Worse than moral equivalence

Penny Red (Penny Laurie) speaking at rally. -- Several hundred people, mainly women, came to rally outside Parliament to oppose restrictions on abortions proposed by Nadine Dorries and others, and to campaign for a woman's right to chose, both here and Northern Ireland. UK. 9th July 2011
Penny Laurie

Though she’s only 29, Laurie Penny‘s output is already depressingly large, and therefore impossible to cover adequately in just a few short pieces. Then again, a hell of a lot of it is the same thing over and over again. In other words, she’s a narrow-minded ideological scold, not an original and versatile thinker. Today we’ll conclude our week with Ms. Penny by looking at a few more bits and pieces from her oeuvre.

The first item, a July 2014 column, shows that Penny is, unsurprisingly, an eager – and vulgar – Israel-basher.  Accusing Israel of murdering hundreds of Palestinians, including children, Penny (who is herself half Jewish) claimed to be pained by anti-Semitic rhetoric on the part of Palestinians and their supporters. But she quickly added:

היום הסתיים קורס סמלים בכירים שהתקיים בבית הספר למכים וחיר של זרוע היבשה בצהל בקורס נכחו לראשונה מספר שיא של ארבע בנות שסיימו את הקורס יחדיו לראשונה ארבע הבנות יחזרו לשרת כמפקדות בכירות בפלוגות השונות בגדוד הקרקל ובחיל ההנדסה הקרבית
Bad guys?

It is not anti-Semitic to suggest that Israel doesn’t get a free pass to kill whoever it likes in order to feel “safe.” It is not anti-Semitic to point out that if what Israel needs to feel “safe” is to pen the Palestinian people in an open prison under military occupation, the state’s definition of safety might warrant some unpacking. And it is not anti-Semitic to say that this so-called war is one in which only one side actually has an army.

hamas1
Good guys?

Yesterday we noted Penny’s penchant for moral equivalence. But this was worse than moral equivalence. Penny wasn’t equating Israel’s defensive measures with the Islamic terrorism to which it’s a response; she was actually painting Israel as an armed aggressor and the Palestinians, because they don’t have an “army” in the same sense that Israel does, as helpless victims. She even managed to work in the word “genocide,” which she did in this sneaky fashion:

This is a conflict in which no one wants to edge towards saying the word “genocide,” because in this context that is a term so loaded that what’s left of reasoned debate staggers and falls to its knees.

Then why mention it? 

Among the ticklish facts that did go unmentioned in Penny’s column, of course, was that Hamas, while targeting innocent Israeli civilians for coldblooded murder, hides behind its own children and mosques and schools and hospitals, making all of them vulnerable to retaliatory Israeli fire, while the IDF, in its effort to take down these savages, does its best to avoid harming civilians on either side (even those who may be aiding and abetting the savages).

Anyway, on to a more recent article, in which our heroine shared her thoroughly predictable reaction to the Brexit vote. She began as follows:

This morning, I woke up in a country I do not recognise…

There’s not enough tea in the entire nation to help us Keep Calm and Carry On today. Not on a day when prejudice, propaganda, naked xenophobia and callous fear-mongering have won out over the common sense we British like to pride ourselves on.

farage
Nigel Farage

Apparently considering those nasty words insufficient, Penny went on to slur Brexit champion Nigel Farage as a “racist” and his supporters as “the frightened, parochial lizard-brain of Britain.” Then, without the slightest hint of irony or self-awareness, she said she wanted “to wake up tomorrow in a country where people are kind, and tolerant, and decent to one another.”

In any case, at no point in a very long article did Penny acknowledge that there might be any merit in the pro-Brexit argument that the EU is undemocratic – or that any of the pro-Brexit voters, far from being bigots, were simply voting for the right to choose their own rulers again.

We’ll close with a couple of YouTube videos. First, here’s one that shows her complete ignorance of – or indifference to? – the basic facts of economics (please excuse the inelegant title that the YouTube user has placed on it): 

And finally, this next one shows her talking part in a 2013 discussion on BBC’s Question Time. The issue: should Muslim women in Britain be allowed to wear the full face-covering niqab, even in jobs like schoolteacher and nurse? Other participants had nuanced views, with a couple expressing concern about women wearing veils when working in hospitals and dealing with patients. But Penny was firm: it was, she pronounced, “brutally islamophobic and deeply sexist” to even discuss the question.

Admittedly, we haven’t given this prolific young lady her due. But we hope we’ve covered enough of her work to show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is, in sum, a totalitarian soul who, though she takes part in endless debates, doesn’t really believe in debate. As she sees it, the opponents who disagree with her on Twitter are trolls who should probably be banned from the Internet. And the very idea of holding TV discussions about issues on which 29-year-old Laurie Penny has come to an unequivocal conclusion are offensive in and of themselves, and should be outright verboten.

CNN vs. Israel

This week we’ve been examining various aspects of CNN’s stoogery – among them its appeasement of dictators in order to maintain access to their countries and its reluctance to call Islamic jihad by its own name. Not unrelated to its delicate concern for Islamic sensibilities is another attribute – namely, its systematic anti-Israel bias.

Ambassador_Dermer
Ron Dermer

In August 2014, during that year’s Gaza War, protesters outside CNN’s studios in New York condemned the network’s anti-Israeli slant – and that of many other news operations. Jeremy Dery, a former parliamentary assistant in the Knesset, complained that thanks to the media, the world “believes that Israel targets innocent people.” Journalist Stephen Tebid, who held a poster reading CNN = Crap Not News, charged that coverage of the war didn’t include a single “picture of Hamas shooting a rocket.” That July, Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., chastized CNN, which had shown pictures of children killed in an Israeli strike on a U.N. school but had omitted to mention that Hamas was hiding rockets in those schools – as well as in hospitals and mosques.

In the same month, comedian Joan Rivers – in an impromptu airport interview with the celebrity news website TMZ that went viral immediately – censured CNN and the BBC for their hand-wringing over “civilian deaths” when, in fact, many of the “civilians” in question were actively helping terrorists and storing weapons in their homes.  “The BBC should be ashamed of themselves,” she insisted. “And CNN should be ashamed of themselves!” But far from exhibiting any shame, CNN later ran a report on follow-up remarks by Rivers in which it seriously misrepresented her position – the obvious goal being to make her look bad. 

Like many other news media, CNN frequently reports on terrorist attacks in such a way as to suggest that they were ethically neutral military or civilian conflicts. In November 2014, for instance, two Palestinians were killed committing a terrorist assault on a Jerusalem synagogue that claimed the lives of four Israelis. CNN’s headline read: “4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians dead in Jerusalem.” To compound the outrage, CNN described the atrocity as an “attack on Jerusalem mosque” – allowing viewers to assume that perhaps a gaggle of violent Jews had preyed on a congregation full of innocent praying Muslims. (Le Monde‘s headline about the same incident read “Six killed in Jerusalem.”) CNN later apologized for misrepresenting the facts – but somehow it keeps on doing exactly the same kind of thing.

melvin
Don Melvin

CNN has also routinely passed along fairy tales served up as fact by various pro-Palestinian propaganda outfits or by the official – and famously unreliable – Palestinian Authority “news” agency. A particularly absurd example: in June of last year, CNN ran a story by Don Melvin under the headline “Israeli settlers reportedly chop down 800 Palestinian olive trees.” There was no truth whatsoever to the account – but instead of withdrawing and apologizing for it, Melvin followed up by (believe it or not) pretending that he’d written it on the assumption that readers would realize that the report in question was unreliable. 

clancy
Jim Clancy

Some CNN talking heads, when confronted with Islamic terrorism, instantly head in the opposite direction from moral clarity, rushing to speak up for Islam while at the same time making absolutely no sense. After the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in January of last year, for example, CNN anchor Jim Clancy tweeted as follows about the satirical magazine’s Muhammed cartoons: “The cartoons NEVER mocked the Prophet. They mocked how the COWARDS tried to distort his word. Pay attention.” What?

This was only the first of a series of tweets – described as “bizarre” by Israel National News – in which Clancy managed to change the subject from Islamic terrorism to alleged Israeli perfidy.  The good news is that Clancy left CNN shortly thereafter; the bad news is that Clancy, by that point, had spent 34 years spreading disinformation at the network.

shapiro
Ben Shapiro

Every now and then, the truth about CNN gets out…on CNN itself. In August 2014, a reporter for the network asked Ben Shapiro of the Truth Revolt website: “Has Israel somehow lost more in the eyes of the world than Hamas has?” Shapiro said yes, explaining that while “Hamas is a terrorist group…Israel, thanks to outlets like CNN, has been turned into the villain….If Hamas could have come up with any sort of outlet that could have created more will to kill more Jewish babies and Palestinian babies, CNN would have been it.” Shapiro faulted CNN for failing to inform audiences of the “restrictions that Hamas puts on your reporting inside the Gaza Strip,” of Hamas’s use of children as human shields, and of the Hamas charter’s commitment to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews worldwide.

Celebrating terrorism: Max Blumenthal

max
Max Blumenthal

Last June, we examined some of the sleazy shenanigans of one Max Blumenthal. Following in the slime trail of his dad, Sid Blumenthal, the longtime Clinton operator, bagman, lackey, factotum, spinmeister, and all-around inside-the-Beltway creep, young Max (he’s 38) has for some time now been pursuing his own career as an amoral political hack and hanger-on, gaining a reputation as —among other things — a shameless apologist for Vladimir Putin and a fierce critic of Israel.

Then again, the word critic isn’t quite strong enough to describe what young Max is up to when it comes to Israel.

As the Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrote in January: “A writer should avoid hyperbole. But when it comes to Max Blumenthal…it’s hard to avoid superlatives. Max is quite simply one of the most biased, anti-Semitic, terrorist-defending, Israel-has-no-right-to-exist haters out there.”

DMikics
David Mikics

David Mikics, writing in the Tablet in March of last year, summed Max up as follows: “Max Blumenthal’s stock in trade is anti-Zionist polemic dripping with cartoon-like, racially weighted depictions of Israeli Jews. What distinguishes him from many other anti-Zionist writers is not his political views, but the obsessive nature of his work, which seems animated not by moral passion or analysis but by hate.” In 2013, Max published the book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, which, in the words of J.J. Goldman in the Forward, seeks to “show the suffering and unbroken spirit of the Palestinians and the callous cruelty of the Israelis.” Eric Alterman of The Nation, who is anything but an apologist for Israel, wrote in his review: “It is no exaggeration to say that this book could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed).”

boteach
Rabbi Schmuley Boteach

Max, noted Boteach in March, “is known for creating the hashtag #JSIL—the Jewish State in the Levant—a play on the acronym ISIL, aka ISIS. In Max’s twisted mind, the democratic State of Israel is on par with ISIS.” Throughout his writings about Israel, indeed, Max repeatedly likens the Jewish state to the terrorists who seek to destroy it. And, naturally, to Nazi Germany.

hillaryemailsMax’s anti-Israel writings gained a special kind of attention recently when some of the e-mails dating back to Hillary Clinton’s Foggy Bottom days began to be published, and it turned out that Sid was sending excerpts from his son’s poisonous screeds to the Secretary of State – who responded by praising Max’s work. In March, Boteach’s pro-Israel organization, the World Values Network, bought a full-page ad in The New York Times urging Hillary to cut her ties to both Sid and Max. The ad included several anti-Israel quotations by both father and son. Hillary appears to have ignored Boteach’s plea.

hillary-clinton-sidney-max-blumenthal-609x442
Father and son

Then, in April, the Telegraph published a recording in which Max, speaking at a March event at the London School of Economics, celebrated a 2014 massacre of Israeli soldiers by Hamas commandos who entered an IDF base in Israel through a series of underground tunnel from the Gaza Strip. At the base, these terrorists killed “every soldier they encounter[ed].” Since they wore video cameras on their helmets during the entire operation, moreover, they were able to provide young Palestinians with a visual record of their triumph. For Max, this was a beautiful thing: after being “humiliated” repeatedly by the IDF, those youths had a chance to see their side win a glorious victory over “the occupier” and to recover their own “dignity” by becoming terrorists themselves.