The Dish uses an unnamed source, “a Jewish friend,” to plead guilty to the charge of “dual loyalty” on behalf of most American Jews

Hard to believe, but there are at least two other distinct sections, which amaze and perturb for reasons all their own, in the same Dish post that began with the stunted “counterfactual” I discussed. The Dish post is called “Israel Derangement Syndrome II” and what follows is its staggering narrative #2 …

There’s no way we don’t deserve some corroboration of this incredible account:

I grabbed some food the other night with a longtime Jewish friend. We had an honest conversation – the kind you cannot have on US television. He’s a big liberal but strongly sided with Israel in this latest incident. Why? “They’re my people.” But you’re an American, I countered, you’re not an Israeli, let alone a supporter of Netanyahu. None of that mattered to him. His attachment to Israel was indistinguishable from his attachment to America, and, if push came to shove, Israel came first, right or wrong. This had been dinned into him since childhood. His iPhone was deluged with texts from relatives and friends all appalled by any criticism of the commando attack, and immediately seeing it as anti-Semitic or designed to end the state of Israel for ever.

To charge dual loyalty is described as a blood libel, a vile anti-Semitic charge, and it often is. But my friend was very frank about it and unapologetic. That’s just the way it is, he said. It was deeply ingrained.

Let’s read this closely, more like a news editor who wants to be sure whether the facts as the reporter related them can be substantiated:

I grabbed some food the other night with a longtime Jewish friend. We had an honest conversation – the kind you cannot have on US television.

Because they canceled Dinner for Five?

He’s a big liberal but strongly sided with Israel in this latest incident. Why? “They’re my people.”

Really? He communicated to Sullivan that the reason he could be a liberal but defend Israel regarding the Flotilla was only one reason, that he was Jewish and they were the Jewish state …

Did the friend begin by expressing a contradiction between his usual liberalism and his siding with Israel in this latest incident?

But you’re an American, I countered, you’re not an Israeli, let alone a supporter of Netanyahu. None of that mattered to him. His attachment to Israel was indistinguishable from his attachment to America, and, if push came to shove, Israel came first, right or wrong.

This is what this friend told Sullivan?! The Dish can’t be for real. It sounds like the script of an encounter between a Christian radio evangelist and “his Muslim friend.”

We’re supposed to take the Dish’s account on face value, as if his friend wouldn’t read this and say that Sullivan was projecting? This friend literally said both that his attachment to Israel and America were identical, and that Israel ultimately came before America, even if Israel were acting wrongly?!

(Minor side point: Sullivan thinks that an American not faulting Israel for the Flotilla incident is siding with Netanyahu? Can’t be siding with Livni or Barak, who feel the same? Weird. Even weirder that Sullivan’s friend didn’t note that he was siding with Livni or Barak … The friend just wanted to talk about how he was taking an illiberal position?)

This had been dinned into him since childhood. His iPhone was deluged with texts from relatives and friends all appalled by any criticism of the commando attack, and immediately seeing it as anti-Semitic or designed to end the state of Israel for ever.

Based on the fact that recent posts on the Dish have rhetorically stated that Israel supporters are acting like the Flotilla was a threat to Israel’s existence, the part above seems very likely to result from Sullivan projecting.

To charge dual loyalty is described as a blood libel, a vile anti-Semitic charge, and it often is. But my friend was very frank about it and unapologetic. That’s just the way it is, he said.

This really sounds like that Christian radio evangelist with his “longtime Muslim friend.”

“That’s just the way it is” is virtually word-for-word what this guy said? And the “it” is not being misconstrued or having a grandiose interpretation projected on it by Sullivan?

It was deeply ingrained.

Is that Sullivan’s conclusion, or did this friend refer clearly to a condition of dual loyalty, using the phrase or not, and directly acknowledge that this condition was deeply ingrained?

We need evidence here that this exchange happened the way the Dish says it happened. Bloggers should ask Andrew and readers should email him to furnish the name of his friend or maintain his anonymity and just supply the body of an email from his friend acknowledging that Andrew’s description of the conversation was true to the ideas and feelings his friend expressed over dinner.

I never expected to encounter such a strange example of a possible journalistic ethics problem in the use of unnamed sources.

But I got to go back to

To charge dual loyalty is described as a blood libel, a vile anti-Semitic charge, and it often is.

Wha …? So, in essence, is Andrew saying that in this case to charge dual loyalty is not “a blood libel” ( — alluding to the fates of American troops, I guess? –) or “a vile anti-Semitic charge” because … it’s coming from a friend?

I can’t find any other argument there. It’s bizarre.

I’m really taken aback by this report of a dialogue between friends. I wish Jeffrey Goldberg wasn’t ignoring Sullivan because this account raises a very strange journalistic issue, or raises a normal journalistic issue in a very strange context.

I really don’t know how to connect this … here is the name it could take in a pamphlet, Conversation with a Jewish Friend to the fact that in the same post, Andrew reveals that he has been losing Jewish friends over the issue of Israel … because they suffer from what he’s labeling a “derangement syndrome.” I’m using boldface to highlight some parts that deserve special attention, though I don’t know how far he wants us to take their possible implications:

But the fanaticism and emotionalism

And he‘s a voice who can fault others for emotionalism in their causes?

that many Jewish Americans have with respect to Israel is so intense that, for some, it overwhelms rationality, and makes a cool strategic analysis of America’s national interest close to impossible.

“A cool strategic analysis” is something scientific now? Everyone agrees on it if they’re acting like a rational human being?

Their total identification with Israel is often emotionally as strong, if not stronger, as their identification with America.

Well, I guess because he’s talking about “emotional” identification, it’s supposed to ameliorate things … But he uses the phrase “total identification,” as though this is a civic identity distinct from the emotional component of one’s “identification with Israel” and the emotional component of one’s “identification with America.

And this tragically means that an honest disagreement with Israel’s policies is sometimes taken as a breach of friendship, a profound personal betrayal, rather than a moral and political judgment about the actions of a foreign country.

I.e., “You, my former friends, are not angry with me for my feelings about Israel, but because you like me, and you are worried that I might not personally like you.” This looks like a real narcissist. (Well, it is the same guy who said that Israelis launched Cast Lead to ruin peace overtures to the Muslim world by the Presidential candidate he supported. )

It means that the head of the Mossad can be more rational in his assessment of US national interest than Joe Biden.

What? The head of the Mossad was not talking about the Flotilla. Joe Biden was talking about the Flotilla, not whether American support for Israel was in our national interest. And would Andrew, of all pundits, say that this part of what the head of Mossad said, on the same occasion the Dish broaches, was strategically “rational”? —

In a rare public expression of concern, Meir Dagan, head of Israel’s Mossad external security service, warned Tuesday, June 1, that the progressive decline of American strength over the past decade and the perception of the Obama administration as “soft on military options for solving disputes” have cut deep into Israel’s military and diplomatic maneuverability and made it fair game for its enemies.

Back to Andrew —

You reach a brick wall in this. And we might as well admit it.

What do you mean “we,” white man? You said “you,” meaning “I” and now you’ve switched to “we.” Why does your situation reflect the world’s situation?…

It has pained me enormously to have obviously hurt my countless Jewish friends and colleagues because I cannot support, morally or strategically, the actions of Israel these past two years,

Oh. His relationships are obviously going very well on the Jewish front.

and especially its virulent disdain for the new American president who represented, it seems to me, the best chance for Israel in decades.

It doesn’t inspire trust, when we see how Sullivan can reflexively write a phrase like “virulent disdain” there, when every piece of statistical evidence that he has been alerted to refutes this phrase easily. He wants Israelis to hate Obama; he needs it to be true somehow and/or for Dish readers to believe its true.

And why is it that he uses “especially” to rank Israeli “disdain” of Obama as more upsetting to him than civilian deaths in Operation Cast Lead?

The Dish’s post comes under the heading of “Israel Derangement Syndrome,” which does not offer a trivial characterization of an American ethnic group. We should know that he’s not putting words in his someone’s mouth, helping make a discussion of an ethnic group more convenient. I think it’s journalistically fair that we hear from his “Jewish friend” on their conversation, so we can be assured that this report does not suffer from the kind of derangement syndrome he assigns the majority of American Jews who simply disagree with him about Israel.

Sullivan’s hard to believe as a reporter, since this area of disagreement powerfully represents for him something as personal as it is ideological. He says later in the post:

I realize that the difference is that while I admire and support Israel, I do not identify with it. For me, it is a foreign country and an ally. To them it is something far more profound and indelible. So when I attack Israel’s policies, it feels as if I am attacking them. I really am not. But I cannot erase how they feel; and I understand why they feel it.

[…]

I think, by the way, that this is the reason some jump so quickly onto the anti-Semitism charge, even when they know that many critics of Israel’s policies are not bigots. They simply cannot absorb the idea that people they like and even love believe that Israel is doing wrong, horrible, categorical wrong, and that this is undeniable. And so they cannot explain the criticism, except as a form of self-hatred or animus.

In one breath, Sullivan has the hubris to charge other people both with not accepting that he has different ideas about the moral/self-concerned “rightness” of a country, and not realizing that his ideas are so right as to be “undeniable.” He then accuses them of having so much repressed affection for him they have to look at him as a bigot ( — I think, deliberately confusing someone who sees “anti-Israel animus” as someone calling him an antisemite). Does Sullivan realize how narcissistically he is presenting himself? In essence, his primary charge against most Jewish-Americans is not that they love Israel more than they are supposed to love America, but more than they are supposed to love him.

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3 Responses

  1. […] Posted on June 7, 2010 by justquoting I don’t wish to distract from my two posts below, which relate to the embarrassing narcissism and conceptual shortcomings that appear in the […]

  2. […] a hell of a lot of other things might be involved, including spurned narcissism and too much […]

  3. […] — ) Andrew is forgetting his own paralogic that both dividing Jews into good or bad and accusations of dual loyalty are antisemitic only when the person is arguing explicitly against the existence of the Jewish […]

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