Thursday, August 3

Sorry to sic a big ol' soap opera on you, but...

I truly dislike inter-personal drama, and I have sat on this story for four days trying to figure out how to say something to the blogosphere without naming names. When my friend D. sent me this this morning I'd just had it.

D. has been banned from Americablog which is NOT the point here. Read on...

> John,
> It must be very unpleasant the anti-Arab implications of your
> support of Israel pointed out at you.
> I don't need spin from blogs - I can get that from the MSM.
> As to Israel - I lived there for 30 years and am a full-time
> translator in- and out- of Hebrew. My perspective may have some
> value - even if it irritates you.

From: John Aravosis
Date: Tuesday, August 1, 2006, 3:06:31 AM
Subject: Banning me won't silence the truth I tell

=================Original message text===============
Glad to hear of your expertise. Now if only you weren't an asshole,
we'd be fine.

TO: John Aravosis

> That's a pretty sad way of handling dissent. I have done nothing
> to deserve personal slurs except state repeatedly and clearly that
> I am against what Israel does.
> I have very good reasons to be against it. I've brought them up.
> Your response, which is to ban and then insult me ad hominem,
> makes all the rest of the information at your website suspect. How
> much of your perspective is honest reporting? How many other
> issues are you clouding by intolerance for dissent?

From: John Aravosis
Date: Tuesday, August 1, 2006, 5:58:46 AM

You really don't get it. I don't care whether you hate the Jews,
love the Jews, hate the Arabs or love the Arabs. I ban assholes, not
opinions. Far too many of you don't know how to discuss politics
like mature adults. You're rude and arrogant bullies. This has
nothing to do with what you believe, it has to do with your manners.
Now stop bothering me because you really don't get it.

D. comments here regularly, and while many of my readers may disagree with her sharp pro-Arab standpoint, she has never used a swear word nor has she attacked another blogger while here. She has provided links and opportunities to google specific issues to see what she is talking about. This is not just a blogger friendship: I have lunch with this woman. She is smart, passionate, a great mom, and a thoughtful friend. The fact that she lived in Israel for 30 years gives her a little more cred than I would give Americans who have not been there, like myself.

We all have the right to ban any commenter we want. I TOTALLY DEFEND John Aravosis's right to ban commenters from his blog. We do not have the right to email name calling and belittling comments to people just because we disagree with them or even because we don't want to hear from them any more.

The left wing blogosphere is new, fluid, and can change in a heartbeat. As one other blogger wrote me, Aravosis wants a blog where everyone agrees with him, and he's gonna wind up with one reader. None of us is indispensable.

D. and I have wondered aloud whether, given his history of this sort of thing, there isn't a misogynistic streak to the madness. But I digress.

In any event, I don't know who he thinks he is calling a rude and arrogant bully. Really.

Footnote: For those who think Aravosis refugees should just get their own blog, they have. Added to the blogroll, dahlinks, where a certain someone has never been. Huh.



  1. This stuff is especially annoying when it comes from people who, for all intents and purposes, are on the same side of fighting the good fight. The Right will just love this: we're eating our young out here while they drive the world off a cliff.

    Name-calling and bullying just make you look like a punk, because you can do it via email or by posting a "comment" while never having to actually face the person you're attacking. Kind of like the way kids attack each other on myspace or faceBook or whatever. Little kids. Which only makes one look all the more like a coward.

    And I don't spend much time listening to bullies or cowards.

    Maybe we should all keep that in mind. This is what *we* always accuse *them* of doing, isn't it?

    Namaste, all.

    - David

  2. Anonymous6:44 PM

    I'll go all anonymous on you, here, but I just wanted to thank you for this.

    It's totally not about individuals - it is about the climate of civil discourse, which needs to be reinstated.

    We need to denounce Bush *nicely*. And tell Coulter she's wrong and her communication is not the kind we want to hear *in elegant prose*.

    Swear words don't work.

    (who loves doing lunch with you, any day!)

  3. I consider myself and can't stand GW so I go on americablog from time to time. This guy just sounds like a total dickweed, and like his "enemy", you know the right wing nut jobs who seemingly denounce all you guys as unpatriotic if you have a go about certain foreign policies for example. You are right that he can ban people. However, after having read the emails here and the one on shakespears sister i think i can safely say that he is a bully....I would never do that. I Freedom of speech means sometimes not hearing things you like to here. And having observed the right wing media in your country for a while eg: ann coulter it seems that they are very guilty of crime of undermining this principle whilst paradoxically defending it. Although I haven't read her blog or her comments yet, i'd have thought that someone like D, who has lived in Israel for 30 yrs and is a translator might just might have a more informed perspective on the whole thing. How about we all boycott americablog? I think it might be being deleted from my blogroll soon!

  4. Where would I find the url to your friends blog ? Pippa

  5. To be honest, this is the kind of row that breaks out every so often that makes me tend to doubt the whole idea of the value of blogging as a useful tool for building community and working for change.

    If you're a lefty, and you let on that you believe in God, for example, you are immediately smacked down as a dupe at best and mentally ill at worst. So much for that conversation. The idea that people can have disagreements, and still be on the same side, doesn't seem to be an idea that some folks can wrap their (narrow) brains around. The name-calling and vitriol I've seen on some liberal blogs has stopped some pretty useful discussions dead in their tracks. And so then we say, well, we just won't talk to each other. We'll boycott this blog or that comment maker, and then what? We don't talk to each other, except for a select few of us, forming our own little echo chambers.

    I get more respect on some conservative blogs (from the host, not from the commenters, mind you) than I do on many so-called progressive blogs. Maybe because I don't call names or use profanity or scatological references to try and make a "point." I might even make a point that gets someone to think sometimes.

    No, we don't have to be "nice" to the people we oppose, to those who wouldn't think twice about spitting in our faces if given the chance. We can and should be strong and firm and logical and empassioned and, yes, dignified. You can do all that and still make the enemy squirm. In fact, it's a better tactic than just plain old cussin'. Is Copycat Coulter, for example, ANY of those things? Not hardly.

    But when it comes to disagreements from within our own faction, such as the arguments about the latest Middle East crisis which started this whole shootin' match, there should be a way to get things out and kicked around without resorting to kicking each other in the teeth and then cutting each other off.

    If we can't find that way, we might as well be sitting around doing sudoku. Because this won't get us anywhere.

  6. I haven't read D's every comment on ABlog so if I defend her or John, I very much risk springing from a position of ignorance.

    But from what little I may be seeing, I see wrong on both sides, especially John for calling her an asshole (both to her and to me in an email). His support of Israel is news to me and I certainly hope that he's not excusing their ongoing genocide campaign in south Lebanon and just the right to defend themselves (which is still not germaine here).

    I am neither pro-Israel not pro-Arab. I'm pro-peace. And, until this exchange and public mass emailing, I used to think we all were. Now I'm not so sure. BG, I've passed on to you Mr. Aravosis' offer, such as it is. Please pass it on to D so she can make of it what she will, if anything.

  7. Sometimes people just butt heads. Nothing more nothing less.

    The reason I left organized religion is it seems that turning the cheek is just a story in a book.

    Live your beliefs and crap like this will become meaningless.

  8. Organic, on one level crap like this is always meaningless. I hated to bring it up. One reason I did is because I know one of the partisans personally, and I know her to be, well, not an asshole (sorry D) tho' she is forceful in her beliefs and arguments, no debate there.

    It's important, I think, to uncover error in whatever its form without dwelling on the drama or turning it into a soap opera. I may or may not have accomplished this.

    The folks at (that's the URL, Pippa, linked above at the words "they have") have moved on. I think we all should.

  9. what is good it seems about us is that we can at least have disagreements, on the right you are labeled a traitor or worse. at least we aren't the goosestepping type. name calling tho, swearing at or about each other is counterproductive.

  10. I haven't really been following this at all in my comment is general:

    I've only had one occassion to *request* a commentator stop commenting (and not like I get hundreds of them anyway! *wink*) --
    but sometimes there does reach a point at which "agree to disagree" on a topic is all that is left for civil discourse.

    And no matter what a person has as their *general political views* that doesn't guarantee their views on any particular matter to be the same as anyone else's.

    But the question is whether - as matter of course - Blogs are *open forum discussions* - or places for people to post their views (absent crude remarks and meaningless snark) ...or only the property of their owners and at their *whim* as to what discussion (or not) takes place there.

    That is a tough one.

  11. Anonymous2:19 PM

    I attended a meeting at the Israeli embassy several years ago. John Aravosis was in attendance. The purpose of the meeting was for the embassy's public affairs liaison to present their views to a limited number of beltway types who work in communications, public relations, advocacy, etc.

    Aravosis came across as extreme, irrational and illogical. This was even though he was trying to help the embassy spokesperson improve Israel's image. He was very up front about that. But his tactics: he was short-tempered, he peppered and interrupted the speaker. The worst of it: at one point, he literally handed around something he'd printed off the Internet, images of Nazi Storm Troopers juxtaposed with Israeli soldiers. Now, whatever side you take in the Middle East, consider the image of this guy handing around these photos, including to a couple of very old audience members, for whom the image of Storm Troopers is traumatic.

    So, Aravosis is very sympathetic to Israel's all-out, unapologetic approach. But what's worse are his tactics and style., careless or clueless to how he comes across. Kind of like the government he was trying to assist that night, when you think about it.

  12. Anonymous4:50 PM

    You are exceedingly cool...

  13. In case you've missed anything in the past.. I've been following and recording J Aravosis' crap for awhile now....


  14. Anonymous8:48 PM

    Funny - I was about to leave the same link David - it says what needs to be said. BG - being banned from AmericaBlog is a badge of honor. Someone should develop a little button for blogs to display.

  15. Well, thanks Blogenfreude. I appreciate the feedback and compliment!.... Maybe I'll work on that button.

  16. " Far too many of you don't know how to discuss politics like mature adults."

    HA HA HA HA HA !

    OMG! I can't believe Johnny A list said that.

  17. Anonymous8:42 AM

    That last comment, about JA's contradictions, is also interesting. Aravosis used to mouth off to a few too many people in DC that he disliked Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan had written something critical of John's involvement in an online effort targeting Dr. Laura. That started Aravosis on his constant anti-Sullivan rants to anyone in DC who would listen.

    His main complaint: that Sullivan contradicted himself, if you looked at his writings.

    Well, that's how Aravosis is too, even if he'd be the last person on Earth to summon the powers of refleciton and realize it.

    And there's an update. Guess who Aravosis speaks of positively all over DC now? Andrew Sullivan. See, at some point, Aravosis had a chat with the guy, and combined that with a notion that he's now rubbing shoulders at a certain level of prominence, and so he's completely flipped his personal opinion of Sully.

    Aravosis was for online assholiness before he was against it.

    Aravosis was against Sullivan beofore he was for him.

  18. Don't mean to be ignoring all these great and thoughtful comments. A friend I admire pointed out to me that Avarosis was living in my head rent free and I should move on. He's absolutely right and I have. From now on, that one monkey ain't ruining this show. xoxoxo

  19. Anonymous2:21 AM

    The only thing worse than being talked about...

  20. Kos, the golden boy of lefty blogs, also has a tendency to ban people with whom he disagrees.


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