Major media scoundrel reports,
commentaries, and editorials distort, misreport, censor, and suppress.
Truth and full disclosure lose out. Readers and viewers deserving better
The New Republic's (TNR) owner and former editor-in-chief Martin Peretz
ranks with the worst. His columns exclude journalism the way it should
He's unabashedly pro-Israel, pro-war, and ideologically extreme on all
issues mattering most. In December 2010, New York Magazine contributor
Benjamin Wallace-Wells called him "a born belligerent (with) an extraordinary
capacity for anger."
American Prospect contributor Eric Alterman said he "spread the virus
of liberal self-hatred....(D)uring his reign (as TNR editor-in-chief,
he's) done lasting damage to the cause of American liberalism."
"By turning TNR into a kind of ideological police dog, (he) tarr(ed)
anyone who disagreed (with him) as irresponsible and untrustworthy."
He did it based on (a) narrow and ideosyncratic....Israel-centric neoconservatism."
On Peretz's watch, no TNR editorial ever criticized Israel. Its interests
alone matter. "Support for Israel," he said, is "deep down, an expression
of America's best view of itself." He suggested Israel's worst crimes
are justifiable, when, in fact, they violate fundamental international
laws and norms.
As for Arabs, he calls them "violent, fratricidal, unreliable, primitive,
crazed, and barbarian." They created a "wretched society." They're "cruel,
belligerent, intolerant, (and) fearing." Palestine's "an utter fiction,"
a "fraudulent nation-state."
They're "murderous. grotesque, (and) can't even run a post office."
Their societies "have gone bonkers over jihad, (and they're) feigning
outrage when they protest what they call American (or) Israeli atrocities."
They "behave like lemmings, (and) are not shocked at all by what in
truth must seem to them not atrocious at all."
"I can’t imagine any venture requiring trust with Arabs turning out
especially well. That is, you will say my prejudice, but some prejudices
are built on real facts, and history generally proves me right. Go ahead,
prove me wrong."
He not only wrong, he's bigoted and ideologically out-of-control supporting
wrong over right. He's also too morally compromised to admit it.
"Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims
led by the Imam Rauf [leader of those seeking to create the Muslim religious
center near ground zero] there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about
the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood."
"So yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that
they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have
in my gut the sense that they will abuse."
Criticizing him is easy. Turn him loose and let him hang himself. Yet
for decades, he's gotten away with hawkish bigotry. Now in his seventies,
he's as irascibly Islamophobic and uncompromising as ever. Hate defines
his being. Truth's airbrushed out. Honor's not in his vocabulary.
Yet, in 1993, Harvard inaugurated the Martin Peretz Chair in Yiddish
Literature. Pro-Israeli zealot Ruth Wisse holds the post. Harvard earlier
made him an assistant professor. He lectured there for decades. Imagine
putting up with his pontificating. After a panel discussion, protesters
chanted, "Harvard, Harvard, shame on you, for honoring a racist fool."
Nonetheless, he got seven honorary degrees, and in 1982 received the
Jerusalem Medal. It's Israel's highest civilian honor for outstanding
service to the Jewish state. It includes purveying myths, preaching
hate and false logic, supporting Israel's worst crimes, and vilifying
anyone denouncing them.
Glenn Greenwald calls Peretz's blog "a museum for every anti-Arab/Muslim
stereotype and caricature that exists." Hubristically called The Spine,
it's no longer written.
Yet few challenge him. After decades of extremist commentaries, he continues
polemical hate pieces in TNR columns. According to Alterman:
"By pretending to speak as a liberal but simultaneously endorsing the
central crusades of the right, he has enlisted The New Republic in the
service of a ruinous neoconservative doctrine, as the magazine sneered
at those liberals who stood firm in the face of its insults."
"He has done so, moreover, in support of a blinkered and narrow view
of Israeli security that, again, celebrates hawks and demonizes doves."
He whitewashes Israeli crimes and vilifies Palestinian victims as terrorists
for his own misguided purposes. Yet Islamophobe David Horowitz called
him "a pillar of responsible liberalism since buying (TNR) in 1974."
In fact, he's not only unabashedly pro-Israel, he embraces the entire
neocon foreign policy agenda. It includes Reagan's Central American
wars, the Gulf and 2003 Iraq wars, attacking Afghanistan post-9/11,
removing Gaddafi, Cold War hawkishness, and anyone to the left of his
ideologically extremist views on Iran and Syria.
On February 28, he asked if Israel could "pull of an attack on Iran."
He suggested better do it now before it's too late, and it's got the
capability to inflict considerable damage. Jointly with Washington assures
greater success. Opposing views aren't welcome. Anyone espousing them
he calls "lame brains."
Why? He's "in love with the state of Israel." How? By disdaining reason,
preaching racist hate, and vilifying Israel's enemies.
In 1982, he denounced IF Stone for supporting a public appeal to help
victims of Israel's lawless Beirut siege. He claimed it was about raising
"money so that the PLO (could) continue to fight."
At the time, in fact, PLO respectability was growing. It pursued peace
negotiations and unilaterally ceased attacks. Israeli Prime Minister
Yithak Shamir admitted Israel waged war on Lebanon because of "a terrible
danger....not so much a military one as a political one."
So alleged PLO threats were invented to wage war lawlessly. Before it
ended, 18,000 died, mostly Lebanese and Palestinian civilians. They
included thousands massacred in cold blood in the Sabra and Shatila
In August 1982, his TNR revisionist article titled, "Lebanese Eyewitness"
"Much of what you have read in the newspapers and news magazines about
the war in Lebanon - and even more of what you have seen and heard on
television - is simply not true."
Robert Fisk called the slaughter "one of the most shocking war crimes
of the 20th century." For Peretz, murdering 18,000 innocent victims
was justified. For decades, he outrageously supported Israel's worst
crimes of war and against humanity without batting an eye or apologizing
for lying to readers on what actually happens, why, and the consequences
for innocent victims.
He also viciously attacks Israeli critics and Muslims in hate commentaries.
He called the Russell Tribunal on Palestine a "kangaroo court." He accused
Jimmy Carter of being "demented."
He assailed Archbishop Desmond Tutu for lying about Israeli injustice
towards Palestinians. He denounced Richard Falk for calling Ayatollah
Khomeini critics misguided, and saying Aerial Sharon should be indicted
for his involvement in the Shabra and Shatilla massacres.
He defended Israel's lawless Cast Lead Gaza war. Ignoring 1,400 mostly
civilians murdered, thousands more injured, illegal terror weapons like
white phosphorus used, and vast gratuitous destruction, he said:
"Frankly, I am up to my gullet with this reflex criticism of Israel
as going beyond proportionality in its responses to war waged against
its population with the undisguised intention of putting an end to the
political expression of the Jewish nation...."
"The current warfare will go on a bit longer. If there is a pause and
if I were giving advice to the Israelis, this is what I would say to
Hamas and to the people of Gaza: “If a rocket or missile is launched
against us, if you take captive one of our soldiers (as you have held
one for two and a half years), if you raise a new Intifada against us,
there will be an immediate response. And it will be very disproportionate.
Proportion does not work.”
He regrets nothing he wrote or said. Hatemongers don't say they're sorry.
He called visiting Israel at age 15 transformative. He lives there part-time
in Tel Aviv.
West Chester University Professor Lawrence Davidson once debated him.
He said he handled challenges by "speaking very fast and very loudly
so that you could not get a word in edgewise."
Davidson sensed "he was capable of going hysterical. Some people usually
self-destruct over time," he added. He wondered if Paretz was preordained
to implode. "I do hope so," he added.
A Final Comment
After decades of fanatical Israeli support, Peretz remains ideologically
committed. Even fellow TRN staffers take issue with his views. Some
go further and mock him. A few even want him out. He's an embarrassment
to be around.
Calling Arab society "hidebound and backward," and the Druze "congenitally
untrustworthy" reflects hate and profound ignorance. For Peretz, it's
all in a day's work. For more level-headed TRN writers, it's more than
they can bear. Can you blame them?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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