07 October 2012

Greta Berlin's defense by Larry Derfner

Blogger doesn't have a special arrangement for a lede, which is unfortunate in some cases. In this case I would have chosen something like:

Or how a man steps on his own tongue. Repeatedly.

The story starts with JTA publishing on October 4th a short piece Flotilla sponsor tweets that Zionists helped perpetrate the Holocaust. The gist of it:
The founder of the Free Gaza Movement, which uses flotillas in trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, tweeted that Zionists were responsible for the Holocaust, then apologized.
A day later, on October 5th, Larry Derfner, has published a spirited defense of Ms Berlin titled The slandering of Gaza flotilla activist Greta Berlin, saying, among other things, the following:
What Mayer, the JTA, the Jerusalem Post and National Post left out was the other part of Berlin’s explanation that was posted on the Free Gaza Movement’s website: that her tweet was intended for a Facebook discussion among “a group of people who were discussing propaganda and racism, and this link was an example of the terrible propaganda that could be spewed on websites.”
If you read more of that article, you can find more expressions of Derfner's righteous rage. I felt somewhat grateful to Derfner for uncovering such a blatant lie of omission and almost closed the article, but something made me take a look at that FGM website where Ms Berlin's apology appears. And here comes the apology:

Oops! The date on the apology is October 5th, the same day that Derfner's defense was published, but a day after the JTA's piece. It is hard to expect from a journo, even the best one, to refer to an apology that is yet to be published...

So our Larry really stepped into it, by forgetting to do what a journalist with his experience simply has to: checking his facts before jumping into the fray. I don't want to think about another possibility - that Larry was so hot to trot (on JTA's toes) that he deliberately disregarded that small issue of dates.

The saga of journalistic sins and foot-in-mouth disease outbreak could have been closed at this point. Ms Berlin apologized, quite appropriately, and one could set the whole story aside. But no, Derfner is not happy yet. His stocks of rage still not sufficiently vented, he decides to pursue the issue of Ms Berlin's innocence further. And on October 6 he published another piece, titled Head of Free Gaza Movement: Anti-Semitic video in question is 'disgusting'. Since at that time I didn't know Ms Berlin from an enigmatic Kagu, I decided to read it too, in parallel getting some skinny on the lady in question from other sources.

In this piece, after coming to a mutual satisfaction about the misdirected tweet, Larry delves into several additional issues about Ms Berlin's beliefs he is not so happy with.

On Gilad Atzmon and his book:
I asked about her endorsement of Gilad Atzmon’s book “The Wandering Who?” which is widely considered anti-Semitic (and which I haven’t read). She said she’s “not a big fan of what he writes,” but that as she wrote in her endorsement, she found the book fascinating, funny, sad “and by the end I was exhausted.
On the tweeting of a Nazi movie:
I asked about the FGM tweet of a 1943 Nazi propaganda movie, and she said she didn’t recall seeing the movie or sending the tweet.
On the "genocide" in Gaza:
I asked her about an FGM tweet of the “slow-motion genocide” in Gaza. She said: “That’s a term I’ve been using for a long time, I use it in my presentations. That is my view of what’s happening.”
On the "extermination camps" in Gaza:
I asked her about the FGM tweet regarding the “extermination camps” in Gaza. She said: “I think if something isn’t done about Gaza pretty quickly, I think that is what’s going to happen.
Even discounting the fact that the lady is lying through her teeth about Atzmon and the Nazi movie, the answers are fairly revealing, I would say. And - what is the Derfner's conclusion? Take a seat first:
If she genuinely believed in crackpot, anti-Semitic ideas, I think she’d say so and stick by it. But she says she doesn’t believe in such ideas, in fact she finds them disgusting, and there’s nothing remotely close to any definitive proof that she does believe them, and I think the reason for that is because she doesn’t.
Oh Larry, Larry... isn't it enough that you stepped on your own tongue, do you have to dance on it too?

Good luck.


Daniel said...

Well, Larry seems to be having hot flushes in his ripe old age. Or maybe it's the company at 972mag where slander lies and sadly hysteria are the norm. all at 972 mag are silly, but Larry as the grandpa of the posse can get very agitated.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Heh heh. Now that picture of Larry leading a posse of lefty youngsters will stay with me, thanks ;-)