A short break from finishing the book to offer a comment on Josh Treviño. When I first met Josh, about a year ago, it was immediately apparent that he was one of the sharper right-wingers in a state with no shortage of those. I was tickled when the Guardian announced that he would start writing a column about American politics for them. They also hired Glenn Greenwald at about the same time--Greenwald is from the left, and also a good hire.

The announcement has ignited a backlash and a campaign to get Josh fired, centered around a tweet he wrote on June 25th last year: "Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla – well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me." I'm glad to see that Josh apologized and clarified that it was intended as an expression of support for Israel's right to defend itself, using force if necessary. It was a callous way to make that argument, though, and although I don't have a ferocious position on Israel, I would not be "cool with" the situation posited. With that said, it strikes me as a stretch to call the specified tweet "incitement to murder". An additional charge, that Josh is a white supremacist, is silly. (For another perspective, see Seth Mandel at Commentary, among others.)

Josh's critics are obviously within their rights to argue with him, this being a free country and all, and if they want to attack him in more personal terms--well, he's probably not in a position to complain about manners. Still, I hope the campaign to get him fired fails. His views are different from mine in many respects, but he doesn't come by them glibly, and he is an ardent and informed advocate for them. (I thought his take on the Ryan pick, for example, makes an astute point about incumbency.) That is, of course, why I value his perspective and presumably this is why the Guardian hired him in the first place. Josh is certainly more abrasive than I am, which is partly because I'm not a partisan, and partly a temperamental difference. He doesn't mind a stampede, whereas I'm like this guy. When it comes to the public conversation, I would prefer it if people were always fair, broad-minded, and civil. Given that people on all sides occasionally fall short of that aspirational ideal, however, it's better to risk occasional offense than to circumscribe the discussion or live in an echo chamber. 
Ali Abunimah
08/19/2012 11:35

Dear Ms. Grieder, if Trevino's 25 June 2011 tweet expressing support for the killing of unarmed civilians aboard the flotilla had been the only one, then perhaps your excuses for him, might pass. But the fact is Trevino tweeted many other times, openly expressing glee at the killings that happened aboard the Mavi Marmara, and urging more the following year. The relevant tweets are included in the following articles I wrote. It's quite disingenuous to ignore all of this and focus only on a single tweet -- as bad as that tweet is.



08/19/2012 12:49

Mr Abunimah: Thanks for your note. My goal here, as I indicated, wasn't to minimize the discussion or defend the tweets in question.

I'd be happy to read any other links you want to send along, although I won't be able to give them my full attention for about ten days. Best, Erica

08/19/2012 11:55

Are you going to defend his tweets about how he wished the IDF had drawn pictures of the Prophet Muhammad on the bulkhead of the Mavi Marmara in celebration of them killing 9 civilians? It seems this is hardly one 'misunderstood' tweet but firmly held racist beliefs.

08/19/2012 18:28

re: "It seems this is hardly one 'misunderstood' tweet but firmly held racist beliefs."

So you really have no other vocabulary? Were American soldiers in WWII racist because they were fighting Germans?

Apparently you think it's a handy epithet to enhance your attack, but you're bleeding the word of all meaning. 

08/25/2012 09:16

Well, they gave him the boot and that's for the best. Why The Guardian ever considered hiring a Zionist is beyond me.


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