On Glenn Greenwald, and the Reaction to Benjamin Kerstein's Article

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 10, 2010

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So, in reaction to Ben Kerstein’s takedown of Glenn Greenwald’s anti-Israel tropes, Greenwald responded with nothing more than empty, and meaningless contempt. I mean, is it really possible to call comments referring to Kerstein as “a standard-issue, Israel-devoted neocon smear artist whose self-selected slogan is ‘Bostonian by birth, Israeli by choice’” (emphasis Greenwald’s), a reference to his article as being “filled to the brim with trite neocon attacks that once worked to deter free debate but are now pitiable in their impotence,” and the statement that “[m]ost of this is self-refuting, and more than that, gratifying. I view the increasingly unhinged attacks by the worst neocon elements to be a vindication of what I’m doing. I see them as pernicious and destructive, and genuinely welcome their contempt” an actual substantive reply to the charges Kerstein so devastatingly leveled? This reads more like something one would encounter at a playground.

Of course, the most significant effect of Greenwald’s “reply” is that it brought out readers like, oh, say, this guy. And of course, attempts were made to lodge similar replies in the comments section to Kerstein’s post. Here at the New Ledger, we are rather proud of being anti-anti-Semitic, so we deleted those comments, but obviously, Salon has different standards.

I try not to swear when I write blog posts, and this is the closest I will come to swearing, but the following must be said: Greenwald is not responsible for attracting anti-Semites to his blog, just as s*** is not responsible for attracting flies. But the fact that s*** does attract flies tells you something about s***. To be fair, of course, I suppose it is worth noting that it could be Greenwald behind these comments. Wouldn’t surprise me.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/XSHYRBYUYJSY6AMJUDKOSIUMDA Matt

    Give me a break. Kerstein's piece is at least as hysterical, unfair, sophomoric and playground-ish as Greenwald's typical writings.

    Game, set, match when Kerstein writes crap like this: “Indeed, Greenwald is such a quintessentially anti-American, pseudo-pacifist, pro-terrorist, self-hating Jewish liberal that that he essentially constitutes a living cliche.”

    Biased much?

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    Truth hurts?

  • ProudZionist

    “Greenwald is not responsible for attracting anti-Semites to his blog, just as s*** is not responsible for attracting flies. But the fact that s*** does attract flies tells you something about s***.”

    “This reads more like something one would encounter at a playground.”

    Yup.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/XSHYRBYUYJSY6AMJUDKOSIUMDA Matt

    Ow! It stings!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/V33IEFEPYAAYFFYLBW3V6RBAAY T.H.

    Exactly what is incorrect about that quote? As the cliché goes, if it quacks like a duck, and it waddles like a duck, and it has feathers like a duck…

  • http://twitter.com/BryanBean Bryan Bean

    Actually, this is more like something you'd hear at a bar, not a playground. Goodonya, Mr Y.

  • http://twitter.com/BryanBean Bryan Bean

    I disagree. I think Kerstein is about right. So, where does that leave us?

  • David Gillies

    My God but the vociferousness one encounters in even the most weak-tea defence of Israel never fails to astound me. Israel really is sui generis in so many people's minds. I've found a useful argumentative trick is to steadily strip away one's interlocutor's agreement on what Israel qua Israel the state is legally and morally permissible to do. It might take a bit of chipping, but sooner or later (and quite often sooner) you expose the inner core: the belief that the existence of Israel itself is fundamentally illegitimate and thus any defence against aggression is ruled out. And then you can unwind the hatred and see where it is coming from. No matter how superficially rational the anti-Israel arguments appear, they conceal a kernel of Judenhass. That's completely refractory to history or argument. You can trot out the Treaty of Lausanne or the San Remo Conference or the Balfour Declaration or UN Resolution 181 and you'll just get a head cocked to one side like when you try to teach a spaniel the finer points of integral calculus.

    It's analogous to the age-old question: can one be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic? Sure, one can, but one almost always is not. Can one be anti-Israel without being anti-Semitic? Under some strange deformation of reality, I dare say the possibility exists, but it has yet to be exhibited.

  • spongeworthy

    Neither the Sock Puppet or his puppets want to bother dealing with the real issues in Kersteins work. Greenwald ignored every bit of evidence that might damage his case against Israel. Even when confronted about it, he ignores it and calls names instead. There are only a limited number of reasons he might ignore and continue ignoring this evidence. None of them reflect well upon Greenwald, as is obvious from his response and those of his defenders.

    Rather than even attempt to explain why Greenwald chooses to play obtuse, they attack Israel, neo-cons, try to re-write history and call names. If you Sock Puppet puppets had a case, you'd try making it. You're not fooling anyone.

  • JeffWeimer

    Yes, Kerstein said that, but proceeded to back up his opinions. What did Greenwald do? A variation on “I am rubber, you are glue.”

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