Monday, June 11, 2012

James Zogby Gets Political

As you probably are aware, a really ugly New Jersey Democratic primary race just finished with Bill Pascrell winning over Steve Rothman. Huffington Post blogger James Zogby (who gave 50k to Pascrell, not that he would mention that in this article) is here to give us an after-action report about how awesome Arab-Americans are, and how they are responsible for Pascrell's victory. And bring you-know-what into it. Unsurprisingly this account of the election leaves a lot of information out. Actually let's start from the bottom this time:
"While this election had been termed by some Jewish writers and organizations as "Arabs versus Jews" and being "all about Israel," it was not."
First of all, note the "J-word" there. Zogby didn't even use the fig leafs of "Zionist" or "pro-Israel" that time. And in the real world quite a few Arabs did in fact make it about "Arabs versus Jews." Here are some examples:

This Pascrell campaign poster urges the “Arab diaspora community” to “elect the friend of the Arabs” and billed the race as “the most important election in the history of the [Arab] community,” according to a WFB translation of the sign.

But it doesn't end there. An Arab supporter of Pascrell accused the state’s Jewish voters of being more loyal to Israel than America. What's even more hilarious is that eventually Dr. Zogby comes around to admitting that this happened but with huge qualifiers: 
"One activist, however, "took the bait" advanced by Rothman's supporters and fanned the flames that were already burning in this contest...The Rothman team sprang into action, as if this were the provocation they had been waiting for."
According to Dr. Zogby, Arabs are never responsible for their own actions, whether here in America or over in the Middle East. Pascrell did not condemn him and Dr. Zogby is trying to blame Rothman for the presence of bigots on his "side." At this point, of course, he tried to deflect back to Rothman's supporters.

Unquestionably, this primary election is pitting two otherwise harmoniously coexisting communities: the Muslim and Jewish communities,” this same Arab supporter wrote in an article headlined “Rothman is Israel’s man in District 9.” I guess he must be a "Jewish writer," eh?

But it doesn't end there. In a separate column released Monday, the same Arab supporter referred to the city of Paterson a “Little Jerusalem,” and deemed “the root of the conflict” in the race as lying “thousands of miles from Paterson, in the heart of the Middle East.”

So yeah. None of this warrants a remark from James Zogby, who would prefer to say that the Jews are the ones making it about Israel and not the Arabs. That's the kind of honesty we love to see from a Huffington Post blogger.

But that's not even the problem. The problem is that Dr. Zogby declared in the quotation up above that "it was not," all about Israel and the Arabs. But then when you read his column, that's what the entire column is about. Click below to continue.

Going back to the start of the article, we get more hypocrisy from Dr. Zogby:
"For the past six months, a combination of pro-Israel and right-wing bloggers worked over-time characterizing this contest in the starkest of terms, oftentimes using hyperbolic or incendiary or even bigoted language."
Yet as I demonstrated above, the Arab-American community didn't appear to mind one of their own accusing Jews of dual loyalty, one of the oldest bigotries leveled against Jews. Nor has Dr. Zogby been able to provide a link to any of these insults. But I don't need to go over that any further.

At this point Dr. Zogby begins explaining how the two candidates have actually very similar voting records when it come to Israel. Which makes me wonder why then Arab-American supporters of Pascrell kept bringing Israel into it, and why Dr. Zogby is if in fact the race isn't about it. We get lies here though. For example Pascrell is praised for being against the Iraq War but Rothman's opposition is swept under the rug. Ditto with some of Pascrell's dirty laundry:
"Pascrell also has embraced Imam Mohammad Qatanani, a controversial Passaic spiritual leader who stands accused by the State Department of hiding a conviction in Israel for having ties to the terror group Hamas. 
"Pascrell, too, has come under fire for his association with J Street. In 2010, the lawmaker endorsed the so-called “Gaza 54” letter, which demanded that President Obama force Israel to end its “collective punishment” of those living in the Gaza Strip. It is a vote that Pascrell has said he “doesn’t regret.”
So not really very similar at all.  At this point the defense of the aforementioned anti-Semitic Arab activist takes place, and then Dr. Zogby finally starts talking about the actions of the Arab American community. He says very simply that they campaigned, fund raised and then voted, and Pascrell won. He gives Pascrell's victory credit to the Arab Americans:
"If anything this election was about Paterson voting for its favorite son, and it was about Arab Americans coming of age, demonstrating that they will not be quiescent in the face of attacks that slander their friends and attempt to demonize and marginalize the community."
Leaving aside the hypocrisy in which "our side" insulting and demonizing people is okay but "their side" insulting and demonizing people is a problem, I have a question. Doesn't that make the election about "Arabs" after all? Dr. Zogby said at the beginning that this isn't about Arab vs Jews but it sounds to me like it very much is about Arabs pursuing their own interests.

By the way, if you were expecting any of the usual "America firster" Huffington Posters to give the Arabs any flack for looking out for themselves and not "Americans in general," don't bother because very few of them did. Dual loyalty accusations flowed like water though. Welcome to the Huffington Post.


  1. James Zogby has always been a creep and a liar, so no surprise there.

  2. The general election against kippah wearing Rabbi Boteach will give new meaning to the tsunami of naked antisemitism @ HP. There's little point in trying to head it off but I would recommend bundling it up and sending it to all the AOL board members since they are being paid to lead a company which espouses that hate speech and this will provide an excellent summary neatly packaged for their notification. While Jews aren't a protected class minority in the US & there's little if any law that actually prohibits antisemitic hate speech compared to say, homophobic hate speech or speech against blacks, women, gays or the handicapped, Corporate boards tend to be scared more of the PR fallout than anything else.


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