Rubin's Smears

Michael Rubin decided this morning to accuse my friend and former colleague Mark Leon Goldberg of committing "outright fabrication for the sake of politics" in this years-old item. Since Mark doesn't have a blog where it would be appropriate to respond, he's kindly agreed to post a response here, to wit:

Using L'affaire Beuchamp as a pretext, Michael Rubin lashes out at me for allegedly making stuff up about his bubbly deportment prior to Ahmed Chalabi's fall 2005 lecture at the American Enterprise Institute. I feel I should defend my honor.

I recall that day well. It was Chalabi's first public appearence beforeWashington's most influential pro-war think tank since his allegations about Iraq's WMD program were proven false. What seemingly got Rubin's blood boiling was not anything Chalabi said, but my description of Rubin in a November 200 American Prosepct piece about the event. Here is the sentance in question: "Inside the plush conference center, a beaming Michael Rubin, AEI fellow and former aide to Iraq viceroy Paul Bremer, bounced around like a 6-year-old at Hanukkah."

Now, Matt was sitting next to me at the time. He can also attest that there was a palpable excitement in the air, and that Rubin contributed to that by zipping across the room, enthusiastically greeting various conference goers the meeting. I don't doubt that Rubin helped a blind man find his seat, as he says he did. But he certainly was beaming before the lecture.

Rubin also says I was mocking his (our) religion. On the contrary, I was mocking him, not Judaism. Still, if Rubin recalls this one sentence after all these years, then I must have really touched a nerve, so I apologize for the snark.

I'll add two observations. First, the idea that Mark would, as part of a nefarious ideological scheme, fabricate Rubin appearing to be very excited by the event his institution was hosting is absurd on its face. What political agenda, exactly, does this help advance? Second, while I've grown accustomed to hair-trigger accusations of anti-semitism from neoconservative foreign policy types, this one is really absurd. It's now mocking Judaism for a Jewish writer to write something implying that Jewish children are excited by the prospect of Hanukkah gifts? Come on.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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