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Are Accusations of Self-Hatred an Attempt to Bully Jewish Critics of Israel Into Silence?

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One of the great things Joe Klein said in his seminal piece on Jewish neocons earlier this year was that people who opposed the war or who criticized Israel got bullied. A friend writes to ask: Is Jeffrey Goldberg bullying Joe Klein, and points to this Goldberg retort:

It seems as if people like Joe, whose anger at a handful of Jews for advocating the Iraq War is so outsized (he seems to spend more energy attacking neo-conservative Jews than he does the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps)
are saying to the rest of the world, "Those Jews over there, the ones
you don't like? Well, I don't like them either! In fact, I like them
less than you like them! So just remember, I'm not them."
 
But here's the thing: The czar is dead. A little Jewish self-confidence wouldn't be a bad, or inappropriate, thing.

My friend writes:

Goldberg's first point is made by right wingers all the time. Silly point.

But what's going on with the second point about
Jewish self-confidence?  What's the game here?  A different form of
calling out self-hate?  Is that too tough an interpretation?  Goading
him to stand up like a man, like a macho IDF
soldier would?  In other words, like Goldberg himself?  Seems to me
that Klein is, in fact, speaking out from self-confidence, just one
oriented in a very different direction from Goldberg's. It's a bit like
criticism of those opposed to the Iraq war for being non-patriotic. 
Many of them would say it's in fact their love of country that gave
them the confidence and determination to speak out. 

I think Goldberg's tone is somewhat bullying, in the sense that he wants Klein to shut up about this stuff, and is being swaggery, and is accusing him of gentile-bootlicking. I believe that similar types of argument had an effect on George Soros (the Hungarian childhood stuff) and Tony Judt (like me an apparently-assimilating intermarried rhinestone cowboy). But all's fair in love and war. So OK, let's open up the whole self-hatred motivation argument, along with the neocon-parochial argument. Get back in the ring, Joe, and watch out for that right-hand uppercut!

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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