Jamie Kirchick, a little guy I’ve never met who seems to really hate me, wrote a post calling me a self-hating Jew. The post was indistinguishable from any of the indignant emails I’ve been receiving from Israeli settlers and Kahanist nutcases. The editors of Commentary promptly removed the post from their website? Why? And what does Marty Peretz have to say about the suppression of his lil’ darling?
Here’s Andrew Sullivan on Marty’s boy (Kirchik, incidentally, is a former guest writer on Sullivan’s blog) and Matt Yglesias responds to being called self-hating. The Economist’s Democracy in Action mustered the most substantial response to Kirchik. Excerpt below the fold:
But finally, Mr Kirchik’s accusation dovetails with tedious recent efforts by right-wing Jewish and Israeli organisations to discredit anyone critical of Israeli nationalist policies. These have included attacks by the Israeli government and AIPAC, an American pro-Israel lobbying group, on Human Rights Watch, which criticised Israeli human-rights abuses in last year’s bloody Gaza offensive. And as Mr Yglesias, Josh Marshall, James Besser and others have written, they include a long list of attacks against J Street, a relatively new liberal lobbying group. J Street is giving voice to the long-dormant segment of American Jews (the overwhelming majority, according to Eric Yoffie, a top Reform rabbi) who oppose settlement expansion in the West Bank. And because these liberals are the kinds of Jews who voted for the current administration, while the right-wing Jews associated with AIPAC didn’t, their views are finally getting an airing in the halls of power. Mr Kirchik himself wrote a piece in last week’sForward referring to the group as “The Obama Lobby”, and arguing that the effect of its work would be to decrease “support for Israel”.
Efforts to win support for right-wing Israeli policies are inevitably going to spin off accusations, like Mr Kirchik’s, that Jews like Max Blumenthal who criticise Israel are self-hating or in some sense not real Jews. This is a familiar dynamic in ethnic nationalist politics; it’s similar to what Slobodan Milosevic did to Serbian liberal opponents, what Putinists do to liberal Russian politicians, or what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has done to his opponents in Iran. It’s actually rather similar, for that matter, to what ethnic nationalists, actual anti-Semites, have always done to the Jews in their countries—claiming they are not “real Russians”, “real Englishmen”, “real Frenchmen”, “real Americans”. If those who are slurring liberal Jews critical of right-wing Israeli policies were thoughtful people, this might give them pause. But, for the most part, they’re not, and it won’t.