Each time Andrew Sullivan writes negatively about Israel (which is to say, almost every day), my e-mail in-box becomes flooded with pleas that I respond. Sometimes I don't, because I have other, better things, to do. But last week, after Andrew published an egregious and tendentious map meant to deny Jewish claims to virtually any of the land of Israel, I did respond, helped along by about 130 e-mails from readers who were as upset as I was that the Atlantic Magazine's website featured such crude agitprop. I responded quickly, and angrily (even making a mistake in accusing Andrew of not attributing the map. He did, to the anti-Israel academic Juan Cole.) Then, of course, Andrew responded quickly and angrily, and I spent a good deal of time thinking of ways to respond to his response to my response. And then I realized that this is not how I want to spend my life.
Yes, it's upsetting that Andrew Sullivan, a man of obvious intellectual gifts (and someone for whom I retain great personal fondness), has become an anti-Israel propagandist. But it's not my job to counter everything he says. He's not particularly interested in hearing fact-based arguments that undermine whatever argument he happens to be making, in any case. And even if he did care, it's not in the best interests of The Atlantic, or of my journalism, or my sanity, to spend my time worrying about Andrew's ever-shifting views on the Middle East.