Tetchiness: An Explanation


A Goldblog reader asked me to post this, as a message to Andrew Sullivan. I think it's pretty astute:

Contemporary Germany is sometimes criticized.  No one is calling for its abolition. The Catholic Church is criticized quite a bit; does anyone seriously think one billion Catholics are imperiled?  Likewise the Muslim world; there are many hundreds of millions of Arabs, and more than a billion Muslims worldwide; they are not going anywhere. We like to make fun of the French--but no one is saying France ought to eradicated, or that French people are murderers and should be eliminated.  Black people are victims of perpetual racism, and yet black people are not going to disappear, and neither are the nations of sub-Saharan Africa, or the Caribbean, where people of African heritage form a majority.  It's not to say they aren't victimized, or that they don't suffer tragedies.  Only that they do not have cause for existential angst, for wondering if they will have descendants, posterity, a place in the future.

Now, as for the Jews: Our sole homeland, on our historic toothpick of land, is incessantly, loudly declared illegitimate.  And Jews themselves are impugned, our character is impugned, our loyalty called into question in the Diaspora.  And we constitute a tiny percentage of the world's population.  And there have been numerous attempts to finish us off.

If you can't understand why we get a little tetchy about books, movie stars and bloggers arguing that we're the principal source of evil in the world, then you are not capable of empathy.
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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