A reader writes:
As a long time reader and fan of your blog (since 2001), I'm becoming increasingly annoyed at what appears to be an obsessive focus on showcasing Israel's warts. I think Goldblog made the argument that Israel has become for you the Sarah Palin of countries. Indeed. For instance, what was the point in posting that al Jazeera piece on the Mossad? Is it really newsworthy or surprising that the Arab press publishes a story painting Israel in a militaristic and overly nationalistic light? And, on the substance of the piece, is it really news that 18 year old boys get excited by covert/spy/assassination intrigue? Or that some Israeli entrepreneur decided to capitalize on it for a short term gain? As if none of this occurs in this country or every other?
I offer the following from the perspective of someone appalled by the Wieseltier hit piece on you: when you post items like this, day after day, and nearly all of which focus on everything negative about Israel regardless of context, you give people the impression that you are an Israel-hater, notwithstanding your protestations of love when someone challenges you on it. And while I cannot, and will not, excuse the accusers, it is inescapable that responsibility for these accusations, to some extent, lies with you.
Personally, I don't think you have an Israel problem, so much as an obsession problem. But I know this because I've been reading you a long time. I get your obsession, and, quite frankly, is one of the reasons you are fun to read. But obsession has its downside, especially when it sweeps nuance and complexity under the rug, and obscures your true thoughts about an issue.
The bottom line is that your blog, as it relates to Israel, has become almost indistinguishable from the true Israel-haters. And that, unsurprisingly, invites the attacks, including the unfair and disgusting ones. And then you react by digging in deeper in the obsession. And this brings us further and further away from discussing the issue honestly and in a real way.
Public celebrations of assassinations by intelligence agencies is not exactly irrelevant in the week when the US is trying to restore some basis for the peace-process, which Tzivi Lipni says is a matter of great urgency. Highlighting what I believe to be a disturbing and accelerating trend toward religious fundamentalism, xenophobia, contempt for Arab life, militarism and illiberalism in Israel is something the Dish will continue to do, especially since this is a country which every American tax-payer subsidizes and which could, if such attitudes keep intensifying, hurtle the world into a world war. And the idea that this is the only coverage of Israel is belied by the record. May I suggest this post from yesterday which, at great length, offers what I hope is a very nuanced view of the US-Israel relationship and the current moment.
To argue that this blog this week has moved us away from an honest debate is, in my view, unfounded. Yes, this blog has passions - torture, gay rights, Iraq, the Green Revolution, the Pet Shop Boys, beards, etc. But somehow a post-Gaza concentration on what on earth has happened to Israel is the only one deemed illegitimate.