Friday, August 17, 2007

Is it racist to criticize Barry Bonds...

... or antisemitic to criticize Israel?

Both seem to be two sides of the same coin.

Sometimes I seem to be spiraling in space.

I received the following email from a colleague in ICE:

How can you be 100% that Barry Bonds took steroids?
This is the type of thing that offends many in the black community.
And many Latinos.

I'm often accused of not getting it. Some might say "It's a black thing." It is common to attack non-Jewish critics of Israel as antisemitic and Jewish critics as self-hating Jews. Or I am accused of being a self-hating Jew when I have defended - or more likely explained - the motivations behind the actions of Palestinians or, in years past, over the actions of members of the minority community in response to certain education situations, especially in the 70's when the repercussions of the '68 strike were still being felt most strongly (and they still are today.) Jewish colleagues at my school in the early 70's used to tell me I should not worry so much about Blacks and Puerto Ricans but about Jews. One of them was a Holocaust survivor and also happened to be my first Hebrew School teacher at the New Lots & Pennsylvania Ave. Synagogue. I could understand where he was coming from but that didn't make it any less racist.

To be criticized by both ends might just be where I want to be.

The recent turmoil over the Kahlil Gibran school and Steve Quester's post that was critical of Randi Weingarten on this blog resulted in an anonymous attack on Steve - "He hates Israel." Not that he is critical of the policies of Israel, but a personification of Israel as an entity beyond criticism. Like people opposed to the war in Iraq (or Vietnam) are anti-American. Or better yet, the opposition to the UFT leadership are traitors to the union and are even funded by Bloomberg - the rumor Unity used to spread about Ed Notes. (New Action used to claim it was Unity giving me money when Ed Notes was critical of them.) Sure, I used to get all that money from a submarine off Rockaway. These are the
attacks made by singleminded sectarians who only see their own narrow point of view.

I responded to my ICE colleague:

Why are blacks and Latinos offended?
To me that is racism.
Jason Giambi is white and I believe he took steroids. I'm not offended as a white person.

He came back with:
Why is the media so intended to attack Barry Bonds? And why was Hank
Aaron attacked when he was chasing Babe Ruth"s record?
To me this is racism.
And I said:

Aaron was not attacked by the media but by racists. He was breaking Babe Ruth's record. I don't remember the media being against Aaron. There was more of a hubbub when Maris was breaking Ruth's record.
In this case the media seem to support Aaron.
Bonds has been a jerk to the media - arrogant, etc. The media responds to that. There are many other examples both white and black. I remember Mickey Mantle being under attack by people like Dick Young in Mantle's early years because Mantle's shyness was taken as arrogance.
Bonds is under attack for breaking another black man's record. Aaron is being defended as someone who did it legit.
The fact that Bonds' major home run hitting came after he was 36 and admissions from people that he took steroids makes it a pretty good bet he took them.
Personally I don't really care. Pitchers took steroids too.
Question: If Bonds were white would you give a shit? Do you think he wouldn't be criticized given the exact same conditions? To me that smacks of a racist attitude. Like black and Latinos defending OJ. When he was acquitted half my school screamed in victory and cheers and there was a party attitude. The other (white) half were mortified.

Maybe it's true. I just don't get it.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Sorry, I stand by my comments that Steve Quester is way beyond just criticizing Israel. He is aligned with the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) which openly advocates for the destruction of Israel and whose leaders (Humaira Arraf)published the following:
    “The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics— both nonviolent and violent. But most importantly it must develop a strategy involving both aspects. No other successful nonviolent movement was able to achieve what it did without a concurrent violent movement. In India militants attacked British outposts and interests while Gandhi conducted his campaign, while the Black Panther Movement and its earlier incarnations existed side-by-side with the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.”

    Okay, so the leaders of the ISM advocate violence against Israel.

    Now, as for Mr. Quester, I don't see him protesting against the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the millions of Chinese and Tibetans who languish in labor camps. I don't see him protesting against Iran which has the death penalty for girls over the age of 9, and which executes gay people, victims of sexual abuse and so on and which has one of the worst human rights abuse records.

    Israel has a terrible problem....there is a great desire for peace among the overwhelming majority of Israelis (I have a lot of family there). Yes, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza live in conditions that range from substandard to squalid for the most part. Without writing a dissertation on this, much of the blame goes to Israel's Arab neighbors which want the Palestinians to live in such squalor.....

    Mr. Quester's obsession with this issue makes me question his motivations. I am very critical of Israel, myself, but I don't know of a solution when the Palestinians do not teach peace at all. Their textbooks are inflamatory against Jews and they teach their young to hate Jews and Israelis.

    Israel is not the apartheid nation that so many radicals claim it is.

    Can you criticize Israel? Anybody can....but why isn't anybody criticizing Iran (with its Holocaust denying president)??? Why has he made no statements online condemning Ahmedinejad for his holocaust denials, for threatening to nuke Israel, etc.

    That is why I say he hates Israel. He doesn't merely have criticism for it. For with true criticism, one has a solution.

  3. So you don't criticize Israel, therefore you don't have to worry about a solution.

    Forget criticism or not. How about results? Israeli policy can ultimately lead to disaster. So criticism of Israel should be put in that context. You have the advantage. You are anonymous (for personal reasons - your own version of those masks people wear) and are free to attack Steve while we can't see what you have said - like maybe somewhere your solution is to nuke every Palestinian.

  4. Well, I have never said anything on record.....or off record for that matter.

    I am not attacking Steve Quester. The man's record speaks for itself.

    If he is not so anti-Israel, why is there not one statement from him online condemning Ahmedinejad's statements about wiping Israel off the map?

    If you go to the JATO website (Jews Against The Occupation), it is clear what their goal is--the destuction of the land of Israel.

    They are not just against the occupation of the West Bank, but also against the occupation of Palestine. This organization calls for the boycott of all things Israeli.

    Criticizing Israel is not a problem. Mr. Quester goes well beyond criticizing it. He calls for dismantling it. His politics are politics of hate and destruction and are very unbalanced. I have a lot of family in Israel that is very left wing. They are desperately for peace in the region. The solution (if there is ever one) is one that will take time and one that will involve the cessation of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish brainwashing by the Palestinians and by all Arab states. When there is so much hatred around and when there is so much state-sponsored anti-Israel and anti-Jewish brainwashing by Arab governments (check out their textbooks, their curricula, their news media, their television shows), peace seems very far away. Instead of criticizing Israel, Mr. Quester puts the entire responsibility for the quagmire on Israel.

    Mr. Quester, in his zealous hatred of Israel, fails to recognize an obvious fact. Israel is a western style democracy (with problems!), but one in which women have equal rights, can walk around clad as they wish, etc. etc..... Gays have rights and parades ad so on.

    All of this is a threat to the extremely corrupt dictatorships that surround Israel.

    Mr. Quester is not under attack. However, since he has so publicly supported such things as the suicide bombings in Israel (need me to quote that AGAIN?), his bias against Israel is evident. He supports the intifada and the violence against Israeli citizens (and remember--Israelis of all faiths, including Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, etc.) have been killed in suicide bombings.

  5. I have recently written about specifically about Bonds & racism, so I won't say much on it here. If someone wants to take the illegally leaked testimony of steroid-makers as truth, that's fine by me.

    But that's all anyone's got on Bonds. Meantime, Ruth, DiMaggio, etc. all played in a White Supremacist, Jim Crow league.

    I would call not having to face Satchel Paige 'performance enhancement' much more readily than I would say so when Barry Bonds faces a juiced-to-the-hilt Roger Clemens.

    If Bonds gets an asteric, every record set before 1947 should, too.

    The bottom line is the best baseball player anyone born since 1973 has seen, and he earned every record he's set.

    Now, onto the other point:

    The accusation flung by Zionists that anyone who opposes the apartheid system imposed on the Palestinians is a comical demonstration of their own ignorance.

    The genocidal madmen & mad-women who control the government of Apartheid Israel (to a person, I think) are Ashkenazis - Vanilla Zionists from Russia, Poland, etc.

    Eastern Europeans are not Semitic! The Palestinian victims of Zionist genocide, on the other hand, are.

    So we have the ironic situation in which the very people using the 'anti-semitism' canard to browbeat Palestine's defenders are, in fact, themselves self-serving practicioners of anti-Semitism.

    Were it not for the thousands and thousands of Palestinians killed at their genocidal hands, it would all be rather amusing....

  6. My last post should say "The 'anti-Semitism' accusation flung by Zionists against anyone who opposes the apartheid system imposed on the Palestinians reveals nothing but their own ignorance."


  7. How ignorant and racist John Brown is.

    First, the word anti-semitism was coined by a German named Wilhelm Marr in 1879 in his book "The Way to Victory of Germinicism of Judaism". The original term was Judenhass (translated as Jew Hatred). It was an ugly word and it seemed irrational. The new word "anti-semitism" was coined to make Jew Hatred seem logical and rational and it also started the belief that Jews were an inferior race that needed to be exterminated.

    Mr. Brown has a problem with historical facts and also has a problem with Jews--particulary Askenazic ones.

    Among Israeli leaders:
    Binyamin "Fuad" Ben Eliezer (current minister of infrastructure)--origin: Iraqi

    Dalia Itzik (speaker of the Knesser)--origin: Iraqi

    Silvan Shalom (Israeli foreign minister)--origin: Tunisia

    Amir Peretz (former Israeli defense minister)--origin: Morocco

    Moshe Katsav (former Israeli president)--origin: Iran

    Adissu Massala (member of Knesser)--origin: Ethiopia

    Ayoob Kara--(vice speaker of the Israeli knesset): Origin--Israel--he is Druze!

    I could go on and on...Israel is not an apartheid state and Mr. Brown is an obvious racist (Vanilla zionists?) Over 800,000 Palestinian Arabs live in Israel proper and you know what--some even serve in the Army (I am not talking about Druze or Bedouins). Israel is not run by Vanilla Zionists (sounds like a pretty racist term to me, anyway) What the f**k?
    Obviously, this man is a racist against Jews and Israelis.

    Thus, to clarify the hatred this man has of Jews, I will not call it antisemitism. I will call it Jew Hatred.

  8. It's quite an insult to be labeled a racist by a full-on defender of genocide and Apartheid.

    Arabs are so free in Apartheid Israel that the Knesset members represtenting them have to flee the country for fear of assassination and/or arrest. And then there are the Ethiopian Jews, who Vanila Zionists refuse to allow into schools. The vilification of of Beta Israel occurs, we're supposed to believe, not because of racism but rather because Ethiopian Jews aren't Jewish enough!

    Sort of like the "one-drop rule" back in slavery times.

    I did mistatenly say that "to a person" the Zionist government was run by Vanilla Zionist emigres from Europe. Ben Eliezer, who worked with fascists in Lebanon, is Iraqi. I should have said the Prime Minister, Defense Minister, Foreign Minister, Minister of Strategic Affairs (i.e., triggering war on Iran), etc. are all Vanilla Zionists.

    My mistake.

    Other than that, I see a lot of "former" and "Knesset Member" in the Anti-Palestinian Jewish Teacher's rhetoric, but nothing of substance.

    I hasten to add, however, that Apartheid Israel's foreign minister is not Shalom, it's Tzipi Livni - a Mossad operative and Ashkenazi Jew of Polish descent. Interestingly, Livni's father was a member of the Irgun terrorist organization responsible for bombing the King David Hotel.

  9. I'll address the John Brown response on Barry Bonds and leave the Israeli stuff till later.

    Roger Maris was vilified and threatened with an *. I agree that most everyone took steroids and probably people still do take something. Bonds should get the record without an *. He didn't break any baseball laws. The attack on Bonds is not because he is black but partly because of his attitude toward the media.

    My question to you: would you, do you defend Mark McGuire with the same vehemence? Where does Sammy Sosa stand? You do not address the issue of how Bonds does his best work after turning 36. Even Ruth tailed off in those years. In fact Ruth played against the great black players when they barnstormed together.

    Is your defense based on the fact Bonds is black? If he were white would you even bother to comment? If your actions are based on race then I consider that a form of racism.

  10. My defense of Bonds is that he is so far and away the best baseball player of this generation that anyone who would challenge his worthiness to hold the record or make it to the hall is prima facie racist.

    There's no other explanation.

    So if one's not whining about the record or Bonds's credentials, race is much less an issue.

    Now whether Bonds had his best years after 36: I'm not so sure you can make that claim. I've coached baseball for a long time, and I'd pick the Bonds of the 90s without a second thought.

    His power numbers were higher in later years, sure, but no player dominated like he did throughout the 90s. MVPs, Gold Gloves, 30...40...50 steals/year.

    An OPS over 1.000 for 8 straight years.

    Those numbers are insane.

    And I couldn't agree more that Bonds was under attack because of his spite for the media (there was a movie loosely based on his life a while back tha was just disgusting). A spite, I would add, born out of his father's politics and the Vanilla backlash to it.

    My take on Big Mac is that he was the sacrifical lamb - the fig leaf - needed to get to Barry. Ironically, I was in St. Louis at the time... working at a sports memorobilia card store. I remember joking then with colleagues about how obvious it was that Mac was juiced... but nobody wanted to hear it.

    Still, I think he's a contender for the Hall and were it not for injuries he'd be a lock.

    My biggest knock on Mac is his inability to do anything in the playoffs!

    Regardless, the "Athletic Supporter Industry" needed a way to make their attack on Bonds not so obviously a race thing, and McGwire gave them perfect cover.

    Ruth was an alcoholic who didn't take care of himself. Of course his numbers declined. Numbers that were inflated, I might add, by a fence that was about 150' to right.

  11. I defer to someone who is obviously a baseball officianado. I agree on Ruth and the fences (and Maris too on that one - I went to about 20 games in '61). I am disturbed by statements "they used Mac to get to Bonds." Stories are out there that it was Mac's success that led Bonds to steroids.

    On Ruth, I've read the bios and still feel he was the most amazing baseball player in history. When you hit more home runs than entire teams and can also pitch like he did and think of the numbers if he didn't miss all those years of hitting.

    In fact, Ted Williams is probably the best hitter and home run hitter ever if you prorate the 5 yrs in the service and also teh rigth field at Fenway. If he had been traded for Dimaggio who knows what the numbers would have been?

    That's why the controversy over the records is rediculous. Hope A-Rod breaks it and be done with it (though he might be juiced in some way too). And what's with Ken Griffey's sudden injury plague - maybe due to breakdowns from steroids too?


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