I don't know how this one slipped under my radar, but here goes...
About three weeks ago, Haifa University professor Steven Plaut was found guilty of committing libel against Professor Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University.
OK, whatever. A libel suit half way around the world (from me, anyway -- the other three guys on this blog are considerably closer). So why is this relevant to this blog?
Because Plaut had called Gordon, among other things, a Holocaust denier, which he decidedly is not. He also called him a "fanatic anti-Semite" and a "Nazi wannabe," but Gordon said he decided to sue Plaut when the denier smear came back at him. Thus the relevance.
"Once someone is labeled as a Holocaust denier that person becomes illegitimate, and rightly so," Gordon said. "Israeli society tolerates a relatively wide range of political views and that is why Plaut had to resort to this Holocaust mechanism to try to shut me down."
He's right, of course. Oh, and by the by, Gordon is also a disabled Israeli combat veteran.
So why would Plaut say such inflammatory things? Well, for one thing, he's a robo-Zionist who is violently opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state. In Plaut's world, any person who supports a Palestinian state must be an anti-Semite, and any Jew who does so must be self-loathing. Gordon had struck up a friendship with anti-Israel shill Norman Finkelstein and had been a very visible supporter of Yasir Arafat, which, granted, doesn't say much for Gordon's choice of friends and acquaintances, and this apparently was enough guilt by association to earn Gordon a reaming from Plaut.
Now Plaut et al. on the right are attacking Gordon for filing his suit in Nazareth, Israel's largest Arab city, in hoping to get an Arab judge, which he got. And she ruled well, in my opinion, as cultivating a reputation for your enemies as Holocaust deniers when they are not is beyond the pale -- something no one should ever do. That a Jew did this to another Jew makes it all the more disgusting.
If I could ask Plaut one question, I suppose it would be this one: Dr. Plaut, don't you think it's dangerous to call people anti-Semites, Nazis, and Holocaust deniers who aren't, given the risk that when real Jew-haters appear on the scene, Jews in general are far less likely to be taken seriously because you've cried wolf once too often?
Or maybe a shorter version of that question. But you get the picture.