I’ve got a new "Think Again" column called "Kill Me Before I Sing Again," and it’s here.
My new Nation column is called "Zinn-ophibia at NPR" and it’s here.
I could kill Leon Wieseltier for turning Andrew Sullivan into a victim and an object of genuine sympathy. The whole mishegos puts me in mind of Harry Truman on or around 22 June 1941.(Look it up.) Since Leon is widely recognized by those who know him to be a brilliant man and one of America’s greatest living editors, and a man who knows a great deal about Judaism and anti-semitism, the most obvious conclusion is that he has simply lost his mind. As frequent-but-critical admirer of his genius, I find this genuinely sad. I mean he has 4,300 words to make his case and he fails to convince anyone, even lifelong anti-Sullivanites like myself, Brad Delong and Matt Yglesias. Listen, Sullivan is a jerk. He lives his life in a state of permanent hysteria over this or that Crime Against Humanity even though he frequently changes his mind 180 degrees about just what the crime was and who is guily. One day he loves George Bush and Dick Cheney and wants to put myself and Susan Sontag into a concentration camp. The next day he hates Bush and Cheney and wonders what all the fuss was about. It’s as bad as Hitchens, but it happens apparently once a day. But what Leon is doing here is seeking to criminalize the kinds of criticism of Israel of which he does not approve. His boss, and patron, Marty Peretz, long ago lost his mind—and the respect of everyone whois not on TNR’s payroll—over exactly this issue, turning himself in to a comically neurotic old Jewish man who spouts anti-Arab hatred on the magazine’s website as if seeking to incite a daily race riot. Together with young Kirchick, who as a Jew-obsessed gay Neocon jihadist–and hence, might fairly be viewed as the evil spawn of Peretz and Andrew-in-his-earlier-incarnation, their achievement lies in their ability to destroy not only the value of the term "pro-Israel" as I wrote here, but now, sadly, the value of the actual accusation of anti-Semitism evenwhere it might be real.
Anyway, perhaps there’s something in the water they serve in the office. Jonathan Chait was, once upon a time, immune to this kind of thing and was a fine liberal writer. But he’s caught the disease now as well. With considerable political dexterity, he embraces Wieseltier’s thesis while distancing himself from the particulars. But here’s the bottom line. "His obsession with the singular power of the Israel lobby, writes Leon "has a provenance that should disgust all thinking people." Agreed. But just because an idea has a revolting provenance, it does not follow that everybody who subscribes to any version of it shares the same motive." Got that? Andrew may not be an anti-Semite but anyone who is concerned with the Israel’s lobby’s ability to thwart the peace process or interfere with the conduct of a sensible policy toward the region is guilty of holding an idea of "revolting provenance" and hence, is only asking to be described this way, true or not. Remember inside TNR Walt and Mearsheimer are literally treated as the equivalent of David Duke and Louis Farrakhan. Jimmy Carter will go down in history primarily as a "Jew-hater." Etc, etc. And if you, yourself find any cause for concern in the actions of the Israel lobby, prepare to find yourself similarly smeared.