Wieseltier's (Kabbalist) Arrogance

The latest New Republic has an emotional attack on Tony Judt, John Mearsheimer, and Stephen Walt by Leon Wieseltier. Wieseltier says that W-M are antisemites who don’t understand how policy is formulated and Tony Judt is trading in antisemitic legends. He gets very angry. All this stems from the Walt Mearsheimer paper and Judt’s defense of their ideas at Cooper Union.

A few points:

—The piece underscores the fact that the media failed to cover a hugely significant event (the Cooper Union Debate). Wieseltier says that he understands that the moderator Anne-Marie Slaughter refused to engage the question of whether the original LRB paper was antisemitic. I was there. She specifically asked that question at the start. It was openly debated. How unfortunate that a serious publication cannot even get this basic point right, because the author is dealing with hearsay.

—Wieseltier tries to dismiss these ideas by saying that they are tk. He is saying, They’re echoing the Protocols of Zion, so there are going to be pogroms. This is a form of name calling, and it keeps people from going near the questions. But the questions are just too important, and in the end journalists and writers should deal with facts. When Judt said that the New York Times required him to identify himself as a Jew before he could write a support of the paper, and when Rashid Khalidi said that he rarely gets to speak about Palestinian issues in a mainstream forum, they were both speaking about the taboo that continues to exist on this subject because of, because of—let’s be straight about this, Jewish power in the discourse, and the fear of offending Jews. I’ve dealt with this from editors too long to try and dissimulate about it. When Judt spoke in the Observer last week about Jewish influence and power, he was speaking openly and honestly.

—The stunning thing about the debate, in retrospect, is that when it was done, no Jews were murdered in the streets of the East Village. At least not on the north side of Cooper Union. I should stop joking. The stunning thing was that 900 people entered a hall with diverse opinions, some of them called out abuse and mockery during the debate, but not many. The seven men and woman on stage exchanged ideas without being muzzled or bitch-slapped