Eric and Goliath
We were barraged with letters and web comments about two pieces that ran in our November 4 issue: one was Eric Alterman’s column, titled “The ‘I Hate Israel’ Handbook,” in which he attacks Max Blumenthal’s book Goliath. The other was Blumenthal’s “Israel Cranks Up the Right-Wing PR Machine,” an excerpt from Goliath. A debate between the two authors migrated to our website (see TheNation.com/blog/176861/eric-alterman-replies-max-blumenthals-letter and TheNation.com/article/176802/response-eric-alterman).
Eric Alterman’s review of Goliath says more about Alterman’s views than about the book. And if this is the best that liberal Zionism has to offer, then Zionism—not to mention the Palestinians—is in deeper trouble than I had imagined.
I am troubled by The Nation’s need to present “two sides of the story.” Having Alterman do his hatchet job in the same issue as Blumenthal’s article is a case in point.
There is no equivalency between whatever Palestinians have done or are doing and what Israel and Zionism have done to the Palestinians. And no section of the media, particularly the progressive one, should try to make it so. Let Alterman’s piece be published, but either not in The Nation—or with The Nation’s disclaimer.
Past president, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
I grew up reading The Nation, and I was shocked that this bastion of enlightened thought would publish that horrendous piece by Eric Alterman defending Zionism. Isn’t it time the left rejected this kind of overt racism and petty, chauvinistic nationalism? How could The Nation betray its legacy by pandering to those who defend an apartheid regime? As Phan Nguyen has said, can we look forward to Nation pieces like “Two Views on Homosexuality,” “Two Views on Neoliberal Globalization” or “Two Views on Obama’s Birthplace”? Shame!
Keith S. Schuerholz
Since Eric Alterman singled me out in his online response to Max Blumenthal, I would like to respond with a few words about the legacy of the Israeli thinker and social critic Yeshayahu Leibowitz.