Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Return of Jewish Press Blogging!

Just something funny I saw in this week's paper. As one would expect, the JP was very interested in the Defining Crisis of Our Generation, l'affaire Kushner, and the Editorial took a very critical view of the backlash against CUNY trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, and the decision of the "executive six"* to grant Mr. Kushner an honorary degree. Which is all fine, and to be expected.

Just the argument they used was very funny. First, the Editorial noted that Kushner has a well-earned reputation for being anti-Israel, which is contrary to Kushner's own perception, but fine.** Then, they approvingly noted that Mr. Wiesenfeld, in support of his motion to block Kushner's award, "cited extensive chapter and verse from the public record" of Kushner's anti-Israel remarks, which also seems to be contrary to Wiesenfeld's own perception, which was that he pulled a bunch of quotes from Norman Finklestein's website (he wanted to appear non-biased, which is why he didn't rely on pro-Israel groups). They then conclude that Kushner is clearly anti-Israel. Then, they dismiss Kushner's own protestations to the contrary, i.e. that his remarks are being taken out of context, by, I kid you not, printing some of his out-of-context remarks - the very same as those quoted by Wiesenfeld. And then, the kicker; in the very next sentence, they further criticize Kushner for not, in his quoted out-of-context remarks, "even attempting any contextual analysis of the predations and assaults perpetrated by the Palestinians against Israel and Israelis." I mean, come on! The very next sentence! And the greater irony is that, at least according to Kushner, "[m]y opinion about the wisdom of the creation of a Jewish state has never been expressed in any form without a strong statement of support for Israel’s right to exist, and my ardent wish that it continue to do so, something Mr. Wiesenfeld conveniently left out of his remarks."

So, to wrap up, the Jewish Press -

(1) Concludes that Kushner is anti-Israel
(2) Dismisses Kushner's own protests that his remarks are being taken out of context by:
(3) Citing his remarks out of context, and then:
(4) Further criticizes Kushner for not providing context in those remarks just cited, even though:
(5) He, in fact, does.

*Which seems to be a very postmodern attempt by the JP to gin up notoriety for a group of people who don't even conceive of themselves as a group, much less one capable of attracting attention.

**I mean, duh, of course he would deny it. That's Anti-Semitism 101.

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