What Often Happens To Israel's Friends

Well, Goldblog can explain here and here. I am going to respond to the substantive points of Jeffrey's seconding of Jon Chait's pseudo-defense of my not being a rancid anti-Semite soon. But I do want to say that my friendships are never based on politics or ideology and never have been. I take friendship very seriously as a virtue and wrote a book on it. I think of Jon and Jeffrey as friends, brilliant journalists, and sharp humorists and, as readers know, link to them constantly because they know much more about some subjects than I do.

I also totally understand the excruciating position Jeffrey is in. He is a passionate believer in Israel and has to endure a huge amount of calumny, bile and pressure for writings things that many Israel supporters do not want to hear. In this I have long admired both his passion and his courage in a very, very hard place. I am in that place too. I have been in that place on gay issues on many occasions - especially during the 1990s. God knows my writings on my own Church have led to an incredibly arduous and painful experience for me personally. But I continue to write about them because, believe it or not, I still love my church as deeply as Jeffrey loves Israel. It's not easy, and the attraction of just stepping aside is real and constant.

On the Israel question, all I can say is that the number of ugly anti-Semitic emails I get are vastly outnumbered by constant, vicious attacks on me as an anti-Semite. Maybe Jeffrey isn't copied on those. And maybe these thuggish emails - like the ones that routinely accuse me of AIDS dementia - sometimes lead to real-time blogging that can be emotional. I make no apologies for this. I defy any human being subjected to this not to feel assaulted and occasionally to respond with anger. It's part of why blogging is different from writing.

But I do want to say - before I tear his argument to shreds -  that I understand what Jeffrey endures on a regular basis and admire his courage in tackling difficult subjects nonetheless. Because he loves Israel; and Israel is committing a slow suicide. It is tough to watch.