Spine or Scat? Marty Peretz Gets Down

One great thing about blogging is it reveals a writer’s true nature, flaws and all. (Like my flakiness; I try and ground myself but there it is; I think in Kabbala they would say I am too much in my chochma). The latest evidence of this is Marty Peretz’s pro-Israel blog, the Spine. Peretz is warm, funny, passionate and charismatic (I’ve met him), but there’s something inevitably superficial and vicious, even scurrilous about him. The dictionary defines scurrilous as coarse abuse, and that’s a manner Peretz is comfortable with, more comfortable with than ideas. Note his attack on George Soros and Morton Halperin for daring to launch an anti-AIPAC lobby. His argument boils down to the claim that he saw Halperin “brown-nosing” at a party at Harvard once (as if this were a significant character flaw; brown-nosing is alas the air that the meritocracy, and all other -ocracies, have to breathe), and that Soros doesn’t know “shit” about Israel. Scatology 101.

The real fascination here is that in spite of Peretz’s repeated dismissals of these events as inconsequential, it appears that Israel’s American critics, harder and softer (from binational staters to Rabin-followers), are seeking a unified front on the left and—supplying further evidence for Walt and Mearsheimer’s groundbreaking paper—the news of the anti-lobby is in Israel’s leading papers, but not here.