Onward with the best (or worst, if you will) of what those on the left are saying in the aftermath of Sept. 11. We'll start off the week with Studs Terkel, whose popular oral histories (Working, etc.) lead many to mistakenly label him a writer when in fact he's nothing more than an energetic tape recordist, to use the memorable term coined for him by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Steve Neal.
Ordinary Americans are more or less united in the war on terrorism, but one enters an altogether different universe when paying mind to the torrent of recent commentary from left-wing journalists, academics and entertainers.
The Monitor will return next week to compiling some of the more outrageous anti-U.S. and anti-Israel statements made by prominent leftists in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist atrocities. This week, however, attention must be paid to a welcome and long overdue media phenomenon: the roughing up, by an array of pundits who have replaced their rubber gloves with brass knuckles, of the always duplicitous Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Monitor's most recent undertaking, interrupted by unavoidable circumstances last week, involved a look at some of the early left-wing reaction to the terrorist attacks on America. That our friends on the left would adopt a blame America and/or Israel party line should have been obvious from the get-go, and was exemplified by essays written by Robert Fisk in The Nation and Gary Kamiya on Salon.com.
It took American leftists about 48 hours or so to find their voices after the Sept. 11 attack on America, but find them they did. There were no surprises.Once the initial shock wore off and it became clear that this was not Oklahoma City, not the doing of any home-grown terrorists, the rationalizations and excuses began to fly. And, as always seems to be the case with those on the left, the real culprits were not Islamic extremists but the U.S. and Israel.
Yes, another Monitor on The New York Times - and if you don't understand why the Times warrants constant scrutiny, you probably shouldn?t be reading this column to begin with.
This week the Monitor hands the ball to The Weekly Standard, which in its Sept. 10 issue featured a transcript of a conversation between a caller identified as "David from Minneapolis" and Diana Nyad, the host of "Savvy Traveler," a Minnesota Public Radio show.
If you were to hook up Israel's left-wing journalists to polygraph machines and inject them with rivers of truth serum, you would no doubt find that many are more than mere ideological poseurs blankly parroting the latest bit of "progressive" dogma. A substantial number really do believe the myth that Israel is a nation of racist imperialists who ruthlessly robbed the Palestinians of their ancient homeland.
The recent death in Israel of Hillel Kook, better known as Peter Bergson during his rescue efforts on behalf of European Jewry in the 1940's, received a fair amount of notice in American newspapers with sizeable Jewish readerships.
The bombing of the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria leaves the Monitor no choice but to again shelve a good-riddance, tribute-in-reverse obituary for an incomparably odious Jew whose stay of Judgment was at long last revoked early last month.
For the second week running the Monitor is forced to postpone a celebration of the death last month of one of the wickedest Jews to walk the earth in this or any other generation. The continuing fallout over outgoing New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Deborah Sontag's novella-length rewrite of recent Middle East history leaves no choice but to put away the streamers and the silly hats and reschedule the party for the next column.
Is it even the least bit shocking that Deborah Sontag has so eagerly jumped aboard the revisionist bandwagon that seeks to blame former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak for the collapse of last year's summit at Camp David?
The letters just keep coming in response to the Enemies List column and its follow-up. The responses by and large have been friendly in tone, with the majority of respondents agreeing on all or most of the names submitted by their fellow readers. And then there was this, from an e-mail submitted by some mammal identified as Rashid Monsour:
It was shaping up to be a rather uneventful day until the arrival of a press release from one of the Monitor's favorite Jewish organizations. Laughter may not the best medicine, but it certainly is the best palliative to boredom, and in that sense, at least, the Anti-Defamation League will never be accused of being boring.
In response to a number of requests, the Monitor has put together the following directory of major media outlets for quick reference. Whether you communicate with their offices via telephone, fax or e-mail, it's never been easier to let editors and reporters know what's on your mind. There's no excuse for inaction.
Last week's listing of Israel's worst media enemies, as determined by readers of the Monitor, generated the kind of pro-and-con response such lists usually do. This week we're featuring some of the nominations that failed to garner enough mentions to make the list, but which are interesting (and in most cases valid) in their own right.
Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, whose work has previously been praised by the Monitor, has run afoul of an American-Muslim organization that is demanding his column be dropped for what the group calls his "racist and quasi-genocidal" views.
Carl Pearlston is a Californian who has been involved with the Anti-Defamation League for 25 years, has served on its Regional Board and Executive Committee and was particularly active in the organization's Speaker's Bureau. Now he's out, and he tells us why in a revealing piece carried exclusively by JewishWorldReview.com.
Two years ago the Monitor, inspired by the political humorist P.J. O'Rourke, published an "Enemies List" of anti-Israel journalists. The column struck such a responsive chord, with readers nominating dozens of their own media enemies, that a couple of follow-ups to the original list soon appeared.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin has this rather refreshing habit of going against the Jewish establishment's liberal grain. He's also quite obviously unafraid of taking on even the most cherished folkways of American Jewry, perhaps most notably its obsession with the Holocaust - an obsession he views as nothing less than detrimental to the spiritual health of the community.