It’s business as usual over at the Atlantic, with bloggers Andrew Sullivan and Jeffrey Goldberg trading barbs over anti-semitism and the “Israel Lobby.”
I don’t usually blog about Blogger Smackdowns, since they typically devolve into endless rounds of he said/he said.
However, this is interesting: Yesterday, Goldberg posted an item titled “Answering Andrew Sullivan’s Question About Rick Sanchez.” Today, Sullivan responded with a post titled “Goldblog’s Weird Answer.”
But, Sullivan’s post has been erased. The link leads to a blank page, and the only evidence of the post is that it turns up in Google searches (for now).
Did Andrew Sullivan finally cross a line on the debate over the Israel Lobby and anti-semitism that even he realized shouldn’t be crossed? Guess we’ll never know.
UPDATE: My many thanks to readers who helped me find the full text of Sullivan’s deleted post, which can be read in the comments section or here.
Andrew Sullivan, about whom I have mainly not been blogging lately, in part to keep my sanity and in part because, really, how much time can a blogger devote to fighting with other bloggers (answer: a lot!), e-mailed me earlier today, while I was traveling, to tell me that I obviously missed, or at least misread, part of one of his posts. He was right that I missed, and misread, some of it so I want to amend (partially) what I wrote earlier (The truth is, I’m not even sure I understand the post in question, but I’ll get to that).
So, it looks like Sullivan chose to take down his post to give Goldberg the opportunity to offer a more “proper” response.
Here’s a money quote from Goldberg:
Generally, I love Andrew’s blog, and I agree with most of what he writes, including on torture, Afghanistan, gay marriage (though I could always do with less on the issue of bears and their role in the environment). On Israel, and on the power of the Jewish lobby, of course, I think he is wrong wrong wrong (except on those occasions — infrequent — when he is right), and I also think he does not understand the corrosive power of his words, and of the public venting of his unmediated emotions. I think the things he writes excoriating Israel often give aid and comfort to people who truly want to hurt Jews and hurt the Jewish state. Rather than ignoring his posting on the subject, as I have been doing, I’m going to point out, whenever I can, the ways in which his intemperate language and one-sided understanding of Middle East politics and history can be used to create real damage. One of the things I don’t think Andrew understands is that Jews (and Israel) are simultaneously powerful and vulnerable. And by “vulnerable,” I don’t mean vulnerable emotionally; I mean, actually physically vulnerable to violence and discrimination. I think that singling out Israel and its Jewish supporters for special scorn aids and abets the very dark forces lining up to deny the Jewish state its legitimacy….
I think the connection between an obsession with the power of the “Jewish lobby,” on the one hand, and “self-evident anti-Semitic hooey,” on the other, is very often quite strong. For what it’s worth — and I’m straying somewhat afield here — I think that critics of the “Jewish lobby” not only demonize Jewish participation in the democratic process, they fundamentally misunderstand the way powerful lobbies succeed: Lobbies succeed (and AIPAC people will tell you this privately) when they push on open doors. The NRA (which is a more powerful lobby than AIPAC, IMHO) succeeds in large part because the majority of Americans believes in gun rights as the NRA frames the issue. Similarly, I believe that AIPAC is pushing on open doors in Congress because the majority of Americans, polls show, are intuitively more sympathetic to Israel than to Israel’s enemies. I don’t believe, as AIPAC’s critics do, that AIPAC creates pro-Israel legislation; I believe that pro-Israel feeling creates pro-Israel legislation. AIPAC organizes the feeling, buttresses the feeling, rewards the feeling, but I think it is obviously true that if Israel were truly unpopular in America, it would be unpopular in Congress.