Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Is Sullivan an Anti-Zionist? Part 3

OK, this may be strike three. As I detailed in two (recently published back-)posts here and here, Andrew Sullivan has been worrying me, as of late, with his unnecessary swipes against Israel. But yesterday he totally crossed the line. Here's the letter I wrote him:
Dear Andrew,

You were making an important point in the [linked] post about taking Plain and Cheney seriously as potential GOP candidates. Then you said this (emphasis mine):
"[Palin and Cheney] represent a real populist and authoritarian option for a declining power. In the face of a bewilderingly changing world, they stand for white America, the extension of its power across the globe, the elevation of torture as a core American value, the permanent Israeli occupation of the West Bank, and American occupation of client states like Iraq and Afghanistan."
Now, I have been a Democrat - and a liberal - all my life. I'm also a born American. I am repulsed by Cheney and Palin and the entire Republican party, and this revulsion has partially come from my growing up in the Reagan era (another Republican who I believe damaged my country). And I am also a Zionist and in favor of nuance and wisdom about the Arab-Israeli conflict. You are committing a great wrong by equating the Palin/Cheney lust for torture and preemptive war with anything to do with Israel. Israel's occupation of the West Bank is a matter of international law and is something with which reasonable people can disagree. I am a liberal, and a Zionist, and I'm calling you to task.

I know Goldblog defends your Zionist bona-fides and you get angry when someone accuses you of being Anti-Zionist... but that was an evil thing you said. It's so strange - you single out the behavior of a U.S. ally as a symbol of a domestic political party's depravity. That's not such a 'Zionist' thing to do.

Why are you so insistent to be called a 'Zionist' anyway? Just say that you're neutral about Israel - that you're treating it with the same ignorance and apathy that you would for Kashmir or Northern Ireland or Quebec, or any other of our U.S. allies.

It reminds me of Ta-Nehisi Coates' talk about 'racism' - that it's impossible to call a racist by that title in the U.S. despite a person's actual bigoted words and deeds. [ed: e.g. how Rush Limbaugh or Joe 'You Lie' Wilson will push back against being called racist even though they clearly are.] So to with you - just admit that being a Zionist isn't actually that important. And, again speaking as a liberal and a Democrat, your support for Reagan while you attack Cheney makes you sound daft.

Sincerely, JC
No, I don't expect him to respond. And I really should have cc:ed Goldblog, but he's not my constituency. And, as I said in part 2, there are reasons to read Sully as an info-resource and not as an editorialist. So be it.

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