Pejman Yousefzadeh, Philip Giraldi, Conor Friedersdorf, Andrew Sullivan, Anti-Semitism, and the Further Decline of the Atlantic

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on February 7, 2011

For the many sins I committed in this life, and for the many more I doubtless committed in past lives–each of which featured me dying of old age (the better to get a veritable cornucopia of sins in before expiring)–I have been linked today by Conor Friedersdorf in response to this post. I really have things I would prefer doing this evening instead of engaging in yet another blogfight with someone at the Atlantic, but Friedersdorf completely and utterly misunderstands/misrepresents my post, and I want to set things straight.

We’ll start first with Friedersdorf’s blogpost title “Why Bloggers Avoid Writing About Israel.” Oh, but they don’t. The Daily Dish writes about Israel a great deal. Stephen Walt is famous for writing lots about Israel, and about the Israel Lobby in the United States. His sidebar links to a number of bloggers for whom writing about Israel is their raison d’être. I just scratched the surface here, but I trust I made my point. But more on blog post titles later. Much more. More than you ever wanted to know.

Friedersdorf starts off thusly:

When I blog here at The Daily Dish, I get a couple dozen emails a day from readers directing me to potential fodder. That’s how I came across this post by Philip Giraldi, linked here on 31 January 2011 – as you can see, it’s a relatively short post where Mr. Giraldi asserts three things: a) that Rand Paul’s call to eliminate all foreign aid, including aid to Israel, was getting insufficient press attention considering how unusual it is for a US Senator to say such a thing; b) that Israel is wealthy enough that it doesn’t need our aid; c) and that although Rand Paul has been attacked by the Israel lobby for his statement, President Obama’s review of aid to Egypt would be a good time to examine all our foreign aid to that region.

I excerpted the assertions to that affect, and added only this by way of my own commentary: “It would be a good time to re-examine aid flowing to every region, which isn’t to say that I want to eliminate all of it.”

That’s actually blogger code for this more involved thought process: I’d tentatively love to stop giving aid to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Colombia – especially stuff that flows through the DEA – but I actually don’t know all that much even about the specific US aid recipients that make me uncomfortable, nor do I really know a lot about Israel’s economy or aid to Israel, nor do I have particularly strong feelings about any of it, or a desire to read up on the subject for several hours. So rather than offer some half-cocked opinion about any of these countries, I’ll excerpt this post that seems kinda interesting, especially about Rand Paul bringing a new voice to the Senate. And then I’ll express my vague desire to look at these things more closely, which really is all I’m comfortable saying I think with confidence. Maybe I’ll even get some interesting e-mail back that helps me better flesh out my thoughts.

Uh-huh. Whatever.

This shows why it’s good for the reader that bloggers aren’t forced to make all their thinking explicit. What tedium would ensue! But it was necessary in this post due to the curious way Pejman Yousefzadeh has responded to my earlier, unremarkable item. It seems that the author I quoted, Mr. Giraldi, wrote a controversial letter to the University of Chicago alumni magazine back in 1999, when I was nineteen.

Giraldi did a lot more than that, of course. As I mentioned in my post, “Giraldi believed–he still believes this, by the way–that Israel would try to instigate a war between the United States and Iran, that an effort is being made to frame Iran for American military casualties in the Middle East, that supporters of Israel (or more generally, people with whom Giraldi disagrees) are dual loyalists, and that Jews and Israelis control the media. In addition, Giraldi keeps track of how many Jews are surveyed in news stories(!).”

Moving on:

After quoting the letter, Yousefzadeh says this:

Given Giraldi’s plain and simple derangement, and the derangement that he excites in others, the question arises: Why did Conor Friedersdorf deem it necessary to throw Giraldi a favorable link, and to cite him as some kind of potential authority on the issue of foreign aid? Oh, to be sure, Friedersdorf cites Giraldi on foreign aid while at the same time assuring us that his decision to link to Giraldi’s post “isn’t to say that I want to eliminate all” foreign aid. But why is Giraldi allowed anywhere near the realm of polite conversation when it comes to this, or any other issue, given his insane views? Why is he given any semblance of respectability by a magazine like the Atlantic, which continues to maintain some respectability despite the determined efforts of the people associated with the Daily Dish to annihilate that respectability beyond salvaging?

He titles this post, “Philip Giraldi, Conor Friedersdorf, Andrew Sullivan, Anti-Semitism, and the Further Decline of the Atlantic.”

As it happens, I disagree rather strongly with some of what Mr. Giraldi wrote 11 years ago in that letter to the editor. But that is beside the point. I’ve taken the time to lay all this out because I think what Mr. Yousefzadeh is doing here is just vile, and that he should be ashamed of himself. Unless he is a very stupid man, he knows full well that no blogger in the world, having found a short blog post to excerpt, goes searching through the archives of alumni magazines at institutions they didn’t attend, just in case the person they’re about to link maybe wrote something wrongheaded in the letters section over a decade prior.

And this, is where the nonsense begins.

Notice, first of all, that Friedersdorf confines his comments regarding Giraldi’s writings solely to the letter Giraldi wrote to my/his alumni magazine. As noted, Giraldi has written a lot more than a mere letter, but Friedersdorf completely elides that fact. I am pleased, of course, that Friedersdorf “disagree[s] rather strongly with some of what Mr. Giraldi wrote 11 years ago in that letter to the editor,” though one wonders what Friedersdorf finds worthy of approbation in the letter (Friedersdorf doesn’t tell us).

Secondly, notice that Friedersdorf reads the title of my post, and the excerpt from my blog that he posted, as stating that what I am doing “is just vile,” and that I “should be ashamed” of myself for expecting that Conor Friedersdorf should go “searching through the archives of alumni magazines at institutions they didn’t attend, just in case the person they’re about to link maybe wrote something wrongheaded in the letters section over a decade prior.”

I actually don’t think that Conor Friedersdorf should go searching through alumni magazines, and never wrote as much. I do think, however, that Giraldi’s oeuvre is sufficiently discoverable and searchable so that Conor Friedersdorf could perhaps find out about Giraldi’s obsession with Jews including and beyond a mere letter to an alumni magazine. This obsession involves (I am sorry to have to repeat this, but it bears emphasis): (a) constant accusations without evidence that Israel is nefariously trying to get the United States to fight a war with Iran; (b) constant accusations without evidence that Iran is being framed for American military casualties in the Middle East; (c) constant accusations without evidence that American supporters of Israel with whom Giraldi disagrees are not sufficiently patriotic and have dual loyalties; (d) constant accusations without evidence that Jews and Israelis control the media; and (e) a predilection for counting how many Jews get referenced in a news report, the better to fire off an angry letter about if the number is too high (with no one save Giraldi knowing what constitutes “too high”).

Now, how could Friedersdorf have found out about all of these weird Giraldiisms? Well, it just so happens that this thing called “the Internet” has recorded all of these weird Giraldiisms for posterity. And it just so happens that this thing called “the Internet” can be searched in order to find out about weird Giraldiisms–and any other isms–by something called a “search engine.” I won’t give away the name of this search engine–why spoil a mystery for Friedersdorf as he seeks to find out what it is?–but let’s refer to it as Rhymes-With-Shmoogle.

Rhymes-With-Shmoogle is a lovely thing. It allows me to find out that whatever my disagreements with the policies of the Obama Administration, relying on sites like WorldNetDaily to help me make a case against certain Obama Administration policies is a bad idea, because WorldNetDaily is unhinged. Rhymes-With-Shmoogle points me to critiques of WorldNetDaily that are far more convincing than just about anything that WorldNetDaily writes. Rhymes-With-Shmoogle helps remind me–assuming that a reminder is needed in the first place–that however much the National Enquirer may have been on the nose regarding the John Edwards sex scandal, it is a bad idea to rely on it as a general source of news. And Rhymes-With-Shmoogle helps me discover–along with my own reading–that many a story in a British publication relies inordinately on anonymous sources, which gives one the heebie-jeebies about relying on that story, and the news that it purports to contain.

In short, Rhymes-With-Shmoogle would have helped Conor Friedersdorf discover all of the things I discovered about Philip Giraldi, and his exceedingly unhealthy obsession with Jewish people. It might also have helped him discover that Giraldi may not be coming to this particular debate with clean hands, and that his fulminations regarding Israel may be driven by ulterior motives. Again, it is worth noting–Friedersdorf’s contentions (doubtless disingenuous, unless he really had problems reading through my post) notwithstanding–that Giraldi’s objectionable writings regarding Israel and Jews go beyond a mere letter to an alumni magazine, and that Friedersdorf wasn’t being asked to find some kind of alumni-letter-needle in a haystack. There are plenty of Giraldian writings to be found courtesy of Rhymes-With-Shmoogle, and Friedersdorf could have found them, figured out where Giraldi was coming from, and perhaps decided that he could find a more authoritative, less objectionable source with whom to make arguments that perhaps we ought to reconsider our foreign aid policies.

But no. Friedersdorf failed to use Rhymes-With-Shmoogle, and he actually has the nerve to get upset that I called him on it. Amazing; I thought that journalists are supposed to do research. I thought that they are supposed to make sure that their sources are on the level. Friedersdorf, however, appears to have a different conception. Thus, the following botched attempt at an argument:

Yet here he is condemning me because I failed to banish this man from the realm of polite conversation? And claiming that whole magazines fall based upon such failures?! What kind of incoherent, blinkered model of public discourse is he assuming? At best, his is a system whereby every blog post requires a tedious series of long archival searches – and wherein authors who write perfectly typical blog posts are denied links in a permanent blacklist because of other stuff they wrote in an obscure letter a decade prior. His is also a system where the explicit focus is on the writers and their prior work rather than ideas themselves. I don’t think very much of his system, and the fact that literally no one in the blogosphere has adopted it makes me think that others don’t either.

Rhymes-With-Shmoogle was actually invented to obviate the need for “a tedious series of long archival searches.” I can’t wait for Friedersdorf to discover this tool, so that he is no longer intimidated by tedium at the archives. I can’t wait for him to employ Rhymes-With-Shmoogle to find out all of the information that I found out, using Rhymes-With-Shmoogle. And I can’t wait for him to discover that it only takes a few minutes to do so, as it only took me a few minutes to do so.

As for the rest of the paragraph, note anew that Friedersdorf continues to maintain the fiction that Giraldi’s past objectionable writings were limited to “other stuff they wrote in an obscure letter a decade prior.” Friedersdorf gives birth to, kills, and makes necessary a mournful funeral and a lively wake for scores of strawmen by pretending that I advocate “a system where the explicit focus is on the writers and their prior work rather than ideas themselves.” Fatuous nonsense. One can certainly consider the ideas themselves, and I have never stated or implied otherwise. However, I will admit to believing that there is nothing whatsoever wrong with investigating whether people behind certain ideas are advancing those ideas for ulterior motives. That doesn’t mean the ideas themselves may not be worth considering. That means, though, that people with ulterior motives ought to be excused from polite and adult conversation regarding the matter. There is a difference, however much Friedersdorf may try to pretend otherwise. And contra Friedersdorf, plenty of people consider whether players in various debates come to those debates with clean hands or not. In fact, had Friedersdorf been paying attention to the very blog he writes for, he would have discovered long ago that Andrew Sullivan questions the sincerity of the Tea Party on spending issues, because he believes that the Tea Party did not sufficiently protest (by Sullivan’s lights) George W. Bush’s spending plans. As a consequence, Sullivan believes that the Tea Party lacks credibility on the issue, that it now focuses on overspending simply because it wants to beat up on the Obama Administration, and that it cannot be taken seriously as a consequence. One may agree or disagree with the substance of Sullivan’s remarks, but there is nothing per se wrong with asking whether a person or entity comes to a particular political debate with credibility to the gills, or with clean hands. So it is with the debate over aid to Israel, and Philip Giraldi’s role in that debate. One can debate the nature of aid policy, without asking troglodytes (I am trying to be kind) like Giraldi to be a part of that debate.

But I actually think it’s much worse – that what he’s trying to do is attack any writer who broaches the subject of American aid to Israel, even if neutrally passing along a blog post by another writer – as a rhetorical intimidation tactic. Well, I don’t even think that we should withdraw all aid from Israel, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to be intimidated out of covering cogent arguments on either side of the debate. There’s nothing worse than an intellectual bully.

It is, at best, a spectacularly misinformed claim, and at worst, a damned lie that I am trying to “attack any writer who broaches the subject of American aid to Israel.” Friedersdorf has no evidence whatsoever to back up this claim, and if he has any decency or honor, he will withdraw it (I won’t hold my breath). I made clear in this post–clear enough for anyone, even someone with Friedersdorf’s many limitations–to understand that it is perfectly acceptable to discuss aid policy. To be sure, one ought to wonder about all of the calls to restrict aid to a state the size of Vermont, when a great deal more aid goes to a collection of other countries, and when foreign aid itself is such a minuscule portion of the federal budget that it is almost not worth discussing at all. But those are substantive disputes, not a claim that the issue should never be brought up. I never have written, and do not write now that the issue of American aid to Israel is off the table, nor do I seek, or ever have sought to “attack any writer who broaches” the issue. Again, Friedersdorf has no evidence whatsoever for this claim. If he fails to withdraw it, I’ll know that I am justified in believing that he is not an honest, or serious interlocutor, and that he either cannot understand, or deliberately refuses to understand my post, and my position on the issue.

As for his claim that he (a writer for the Atlantic) is being “bullied” by me (a blogger in my spare time), well, get out your exceedingly small violins, and play a sad dirge for the plight of poor Conor Friedersdorf.

The rest of Friedersdorf’s post is blather, but I want to close by taking on the following misstatement/lie: “. . . I hate it when a poorly reasoned blog post tries to tarnish me with anti-Semitism through some bulls***, guilt-by-association tactic.” The only “bulls***” here is Friedersdorf’s. Nowhere did I write that he is an anti-Semite. Nowhere did I accuse Sullivan of being one. Nowhere did I say that the Atlantic is an anti-Semitic magazine. These statements apparently need to be made, however, because of Friedersdorf’s gift for confusing the issue, and for misleading (inadvertently, because of incapacity, or deliberately, because of dishonesty) his readers. I did write that Friedersdorf and Sullivan have in the past indulged the likes of Giraldi with links that make Giraldi appear credible and within the mainstream, but that is not because of anti-Semitism on their parts. Rather, it is because they can’t use Rhymes-With-Shmoogle to do their homework. I called them “tools” for the same reason, and in the event that Friedersdorf wants to claim that being called a “tool” is like being called an anti-Semite, let me assure him that the meaning is quite different. In the event that Friedersdorf failed to understand the forgoing, let me repeat it again: I DO NOT THINK THAT CONOR FRIEDERSDORF, ANDREW SULLIVAN, OR THE ATLANTIC ARE ANTI-SEMITES/ANTI-SEMITIC. I DID NOT WRITE AS MUCH. I DID NOT IMPLY AS MUCH. I DO NOT WRITE SUCH STATEMENTS NOW, OR IMPLY THEM IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM.

Finally, let’s make sure that we discuss the specific issue of the title of the post Friedersdorf incompetently objects to. As he notes, it is titled “Philip Giraldi, Conor Friedersdorf, Andrew Sullivan, Anti-Semitism, and the Further Decline of the Atlantic.” A number of commenters from Friedersdorf’s post seem to think that by writing this title as I did, I meant to say that Conor Friedersdorf, Andrew Sullivan, and the Atlantic are associated with anti-Semitism, apparently because the words are in proximity with one another. For all I know, Friedersdorf believes this too (I don’t expect much from him). This truly is absurd; since we are dealing with Giraldi, Friedersdorf, Sullivan, the Atlantic, and the issue of anti-Semitism that is part and parcel of this particular debate, I wrote a blog post title indicating as much. But it no more means that Friedersdorf, Sullivan, and/or the Atlantic are anti-Semites than it means that Philip Giraldi writes for the Atlantic. Once again: I DO NOT THINK THAT CONOR FRIEDERSDORF, ANDREW SULLIVAN, OR THE ATLANTIC ARE ANTI-SEMITES/ANTI-SEMITIC. I DID NOT WRITE AS MUCH. I DID NOT IMPLY AS MUCH. I DO NOT WRITE SUCH STATEMENTS NOW, OR IMPLY THEM IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM.

I am sure, however, that since is now firmly saddled on his high horse, and since lacks either the ability, or the honesty to admit that he has made a series of false accusations against me, Conor Friedersdorf won’t take “I am not accusing Conor Friedersdorf, Andrew Sullivan, or the Atlantic of being anti-Semites” for an answer. As such, and as readers will see, I have titled this blog post “Pejman Yousefzadeh, Philip Giraldi, Conor Friedersdorf, Andrew Sullivan, Anti-Semitism, and the Further Decline of the Atlantic” to show that I don’t believe that the proximity of my name to the word “Anti-Semitism” means that I am possessed with either self-hatred, or hatred of my fellow Jews.

I have a feeling, of course, that Friedersdorf’s next post will have him in high dudgeon, accusing me of baselessly accusing myself of anti-Semitism, and demanding that I not bully myself intellectually.

UPDATE: The dénouement, I hope.

  • Demosthenes

    Personally, I’m shocked and disgusted by your anti-Semitism. :)

    But seriously, and in the friendliest of tones, why spill all this virtual ink over Friedersdorf? Surely he’s just not worth it. It’s not like the Daily Dish readers will care, given as they are to breathlessly digesting the latest pearls of wisdom from the Chief of Trig Troofers. It’s not like anyone who tends to agree with Friedersdorf politically will care, because they’ll figure you’re just an obstinate conservative trying to spin his way out of a bad post. And it’s not like the people who read this blog and take you seriously (among them me) really needed the full argument that Friedersdorf either missed or glossed over the point; frankly, we just assumed as much. So why spend the time?

    • Free-range Oyster

      I for one am grateful for the expended virtual ink. There are few things I find more entertaining than an eloquent man engaging and eviscerating his intellectual and/or moral inferiors at his *own* level without ever stooping to theirs. A thorough and intelligent fisking is a joy to behold, and we have a fabulous example using one of the most highly inflated intellectual punching bags ever spawned by the blogosphere. Thank you, Mr. Yousefzadeh, for the wonderful spectacle.

    • irtnog

      Sheesh, is this anything more than a string of poorly interwoven insults?

      One can assume that “the Daily Dish readers” are a varied group, since their numbers are large and since there are a number of topics the blog focuses on (gay rights, conservatism, the Catholic Church, Michael Oakeshott, Britain, Sarah Palin, social uprisings) that are not easily linked to any large interest group. So how can you tell whether those readers will care?

      It’s genuinely difficult to figure out how “anyone who tends to agree with Friedersdorf politically” would object to “an obstinate conservative” since Friedersdorf seems to identify as an Orange County conservative (see, rhymes-with-Shmoogle is your friend).

      And whether or not you think Friedersdorf missed the point (likely) or should have done a cursory search before linking (probably, but no one does so in all cases), it’s odd that someone who writes often about Israel and admits that he didn’t give much thought to the likes of Philip Giraldi should be upset that someone who writes rarely about Israel would not immediately recognize that Giraldi is “plain and simply deranged.”

      In fact, our blogger rhetorically asked why it was necessary for Friedersdorf to throw Giraldi a link and cite him as some kind of authority, then immediately transitioned into threats to Israel and the decline of the Atlantic. Friedersdorf obviously did not introduce Giraldi as an authority — that’s an invention on Yousefzadeh’s part. Moreover, in a post that includes the term Anti-Semitism in its title, repeatedly points out that Giraldi is an anti-Semite, and then wonders why, oh why, Andrew Sullivan is hard on Israel and why he and Connor Friedersdorf link to Giraldi, it’s not hard to see why the casual reader might think the post implies that Friedersdorf is anti-Semitic. It’s even easier to see why Friedersdorf might see the criticism directed at him as such an accusation.

      Look, Friedersdorf would be a stand-up guy if he linked to this piece and said “I was wrong, and Yousefzadeh clearly states that he thinks nothing of the sort.” Yousefzadeh would also be a stand-up guy if he said something like “even though I don’t think Friedersdorf is an anti-Semite, I can see how someone reading my earlier post might have gotten that impression.”

      My prediction: you’ll see neither writer do any such thing, because saying “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong” is apparently really, really hard, but saying “you should be sorry” or “you were wrong” is really, really easy.

      • Dustin

        See, it is really strange that Conor, in talking about Israel, takes Giraldi seriously. Either he is amazingly ignorant about his profession, or he is an antisemite. Pejman is generous and says Conor just didn’t do research, but I think it’s an open question.

        There is a possibility that Conor is an antisemite. That he’s taking a well documented antisemite seriously, and even after being criticized hasn’t seen just how clearly unacceptable giraldi is, really bolds that question mark.

        And your defense is just personal instead of rational. You find some kind of allegiance to kooks like Andrew Sullivan, and refuse to argue in good faith. Pejman owes no apology, and while Conor is far to vague to be called an antisemite, he does tolerate antisemitism in his posts (either out of ignorance or his own bigotry).

  • Anonymous

    I think the more pertinent issue is this: anyone who spent serious time thinking and writing about these issues would be familiar with Philip Giraldi. His writing is as profuse as it is disgusting, and you couldn’t help but have stumbled on it if you were doing anything more than mindlessly regurgitating it. The most damning aspect of this for Conor Friedersdorf is that he purports to offer meaningful insights into the topics he addresses, but evidently hasn’t done the most cursory background research into the Middle East. In fairness, however, he seems to regard himself as an expert on all topics under the sun, the Middle East being only one of the issues he’s evidently mastered in his spare time.

    As far as “banishing someone from polite conversation” (uggh, this kid thinks in cliches) goes, it’s Giraldi who has marginalized himself with writings lacking not only in decorum but in basic human decency. He is a racist. Isn’t that sufficient to disqualify him from participating in an honest discussion of topics in which, as Pejman notes, there are an endless number of alternative sources with bona fide credentials as experts?

    Finally, it tells you something about Conor Friedersdorf that he can’t just admit that he screwed up. Referencing Philip Giraldi is like quoting David Duke. It’s just not defensible. And if Conor and Andrew Sullivan think otherwise, there are a whole host of other examples to which they might be more sympathetic.

    • Dustin

      Very well put.

      There’s nothing wrong with talking about aid, but asking an antisemite about aid to Israel? That’s incredibly stupid. It’s unreliable in the extreme.

      And while Pejman is being extremely charitable about this, Conor had more than enough time to look into Giraldi once he was criticized for his source’s antisemitism.

      He knows now. And he’s not calling Giraldi out on it. Rather, he is defending it by denying the mountain of antisemitism throughout the years and saying only something in some alumni letter was bothersome. He doesn’t even say what we wrong (and he doesn’t say what was worthy about Giraldi, either).

      Conor’s being vague as a self defense mechanism. I suspect he, like Andrew Sullivan, knows that what he’s really trying to say is unacceptable.

      But I’ll say it. If Conor is familiar with Giraldi yet, and isn’t admitting he’s an antisemite, then that is because Conor abides antisemitism.

      • Brian Hepler

        But I’ll say it. If Conor is familiar with Giraldi yet, and isn’t admitting he’s an antisemite, then that is because Conor abides antisemitism.

        I don’t think the one necessarily follows the other. IMHO, the more likely scenario is that Conor has an ego and doesn’t want to admit that he screwed up. It’s more palatable for him to attack than to admit error.

        • Dustin

          I agree. It’s not clear why Conor abides the antisemite. It could be because he screwed up and has an ego that won’t permit him to admit that, indeed, abiding an antisemite like Giraldi is something Pejman was justified in calling attention to.

          It’s possible that Conor was somehow totally ignorant of Girladi’s long list of wicked commentary, and now he’s just being stubborn.

          But my point is that he knows by now what Giraldi is all about. This is a person who cares specifically if a person is a Jew when hiring them as a writer or citing them in a newspaper. Conor knows now, and he defends it by pretending it’s something very minor, or something we should still welcome in discourse.

          Does Conor do it because he hates Jews? That kind of heavy claim is far from justified. I think Brian’s theory that Conor is acting this way out of a wounded ego is much more likely.

          But the Daily Dish is abiding kookery again, either way.

  • Pinkhatflew

    The reason Pejman takes issue with The Atlantic rather than The American Conservative is because he finds it hard to argue intelligently against the content of The American Conservative and settles for policing other outlets like The Atlantic from being influenced by TAC. Thus, it isn’t necessary to argue that any content in TAC is wrong, just that The Atlantic is wrong for linking to TAC. It isn’t necessary to argue that anything in Giraldi’s letter was wrong, we’re just supposed to accept that on the mere word of Pejman who didn’t like the letter.

    • Pejman Yousefzadeh

      Actually, it is because TAC as a site is less at issue here, than Giraldi as an individual writer is. Which you would know if you could read properly. As for Giraldi’s letter, its noxious nature ought to be clear to anyone who isn’t blinded by Jew-hatred.

      • Pinkhatflew

        Please coherently make the case that Giraldi’s letter is anti-semetic rather than expecting your readers to merely accept your accusations at face value. You very case in these two posts of yours depends on your claim that letter is somehow wrong. You haven’t made this case, and it is, of course, highly serving of someone incapable of making a case to say that they don’t have to make one.

        In short, I think you can’t argue against the perspective of TAC/Giraldi and are pleading others to shun those viewpoints in so many words. Which is why you target The Atlantic and not TAC.

        • Pejman Yousefzadeh

          I linked to my own letter written in response to Giraldi stating that it is anti-Semitic,and to other letters as well. It is in my original post on Giraldi. Read carefully, and you will find the link. But again, Giraldi’s Jew-hatred is obvious to those who are not themselves blinded by it, or who are not fools. This is a closed question, however much you and other Giraldi apologists may seek to open it. As such, whatever contrary opinion you might hold, I don’t care. Lunatic thoughts carry no weight with me.

          • Pinkhatflew

            Giraldi’s so called “Jew hatred” is only obvious to those who object to his anti-Zionism and seek to discredit him because of it. He took issue with the way the Holocaust is used as propaganda for Zionism. Oddly enough none of the rebuttals dealt with this issue.

          • Pejman Yousefzadeh

            I see you continue to choose to miss the point, in which case, one cannot help you. Incidentally did he also keep track of how many Jews are mentioned in New York Times stories, and object when he felt that too many were being mentioned, because of “his anti-Zionism”?

          • Pinkhatflew

            There’s a fair amount of ethno-centric bias on the part of the writers of the NYT, it is true.

          • Pejman Yousefzadeh

            And, this is where you make it clear you aren’t worth talking to.

  • tanstaafl

    “I really have things I would prefer doing this evening instead of engaging in yet another blogfight with someone at the Atlantic.”

    Actually, the fact that you engage in the blogfight, rather than do the other things, shows that you prefer the blogfight to the other things. Why don’t you drop it? From what overinflated sense of ego comes your need to criticize this substitute-blogger for Sullivan? Perhaps because he has a valid point that you refuse to even consider, lest it harm your sense of self-worth?

    • Anonymous

      Don’t quit your day job to be a psychologist.

      • tanstaafl

        Wow. I say again: if you would rather not engage in the fight, then go do something else. Go play with your kids or something. (Although I see that you have been described as a “compulsive blogger” by Politico; see; I’m Googling.)

        • SC

          Well, I for one am glad he chose to forgo those other pleasures. Pejman’s post has entertained me. I would quibble only with Pejman’s characterization of his exchange as a blogfight: What he accomplishes is a textbook dissection of the incoherence, inherent sloppiness, and potential dishonesty of the Friedersdorf posts while justly applying the stick of mockery. Friedersdorf deserves to be mocked.

        • Dustin

          You say you think Pejman defended himself from this mountain of nastiness Conor has piled up because you think Conor has some kind of point that harms Pejman’s personal worth.

          What a stupid thing to say. That’s the kind of thing I’d expect of a Daily Dish fanboy, someone who thinks it’s sane to question if Sarah Palin gave birth to her son, or if it was a conspiracy to pretend to do so.

          Look: you have a point. The Daily Dish frequently promotes some of the nastiest ideas on the internet, and then pretends it didn’t really say anything specifically. A link to a kook here, a link to a kook there… how dare anyone note that this shows the Atlantic is low rent?

          But I still appreciate Pejman taking the time to painstakingly detail the process. It’s a long list of distortions Conor made, and I’ll keep that in mind when I read other low rent writers.

          Your ‘go play with your kids’ line is rude, and I have no doubt you’re another Daily Dish kook.

      • Anonymous

        anyone can be a psychologist.

        it’s just ‘applied’ philosophy.

        the trick:
        you don’t get a doctorate, unless you accept the belief that it is a science.

  • Anonymous


    I noticed that you brought up the “credibility” point in relation to the Tea Partiers and their apparent inability to get as riled up about the Bush Administration as they now are about Team Obama. If anything, this shows there’s some daylight betwixt Sullivan and his underling, C.F., and that’s healthy, in my view. Sullivan, it seems, is more inclined to bring up the “clean hands” move as a tactic, whereas C.F. is not. It’d be a mistake to suggest that everyone who writes for a blog is or has to be on the same page regarding how they write.

    • Isleworld1234

      Excellent point. Sullivan is so intellectually lazy and dishonest he uses “clean hands” as a thinly disguised ad hominem. C.F. may be no better than his demented mentor, but he doesn’t employ this tactic.

      My guess is this whole tempest in a teapot, Exhibit A is the limited utility of blogs, was actual laziness on the part of C.F. I freely admit that the name Philip Giraldi was unfamiliar to me until today, but then again most of us would have done at least cursory research before we held this source up as authority. It isn’t much more here.

    • Isleworld1234

      Excellent point. Sullivan is so intellectually lazy and dishonest he uses “clean hands” as a thinly disguised ad hominem. C.F. may be no better than his demented mentor, but he doesn’t employ this tactic.

      My guess is this whole tempest in a teapot, Exhibit A is the limited utility of blogs, was actual laziness on the part of C.F. I freely admit that the name Philip Giraldi was unfamiliar to me until today, but then again most of us would have done at least cursory research before we held this source up as authority. It isn’t much more here.

      • Dustin

        I tend to agree that Conor’s apparent antisemitism is really just Conor being so amazingly lazy that he didn’t know about the famous antisemite he was taking seriously. No one who is well read and not foaming with lunacy against Jews would mention Giraldi as a good place to find an opinion on this subject, but Conor’s lazy. He didn’t really even read Pejman’s posts, IMO. And no one who did 5 minutes of research would have stayed ignorant. But Conor’s lazy, and didn’t do that.

        so he relies on this ‘let’s ignore that a foaming bigot was taken seriously and look at his ideas!’. But that harms what’s left of the Atlantic’s reputation. You can find better discussions about Israel by avoiding Jew haters, Conor. You messed up, and now you’re pretending it’s not even your fault.

        To those whining that Pejman bothers to talk about this: go away.

  • truthseeker

    I think you’re right that Conor should have known more about Giraldi before posting, but I think you are wrong on two counts.

    First, even if Giraldi is a known anti-semite, I want to hear his views. The brilliance of the Daily Dish is how intellectually diverse it is. Air all views and confront the disagreeable ones with logic.

    Second, your title and the post itself was meant to smear Conor/the Atlantic with anti-semitism. Its a bit disingenuous for you to argue otherwise. You didn’t openly call anyone an anti-semite, but you certainly implied it. Just own up to that or admit that your words were, at a minimum, poorly chosen.

    Conor may need to admit the need for better source research, but you need to admit that no voice should be banned from the intellectual marketplace and that you intended to smear Conor/Sullivan/the Atlantic for associating with a known anti-semite.

    • Anonymous

      No one who calls himself/herself “truthseeker” should feel free to lie about my intentions on my blog, and to call me a liar without evidence to top things off.

    • Demosthenes

      Have you never heard of a list?

      Is it your contention that Pejman is now implying his own anti-Semitism?

  • Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » CONOR FRIEDERSDORF responds to Pejman Yousefzadeh, and Pejman Yousefzadeh responds to Conor Frieders…

  • Anonymous

    as for conor…

    of all the anus’ on the internet for this ‘tapeworm’ to find…
    andrew sullivan?

    • Anonymous

      Let’s keep it clean in the comments section, please.

      • mark l.

        my apologies…(feel free to edit my transgression)

        a shorter metaphor:

        never want to see the jpg that combines the two.

  • Fred

    Friedersdorf’s posts belong in MySpace. He finds something in the Internets, cuts and pastes it, ads some inane comment about how somebody should think about thinking about foreign aid (but not him, he’s just a blogger) and, hey, increment the post count by one! But for chrissake, he’s not writing for MySpace. He’s writing for the Atlantic.

    Oh the unbearable lightness of blogging!

  • michaelbn

    Thank you so much, Mr. Yousefzadeh. I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am that there are people like you willing and able, in their spare time no less, to so eloquently and thoroughly Fisk such tools as Friedersdorf and Sullivan.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s the thing. Writers/bloggers for The Atlantic and any other magazine/blog/news source should do their due diligence before linking to another writer/blogger. Unless otherwise noted, a link suggests to readers that the source is credible. If it is not credible, it reflects badly in this case, on The Atlantic and bestows credibility on an unsavory source.

    Here’s the other thing. It’s odd that Andrew Sullivan and Conor Friedersdorf would select a self-identified conservative who has serious issues with Israel, Zionism, Jews and the holocaust to use as a source for some posts about Israel. Most main-stream conservatives are very supportive of Israel so Philip Giraldi is definitely an outlier. What is to be gained by linking to him if not to give themselves and their points of view more credibility? This is more true of Andrew Sullivan who has taken a turn against Israel and come under fierce criticism from conservatives for some of his posts on the topic. What better way to strike back at the criticism than to find a conservative with some impressive credentials who thinks the same way as he does. To give Conor Fierdersdorf a bit of break, he just fills in for Andrew Sullivan and may have assumed that if Philip Giraldi was on Andrew’s blog roll, that he had passed muster.

    Just my two cents worth.

  • Pingback: ‘Rhymes-With-Shmoogle’ : The Other McCain

  • Joe

    Well said. Thanks for taking on the Atlantic. Someone has to do it. I mean, if it makes them feel better they can use that search engine that rhymes with sing instead of the one that rhymes with schmoogle.

  • Elize N.-B.

    “When I criticize Mr. Breitbart, or his sites Big Hollywood, Big Government and Big Journalism, part of my project is pressuring them to do better work. In fact, I’d happily provide my counsel to anyone at those sites privately and free of charge, and I think that much of the critiques I’ve published thus far are constructive.”

    From somebody who does not know Rhymes-With-Shmoogle.

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