This is a MUST-READ by Lee Smith at the American Jewish publication, Tablet Magazine, entitled: Mainstreaming Hate. Though his piece focuses on anti-Semitic comments by readers at American blogs and magazines – and how such hate appears not to concern the editors of these publications – his thesis should resonate with CiF Watch readers who continue to be concerned with similar vitriol being expressed at The Guardian’s blog.
One reason for the surge of public criticism of Israel over the last decade is the increasing interest of American media consumers in the Middle East as U.S. involvement in the region deepened after Sept. 11. The other reason is the triumph of the Internet, which lends itself to anti-Semitic narratives. The genius of the web is its interconnectedness, the facility with which it is capable of making links based on other links, which allows a chain of unbroken and unsubstantiated rumor and innuendo to acquire the stature of fact.
As far back as 2003, David Brooks, writing in the Weekly Standard, was among the first to note the resurgence of anti-Semitism, “the socialism of fools,” in polite conversation, as conspiracy theorists peddled the idea that Jewish-American officials and their colleagues in the media had pressed the United States into making war with Iraq to serve the interests of Israel. From blogs and bulletin boards, Jew-baiting soon entered the mainstream publishing industry, most famously with the publication of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer’s The Israel Lobby. The two authors argue that there exists a group of U.S. officials, journalists, and activists—housed at institutions from The New York Times to AIPAC—who intentionally deceived the American public and subverted “true” U.S. interests on behalf of the Jewish state. As reviewers noted, the bulk of the book’s research was based on secondary sources, most of which came from the web.
If not quite as popular as adult-content sites, the anti-Israel blogosphere is a dirty little thrill that major U.S. media outfits have mainstreamed for the masses, the intellectual equivalent of the topless “Page Three” girls that British tabloids use to boost circulation. Among the dozens of blogs and websites obsessed with Israel and the machinations of the U.S. Israel lobby, Phillip Weiss’ Mondoweiss (a project of The Nation Institute), Glenn Greenwald’s blog on Salon, and Stephen Walt’s blog on ForeignPolicy.com (owned by The Washington Post Company) sit atop the junk-heap.
See full essay, at Tablet Magazine’s site.