Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On Andrew Sullivan ...

I didn't really know anything about Andrew Sullivan until I read this piece in Tablet by Lee Smith. In the article, Smith commented on the rising tide of anti-Israel invective on the Internet and placed Sullivan in the same category as several viciously anti-Israel bloggers and writers including Glenn Greenwald, Stephen Walt, and Phillip Weiss of Mondoweiss fame.

Let me say that I find it incredibly unfair to Sullivan for him to be compared to those individuals (actually it would be unfair to anyone to be compared to Weiss, hell it would be unfair to navel lint to be compared to Weiss).

Andrew Sullivan is highly critical of Israel, but he is no anti-Semite and he is not an irrational Israel basher either. As Jeffrey Goldberg once said he cares deeply about Jews and he would pass the Anne Frank test.

I like his blog although I disagree with a lot of what he says there. Now with all that being said, I think he is pretty clueless about Israel. I don't really have the time to go into detail about it, but I think his criticisms of Israel stem from a combination of misinformation and a world view that is predisposed to seeing Israel as the more guilty party. He has written a series of in-depth posts about Israel recently, and I really hope that I might be able to go over them in more detail in the future. I realize it's not quite fair that I've criticized him and I haven't backed up my argument, but I just don't have the time right now.

But I do want to show you the thing he said that pushed me over the top. I think this one little line represents the way he is thinking about Israel right now and why it isn't productive. From his daily wrap up of posts:
Obama's Indonesian nanny was a tranny, and he used his trip to Asia to put Israel in its place … (emphasis mine)
Apparently that is the way Sullivan views the U.S. – Israel relationship, or at least Obama's role in it. Israel needs to be put in its place, by its one friend and ally no less.

This is such a clear prescription for disaster, and such a total failure to understand the Israeli psyche, that I'm surprised someone as intelligent and reasonable as Sullivan would stoop to this level of thinking.

When the U.S. starts pushing Israel too hard, pushing Israel to bend on issues where there is no room to bend, the relationship will break. When that happens, things are going to get very ugly here.

The harder the U.S pushes, the further Israel will move to the right, and the further it will move from peace. Israel desperately needs the support of the U.S. Not for financial reasons, not even for political reasons (even though it is INCREDIBLY important), but for psychological reasons.

Israel, and Israelis need to know that they have at least one advocate, at least one country that will stand up for them, for their rights, for their history, for justice for them. Until now the U.S. has fulfilled that role.

It's a shame that Sullivan wants to see that change.

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