Though still curiously acceptable in some corners, the Middle East-focused site Mondoweiss has graduated from mere Jew-counting to front-page publishing of Holocaust deniers. In his June 23rd screed, Atzmon and Jewish identity, site proprietor Philip Weiss published part of an interview he granted to Atzmon for Atzmon's own site. While Mondofront will likely still have its same supporters here after the Atzmon piece, I believe it's clearer than ever that while Mondofront has plenty of readers who likely do not subscribe to some of the hatemongering that has become a hallmark of the site, it has rapidly become an unfortunate hate site with--at best--a questionable place in the progressive sphere.
After the fleur-de-Kos, we'll look at Mondo's increasing relationship with Holocaust deniers Jeffrey Blankfort and Gilad Atzmon, as well as the Jew-counting that has become a hallmark of Mondofront, and the Jew-washing that has effectively allowed them to escape much consequence for the noxious affiliations.
Mondofront and Holocaust Deniers
One of the more classic anti-Semitic tropes is denial of the Nazi Holocaust that resulted in the murder of some twelve million people, about half of whom were Jewish. Whether explaining the deaths away as the result of typhus, casualties of war, or numerical fabrication, Holocaust denial (often under the guise of "historical revisionism") has become en vogue for those with an agenda of anti-Semitism. Holocaust denial can range from full denial that there were any death camps or gas chambers to denial of some of the more odious facts of the period.
One party engaged in the act of Holocaust denial is Jeffrey Blankfort. Blankfort, who remarked, "I do not believe there was any official Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews because, had there been, there would not have been close to a million left alive," is a journalist and activist who has front-page pieces at Mondofront. Blankfort, who was most recently seen on Mondofront complaining about Jewish money in political campaigns, also believes that Zionism is to blame for whatever aspects of the Holocaust he is willing to accept as fact:
Zionism and the writings and preachings of zionists served as an impetus to the destruction of European Jewry by the 3rd Reich. After all, both Hitler and Eichmann read Herzl who wrote that Jews could not live among non-Jews without creating anti-semitism (which made it, therefore, a Jewish creation, no?) and you had German Zionists welcoming the Nuremberg Laws because, as Rabbi Joachim Prinz put it, “German Jews would no longer be able to hide in the woodwork.”
It would seem odd that a site like Mondo, which claims to be "devoted to covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, chiefly from a progressive Jewish perspective" would welcome the writings of someone as clearly non-progressive as Blankfort. However, it isn't just Blankfort. Just last week, site proprietor Philip Weiss authored a piece promoting an interview between Weiss and Gilad Atzmon on Jewish identity.
By any reasonable measure, Gilad Atzmon is both a Holocaust denier and unabashed anti-Semite. In his piece, Truth, History, and Integrity: Questioning the Holocaust Religion, Atzmon writes:
If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein - free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war?
I am left puzzled here, if the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war? Why didn’t the Jews wait for their Red liberators?
I think that 65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we must be entitled to start to ask the necessary questions. We should ask for some conclusive historical evidence and arguments rather than follow a religious narrative that is sustained by political pressure and laws. We should strip the holocaust of its Judeo-centric exceptional status and treat it as an historical chapter that belongs to a certain time and place.
Atzmon starts with the classic Fox News tactic of "just asking questions," and manages to suggest that maybe the Nazis didn't have it out for the Jews, and maybe Auschwitz wasn't a death camp, and that the story of the Holocaust is merely "a religious narrative that is sustained by political pressure and laws." However, Atzmon doesn't stop at Holocaust denial, he goes full Protocols in his "On Anti-Semitism" polemic:
Since America currently enjoys the status of the world's only super power and since all the Jews listed above [Prior to this point in the article, Atzmon did a little Jew-counting, something described in greater detail below. -ED] declare themselves as devoted Zionists, we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously. It is beyond doubt that Zionists, the most radical, racist and nationalistic Jews around, have already managed to turn America into an Israeli mission force. The world's number one super power is there to support the Jewish state's wealth and security matters. The one-sided pro-Zionist take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the American veto against every 'anti-Israeli' UN resolution, the war against Iraq and now the militant intentions against Syria, all prove beyond doubt that it is Zionist interests that America is serving. American Jewry makes any debate on whether the 'Protocols of the elder of Zion' are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world, by proxy. So far they are doing pretty well for themselves at least. Whether the Americans enjoy the deterioration of their state's affairs will no doubt be revealed soon.
Atzmon goes on to delve into the centuries-old "Jew as Christ-killer" libel:
I would suggest that perhaps we should face it once and for all: the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus who, by the way, was himself a Palestinian Jew. But then two questions should be asked:
1. How is it that people living today feel accountable or chased for a crime committed by their great great great ancestors almost 2,000 years ago? I assume that those Jews who get angry when blamed for killing Jesus are those who identify themselves with Jesus's killers. Those who would commit this murderous act today. Those Jews are called Zionists and they are already advancing into their sixth decade of inhuman crimes against the Palestinian people and the Arab world. Zionism, for those who do not know, is a repetition of the darkest age of the Jewish Biblical era. It isn't that surprising therefore that Zionists have selected the most suicidal chapters in Jewish history (such as Massada and Bar Cochva) and turned them into the pillars of their reborn culture. On the other hand, we must praise the Zionists for being consistent. Zionists claim that the whole of Palestine belongs to the Jews because their Jewish ancestors lived there 2,000 ago. Jews attempting to live on confiscated Palestinian lands nowadays regard themselves as the same Jews who lived in Palestine two millennia ago. This must explain why Zionists are so offended when they are blamed for theactions of Judas. They are offended because they are all Judases. Might I remind the reader that the Judases of today are armed with hundreds of nuclear weapons without being signed to any international control treaty.
2. Why is it that the Jews who repeatedly demand that the Christian world should apologise for its involvement in previous persecutions, have never thought that it is about time that they apologised for killing Jesus? I wouldn't ask the Italians to apologise on behalf of the Romans for their part in Christ's killing simply because Italians do not feel remotely offended when Romans are blamed for it. I merely suggest that if a Jew feels offended when accused, this reveals attachment to the perpetrators. It might be the right time for the Jewish state to ask for forgiveness on behalf of the Jewish people for their immoral behaviour.
One would think that Atzmon would have no place on a supposedly progressive blog like Weiss'. But if you look at Weiss' history of Jew-counting, the relationship between the two might not be as surprising as you think.
Mondofront and Jew-Counting
I've authored two diaries (here and here) that document Mondofront's practice of Jew-counting. Jew-counting is the practice of identifying and singling-out Jews based on their Jewishness. Nixon famously did this with Fred Malek during the Pentagon Papers episode, and Weiss shamelessly repeats the practice, and does so unapologetically.
Similarly, in his "On Anti-Semitism" polemic, Atzmon lists a bunch of Jews in the Bush administration, and says "[l]et me assure you, in Clinton's administration the situation was even worse. Even though the Jews only make up 2.9 per cent of the country's population, an astounding 56 per cent of Clinton's appointees were Jews. A coincidence? I don't think so." Atzmon's Jew-counting is right at home on Weiss' site.
It was asked by another user that if Philip Weiss wasn't born Jewish, and was instead "Philip Henry Madison IV, a Southern Baptist, would anyone be giving him the time of day given what his site spews?" Obviously this is a hypothetical question, but I believe the answer to be no. Because Weiss engages in noxious memes like Jew-counting, and features bona fide anti-Semites of Jewish descent like Jeffrey Blankfort and Gilad Atzmon, he cleverly Jew-washes the hate he peddles under the conceit that since the contributors are Jewish, they can't possible be anti-Semitic. When he combines that with his effective maxim that any accusation of anti-Semitism is necessarily false because he is ostensibly advocating for the Palestinians and thus just a victim of Zionist hasbara or the like, he publishes hate material and hides behind his ethnicity. Unfortunately, there are plenty who would consider this ample cover. I would, however, disagree.
Mondofront poses something of a challenge, because not everything they publish is soaked in the kind of hate that Weiss seems most comfortable dabbling in. While their "Today in Palestine" news series features some silly hyperbole, it is a generally good news aggregator of Palestinian and Israeli news sources. It's worth noting, however, the real value is in the content from non-Mondofront sources. There is also non-bigoted commentary interspersed among the less tolerant pieces. The question is, at what point does the clear indulgence of anti-Semitism outweigh the quality pieces? If Gilad Atzmon, Jeffrey Blankfort, and the like are not enough, if we accept that--despite Mondo's statement that they moderate comments--the reams of hate in the comments section are not reflective of the site itself, how bad does it have to get before Mondo is recognized for the hate site it either has devolved or is devolving into? The answer probably isn't an easy one, and there sure won't be a consensus, but it is a question that merits examination.