Andrew Sullivan, about whom I have mainly not been blogging lately, in part to keep my sanity and in part because, really, how much time can a blogger devote to fighting with other bloggers (answer: a lot!), e-mailed me earlier today, while I was traveling, to tell me that I obviously missed, or at least misread, part of one of his posts. He was right that I missed, and misread, some of it so I want to amend (partially) what I wrote earlier (The truth is, I'm not even sure I understand the post in question, but I'll get to that).
But first, I want to tell the many Goldbloggers out there who wrote me with some surprise, asking why I was back on Andrew patrol after ceding that role to others these past several months, exactly what I think of Andrew's blogging, and why I'm apparently (though who knows what the future, meaning next week, entails?) jumping back in to this argument. Generally, I love Andrew's blog, and I agree with most of what he writes, including on torture, Afghanistan, gay marriage (though I could always do with less on the issue of bears and their role in the environment). On Israel, and on the power of the Jewish lobby, of course, I think he is wrong wrong wrong (except on those occasions -- infrequent -- when he is right), and I also think he does not understand the corrosive power of his words, and of the public venting of his unmediated emotions. I think the things he writes excoriating Israel often give aid and comfort to people who truly want to hurt Jews and hurt the Jewish state. Rather than ignoring his posting on the subject, as I have been doing, I'm going to point out, whenever I can, the ways in which his intemperate language and one-sided understanding of Middle East politics and history can be used to create real damage. One of the things I don't think Andrew understands is that Jews (and Israel) are simultaneously powerful and vulnerable. And by "vulnerable," I don't mean vulnerable emotionally; I mean, actually physically vulnerable to violence and discrimination. I think that singling out Israel and its Jewish supporters for special scorn aids and abets the very dark forces lining up to deny the Jewish state its legitimacy.