The New Republic’s ugly and reckless anti-semitism games

Glenn Greenwald in Salon:

ScreenHunter_06 Feb. 14 07.13 Even by that magazine's lowly standards, The New Republic yesterday published an amazingly ugly, reckless, and at-times-deranged screed from its Literary Editor, Leon Wieseltier, devoting 4,300 words to accusing Andrew Sullivan of being an anti-semite, largely due to his critical (i.e., forbidden) comments about Israeli actions and American neoconservatives. Particularly since the horrific Israeli assault on Gaza, Sullivan has become more critical of Israeli actions and more dubious of uncritical U.S. support. The whole TNR column oozes dark and obvious innuendo but never has the courage to state the anti-semitism accusation explicitly (the last paragraph comes closest). TNR's Jonathan Chait piped up yesterday to embrace most of Wieseltier's premises [“Leon has written what I consider to be a trenchant and persuasive dissection of Andrew's (current) worldview on Israel and the Jewish lobby”], but then — as though he's the Papal arbiter of anti-semitism generously granting absolution — cleared Sullivan of the charge of anti-semitism, instead decreeing him guilty of the lesser crime of “carelessness” for failing to renounce the supposedly bigoted, Jew-hating “provenance” of Sullivan's ideas about Israel and Jews.

So shabby and incoherent are Wieseltier's accusations that they merit little real refutation, and I hope Andrew will resist the (understandable) temptation to elevate and dignify them by lavishing them with lengthy self-defenses. Certain attacks are so self-evidently frivolous that they negate themselves, damaging the reputation of the author and his editors far more than the target of the attack [such was the case with Jeffrey Rosen's trashy, widely scorned and ultimately impotent anonymous hit piece on the intellect and character of Sonia Sotomayor, also published (naturally) by TNR].

More here. [My own take on the odious Wieseltier, from a few years ago, is here.]