The messages kept coming, from the same email. Now he called himself "Michael Jones," and took to looking through the thesaurus for insults:
If you want to insult my intelligence, you might want to use correct grammar. Did you transfer from U of M Dearborn?
Although I think terrorist is such an apt term to describe you, in the future I will also refer to you using the following words: agitator, insurgent, insurrectionist, malcontent, mutineer, nihilist, rebel, revolter.
The messages increasingly failed to resemble ideas.
I decided to track the source of these emails by their IP address. The messages had all been coming from Wayne State University computers and from a Farmington Hills, MI law firm by the name of Kaufman, Payton, and Chapa.
Several months later I tried to post a comment on a Detroit-area site known as "Anti-Racist Blog", an ugly outgrowth of the Horowitz Campus Watch phenomenon that polices what professors and students say about Israel and Palestine. They repeatedly level charges of antisemitism and racism at critics of zionism.
When my comment did not appear on the “anti-racist” blog, I got in contact with the blog administrator, asking why. I received an anonymous response:
"Anti-Racist Blog reserves the right to reject or remove any comments that are racist, offensive, untrue, annoying, or disrespectful.”
... "Anti-Racist Blog stands by the argument that anti-Zionism is racism."
This time when I tracked the anonymous blog administrator, I was taken back to a familiar place: the same law office in Farmington Hills where the earlier attack emails came from; Kaufman, Payton, and Chapa.
Which makes a July posting on the “anti-racist blog” especially strange. The blog posted my original letter to the Michigan Daily (the one which elicited attacks by the anonymous harasser last March).
At the bottom of the post, Anti-Racist Blog claims that someone wrote in to them complaining about an email exchange they had with me:
"However, Mr. Abowd's views are very troubling. One Anti-Racist reader wrote in to say that he corresponded with Mr. Abowd about his article. Besides being completely unapologetic, Mr. Abowd allegedly included the following statement in one of his e-mails: "Long Live Nasrallah!"
Out there on the fringes of Zionism, the (not so?) sparse ranks of anonymous hate-peddlers multiply their identities and befriend themselves.
Why are people from Kaufman, Payton, and Chapa sending attack emails from their law office? Will they stop launching smear campaigns on committed teachers, students and organizers? Or at least emerge from anonymity and claim their ideas and actions?