Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Republican Leader Met With Holocaust Museum Shooter

James von Brunn, the neo-Nazi accused of killing security guard Stephen Johns in an attack on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on June 10, 2009, corresponded with and visited the home of General Albert C. Wedemeyer, a major figure in the U.S. military and in Republican politics during the 1940s, 50s and 60s.


Von Brunn's meeting with Wedemeyer took place in the spring of 1981 at Wedemeyer’s home, and their correspondence lasted for a year after that, until March, 1982. During this period, in December, 1981, von Brunn was arrested for entering the Federal Reserve Board headquarters in Washington, D.C. armed with guns and a phony bomb, stating that he intended to conduct a "citizen's arrest" of the Fed’s board members for treason. (He was arrested and tried for this and served a six year sentence in a federal prison.) After von Brunn's arrest, Wedemeyer broke off their friendship.

Largely forgotten now, Wedemeyer had at one time been a prominent figure in politics and in the military. Before the U.S. entered World War II, General Albert C. Wedemeyer was the author of the Victory Plan, which served as the basis for U.S. strategy in the war. During the war, Wedemeyer served in a number of key positions in East Asia, rising in 1944 to be commander of the China theater. He later played key roles in two Republican presidential campaigns (those of Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater), and would serve as a key fundraiser for and adviser to Ronald Reagan. He was on the original board of directors for the magazine The National Review and served as an adviser for John Birch Society founder Robert Welch's magazine American Opinion. Wedemeyer also played a major role in framing the debate over “who lost China” – an issue which was central to the McCarthy era anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s.

Wedemeyer met with von Brunn at the general's farm in Boyds, Maryland in the spring of 1981 and corresponded with him sporadically for about 10 months thereafter. Their correspondence is collected in Gen. Wedemeyer’s papers at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. While Wedemeyer's ties to far-right groups were public and well-known, historian Joseph W. Bendersky in his 2000 book The "Jewish Threat": Anti-Semitic Politics of the U.S. Army, found extensive evidence that, behind the scenes, Wedemeyer worked to promote anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist policies within the U.S. military establishment. Wedemeyer's correspondence with von Brunn shows just how extreme Wedemeyer's politics were.

In June and July of 1981, the two exchanged letters concerning von Brunn's belief that a Zionist conspiracy had taken over the United States in order to "destroy the White Race". Von Brunn wrote to Wedemeyer that he believed that Jews were conspiring to send African-American soldiers to Germany in order to "destroy the white gene pool". The only remedy for this, Von Brunn wrote, was "DESTROYING THE ZIONIST OCCUPIED GOVERNMENT" (caps in original). Shockingly, General Wedemeyer wrote in response that he was "in complete accord with (this) objective", but felt that it was not achievable.

In January, 1982, one month after his arrest at the Fed Board headquarters, von Brunn sent Wedemeyer a description of the attack in the form of a detailed military mission report which he apparently also sent to a number of other recipients.

In March, 1982, von Brunn sent General Wedemeyer a rambling five-page political manifesto in the form of a memo to his attorney planning a legal defense for the Fed Board attack. Von Brunn justified the attack as an attempted citizen's arrest for various "crimes" he accused the Federal Reserve of having committed. On the back of this memo, von Brunn wrote a handwritten apology to Wedemeyer for an angry outburst, indicating that the two had a conversation around the time of the Fed attack. (Based on this note, it seems possible that von Brunn attempted to contact Wedemeyer after his arrest, was rebuffed by Wedemeyer and grew angry in response.) Von Brunn's note also states his belief that the U.S. government was controlled by evil "illuminati" intent on instituting "One World Gov't", and expresses his belief instead in "One World with Western Man uber alles".

Von Brunn’s attempts to continue his correspondence with Wedemeyer were discouraged in a polite letter from Wedemeyer’s secretary in March 1982. This letter stated that Gen. Wedemeyer had "no interest in the matter described in (von Brunn’s) letter", and that he believed that political change should be pursued only by legal means.


The von Brunn / Albert Wedemeyer letters

General Wedemeyer's papers are archived at the Hoover Institution Library at Stanford University. Through the courtesy of the librarians there, I've been able to review five letters exchanged by von Brunn and General Wedemeyer, and von Brunn's 1982 political manifesto.


Letter #1

Dated June 14, 1981; addressed to Gen. Wedemeyer, Boyds, Maryland.

Von Brunn opens by stating that

"(t)here is no doubt that Zionists have controlled our Executive Branch for many years".

He credits General George S. Brown with having revealed that

"the Zionists control the machinery of the U.S. Government: Congress, Treasury, mass-media, etc."

This undoubtedly refers to a 1974 incident in which General Brown, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed his opposition to the emergency airlift of weapons to Israel during the Yom Kippur War by complaining to a student forum at Duke Law School that Israel had too much influence in the U.S. because Jews "own the banks in this country". (Read here.)

Von Brunn goes on to expresses his certainty that Germany was doomed because

"(t)he Morgenthau Plan, in spirit, remains in effect."

The Morgenthau Plan to deindustrialize and demilitarize Germany was considered during 1944 negotiations among the allies. By 1945, its most extreme proposals had been modified, and the plan was completely abandoned in 1946.

Von Brunn then cites F. J. P. Veale's book Return To Barbarism (misspelling the author's name as "Veal") as providing evidence of

"what is in Jews minds regarding Germany and the White Race. Hamburg, Dresden, and the Nuremberg Trials set the precedent."

Veale, a former follower of British fascist Oswald Mosley (read here) authored Return To Barbarism to counter revelations of Nazi atrocities with charges that the Allies committed similar, if not worse, crimes against humanity. The book argues that the Nuremberg war crimes trials were unjust and illegal, and criticizes in particular the presence of Jews among the prosecutors. In the 60 years since it was first published, this book has been a favorite of the isolationist far-right and among deniers of the Holocaust. It was lauded by the father of Holocaust denial, Harry Elmer Barnes. Most recently, in 2008, Return to Barbarism reared its head again as one of the sources for Patrick Buchanan's book Churchill, Hitler and the Unneccessary War. (Read reviews here and here.) Veale’s book is currently published by the pro-Nazi group Institute for Historical Review.

Von Brunn next prophisizes that

"(t)hose Germans who escape nuclear holocaust will be subjected to the negro (sic) invasion. One that has been taking place since 1945. The blacks could never have mounted an invasion of Europe on their own, but dressed in American uniforms and encouraged by the military the negros (sic) are helping to destroy the irriplacable (sic) white gene pool. When the gene pool is forever polluted the race is forever destroyed. That's genocide."

At this point, the text goes to all capitals:

"THERE IS NO MORE TIME. EUROPE MUST BE SAVED. THAT MEANS WE MUST DESTROY OUR ZOG. AMERICA IS THE ENEMY OF EUROPE. IN DESTROYING THE ZIONIST OCCUPIED GOVERNMENT WE CAN SAVE OUR NATION AND REESTABLISH THE OBJECTIVES OUR FOUNDING FATHERS HAD IN MIND."

With that, von Brunn;s tone shifts. He thanks General Wedemeyer and his wife for having him at their home, praises Mrs. Wedemeyer's beauty, and bids the general "God bless". In a post-script, von Brunn gives Wedemeyer his son James (Jim) von Brunn's address and phone numbers in San Francisco.


Letter #2

Dated July 3, 1981; addressed to Jim von Brunn, 367 Tourmaline Drive, Hebron, MD 21830.

General Wedemeyer writes that he recieved von Brunn's June 14 letter. He states that he has read Veale's Return to Barbarism and "may other books developing similar ideas". Then, shockingly, he writes

"I have given considerable thought to the project you mentioned and deem it impractical at this particular time and under the conditions described by you. I am in complete accord with the objective, but it would never, in my professional opinion, be accomplished in the manner outlined so dramatically by you."

Wedemeyer then indicates that he would attempt to contact von Brunn's son in San Francisco that month if his schedule permits.


Letter #3

Dated, January 4, 1982.

This letter was apparently sent by von Brunn to several unnamed recipients (all male -- the salutation is "Sir".) It describes in great detail, in a form reminiscent of a report on a military maneuver, his attack on the Federal Reserve Board Headquarers in Washington, D.C. on the fortieth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Von Brunn also gives what he states to be his legal rationale for attempting to "arrest" the Federal Reserve Board members for treason. He writes that the attack was based on his belief that the Fed

"seek(s) to destroy the sovereignty of all Nations of the West in a continuing effort to create One World Usurocratic Dictatorship. HIGH TREASON."

(The term "usurocracy" was coined by poet Ezra Pound and was popularized among the American far-right by Eustace Mullins.)


Letter #4

Dated March 20, 1982; handwritten on the verso of a memo from von Brunn to "Elizabeth Kent, Attorney".

Written three and a half months after von Brunn's arrest at the Federal Reserve, this letter appears to follow an argument between the two men. Von Brunn apologizes to Gen. Wedemeyer for "my behavior towards you", citing stress and von Brunn's dashed hope for "a better rapport with you". He reaffirms his admiration for Wedemeyer.

Turning then to his constant themes, he states that

"the International Bankers" have "tighten(ed) their chains around all of mankind. France, Europe, Britain - yes, and China - have fallen. America is next. Like the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) and Illuminati, I too believe in One World Gov't -- with an exception -- One World with Western Man uber alles and not at the expense of U.S. sovereignty.

God bless.

James von Brunn"

This letter, was handwritten on the back of a copy of a memo von Brunn had apparently written to his attorney, Elizabeth Kent. This memo, which purports to outline his defense for the charges associated with his attack on the Fed Board headquarters, focuses on von Brunn's belief that the Federal Reserve is an instrument of a conspiracy of Jewish bankers under the control of the Rothschilds, Warburgs and Rockefellers to create a "one world usurocracy". Von Brunn implicates in this conspiracy the Council on Foreign Relations, Illuminati, "Bilderbergers" and Trilateral Commission. The memo concludes with a reading list including (among others) works by Francis Parker Yockey, Caroll Quigley, W. Cleon Skousen, Eustace Mullins, and Willis Carto.


Letter #5

Dated March 24, 1982; from “Elaine K. Hill, Secretary to General Wedemeyer” to von Brunn.

Wedemeyer’s secretary writes that Wedemeyer has read von Brunn’s letter and enclosures dated March 20, 1982.
“It is his view that one should in every case resort to existing legal means to accomplish objectives in any field of endeavor," in spite of opposition to "developments at home and abroad which are not to his liking…”


Background of General Albert C. Wedemeyer

Albert Coady Wedemeyer, who graduated from West Point in 1919, was the only U.S. Army officer to attend and graduate from Berlin's German War College, the Kriegsakademie, where he studied from 1936 -1938. Wedemeyer felt great affinity for Germany and its military. At the Kriegsakademie, he was very impressed with the German style of military education and with German innovations in tactics, both of which he considered vastly superior to those of the U.S. military. He also strongly supported Nazi anti-communism, which he similarly felt to be superior to the anti-communism of the United States. This support was not dimmed even by World War II. In his 1958 memoir Wedemeyer Reports, he compared the threat of Nazism with that of communism, writing: "I was convinced that the German search for Lebensraum did not menace the Western World to anything like the same degree as the world-wide Communist conspiracy centered in Moscow." He also wrote that "(t)here were some aspects of the Third Reich which seemed good at the time -- for example, the public works program; encouragement of the arts, music, and sciences; the building of roads and communications; and cultural opportunities such as travel abroad for underprivileged people at government expense." While in Germany, Wedemeyer befriended a number of influential German military officers, and became a close friend of Col. Truman Smith, the U.S. military attaché stationed in Berlin, who shared Wedemeyer's affinity for Germany.

Upon Wedemeyer’s return to the United States in 1938, General George Marshall assigned him to work at the War Plans Division (later the Plans and Operations Division), where he used his knowledge of the German military to author reports analyzing German military tactics and assessing Germany's strengths and weaknesses. After the start of World War II in 1939, Wedemeyer was a prominent isolationist activist, campaigning against United States participation in the War both within the U.S. military establishment and publicly as a member of America First. His father-in-law and mentor, former Chief of Staff Stanley Embick, was considered the most ardent advocate of isolationism within the military establishment. Col. Truman Smith, who had been withdrawn from Berlin, became Wedemeyer's closest associate, their families living together for a time at Fort Benning, Georgia. Wedemeyer and Smith were considered to have the greatest knowledge of and the closest connections to the German military establishment of any U.S.military officers. The two were also members of America First and were close friends of and advisers to its most famous member, Charles Lindbergh, whose beliefs concerning the war they shared.

Wedemeyer's private papers confirm his isolationism and its underlying motivation. Historian Joseph W. Bendersky reviewed Wedemeyer's personal notes and his correspondence with Truman Smith from the late 1940s, some of which concerned these years. He found that Wedemeyer wrote to Smith that "the British, Zionists and Communists" were to blame for the United States involvement in World War II. Wedemeyer also wrote that President Roosevelt's Jewish advisers (Samuel I. Rosenman, Felix Frankfurter and Henry Morgenthau, Jr.) "did everything possible to spread venom and hatred against the Nazis and to arouse Roosevelt against the Germans". He went to blame Roosevelt's manipulation of events with "much help from the Jews" for United States entry into the war. Wedemeyer also wrote that he saw Jews as responsible for creating and spreading communism. (Jewish Threat, pp. 274-5)

In 1940, under General Marshall’s orders, Wedemeyer drafted the so-called “Victory Program” which planned U.S. strategy if it entered the war. In one of the most notorious leaks of classified material in U.S. history, the Victory Program plan was leaked to the press, and a report detailing its contents was published in the Chicago Tribune on December 4, 1941 (three days prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor) under the banner headline "FDR'S WAR PLANS!". In the course of a subsequent FBI investigation into the leak, it was revealed that Lindbergh and Wedemeyer had met in the preceding months at the Fairfield, Connecticut home of Truman Smith. This meeting would became a focus of the investigation based on suspicions within the FBI and the Roosevelt administration that the three men harbored Nazi sympathies. Although the FBI later publicly exonerated Wedemeyer of leaking the report, J. Edgar Hoover reportedly stated in private that he believed Wedemeyer guilty. Roosevelt similarly stated in private his belief that Lindbergh was a Nazi sympathizer.


During World War II and in the years after, General Wedemeyer was closely associated with General Douglas MacArthur. In spite of Wedemeyer's knowledge of the German military, and perhaps because of his sympathies with it, he was assigned not to the European Theater, but to Burma. With MacArthur's support, Wedemeyer reached the peak of his power in 1944, replacing General Joseph Stillwell as U.S. commander of the China Theater. Wedemeyer simultaneously served as chief of staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the Chinese Nationalist leader.

After the war's end, Wedemeyer led the Office of Plans and Operations, where he had first risen to prominence 10 years earlier. In this capacity, he toured Germany with an eye toward planning the defense of Western Europe against the Soviets, dealing with the issue of "displaced persons" and stabilizing Germany politically. During this tour, he complained to General Eisenhower that journalists covering his tour were "communist sympathizers", specifically singling out Jewish reporters. Wedemeyer's view of Jews as communist subversives within the U.S. military, which he had held since at least the 1930s, were influenced at that time by cosnpiracy theories promoted by an intelligence officer by the name of Col. Frederick S. Doll. Doll had become convinced that Jewish intelligence officers and reporters formed a pro-communist fifth column, specifically focusing his suspicions on a fellow G-2 officer named Col. Fred Herzberg, whom he knew to be an advocate for the civil rights of blacks in the military. Based on this, Doll concocted a vast communist conspiracy in which other like-minded officers, such as Gen. Wedemeyer, believed. Wedemeyer became involved in a movement to protect Col. Doll from disciplinary action with regard to his spurious charges against Herzberg, and worked to promote Doll's broader allegations.

In September, 1947, Gen. Wedemeyer issued a plan to assist the Chinese Nationalists, the so-called Wedemeyer Report. This plan advocated for a massive United States military presence of 10,000 advisors to be garrisoned in China's main cities, and for U.S. support for a massive Nationalist attack on Mao's communist forces, stating that this was necessary to prevent a communist victory. This ambitious plan was shot down by General Marshall and the Truman administration. Wedemeyer subsequently testified against Truman and Marshall's decision at several congressional hearings.

In 1948, Wedemeyer issued several reports opposing U.S. support for the creation of the State of Israel, including a memo to the Secretary of the Army. (That memo advised the Secretary of the Army to withhold the attached report from the National Security Council until the Secretary of State requested he do so. This may have reflected Wedemeyer's view of the relative sympathies for Israel within those agencies.) These reports, which wer marked "Top Secret", stated that the creation of Israel would endanger the U.S. security.

After Mao's vistory in China, the American right coalesced around the idea of assigning domestic blame for the communist victory. Journalist Joseph Alsop, who was a close friend of Wedemeyer’s, published a series of articles in the Saturday Evening Post under the title "Why We Lost China", based in part on Wedemeyer's contention that, by failing to execute his plan, the United States had let the communists take over China. Senator Joseph McCarthy infamously elaborated on this idea to allege that communist subversion within the military and the State Department were to blame for the decision not to put Wedemeyer's plan into effect. This issue would play a central role in the anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s, with McCarthy eventually accusing General Marshall of complicity in letting China go communist (a position which Wedemeyer would later disavow).

After retiring from the military in 1951, General Wedemeyer played a prominent role in right-wing and Republican politics. He served in Sen. Robert Taft’s 1952 presidential campaign as national chairman of the Citizens for Taft Committee, as one of Taft's most prominent advisors on foreign and military affairs, and as a major campaign fundraiser and organizer. Taft and Wedemeyer advocated a foreign policy which combined two irreconcilable ideas then popular on the right: isolationism and anti-communism. At their 1952 national convention, the Republicans chose instead the pragmatism of Dwight Eisenhower.

For the rest of the 1950s, Wedemeyer was active as a public speaker, an author for a number of conservative publications and as a board member of several right wing organizations. In 1951, Wedemeyer had been chosen by Texas oil magnate H.L. Hunt to serve on the board of Facts Forum, a group which exerted a great deal of influence through grass roots organizing: sponsoring meetings and debates and distributed books and pamphlets. It focused on far-right issues such as support for Senator McCarthy’s anti-communist campaign and opposition to labor unions. Fact Forum also broadcast a radio and television talk show hosted by Dan Smoot. Serving with Wedemeyer on the board of directors of Facts Forum were two of his associates from America First: America First board member Hanford MacNider and leader General Robert Wood.

In 1954, Wedemeyer was chosen by General Wood to serve on the board of the group “For America”, which he intended to be a “right wing ADA [Americans for Democratic Action]”. Also on the board were Pat Manion and former MacArthur aide General Bonner Fellers. Wedemeyer also helped lead H.L. Hunt'sLIFE LINE”, which was essentially Facts Forum under another name, running a similar program of public meetings and producing a daily radio program. “LIFE LINE” (whose name was spelled in all capitals as per Hunt’s instructions) ran Strom Thurmond’s 1954 write-in campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Wedemeyer served on the board of directors of William F. Buckley's National Review, starting with magazine's founding in 1955. In 1957, Wedemeyer published a memoir cum political manifesto entitled Wedemeyer Reports which spent several months on the bestsellers list. He served as an adviser to John Birch Society's magazine American Opinion, but distanced himself from the group in 1961 after Robert Welch's letters accusing President Eisenhower of being a communist agent became public. Welch refused to renounce these statements when asked about them by the press. Wedemeyer, with an eye toward mainstream acceptance, called this "reckless". Wedemeyer also served on the boards of the American Security Council and Free Cuba Radio. In 1960, Wedemeyer announced that he had filed his candidacy for the Republican nomination for congressman, but he dropped out of the race before the primary.

Wedemeyer's support for a Barry Goldwater presidency started early. In 1959, Wedemeyer became a leader of Pat Manion's "Draft Goldwater" movement, heading a group called Americans for Goldwater. (Others in the group included Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, Robert Welch, Brent Bozell, Herbert Kohler, J.F. Schlafly, Dan Smoot and actors Joel McCrea and Adolphe Menjou.) Goldwater, recognizing that Nixon would inevitably win the nomination, decided not the run in 1960, but the campaign preparations, good publicity, and, most importantly, the mailing lists generated by the group would give the 1964 Goldwater a head start.

Wedemeyer (along with Pat Manion) would play an important role in convincing Goldwater to seek the 1964 Republican nomination, and went on to help lead the fundraising for the campaign as part of Goldwater's Committee of 100. He vacationed with Goldwater in the summer of 1964; Wedemeyer sponsored Goldwater’s attendance at the Bohemian Grove , and hosted Goldwater for several days on Wedemeyer's yacht off the California coast. Just before the 1964 election, Wedemeyer participated in a nationally televised campaign rally at Knott's Berry Farm, during which he sat on the dais with John Wayne and several political figures.

After Goldwater's disastrous loss in the 1964 election, Wedemeyer worked behind the scenes in Republican politics. In late 1964, he joined with William F. Buckley, William Rusher and others associated with the National Review to form the American Conservative Union (“ACU”), another group modeled on the ADA. The ACU, building on the experience of the Goldwater campaign for the Republican nomination, innovated among conservative groups in its use of direct mail for fundraising, something which continues to influence political campaigns. The ACU also helped shape the “southern strategy”, the Republican Party’s abandonment of black voters in order to pick up anti-civil rights southern white voters.

In the mid to late 1960s, Wedemeyer headed the American Economic Foundation, which raised funds for conservative candidacies such as Ronald Reagan’s 1966 campaign for governor of California. Concurrent with his leading the AEC, he was also involved with two overtly nativist organizations which campaigned in favor of racial discrimination in immigration policy: the American Committee on Immigration Policies and Conservatives for Immigration Reform.

After the 1960s, Wedemeyer faded from public view, his isolationism and far-right views having largely fallen into disfavor within the Republican establishment. But the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency gave him one more moment in the limelight. First, President Reagan named Wedemeyer an informal military advisor, a largely honorary position. Then, in March, 1985, Wedemeyer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan in a ceremony at the White House, along with such celebrity honorees as Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and Jacques Cousteau.

Wedemeyer at the 1985 Medal of Freedom ceremony.



Further reading:

Bendersky, Joseph W.; The "Jewish Threat"; The Anti-Semitic Politics of the U.S. Army (Basic Books, 2000)

Cook, Fred J., "The Ultras", The Nation, June 23, 1962.

Epstein, Benjamin R. and Forster, Arnold; The Radical Right; Report on the John Birch Society and Its Allies (Random House, 1967)

Goldberg, Robert Alan; Barry Goldwater

Lichtman, Allan J.; White Protestant Nation (Atlantic, 2008)

Perlstein, Rick; Before the Flood: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus

Wedemeyer, Albert C.; Wedemeyer Reports!



CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Gen. Wedemeyer co-founded the John Birch Society and served on its Board of Directors. In fact, his formal role with the group was limited to his serving as an adviser for its magazine American Opinion. Thanks to those who contacted me to correct the record.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

SSPX bishop fined by Germany for Holocaust denial

A German court has fined SSPX bishop Richard Williamson €12,000 for denying the Holocaust in an interview on Swedish TV. (Read here.) The SSPX is the largest far-right, traditionalist schismatic group to split from the Catholic Church in protest over Vatican II. In spite of the far-right extremism of the SSPX, the Vatican is negotiating with them to bring them back under the aegis of the Vatican. (Read here.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rush Limbaugh: NYT environmental reporter is like terrorist

Rush Limbaugh recently said that he thinks that the New York Times' great environmental reporter Andrew Revkin is like a terrorist. Limbaugh also suggested that, if he believes the established science to the effect that humans cause global warming, then Revkin should do the world a favor and commit suicide. Now listen to the NPR report on this, which is embedded in Little Green Footballs' post here: NPR: NYT Reporter Revkin Attacked By Rush Limbaugh. Be sure to listen to the clip through to the very end to get the punchline.

(By the way, I hope you noticed that I got this far in the post without mentioning that Limbaugh is a drug abuser who advocates that other drug abusers go to prison, or that he is a staunch defender of the Vietnam War who avoided the draft by claiming that he had a cyst on his butt. Just sayin'...)

Senator Vitter Won't Condemn Justice's Refusal to Marry Interracial Couple

U.S. Senator from Louisiana David Vitter's depends on the conservative, white male vote, so he's reluctant to take controversial, pro-civil rights positions that might alienate his base. That's the reason Vitter, unlike his fellow-Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, won't condemn a Louisiana justice of the peace who won't perform interracial marriages. Nice.

Read it here, and watch Vitter evade an interviewer with the old closing elevator door trick, here:
Crooks and Liars Video Cafe: David Vitter Won't Comment on Justice's Refusal to Marry Interracial Couple

Hungarian MP: Jews taking over Hungary and the world

I have said in the past that there is no brick wall between Hungary's center right and far-right. Here is more evidence.

from Yehuda Lahav at
Haaretz: Hungarian MP: Jews want to take over the world

A member of Hungary's main opposition party has accused the Jews of trying to take over the country.

"I'm a Hungarian nationalist. I love my homeland, love the Hungarians and give primacy to Hungarian interests over those of global capital - Jewish capital, if you like - which wants to devour the entire world, especially Hungary," Oszkar Molnar, a member of parliament, said in a television interview earlier this month.

As proof of his assertion that Jews are plotting to take over Hungary, Molnar claimed to have discovered that the language of instruction in Jerusalem's schools is Hungarian, and when asked why, students said they were "learning their future homeland's language."

The statement sparked an outcry among Hungarian politicians, with protests coming from ... the ruling Socialist Party, the youth wing of the Alliance of Free Democrats, and a group of intellectuals known as the Democratic Network, as well as the Jewish community.

But Molnar's party, Fidesz, has not condemned his statement - and Fidesz, according to the polls, is likely to take power when elections are held this spring. Party leader Viktor Orban did term the statement "embarrassing," but declined to denounce it. He said he would not even consider ousting Molnar from his party or parliamentary faction, as the remark "did not violate the party's bylaws."

Rumors of a mass Jewish return to Hungary have been floating around the country for some time. But until now, they have been confined to marginal, far-right web sites.


I would love to hear back from those who, in the past, have complained in comments to this blog that Fidesz is not associated with bigotry against Jews and Roma.

Somalia blames Israel for Somali pirates

This one I didn't see coming. According to an Islamist website, the leaders of Somalia have found a hidden hand behind the Somali pirates, and they've proposed a retaliatory measure. Their audience just might be receptive to this proposal.

from İslâmi Dave: Somali pirates have links to Israel


"(The) Somali representative to Arab League-affiliated office in charge of boycott of Israel said there are links between the Zionist regime and the pirates who are based on Somalian coasts.

"Mohammad Haj-Yousef told IRIB in Damascus that the pirates are backed by some foreign companies which have links to the Zionist regime.

"The Somalian trade official said that the regime seeks to destabilize the Somalian coasts through supporting the pirates, adding that the regime has cast an occupying eye beyond Palestine to the Sea of Oman and the whole region.

"Haj-Yousef said that the Somalian government taking the situation into account has prepared necessary measures to boycott Israeli affiliated companies and corporations in a bid to block the regime’s infiltration into the region.

"He urged Arab and Islamic countries to seriously deal with calls for boycott of Israel adding that the regime would be weakened through such moves."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A message from the founder of Human Rights Watch

Monday's New York Times had a column by Robert L. Bernstein, the founder of Human Rights watch. It should be read in its entirety (read here "Rights Watchdog, Lost in the Mideast "). Here's an excerpt:

"Israel, with a population of 7.4 million, is home to at least 80 human rights organizations, a vibrant free press, a democratically elected government, a judiciary that frequently rules against the government, a politically active academia, multiple political parties and, judging by the amount of news coverage, probably more journalists per capita than any other country in the world — many of whom are there expressly to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Meanwhile, the Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350 million people, and most remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent. The plight of their citizens who would most benefit from the kind of attention a large and well-financed international human rights organization can provide is being ignored as Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division prepares report after report on Israel.

"Human Rights Watch has lost critical perspective on a conflict in which Israel has been repeatedly attacked by Hamas and Hezbollah, organizations that go after Israeli citizens and use their own people as human shields. These groups are supported by the government of Iran, which has openly declared its intention not just to destroy Israel but to murder Jews everywhere. This incitement to genocide is a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

"Leaders of Human Rights Watch know that Hamas and Hezbollah chose to wage war from densely populated areas, deliberately transforming neighborhoods into battlefields. They know that more and better arms are flowing into both Gaza and Lebanon and are poised to strike again. And they know that this militancy continues to deprive Palestinians of any chance for the peaceful and productive life they deserve. Yet Israel, the repeated victim of aggression, faces the brunt of Human Rights Watch’s criticism."


...and...

"In Gaza and elsewhere where there is no access to the battlefield or to the military and political leaders who make strategic decisions, it is extremely difficult to make definitive judgments about war crimes. Reporting often relies on witnesses whose stories cannot be verified and who may testify for political advantage or because they fear retaliation from their own rulers. Significantly, Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and an expert on warfare, has said that the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza “did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare” ."


Human Rights Watch has responded to Bernstein's column (here) by saying in a press release that its board

"unanimously rejected his view that Human Rights Watch should report only on closed societies..."


Read the column for yourself to see whether he is advocating that HRW completely ignore Israel and other democratic nations or if he is simply calling for HRW to focus to a greater degree on repressive nations where the need for such attention is going unmet. Bernstein has sound reasons to call for this refocusing. First, by disproportionately concentrating on Israel, HRW presents a skewed view of a Middle East in which Israel is the villain among innocent neighbors. This distortion not only hurts Israel, it helps repressive regimes. Second, HRW uses its limited resources to report on allegations of Israeli human rights violations which are already being reported on by news media, human rights NGOs, government agencies and the U.N. By far, there are more reporters and human rights advocates in Israel than any other Middle East nation. Per capita, it must be the most reported on nation in the world. HRW would do better to devote its resources to addressing the human rights violations which are currently not being addressed or reported. That job would be more difficult and unpleasant for HRW to do, but the need is far greater. Moreover, where the need for human rights intervention is greater, the potential results from HRW's attention would be greater as well. It would be smarter for them to take Robert Bernstein's advice rather than argue against a deceptively worded version of it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

S.C. GOP chairmen: Sen. DeMint like a ‘Jew’ who is ‘watching our nation’s pennies’

Two South Carolina Republican county chairmen allied with Sen. Jim DeMint have published an overtly anti-Semitic letter in a popular South Carolina newspaper. The anti-Semitism of the letter may have been intended to smear U.S. Product Safety Commission chairman Inez Tenenbaum, who is attacked in a digression at the end of the letter. Tenenbaum lost to DeMint in the 2004 senatorial election. If their intention was to attack Tenenbaum, it appears that the attack has backfired.


from Raw Story: S.C. GOP chairmen: Sen. DeMint like a ‘Jew’ who is ‘watching our nation’s pennies’

Two South Carolina GOP chairmen declared in a letter to a local newspaper that criticism of Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is unfair because he is like a "Jew" who is "watching our nation's pennies."

The letter, published by South Carolina newspaper The Times and Democrat, was authored by James S. Ulmer Jr., who chairs the Orangeburg County GOP, and Edwin O. Merwin Jr., who chairs the Bamberg County GOP.

"There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves," the wrote. "By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation’s pennies and trying to preserve our country’s wealth and our economy’s viability to give all an opportunity to succeed."

...and...

The Palmetto Scoop, a conservative e-zine in South Carolina, reacted to the letter with disgust.

"Umm… who in mainstream America thinks it’s a good idea to write something like that in a guest editorial?" the publication asked in a no-byline piece. "Especially in light of the racially-motivated attention garnered by South Carolina Republican activists over the past few months."

The Scoop concluded: "It’s people like Ulmer and Merwin that make many folks fear for the future of the once Grand Ole Party."

In the words of a comment posted on the Times and Democrat website:

"Wow. Adult Republican leaders actually wrote this without realizing how insanely racist this is? They're trying to pass off a racial stereotype as proverbial words of wisdom and don't see the difference? Just, wow."


Why'd they do it?


In their letter, Ulmer and Merwin criticize federally mandated requirements that items for use by children be tested for toxicity before sale. Ulmer and Merwin portray this as an attack on working people and portray DeMint as a defender of the right of poor people to buy lower priced goods without federal interference. Tenenbaum is portrayed as an elitist siding with do-gooder consumer advocates against average working Americans. Here's what they wrote (read here):


"(O)n Feb. 5, DeMint announced the introduction of a bill to protect small businesses, charities and families by reforming the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. This new law will demand onerous testing for anything geared toward children age 12 and under. The mandate falls on books, toys, clothing, hair bands, board games, sporting equipment, backpacks and even special learning equipment made for children with disabilities. Alas his bill did not pass.

"Perhaps Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Inez Tenenbaum could help families mitigate this problem as times are tough and likely to get tougher; and they may need to buy items at flea markets, thrift stores, consignment shops and yard sales in order to save money. Perhaps families on a tight budget know a thing or two about making do on less ...
"Now one might ask, just who is watching out for whom?"

It looks like Ulmer and Merwin intended to portray their friend Sen. DeMint as defending average working people against elitist, carpet-bagging Jews. Nice.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nat Hentoff promoted "death panel" scam at World Net Daily

Nat Hentoff, a long-time columnist for the liberal Village Voice, has changed teams to work for World Net Daily, a far-right Republican blog. For those unfamiliar with WND, it was the birthplace of the birther movement, and currently publishes regular columns by Chuck Norris, Tom Tancredo, Ann Coutler, Phyllis Schlafley, Pat Buchanan, John Stossel, Michael Savage, Jerome Corsi, former Judge Roy Moore and Pat Boone, among many others whose names are listed here.

In case you think that Hentoff is at WND as resident house liberal, he's not -- he really has drifted way over to the right. For one thing, he's also on the payroll of the libertarian think tank Cato Institute. And then there's his position on health care reform...

In August, 2009, Hentoff published a column at WND promoting the false idea that the Obama administration planned to institute "death panels" as part of health care reform. Hentoff's column, entitled Obama, Congress to decide when you die?, repeats a number of the right-wing talking points concerning "death panels", such as the idea that the government would compel the elderly to attend counseling sessions where they would be steered away from medically necessary treatment as a cost saving measure. The column, which consists largely of quotes from a Washington Post oped and a Washington Times article, points an accusing finger at Rahm Emanuel's brother Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who advises the Obama administration on bioethics. Hentoff portrays him as the evil mastermind of a covert plan to deprive the elderly of health care and shuffle them unceremoniously off the Medicare rolls and this mortal coil.

Hentoff published the column on August 19, during the feeding frenzy of town hall teabagging activism. It parrots spurious charges which originated with anti-reform activist Betsy McCaughey, previously best known for authoring an influential 1993 New Republic article containing similarly false charges concerning the Clinton administration's health care proposal. McCaughey's New Republic article was a critical factor in the defeat of the Clinton plan, providing many of the talking points used by the Senate Republicans and right wing pundits. (Read James Fallows on take on that here. The official Clinton administration debunking is here.) McCaughey's "death panel" charges, which she published in July 2009, gained traction after they were repeated by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, among many others. Although these charges were thoroughly debunked as false and were publicly condemned by many pundits, they helped fuel the outrage expressed at town hall forums. This led Democrats to remove from the proposed reforms government sponsorship of counseling and living will preparation for the elderly to avoid a distracting political battle.

Alex Koppelman writing in Salon provided a strong debunking of the manufactured "death panels" controversy within two weeks of McCaughey's starting it. (Read it here.) Koppelman gives a fair assessment of Dr. Emanuel's lifelong commitment to improving healthcare for the elderly, which has been a focus of his work. Reading this column in the same sitting as the Hentoff column brought into focus the sheer madness of the "death panel" charges. Koppelman's column was published on August 10, nine days prior to Hentoff's. Hentoff completely ignored the counterarguments to the absurd "death panel" claims, choosing instead to credulously rely on McCaughey, Palin and the other partisans.

Most people who remember Hentoff think of him as a defender of free speech, and in this column he tried to continue to play that role. To end it with a flourish, he worked himself into a state of high dudgeon over Democratic criticism of the astroturf campaign of town hall disruptions, before concluding with an outraged, outrageous non-sequitur.

"Condemning the furor at town-hall meetings around the country as "un-American," Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are blind to truly participatory democracy – as many individual Americans believe they are fighting, quite literally, for their lives.

"I wonder whether Obama would be so willing to promote such health care initiatives if, say, it were 60 years from now, when his children will – as some of the current bills seem to imply – have lived their fill of life years, and the health care resources will then be going to the younger Americans?"

I don't see the connection between those two completely baseless statements, the first defending free speech against an illusory attack, the second accusing President Obama of the worst kind of hypocrisy and lack of concern for human life. I don't believe that those corporate-funded town hall demonstrations represented "individual Americans...fighting for their lives" and, most to the point, I didn't see any Democratic proposals which would have curtailed the lives of the elderly. I strongly defend the constitutional rights of Americans to teabag as they see fit -- the Constitution protects political speech no matter how foolish. But the stuff spouted by the teabaggers reminded me of World Net Daily: conspiratorial right-wing drivel. Hentoff may believe he's supporting those who oppose health care reform, but all he's doing is stirring up their irrational fears.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fox News trying to reach the far-right?

They've already got Glenn Beck and Andrew Napolitano, now they're giving air time to Jerome Corsi.


from
Little Green Footballs - Jerome Corsi: Very Bad Craziness on Fox News

He’s a Birther, he promotes insane conspiracy theories at World Net Daily, he appears frequently on Alex Jones’s whacked out radio show, he’s appeared more than once on the white supremacist radio show Political Cesspool — and last night he got two whole segments on Fox News’s Sean Hannity show to promote the black helicopter New World Order bad craziness in his new semi-literate book.

This really is a new low for Fox News.










Sunday, October 11, 2009

Alison Weir continues to promote blood libel

[Second in a series. First article here.]


In August, the blog Counterpunch published an article which literally claimed that Jews ritually murdered gentiles, apparently the first instance of a mainstream U.S. media outlet promoting this medieval charge as true. That article, written by Alison Weir of the anti-Israel organization "If Americans Knew", connected this blood libel to spurious allegations that Israel is conducting a campaign of theft of body parts from Palestinians killed for this purpose by Israeli troops. Weir claimed on Counterpunch that this purported organ theft campaign was not only sanctioned by Israeli authorities but that it derived from Jewish traditions allowing the murder of gentiles. (Weir's original article on this can be read here. My response to it can be read here.)

Weir has addressed the controversy resulting from her report in Counterpunch by repeating and defending her blood libel in several posts on her blog, even as she backtracks to contradict herself by stating that she has not reached a conclusion as to its truth. She also says that she has revised her article to remove her citation of Israel Shahak as a source for her claim that the blood libel is true. That citation was shown to be false in my earlier post on this subject. Weir has posted on her blog an explanation for this citation in the form of an email exchange concerning this subject between her and Christopher Hitchens. (Read here.) According to Weir's blog post, Hitchens (who was a friend of Shahak) emailed her to ask where Shahak had written in support of the blood libel. In response, Weir implausibly denied that she had intended to say that Shahak supported the ritual murder myth per se, merely that Shahak supported similar claims concerning Jewish anti-Christianity, "Talmudic texts emphasizing vengeance", and rabbis ordering "extreme religious violence (such as) cutting out tongues (and) chopping off noses". She went on to indicate that she hoped that Hitchens would publish something about her in Vanity Fair. The blog post also links to two columns by paleo-conservative blogger Justin Raimondo denouncing Hitchens in strong terms.

In a more detailed response to the controversy also posted on her blog (read here), Weir characterizes Jewish opposition to the blood libel as their claiming that they have "never done anything wrong". Weir sees this a typical Zionist tactic.

The continual portrayal of an entire population that has never done anything wrong ... and that is eternally the victim of allegedly bigoted, always baseless accusations is part of what buttresses the Israeli myth.

She goes on to characterize her views on ritual murder as "balanced", writing that Jews "run the gamut" of good and bad. (By a balanced view of the issue, she apparently means that some Jews sanction ritual murder, while others don't.) According to Weir, Israel's existence relies in part on a doctrine of Jewish infallibility, and her interest in the ritual murder myth is based on opposition to this belief. She goes on to write that she only wants to encourage investigation of ritual murder allegations, and that those who oppose her promoting these charges do so to prevent the truth from coming out. In that way, she argues that she is merely an advocate for free speech and free inquiry, rather than an advocate for a particular position concerning ritual murder.



Weak sources for extreme claims


Weir's confirmation of her belief in the truth of the blood libel is puzzling considering the weakness of her sources. She indicates that her reporting on the issue largely relies on a single book on the subject by Ariel Toaff, on the blog postings of "Israel Shamir" and on articles on a blog called "Zionists out of the Peace Movement" which were posted under a pseudonym. I addressed Weir's reliance on Toaff's book in my earlier article on this subject. 18 months prior to Counterpunch publishing Weir's blood libel article, Toaff rescinded the first edition of that book from publication and reissued it with a statement that ritual murder did not occur and that such charges result from medieval Christian myths. He also reiterated this revised finding in numerous interviews. Weir withheld from her report Toaff's revised findings, dismissing them as merely the result of a Jewish conspiracy of silence.


In response to Hitchens' questions concerning Weir's sources, she now qualifies her support for Toaff's findings, while impugning the motives of his critics.

"At this point, I don't know whether or not Professor Toaff's considerable and somewhat dense scholarly work supports his allegations; to determine this requires considerable study and access to both versions of his book. It would also benefit from open, thorough investigation unimpeded by the diverse and frightening threats received by Toaff and others. My very clear point regardiing Toaff was and is a very simple one: suppressing information is wrong."

Although Weir claimed in her Counterpunch article to have based her ritual murder material on Toaff's book, and devoted a significant portion of that article to establishing his expertise, it appears likely that she has not thoroughly read his book. Weir's blood libel claims rely more on the writings of the far-right anti-Semite who publishes under the assumed name "Israel Shamir". (You can read my original post on this subject for a thumbnail sketch of Shamir's background. Searchlight magazine wrote about him here. This post raises some questions about his true identity.) Although mentioned only in passing by Weir (she falsely calls him an "Israeli writer"), Weir relies on his writings both for her "facts" and analysis on the subject of the blood libel to the extent that she merely restates what Shamir wrote in her own words.


The Israel Shamir article upon which Weir relied for her ritual murder claims has the odd title "Bloodcurdling Libel (a summer story)". (Read here.) Shamir wrote it in response to a 2003 David Aaronovitch column published in the Obsever. (Read here.) Aaronvitch's column concerned contemporary anti-Zionists resuscitating traditional anti-Semitic material such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and ritual murder myths. Aaronowitch mentions the infamous Damascus blood libel of 1840. In that case, Syrian authorities "solved" the mysterious disappearance of a Catholic priest by blaming it on a Jewish ritual murder. They rounded up and tortured several Jews, and extracted several confessions under duress. Aaronovitch wrote that he had recently found this blood libel recounted as a true instance of ritual murder in a variety of Arab media, such as

"in a column in the respected Egyptian mass daily paper Al-Ahram, in a book by the Syrian defence minister and in broadcast sermons from various Palestinian mosques".


Aaronovitch goes on to tell of an Egyptian filmmaker who planned to make a movie on the subject which would assert that the Jews of Damascus kidnapped and killed the Catholic priest not to use his blood in a religious ritual, but to prevent his revealing a Zionist plot to transport Syrian Jews to Palestine. That absurd, doubly anachronistic motive -- the cover-up by pre-Zionist Zionists of a plot to cross a then non-existent border -- makes for a very byzantine blood libel indeed.
In response to Aaronovitch, Shamir's "Bloodcurdling Libel" column claims without basis that the Damascus blood libel was true (although he doesn't indicate which version he believes, the classic or the new, "anti-Zionist" one). Shamir goes on to argue at length that the medieval blood libels were true as well, however, as with the Damascus blood libel, his basis for this outrageous claim is unclear. He then goes on to highlight two infamous modern anti-Jewish libels for special attention. He writes of the Mendel Baylis case, a 1911 Kiev blood libel in which an innocent man was tried and, after a lengthy trial, exonerated for the ritual murder of a 12 year old boy. He also writes of the Dreyfus affair. Shamir writes that

philosemites of Aaronovitch ilk brought incredible calamities to mankind and to Jews. They excluded a priori the possible guilt of Captain Dreyfus or Beyliss. Instead of standing aside and allowing the justice to take its due course, they created mass hysteria in France and Russia, thus obtaining acquittals but also undermining popular belief in the judicial system. After Dreyfus and Beyliss trials, Jews rose above the law. This caused the backlash of the 1930s, and the back-backlash of our days, and will probably cause a back-back-backlash of tomorrow. In a better world, Dreyfusards and Beylissists would be sentenced for contempt of court; for their unspoken axiom was ‘a Gentile may not judge a Jew’.

One should not believe or disbelieve ritual murders. The ability of men to commit crimes is well known, and there can be monsters like Dr Hannibal Lector of The Silence of the Lambs.

Both Dreyfus and Beyliss were innocent Jews prosecuted because of their religion. Both suffered indignities at the hand of reactionary bigots in positions of power. Both fought to be exonerated within the legal systems of their countries. Both were impeded in doing this by official interference in the legal process. Both, at long last, received just verdicts. Yet Shamir outrageously inverts the facts of these cases to cite them as not only as examples of extralegal preferential treatment given to Jews, he actually goes so far as to blame the rise of Nazism on reaction to this preferential treatment, and to predict that it will cause a similar future reaction to boot.


Shamir's lengthy column, which claims without evidence that Dreyfus and Beylis were guilty, and which cites the brutality of a fictional character as evidence that Jews murder gentiles, is difficult to take seriously. It argues not only that medieval and modern ritual murder charges against Jews are true, it blames Jewish opposition to those charges on a Jewish supremacist conspiracy which culminated in the creation of the state of Israel. Alison Weir cites this column by Shamir as one of her two sources establishing the truth of the blood libel. She also parrots Shamir's absurd linking of opposition to the blood libel with a Zionist conspiracy. It is from this column by Israel Shamir more than from Ariel Toaff where Weir's blood libel derives.




Blessed are the peacemongers?


Weir's blog post also links to an article on the website "Zionists out of the Peace Movement" authored by a blogger called "PeaceMonger". (Read here.) That website has a history of promoting "anti-Zionist" demonstrations outside an Ann Arbor, Michigan synagogue during worship services (read here and here), bringing together anti-Israel activists from the far-left and the far-right. The "Zionists Out" website features a sidebar motto explaining its reason for being:
"The main purpose of this blog is to expose Zionists subverting the peace movement, especially in Michigan. 'Progressive Zionism' is to Zionism what 'progressive Nazism' is to Nazism."



The post to which Weir links continues a previous post entitled Judaism's Culture of Death. (Read here.) In case the title doesn't get the point across, that post is illustrated with an image of death personified: a black-robed skeleton pointing at the reader.





In the blog post, "PeaceMonger" repeatedly quotes that old chestnut description of Jewish holidays, "they tried to kill us, we won, let's eat", absurdly stating that it reflects something sinister about the Jews:

the "culture of death" and "victimization" that permeates Judaism and much of modern Jewish life.

"PeaceMonger" goes on to quote some violent excerpts from the Torah, for some reason neglecting to mention the fact that Christian and Muslim scripture contains similar passages. Then he or she goes on to blame the following on the intrinsically violent nature of Judaism: the unfounded idea that Jews have been victims of oppression, the many wars between Israel and the Arab states, and the assassination of Yitchak Rabin.


The second part of this essay (the one which to which Weir links) is called "Bloody Passovers: The Jews of Europe and Ritual Murders". That post features features the following image, a medieval German woodcut depicting Jews extracting blood from a Christian child for ritual use. ( I believe this particular image depicts Simon of Trent.)


:




In addition to supporting the truth of the blood libel, the "Zionists Out" blog post makes the case that between 30,000 and 90,000 Christians were massacred by Jews during the Persian conquest of Jerusalem in the year 610 C.E.



Gilad Atzmon on organ theft


In support of her medically impossible charge that Israel is conducting a campaign of assassinating Palestinians and stealing their organs for transplantation, Weir's blog post links to a number of sources, some of which she cited in her Counterpunch article, some of them new. Among her new sources is a column by Gilad Atzmon with the academic sounding title "Organ donation and theft in contemporary Jewish folklore". That Atzmon column (read here), which was written specifically in support of Weir's article, oddly focuses on fictional television depictions of Jews dealing badly with issues relating to organ transplantation. (Much of it concerns Larry David's behavior on an episode of the program "Curb Your Enthusiasm".) Atzmon makes the case that the selfish motives of these Jewish characters reflect the truth of Jewish parsimoniousness with respect to organ donation, and Jewish greed with respect to organ trafficking. When it comes to the article which elicited this odd excursion into television criticism, Atzmon praises it and and repeats some of Weir's falsehoods, stating that

"Alison Weir published a shocking yet comprehensive and detailed review of Israeli human organ trafficking and theft. Weir brings to light some staggering cases of organ theft. She starts with an alleged case of a heart being pulled out of a living person without the consent of the family. She also brings to light continuous reports of organs being robbed from Palestinian's bodies."

Those who read my earlier piece on this subject will remember that Weir's Counterpunch article falsely implied that, in the case of the first Israeli heart transplant, the donor was literally killed so that doctors could remove his his heart. Weir's words had their desired effect on Atzmon; in his mind, Weir's implication became an allegation.


Weir's article falsely reported that there was smoke, now her readers argue that where there's smoke there's fire.



Journalistic error or deliberate hate speech?

Alison Weir has had ample opportunity to reconsider her promotion of medieval anti-Semitic myths -- myths which have been used to justify massacre and oppression -- yet she has chosen to reiterate them and to cite new sources in support of them. Rather than thanking her critics for pointing out her initial error in judgment, she has attacked them as motivated by a desire to suppress the facts. Not correcting an error of the magnitude of promoting the blood libel compounds the original error and calls Weir's good faith as a reporter into question. Her impugning the motives of those who point out her error calls into question whether she's interested in the truth concerning this matter at all.


Weir is continuing both to elaborate on her belief in the blood libel and to further disseminate it, even as she claims otherwise. Her Counterpunch article (including the false citation of Israel Shahak which she now disavows) has already been translated into several foreign languages. Weir currently promotes these translations by linking to them on her blog. Although she claims to be devoted to the pursuit of peace in the Middle East, Alison Weir seems intent on poisoning as many minds as possible with medieval bigotry against Jews. This form of activism helps no one.

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