OK

This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.

ATTENTION: READ THE RULES.

  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

As someone who was recently called an anti-Semite (elsewhere) for an honest, confessional critique of Israel (on this site), I was heartened by Robert Wright's forceful rejection of a similar tactic used within the pages of his own magazine.

Wright, a senior editor at The Atlantic and a Pulitzer-Prize finalist, has come to the defense of Alex Kane, who writes for Mondoweiss, after being smeared with a false anti-Semitism charge within The Atlantic's pages.

I highly recommend that you read Wright's entire piece, for it boldly pushes back against usage of the (all-too-common) anti-Semitism smear that is thrown at progressives who dare to critique Israel or American policies in the region.

Here is how Wright begins:

The charge of anti-Semitism is starting to lose its force. The reason is that over the past few years it's been applied with less and less discernment, largely by people who want to stigmatize Israel's harsher critics. As Sarah Wildman has noted in the Forward, this is very unfortunate, because there are real anti-Semites in the world, and they benefit when the label they deserve to bear no longer has the power to stigmatize.

Wildman said this six months ago while writing about a slew of smears, such as the attempt to stigmatize the Center for American Progress via half-truths and McCarthyite guilt-by-association. Now there's another example of this neo-McCarthyism, and I'm sorry to say that it appeared on this website.

Wright then goes on to describe how an Atlantic writer, Armin Rosen, yesterday attacked Kane as an anti-Semite who should be banned from writing for mainstream outlets, such as The Daily Beast (where Kane had just published this post). Why? Not because Kane had actually demonstrated any anti-Semitic tendencies, but because he is a staff writer at Mondoweiss, which Rosen says "gives the appearance of an anti-Semitic enterprise."

Wright rejects this fully.

Rosen doesn't adduce a shred of evidence that Kane--the man whose reputation he's trying to besmirch and whose career he's trying to damage--is anti-Semitic. No complaint is filed about anything Kane has ever said or written. Rather, the allegation is just that Kane works for a publication that has featured articles, written by other people, that, in Rosen's judgment, gave off anti-Semitic vibes.

The term for this maneuver is "guilt by association," and it has an unfortunate history in American politics and intellectual life.

This tarring of Kane by virtue of his association with Mondoweiss would be lamentable even if Rosen produced a convincing indictment of Mondoweiss, showing that it indeed evinces anti-Semitism. Does he do so? All I can say is that I clicked on the [eleven] links to Mondoweiss that Rosen provided and--though I didn't read every single post with utmost care--I did reach a point where I could safely conclude that Rosen has a looser definition of anti-Semitism than I do.

Wright ends first by making clear that, in his opinion, Rosen's piece was McCarthyite, and second by apologizing to Kane on behalf of The Atlantic.

This unequivocal rejection of the anti-Semitism smear, by a senior editor at a mainstream publication, demonstrates two things:

A) The existence of real anti-Semitism is still taken seriously by serious thinkers, and
B) Those in the mainstream are beginning to feel comfortable confronting false smears.

In recent years, we have seen a precipitous rise in the throwing around of the "anti-Semite" charge as a silencing tool, as a way to discredit those with valid (and sometimes edgy) critiques of Israel.

And just as it did in McCarthy's time, using these false charges worked -- in the beginning -- to stigmatize writers who were anything but anti-Semitic. And just as we saw with McCarthy, fear of the word (then "communist," now "anti-Semite") is being replaced by anger at its misappropriation.

And this is only a good thing, for open debate on Israel -- an incredibly important foreign policy arena for any American president -- can only occur when that debate isn't silenced by McCarthyite smears.

And real anti-Semitism can only be combated when the charge of "anti-Semite" is no longer diluted by those looking to score political points.

Follow me on Twitter @David_EHG

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Writing by David Harris Gershon on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 07:21 PM PDT.

Also republished by Adalah — A Just Middle East.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.