Contra Goldblog (Sigh)

From his recent post:

Andrew is free to publish malicious nonsense, such as the series of maps he published yesterday, maps which purport to show how Jews stole Palestinian land. Andrew does not tell us the source of these maps (in a magazine with standards, the source would be identified), but they were drawn to cast Jews in the most terrible light possible.

The map said nothing about "stealing land", the source was identified (as he has now conceded), and the notion that even if this were true, it would be tantamount to casting "Jews in the most terrible light possible" is certainly not what I intended and not what any fair reader would take away. As I've noted twice since publishing it, the map is certainly crude by conflating Ottoman and British public land with Palestinian land, and also misleading in conflating land owned with that politically controlled by Israelis or Palestinian Arabs, so I published a clearer one in response, and have provided more context today.

I aired the whole controversy in real time, which seems to me to argue against the notion that I'm "not particularly interested in hearing fact-based arguments that undermine whatever argument he happens to be making." I also aired a clarification to the new and better map here. I do this kind of blogging and clarification all the time - on every subject under the sun, with maximum accountability and reader reaction. I admit error promptly and I air dissents constantly. But I also stick to my arguments if they hold up over time.

Now this: my simple publication of a map was apparently

meant to deny Jewish claims to virtually any of the land of Israel.

Seriously, this is absurd. It was clearly designed to show how far we've come since the original partition the Palestinians foolishly rejected, and how dangerous it would be for the US, the region and Israel to continue even more aggressively on this path. My commitment to a secure Israel is as strong as Joe Biden's (before he too got a taste of the current government). Only a week ago, I wrote in my "Much Delayed Response to Goldblog":

I regard the establishment of the Jewish state as one of the West's high-points in the 20th Century.

Like America's founding, it was not immaculate, and its survival has been a brutal struggle in which Israel has not been as innocent as some want to believe, but whose enemies' anti-Semitism and hatred is tangible and omnipresent and despicable ... Israel, for its part, remains, in its own proper borders, a model state for that part of the world; its openness and democracy vastly exceed any neighboring regime's; it has made more of a tiny strip of land than most of its neighbors have of their vastly greater territory and resources put together. If I were Jewish, I'd be proud. But I'm not, and I can still admire a great deal.

My decision after the Gaza horror to challenge and debate some of the ideas I once held with respect to Israel in a post-9/11, post-Cold War world does not mean I wish Israel ill. It means I think Israel has not acted as a real and constructive ally this past year, and is increasingly at odds with US interests in the Middle East and in the world in general, and is committing assisted suicide if it does not get out of the West Bank sooner rather than later.

In the last week, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Tzivi Lipni, and David Petraeus have all made essentially the same point. And if Jeffrey believes that my blogging has "caused real damage to real people", then I can only say that words and arguments hurt no one.

Bombs and missiles do.