Archive for October 18th, 2007

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My 1½ Years At LGF, Part II: Israel/Palestine Conflict and Antisemitism

October 18, 2007

It’s widely known that 9/11 was the catalyst for LGF’s transformation from a weblog discussing web design and bicycling to what it is today.  Now, I can understand how the reality of the attacks might change someone’s outlook on certain things, like domestic intelligence gathering, foreign intervention and espionage. What I’ve never fully understood, however, was the radical shift in attitude with regards to Israel.  As evidence of the change, take a look at this pre-9/11 LGF entry (which, incidentally, pretty much echos my own sentiments):

9/1/01

I don’t like to write about the Middle East. I don’t even like to think about it. It’s a dismaying quagmire of blind religious hatred and irrational Dark Ages thinking on all sides, impervious to logic or reason, perhaps the greatest imponderable stupidity in humankind’s history. I give a slight moral advantage to the Israelis because at least they aren’t exporting terrorism and the slaughter of innocents, as many of the Islamic countries in the area routinely do. They’ll probably all kill themselves one day in a nuclear confrontation. (How’s that for optimism?) I just hope they don’t take the rest of the world down with them. This article in the New York Times is the latest example of the terminal sickness that afflicts the whole region: Palestinians Give U.N. Racism Talks a Mixed Message.

Somewhere along the lines, this relative indifference was abandoned, and replaced by a very passionate, pro-Israel view.  It apparently didn’t take that long, made clear by the appearance of Nekama’s Troll Hammer (and subsequent enshrinement) in 2003 and by the fact that Mr. Johnson was being perceived as a “Righteous Gentile” by the Israel National News as early as April 2004.  By the time I joined the site, accusations of antisemitism fired at anyone who was perceived as saying or reporting anything even remotely critical of Israel were pretty commonplace. (I had even been labeled as such by commentors on a few occasions, one of them for simply saying the word “neocon”.)  For more objective media reports that portrayed Israel as less than infallible, efforts were made to challenge those accounts as simply “biased”. And every so often, something would come across the proverbial desk that seemed impossible for anyone with a sliver of intellectual honesty to refute.  It would have to be something simple, like a single photograph. In those situations…they punted:

palmissilelgf.jpg

So, what sparked this metamorphosis?  Was it the videos of Palestinians celebrating 9/11?   Reading up on the history and culture of the region?  The urge to poke the Jihadis in the eye with pro-Zionist propaganda?  All of the above?

In fairness, I suppose I would be equally curious about someone who shifted from neutral to an anti-Israel stance in the wake of 9/11.  I really don’t get it.  It’s the same country in the same messed up part of the world that existed both before and after the attacks.

Exit question: Is being critical of Israel (specific actions, policies, historical events, etc.) automatically make you an antisemite? Scratch that. How about just plain indifference?

Tomorrow’s topic:

Gaping Disconnect on the Iraq War