Penn Justified in Revoking Hedges Invitation


A political science professor outlines a "mishmash of inconsistencies" in Christopher Hedges' journalism and other examples of his "bigoted views."

A few weeks back, Christopher Hedges, a former correspondent for The New York Times, was having a fit over being disinvited from a Middle East peace conference at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania. But if there is appropriate outrage here, it is that someone with Hedges’ bigoted views was invited in the first place.
For years, Hedges has promulgated the idea that nothing dominates both the reporting and the discussion of the Arab/Israel conflict so much as the all-powerful “Israel lobby," which, he alleges, has been incredibly successful in stifling debate on the issue. Clearly, Hedges has never been on a campus during “Israel Apartheid Week.”
Hedges is using the incident at Penn to further advance his self-portrait as an honest man reporting objectively on the Middle East, attempting to shine a light into the Zionist-created darkness.
This is a rather striking indulgence in lofty hubris given that over the years, Hedges has increasingly sounded like a cross-pollination between Klansman David Duke and Iranian President Mahmoud Amedinejad — further raising the question of why anyone would consider him for a panel on the subject of peace.
Even Hedges’ notions of journalism are a mishmash of inconsistencies. On the one hand, Hedges, in an interview with Bill Moyers,  justifies journalists taking sides and arranging facts, something he does with alacrity when it comes to Israel. On the other hand, real journalists adhere to facts and do not acquiesce to political pressure that can make or break a career.
When it comes to the Middle East, in Hedges’ universe, careers are controlled by omnipotent Zionists demanding rigid obedience to their narrative. With ironic seriousness, Hedges claims The New York Times, well known for its hostility toward Israel, is made up of pro-Zionist careerists. Probably careerists like its Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren,  a reporter with a strong anti-Israel personal agenda.
For all his sublime statements about the role of fact finding, when it comes to Israel, facts pay homage to Hedges’ preconceived narrative. CAMERA , the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, has detailed Hedges’ turning fiction into fact for more than a decade.
Here are some of its examples: Hedges accused Israel of digging wells in Gaza to pump water into Israel. In reality, water is pumped from Israel to Gaza. Hedges claimed that the Israelis prevented the Village of Mawasi from digging wells after their last well went dry. Mawasi, however, is not even under Israeli control and wasn’t at the time.
Hedges said that Palestinian children are lured like mice for Israeli soldiers to “trap and murder them for sport,” using silencers to do so. Silencers are not part of the standard issue to Israeli troops, according to CAMERA.
But it is not these fictions that led Penn to rescind Hedge’s invitation. They pale in comparison to Hedges’ outburst in December, one that even exceeded the vitriol of both run-of-the-mill Israel bashers and Jew haters, who typically invoke comparisons of Israel and Jews to fascists generally and Nazis specifically. For Hedges, such screeds were no longer sufficient, no longer edgy. He moved to an entirely new dimension. He compared the fight for Israel’s independence to ISIS, raising imagery of Israelis beheading children, committing wholesale massacres of captured soldiers, crucifying gentiles who refuse to convert to Judaism, and selling captive Arab women into sexual slavery.
If Hedges’ previous fictions did not disqualify him from the program at Penn, this latest outburst was too vicious to ignore.
Instead of questioning his own actions and taking responsibility, Hedges once more sees himself as a victim of the vast Zionist conspiracy that is muzzling his voice.
Of course, it is somewhat strange that the very same powerful Jews that Hedges accuses of having kept from being heard at the University of Pennsylvania have been incapable of keeping his books from being published or preventing his appointments to numerous university faculties. Perhaps, only in Philadelphia does the Zionist conspiracy retain any meaningful power, but then we might want to check in with David Duke for confirmation of the degree to which Zionists control the City of Brotherly Love.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a senior fellow with the Haym Salomon Center.


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