Not following this debate, but I think Leon Wieseltier is a poor choice to represent the American Jewish community? Why? Because of the evident “anti-Christianism” he suffers from, which was most clearly revealed in his New Republic reaction to the Mel Gibson film on the passion of Christ a few years ago. If you changed a few words, you could easily mistake it for a virulent anti-Semitic diatribe penned in pre-War II Germany. It caused my to cancel our family’s 70 year-old subscription to that magazine.
As a Psychoanalyst (and minor league blogger), my interest in anti-Semitism tends to involve its psychological value to the anti-Semite. It is a particular form of externalization and has adaptive and reparatory qualities (despite the fact that in the long term it tends to severely damage or destroy the anti-Semite and anti-Semitic cultures.) I have commented on the Andrew Sullivan imbroglio in “Anti-Semitism: A Strange Attractor” and wrote about the dynamics of anti-Semitism in “Pity the Poor Anti-Semite”
Having just finished the Wieseltier-Sullivan exchange, my reaction is that it is time to ignore Mr. Wieseltier as a matter of simple human decency — just as there came a point when it was wrong to continue to publicize the increasingly embarrassing meltdown of Brittany Spears. Only, in this case, what we are witnessing is not a decent into mental illness so much as into angry dementia. Cut him some slack. It could happen to the best of us.
The thing about anti-Semitism (Jew-hating), is that it does not make much sense. It would be an orderly, understandable world indeed, if Jews ran everything as “The Protocols…” alleged they do. So the best cure for it is to take a calm, rational rational look at the history of the Mid-East and Europe…from Ishmael & Isaac to the present.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to have a calm, reasoned analysis of some topics, like Hitler or Jew-hating. Jew-haters not only have “Mein Kampf”, “The Protocols…” & Wagner. [controversial reference to a religious scripture deleted here –ed]. And that’s another subject that is too volatile to calmly analyze.
So it all just goes to show you. This phenomenon goes all the way back thousands of years. And it’s not likely to go away any time soon.
There is one sure cure though. Once one looks at history & superimposes it on the present, it’s easy to see that anti-Semitism doesn’t make sense. The world is not easy to understand. Jews don’t control it. In fact, nobody controls it.
Once one understands that – Jew hatred becomes ridiculous.
I forgot to add. The best cure for Wagner is Strauss. WWII might have been avoided if Hitler had listened to more Strauss & less Wagner.
Just after the liberation of Paris in 1944, Sartre published an essay in a newspaper in which, among other things, he praised the members of the Resistance, and specifically mentioned French Jews who did so. He got an outpouring of letters from grateful Jews thanking him for having merely mentioned them. He was so stunned that he wrote a short book, published that October deconstructing the nature of Anti-Semitism and it’s effects on Jewish identity. It, in my opinion, remains one of the best explanation of why Jews have been and are hated down through history.
I stopped reading Sullivan some time ago because, it was clear to me that his politics derived from his personal habits. The love that dare not speak its name is now the love that will not shut up. Andy is one of the loudest, and I don’t care .
I read the Wieseltier article, and I though he pulled his punches. If you really want evidence as to Andy’s anti-Semitism go read his articles about the aesthetics of the male organ, if, that is, you have a strong stomach and are not upset by such things.
A word to the wise.
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It’s funny how nobody will admit to being an anti-semite nowadays.
The Leveretts state that apparently Ahmadinejad himself only claims that he’s Anti-Israel, not Anti-Semitic.
No. Call anti-semites on their hatred. Even to the point of redundancy. After all, they are anti-semites and in the same breath they deny anti-semitism they will affirm, and proudly, noxious screeds on Jewish/Israeli/Zionist dominance, deviation, and demonization. It should be obvious, they are not saying they are not anti-semitism, hence the double talk and code language–they are saying they are indeed anti-semites in its own traditional understanding, proud defenders of culture against the preternaturally evil and Satanic Jew. What they are denying is that they are anti-semites in the more modern understanding, delusional haters stuck in the morass of projection, splitting, and Orwellian double standards. But they are delusional and they are haters.
“An acknowledged or even widely suspected antisemite simply cannot play a serious role in American life today.”
I still have a hard time believing that Pat Buchanan — in the very least a ‘widely suspected antisemite’ — retains his prominent role on a PBS news show.