In a Salon article published on Monday titled "Brutal, ugly and illegal: nine things you need to know about the Israeli occupation of Palestine," David Palumbo-Liu, the Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor at Stanford University and Professor of Comparative Literature, recommended alternative websites for readers to learn about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Find out more on your own from multiple sources – do not rely solely on the US mainstream media for your information. Look at Mondoweiss, the Jewish Voice for Peace, the American Friends Service Committee, Electronic Intifada, If Americans Knew."
Tablet magazine first exposed this troublesome passage, which lists several anti-Semitic hate sites.
If Americans Knew was founded by Alison Weir, and has been widely accused of anti-Semitism, even by anti-Israel groups like the US Campaign to End the Occupation and Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as mainstream groups like the Anti-Defamation League. In addition to blaming Jews for anti-Semitism, Weir has defended the historical blood libel, which accuses Jews of murdering Christian children in order to harvest their blood to make matzo for the holiday of Passover. Weir has published articles and appeared on the radio shows of noted white supremacists and Holocaust deniers, including one incident in which the host played a speech from David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, and "Weir made little to no effort to challenge, confront, or rebut any of these views; on the contrary, she continued to appear on the show," according to the US Campaign to End the Occupation. Only last month, If Americans Knew echoed David Duke in criticizing the Obama administration for nominating Merrick Garland, a Jew, to the Supreme Court on the basis that there will be "disproportionate representation" of Jews on the Court.
Weir's website has been the subject of a great deal of controversy in the last month, as well as the last year, so it is extremely surprising to see a prominent anti-Israel activist like Professor Palumbo-Liu recommend it to readers. Over a day after the article was published, Palumbo-Liu added an update, writing: "While the organization If Americans Knew, which was previously listed here, provides much useful information from reliable, neutral sources, I disagree with many of the public comments of its director. I have removed the original reference to prevent any confusion.)" Evidently, Palumbo-Liu believes that a site rife with anti-Semitism can still be a good outlet to find "reliable, neutral sources."
Several of the other sites recommend and not retracted by Palumbo-Liu have also been accused of anti-Semitism. Mondoweiss has become popular in anti-Israel circles, but often publishes astonishingly anti-Semitic material, using classic anti-Semitic imagery such as depicting Jews as spider, cockroaches, or octopuses with tentacles controlling others, and Holocaust inversion. Its hatred of Israel is as deep as it is vicious.
In a blog post on Mondoweiss titled "Forgiving the Anti-Semites," Mondoweiss founder and leader Philip Weiss excuses anti-Semitism by referencing small anecdotes from his personal life that might confirm hateful stereotypes, and goes on to write the following:
"I remembered a conversation I'd had recently about anti-semitism with a non Jewish friend in Jerusalem. An American Protestant of the I-hate-religion variety, he asked me to explain the Israel lobby. I said that it reflected a contract the American establishment had made with Jews to drive the economy in the 1970s. We were really good at the four horses of the global economy (finance, software, education, and media), and people thought we were smarter, and maybe we were smarter; Yuri Slezkine says we are the magicians and the priests of modernity; and in exchange for that leading role, the government would support Israel. Brian Roberts runs the world's largest media company, Chris Matthews works for him and supports Israel."
This ridiculous conspiracy theory of a secret agreement between America's Jews, (collectivized as one, of course) to support the US economy in exchange for US support for Israel has been defended by Weiss, and is not atypical of Mondoweiss' writings. As David Bernstein writes in The Washington Post, "These are all hateful things that we would all recognize as such if coming from the likes of David Duke."
Electronic Intifada, another of Palumbo-Liu's recommendations, is also a deeply problematic site. Its founder and executive director, Ali Abunimah, calls Zionism the Holocaust's "continuation in spirit", compares the Israeli press to the Nazi Der Sturmer, and mocked the kidnapping of three Israeli children, who he deemed "Boers." Rana Baker, Abunimah's colleague at Electronic Intifada, went even further, writing "Wonderful wonderful news that three settlers have been kidnapped. Celebrations celebrations. Cheers everybody (Zionists excluded)!" and "I find the comparison between Palestinian and Israeli boys very very ridiculous, not to say disgusting altogether" on Twitter. Nigel Parry, co-founder of EI, defends Palestinian violence against Israeli settlers, and called the targeting of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin "Israel's version of a bus bombing." Abunimah supports eliminating Israel and imposing a one-state solution, acknowledging that "coercion is necessary." Radical to the end, Abunimah has called the President and Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority "collaborators," for participating in peace talks.
This latest appearance of Palumbo-Liu's anti-Israel fanaticism is not surprising to students who have been attentive. Writing in the Huffington Post, Palumbo-Liu has previously perpetuated the libel that Israel is endangering the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. First introduced by a man commonly known as "Hitler's Mufti," the renewal of this lie has recently sparked a wave of stabbings and murders in Israel. In this article, Palumbo-Liu cites www.intifada-palestine.com, a website he allows to cross-post his articles, which Palumbo-Liu in turn publicizes on Twitter. This website promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, such as Israeli control of ISIS, publishes known Holocaust deniers, and openly references writings from David Duke's website. In the previous link, Palumbo-Liu's article is on the sidebar of a page favorably citing the website of a KKK leader and neo-Nazi.
Palumbo-Liu's radicalism has also been felt closer to home. Palumbo-Liu moderated an event with Steve Salaita, the author of Israel's Dead Soul currently suing the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after his offer of a tenured professorship in American Indian studies was withdrawn due to his anti-Semitic tweets. In his introduction, Palumbo-Liu referred to "wealthy donors [who] campaigned to kill the appointment," and labelled Salaita as a "composed, decent, dignified scholar" who has displayed "such class, honesty and courage under unimaginable pressure," and whom he was "proud to call . . . a friend." All this, regarding the author of tweets such as: "Zionists: transforming "antisemitism" from something horrible into something honorable since 1948" and "At this point, if Netanyahu appeared on TV with a necklace made from the teeth of Palestinian children, would anybody be surprised?"
Palumbo-Liu also posted on Twitter in support of the "Stanford 68", 68 students who blocked the San Mateo bridge, causing four car crashes and keeping an injured child, from getting to the hospital, allowing him to succumb to brain damage. Palumbo-Liu noted that students had been arrested on Martin Luther King Day, and added "Hey, that's my Ferguson class. Nice."
Stanford students: this is who is teaching you!