New Perch For ‘Lobby’ Observer

By Gabriel Sanders

Published March 16, 2007, issue of March 16, 2007.
  • Print
  • Share Share

After close to a year of authoring a blog hosted by the Web site of The New York Observer, journalist Philip Weiss has decided to pull up stakes and strike out on his own.

The reasons, Weiss said, were part economic, part political.

“I wanted money after a year, and the Observer didn’t want to pay me, and they were uncomfortable with my politics,” he wrote in an e-mail to the Forward.

Over the past year, Weiss has devoted considerable space on his blog — called MondoWeiss (now located at www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss) — to the question of American Jews and Israel. He has been a champion of the controversial paper published last year by political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, in which they argue that the “Israel Lobby” wields too much power over American foreign policy.

According to Observer editor Peter Kaplan, Weiss’s move was initiated not by the paper but by the writer. Though Kaplan conceded that he and Weiss differed over money, he insisted that he has no trouble with Weiss’s politics.

“I love Philip as a writer and as a human being,” Kaplan said. “As far as I’m concerned, he could have run his blog under the Observer’s auspices forever.” Kaplan said that he hopes to continue to use Weiss as a writer for the paper’s print edition.

In his new blog’s maiden post, Weiss, who considers himself an anti- or non-Zionist, retreated a bit from the charge that the Observer was uncomfortable with his politics. Instead, he said, the paper’s site was perhaps an inappropriate venue for his own personal thoughts on Israel and America, especially ones that draw a hostile response.

“One of the problems with the Observer site was the invective,” he wrote, “which I did a lousy job of policing.” He invited visitors to his new site to be courteous. “If people want to comment, they should keep out obscenity, scatology, etc. You know where the line is.”

The Observer has itself seen some changes of late. Bought in August by Jared Kushner, the 26-year-old son of scandal-plagued New Jersey developer Charles Kushner, the paper switched last month from broadsheet to tabloid format.






Find us on Facebook!
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.