The Nation’s ‘Sports Editor’ Dave Zirin’s Three Months of Anti-Israel Calumny

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Dave Zirin is ostensibly sports editor at the hard-left magazine The Nation, but since the October 6 terror attack on Israel by Hamas he’s been preoccupied with the evils of Israel, while denying the plain intent of genocidal anti-Jewish slogans from pro-Palestine supporters.

Zirin, who is Jewish, has spent several columns weeping over Gaza and almost ignoring the suffering of Israelis, while bizarrely conjuring up a climate of “fear” for Palestinian supporters in America, getting into verbal scraps with solid liberal Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer, and charging the Israeli government with “weaponizing the Holocaust.”

His January 4 column “How DEI Programs and Liberal Politics Are Failing Gaza,” besides being an inadvertent admission that the “Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion” bureaucracies on college campuses were never meant to help Jews, showed his willful ignorance regarding the intent of the phrase “From the River to the Sea.”

The first part which must be acknowledged is that this fear is based in the reality of a new McCarthyism. There is a middle school teacher in my liberal community that was suspended for using the Palestinian independence slogan ‘From the River to the Sea’ as a tagline on an email. The redefining of that popular phrase as something antisemitic and even exterminationist has been a propaganda coup for those who defend the shelling of Gaza.

A Zirin trademark since October 6 has been playing dumb by denying the well-known history of a statement understood by both Jews and Hamas as a call to exterminate all the Jews in Israel. But even by his own leftist standards, it’s a deeply offensive microaggression.

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Zirin assumed correctly that DEI was never intended to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitism. A December 2021 Heritage Foundation report, “Inclusion Delusion,” found anti-Semitic statements abounded on the Twitter feeds of DEI personnel on college campus. This DEI-pushing piece on religious diversity talked of Muslims but failed to mentions Jews (pie graph excepted).

Zirin really went over the top in his November 15 column, “The March for Israel Was a Hate Rally.”

….It was a political event like nothing I’ve seen in two decades of covering rallies in this town. In the incessant calls to keep bombing Gaza, it was a celebration not just of war but of war crimes.

That piece offended Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY), who accused Zirin of anti-Semitism. Zirin responded November 29 with “Chuck Schumer Is Antisemitism’s Great Enabler.” Blaming a Jewish senator for anti-Semitism is quite the take.

As a proud Jew, I was shocked that Schumer would use my article as an example along with synagogue vandalization and Nazi hate crimes as part of a ‘rising tide of anti-Semitism.’….

Zirin noted the presence at the rally of House Speaker Mike Johnson and “anti-Jewish bigot Rev. John Hagee” and concluded, “Calling the rally ‘a hate rally’ was completely appropriate.”

In November 10’s “There Is No Space in the Sports World to Call for a Free Palestine,” Zirin again defended the phrase ‘from the river to the sea’ as:

,,,,a decades-old slogan calling for freedom across the Palestinian homeland….The media’s coverage of the slogan, in failing to state this outright, has been executors of this slanderous disinformation, aimed at branding protesters who have long used this well-worn phrase, look violently anti-Semitic.

The slogan was adopted by Hamas. Even Newsweek has figured that out: “Protesters Regret ‘From the River to the Sea’ Chant Upon Learning Meaning.” If the shoe fits….

Zirin got offensive with “The Left Is Not ‘Anti-Jewish’” on November 6, accusing Jews of using the Holocaust as a political cudgel.

Israel has spent decades weaponizing the Holocaust to justify the Palestinian occupation.

On October 12 Zirin went with the usual old lies and cliches, calling Gaza “an open-air prison” even suggesting a parallel with the Attica prison riot – as if to suggest Hamas’s taking (and raping?) of hostages was somehow fair play in a desperate situation.

….Now this open-air prison is facing what another prison, Attica, faced in 1971. The prisoners of Attica fought back against savagely inhumane conditions….They also took hostages — and then were slaughtered for their efforts. Gaza is Attica if Attica was populated by 2.3 million people, half of whom are children.

Zirin also committed bias by omission, failing to mention anti-Jewish activists ripping down posters of hostages taken by Hamas, or the Democratic Socialists of America‘s celebratory rally for the Hamas attack on October 8, the day after the invasion, even before Israel had begun its counterattack. Nor has he tackled the normalization of anti-Semitism in America since Hamas’s invasion.

Tellingly, Zirin accused Israel of “war crimes” 12 times in columns, while being unable to describe Hamas’s attack the same way even once.

Zirin was even dismissive of attempts to release civilian hostages being mistreated and sexually assaulted by Hamas’s thugs, making an offensive “yes, but…” argument in October 26’s “Congressional Support for a Cease-Fire Isn’t Too Much to Ask.”

….The last reason [Democratic Rep. Jamie] Raskin is incorrect is because he is letting Israel off the hook for its hypocrisy. Yes, 200 Israelis are currently hostages. But 4,000 Palestinian laborers from Gaza working in Israel have also been taken into military custody since October 7.”

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