Last week, in anticipation of Peter Beinart’s new blog, Zion Square, someone went out and bought the domain name zionsquare.com. It wasn’t Beinart, whose blog is hosted by the Daily Beast. Who was it, then? We don’t know. And why don’t we know? Because whoever it was took pains to hide his or her identity, registering the domain privately. Having learned of the site, my colleague Marc Tracy contacted the site’s nameless proprietors via Twitter and asked them to go on the record. They refused.
It is tempting to ignore this pitiful little bleep on the Web. At the moment, zionsquare.com, unlike Beinart’s elegant site, contains little save blurry graphics and those Danny Ayalon videos you’ve watched a hundred times on YouTube. And I would ignore it, if it weren’t for its cowardly use of what is quickly becoming a bona fide tactic for right-wing hysterics. Like the Columbia student who claimed she was steered away from a pro-Palestinian class—her findings were investigated and promptly dismissed—the perpetrators behind zionsquare.com hope that tactical anonymity might only increase their appeal.
It doesn’t. In its introductory post, the site presents itself as “the focal point of a group of academics, bloggers, journalists, legal professionals, policy wonks, security experts and more, all with extensive knowledge of Israel and the Middle East.” Actually, academics submit their findings, under their own names, for review by their peers. Journalists live and die by their bylines. And so on. The only people who refuse to reveal themselves are scoundrels and cowards.