More on Tony Judt

Some of the usual suspects have been e-mailing -- and some of the non-usual suspects as well -- about my criticism of the Tony Judt interview, posted on this site. I'll try to answer two questions now:

Hey, Goldberg, why don't you man-up and criticize someone who is alive, not dead like the great Tony Judt? That would be brave, instead of cowardly.

A strange question, given that I criticize live people fairly frequently (Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer come to mind, as well as Mr. Netanyahu, on the other side). Also, I don't think there is a rule against criticizing the ideas and comments of people who have died. I am certainly not under the impression that Tony Judt lived by that rule.

Second question:

What is your proof that Judt is dishonest?

Here's one proof. Judt states the following:

What you are really asking is whether I think the Palestinians would immediately set out to rape, pillage and murder the Jews? I don't see why they would want to -- there is no historical record suggesting that this is what Palestinians do for fun, whereas we have all too much evidence that Israelis persecute Palestinians for no good reason.

What I should have written is that Judt is being both demagogic and dishonest. Who ever suggested that Palestinians kill Jews "for fun"? I don't think Palestinians have ever killed Jews "for fun," and I don't think Israelis worry that the destruction of their state would cause Palestinians to kill them "for fun." Which doesn't mean that Israelis wouldn't be worried that some Palestinians might try to kill them, should the Israeli state dissapear. The historic record is filled with incidents, dating back to 1929 and earlier, of Palestinians -- motivated by hatred or politics or theology -- killing Jews. It is impossible to believe that a scholar of Judt's stature would not know this. Do I have really have to make a list of the incidents in which Palestinians have murdered Israelis because they are Israeli? I will if Goldblog readers demand it, though it will take some time, because the list will be quite long.

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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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