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Jeffrey Goldberg and the Havana Hustle: Another fawning American intellectual bites the dust

Posted By Elena Ives On September 15, 2010 @ 5:00 pm In NewsReal Blog | No Comments

Poor Atlantic columnist, Jeffrey Goldberg. Also, poor janitor at the Atlantic who had to clean up the floor last month when Goldberg was summoned to the feet of Fidel Castro and went into paroxysms of slobbering joy at the prospect of catching “a glimpse” of the “great man.”

But I digress. I say poor Goldberg, because it seems he has emerged from that breathless audience with his idol looking a little sheepish – being as he eagerly ran home to announce that Castro had recanted the Marxist-Leninist “Cuban model,” never knowing that Uncle Fidel was just pulling his leg.

How could this happen? Easy. Just read Goldberg’s recent column venerating Ground Zero Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf. It is excruciatingly clear that this man operates with a severely defective BS meter. Seriously, he might as well have a “Useful Idiot” sign taped to his back. Castro obviously took note and decided to have a little fun. I hear Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah are fighting over who gets to be next.

The sad part is that Goldberg, being Jewish, has an even more appalling loyalty deficiency. How could any Jew gush like he did about someone who recently capped decades of anti-Semitic behavior by calling the “swastika” Israel’s “banner?”

No problem in Goldberg’s eyes. Especially when Castro went all soft and mushy about understanding Jews and their feelings and sensibilities and what they’ve been through. That BS meter should have been screaming by that point. But, amazingly, Goldberg ate it up — almost as if he knew nothing about this Castro statement:

“The hatred felt by the state of Israel against the Palestinians is such that they would not hesitate to send the one and a half million men, women and children of that country to the crematoria where millions of Jews of all ages were exterminated by the Nazis.”

Or this:

“It would seem that the Fuehrer’s [Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's] swastika is today Israel’s banner,” the 83-year-old Castro declared in the latest of a series of articles dubbed ”reflections” in the communist-ruled island’s media.

Sad and disgusting. Here is Goldberg, alleged journalist and alleged Jew, being played like a ukulele by a thuggish mass-murdering dictator who just weeks ago compared the descendants of Auschwitz with the Third Reich. Something that apparently didn’t offend Goldberg, who at one point even morphed into Castro’s messenger-boy, bearing a friendly missive for Israel regarding nuclear Iran: Disarm. Advice that I’m sure Benjamin Netanyahu will take under serious advisement.

His message to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, he said, was simple: Israel will only have security if it gives up its nuclear arsenal, and the rest of the world’s nuclear powers will only have security if they, too, give up their weapons. Global and simultaneous nuclear disarmament is, of course, a worthy goal, but it is not, in the short term, realistic.

Humberto Fontova recently wrote about this sorry episode, catapulting it into the realm of tragic irony. Here we have a Jewish-American journalist fawning over a sadistic, anti-Semitic, lying Caribbean Nazi, and it takes a Cuban exile – and gentile – to speak up for his murdered ancestors and the beleaguered Jewish state. Fontova wrote:

However impolitic for Goldberg, the Atlantic’s investigatory gumshoe/sleuth might have asked Castro why a scant two months ago he declared that, “the Fuhrer’s swastika is today Israel’s banner.”

Or why Cuba co-sponsored the U.N.’s infamous “Zionism= Racism” resolution in 1975. Or why Castro sent Cuban “volunteers” to fight (and get creamed) against Israel during the Yom Kippur War. Or why he provided training basis for the PLO, Al Fatah and Carlos the Jackal, the most notorious terrorist of the 70’s.

Or why Castro personally decorated Yasir Arafat with Cuba’s highest honor, the Bay of Pigs Medal, whereupon Arafat exulted that:  “Comrade Fidel said that the Palestinian Revolution can count on the full support and aid of the Cuban Revolution! We are not alone!”

Or why Cuba’s current Foreign minister declared that, “Zionists are the same as Hitler’s hordes who massacred millions of Jews!”

Or why at the September 2001 United Nations “World Conference against Racism” conference in Durban, South Africa Castro denounced, “Israel’s ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people!”

Or why for decades the Cuban press ran cartoons worthy of Julius Streicher, such as these.

He didn’t ask about any of those things. But it was no surprise. We got a hint that Goldberg was fixing to give one of the 20th century’s most vicious tyrants a pass when the drooling began over the vaunted “glimpse of the great man.”

… I was even more curious, however, to get a glimpse of the great man. Few people had seen him since he fell ill in 2006, and the state of his health has been a subject of much speculation.

Goldberg could have meant “great” as in Castro’s capacity to employ a firing squad as some would a fly-swatter. Or “great” in terms of the misery and poverty he has visited on his countrymen. Or “great” as in how many souls have perished at sea trying to escape him.

I especially agree that Castro is a “great man” if you measure greatness by the ability to bamboozle starry-eyed, fawning American journalists who should know better.

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