And no, the statement is not ironic:
I just wanted to send an email thanking you for your recent critiques of Israel critics. I understand they mostly originated in Tablet Magazine, but you’ve done a great job extending them, bringing specificity to them, and repeating them over and over until they land. I am a supporter of Israel, a liberal, and open to intelligible critiques of Israel, but I have become increasingly alienated by this new caste of Israeli critics in America. You have mostly criticized them for giving comfort to anti-Semites (though I think your work showing how Walt’s opinions contradict his foreign policy philosophy is excellent) but clearly it seems like there’s more at stake. To what extent is their refusal to repudiate anti-Semitism an indication of their own personal opinions? (Or to paraphrase Lee in Tablet, we can’t know their heart of hearts, but we certainly can tell something by the company they keep.)
Anyway, I love Sullivan and his blog on almost every issue but this one (also his Trig stuff is insane). Keep doing what you’re doing. You have a new daily reader (me!).
P.S. I wish someone would point out that the huge amount of aid the US sends Israel a year is 3 billion dollars. By contrast we send Pakistan around 15 billion a year and spend 150 billion on the Afghanistan War a year. 3 billion dollars is a drop in the bucket, and what we get for it is influence in the Middle East, a way of making sure Israel doesn’t enter a war with Arab nations that could culminate in a nuclear exchange, a thriving technology and medical advances market that directly benefits Americans, etc, etc. For only 3 billion dollars!
My thanks for the e-mail. As I have written before, I have no evidence to prove that the subjects of my writing are anti-Semitic. That is a serious charge to make, and I won’t make it lightly. But at the very least, they have been very irresponsible with their rhetoric.