and automatic are these attacks that one almost yawns while reading them. Yesterday, Jeffrey Goldberg, who plants himself in the middle of every one of these orgies of anti-Semitism accusations, trotted out every trite accusatory line from the tired neocon playbook to attack me explicitly as an Israel-hater and, he strongly implied, as an anti-Semite (none of these accusations are accompanied by a single word I’ve said or even a link to anything I’ve written).
Greenwald goes on at length to document the issue throughout the mainstream media and discuss why these tactics are not just misapplied in his instance, but in general. Christians and conservatives owe it to themselves to read this entire article and consider how easily terms like “anti-Semite” are carelessly, endlessly, and yet mercilessly abused to silence opposition, avoid real arguments and discussion, and even to destroy the careers of those who disagree.