[H/t to A.L.]
Encyclopedia entries are at the bottom of the academic publishing market. Lacking the prestige of peer reviewed journals, editors and publishers are lucky to find skilled professionals willing to take the time to write an entry. Occasionally they will settle for whoever they can find. This appears to be the case when the editors of the Encyclopedia of Race and Racism decided Noel Ignatiev would make a fine choice for the chapter on Zionism. (See: AJC Calls on Publisher to Retract Zionism Chapter in Encyclopedia).
Ignatiev is a controversial American Historian who seeks to “abolish the white race.” Setting aside his notable lack of scholarship in the fields of European History, Middle Eastern History, or Jewish History, it is surprising the editors did not realize he is a partisan anti-Zionist who simply parrots the lies and distortions of the radical left milieu he is enmeshed in. You can read a pdf of the chapter here. Take a look at the sources (Norman Finkelstein, Lenni Brenner, etc.).
I recently finished reading Ruth Wisse’s “Forgetting Zion” in the recent Commentary and thought of this passage:
From the very beginning, what set Zionism apart from other national-liberation movements was its nemesis: anti-Zionism. Unlike every other new member state of the United Nations, from Algeria to Zimbabwe, Israel, from birth, had been denied its national legitimacy.
Campus based anti-Zionists are a continuation of that legacy.
ZWord has an excellent post on this issue here:
Some of you will be wondering who Ignatiev is. I first came across Ignatiev’s name a few years ago, when the antisemitic writer who uses the name “Israel Shamir” referred to him as “our good friend.” Lest I be accused of damning by association, I should point out that Shamir and Ignatiev appear to have their disagreements, although these will be barely intelligible to those not familiar with the obscurantist doctrines they represent.
What strikes me is that Ignatiev, like Shamir, is a provocateur and a propagandist who relentlessly pushes themes shared by far left and far right alike. He makes statements like this one: “Osama bin Laden was no more than telling the truth when he said that the Muslim world is facing an alliance of Zionists and Crusaders.” And this one, from the same article: “Is one permitted to say above the level of a whisper that U.S. policy toward Israel has something to do with Jewish influence in the US?”
So why, then, is he writing for this encyclopedia? An encyclopedia is not, say, Counterpunch, the frequently antisemitic online magazine which Ignatiev has also contributed to, or Race Traitor, the strange online journal he started. One turns to an encyclopedia for an overview, a dispassionate account of the development of a particular subject, a summation of its key controversies. “The purpose of an encyclopedia,” wrote the French philosopher Diderot, who devoted himself to assembling the great work of the French Enlightenment called the Encyclopédie, “is to collect knowledge disseminated around the globe.”
Judged by this yardstick, Ignatiev’s effort falls woefully short. Imagine a creationist writing about evolution and you will have some sense of the crackling errors and ugly distortions which litter the text. It was not surprising, therefore, that the Zionism entry was noticed by several academics and that it was brought to the attention of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the organization which sponsors Z Word.
Solomonia posted about this as well.