R.I.P. Alexander Cockburn at 71

The left loses one of its most outspoken straight-shooters. I have read Cockburn with delight since his Village Voice days. “Mr. Cockburn had, at various times, regular columns in ideologically disparate publications like The Nation and The Wall Street Journal and became known as an unapologetic leftist, condemning what he saw as the outrages of the right but also castigating the American liberal establishment when he thought it was being timid.” (NYTimes obituary)

3 comments

  1. mike

    It truly saddens me to see those on the “left” expressing admiration for Cockburn. I’ve read a lot of nasty stuff on the internet, from a lot of nasty, hate-filled people, but nothing like what I read from Cockburn. He was a vicious and virulent anti-semite, one of the worst out there, a very violent extremist who openly encouraged Hamas to engage in violent attacks on children, castigated all of the Palestinians and Israelis who wanted to make peace, and did everything in his power to continue and perpetuate the conflicts there. For years he had links to the Protocols of Zion on his web site. He strongly believed that there was an organized zionist conspiracy to take over the planet. He seems to have been a holocaust denier, or at least regularly gave space to holocaust deniers and other anti-semites. He systematically discriminated against and censured those who tried to print the truth about the I-P conflict. He regularly accused Israel of committing genocide and ethnic cleansing, claims that all informed people know to be false. Despite his own country having invaded dozens of countries during his lifetime, resulting in the deaths of countless millions, he claimed that Israel was the most dangerous country on the planet and the greatest danger to world peace. He was a horrible and monstrous individual; spiteful, cruel, bigoted and dishonest.

    Besides his anti-semitism, environmentalists might like to know that he was also a global warming denier. If you don’t believe that, see this article he wrote on the subject. Money quote: “There is zero evidence that the rise in CO2 levels has anthropogenic origins.” http://www.spiked-online.com/site/article/12664/

    He may have been personable in person, but there are very few people who have done more to discredit the left or to empower the right than Cockburn. He did a lot of damage to the struggle for human rights and peace, and I for one am extremely glad he’s dead. I’m really surprised that someone as well-informed as Eliot would fall for his nonsense or praise his memory.

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  2. FmH

    Mike, Thank you for deepening the conversation. I admit that I should have looked much more deeply before sloppy and uncritical praise. What I mostly appreciated Cockburn for was his challenge to the left to be more courageous; he might have liked your comments! I am particularly surprised that he was a climate change denier. Apart from denial of the Holocaust (or at least giving them a podium), his comments about Israel seem to fall more within the bounds of provocative but legitimate debate.

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  3. stevenhartwriterSteven Hart

    Alexander Cockburn was not an antisemite. He had a taste for outrage, but he was critical of Israeli militarism and the raw deal the Palestinians were getting. Very often, that position gets tagged as “antisemitism” by people who dismiss any criticism of Israel as the work of Jew-haters or self-hating Jews. I wish he hadn’t been such a flake about global warming, but his press criticism was almost always deadly accurate.

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