Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tele-Mondoweiss


Or, talk dirty to me...

Today, Philip Weiss, owner and founder of Mondoweiss, was released into general population of the Jewish community in an effort to explain himself and make his anti-Zionism more palatable and more human in order to hasten what is "...going to be a big anti-Zionist moment in American Jewish life. I just think it’s inevitable.”

In a piece by Michelle Goldberg at Tablet, we get a little of his history as a Harvard-educated writer who "jettisoned" a career in mainstream journalism to take up the cause of delegitimizing IsraelAs Goldberg explains, "He sees a linear moral logic to his journey. He looks at contemporary Israel and is appalled. Because he came to Middle Eastern issues late in life, he has no fond memories of labor Zionism, or maddening recollections of the times Palestinians spurned opportunities for peace, to complicate his anger. As one long alienated from Jewish life, he hasn’t developed the habit, common to many American Jews, of reflexively giving Israel the benefit of the doubt. For him—as it is for many younger Jews—Israel is defined by Avigdor Lieberman and Operation Cast Lead, by Shas and settlements." 

In his mind, there is a complete split between American liberalism and Zionism. "I don’t believe in the necessity of a Jewish state,” he says. “Most Jews disagree with me, and that is sort of the heart of my crisis.” Oy, what a crisis! So much so that he uses this opportunity to apologize for allowing his site to become a cesspool of anti-Semitism: “I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes on my site over the years,” he says. “I think in my alienation from the Jewish community, I said stuff that I regret on a number of occasions...I know I’ve hurt people.” Tsk, tsk and tsk.

But that's not what I wanted to write about. No. What I found out from a little research is that Weiss is a bit of mini-star in the world of web video journalism. In a video series on thinkbig.com, Weiss appears as an expert on contemporary sexual mores plus, more familiarly, on Israel and Zionism. It's funny/peculiar juxtaposition.





Weiss is quite the pensent on a variety of subjects, but especially sex. As sometime contributer to NY Magazine he has written a couple of articles about adultery and a millionaire who lusts after young girls. He also authored a book, savagely reviewed by Janet Maslin, about a cold case murder supposedly kept under wraps by the Peace Corps.

I have already written that Weiss seems like a case of arrested development. For a 55-year-old he comes across as strangely under-cooked. And I guess my point here is that he lacks gravitas, is a bit of a hack and should be treated as such.

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