Sunday, September 28, 2008

Deborah Lipstadt, Me, and Noam Chomsky (and maybe my wife)

Deborah Lipstadt has decided to let her Blog go for a while. Her last post was on 06 June at the end of her summer trip touring the Holocaust Industry’s European vacation sites. After a couple months I was half-afraid she might be ill. The lady annoys me with her obsessive Jewish patriotism, but I don’t really want anything bad to happen to her in real life. It crossed my mind that she might have quit her Blog because I had started mine, based on hers, and was going to use my Blog to monitor her Blog and she didn’t really want to go through it. Upon some reflection, I decided I had been invaded by a momentary surge of an egomaniacal sense of self-importance. I dismissed what had crossed my mind.

Anyhow, not to worry. Debbie is back to speaking in public. On 28 September, for example, she spoke on “Holocaust Denial as a Form of Anti-Semitism: A Clear and Present Danger?” The talk was cosponsored by Emory University in Atlanta, where she serves as director of the Rabbi Donald A. Tam Institute for Jewish Studies and Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies.

Asked how she steels herself to deal with characters like [Holocaust deniers] and other profoundly antagonistic people, she said, “I realized that if I let them drag me down, I lose even if I win. I think the most important thing is to remember that essentially these are mendacious people who are anti-Semites.”

Ahh. Back to square one. The sheer comfort of it all.

***

I am working feverishly (I am paying to have a local work feverishly for me) to develop really extensive email mailing lists. I intend to have lists that are so extensive that I will be able to mail many hundreds of folk at one time, without spamming anyone. One issue is that I want to develop email lists for Palestinian, Arab, Persian, and Muslim journalists, academics and student organizations. It’s not easy. These folk do not put themselves out there to be contacted by – anyone. It’s as if they are wary, as if they sense a kind of danger. If you have any ideas about how to develop these lists, I’m all ears. You might even want to help.

***

I was in a drugstore on the other side last week when I saw myself standing across the room, some fifty feet away, looking at a display of over the counter drugs of some kind. It wasn’t a matter of seeing myself over there for an instant, it was rather a long moment. It was long enough for me to understand that I was seeing myself across the room while I was standing where I was watching me. When the moment passed I saw that the other fellow was taller than me, thinner than me, and now as he walked in my direction I saw that he was younger than me.

***

An interesting Op-Ed from Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank in thepeoplesvoice.org titled “In Defense of Ahmadinejad.” He quotes Jimmy Carter as published in The Forward. “Carter, who was subjected to a virulent smear campaign by the organized Jewish lobby and by the Jewish-controlled or Jewish-influenced media in North America, defended his book, accusing his Jewish-Zionist accusers of seeking to stifle any debate in America over the Israeli apartheid regime.”

Carter is quoted: “It is almost a universal silence concerning anything that might be critical of current Israeli policies of the Israeli government … There is a tremendous intimidation in this country that has silenced our people. And it’s not just individuals; it is not just folks who are running for office. It’s the news media as well.”

It’s that final sentence that catches my attention. It’s the news media itself. I find it incredible that American journalists are unable to express themselves honestly about Israel, Jews, the Holocaust and/or the Middle East generally. Media, as a class, is the most dangerous body of working professionals in American life. In some ways it can be seen as being more dangerous than our incredibly poltroonish political class. The politicos don’t speak to the American people in any organized way. Media takes care of that for them. It appears that the class structure of media in the U.S. is invincible, and that the natural honesty and courage of the individuals who work within it are overwhelmed by class restrictions that are not even acknowledged.

***

I’m going to be to the other side for four days, to the VA hospital in La Jolla. Chemotherapy and other stuff. They implant a receptor in your chest nowadays to better infuse the drugs they use. My hair is falling out, giving me the sense that I’m losing my natural beauty. Yesterday I discovered that I no longer have to trim my little beard. It too is falling away. Have to say, it’s kind of nice to not have to bother with it. Before I leave this afternoon I will post a brief letter I’ve written to Noam Chomsky. I wrote him a few months ago but he didn’t respond. I don’t suppose he will respond this time either, but what do I know? In fact, I think I’ll post it now so I don’t overlook it.

Friday afternoon I went downtown to get together with some drinking buddies, to gas (no pun intended) about this and that, not to drink, and forgot to pick up Lil Brad from day school. I had been trying to convince my wife that I could cross the border and drive to the hospital by myself, that she did not have to go with me to make sure I got there and then return in the dark by bus and trolley and jitney to the house here in Baja. Now she’s told me that if I can’t remember to pick up my own grandson from day school she has no faith that I can get to the hospital by myself and she is going with me. And that's that. With my wife, when that's that, that's what it is.

Anyhow, I’ll be back to the desk here, probably, Thursday morning. Now to Chomsky.

From Wikipedia: “According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index in 1992, Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any other living scholar during the 1980–92 period.” Now he is listed as “the eighth most-cited scholar” anywhere, if I understand this right. Odd, but reading his response to Faurisson in their exchange that I posted yesterday, he appears to not have read revisionist literature. He could not dismiss all of Faurisson`s observations if he were reacting as a “scholar,” so I presume – and this surprises me – that his responses are based in a very nuanced but deeply felt “Jewish patriotism.”

Got to go, or I won’t get it done.

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