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Middle East Issues

Israel-Obsessed Salon's Boring Refrains and Inevitable Hypocrisy

In their song "Heaven," the Talking Heads sardonically describe a tedious heaven in which a band "plays my favorite song; they play it once again; they play it all night long."

If that’s the case, Salon.com must be heaven for anti-Israel activists. Type "Israel" into the site’s search bar, and the monochrome results are enough to bore even the most excitable of Israel’s opponents and defenders. The abridged headlines include:

• NY Gov. Cuomo signs ‘unconstitutional, McCarthyite’ pro-Israel ...
• ‘Israel is occupation-addicted’: Israeli journalist Gideon Levy blasts ...
• The new McCarthyism is pro-Israel: Legal groups slam NY Gov ...
•‘We must counter Israel's McCarthyism’: Meet the Palestinian ...
• Israel is ‘infected by the seeds of fascism’ and has been taken over ...
• IDF general compares Israel to Nazi Germany, then walks back ...
• ‘Ethnic cleansing’ is shockingly popular in Israel: Almost half of ...
• Why Rolling Stones shouldn't play in Israel
• Free speech for all on campus! Unless you're criticizing Israel, that is ...
• I won't vote for Bernie Sanders: His feeble position on Israel is a ...
• Hillary leads to more war: Her latest speech on Israel is just the ...
And so on. And so on. And so on. And so on.
If you need to snap out of your torpor, here’s an interesting exercise: Compare Salon’s dilute search results for "Iran," "Russia," and even "Syria" to the ones it spits back when you search "Israel." It's indisputable that, in the Salon narrative, the Jewish state is the worst state.

Putting aside the glaring issue — this undisguised campaign to demonize Israel, the world’s largest concentration of Jews, reeks of bigoted, age-old obsessions — Salon’s one-note samba inevitably leads to some hypocrisy. When your guiding principle is "Israel is Evil," actual principles must fall by the wayside.

Note Salon's incompatible positions on two of New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent executive orders, each of which was meant to show the state’s opposition to discrimination. When Cuomo banned non-essential state travel to North Carolina to punish the state for what he called "misguided legislation" that "replicates the discrimination of the past" by targeting the LGBT community, a Salon piece said that the governor's order "has its merits," even if the author would have preferred a different, more engaging reaction.

But when Cuomo banned investment in companies supporting divestment from Israel because, again he said, "this state will not stand for the politics of discrimination in any form," Salon immediately screamed "McCarthy!"
And back again: When President Obama passed an executive order that in effect banned contracts with companies that discriminate against LGBT employees, Salon celebrated, although it insists that banning government business with those who discriminate against Israelis is supposedly a violation of the constitution.

It is reasonable, of course, to debate whether a state should use economic leverage to oppose what it sees as regressive policies. It is reasonable to support the principle, or to oppose it, or like constitutional law professor Eugene Kontorovich, to support its legality in general while also cautioning against constitutional overstep and at the same time criticizing overheated critics.

But Salon insists the idea is wholly wrong one day, and wholly reasonable another day. This, like Salon's search results, is in essence anti-Israel discrimination by the putatively progressive magazine.

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