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Friday, March 19, 2010

[The Huffington Post is the major competitor of "Comment if Free" in the blogosphere. Interestingly the Huffington Post seems to be afflicted with the same malaise of its sister blog across the Atlantic. This is a guest post by Zach of TheBrothersofJudea, a blog that tracks antisemitism at the Huffington Post. This is crossposted from CiF Watch.]

The internet newspaper the Huffington Post has long had the reputation of a breeding ground for anti-Semitic attitudes. Though I have only been "watching" it for a few months now, I have already seen a lifetime's worth of anti-Semitic hatred and anti-Israel slander on the talkback threads. Although the multiple bloggers who write for the Huffington Post are almost all critical of Israel, few have crossed the line into unvarnished anti-Semitism. That is, until December of last year.

Michael Carmichael is a Huffington Post blogger, who according to his bio is a "senior political consultant, historian, author and broadcaster" based in Oxford, England. He normally writes about such topics as American politics, business, Karl Rove, and Avatar. Which only made his column on December 16, 2009 even more shocking.

Carmichael wrote a story about healthcare reform with the inflammatory title, "Kill the Bill." To those who follow the healthcare reform debate, Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn) is not in favor of healthcare reform as it currently stands. He doesn't want a public option and said that he will help to filibuster any bill that included it. This has led to one of the most prominent Jewish senators losing even more popularity from the Democrats, and from the American people in general. All this is background, though, because Carmichael's article isn't really about healthcare reform, it's about Israel, and how Israel controls America.

Carmichael takes two parts of Joe Lieberman's political views (namely, that is he is an advocate of Israel and is against the current healthcare bill) and combines them. He concludes that because Joe Lieberman is an Israel advocate he must be acting in Israel's interests. Carmichael's only evidence for this classic accusation of Jewish dual-loyalty is that Prime Minister Netanyahu "threatened" to "undermine Obama's presidency." But even this supposed "evidence" is questionable - the Ha'aretz story used by Carmichael said only that, "Senior officials in the Obama administration also accused Netanyahu of suggesting that he had the power to pressure Obama with various lobbies within the U.S. political arena." The word "threatened" was not used, nor was Obama's presidency ever discussed.

Things only became more interesting from there. When Carmichael wrote the article, and in the original Huffington Post publication, the article contained the following sentence:

"Netanyahu's agent, Senator Joseph Lieberman, provides the poison to the chalice of health care reform and - at the same time - accomplishes the mission of his ultimate master: the Prime Minister of a government of a foreign nation whose relations have proven to be more than burdensome for the American people."

Accusing Jews of being more loyal to Israel or to Jews worldwide than their own countries is a staple of anti-Semitic literature, and can be lifted right out of the definition. It even stretches back to the Dreyfus Trial. This sentence by itself shows that this article's key point is one of blatant anti-Semitism, even ignoring the other attacks on Israel contained within the article.

Carmichael concludes with a call for America to remove all ties with Israel based on his manufactured conspiracy theory:

"It is time to sever the umbilicals of nation, state, government and military ties between the USA and Israel that protract the crises in: the Middle East, the global economy; the US Congress; the clinics, surgeries and hospitals of America and the promised lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza."

The story doesn't end there, however. The Huffington Post reacted to this story in a number of ways. While the article was in the spotlight, so to speak, the moderation on it was increased twentyfold. Comments like, "This article is anti-Semitic," or "Easier just to blame the Jews, eh Mr. Carmichael?" were not cleared by the moderators to be posted, though they did not violate any terms of use. If you look at the article now, you will see that there are only four comments. No comments pointing out the blatantly anti-Semitic nature of the content remained for very long, if they ever were able to make it through moderation in the first place.

The Huffington Post staff followed this by attempting to restrict access to the article. Carmichael's page and article archive does not include "Kill the Bill," nor does the Huffington Post's "World" page. It can still be found with a Google search, however. Some might consider this to be a positive sign; the Huffington Post staff realized that the article was anti-Semitic and tried to limit its exposure. But if that's the case, why didn't they just simply delete it? The actions of the Huffington Post staff might be an attempt to remove a clearly inflammatory article from their readership, but it might also simply be a coverup.

This would seem to be confirmed by the fact that, if you look at the article as it currently reads, you might notice a subtle difference. The sentence quoted above about Lieberman as Netanyahu's "agent," the "icing on the cake" of the anti-Semitism in the article, is no longer there. Compare it with a reprint of the article in the "Center for Global Research," and you will see that Carmichael's words were changed from what they were. Probably by the Huffington Post's editors. And yes, when the article was originally posted it was included in full.

To conclude, here we have the best (though not the only) example of anti-Semitism on the Huffington Post so far. The Huffington Post staff reacted to this in a half-hearted attempt to cover it up, including changing the author's words, though they fell short of taking the final step and removing the article itself. Michael Carmichael is still on the Huffington Post blogroll, though he has not published an article since January. The Huffington Post has often come under fire for a encouraging and even endorsing anti-Semitic attitudes, and this story is unlikely to help them shake this image.



7 Comments

How can this be? The Huffington Post and The Guardian (CiF) are well over to the Left and we KNOW that antisemitism comes from the Right, don't we? (Now, "anti-Zionism," which may look so much like antisemitism, that is a different matter.)

Oh. This stuff has gone completely mainstream now.

It used to be considered so outre and embarrassing that "progressive" sites would bury it in sub-basements and overt antisemitism could be alerted on and sometimes even deleted.

Now, it's on the MSM, articles implying dual loyalty and lies by people like Juan Cole, stuff straight out of the worst of the far right/far left gutter are published on mainstream websites (cf Andrew Sullivan lately).

This is very serious, very dangerous, and it's too late to stop it.

"Electronic Intifada" indeed. It was a good plan if you look at it a certain way - it is easy, all too easy, to stir up antisemitism.

So why not use it to rally people in America against the dread Israelis? And at the same time could it hurt to target American Jews?

Of course much of that IS coming from the Right - Mearscheimer/Walt are on the Right but the "proPalestinian" movement runs the gamut and much of that is on the so called left which seems to have no problem with dictators and oppressive theocracies but thinks Israel is anathema.

The US since WWII has proved remarkably resiliant to antisemitism and hatred of Israel but the walls are crumbling.

This is big trouble and it extends way beyond hatred of Israel - hatred of Jews period and the use of antisemitic canards is the means to get at Israel and vice-versa.

it's a big vicious circle.

And, it's also aimed at us, for having the chutzpah to "lobby" - even though most American Zionists aren't even Jewish. After all by ourselves we are only 2% of the US population and we are frequently arguing anyway.

Worst of all, people who should know better are buying into this c*** and enlarging upon it.

For example the distortions of General Petraeus' comments on FP have now wandered to the English blog Open Democracy - to Salon - it's everywhere and it isn't even what the man said!

This is absolute cream for the cat if you happen to be a person who'd like to disappear Israel - and people like that range from Middle Eastern Muslims - and Christians - to WASP's in Boston and of course there are the neonazis. And - Britain - Duplicitous Albion.

Big trouble.

You know when it started taking really scary form was when Joe Lieberman was singled out for attack by the Democratic Party. It's true he supported the Iraq war but he is also a very loyal liberal Democrat (or was) - he was Al Gore's running mate for pete's sake.

But, because he TALKED TO BUSH he was a criminal all of a sudden - as if bi-partisanship were a crime! - and there was a national attempt to take his senate seat.

I was appalled by that. I thought it was bigotry, full stop. And it's outrageous too - what about the fact that Senators REPRESENT THE CITIZENS OF THEIR STATES?

After all what do out-of-state politicians like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have to do with Connecticut politics? It's kind of like big nations telling little democratic nations how to vote (ahem). Talk about imperialism! Sheese.

Anyway.

It would have been different if the Party had decided to go after all the other Congresspeople who'd voted for the war but that just wasn't the case, was it.

The comments about Joe Lieberman on the "progressive" blogs were straight up antisemitic. They accused him of working for Israel, being the senator from Israel, being to blame (along with Israel) for the war, and of course 9/11; you name it. People frequently accused Bush himself of being Israel's boytoy.

It's outrageous. It's been going on for years, some of us have been keeping track of it but now it's way beyond little political blogs.

What to do? This is not just one party, one political wing and it's international.

But if that's the case, why didn't they just simply delete it?

Cause they want to appear to have clean hands, but continue with the incitement?

They were probably desperately trying to extricate themselves without being accused of bowing to The Lobby.

Of course much of that IS coming from the Right - Mearscheimer/Walt are on the Right

Oh good grief Sophia.
You going to tell us next that Walt & Mearscheimer as Evangelicals and support the Tea Party movement?

I could say that M&W are liberals because only the left and liberals can get away with what they do because in academia today no Conservative is permitted the liberty.

You know when it started taking really scary form was when Joe Lieberman was singled out for attack by the Democratic Party.

and that's when any thinking Jewish American or is it American Jew, should have begun paying attention.

I actually just attempted to post a comment on Huffpost in response to an article implying that Rupert Murdoch was given an award by the ADL so that the organization could "get their hands in his pockets." My response was removed by the moderators. Here's what I wrote, word for word:

"There are too many inconsistencies and inaccuracies in your article to recount. I'll discuss a few: First of all, you link to a Jerusalem Post article to imply that Israeli's are enforcing gender segregation when the article indicates the exact opposite. ("the state agrees that in an obviously public area such as city streets, it is prohibited to separate on the basis of gender.”) Second, you imply that Mr. Murdoch is a racist when in fact he has been lauded for running a progressive and diverse workplace. (Read the article in CableFax Magazine: "The Most Influential Minorities in Cable." Third, you imply that the ADL's motivation for giving the award to Mr. Murdoch is avarice. One can draw one's own conclusions about your motivations and mindset from the tone and inaccuracies of your article, notwithstanding your token admiration for "progressive" Jews, most of whom I doubt would wish to associate with the premise of your piece."

I'm so offensive! I should have left out all the four-letter words.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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