Andrew Sullivan’s Got Some ‘Splainin’ To Do

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on February 9, 2010

Accusations of anti-Semitism are serious things, so I am not going to make them. But after reading this piece by Leon Wieseltier on Andrew Sullivan, I have some questions which I would love to see the Inspector Javert of Trig Palin’s matrilineal line answer.

1. Why does Sullivan insist on discussing the presence of a “Goldfarb-Krauthammer wing” of the American Jewish community, in addressing Middle East foreign policy issues, but never once discussed a “Cheney-Rumsfeld wing” of American Christianity when discussing the policies advocated by American Christians concerning the Middle East? (And no, discussing “Christianists” does not count; the “Christianist” epithet is reserved for Christian influences on domestic policy that are not in keeping with Sullivan’s beliefs.) Does the “Goldfarb-Krauthammer wing” really possess no “respect for learning, compassion for the other, and support for minorities”?

2. For that matter, per Wieseltier’s point, how would Sullivan have felt if there were some announced, designated division on foreign policy issues between a certain number of gay people, and the “Sullivan wing” of the gay community? Would he have approved of this kind of rhetorical effort to divide the gay community into “good gays” and “Sullivan gays” on questions of foreign affairs?

3. Why doesn’t Sullivan ever write about other lobbying groups on the issue of foreign policy? Why does he only fixate on the Jewish lobby?

4. Are Sullivan’s dark intimations about the Jewish lobby, the Netanyahu government’s supposed declaration of “war” on the Obama Administration, and his comment that the United States is “being dictated to in the conduct of its own foreign policy by an ally [Israel] that provides almost no real benefit to the US, and more and more costs” somehow Sullivan’s way of trying to make up for his “fifth column” remark about the “decadent Left” in the aftermath of 9/11?

5. Why does Sullivan believe that Israeli efforts to take on Hezbollah-initiated and Hamas-sponsored terrorism constitute “military adventurism”?

6. Having condemned “military adventurism,” why did Sullivan state that he is close to endorsing “a direct American military imposition of a two-state solution,” which would entail “NATO troops on the borders of the new states of Palestine and Israel”? Is it just “military adventurism” when the Jews Israelis do it?

I’d like answers to these questions. I’m sure lots of other people would as well. Thus far, Sullivan’s closest attempt to respond to these questions has been to note that once upon a time, Leon Wieseltier stated that Andrew Sullivan is not anti-Semitic. That’s nice, but who cares? And before I am done asking questions, here is one final one: What is the difference between Andrew Sullivan’s position on Israel and the Middle East . . . and Pat Buchanan’s?

  • http://twitter.com/jsanzone John Sanzone

    1. Good question. It's not as if the Goldfarb-Krauthammer reference isn't necessarily appropriate, but it could just as easily be the Cheney-Krauthammer, Kristol-Bush, or Rumsfeld-Cheney, as you say.

    2. He would be offended. But in that case, a distinction would probably be appropriate. Except, the 'Sullivan wing' of the gay community is really just him.

    3. He talks about…Sarah Palin, a lot.

    4. Maybe. But the coastal Leftists, as he described them, do tend to be decadent. But that's beside the point.

    5. He's trying to lump every military action taken by Israel since its inception into one. Some actions may have been military adventurism–although that's even a questionable premise–but if anything, actions against arbitrary rocket launchers is hardly “adventurism.”

    6. Because he's got the (simple) solution, for everything.

    Final ?: Andrew Sullivan is critical for almost the sake of being critical; Pat Buchanan is at least contextual and constructive, if misguided.

  • http://powip.com vermontaigne

    I don't know if Andrew's as much an anti-semite as he is a lunatic.

    I think he cuts himself. With Occam's razor.

  • bpolsky

    Touché!!!

  • http://www.likelihoodofconfusion.com Ron Coleman

    He's not really, really antisemitic in the sense that some of his best friends wouldn't be Jewish or something. They surely are. Some of them.

    But since abandoning everything associated with neoconservatism since realizing that GWB wasn't going to let him “marry” his boyfriend, Sully has burrowed himself so deeply into the leftist culture that it's impossible for him not to hold far-left views about Israel. These are reflexively “anti.” And yes, of course, they are steeped in that visceral European antisemitism dressed as actually caring about Arabs that you absorb just sitting in Starbucks in a college town.

    And then… there's the whole neocon thing, too. There's no better way to show you've really, really quit those guys than to use their bar mitzvah names in among your new friends.

    But he's not really, really an antisemite, no.

  • http://www.facebook.com/poul.costinsky Poul Costinsky

    Andrew may be antisemitic, but he is not antisemitic-antisemitic.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/4SZNTV3MEY2RHUML7TOB7J52SQ John

    Did you see or get linked to this article before I linked it in a comment here? Because it would be nice to know I was the impetus for a post.

    Also, now that I read this post, I realize I was wrong to ask you to disregard Sullivan (who I'm pretty sure is an anti-Semite). You're quite good at jabbing him right where he should be jabbed.

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    Alas, I did not see your link, but I do appreciate that you sought to bring it to my attention.

  • Democrits

    It's not only Sullivan but the whole Liberal Wing is Anti-Semitic all the way up to Obama.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/4SZNTV3MEY2RHUML7TOB7J52SQ John

    Did you see or get linked to this article before I linked it in a comment here? Because it would be nice to know I was the impetus for a post.

    Also, now that I read this post, I realize I was wrong to ask you to disregard Sullivan (who I'm pretty sure is an anti-Semite). You're quite good at jabbing him right where he should be jabbed.

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    Alas, I did not see your link, but I do appreciate that you sought to bring it to my attention.

  • Democrits

    It's not only Sullivan but the whole Liberal Wing is Anti-Semitic all the way up to Obama.

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