Category Archives: Hamas

*** Why does Pierre Omidyar Finance the New Stalinism ? ***

 

When one of the richest men in the world, Pierre Omidyar, recently committed a quarter of a billion dollars to finance Glenn Greenwald’s propaganda operation Intercept, he provided a tremendous boost to a heretofore shadowy and uncertain resurrection of the Stalinist tradition in American culture.  And the new Stalinism has an entirely new twist:   it has  embraced a currently fashionable anti-Semitism, or what its adherents term “anti-Zionism.”

But in all his public pronouncements, Omidyar says that he acts only for the public benefit.  He stands for freedom of the press and all the other freedoms.  He stands for a better world.  True, he’s got a few dollars.  But he wants to share his fortune with the rest of us.  He wants us all to be happy.   As it happens, of course, the old Stalinists also said that they wanted a better world.  More of that later.

The new Stalinism has been with us for some years.  Using the veneer of concern for human rights, as did the old Stalinism, it wages an assault on democracy worldwide, as did the old Stalinism, and it gives aid and comfort to repressive regimes abroad, as did the old Stalinism.  But never before has it been able to establish itself as a major player, at least not financially. That is what the Omidyar money has  now changed.

As I have suggested, the old and the new Stalinisms are not identical, and we will need to pay attention to the differences as well as the similarities.

The Old Stalinism

Centered secretly around the Communist Party of the US [CPUSA], this movement exerted its influence primarily through its vast network of “front organizations,” most of which had no ostensible connection with the CP but were secretly controlled by it.  Here is a small sampling, as of 1949, taken from the list of sponsor organizations of the notorious “Waldorf Peace Conference:”

American Committee on Democracy and Intellectual Freedom

American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born

Civil Rights Congress

Equality

Greater New York Emergency Conference on Inalienable Rights

New York Conference for Inalienable Rights

In Defense of the Bill of Rights

National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners

National Federation for Constitutional Liberties

School for Democracy

Southern Conference for Human Welfare

Voice of Freedom Committee

This particular group of fronts carried professions of democratic commitment in their titles;  not all front groups did.  But the claim that they were “fighters” for peace and democracy and civil rights constituted the main public theme of the old Stalinist world.

During the very worst time of Stalinist repression in Russia, Stalin’s devoted follower in America, the  CP leader Earl Browder, assured his listeners that Communism is no more than “20th century Americanism.”  His followers, party members as well as fellow travelers in the front organizations, developed an unctuous self-righteousness.  The CP-organized “folk singers” specialized in the affectation and grimaces of song-as-struggle in which the staging of Communist propaganda songs was accompanied by facial mannerisms (comical to an outsider) to suggest heroic personal struggle.   Here is an example of the style, as presented by Pete Seeger and comrades. The book by Aileen Kraditor, Jimmy Higgins, is perhaps the best insider’s account of what it meant to be an American Communist in mid-twentieth century.

Actually the American Stalinism of the 20th century was more than the kumbaya of self-righteous “democratic struggle.”  Hidden far away from its public face in the Party and front organizations, there was the secret Stalinist work on behalf of the Soviet Union, most particularly espionage.  The literature on this aspect of the old Stalinism is now vast, as a quick Google search will confirm.

The central hypocrisy of this old Stalinism, then,  lay in its bountiful verbal affirmations of democracy on the one hand, and its total, uncritical support of the Stalinist dictatorship on the other.  As we shall see, a similar bifurcation underlies the neo-Stalinism of our day.

Stalinism Recidivus

The old CP — except as a ghost of a ghost on 23rd Street in Manhattan — is dead.  It had a slow, painful death, complete with various schisms and recriminations (we are talking Marxism here)  during the last decades of the twentieth century, and then all but gave up.  But there is a bit of an afterlife:   The Nation magazine, which exists to our day.  Financed in part by wealthy old-time Stalinists (so-called Nation Builders), this magazine has succeeded in creating a newer generation of bitter and resentful radical writers and readers.  Like the Stalinists of old, these newer “progressives”  are unhappy with American democracy. Unlike their forebears, they are also very unhappy about the existence of Israel, and happy, or happy enough, with contemporary Islamism.  The bulk of Omidyar’s team on Intercept have served in some capacity at The Nation.  There is also, overlapping with The Nation in personnel and  political orientation, the radio organization Democracy Now !, with Amy Goodman as its leading personality.

Outside of The Nation and Goodman’s group,  there are a number of key individuals who have shaped the new Stalinism.  Perhaps first and foremost is Noam Chomsky about whom I have already said just about all I can in previous postings.  There are others in academia who have played supporting roles, like Judith Butler, winner of an incomprehensibility prize, and other academics like her.  Many of these latter-day Stalinists, but by no means all,  are also active in gay rights movements.  Some of the most prominent come from Jewish backgrounds and use this circumstance — no matter how tenuous — for propagandistic purposes.

Finally there is Glenn Greenwald, sometime lawyer and gay pornographer, prolific polemicist against the American government and the state of Israel, regular speaker for the Trotskyist International Socialist Organization,  now famous as possessor of the Snowden stolen government documents.   Greenwald, of course,  is the one chosen by Omidyar to run his Intercept.

The Crusade of Intercept 

Nominally, Intercept is part of Omidyar’s First Look Media.  But since there are (so far) no other such parts, these two entities are in fact one and the same. Now FLM, according to its website, is organized as a nonprofit 501c3 organization.  Why pay taxes, especially to a government that Omidyar and Greenwald despise ?  Of course the law requires that  501c3 organizations  restrict themselves to  IRS-approved nonprofit activities, viz. those that are  “charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals.”  The IRS does not include anti-Semitic agitation as one of these.   As we shall see, Omidyar and Greenwald (who is a lawyer) would seem to be in violation of IRS regulations.  But that is only one of their problems.

Intercept first appeared online on February 10 of this year.  Since then it has published just over seventy items.

As I have shown elsewhere, whatever can be verified in these Intercept postings turns out to be false.  For instance, Greenwald cites Goebbels and Netanyahu (7/21/14), claiming the two are congruent, when, once the contexts of these citations are examined, the two turn out to be diametrically opposed.

In this same posting Greenwald pontificates on a point of law.  Citing no statute, no law case, no legal authority,  he states baldly that “in Anglo-American law” recklessness on the part of an accused in a murder case is the equivalent of proven intent to kill.  Since Greenwald had gone to law school, this is obviously a piece of intentional misrepresentation. Get a treatise on criminal law, any such treatise, and look up mens rea in murder cases.

The bulk of these Intercept postings contain claims and accusations that cannot be verified:  what it says are exposures of US government secrets.  Intercept claims that it has obtained these secrets largely from Edward Snowden, who, it says, turned them over to Greenwald.  Apparently there are many thousands of these alleged secret US documents in this Snowden trove, but so far Greenwald has published only a very small proportion — maybe one or two percent — of what he says he has.   He has repeatedly claimed that, as a member of the press, he has the unlimited right to publish any or all such documents, at his own sole discretion, at times and places of his choosing. And yes, he is a lawyer.

Of course the public has no independent access to these alleged secret documents, so the reader is asked, on Greenwald’s sole say-so, to believe that the documents that he “reveals” are indeed genuine US secrets;  that the texts have not been tampered with and/or misrepresented by him;  and finally that there is nothing in the trove as a whole that limits or vitiates the particular document that he publishes.  Even if his personal record for veracity were spotless, which it not exactly is, that would be a tall order.

While the reader, as I say, cannot independently check the content of Greenwald’s trove, there are reasons to be suspicious.   In all its alleged revelations of government secrets, Intercept claims to have learned  that the US invariably acts in a deeply malevolent manner.  To believe Intercept, these ostensible secret documents never show that the US government acts benevolently or that it is any way even able to act in good faith.  Never ever does the US government act to help the poor, or to alleviate distress, or to promote education, or to promote democracy.  To believe Greenwald here, you have to be like the Stalinist of old, who could believe only the worst about the US and only the best of the Soviet Union.  As Greenwald has explained in numerous publications and Youtube talks, he sees the US government as a vast conspiracy for evil, while, at the same time, he sees no reason to complain about Islamist behavior anywhere in the world.

And now we come to what may indeed be the darkest aspect of the Omidyar-Greenwald enterprise:  its anti-Semitism.  As Robert Wistrich (e.g. in From Ambivalence to Betrayal) and other scholars have explained, the current version of anti-Semitism takes the following form:  carefully collect all real or imagined shortcomings of the Israeli government, carefully ignore all human rights abuses in the Islamic world, and then loudly denounce Israel as a war criminal.

In the period from July 14 to August 11 of this year, Intercept published five separate strident pieces against Israel.  To summarize its position:  Israel is deeply and criminally at fault in Gaza;  Hamas is completely, innocently victimized.  In the same period some of the worst human rights abuses in history took place: in Syria, to which Intercept turned a blind eye;  in Nigeria, a country which does not exist in the world of Intercept;  in Iraq, involving the Yaziti, which Intercept apparently has heard of, because it denounced the American aid there.  So Israel (and, incidentally  America) is criminal, nobody else’s actions deserve even the slightest criticism.  Which is what defines the modern anti-Semitism.

Those of us who have followed Mr. Greenwald’s public agitation before he became Snowden-famous, particularly his work with the Trotskyist Independent Socialist Organization over the years,  cannot be surprised by his deep animus against the Jewish people.  But what has moved Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire overprivileged of the overprivileged, to finance this disreputable war against decency ?

Mr. Greenwald Promises Transparency But Delivers Opaqueness

 

Cherry picking, suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position.  Wikipedia

Some four years ago I had the occasion to visit the northern German city of Lübeck, home to Thomas Mann and setting of his Buddenbrooks, where  I joined a sightseeing groups of German-speaking tourists.  Our guide explained various periods of the city’s history.  For WWII, he found only one event worth mentioning:  what he described as the barbarity of bombings by the RAF.  Indeed, it occurred to me while listening, the people of Lübeck had suffered.  But I also recalled something the guide did not mention, i.e. the Holocaust that had occurred  some kilometers further east.

Fast forward four years.  Within the last three weeks Mr. Glenn Greenwald and his Omidyar-financed website Intercept have thundered against Israel and Israel’s various putative barbarities in Gaza.  I found not one word, not a single one, that could be construed as criticism or even reservation concerning the actions of Hamas.  (I have blogged about one of these recent Greenwald anti-Israel broadsides.)

So one of Glenn Greenwald’s offenses against intellectual integrity — and there are a number of these  is cherry picking, as defined in my quotation above.  But the problem with the Omidyar-Greenwald website is actually much more extreme because it is not just some ordinary  propagandistic one-sidedness  that  can be detected by the observant reader.  I would call it a higher cherry picking, consisting of the total suppression of any information  that does not fit into the author’s ideology.

It is no secret that Greenwald has obtained the vast trove of US government secrets that were stoled by Edward Snowden.  Now, more than a year later, Greenwald and his collaborators dip into this trove and other stolen government documents from time to time, pick from them whatever they want to pick,  and present the result as a truthful representation of what the world is all about.  Since nobody outside of the Greenwald organization has access to these materials there is no way for Greenwald’s readers to know whether a) the particular document now “revealed” actually comes from US government sources;  whether b) if indeed it does, it is presented in its entirety;  and finally whether c) if it is, there are other documents in the collection that limit or contradict it.  In other words, a reader must accept, on faith alone, that the document exists and that it means what Greenwald says it means.

A typical example of the Greenwald method is his posting, just three days ago, of an article “Cash, Weapons and Surveillance:  the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack.”  The piece purports to tell a story, using Snowden documents, of secret US military, financial, and intelligence support of “Israel’s military assaults — such as the one in Gaza.”

First of all, there are publicly available materials that US assistance of this kind is routinely given to Arab countries as well, something Greenwald does not mention.  We know, for instance, that the US has provided Qatar, the ally of Hamas, with such cooperation. Moreover, as Cliff Kincaid has reported,  ” [Greenwald’s] own reporting [inadvertently] discloses that the NSA and the Israeli signals intelligence unit (ISNU) have shared information with the Palestinian Authority Security Forces.”

So much for Greenwald’s cherry picking, which, indeed, can be detected by diligent googling.  But there is the more insidious “higher cherry picking,” which consists of citing wholly opaque sources (the Snowden papers), not accessible to anyone but Greenwald himself, and which Greenwald expects his readers to accept on his sole say-so.

So here is my question to all those who see some value in Greenwald’s journalism:  since there is no way of verifying his assertions, and since, moreover, his record for veracity has never been established, what possible grounds can there be for defending his work ? Mr. Greenwald says that he favors “transparency” of government, but what he practices is total opaqueness.

 

Greenwald’s War Against Israel

 

Mr. Glenn Greenwald, author, columnist, and self-described journalist, has become well-known for his collaborations with Edward Snowden.  Several months ago Mr. Greenwald obtained substantial funding from the billionaire Pierre Obidyar to establish an online publication Intercept, part of Obidyar’s First Look Media.

Now, several months forward, Intercept, as it promised it would, devotes space to Snowden’s cause.  But that is not the only cause  which it supports.  Another one, to which it has given substantial space as well, is that of Israel-bashing.

About a week ago, Greenwald ran a particularly untruthful, hateful, shameful attack on Israel:  Netanyahu’s ‘Telegenically Dead’ Comment Is Grotesque but Not Original .  Greenwald’s assertion is that Israel behaves like Nazis in Gaza.

Greenwald begins by what he says is a quotation from Netanyahu, which he presents as follows:

“They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can. They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead, the better.”

Next, he gives what he says is a quotation from Joseph Goebbels, as follows:

“The Jews gradually are having to depend more and more on themselves, and have recently found a new trick. They knew the good-natured German Michael in us, always ready to shed sentimental tears for the injustice done to them. One suddenly has the impression that the Berlin Jewish population consists only of little babies whose childish helplessness might move us, or else fragile old ladies. The Jews send out the pitiable. They may confuse some harmless souls for a while, but not us. We know exactly what the situation is.”

The emphasis, in both cases, is of course supplied by Mr. Greenwald.

I have taken the trouble to look at the context of both of these quotations.  That by Netanyahu is also reported by the Forward, but together with a clarifying statement by Netanyahu:

“Israel regrets every injury to civilians,” the prime minister said. “I call on the residents of Gaza: Don’t stay there. Hamas wants you to die, we want you to be safe.”

If Mr. Greenwald’s reporting on Netanyahu is grossly misleading, the same must be said of his reporting on Goebbels.

The passage from Goebbels in question (dated November 16, 1941)  can be seen here in the original German and here in an English translation.    The article is quite long,  approximately 1600 words, and is entitled “Die Juden sind schuld !,”  (“The Jews are at  fault !).    It makes the following points:  Every Jew is our enemy.  There is no such thing as a good Jew and a bad Jew.  Every Jew is evil.  Judaism must be destroyed. 

Has Mr. Greenwald even read this German-language article, either in the original or in translation, or does he depend on some tendentious report by a third party ?  In either case, the paragraph translated and presented by Mr. Greenwald is in no way representative of the gist of Goebbels’s piece, and, in fact, grossly distorts it.

 Whether he cites Goebbels or Netanyahu, Mr. Greenwald  misleads his readers.  Read in relevant context, Netanyahu asserts, as does his government, that Israel is deeply concerned over loss of life, whether Jew or Arab.  And when read its entirety, Goebbels is seen to advocate the destruction of all Jews.  When Greenwald tells us that these two positions are the same,  he tells us more about his own integrity — or rather lack thereof — than he tells us about the ostensible subject of his rantings.

Obviously, Mr. Greenwald’s publisher, Pierre Obidyar, must share in   the moral responsibility for what is published under his imprint,  First Look Media.

As it happens, there is indeed a Nazi connection to be found in this topic of Israel vs. Hamas.  And pace Mr. Greenwald, the Nazi connection is on the side of Hamas.   The Hamas Charter, available freely on the Internet and elsewhere, calls for the destruction of Israel and the  killing  of all Jews and cites, with great approval, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a veritable bible of the Nazi movement.  But on this topic, the Hamas Charter, Mr. Greenwald is strangely quiet.

READ ALSO:  my earlier posting on Comrade Greenwald and Mr. Pierre Obidyar

A JStreet "rabbi" endorses Hamas bombarding of Sderot

David Mivasair of Vancouver, who calls himself a rabbi but is also listed as Chaplain of the First United Church of Vancouver, is a member of the “rabbinic cabinet” of the Soros-financed pressure group JStreet.

Here he is on a street corner in Vancouver, explaining why he supports the Hamas bombardments of Israeli civilians at Sderot

hat tip: Richard Klagsbrun

UPDATE Sept. 5, 2011:  Mivasair has removed this video from Youtube.  With people like that, you must be grateful when they don’t have the courage of their convictions.

UPDATE, July 30, 2013:  Here, compliments of FresnoZionism, are Mivasair’s words as uttered on the video that he has removed:

Whenever we read about … I have to say about a puny, ineffective rocket fired into some place like Sderot, something to think about is very likely that very likely the people firing it are the children or grandchildren of people who perhaps once lived in Sderot. But it wasn’t Sderot, it was a Palestinian village that had existed there for centuries that had several hundred people who were forcibly expelled at gunpoint and when the place was empty, then Jews moved in and built a town…


UPDATE Jan. 2, 2013
Here he is, in a street-corner appearance in Vancouver on Nov. 18, 2012, declaring his support to Hamas and his enmity to Israel:


see my previous posting on JStreet

More than eighty of JStreet’s rabbis are active against Israel

The Imam and the Sergeant: Open Letter to Mr. Jeffrey Goldberg



Dear Mr. Goldberg,

In your Atlantic article last week (“‘Ground Zero’ Immam…”) you heap praise on Imam Rauf and excoriate his critics:

The right-wing campaign against the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” includes vicious personal attacks on the Muslim cleric who leads the Cordoba Initiative, the organization behind the plan. I know Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, and I know him to be a moderate, forward-leaning Muslim — yes, it is true he has said things with which I disagree, but I have never expected him to function as a member of the Zionist Organization of America.

Now here is why I am writing. You no doubt know of Sgt. Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was abducted from Israel by Hamas more than four years ago and who has been held hostage, incommunicado, for all this time. International groups like the Red Cross have been denied access to him. It is a barbaric action by these Islamists, and it is ongoing. So here is my thought. You tell us that Imam Rauf, while devoted to Islam, of course, is also both moderate and forward-leaning (whatever that means), and you tell us that he is a man you know. You vouch for him. So this is my suggestion. Get the Imam to prevail upon Hamas (a group the Imam has always refused to criticize), to prevail upon this group of fellow-Muslims to end their barbaric imprisonment of Sergeant Shalit.

Can you do that, Mr. Goldberg ? That would be, how can I put it, very forward-leaning on your part.

Sincerely,

Werner Cohn

The Humanitarians of the Mavi Marmara

Voice of the Humanitarians I: “Shut up, go back to Auschwitz …. don’t forget 9/11”

Voice of the Humanitarians II: “Kill the Jews”

The name Khaibar mentioned in battle cry was the last Jewish village defeated by Muhammad’s army in 628. The battle marked the end of Jewish presence in Arabia.
There are Muslims who see that as a precursor for future wars against Jews. At gatherings and rallies of extremists, this chant is often heard as a threat to Jews to expect to be defeated and killed again by Muslims. —
Palwatch

click here for Memri’s page on the “flotilla”