Low Standards


I see Eric Alterman paid closer attention than I did to Jamie Kirchick's missive about J Street from last week and found this important nugget. Kirchick writes:

The attempt by people like Ben-Ami, Alterman, Yglesias, Klein et.al. to portray their advocacy of unconditional Israeli negotiations with Iran and Hamas, unconditional Israeli territorial concessions, the Palestinian "right of return," (among other extreme positions) as having any truck within the mainstream of Jewish, American or Israeli opinion, while also having the gall to allege that anyone remotely to their right is an extremist, is something that psychologists call "projection.

Eric responds:

Well, excuse me, young man, I've never taken any position at all on Israeli negotiations with Iran or Hamas, the Palestinian right of return, or even "unconditional" territorial concessions, much less advocate for them. You are simply making that up. My guess is that neither have Matthew Yglesias or Ezra Klein, but they can speak for themselves.

I'm fairly certain I have said that Israel should negotiate with Hamas (certainly I do think Israel should negotiate with Hamas) but I don't think I've ever said anything about direct Israeli talks with Iran, which I think is too unrealistic on both sides to be a plausible idea, and I definitely don't favor a robust "right of return" that would see millions of Palestinians moving to Israel proper. I'm not sure I understand what unilateral territorial concessions are supposed to mean in this context -- are we supposed to understand Ariel Sharon as a fringe left-wing extremist for his Gaza withdrawal plan? I dunno.

Eric remarks that "One would think that the magazine that unleashed Stephen Glass (and Ruth Shalit) on the world would be more careful before empowering yet another young person with no journalistic credentials to make fantastic allegations merely because they happen to be consistent with the prejudices of the people who run it." I'm a blogger by trade, so I understand that mistakes happen in this medium and that it's not realistic to rigorously fact-check after post ex ante. Still, this is far from the first time that I've seen Kirchick attribute views to me that I don't hold. Sometimes he says I think things when I've written the reverse in books he claims to have read. It's an annoying habit, and it's especially annoying to know that there will be absolutely no consequences for this sort of thing and that he'll go on to have a long and successful career.