Thursday, December 23, 2010
Censorship, or Self-censorship, in Jihad Watch comments?
Today, I note this part of a paragraph from a long-time Jihad Watch commenter, "dumbledoresarmy". In this particular comment, "dumbledoresarmy" is cautioning fellow Jihad Watch readers about an Islam apologist in their midst, one "motokosama":
... note the Muslim Motokosama's parallel claim that Muslims have treated Jews better than Christians...a claim that is pure nonsense to any person who has read Maimonides' letter to the Jews of Yemen, in which Maimonides states plainly that it is 'Ishmael', the Arabs, who have oppressed the Jews most cruelly of all; or who has read "The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism", or Bat Yeor's "the Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam", or who has read Martin Gilbert's new book, "In Ishmael's House". Or who knows how Jews were treated in Muslim Morocco right up until the 19th century and then again after the French left, in the 1950s, until they were all driven out (it is a similar story for Muslim Mesopotamia, and Egypt) or how Jews were always treated in Muslim Yemen (as chattel slaves), and how they were treated in Muslim Persia, except during a brief period of relaxation under the late Shah, and his father before him.
Notice anything odd in this excerpt?
What's odd is what is not there: While "dumbledoresarmy" dutifully mentions the names of authors Bat Yeor and Martin Gilbert, in the same passage and in the very same context she leaves the title "The Legacy of Antisemitism" strangely authorless. We all know (or should know) who the author and editor of that important compendium is -- Andrew Bostom, with whom Robert Spencer has had a rude falling out, even if much of the apparent rancor and motives of that falling out remain shrouded in the shadows of the Gentlemen's Club.
And indeed, some of the other details about Islamic antisemitism which "dumbledoresarmy" includes -- but leaves uncited -- in that paragraph quoted above may well owe a debt of gratitude to Bostom's book.
So, was this curious absence in this passage ensconced in a comments field at Jihad Watch airbrushed out of existence by the long arm of Spencer (perhaps Marisol doing the honors of the dirty work with her secretarial whiteout)? Or has "dumbledoresarmy" become such a loyal supporter of Jihad Watch over the years that she too has gotten the memo, and thus has internalized the excommunication of Andrew Bostom?
In a later comment by "dumbledoresarmy, she mentions the dreaded name of Andrew Bostom -- but in reference to a different writing, this time an article he published at FrontPageMag.com. Perhaps Spencer did not see fit to censor his name in this context, because a) FrontPageMag.com through David Horowitz is formally allied with him, and b) the comment references simply an article by Bostom, not the dreaded compendium (The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism) which has been at the center of the still murky contention between Spencer and Bostom. The fact that "dumbledoresarmy" (who in my experience is scrupulous in general about citing references) saw fit to reference Bostom's name in this later comment only tends to underscore the oddity of her oversight in the previous comment.
Meanwhile, why Spencer's official ally and friend David Horowitz has not seen fit to excommunicate Bostom and delete all his articles from FrontPageMag.com remains a puzzle (though a cursory attempt to find Bostom's articles there yielded, strangely, only two articles by him -- one in March of this year, another co-authored by Bat Ye'or from 2002).
A long-time reader and commenter at Jihad Watch, one "Cornelius", has developed a bee in his bonnet about this essay of mine -- a bee that is fast metamorphosing into a hobbyhorse. In at least two different comment threads at Jihad Watch, here and here, "Cornelius" has in hyperventilating manner alerted his fellow Jihad Watchers to my supposedly pernicious and deluded essay. "Cornelius"also at some point deposited a comment here. Readers may see in my detailed responses (the third and fourth comments) to his comment below a persuasive defense of my original thesis -- a defense which shows that "Cornelius" apparently didn't carefully read my essay which so exercises him. I also added two points not contained in my original essay which bolster my argument. "Cornelius" has failed to respond thus far, some 24 hours later, to my responses. Knowing him from past experience on Jihad Watch comments threads, however, even if he does respond, I hold no high hopes of him rising to the unremarkably elementary level of an actual counter-argument.
Third Update: See my latest post on this.