I’m always talking about how smart people on the internet are, what about how stupid they are? A commenter called Ludwig Von Schaffner uses my latest take on my Jewish problem to say that Jews are responsible for gas chambers. I find that comment appalling and am sorry my site has attracted it. (I don’t take comments down; I’m a free speech purist pretty much.)
The answer to such hateful statements is more free speech. As for Jewishness, I will continue to talk about it, because a, it’s important, and b, I trust America. I remember back when Jews first really crowded into the Establishment, during the Clinton Administration, the era when the meritocracy came of age. No one in the MSM would write about that story, though they all knew it was a great new flowering of American sociology. And yes, too, the rise of an elite. I asked a powerful journalistic friend Why not, and he said a close associate of his had just returned from Eastern Europe after trying to find her family, and found no sign at all of the Jewish settlement in the Pale. It had all been wiped clean, by pogroms, then the Holocaust. That’s what happened the last time this was an issue.
As much as I lament that history, I’ve never understood why it must stop us from talking about American leadership culture, I don’t believe that Jews are eternal victims, let alone the only victims in history. But the press has censored itself on these issues again and again out of that type of fear, and left the discussion to the knuckleheads. Yet smart people are going to talk about the Jewish presence in public life, and need to talk about it, if we are going to get through the clash of cultures, east and west, with any tolerance. Yesterday, Mike Shuster on All Things Considered bridled when an Iranian official he was interviewing said that the Israel lobby distorts American policy. “Do you really believe that?” Shuster said, as though the fellow was crazy. The man then referred to “reports” that are circulating that say the lobby has distorted the country’s real interests. This was clearly a reference to the Walt and Mearsheimer paper in LRB. Another sign of its impact. The correct response by journalists is not to scoff defensively, but to explore the claims of this important paper openly.