Monday, August 29, 2011

Derfner Got Himself Fired

My original attack at MyRightWord is here and here in the JPost blog section itself..

Many others also joined in.

And dumb Larry Derfner was fired:

I got fired by The Jerusalem Post today. The paper got hundreds of notices of cancellations of subscription after my blog post (“The awful, necessary truth about Palestinian terror”) of Sunday last week; the reason being given for my firing, though, is the substance of the essay, despite the apology I published later. A page-one notice to this effect will be published in the Post tomorrow.

...Today the paper ran a column by Isi Liebler titled “Justifying murder – an abomination,” which, like nearly all of the right-wing websites attacking my original essay (I took it down from my blog upon publishing the apology)... I realized now that the terms “right” and “justify” in connection with the killing of Israelis were wrong, even “obscene,” and that despite all the disclaimers I wrote, they gave a positive connation to terrorism, about which I find nothing positive whatsoever...What bothers me most is not that I got fired, but that I’m not being given the opportunity to fill in the picture that’s been so distorted in today’s Post column and in right-wing Web commentaries. The parts of the picture being obscured or outright hidden would show that while I misspoke myself harmfully, my intent was not to support, endorse, advocate, encourage or call for terror against Israelis, but to end it

I want to repeat: I tried to leave comments at his blog but they were published.  So much for his own demands for a right for free expression.

Here are some of the reactions I received from friends on hearing the good news:

Poor Larry. Another sacrifice on the altar of the right wing maniacs - who of course want to perpetuate terror, while he, the misunderstood and maligned voice of sanity, just wants to save Israelis by stopping the provocations that lead to Arabs being forced to kill us.  In his mindboggling arrogance it never occurs to him that perhaps his ideas are....dare I say it....wrong, and that this is not about the 'occupation' but about a Jewish Israel of any size. In which case he wouldn't be able to explain that we've brought it on ourselves and would have to maybe entertain the thought that we face bloodthirsty murderers. Or we could convert. I'm sure Ha'aretz will pick him up. Maybe they'll take the "great majority" of J post staffers whom he claims opposed the firing, too.

So, he didn't say, he didn't mean it, and anyway, he said he's sorry.

Derfner is really thicker than I had thought. He wrote that the Arabs had a "right" to use terrorism against Israel but that they shouldn't use. But the problem is assigning them such a "right." He doesn't see that.  No big loss. I haven't read a Derfner column in years. I wondered why the JPost wasted space and paper on him. I wouldn't mind reading a knowledgeable and rational "leftist," somebody who thought for himself. Unfortunately, "leftist" today means irrational, slogan-screaming, hate-ridden, anti-Jewish especially. Derfner's reasoning has been absurd for years.

Derfner JUSTIFIABLY fired, he PROVOKED it

Larry Derfner was fired by the Jerusalem Post.  Kudos to editor Steve Linde for making the correct but difficult decision for which he will undoubtedly be vilified.   Let's be clear - this is not an anti-free speech position.  Derfner has the right to say what he wants on his own blog, of course, but he does not have the RIGHT to be a paid columnist for the Jerusalem Post.  By writing, first, that Israeli behavior justifies Arab terrorism (albeit that he doesn't like when Israelis are killed - how brave!), and then "correcting" it and stating instead that Israeli behavior provokes Arab terrorism against, and the murder of, Israelis, Derfner revealed to the world that he is so sympathetic to the Arab Palestinian narrative that he believes it wholecloth, so much so that he really can understand why they kill Israelis.  Guess what?  That is sympathy for terrorism, that is fellow traveling with terrorism, that is so far over the line that your viewpoint is no longer one that is deserving of a paycheck from the Jerusalem Post.  You can believe their narrative, but to say that their response, rather than one of protest, political organizing, legitimate cris de couer, but instead be the murder Israelis, babies, mamas, boys, girls, soldiers, fathers, sisters, brothers was caused (that is what provoked means) by the  Grow up Larry Derfner.  He actually did provoke the consequences of his actions, let's see if he learns from this experience.  I doubt he will, but instead will don the mantle of victimhood and wear it proudly amongst his kind.  If so, they deserve each other.  Opening at Haaretz?

Barry Rubinn thinks Larry Derfner Should Be Debated Not Fired but as I wrote to him:

Since I tried, valiantly, to leave comments at his original pre-apology post prior to its removal, wording them without rancor or incitement but none were published, I have no sympathy for the philosophy of free expression you champion in this.

A response to Barry:

Derfner was fired because hundreds of people spoke with their feet. They found Derfner so offensive and over the line this time that they cancelled their subscriptions as an act of protest. That is a valid act on the subscriber's part - they don't need to give money directly or indirectly to someone they find offensive. The JPost needed to make a business decision here, they didn't have to fire him, they could have slowly bled to death as subscribers left them, or they could have tried to go head to head with Haaretz, or they could have waited to see if it blew over. It might be equally valid to ask if the JPost could/should print a column by Hamas, and open up their viewpoint ad speakers to public debate too.

And from Steve Plaut:

Derfner by the way never offered to volunteer his own entire set of family members to be murdered by the Palestinians in legitimate and justifiable acts of resistance. He only wants to see YOUR children murdered for peace...Oh, and if you are suddenly feeling sorry for poor little Derfie, don’t. Take a look at this report by himself about his getting arrested as part of a violent airport protest against Israeli “apartheid” from a few weeks back



Lea said...

Thanks for the update. If I would have had a Jpost subscription I would have canceled it too

YMedad said...

What Derfner said is very clear: “the Palestinians, like every nation living under hostile rule, have the right to fight back, [and] their terrorism, especially in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government, is justified.” Why make excuses for him? He didn’t simply say Palestinian terrorism could be explained; he didn’t simply say it could be understood. He said Palestinian terrorism “is justified” and is right. He stated it repeatedly:

- as quoted above, “the Palestinians, like every nation living under hostile rule, have the right to fight back, [and] their terrorism, especially in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government, is justified.”

- “people who realize that the occupation is wrong also realize that the Palestinians have the right to resist it – to use violence against Israelis, even to kill Israelis”

- and “this unwillingness to say outright that Palestinians have the right to fight the occupation, especially now, inadvertently helps keep the occupation going”

- and “When we say that the occupation is a terrible injustice to the Palestinians, but then say that Palestinian terror/resistance is a terrible injustice to Israel, we’re saying something that’s patently illogical to anyone but a pacifist”

- and “If those who oppose the occupation acknowledged publicly that it justifies Palestinian terrorism, then those who support the occupation would have to explain why it doesn’t”

- and “I think the Palestinians have the right to use terrorism against us” and “the possibility that Israel’s enemies could use my or anybody else’s justification of terror for their campaign is a daunting one … and I realize it could happen”

- and “whoever the Palestinians were who killed the eight Israelis near Eilat last week, however vile their ideology was, they were justified to attack.”

In this case, Derfner doesn’t have the right to express the opinion at all. Derfner’s statements were, at least prima facie, criminal incitement to acts of terrorism. You can be sure that if Derfner wrote the exactly the same things in the same terms, but about settlers being justified and right in using violence against Israeli authority figures, he would right now be in a holding cell.

Anonymous said...

I think JPost was perfectly justified in firing Derfner. A paper's op-ed page is not a free-for-all, but a forum for the exploration of a certain range of views. For Haaretz and the NYT, that range of views runs from center-left to radical left. On the WSJ it's center-right to right. JPost should indeed have a diverse opinion page, but IMHO, running a columnist who thinks Palestinians have a right to murder Israelis is outside the range of respectable opinion. There is such a thing as too much diversity.

Part of what a newspaper like JPost does is help define the terms of the debate about Israel and the Palestinians. It's a form of political and intellectual leadership. When JPost publishes columnists who hold views such as Derfner's, the JPost is indicating that those views are legitimate and deserve to be taken seriously. Given the fact that JPost can only publish a finite number of columnists, surely there are better examples of left-wing thinking whose voices could be heard.

Anonymous Dot said...

Larry Derfner probably self-sabotaged and is living the sweet life somewhere in the Ummah. He rattled his own cage.

What do you know about this guy, YMedad:

He is in the premium zone online with only two articles. My impression from his writings is that he is a Christian fascist. He even looks like a bully. He believes Mubarak's 30-year peace treaty with Israel was taquiyya (

Somewhere, somehow -- I'm smelling a rat.

dsch said...

For a long time, i've felt that Larry Derfner's column should be expelled, but not just because he's left-wing. It doesn't bother me that Gershon Baskin, Ray Hanania, Jeff Barak, Alon-Ben Meir are published there too. Their articles are well-written and articulate, even if I don't agree with them. That's democracy. But Derfner's columns were no better than the rants of a mediocre, angry blogger. They were insult-fests for anyone to the right of Yossi Beilin. They were poorly researched, and frankly, undeserving of a sophisticated readership. Good riddance. Let him stick to his blog.

NormanF said...

I agree with you. The efficacy of terrorism is not at issue here. Its morality is and no Israeli should justify the enemy's murder of his fellow countrymen as a "right." That's sick and repulsive and to write what he did after Israelis just buried their dead went beyond sheer chutzpah.

There is never an excuse for defending evil. I am gratified the Jerusalem Post took the right decision. Its a point of pride, too - since while Jews do dumb things, today they showed class and honored the recently, dearly departed dead.

Notice I have nothing to say about Derfner. Res ipsa loquitur.

NormanF said...

There are Israeli leftists - even Zionists with a sense of responsibility. You can be critical of your country up to a point. Derfner crossed it and became an anti-Zionist radical leftist extremist. The Jerusalem Post is a business and has to comply with the law. If they hadn't fired Derfner, they could have been subjected to criminal prosecution.

Let's be clear and point if Derfner has written what he wrote about Israelis and advocated it against the Arabs, he would already have already been arrested and interrogated by the Israeli Police. He needn't worry. Israel's leftist Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitzan, in charge of hate crimes investigation won't throw the book at him b/c he is not a rabbi or a Kahanist.

It still don't make him a martyr on behalf of free speech. Far from it!

Stefan said...

In his last column published in Jerusalem Post, Derfner felt "earthquake weather" before Septemberrr.
Next, being impatient for September, he fancies to shake the whole Israel into his earthquake by outrageous support for terrorism.
In his "Apology", he testifies that his whole purpose was to "shock" his readers.
The truth is that Derfner, lacking journalistic talent, had to ever increase the doses of shock he submitted his readers to.
Finally, Jerusalem Post fired Derfner because his writing was lacking true journalism and ethics.

Anonymous said...

let's not forget Octavia Nasr who got herself fired for her Tweet praising Hezbollah terror.

Jason H. Elbaum said...

"If they hadn't fired Derfner, they could have been subjected to criminal prosecution."

With all due respect, this is groundless. Even if Derfner's words constitute a crime (which I find doubtful), they were not published by The Jerusalem Post! You can't be held criminally liable for employing someone who commits a crime somewhere else.

Inside Information said...

The decision to fire Derfner was made by the paper's owner, not the editors,who were still debating what to do when the order came down from "on high." I have that from a primary source. I guess the subscription cancellations spooked him.

I happen to support what Barry Rubin wrote. Many people feel the way Derfner does, and you cannot make their opinions go away. You have to confront them and point out their fallacies -- again, and again, and again, as long as you have to.

As a Facebook friend of mine pointed out, now Derfner has been granted martyr status. I'm not sure that's any better.

Hadassa DeYoung said...

Ah, the market has spoken! Larry Derfner's rants were so offensive to so many people that the Jerusalem Post feared losing money. So, they made a business decision to fire him.

Notice how the humanely the free market acts in contrast to the State. Derfner wasn't arrested. He wasn't made to "disappear." And, he wasn't even summoned to the police station for questioning. He was simply let go.

Derf can still spew his vile ideas, but he'll need to invest his own time and money to do it. The Post will no longer be supporting him because he has simply become too much of a financial liability.

I love the free market.

jj said...

(I posted the following on Larry's blog. Do you think he'll publish it and give me the free speech I so desperately need to voice my opinion of him?)
Hey Larry! Isn't it amazing how everyone here seems to support your outrageously anti-Israel article? Do YOU believe in free speech too by letting others respond you your sick article of self-hatred? If I see my response then I know you are an honest journalist, and if not, well calling you a hypocrite would be the least of your problems.
let me try to make you understand what you did by transporting you back in time about 70 years to Nazi Germany, You are a journalist in a top German newspaper whose editor is a Nazi. He likes you alot because you "tell it like it is". World Jewry organized a boycott of German goods, and your editor wants you to write a response knowing full well that as a Jew he can count on you to be his "kapo".
YOU write the following: "Shame on those Jews for organizing this boycott! What right do they have to destroy German jobs, industry! Now I understand why the Germans hate them, they are truly the source of all of our troubles ever since they arrived here. Especially those Oust Juden! The German Nation will not be blamed if Germany goes to war against the West and against Jews all over Europe! These Jews are to blame for their own persecutions from the cultured peaceful German people who have always tried to negotiate in order to stop war from breaking out. The German Nation has always had in mind the best interest of all of mankind! These johnny come lately Jews in Germany, who invited them in the first place to settle in our country? ...." Do you now understand Larry why you write what you write? Do you now see the difference between you the pro-Nazi and you the pro-Arab terrorist? If you do, let me know, because I certainly see no difference whatsoever!