How We Got Here in the First Place

Some of the roughest commentary issued by Times of Israel bloggers never appears here in this public space, but well out of sight of the public in a Facebook group developed just for the bloggers (once “secret” now merely “closed”). We may talk shop: how do you get a photo to display within the blog piece without cutting the head off? Or we may be posting links to our latest musings online. Quite often, however, we’re at each others’ throats hashing out politics.

It’s nasty. And not for the faint at heart.

Sometimes the bloggers just can’t keep this stuff to themselves. Then it outs in public as it did here and here, because it’s just too good to hold it in and why stab someone in the back when you can stab her right in front of the world? Luckily, it’s not all back (and front) stabbing, but also about knights in shining armor as I found out when someone messaged me, “Did you see THIS?”

Inner girl (via Shutterstock)
Inner girl (via Shutterstock)

Some of my colleagues find the infighting among the bloggers a bit infantile, and one of them dare he say it (he did to me in private) kind of girly-girl. I told him to buck up: to get in touch with his inner girl. He laughed.

The thing is you never know when the most innocent comment is going to land you in deep blogger doo-doo. Sometimes my fingers itch to type, to contribute my viewpoint, but I know that doing so would be touching the glowing end of a lit match to a conflagration waiting to happen (screaming, “Light me! Light me!”).

Better I keep my thoughts to myself and get a lot more work done. Usually, I’m a good girl and I stay well out of the fray (and get lots of work done producing content for the car donation charity, Kars4Kids, as unlikely as that may seem). But sometimes, I just can’t help myself.

That’s what happened after fellow blogger Arno Rosenfeld shared this blog about his exchange with Richard Silverstein, after the latter attributed the Boston Marathon bombing to American policy in the Middle East. I couldn’t help myself. Without thinking I typed, “Well, what do you expect? This has been the liberal leftist credo all along.”

Ooh. Now I was in for it.

At first it was polite. One left-wing blogger wrote, “Let’s not paint the entire left with one brush. Are all people on the right wing Jewish supremist-Kahane followers? This guy is an ass, it has nothing to do with his politics.”

I wasn’t buying it. After all, there IS a dividing line between the left and the right. This was it. This was the thing that distinguishes the left from the right when it comes to the perspective on terror.

Minutes before the blast. (Photo credit: AP/Bob Leonard)
Minutes before the blast. (Photo credit: AP/Bob Leonard)

The minute I heard the news of the bombings, I knew exactly how it would be played in the left-controlled American mainstream media. They would say, “Now let’s not jump to conclusions. He may not be a Muslim.”

And then, should it turn out the terrorist was a Muslim, they’d make excuses. Turns out it was two Muslims and. They’re. Off.

Disqualified boxer Tamerlan Tsarnaev (photo credit: AP/The Lowell Sun, Julia Malakie)
Disqualified boxer Tamerlan Tsarnaev (photo credit: AP/The Lowell Sun, Julia Malakie)

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was disqualified for a boxing championship because he wasn’t American-born. It was America’s fault, they said. WE failed to integrate him. And so Tamerlan, together with his brother, blew up a kid and two young women and then shot up a campus policeman. Sure. That makes sense.

That is what they do, “they” being leftists. They were acting true to form by blaming failed integration and American policy in the Middle East for multiple acts of terror.

I tried to explain it to my colleagues like this: the right sees terror as an unprovoked evil, but the left sees terror as the result of a social ill that, had it only been resolved, would not have resulted in a particular outcome. But my colleagues only got angrier with them demanding I prove this horrible, mean, awful, no-good generalization I was making about the left.

The Anti-Progressive Terminator (via Shutterstock)
The Anti-Progressive Terminator (via Shutterstock)

So I did. For a full week, whenever I came across a news statement of someone excusing the actions of the Tsarnaev brothers by attributing them to something America did wrong, I posted a link on that thread. Link after link after link. This led one of my colleagues to term me (off-list) “the anti-progressive Terminator.”


One of those links I cited quoted a New York Times interview of Tamerlan’s former brother in-law, Elmirza Khozugov, who explained why Tamerlan acted out as he had: “He was angry that the world pictures Islam as a violent religion.”

To which a colleague wrote:  “Woot woot, glad to see we’re back to Islam bashing.”

Huh? All I did was post a link. When I said there was nothing in anything I’d said or done to lead him to that conclusion he wrote, “LOL.”

Well then! *shaking my head*

Having made my point ad infinitum, there was not much left for my colleagues to do except offer deflections. Like telling me my real issue was freedom of speech, which of course, had nothing to do with the topic at hand. Can you spell D-E-F-L-E-C-T-I-O-N? He wrote, “It’s such a shame that there are these laws and constitutions that allow people to write and say things that annoy Varda someone should come along and do something about that.”

Richard Falk (YouTube screenshot)
Richard Falk (YouTube screenshot)

When I told him this was just a deflection he got all huffy and stamped his feet: “Quite frankly until you admit that you were wrong we have nothing to say to one another.”

Stamping foot (via Shutterstock)
Stamping foot (via Shutterstock)

Finally, the “peace-making” colleague offers what she prays will be the final word on a week-long thread which is actually a sly dig in my side, “Varda Epstein- you have shown us lots of proof behind your statements. It is the opinion of people about liberals rather than empirical evidence, but it doesn’t matter. You’ve done it and that’s great.”

Huh? Not empirical? In other words, all I proved with all those links containing quotes of leftists blaming the bombing on American xenophobia, American policy in the Middle East, and America’s failure to properly integrate the Tsarnaev brothers, is that people like me think that people like them blame terror on social ills. Even though it’s not true.

Link after link of leftists apologizing for the Tsarnaevs, accepting blame. Pointing fingers at others. And it’s only what I think?

I hadn’t offered empirical evidence?

And we wonder how we got here in the first place.





About the Author
Varda Epstein is a blogger and Communications Writer for