July 18, 2006

Out of the Woodwork

There’s nothing quite like a disturbance in the Middle East to let loose the anti-Israel crazies. Of course, even without any problems in Israel you aren’t exactly hard pressed to find the maniacal ravings of Islamofascists and their dunderheaded supporters. The unhinged wacko Alexander Cockburn, for instance, runs a “website” called Counterpunch, which, it seems, is dedicated to worldwide revolution through the catharsis of anti-Semitism.

Still, our recent peregrinations around Al Gore’s Internet have led us to believe that the anti-Zionist nutters are out in even greater force than usual. And they have a lock on all the best arguments. For instance:

1) If terrorists invade a country, kidnap a few of its soldiers, and bomb its cities, this country is duty bound not to respond in any way. After all, boys will be boys.

2) Occupation causes all the problems in the Middle East—not the ongoing Syrian occupation of Lebanon, but the non-existent, former occupation of southern Lebanon by Israel for reasonable security purposes.

Boy, it’s tough to argue with those solid bits of genius. No wonder so many people have such profound respect for James Zogby.

So, if you’re a fan of the ravings of anti-Zionist kooks, these must surely be halcyon days for you. From the comments page of The Guardian to the aptly named Angry Arab, there’s a treasure trove of anti-Western cant to enjoy. Ah, how happy Ken “The Red” must be.

Perhaps this isn’t much of surprise. After all, it’s not as if there’s a shortage of nimrods out there. And Al Gore’s World-Wide Web has a way of attracting a whole lot of viciousness.

But maybe the recent op-ed pages of The New York Times have been a bit more of a shocker. In the past few days, of course, the world has turned its attention to the conflict in the Middle East. As have a couple of its regular columnists: Notably David Brooks and Thomas Friedman.

Oddly, however, a few infamous columnists at the Gray Lady haven’t troubled themselves to comment on the conflagration much. Good ole’ Nicky Kristof, of course, can’t stop reflecting on his role as personal savior to three Third World women a year, so he hasn’t spilled any ink over Israel recently.

Yet the truculent left-wing trio of Krugman, Herbert, and Dowd haven’t said much either. And we think we know why: Try as they might, they simply can’t come up with a way to blame Bush for Hezbollah’s evildoings. Sure, they can say something vacuous like “Bush isn’t doing enough.” But enough of what, precisely? Diplomacy? Of what sort, exactly?

Ah, there’s the rub. Pace John Stewart, it isn’t really easy to run a superpower. (Oh, and Stephen Colbert: We get it; you’re not really a conservative. Great gag, great gag.)

As a result, Kruggles, Bobby, and Dowdy (as Maureen would call them) come across as op-ed writers in a time warp. They keep on carping on the usual stuff: The horrors of the free market, the horrors of the Iraq War, or, from Ms. Dowd’s pen, the horrors of being a ginger-haired, sexagenarian, radical feminist, pseudo-humorist who can’t—mirabile dictu—find a mate.

At least the anti-Zionist cranks are actually discussing the most pertinent issue of the day.

UPDATE: Well, wouldn’t you know it: Good ole’ Mr. Kristoff decided to discuss the Israel-Lebanon-Hamas crisis in today’s Gray Lady. Yet, given his dismal understanding of the matter, he winds up offering useless pseudo-evenhanded fluff. (See Taranto for a demolition.) Maybe he should stick to his Saving-Third-World-Prostitutes theme.

Posted at July 18, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack