Mondoweiss & Is Anti-Semitism Dead?


Lately I have been struck by the raw anti-semitism evinced on anti-Israel websites (most egregious example, Mondoweiss).
There is nothing novel about it. It’s not “the new anti-semitism” that the Anti-Defamation League likes to talk about. But the old kind, masquerading as anti-Zionism but manifesting itself as support or, at least, sympathy for every group or individual hostile to Jews: from Pat Buchanan to Hizbullah.
The only difference between this anti-semitism and the old-fashioned kind is that it has no impact. If you don’t visit Mondoweiss or other websites like it, you won’t know it exists. It threatens no one. It is just ugly. But ugly and irrelevant.
Still we would all be better off without it.
And that is why Jewish organizations should stop feeding it. The efforts by Jewish organizations to shut down free debate on Israel by banning anti-Israel speakers, closing down organization that support the BDS movement, or getting state legislatures to penalize universities that support it, does nothing except fuel anti-semitism.
Yes, I understand that anti-semitism usually exists apart from anything Jews do. (I don’t think the people posting at Mondoweiss would dislike Jews any less if Israel returned to the pre-’67 borders tomorrow or disestablished itself as a state.) But I believe that some hostility to Jews is caused by banning free discussion of issues relating to Israel. The act of stifling, of smothering, free inquiry can and often does ignite resentment and often hate. The BDS movement, and its supporters, has as much right to propagate its views on campus as Hillel or the Young Republicans. What does it signify when the only issue on campus where the censors are out on force is Israel? When did AIPAC, AJC and the ADL get an “Israel exemption” added to the First Amendment?
The Jewish community needs to end its politics of suppression. We should be the last people burning books and ideas.
As for the anti-semites, they will always exist no matter what Israel or Jews do. Right now there don’t appear to be very many of them (in this country, at least). We should do all we can to keep their numbers small and their impact nil.
If I avoid reading Mondoweiss, I’d hardly know they exist at all. But still, why give these people fuel?

0 thoughts on “Mondoweiss & Is Anti-Semitism Dead?

  1. I’ve always been thrilled to have MJ Rosenberg as one of our bloggers. But I have to strongly object to calling Mondoweiss Anti-Semitic. I do believe that their constant criticism of Israel is unfair, one-sided, and shows none of the compassion that we progressives ought to be showing to those with whom we disagree. I do often disagree with articles that are published on that site (but then again, I often disagree with articles published on this Tikkun Daily blog, and I’m the editor (who believes in free speech). Yet I think it is a disservice to the term ‘anti-Semitism” to use it as equivalent to having unfair and excessive criticism of Israel. The term means “hating Jews and wishing them ill,” and I don’t believe that the editors at Mondoweiss fit that description. Nor do I think it appropriate for our Tikkun Daily blog to be a place where we throw that term around except where it applies–to groups that do in fact hate Jews and wish Jews ill. There are such groups, and they have been popping up all over Europe once again and most recently in the Ukraine. So I want to apologize to Mondoweiss for this article and urge all who use this site to avoid those kinds of accusations unless they are backed up with detailed specific examples that prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. –Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun

  2. You obviously have only recently discovered the rather blatant antisemitism at Mondoweiss. It’s been going on for years, long before the recent debates about BDS supporters being given a platform at Hillels and other Jewish organizations.

  3. Michael,
    I hope you will apply your high evidential standards to charges of Islamophobia, homophobia, racism, and misogyny. Me? I’ll call them as I see them and, the way I see it, Mondoweiss is as anti-Semitic as National Review Online or Commentary is racist and Islamophobic.
    My guess is that you do not read the comments MW publishes. If you did, I know you would agree with me. They stink of anti-Semitism to high heaven. And the editors are responsible.

  4. Quite surprised and really shocked to see this accusation by MJ Rosenberg about Mondoweiss. As a progressive Jew I have always enjoyed Mondoweiss. I couldn’t disagree more with these criticisms.

  5. What do you call someone who writes this kind of stuff on his blog:
    “Walk around Harvard and the Kennedy School, what are the names on
    the buildings? Taubman, Rubenstein, Belfer, Weiner. Where do you think
    the money is coming from in academia?”
    Or who bemoans the fact that Jane Harman has not been identified as a Jew:
    “Jane Harman’s Jewish. There, I just said it.”
    Or who says that “in order for Obama to get the Jewish funding he had in the last election he has to make a trip to Israel.”
    Or who kvetches about the Jewish control of the Clinton campaign with a piece titled “Hillary’s Costly Braintrust, the New Jewish Establishment”
    Or who writes a piece called “Liberals like to deceive themselves about Jewish power.”
    Or who promotes the antisemitite Gilad Atzman?
    It’s not just the comments that are the problem at Mondoweiss.

  6. I read Mondoweiss. I only see Philip endeavouring to counteract the intense pro-Israel bias so evident in mainstream media. Your work also contributes MJ. Incidentally MJ we miss your own blog ! Do you exclusively write for Tikkun these days?

  7. Mondoweiss has rhetoric that is indistinguishable from that of Neo-Nazis, including charges that there are too many Jews in the US government and in the professoriate, and pseudo-science such as the Khazar hoax.
    I’m glad to see that Mr, Rosenberg has come around to understanding this, and I don’t understand how Lerner can be so obtuse as to not see it. In contrast to Mr. Rosenberg’s view, however, I think it is obvious that what enables this raw antisemitism is not pro-Israel viewpoints but the steady drumbeat of anti-Israel rhetoric in certain quarters.

  8. Mondoweisss’ posts are nasty — way beyond any sort of rational criticism — and its editorial voice supports the worst delusional, bizarre antisemitism.
    Doubt it? Just go ahead and read comments and judge for yourself.

  9. The self-defined Jewish State of Israel is manifestly racist. In Israel, the Ashkenazi Jews of European descent have rulership over Midrashi Jews of North African and Middle Eastern descent, Ethiopian Jews of African descent, and Palestinians of Arab descent. Outside of Israel, Jews are a significant percentage of the privileged upper classes in many countries. The existence of an international Jewish Mafia is well documented, both historically and in the present. Stating these facts is not anti-Semiticism – it is the truth.

  10. I often read and participate in discussions on Mondoweiss and have also contributed a few articles. There are several sorts of people who post to the site, but the tone is set mainly by anti-Zionist Jews (including the founders) and Gentiles whose anti-Zionism is motivated by humanistic feelings and not anti-Semitism. There are a few liberal Zionists. The editorial policy excludes anti-Semitic comments but it is difficult to enforce consistently and a few such comments slip in. But I believe that the overall impact of the site is to reduce anti-Semitism because by giving a voice to anti-Zionist Jews it separates Zionism from Judaism. One of the greatest sources of anti-Semitism in the world today, possibly the greatest, is the State of Israel, because it commits its crimes in the name of the Jewish people, whom it fraudulently claims to represent. Conversely, the “hunters of anti-Semitism” who insult so many decent people by smearing them as anti-Semites simply because they criticize Israel are actually fueling anti-Semitism (after all, you may as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb).

  11. stephen
    i post as mcohen and mondoweiss is anti israel.sooner or later anti semitism will pop up on any anti israel site and mondweiss is no exception.i stopped posting because it did not serve my own purposes but also because there is an undercurrent of anti semitism.many of my posts were deleted which proves that the site is carefully tailored to produce a certain brand of propaganda without alienating fence sitting jews on the issues surrounding the i/p conflict.
    the best way to deal with sites like mondoweiss is not to go there.
    go to archives and follow the history of your posts and see for yourself how you have been “change managed”,because i have followed your posts from the begining and watched the change myself
    good luck

  12. There are problems with censorship (moderation) on Mondoweiss and participants often complain about it. I think such problems are inevitable. There are good reasons for excluding certain kinds of material (including overt anti-Semitism). It is a matter of exactly where the line is drawn. There also seems to be a policy of banning certain individuals outright, checking the comments of others, and allowing yet others to post immediately without checking. In the past I was in the second category, now I am in the third — even though I do sometimes tackle issues that are sensitive for the site’s readership (regarding Islam, for instance). So personally I do not feel that I have much cause for complaint, though it is possible that others are being treated unfairly. On the whole, I regard Mondoweiss as a positive site doing an important job fairly well. I do not fully understand why you view it in such a negative light.

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