Dragged Out Of The Lobby And Into The Gutter
On a given day, Philip Weiss publishes a dizzying output of conspiracist garbage on Mondoweiss that doesn’t warrant much in the way of a serious response. The work of someone who slobbers over The Israel Lobby is a reminder that this life of ours is short, and that there are still over a dozen Shakespeare plays I’ve never even read.
But every once in awhile you come across an irresistible gotcha moment like this one, something that perfectly encapsulates the hypocrisy of a man. Said moment can be found about halfway through site founder Weiss’s recent celebration of his site’s five year anniversary:
I’m thankful to a few friends for encouraging me, James North, Jack Ross, Scott McConnell and Peter Drubetskoy. Without them this site would not be here today.
Who exactly are these people? That James North got away with writing an article in which he slags V.S. Naipaul without apparently having read very much V.S. Naipaul says more about the Nation’s editorial standards than about Mr. North himself (Editor's Note: James North responds). Scott McConnell is editor and publisher of The American Conservative, which is to the paleoconservative “movement” what TNR is to old school liberalism or what the National Review is to mainstream conservatism.
As for the last one, here is Jack Ross interviewing Bill White, leader of the American National Socialist Workers’ party, in 2002 (an interview that contains this almost refreshingly blunt excerpt):
(7) You have at times defined yourself as "anti-Semitic", but also know and associate with a number of Jewish activists in various movements, and have published material by Jewish writers. What's your feeling on this?
Yeah, I am anti-Semitic. I don't like Judaism or it's heretical manifestations, including Christianity, and I think that Judaism and the cultures it creates have had a profound and negative effect on American society.
Here is Jack Ross contributing to the Barnes Review (“a journal of nationalist thought and history”) in 2005, in an issue that includes a reprint of Mussolini’s Central Doctrines of Fascism, as well as this article:
Holocaust Smoke & Mirrors
By Alex Perry Jr.
With all the technical writing that has gone on concerning the Holocaust, it is good now and then to provide a more basic critique of this most colossal of lies. Perry shows that this durable myth cannot stand even a rudimentary criticism, as the very notion of such an event occurring flies in the face of common sense.
And here’s colleague Michael Collins Piper idenfifying Ross as a contributor and “peripheral figure” at American Free Press, a publication whose front page and Sourcewatch entry very much speak for themselves.
Also, in 2002, Ross wrote the following paragraph for an article in the Barnes Review:
There is no greater proof that [the Likud] were indeed going after redemption through sin by fulfilling old anti- Semitic myths and legends than the well documented military relationship between Nazi Germany and the Irgun. As this insane Likudnik fascism marches forth today under Ariel Sharon, there have been very recent revelations of the extent of the Zionist affinity for Hitler, including the recent revelation in The Jerusalem Post that the IDF is studying how the Nazis smashed the Warsaw ghetto uprising in devising its strategy to smash the Palestinian resistance, and in the American Free Press that the Lebanese Phalangist leader recently assassinated by Muslim extremists was to be the prime witness against Sharon in the Hague, giving new life to the long held belief by many that Muslim Extremists are Zionist agents meant to destroy legitimate government in the Arab world, which would mean that Israel is “suicide bombing” its way out of existence, a classic trait of Frankist nihilism.
What to make of the fact that Philip Weiss singled out as a source of friendship and inspiration someone who stood in such circles as recently as 2005? I don’t think that this is a simple case of naiveté on Weiss’s part, or of complete intellectual rehabilitation on Ross’s — indeed, Ross blamed “the internationalist hubris and bellicosity of Chamberlain” for the start of World War II in a Mondoweiss post in July of 2009. While Ross hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for the worst kind of historical revisionism, Weiss has yet to draw anything other than succor or inspiration from it.
So it’s not at all surprising that Mondoweiss visibly carries the stamp of Jack Ross and his ilk. According to it’s “about” page, one of Mondoweiss’s aims is “to offer alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology as a basis for American Jewish identity.”
This theme warrants some kind of sustained examination, and a vast range of artists and thinkers — from Philip Roth to the bloggers over at Jewcy to the Coen brothers — have tangled with their own particular versions of it. But Weiss has used the pretense of ongoing debate over the parameters of Jewish identity as an excuse for publishing comparisons of calls for the murder of Israeli civilians to Everyone Draw Mohammad Day, and criticizing the Left for its rush to condemn the recent Itamar massacre. His “war of ideas” isn’t an aspiration to a higher intellectual level of debate, so much as license for dragging the debate into the gutter of insinuation and full-on paranoia.
Weiss’s willing admission that his website wouldn’t exist without Ross’s inspiration and help might be one of the truest and most revealing things he’s ever written.