On Wednesday I received this email from Larry Cohler-Esses. He was responding to the article I posted this past Sunday which criticized a piece that he wrote in the Nation. (see Fighting Jihad is McCarthyism According to “Nation Magazine”)
Since Mr. Cohler-Esses was decent enough to take the time to respond to my post, I decided to give it its own space rather than just post it in the comments section. His letter was thoughtful although I disagree with much of it, but rather than break up the flow, below is is letter and I have saved my comments for the end of the post.
As you might imagine, as the author of the article in The Nation that you recently criticized, “The New McCarthyism,” I disagree with much of what you have written on this. But for the sake of brevity, I would like to focus on one point you make at the start of your post since it goes to the heart of the misconception that bedevils much of what follows. As you develop your theme further on, it also goes to the issue of my professional history.
In the first paragraph of your post, you state: “Whenever you point out that the statements or writings from the Islamics or Dhimmis are false and twisted you are practicing McCarthyism. At least that [is—sic] what Editor-at-Large Larry Choler-(not Emmes) Esses [sic] says in the latest issue of the Nation.”
Please be kind enough to let the record show that if I was, indeed, stating in my story that “whenever you point out that the statements or writings from the Islamics or Dhimmis are false and twisted you are practicing McCarthyism” I would have to denounce myself as a McCarthyite. Please check out the links below for just a sampling of some of my stories that might interest your readers:
Sowing seeds of hatred
Islamic textbooks scapegoat Jews, Christians
Mike Rips Biased Muslim Textbooks
N.Y. Daily News—4/2/03
Israel Foes Give Hill 50G; Muslim group backs Palestinian use of force
New York Daily News—10/25/00
Hillary donor backed Hamas & Hezbollah—and worked for State Department
New York Daily News 10/26/00
In my story, I was criticizing certain individuals who have a record of seeking to derail the careers of academics they characterize as extremist or intellectually fraudulent by using false and/or distorted information, or by ad hominem attacks against their target’s character. This is, indeed, the defining characteristic of McCarthyism—not criticism of extremists, which I have done in my own investigations.
When the careers and professional reputation of individuals are at stake, respect for accuracy and facts are paramount. As in the 1950’s, our country today faces a genuine, undeniable security threat upon which the New McCarthyists demagogue. Their distinguishing feature is not their concern about this threat. It is their cynical indifference to the truthfulness or decency of their charges. The New McCarthyism undermines and dishonors valid efforts against today’s threat just as the old McCarthyism overwhelmed and dishonored the principled anti-Communism of figures such as Arthur Schlesinger and Reinhold Niebuhr. We can ill afford that now.
My two cents:
Please be kind enough to let the record show that if I was, indeed, stating in my story that “whenever you point out that the statements or writings from the Islamics or Dhimmis are false and twisted you are practicing McCarthyism” I would have to denounce myself as a McCarthyite.
I also criticize you for being to literal with Ms. Stern’s answers. You don’t say it…but when you read the entire piece you certainly get the impression its what you are saying.
As you develop your theme further on, it also goes to the issue of my professional history.
OK now its my turn I just re-read the piece I don’t think I said that. As my readers know, I have a “Self Hating Jew Hall of Fame” where I put Jews who are anti-Israel or over “Dhimmi” I didn’t even hint that you belong there. I have been reading the Jewish Week most of my Adult life and I have never found reason to criticize you before last week.
The Most disappointing part of Mr. Esses reply was that he didn’t address even one of the facts in the post. He said that he couldn’t find in Ms El-Haj’ book any of the historically incorrect and biased sections that she was purported to have written. I gave him the page numbers to find them. Did he find them? Did it change his opinion. I also gave him a link to a genetics paper she wrote—did he read that?
Did he read Professor Dershowitz’s brief on Finkelstein–I gave him the link–were they facts or McCarthyism? Does the fact that Dershowitz was invited to submit the brief change his opinion? Did he look up the Jewish Week article where I found that out?
To me the crux of the issue is what Mr. Esses say in his original article
This is the modus operandi of the New McCarthyism. It targets a new enemy for our era: Muslims, Arabs and others in the Middle East field who are identified as stepping over an unstated line in criticizing Israel, as radical Islamists, as just plain radical or as in some way sympathetic to terrorists. Its purveyors include Campus Watch, run by Arab studies scholar Daniel Pipes; the David Project, supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation; and David Horowitz’s FrontPage Magazine (in October Horowitz organized an “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” on campuses across the nation).
McCarthy made up lies –we expose them. People like Norman Finkelstein make up facts…we report them because in most cases people in the mainstream media don’t. That is the difference that Mr. Esses does not understand. I wonder how often he surfs on Campus Watch (I do every day). I would like for him to point out what lies Daniel Pipes have told, I am unaware. I would also ask him to read the speeches made during Islamo-Facism week and tell me what is McCarthy-like about them (for one of the speeches he can click here David Horowitz is NOT a Raving Lunatic)
If he does all of his homework above reads the page numbers above the articles and websites outlined, not only will I write a post about how wrong I have been but I will submit it the Jewish Week as an Op-Ed piece. Until then Mr. Esses, you have a bit more homework to do before you charge people with being New-McCarthyites.