Cpl. Jeffrey Goldberg, Guarding the Prison of the Nationalist Mind
(Informed Comment) -- By Jaun Cole --
As a Middle East expert who lived in the Muslim world for nearly 10 years, travels widely there, speaks the languages, writes history from archives and manuscripts, and follows current affairs, I found that none of that counted for much when I entered the public arena in the United States. It isn't that I am thin-skinned or can't dish it out as good as I get it. Rather, it is like being a professional baseball player ready for the World Series, who gets in the van and instead of being delivered to Yankee Stadium is blindfolded and taken to a secret fight club where people are betting on whether he can go 12 rounds with a giant James Bond villain. And he says, "But I'm not a boxer, I bat .400." And they sneer, "You will pay for insulting our great aunt."
This is an arena where vehement partisans are honored as "journalists," where ability to speak languages or engage in cultural interaction counts for nothing, and where rich and powerful patrons make reputations rather than any real knowledge. NYT columnist David Brooks slammed me for not having recognized Ariel Sharon's potential as a peace-maker with the Palestinians and for not seeing how positive the Iraq War was for resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. (???) I was routinely denounced by David Horowitz, who used to be an insufferable leftist in the 60s when he edited Ramparts and now is an insufferable rightwinger, but who knows nothing at all about the Middle East (and what he thinks he knows is wrong). Marty Peretz, who married into the Singer Sewing Machine fortune and then used his wife's money to buy and ruin The New Republic, turning it into pro-Contra, pro-war rag, was annoyed to see me on television because of his vast fund of knowledge about Arabic hollow verbs. Michael Oren, a bad, partisan historian and Israeli army reservist (who fought in the Gaza War); who revived the Gobineau Orientalist tradition in his book on the US and the Middle East; and who is now the Israeli ambassador to Washington-- weighed in against my receiving an appointment to the Yale History Department. Princeton-trained Martin Kramer until recently of Tel Aviv University, who recently advocated using the Gaza blockade to force small families on the half-starving Palestinians, made a cottage industry of snarky and mostly false remarks about Informed Comment; and has a relationship with the so-called "Middle East Forum", which runs the McCarthyite 'campus watch' and which was part of a scheme to have me cyber-stalked and massively spammed.
More recently I have provoked the ire of a burly former Israeli military prison guard at the notorious Ketziot detention camp during the first Intifada, who is among our foremost journalists of the Middle East and given a prominent perch at The Atlantic magazine-- Jeffrey Goldberg...MORE...LINK
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