I’ve been told by friends and colleagues that I’m wasting my time to engage with Phil Weiss and his cronies and devotees at his blog, “MondoWeiss,” but I’ve taken this as an opportunity to learn more of the depth of venomous feelings for Israel and what is presumed to be “Zionism” by people on the fringe and not-so-fringe left.
Sometimes Weiss argues for justice for the Palestinians. At other times, the high-minded stuff goes out the window and you get a crude gut reaction that expresses narrow self-interest and fear, such as: “As for one-state/two-state, I don’t care: All I want is self-determination for 4 million Palestinians, or our buildings will get blown up.” (What does this say of how Phil really feels about Palestinians or other Arabs?)
We engaged in a public dialogue with Phil last year and he occasionally gives us a civil nod, but often we are simply a whipping boy for he and his confreres to flog on his blog as either ill-intentioned or deluded “Zionists.” This exercise raises my blood pressure, but its main challenge is that most of his contributors and readers are so hidebound and extreme in their beliefs.
I’ve debated Phil via email and in several instances, he and some of his collaborators on his blog site. These are links to our online debates:
Phil links with the extreme anti-Zionist blogger Joachim Martillo. If you’ve got the stomach for it, you can judge for yourself whether he is an antisemite or just someone who goes off the deep end. Martillo claims to be Jewish, but his Web postings and his comments drip so heavily of invective on “Zionist Jews,” with dark predictions of what will happen when gentiles get wise to them, that he seems antisemitic to me. I understand from colleagues that his wife, who’s in the same “business” of virulent anti-Zionist activism, is even worse.
I asked Phil what he thinks about the antisemitic comments that he attracts; he responded that he’s concerned but doesn’t see this as a reason to modify his views. His blog, with its constant drum beat on the evil influences of “Zionism” and the “Israel Lobby,” is a veritable petrie dish for cultivating hatred. When I challenged him for linking to Martillo’s site on his blogroll, and for commenting approvingly of Gilad Atzmon, an expatriate Israeli who inveighs not only against Israel and Zionism but also against Jews and Judaism, this is how Phil responded: “I don’t study Martillo or Atzmon, but I find they have interesting ideas….”