Many readers have taken me to task for allegedly allowing my personal feelings and gratitude toward Marty Peretz overwhelm the Dish's usual impatience with rank expressions of bigotry. We posted two examples of such dissents here. I try valiantly not to allow this to happen - and I confess to a deep conflict here. For a more dispassionate - and, on reflection, definitive - treatment of the issue, check out Jim Fallows' post here. It's one of the more elegantly concise arguments against such crude generalizations as "Muslim life is cheap" as one could read. And it helps connect this newly ascendant truism to the bigotries of the past in a way that is truly helpful. I'd like to reassure Jim that "hate the sin, love the sinner" is indeed my sentiment.
Former TNR acting editor, Bob Wright, also elaborates, as he did in his brilliant book, The Evolution of God, (my review here) how the Scriptures of Jews, Christians and Muslims all contain ugly as well as life-saving passages, and how missing their complexity does justice to none of them. The violence done in the name of Jesus over the centuries is certainly comparable to the violence done by Muslims.
None of this affects any individual judgment of an individual's motives. But then we have this from the Daily Beast:
"Reached by phone, Peretz offered the following response to [critical] comments before hanging up: 'The notion that after teaching 45 years at Harvard and people giving money in my honor that I have to defend myself - please.' "
In a word: unacceptable. Sorry, Marty, you do have to defend yourself. Addressing the serious and reasoned critiques of Fallows and Wright would be a start.