Talking bigotry


Andrew Sullivan posts yet another self-explanatory in the wearying war launched by Leon Wieseltier on how Sullivan writes about Israel and the Jews.

In the latest entry, Sullivan takes on his friend and fellow Atlantic blogger Jeffrey Goldberg. I’ll leave the bulk of it to them.

But here’s how he concludes:

But maybe it’s time Netanyahu didn’t get the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the world is too dangerous right now to stand by as a Fourth World War gets going in the Middle East between the tribalism of Avigdor Lieberman and the bigotry of Ahmadinejad. Maybe we have to take a stand as Western public thinkers and stop hiding behind world-weariness and authority and and anti-anti-positioning and tell the truth as we see it without this constant fraught question of bigotry being raised, let alone wielded as a rhetorical club.

Let us debate what America’s interests are right now. And let us debate them robustly, passionately, sometimes intemperately and in good faith. You know: like Israelis do.

Why not? Why not raise it? I honestly don’t get it, I never have: How do you have an open debate without raising it, or any matter related to the topic at hand? I’ve said I don’t think Sullivan’s bigotries are conscious, or even cross into anti-Semitism — but surely analyzing, detecting and exposing such views is not only legitimate but critical to understanding the issue. Bigotries close minds and options.

Does Sullivan keep homophobia off the table in defending gay marriage? Has he kept racism off the table when defending Barack Obama?

Keep in mind that Sullivan wants this off the table in a debate in which he (and others) say they are pushing back against a taboo.

So here’s my maybe: Maybe we can break one alleged "taboo" — the question of pro-Israel influence on U.S. policy — without imposing another.

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