Man, I'm taking a lot of heat in the Goldblog mailroom over something I wrote earlier (and, by the way, now that we've opened-up comments on this blog, please feel free to post your responsibly-written invective down below, though of course you can still email me directly). Here's what I wrote::
And by the way, as an American Jew, I believe, as most American Jews believe (and most American non-Jews, as well) that Israel should exist and flourish as a Jewish country, that it is an important project of the Jewish people, that and that it is a natural ally of the United States. An American Jew can feel this and still be a loyal, upstanding American. (Certainly, non-Jewish Americans are permitted to feel this way.) I get the sense, from reading him every so often, that Glenn Greenwald is in the minority on this issue. Which is fine, of course. (Bold is mine).
Here is one letter from a Goldblog reader:
You say that Greenwald's vicious anti-Israel double standard is fine with you. My question is what's wrong with you? Greenwald is part of a small coterie of Jewish anti-Semites who never miss an opportunity, as the saying goes, to blast Israel or Jews for supporting Israel. It is morally, ethically and spiritually wrong what he does. How can this be fine with you? Are you trying to suck up?
To that last question, Umm, no. Here's another, similar letter, more succinct:
You yourself are defining yourself as a self-hating Jew by endorsing the right of Glenn Greenwald to hate Israel.
Self-hatred is a deeply-inexact description of the people this reader is trying to describe. In my experience, those Jews who consciously set themselves apart from the Jewish majority in the disgust they display for Israel, or for the principles of their faith, are often narcissists, and therefore seem to suffer from an excess of self-regard, rather than self-loathing. "Self-hater" is a euphemism, then, for "auto-anti-Semite," or some other such locution. I generally try to stay away from such descriptions (though there are some very obvious candidates for the label of auto-anti-Semite, including the John Mearsheimer-endorsed neo-Nazi Gilad Atzmon).
In the case of Greenwald, here is what I think, from afar, since we've never met. When I write that Greenwald's ostentatious anti-Israelism is "fine, of course," I'm not endorsing his views, I'm simply acknowledging that he has a right to say whatever he wants -- he has a right even to defend the use of the neo-Nazi-derived anti-Semitic slur "Israel-Firster" to describe Jews with whom he disagrees -- and I'm also acknowledging, in a way, that he is not sui generis: There have always been Jews who define themselves in opposition to Judaism, Marxists mainly, in the style of of Isaac Deutscher's so-called "non-Jewish Jew." (By the way, Deutscher was one of Christopher Hitchens' favorite Jews, and we used to argue at great length about him. And by the way again, I forgot who made this argument to me, but it is possible to assert that opposition to Judaism is in itself a form of Judaism, given Judaism's disputatious, questioning nature.)