My friend ‘Chick’ (that’s not his real name, but if you read Saul Bellow you might catch the reference) told me that Caroline Glick is a fear-mongering journalist, and he may have a point. I can’t read her without getting a knot in my stomach, perhaps because I voted for Barack Obama, towards whom she is particularly unloving. I’m used to it, though; I have a lot of friends like Ms. Glick, so she doesn’t faze me.
Researching Glick on the internet yielded this gem by Jeffrey Goldberg. Now, I read Goldberg’s blog fairly regularly, and I consider him to be a moderate (liberal, if you prefer) Zionist–a bit like myself. He even has credentials, which I don’t. He made aliyah, fought in the army, and wrote a book about his experiences called Prisoners. I haven’t read it, so I can’t tell you what he has to say. But I’ll bet he emphasises the humanity of both sides, judging from what he has written in the past. That’s just an assumption, mind you.
Goldberg’s decision to focus his analysis on [David] Grossman was a revealing one. While Grossman enjoys a pride of place among the radical leftist elite, he is a marginal figure in Israeli society.
Never mind that David Grossman is a world-famous novelist and writer and my friend Yoni, who grew up and lives in Tel Aviv, couldn’t place the name ‘Caroline Glick’ even when I hinted that she was a widely-read journalist for the Jerusalem Post. “Nobody here reads the Jerusalem Post,” was his reply. Perhaps Glick got carried away with her own hubris. Whether or not you agree with Grossman’s politics, or those of his colleagues among the Israeli literati, they can hardly be called “insignificant.” Even Jose Saramago’s anti-Semitic screed of some years ago cannot be rightly called “insignificant”–though it is surely rubbish, it is highly significant rubbish, in its fashion.
Which all brings me one step closer to the point: Jeffrey Goldberg is one of the most liberal-minded Zionists out there. Another is Paul Berman. So this hatchet-job, which is in the top slot if you YouTube ‘Jeffrey Goldberg’, is a bit of a surprise. Not that it is a meaningful surprise, but the surprise is that it comes from the Saramagoan left, not the Glickian right.
Of course, this little video is full of cherry-picked quotes that mean nothing at all out of context. The “context” is provided by the overly-careful narrator, who sets Goldberg up as a kind of Israel-lobby straw man, then sets him on fire for a negative review he wrote of Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid–a review of shocking length, 1600 words! Am I missing something? Oh, Carter is the Peace Messiah. To criticize him is like rejecting Christ, I suppose: grounds for character assassination.
The video portrays Goldberg as a “Zionist” (understood here as “embodiment of evil”), sampling this video, in which Goldberg speaks of his youthful obsession with Jewish power, which is the keyword of anti-Zionism. It goes on to tell his story for him, through an interview with a Ghassan Andoni, a Palestinian Christian who was incarcerated in the Israeli “concentration camp” where Goldberg was stationed while in the IDF. As a follow-up to the Carter swipe, emphasizing that this man is a “Christian” is a sly swipe at Goldberg’s Jewishness: the evil, power-hungry Jew and the unjustly accused, mistreated disciple of peace fighting their eternal war for the soul of the Holy Land. It plays on the viewers bias, who will automatically assume all Chrisitans must be innocent in the land of Jesus, and that Jeffrey Goldberg (who, by the information given in this video, had nothing at all to do with the treatment of Andoni) is Pharisee swine.
Nowhere in the video does it mention the fact that Golberg wrote an entire book on his experiences as a prison guard. All he is quoted as “saying” in that the experience was “exotic” and “exciting.” The viewer is left to draw his or her own conclusions from the cunningly edited video. The coup de grace is the silent coda reading, “An If Americans Knew Production….dedicated to providing accurate information on topics that are misreported in the American media.” If Americans Knew is essentially an anti-Israel propaganda website disguised as a run-of -the-mill humanitarian one, run by Paul Findlay, an anti-Zionist pundit (and former member of Congress) who wrote the following:
“…once beloved worldwide, the U.S. government finds itself reviled in most countries because it provides unconditional support of Israeli violations of the United Nations Charter, international law, and the precepts of all major religious faiths.”
When I read this kind of stuff, I want to call Caroline Glick in the middle of the night and have a heart-to-heart.