We are big new fans of Christina Patterson, a commentator with The Independent newspaper in London. And not just because she today credits FishbowlLA with making her aware last week of a most dubious distinction bestowed upon her by LA’s Simon Wiesenthal Center. (Alongside journalists Helen Thomas and Rick Sanchez, Patterson was tagged by the Center as having written one of the year’s “Top Ten Anti-Semitic Slurs.”)
Patterson’s writing style seamlessly blends a flair for the English language with basic common sense. Under the headline “How I Was Smeared as an Anti-Semite,” the former director of the Poetry Center picks up where we-she left off, describing her astonishment at our Twitter bad news and sharing some of the extensive feedback that followed at her end.
The day after Twitter’s not-so-secret Santa, I had an email from an Orthodox Jew (“you may even,” he said, “say ‘Ultra’ Orthodox”) from New York. He had, he said, seen the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s list. “What you said,” he said, “is not anti-Semitic. I apologize to you for their wrong”.
A Jewish man in Canada wrote to say that the Simon Wiesenthal Centre “purposely gave an inaccurate impression” and that he had written to them to complain. Another said that the Wiesenthal Centre had been “irresponsible”. Another that they were “obviously desperate”. The Wiesenthal Centre, he said, was, “quite simply, not serious”.
At press time, Patterson’s December 23rd column was the most read item on The Independent website and her original musings about life in the Stamford district had climbed back up to #4. If you have time, check out the growing comments to today’s piece. They are as varied and intermittently worthwhile as those relayed by Patterson in today’s article.