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Forget the Kool-Aid. I thought I was recovering from a concussion when I saw the words of Eric Alterman's mind-numbingly inane response to Eve Spangler's overly gracious letter dance in front of my face. "Differences of perspective," the refusal to "take up any of those arguments" and the bizarre gloss of Benny Morris as a mere "analyst" and not "advocate" of Israeli aggression should be read for precisely what they are--the farcical ramblings of the liberal border patrolman as he furiously polices the border between acceptable pseudo-dissent and unacceptable real dissent, prancing about on his bully pulpit as Nation and MSNBC columnist.

Alterman knows full well what human rights organizations and the Geneva Conventions say about the Gaza disengagement. Nation readers may not. The conventions state that an occupying power is considered such while it exercises "effective control" over a geographical entity. Human Rights Watch concurs. Israel regularly conducts overflights into Gazan airspace and tortures children there with sonic booms, while maintaining its policy of closure--controlling Palestinian movement of peoples and goods in and out of the Strip. Control?

Meanwhile, Benny Morris is demurely painted as a provocative analyst and not the proponent of disaster that he indeed is. This is the man who wrote of the "fundamentalist, self-sacrificial mindset of the mullahs" and their being "likely to use any bomb they build, both because of ideology and because of fear of Israeli nuclear pre-emption." Alterman should know that analysis of this stripe is advocacy. He should also know that the eagle-eyed analyst has left objectivity on the wayside of the road to nuclear perdition when he can write of the Iranian mindset of self-sacrifice without mention of the Samson option--Israel's plan for nuclear self-immolation if on the verge of catastrophic military defeat. But I wander. Morris is not the problem. The problem is Alterman. He doesn't coyly refrain from replying because he is averse to confrontation. He does so because cannot win the argument--because the argument is unwinnable and Israeli policy is indefensible. Would it be too much to acknowledge this?

Max Ajl

Brooklyn, NY

Oct 7 2008 - 3:43pm