Here’s something I find disturbing. MJ Rosenberg recalls an anecdote about Robert Satloff of WINEP, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy:
He once inadvertently cc’d me (his bad luck) on an email he wrote rejecting an appearance on the same panel with Arab-American Institute chief, James Zogby. Satloff wrote his correspondent (and, by accident, me) that by definition, Zogby did not have the standing to appear with him.
His argument: I, Satloff, a great independent scholar do not appear with lobbyists for causes. (Except for AIPAC, but then, he knows that he is essentially AIPAC so that doesn’t count).
I don’t think this is trivial. It is (I bet) a racial form of discrimination and reminds me of the piece in the Forward a couple weeks back about "delegitimization" of Israel, in which Nathan Guttman only quoted Jews. Why didn’t he call Ali Abunimah, or some other Palestinian-American? They’re important voices in this trend.
It was rumored that Michael Walzer and Leon Wieseltier both declined to debate John Mearsheimer and Steve Walt– didn’t want to give the scholars a platform; but still, it’s a kind of color bar. The late Gershom Scholem long ago wrote that only Jews could write Jewish history. Another bar. And of course this bar is related to the fact that only pro-Israel Jews and philo-Semites can be trusted to handle Middle East policy. No Chas Freeman, no Rashid Khalidi. It’s time Jews granted non-Jews a place in the discussion. That’s what empowered people do.