February 10, 2010

JEFFREY GOLDBERG ON SULLIVAN AND WIESELTIER:

I don’t believe that Andrew is an anti-Semite. I have no doubt that if Andrew happened to come upon a Jewish person being harassed or otherwise tormented, he would ride his ridiculous bicycle into the fray and beat back the anti-Semites with a stick. And he certainly passes the Anne Frank Attic Test.

But: His evolution from wild-eyed Zionist to vitriolic Israel-basher is one of the more painful things I’ve witnessed recently, and not only because we are friends, or were friends. . . . The question of whether Andrew is or is not personally anti-Semitic isn’t entirely relevant. What is relevant is that he sometimes uses his blog to disseminate calumnies that can cause hatred of Jews, and of Israel. I know this from personal experience, because the anti-Semites who e-mail him copy me. Andrew’s posts on Israel and on Jewish political power in America have lately given comfort to some very repulsive people. This doesn’t mean, of course, that the role of AIPAC shouldn’t be debated openly, but it should be done without prejudice; without the axiomatic assumption that American Jews who love Israel are disloyal to America; and without the Judeocentrism of the neo-Lindbergh set.

Read the whole thing. Plus James Joyner on how the currency of “anti-semitism” and “racism” charges has been debased. “Views held by pluralities of Americans are now routinely dubbed Fascist, Communist, treason, unpatriotic, or un-American. It’s an effective tool, at first, just as Saul Alinsky predicted: ‘Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.’ But, as he also warned, ‘A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.'”

Related item here.

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