Here’s the post that got this story rolling. It’s written by Rachel Abrams and appears on her blog, Bad Rachel, and is her bloodcurdling response to the release of the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, on October 18:
He’s free and he’s home in the bosom of his family and his country.
Celebrate, Israel, with all the joyous gratitude that fills your hearts, as we all do along with you.
Then round up his captors, the slaughtering, death-worshiping, innocent-butchering, child-sacrificing savages who dip their hands in blood and use women—those who aren’t strapping bombs to their own devils’ spawn and sending them out to meet their seventy-two virgins by taking the lives of the school-bus-riding, heart-drawing, Transformer-doodling, homework-losing children of Others—and their offspring—those who haven’t already been pimped out by their mothers to the murder god—as shields, hiding behind their burkas and cradles like the unmanned animals they are, and throw them not into your prisons, where they can bide until they’re traded by the thousands for another child of Israel, but into the sea, to float there, food for sharks, stargazers, and whatever other oceanic carnivores God has put there for the purpose.
And here’s how the Washington Post got involved: Their right wing, pro-Israel, blogger, Jennifer Rubin, gave Abrams the thumbs up when she retweeted a tweet in which Abrams was promoting her post.
The Post’s ombudsman Patrick B. Pexton says “Rubin should not have retweeted Abrams’s tweet.”
He concludes: “Rubin is not responsible for the offensive words; Abrams is. But in agreeing with the sentiment, and in spreading it to her 7,000 Twitter followers who know her as a Washington Post blogger, Rubin did damage to The Post and the credibility that keeps it afloat.”
Pexton’s analysis of Abrams’ post is less than exact. He writes:
Abrams’s post is so full of dashes it’s hard to follow, but the subject of her run-on sentence does appear to be “captors” not Palestinians in general. The language is so over the top, though —“child-sacrificing savages,” “devil’s spawn,” “pimped out by their mothers,” “unmanned animals” — it’s easy to how some people might see it as an endorsement of genocide.
The mangled sentence is indeed difficult to decipher, but this call for vengeance is not simply directed at Shalit’s captors — it includes “their offspring.” Presumably Abrams shares the view of many right wing Zionists that the children of terrorists are baby terrorists and thus she hopes for their preemptive slaughter.
Having said all that, some observers may wonder why a blogger like Abrams could garner so much attention. Pexton merely identifies her as “an independent blogger and board member of the conservative Emergency Committee for Israel” — a group so extreme that it has drawn criticism from the pro-Israel American Jewish establishment.
The context the Post’s ombudsman failed to provide was this:
Her spouse, Elliott Abrams is a veteran of both the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations who was convicted (and later pardoned) for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal; her mother, Midge Decter, is on the board of the Center for Security Policy and was a founding member of the Project for the New American Century and the Reagan-era Committee for the Free World, which she co-directed with Donald Rumsfeld; her step-father, Norman Podhoretz, is a former editor of the neoconservative flagship magazine Commentary and a widely recognized trailblazer of the neoconservative “tendency” (Norman’s son from another marriage, John Podhoretz, is currently editor of Commentary); and her sister, Ruthie Blum Leibowitz, is a columnist for the conservative Israeli daily, the Jerusalem Post.
Back in 2006, when Elliot Abrams backed an armed uprising in Gaza in an effort to overthrow the democratically elected government, what kind of encouragement was he getting from his wife? Was she also then sharing visions of mass slaughter with President Bush’s Deputy National Security Adviser who at that time was arguably the most influential Middle East policymaker inside the administration?