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Andrew Sullivan And Anti-Semitism

9th February 2010

I stopped reading Andrew Sullivan after he started gushing against the Iraq war after gushing so strongly in favour of it.

The vile images of the Abu Ghraib abuse of Iraqi prisoners seemed to sway him against the whole enterprise, as if he only then realised that war is a hard and dirty and violent business, and recoiled from what he had supported.

Too shallow and self-indulgent. Policy is tough, Andrew. Deal with it.

Anyway, he still whirs away eloquently to a huge readership and even has a couple of people helping him write the material, arguing (oddly?) that because he has so many readers he needs this support.

Here is a long article by Leon Wieseltier which carefully takes apart a lot of Sullivan writing on the Middle East and Jewish views thereof. It is worth reading as a subtle analysis of different sly prejudices which pop up in Sullivan's work and in many places elsewhere - and for its insights on the blog genre:

Sullivan desperately wants the Jews to be good Jews, to be the best Jews they can be. He wants edifying Jews. Don’t they realize that if they fail to edify, they may lose his friendship? The fools!

...  Criticism of Israeli policy, and sympathy for the Palestinians, and support for a two-state solution, do not require, as their condition or their corollary, this intellectual shabbiness, this venomous hostility toward Israel and Jews.

I have striven for Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, and territorial compromise, and two states, for many decades now, but Sullivan’s variety of such right thinking is completely repugnant to me. There are decent and indecent ways to advocate change. About the Jews, is Sullivan a bigot, or is he just moronically insensitive?

To me, he looks increasingly like the Buchanan of the left. He is the master, and the prisoner, of the technology of sickly obsession: blogging – and the divine right of bloggers to exempt themselves from the interrogations of editors – is also a method of hounding.

He's on to something there.

How many bloggers deep down have a good answer to the question, "All right - but isn't all that interminable huffing and puffing about policy really just all about you?"

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