Matt Duss asks why I didn't mention, in my op-ed on Bibi and the Iranians, that right-wingers, especially the messianists of the settlement movement, often invoke the specter of Amalek -- and the (thank God widely-ignored) biblical commandment to wipe out Amalek -- as a way of demonizing all Palestinians:
Interestingly, as Goldberg himself has reported in the past -- but for some reason neglects to mention in his article -- invocations of "Amalek" are a feature of extremist Israeli settler propaganda against Palestinians and Arabs, something which I'm sure is not lost on Israel's more right-wing American supporters. In a 2004 New Yorker article on the Israeli settler movement, Goldberg asked Benzi Lieberman, the chairman of the council of settlements "if he thought the Amalekites existed today." Lieberman responded:
"The Palestinians are Amalek!" Lieberman went on, "We will destroy them. We won't kill them all. But we will destroy their ability to think as a nation. We will destroy Palestinian nationalism."
The shorter answer to the question of why I left out this aspect of Amalek in the op-ed is lack of space. The longer answer is, I should have included it. The existence of Amalek is empirically true: Hitler certainly filled the historical role of Amalek. But the idea of Amalek can be abused, as I have noted. In the case of this op-ed, I was trying to provide a window into the thinking of Netanyahu and his people. But I should have mentioned the danger of what we could call, for lack of a better term, Amalek-abuse. In the case of Ahmadinejad, by the way, I think the analogy is appropriate. He preaches of a "world without Zionism," which means, essentially, a world in which Jews are not granted their right to exist as a nation.
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