Rinse, Wash, Repeat
February 12, 2010
I don’t think anyone would mistake me for a big fan of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the main (as they put it) “pro-Israel” lobby in Washington. The only organization of that kind that I’ve ever given money to is Americans for Peace Now in Israel. And I have defended critics of AIPAC, including Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, the authors of The Israel Lobby, from charges of anti-Semitism. But I think Walt and Mearsheimer have been dead wrong in trying to blame the Israel lobby or the Israeli government for America’s invasion of Iraq.
Clarifying My Take On Andrew Sullivan
February 11, 2010
A little more on Andrew and the charge of anti-Semitism. In my response to Leon, I wrote: I don't think that Andrew's transformation from overwrought hawk to overwrought dove is driven by, or has brought about, a different view of Jews. It seems instead to be the shattering of a brittle worldview and its replacement by a new worldview, equally brittle. Andrew replies: I have no different view of "Jews" than I have ever had. Having any view of "Jews" is silly. I guess I didn't write that as precisely as I wanted to.
Free Speech On Campus
February 10, 2010
One of my fond memories from being an undergraduate in the early 1990s was the fervent conviction of the campus left that their opponents were not entitled to express their beliefs. Some of the more erudite among them, like Catherine MacKinnon, would formulate elaborate theories explaining why freedom of speech was a pernicious myth. But mostly the opinion took the form of slogans. Racism is not free speech. Sexism is not free speech.
Andrew Sullivan Is Not an Anti-Semite
February 09, 2010
Not long ago, Andrew Sullivan had ultra-hawkish views on Israel and the Middle East. The problem as he saw it, was very simple: The Muslim world was anti-Semitic and wanted to kill all the Jews. Naive Western governments pushed innocent Israelis to make peace, when the only answer was force. Here are some excerpts from an August 2001 column he wrote: [T]he notion of a negotiable peace with the murdering hoodlums who run the PLO was always a fantasy.
Something Much Darker
February 08, 2010
I. “Trying to explain the doctrine of the Trinity to readers of The New Republic is not easy.” On June 2, 1944, W.H. Auden penned that sentence in a letter to Ursula Niebuhr. On January 26, 2010, Andrew Sullivan posted it as the “quote for the day” on his blog. Displaced and unglossed quotations are always in some way mordant, and bristle smugly with implications. Let us see what this one implies. Auden was at Swarthmore when he wrote his letter to his friend.
The Financial Times and the Satanization of Israel
February 01, 2010
The Financial Times is the six-day-a-week newspaper of the Pearson Publishing Group. It is, then, the sister of The Economist. Both are widely read, although the weekly magazine--that is, the latter journal--no longer has much competition in the English-speaking world. (And certainly not from Time or Newsweek.) Ten years ago, in a TNR piece about The Economist, Andrew Sullivan pointed out a particularly noxious passage in the magazine’s pages. Here’s what he wrote back then: Other vestigial Brittery abounds, including the usual condescension to Israel.
February 01, 2010
All deaths leave a void, but mourners for Avrom Sutzkever, arguably the greatest Yiddish poet of the twentieth century, are feeling an accordingly outsize loss. Remembering the life and reading the work, one is struck once more by how genius and circumstance combine to create a means of expressing the inexpressible--and in a way that seems, considering the circumstances, almost natural.
They’ve Been Telling Us All Along...
January 31, 2010
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, against which I warned long ago, passed unanimously on August 11, 2006. Two days later, the Israeli cabinet approved the motion 24-0--but with one astute minister abstaining. For whatever it is worth, I thought (and wrote) that the restrictions on Hezbollah (and, more than inferentially, on both Syria and Iran) meant less than nothing.
January 29, 2010
“The cruel God of the Jews has you beaten too.”--Racine An interview by Joe Klein in Time magazine is hardly a historical event. But, when the interview is with Barack Obama, it lays claim to some newsworthiness. This is especially true when it is ballyhooed as a firstanniversary event. Since, moreover, (right after awarding himself good grades on Al Qaeda in Yemen and Somalia) it’s clear that Obama wanted to make a point: “The other area which I think is worth noting is that the Middle East peace process has not moved forward.
I Don't Know That Much About Iran. But I Know Whom to Trust...
January 12, 2010
And they are Abbas Milani, Nader Mousavizadeh, a few others, amongst whom there is the controversial but very insightful Michael Ledeen. The conventional wisdom, frankly, is almost never a conclusion drawn from facts, but a conclusion drawn from temperament. I suppose this was the case with Barack Obama, who was sure that the ayatollahs and their president would negotiate on the basis of his sweet reason. Here’s a piece posted by Michael Ledeen on the Web at 8:25 p.m.