Living in Manhattan, then and now, my experience of the attack that day (although never directly threatened) remains a profound memory, which I wrote about here, last year. Today, 15 years later, we reflect again on this solemn national occasion.
And in time for this year’s 9/11 remembrances, an antisemitic “Truther” is engaged in a book tour promoting his contention that “Zionists” were responsible for what happened. Christopher Bollyn spoke at a New York venue that houses a number of progressive-left organizations and publications, Brooklyn Commons, despite the protest of many or most of these tenants. Reportedly, Bollyn’s two and a half to three hour talk was mind-numbing, mostly consisting of a slide presentation; it was also perhaps one of the smallest events (with no more than 40 paying customers in the audience at a rather small venue) to garner so much national attention. (Click here for a news report in The Forward, and here for a Forward op-ed.)
Conspiracy theories have abounded almost from day one. You may recall the canard that “the Jews” were tipped off, “explaining” why “none” died that day; actually, of course, many never got that memo. One, an American-Israeli tech wiz named Daniel Lewin (who had actually served in the IDF’s Sayeret Matkal commando unit), may have been the first victim of 9/11, as he attempted to overcome the hijackers of his flight.
The initial whistleblower on Bollyn was Daniel Sieradski, writing at the Jewschool website. Perhaps the most potent rejoinder to this antisemite’s attempt to infiltrate the left in this country was delivered in Tablet by David Schraub, a lecturer at UC-Berkeley and a member of The Third Narrative (TTN) community — a group of liberal/left scholars and activists organized by Ameinu to safeguard respectful discourse in academia on Israel/Palestine issues. A TTN blog post, “Lessons for Leftists on Anti-Semitism,” includes an abridged version of Schraub’s Tablet article.