That Unhinged Mary Anastasia O'Grady Column

If I didn't know better, I would say that Mary Anastasia O'Grady, the Wall Street Journal polemicist who never met a fascist Central American oligarch she didn't like, is preparing to invade the Bay of Pigs all over again. Her column today, attacking Goldblog for interviewing Fidel Castro, is almost pathological in its disregard for reality. O'Grady is a prime proponent of a five-decade-old Cuba policy that has failed utterly to dislodge the Castro brothers. But why let failure get in the way of consistency?

O'Grady is particularly bothered by Goldblog's decision to publish Fidel Castro's denunciation of anti-Semitism. She assumes that the denunciation was insincere. I don't know what is in Fidel Castro's heart, so instead of speculating rampantly, I decided to write down what he said and publish it. Many people at the Wall Street Journal -- though not O'Grady, obviously -- practice journalism in similar fashion, which is to say, they write down things that people say. In any case, this is what she said in reference to Fidel and the Jewish question:

We are supposed to conclude that Cuba is no longer a threat to global stability and that Fidel is a reformed tyrant. But how believable is a guy whose revolution all but wiped out Cuba's tiny Jewish community of 15,000, and who spent the past 50 years supporting the terrorism of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Syria, Libya and Iran? And how does Castro explain Venezuela, where Cuban intelligence agents run things, Iran is an ally and anti-Semitism has been state policy in recent years? Mr. Goldberg doesn't go there with Fidel.

"Wiped out"? Is she implying that there are mass graves in Cuba filled with Jews? It is true, of course, that many Cuban Jews, like many members of the middle class, fled Cuba after the Communist revolution. It is also true that the Jews who remain have absolute freedom of worship, and often travel to Israel (young Cuban Jews even attend Birthright events).  O'Grady's hatred of Castro is so deep it is causing her to falsify history. On the matter of Cuba's foreign policy, it is indisputably true that Cuba made itself an enemy of Israel more than thirty years ago. This is why Castro's recent statements on anti-Semitism were newsworthy -- so newsworthy, in fact, that the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu (not a man known to be soft on Communism) took approving note of them.

And one more thing -- does O'Grady really believe that Cuba is a "threat to global stability"? I can name 10 or 15 countries that are threats to global stability. Cuba doesn't make the list. This is in part because the Cold War is over, and we won. But don't tell Mary Anastasia O'Grady.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.


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