Quote du Jour

“Swear to God, if [Israelis] ever want a Gentile prime minister, my first order would be to deploy the IDF in a north-south line, facing east. My second order would be ‘forward march’ and the order to halt would not be given until it was time for the troops to rinse their bayonets in the Jordan. After a brief rest halt, the order ‘about face’ would be given, and the next halt would be at the Mediterranean coast.

“That’s my ‘Middle East peace plan,’ and until it’s carried out, there will be no peace.”

Robert Stacy McCain

McCain writes this genocidal diatribe as part of a post explaining that Glenn Greenwald is a “stereotypical self-hating Jew” for his post decrying the tactic of conflating anti-Semitism with being opposed to some Israeli politcies.

McCain, as he himself says, is a gentile. Which makes the hurled epithet all the worse, and rather underscores Greenwald’s point:

People like Jeffrey Goldberg — and his comrades at places such as Commentary and the ADL — have so abused, over-used, manipulated and exploited the “anti-semitism” and “anti-Israel” accusations for improper and nakedly political ends that those terms have become drained of their meaning, have almost entirely lost their sting, and have become trivialized virtually to the point of caricature.   That behavior has produced serious harm.  Their trivialization and misuse of those terms have severely diminished the ability to stigmatize and attack real anti-Semitism, because legitimate accusations of anti-Semitism are now conflated with and discredited by the neocons’ cynical attempts to wield it as a cheap debating weapon.  That’s a particularly dangerous — and ironic — outcome given that it has been spawned by many who have long claimed proprietary ownership over the “anti-Semitism” term in order, ostensibly, to protect it from trivialization.

Anti-Semitism is real and, unfortunately, still commonplace, even among those of us on the left who should know better. And I think David has done a great job with his pieces on this site talking about that. But Greenwald is also correct in saying there is a certain segment of far-right hawks who use the charge of anti-Semitism as a cudgel, wielding it not in support of equality for Jews, but in support of genocide against Palestinians. That’s about as far from working for equality as possible.

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2 Responses to Quote du Jour

  1. 1
    Gar Lipow says:

    >And I think David has done a great job with his pieces on this site talking about that

    Maybe, but I still think many of his arguments on this are flawed. I note he has modified his proportionality argument to simply say that even legitimate criticism of Israel can step over the line because it provokes antisemitic violence. But what he misses is that this violence is correlated with two other things – actual Israeli actions.

    Now neither the cause Straub attributes this violence to, nor this alternate explanantion excuses antisemitism. Antisemitism is the fault of antisemites, and antisemitic violence is the fault of those who commit antisemitic it. But it is also true that antisemitic individuals are people and react to events, and antisemitic organizations, are still organizations and seize opportunities.

    This Reuters article seems to attribute increased antisemitism primarily to external events rather than types of criticism, boh the attack on Gaza, and the worsening economy in which Jews are often used as scapegoats. I will also note that since that attack, antisemitic incidents are on the rise in the U.S. as well. It would really be hard to argue reasonably that the U.S. has too much criticism of Israel. That implies that blaming critics of Israel for such incidents is just scapgoating.

    I would also add that legitimately there is criticism of Israel that is antisemitic, not by some statistical handwaving about double standards but by actually using antisemitic tropes, or by eliding the difference between Israel and Jews. That may also play a role in stirring up hate. But the idea that legitimate criticism stops being legitimate because it does not meet some arbitrary quantity standard, or that it is responsible for hate crimes is a smear. It is not “a great job”.

  2. 2
    David Schraub says:

    McCain is a vile sociopath. That’s beyond evident. And speaking as a Jew to the gentile McCain: I think that gleefully offering to put Israeli troops in harm’s way for an apocalyptic genocidal showdown is the most anti-Semitic thing I’ve read today.

    The interchange between Goldberg and Greenwald, by contrast, was a hall of fame candidate for unproductive exchanges. Goldberg didn’t quite call Greenwald an anti-Semite, but tarred him with guilt by association for writing in The American Conservative (Buchanan’s old rag). Greenwald took that as saying that anyone who ever criticizes Israel will be painted as an anti-Semite by folks like Goldberg, and fires back that Goldberg is a “neoconservative Israel fanatic” trying to stifle discussion. Goldberg responds that anyone whose read his writing on Israel can clearly see that he is not a neoconservative on the issue, that he has been very critical of, e.g., the settlements and AIPAC, and implies that Greenwald will tar anyone who doesn’t agree with him on Israel as a “neoconservative” not worthy of engagement by progressives.

    Bad behavior all around. Writing in TAC? Stupid move for Greenwald if he wants American Jews to not view his project with suspicion. We have excellent reasons to be wary of that magazine. Worthy of implying that he is engaging in a “red/brown alliance”? No, Goldberg, it wasn’t. Does that justify Greenwald labeling Goldberg as a “fanatic” unwilling to countenance criticism of Israel in any form? No on that score either.