Sean McBride
What made Mondoweiss great was simply Phil Weiss being himself.
Andrew Sullivan's blog is about Andrew Sullivan. Glenn Greenwald's blog is about Glenn Greenwald. Juan Cole's blog is about Juan Cole. Stephen Walt's blog is about Stephen Walt. Richard Silverstein's blog is about Richard Silverstein. Shouldn't Mondoweiss be about Phil Weiss? Perhaps it needs to recover that focus. - Sean McBride
What threw Mondoweiss off balance -- Phil managed to garner much more engagement in numbers and passion than most blogs, which is a tribute to his talent. But then the culture of that engagement among his commenters begin to compete with Phil himself for attention. Phil needs to figure out how to handle this odd social dynamic and get the focus squarely back on himself -- not on his commenters or assistants. - Sean McBride
Mondoweiss attracted many people that Read Walt's blog. Walt seemed to suggest that Weiss was one of the people inside the community that would bring the fight inside the Jewish realm in the US, which may be why some of the banning has come into play (not offending those people with delicate sensitivities). And I think Weiss is leading the charge, but I'm not sure if were seeing a ground swell of change from American Jews in general, but that also is tied to the media whitewashing the issues. Cast lead, 4 years ago, started the gears turning with flotillas that exposed the prison like conditions of Gaza. Then BDS is here and there, but often gets sidelined by American Jewish organizations. Some in Hollywood have also stood up to the boycott, etc. - Chu
The cautionary tale for MW is the Daily Kos. Except that MW was always more about Phil than DK was about Kos. But is that where Phil wants to be going? - potsherd
I've never had any complaint about Mondo or the content or the commentary. I thought it had near about the perfect mix of Phil's aim at the Jewish community and then all the different voices of commenters. Seemed to work to me. If it isn't broke, don't fix it. . - American
You know, I think there was a bizarre twist in the road when Jerome Slater was granted a prominent platform to attack the entire Mondoweiss community of commenters -- seriously -- how weird is that? To insult your own readership? That's when Mondoweiss began to blow up. - Sean McBride
Slater hates gentiles. He thinks 99% of us are antisemites and responsible for everything that ever happened to the Jews. I am not interested in what anyone with that pov has to say. Except to poke holes in their assigment of 'collective blame' to all non Jews while accusing us of 'collectively blaming' Jews for everything. - American
Phil does seem to be back and has yet to address the banning issue. - potsherd
American -- I felt major cognitive/emotional dissonance with Jerome Slater: the content of much of his writing was impeccably rational and progressive. The emotional vibe underneath the writing sometimes veered into Kahanist xenophobia -- I could feel the paranoid tribalism and hate. He greatly reduced my enthusiasm about the Mondoweiss experience and my motivation to post comments there. The hostile force field pushed me away. - Sean McBride
potsherd -- Phil has no obligation to explain his editorial or moderation policies, I guess. It's his show. If he intends to move in the direction of pragmatic Jewish-oriented pro-Palestinian political activism, that's his prerogative. It may be the best move, actually, from a political standpoint -- many of the discussions in the comments section are producing little in the way of practical political results. - Sean McBride
Sean, I agree with you about Slater. I think that what Slater shone a light on is the way tribalism works. He may be a progressive and rational enough about lots of issues. But deep down he believes - like 70% of Jewish Americans and 100% of israelis that all gentiles are anti-semites at heart, and most simply cover it up better than others. In this he is much like Bruce and others that Jeff Blankfort called out by name many times over. Accepting that there is this presumption of anti-semitism lurking in the deep dark little hearts of the goys is the ONLY way to understand the extreme irrational and petulant tone Slater has taken in the comment section. It's the only way I could understand his nasty, petty and condescending e mail to annie (that she shared with us), where he all but called her a stupid shiksah, who needs to remember where she came from. Well, kind of. That Slater would carry such ugliness in his soul can only be explained by a view of the world where he sees Jews as eternal victims, forever living in the shadow of imminent persecution. Psychologically, it's the most obvious way to understand why people like him and Bruce become so thin skinned when engaged in a debate where jewish and non-Jewish people may be in attendance - as equals. This is part of what Atzmon meant by "Jewishness" - a tribal affiliation that allows a member to see themselves as permanently endangered, which, by association gives them somehow the right to lead any movement that touches upon Israel and the corruption it has wrought upon America. "Jewishness", as Atzmon defines it goes beyond mere "Jewish identity". It is, fundamentally tribal in a way that would be very difficult for Americans - who formed the ultimate non-tribalist society - to understand.And because they can't really comprehend it, the Americans are at a serious disadvantage, and can be effectively manipulated at will. - Danaa
Danaa -- my read exactly. And regarding the shiksa vibe in his attack on Annie -- images of women being spat upon by gangs of misogynist haredi in Jerusalem came instantly to mind. I am not saying that Slater is a right-wing religious Zionist -- far from it -- obviously he is not. But there is an unconscious or semi-conscious cultural archetype lurking in the background of his tone that is grounded in something that is quite unpleasant. And of course these attitudes help keep the endless cycle of friction and conflict between tribal insiders and outsiders in motion. There is no end of it. - Sean McBride
Sean - sure Phil is free not to address the banning issue. But his readers are also free to withdraw their contributions and their support. To my mind, when you go holding out your hat for people's money, you put yourself in the position of owing them. - potsherd
Well, one has to remember that those objecting to the "New Mondoweiss" are nothing but "antisemites" and "Holocaust deniers" and Weiss, and Horowitz, have already expressed their disdain for such uncouth rabble. ;) But more seriously, it's obvious that Mondoweiss has chosen, and its choice is the Slaters and Donalds. I've noticed Mondoweiss to subtly lean that way since I've been visiting the site, which is since the 2009 attempted Iranian regime change operation. They are being more overt about their bent now, and as I wrote in the Blankfort banning thread here. I suspect this is part of a larger effort to silence dissenting voices in the lead up to expanded warfare by the zionists against Iran. And probably against other nations also. It's doubtful Mondoweiss will go back and probably they will more stubbornly dig in their heals and become even more restrictive as time moves on. It's the new fad. - mark e
Danaa and Sean: smart comments about Slater. But I would add that he's exercised about Ashkenazis, not Jews (not that he knows the difference). He's the ultimate Pilpul Prince. - MRW