Hooray, The New Republic Has Decided Someone Is an AntisemiteS

Uh oh! Former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan posted a quote about The New Republic on his blog, without context. Time for a 4,300-word essay on how he hates the Jews!

"Displaced and unglossed quotations are always in some way mordant, and bristle smugly with implications," longtime New Republic literary editor and old crank Leon Wieseltier says. "Let us see what this one implies." Oh, let's!

The subject of the quote is The Trinity. The quote is by W. H. Auden, who was British and, for like a couple years, Catholic. Sullivan is British and very Catholic. Wieseltier acknowledges that, indeed, he does not understand The Trinity. But that is beside the point, because the point is that Sullivan was totally Jew-baiting.

Another time, on his blog, Sullivan noted that while most American Jews are liberal, there exist a couple prominent right-wing Jews who routinely issue opinions on international politics that would probably be fairly objectionable to the Liberal Jews. This is very antisemitic.

As far as I can tell, Krauthammer's position on torture is owed to a deep and sometimes frantic concern for American security, and his position on the war in Gaza to a deep and sometimes frantic concern for Israeli security, and his position on Iran to a deep and sometime frantic concern for American and Israeli security. Whatever the merits of his views, I do not see that his motives are despicable.

So. Charles Krauthammer supports torture and nuking Iran, yes, but for very good reasons. It is therefore rank antisemitism to call him despicable, even if you happen to have a very strong moral conviction that fucking torture is despicable. Oh, but Krauthammer presents his despicable views dispassionately, with arguments, while Sullivan offers only "feelings as ideas." You may personally feel (but be careful—feeling is not as important as arguing) that dressing up morally reprehensible ideas with pseudo-intellectual justifications is, in fact, among the worst crimes a supposed public intellectual can commit, but you probably hate Jews too.

Wiesteltier goes on to conflate criticism of Israeli policies with criticisms of Jews as a whole while complaining that it's not appropriate for Sullivan to make generalized statements like calling concern for human rights a "Jewish virtue." Only Jews can write critical things about Israel and it's antisemitic to say that Jews who write about Israel are writing about it as Jews.

Also: "there is no such thing as Jewish fundamentalism," Leon says. And you might say, whaaaa?? Don't worry, he has a perfectly sensible and non-tautological proof:

The settlers on the West Bank and the religious fascists in their midst are not fundamentalists. They represent a particular school of interpretation of scriptural and rabbinical authorities–a debatable one and a deplorable one. But they are not fundamentalists.

Right. Sure. Let's try that argument out the next time Marty Peretz writes something about those darned Muslims: "Islamic extremists are terrible fascists, but there is no such thing as Islamic fundamentalism, because they are not fundamentalists."

The crime is not that Sullivan is a conspiracist who thinks a cabal of Jews controls American foreign policy—that is insane. The crime is that Sullivan fucking criticizes Israel at all, without being a Jew. (Wieseltier is allowed to say mildly critical things about Netanyahu and call the settlers fascists because he is a member of the Tribe and he writes for The New Republic, which will only criticize Israel in occasional asides in the middle of articles on Those Terrible Liberal Antisemites or Those Terrible Muslims.) And you can accuse Andrew Sullivan of being emotional, inconsistent, and generally goofy (and you can complain about his hysterical post-9/11 writings, which Leon brings up purely to find something actually objectionable to object to, or the egregiously racist bullshit he published as editor of The New Republic, which Leon does not bring up), but to say that because he thinks the settlements should be dismantled and he finds Charles fucking Krauthammer objectionable that he is an antisemite is bullshit of the highest order. (Not that we're surprised! Leon Wieseltier is a first-class bullshit artist! He consistently provides totally quality zingers slathered in the finest aged bullshit.)

Meanwhile, TNR publisher and on-again, off-again owner Marty Peretz posts something racist enough to make Tom Tancredo blush almost weekly. Like, explicitly so. You don't actually need deep readings of his extensive archives to find evidence of implicit racist motives. He just lets it all hang loose.