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Is the ‘Adbusters’ Guy Anti-Semitic?

Why it shouldn’t matter (even if it probably does)

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Thanksgiving in Zuccotti Park.(Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

Kalle Lasn, the man behind the magazine that launched Occupy Wall Street, continues to open up about what he was trying to do when Adbusters called for an “occupation” on September 17. I wish he wouldn’t. “He remains incensed that the incident was mentioned in a recent column by David Brooks, a New York Times columnist,” reports—who else?—the Times, in reference to the 2004 article, “Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?” and “he has been involved in a discussion with the paper’s letters page about how he can address it.” Lasn adds, “There’s not an anti-Semitic bone in my body. If we’re going to start wars based on the power of neocons’ influence in foreign policy, I think people should know who they are.”

The article is here. Personally, I find it pretty objectionable. “The point is simply that the neocons seem to have a special affinity for Israel that influences their political thinking and consequently American foreign policy in the Middle East,” Lasn claimed. But, of course, that’s not the only point—the only reason to list the powerful neocons and point out which are Jewish is to suggest that the “special affinity” arises out of a dual loyalty. (The “carefully researched” list is also inaccurate: Robert Zoellick is not Jewish and is arguably not a neocon; I imagine the late Richard John Neuhaus cringed at being called neoconservative; etc.) But I’ll let the readers judge.

Meanwhile, Lasn also gave an interview to Mondoweiss, which won’t win him fans among those inclined to cast his view of the Middle East in doubt. “I think another one of the bubbles is a media bubble, because there’s a special sensitivity to this issue, and the Holocaust, and it’s such an emotionally charged thing, and I think the media is quite often pro-Israeli in a knee-jerk way.” Later, he opines:

When I see Israel acting so arrogant and so tough—here’s one of the most powerful military forces in the world, they have nukes—and when I see them cordoning off Gaza the way they do and when they attack Gaza the way they did, it just fills me with rage because this is a powerful bully that is basically turning Gaza into kind of a turkey shoot. I really see it in this kind of very visceral way, like how could they possibly get away with doing this? For me, it’s almost a very black and white battle where, let’s stop arguing about who’s right and who’s wrong, let’s just take sides and start fighting for the human rights and the other rights that the Palestinians should have, and let’s not allow the bully to always win. I mean, it’s time to stop the bully.

To which, among many others, the response would be: why pick on this bully? But I digress, and I mean that, because a New York cover story makes clear that Adbusters has about as much to do with Occupy Wall Street as it does the Tea Party at this point. The leaders of the movement do not include Kalle Lasn. They do, however, include a Palestinian-American named Amin Husain and an Israeli-American named Yotam Maron. They also include dozens of others, thousands of activists, and millions of sympathizers around the world. To reduce it to one article by one extremely marginal figure seems disingenuous. But given that that is what is, inevitably, already happening, there you have it.

The Branding of the Occupy Movement [NYT]
‘It’s Time to Stop the Bully’ [Mondoweiss]
2012=1968? [NY Mag]
Related: Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish? [Adbusters]
Earlier: Busting the ‘Adbusters’ OWS Story

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Is this Alka Seltzer ad Anti-Semitic?

Marc R says:

Actually, the response would be: Isn’t the bully the party that is shooting rockets at innocents?

Which bully?

as a person unfortunate enough to have been part of an extended mass e.mail exchange with Kalle Lasn over an article he wrote comparing the Gaza strip to the Warsaw Ghetto, i can unquestionably say he is anti-semitic. i define this as a person who will apply a separate moral code to Jews than to anyone else. in Lasn’s case, it also includes a person who will forget facts that are inconvenient to his case. let him talk. the more he talks, the less seriously people will take him – that much is what i learned from the exchange.

Bill Pearlman says:

This guy and Phil Weiss in a room. Talk about channeling the Wansee conference of 1942

In the Neocon article Lasn asks:

If half the neocons were Palestinians, would the US have invaded Iraq?

The knee-jerk response is no because Iraqis and Palestinians are both Arabs.

But that’s ironic isn’t it – because a so much of the violence in Iraq seems to have come from a civil war between Arab Sunnis and Arab Shiites.

People of the similar religious or ethnic backgrounds are quite willing to kill eachother.

(One could not argue that Palestinian neocons would have shared strategic interests with Iraq because then they wouldn’t be neocons).

Josh Finkel, an anti-Zionist leftist argues that the US is not run by Jewish neocons.

“It should be simple enough to understand that, beginning in 1967, the interests of U.S. capital coincided with the economic and expansionist needs of Israel, and that therefore the U.S. ruling class has, since then, supported Israel.

“Indeed, the fact that Israel maintains a huge lobbying effort in Washington suggests that it understands all too well that this marriage of interests may be temporary.

“The needs of U.S. capital may shift, causing Israel to be viewed as more of a liability than an asset.

“Because Israel’s elites, along with American Jewish elites, know full well that they do not control the U.S. ruling class, massive efforts to influence the American public and Congress have been organized. “

omg , antisemitism is such a joke, it does not exist . this author is yet another failed zionist neocon idiot, neocon zionist do control the banks an the wars , the media can deny it as long as they want., not like anyone takes them seriously these days anyway..

So is OWS paying Tracy to argue it isn’t antisemitic? That’s the only explanation. We know somebody is paying jules to be antisemetic.

I’m not anti-semitis I’m antiseptic. I’ve a fresh clean mouth and a social conscience which is maybe much more than one can say for you Mike.

Clearly hit a nerve with Jules. He just proved he’s a payed shill for for terrorists and Jew haters. Jules is the one percent working for petro dollars. Watch his angry response. It’s what people like him due when you get to the truth.

Mike, you really have aggravated mental problems to cope with and I cannot be of any assistance to you other than to suggest you see a professional.

I pit you.

A disastrous boondoggle war waged on a totally false premise is summed up by a smug preening TV pundit millionaire in three insane words.

I’m not anti-semitic and I realistically really resent witch hunters characterizing me as such. What I am to anybody with one whit of authentic intelligence is against everything that the neocons did to destroy this country. It’s liberties, its economy, and its national sanity.

Jules regularly posts anti-Israel and anti-Semitic links and comments. His being able to do this is the price of freedom of speech and open comments.

Thanks for the laughs Jules. I pit you too.

ben Dish says:

ADBUSTERS ran a photo story juxtaposing photographs from the Third Reich with images from Palestine. if that ain’t anti-semitic ? A very similar layout can be found here,

I can not find the adbusters story, but I have seen it before, and it is very similar to what finkelstein has on his website

Here is a link to an “interview” on their website. The interviewee is a well known fool in the pro-Palestine camp

just google adbusters and palestine, and I think their stance is as nuanced as those sleeping in tents in a blizzard near Wall Street.

monkeymug says:

The point is not that they are Jewish but that they serve the imperatives of Israel, which only happens to be a Jewish state. If you believe in separation of religion and politics then criticizing Israel is nothing like antisemitism. Lasn is no antisemitic. This is a myth created by neocons to defend their positions of power.

Hasan Bhatti says:

*snaps to monkeymug* anti-semitism now seems to be a catch phrase for anything that even comes close to criticizing Jewish interests… aren’t we Jews allowed to criticize ourselves a bit about our actions, especially for a political state that claims to represent our interests?

Hasan I could not agree more. Without criticism there is no learning and without learning there is no growth.


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Is the ‘Adbusters’ Guy Anti-Semitic?

Why it shouldn’t matter (even if it probably does)

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