…and over to Alan Gold

November 1, 2010 by Alan Gold
Read on for article

In today’s J-Wire, Peter Slezak answered Alan Gold’s question “Anna Who?’. Gold wrote on the media attention paid to US activist  Anna Baltzer currently visiting Australia. Gold now responds to Slezak….watch this space!

It was as predictable as the salivation of Pavlov’s dogs. The moment somebody stands in defense of Israel, those Jews determined to let the world know of their humanitarian credentials will come out huffing and puffing and snarling. Witness the latest attack by Peter Slezak against me for writing an article about the recent visit by Palestinian activist Anna Baltzer.

Alan Gold

Completely missing (or misunderstanding) the central tenet of my column, Slezak fulminates like Savonarola from his moralistic pulpit and trots out the same tired, hackneyed, conflicted, contested, disputed facts and figures, seeming to conveniently forget that there are two sides to an argument. The majority of my column didn’t discuss Baltzer’s facts or figures, but the fact that because of the person she was, rather than the facts she was bringing to the table, she had become someone on whom the media relied for their information.

Slezak says that “Baltzer’s popularity is not due to her appearance or media naivete, but to the moral force of her position and the uncontroversial evidence she cites.”

Oh, come on, Peter Slezak. If she wasn’t Jewish, or attractive or the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, do you seriously think she’d have been given time in the media to repeat what the media has heard innumerable times before from visiting Palestinians or others?.

Yet Slezak falls back on the same tired formula, boring the pants of his readers, concerning who did what to whom, as though he was bringing these issues to our notice for the first time.

For every fact he can trot out (or more accurately repeat out of the handbook of propaganda gushing daily out of the Palestinian Victimhood Press), so there are facts which Slezak et al conveniently ignore or reject because they don’t fit their blinkered view of the reality of the Middle East.

What Slezak ignores is that my article was a critique of the Media for elevating Anna Baltzer into a spokesperson for the Palestinian cause, just because she’s the daughter of Shoah survivors, just because she’s Jewish, and just because she’s now swung her emotional connection form Israel to Palestine. Not that Baltzer is unique in this regard. Often, ministers of religion on a two-week ‘fact-finding mission’ to the Holy Land, have a quick look around the West Bank, and return to their home countries to conduct press conferences calling for boycotts against Israel.

Yes, some of the many facts with which Baltzer regaled our politicians and reporters, were inaccurate and incorrect, but if Slezak had bothered to read my words carefully instead of exploding like some uncontrolled incendiary device, he’d have realized that what I was saying was that Baltzer, as Slezak himself, was merely acting as a pipeline for propaganda. He might use an encyclopedia of facts to make his case sound impressive, but anybody with a true knowledge of the history and current events in the Middle East could bring just as big an encyclopedia to counter his facts. Truth in the Middle East is all-too often in the eye of the beholder.

What Baltzer was saying was what has been said a thousand time before, by people far more qualified and knowledgeable than her, and hence infinitely more important to be given time and space. Yet because of the ‘qualification’ of her religion and personal connection to the Holocaust, she’s become a representative whom the media is lapping up.

As I said in my article, were she a middle-aged, Christian male who’d spent the same amount of time in Palestine, and written the same book, she’d be lucky to be given any platform. After all, how many Palestinians or Christians and who feel passionate about the occupation and the issue of human rights on the West Bank or Gaza, have tried to gain media attention, but been ignored?

Slezak trots out the usual songs from the historical song books, quoting Amnesty International (until last year, run by the egregious and self-professed anti-Zionist Irene Khan), the report of Justice Goldstone (widely condemned as debased and biased) and a welter of facts and figures about massacres, territory, and populations. Does Slezak quote from Israeli sources? Of course not. How can anybody who sees with one eye, be able to see the other side’s point of view. Does he admit to any wrong-doings on the side of the Arab or Palesinians? Again, of course not. It’s hard to see anything but the road down which you’re traveling, when you’re wearing blinkers.

In my article, I accused Baltzer of being one-sided, inaccurate, politicized and inflammatory. Just as Slezak and other “useful idiots” have accused me. No, that’s not a pejorative or derogatory term I’ve invented. It was first thought to have been used by Lenin to define those intellectuals in the West who were both sympathetic to, and supporters of the Soviet regime. The term implied that while those in the West professed undying admiration for the Soviet leadership, they were actually held in contempt by them, and in a number of cases, were used in the most cynical way.

It’s hard to read the repetitive reproductions of the party line by acolytes like Slezak and Loewenstein of Chomsky, Judt, and other intellectuals, without the phrase ‘useful idiots’ coming to mind.

It would be naïve to suggest that there aren’t rabid and blinkered fanatical Zionists who close their eyes to those actions of Israel’s foundation history, or its present government policies, for which we should all be ashamed, and for which there must be some accounting.

But the vast majority of the Jews, born out by surveys and opinion polls, favour an equitable solution to the Palestinian situation. As does the present Israeli government. Yet what happened when Israeli settlers were forcibly withdrawn from Gaza? Thousands of deadly rockets were fired from Gazan territory as the last Israeli soldier withdrew. Where do Slezak et al mention that? Israel built a defensive wall which has reduced the terrorist murders of  Israelis, Christian and Arabs in Israel close to zero, yet Slezak et al fail to mention that. Have they criticized the United States for its defensive wall against the illegal immigration of Mexicans and the drug runners? No, because they’re so blinkered that their only world view is a strip of land on which Jews are trying to bring live in harmony and peace to the area.

I could never hope to make the Slezaks or Loewensteins of this world change their minds, nor would I particularly want to. There’s a wonderful line in Nikos Kazantzakis’ Zorba The Greek…. ‘you can knock on the door of a deaf man forever…’

My only hope is that while Slezak, Loewenstein and others are promoting the Palestinian cause, they might, just might, one day be willing to listen to another side.

Alan Gold is a novelist and literary critic.


One Response to “…and over to Alan Gold”
  1. Paul says:

    Alan Gold is a shameless liar and a thug. He actually has the gull to claim that his article wasn’t a shameless assassination peice on Anna Baltzer but rather “a critique of the Media”.

    THE NAME OF THE ARTICLE WAS “ANNA WHO?” How stupid does Gold think we are? Have the slightest bit of self-respect for God’s sake, instead of making such shameless lies.

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