Ready to take responsibility … ? Not so much

Andrew is happy with a defense of him at The Economist that has a great title — J’insinue — but otherwise, many thoughts that are easy to puncture. a piece by Daniel Luban at the new online journal The Faster Times. Luban is an IPS reporter often re-printed at Electronic Intifada for articles relating to the Israel Lobby, including one about Charles Freeman that has more orgasmatron-like potential for Andrew than his annual beagle calendar.

Besides knocking Leon Wieseltier’s periodic self-importance (knocking it as more than periodic), Luban extemporizes that Andrew was almost one of those proud traditional victims of a more upfront discussion about Israel as a white elephant in the room. Andrew finds this trusty template for discussion appealing. He wants to wrap himself in a silver lining to this mess:

This is not about me as such. It is about a deep shift in thinking about the US-Israel alliance, especially after Gaza and the Netanyahu government’s refusal to cooperate with Obama in even minor ways that in no way affect its security. It is about the rapidly changing benefits and costs for both sides of such an alliance that is it almost a fusion, and the furious but necessary debate about what the future should bring.

“This” means a single article and then a reply by Leon Wieseltier, who independently controls his section of The New Republic — possibly under the veto power of Martin Peretz.

Is the implication of Sullivan’s whole post that TNR and Wieseltier are trying to hobble Obama’s Middle East policies, in order to support the same criteria that neoconservatives have for being a friend of Israel? …

Not sure, but somehow Sullivan would like to convert “this” accusation of a serious problem into an opportunity to further his own perceived mission.

Luban would not seem to mind, but I have to interrupt their moment, by noting that “this” doesn’t yet take into account several egregious statements that the lines of defense so far — which I think I can show are not so hot — don’t even begin to touch.

There are some other words that are being strained here. What does “fusion” mean here — a “fusion explosion”? What “minor ways” to cooperate with Obama is Israel refusing?

This debate is also about who can and will police discourse on this subject in Washington,

Andrew is deciding that “this” situation before us is not about him “as such,” about what he’s written and strategically ignored … but only about his dogs in a fight with a (neoconservative-supported) status quo. Nice.

which is why

It’s coming … I love Sullivan’s multiple “which is whys” and “that is whys” … In looking over his text, they would serve him as helpful flags indicating where he should pay special attention to whether he has enough evidence or enough of an argument.

AIPAC and even the Israeli ambassador are so intent on marginalizing J-Street, and why the old media guard, whose genuine and often admirable concern for Israel sometimes blinds them as to why so many younger thinkers and writers simply do not hold the same reflexive paranoid positions that they have come to regard as eternal truths, and do not see Israel’s long-term interests served by the same old neocon intransigence on everything.

Begging the question, aren’t we?

Actually, you’ll be surprised at how “younger people” — by which I don’t mean M.J. Rosenberg and Joe Klein, trollers for “youth” approval —  are more open to discussion about these issues, but have the same red lines on Israel as a lot of the people you’d like to label neoconservatives.

When you encounter young, Jewish Democrats, many are going to try to help you recognize “that [your] analysis of the Middle East crisis is consistently and rather wildly one-sided” and that there are times you are just being a “vitriolic Israel-basher” (in the words of Jeffrey Goldberg — whose recent posts I didn’t notice any links to on The Dish). What will you do then, convince these young Democrats that they are part of “the Goldfarb-Krauthammer wing” of American Jewry?

And since you’ve mentioned J-Street … How will you explain the fact that The Dish has never made any reference to J-Street’s conflict with anti-Zionist members, boosters and hangers-on — not during your attempt to “hardline” Michael Oren, which might have been a good time for that discussion. Yet you’re always bragging how you try to air many “dissents” and many sides of opinion when an issue of controversy arises.

This seems like another calculated lapse by The Dish in its avowed desire to promote a critical, many-sided discussion of an issue related to the American relationship with Israel.

One thing I can assure Dish readers is that I will not be intimidated from having this discussion, of airing as many sides as I can, as fairly as I can,

Yes, you’ll be a hero, not a pariah for whatever you decide to type off the top of your head.

Should we prepare to valorize you for more comments about whether millions of Israelis and American Jews who agree with them have exchanged “anger and paranoia” for their former “integrity”? Will we hear again about how Israel “pre-emptively tried to kill Obama’s [future] attempt to reach out to the Muslim world by the brutal, polarizing Gaza campaign”?

Wieseltier didn’t mention either of those comments, but that does not make them less real, they still happened … they are yours …

and while I will do my utmost not to knowingly offend anyone of any party, I will also refuse to quiver in fear of cheap and vulgar uses of the anti-Semite card.

Which you have actually told us means any complaint about antisemitism from a person you determine to be with the neoconservatives …

That may be the problem here. For The Dish, the “same old neocon intransigence on everything” makes him fixate on Israeli “intransigence” and Jewish supporters of Israeli “intransigence.” The latter two groups will be casualties in his war with the first.

Dear Andrew, think globally — you like to do that — but act locally. Correct your outstanding errors, since we don’t want people to think that you are capable of incredible reworkings of reality. It makes you look too much like Bill Kristol or Sarah Palin.


One Response

  1. […] Ahem. read Walt’s astonishing admissions in points 3, 5 and 8 of this manifesto that might as well be called “Guide for the Terminally Unself-aware” — and one means of avoiding fault is to turn the tables by recasting critics as inquisitors. Everyone is itching for their own iconic “Have you no shame, Senator?” moment. […]

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