The Kushner laurels are a teachable moment, if ever there was one. Andrew Sullivan does a broadside post explaining that Jeffrey Wiesenfeld’s description of Palestinians as non-human is a powerful belief, it is all through the American discourse and it is connected to the Israeli conceptualization of Palestinians as “cockroaches,” which justifies ethnic cleansing and massacre and humiliation. Then there’s this part:
All of this is a deliberate and sustained dehumanization of an entire people. Now I am not saying that this kind of thing isn’t also common throughout the Arab and Muslim world with respect to Jews, who are demonized, dehumanized and lied about on a regular basis. It is extremely common; it is more prevalent than its opposite; and the hideous history of anti-Semitism in the twentieth century makes eliminationist language about the Jewish people and their absolute right to a homeleand repellent in every way. But we would not allow such anti-Semites to sit on university boards judging the work of Jewish writers, would we?
So why is Wiesenfeld not just on such a board but capable of commanding instant assent from his peers? How has American public discourse on this question been so thoroughly distorted by the unhinged tribalism of a few maniacs? And when will we begin to stand up to these bullies?