Over at Altercation, Eric Alterman's knickers are still in a twist over being "slandered" in my recent column in the Boston Globe about Jewish writers using essentially anti-Semitic rhetoric. He is particularly upset that The Boston Globe did not run his letter in its entirety (for some reason, however, he omits a link to his full letter and my response at Hit & Run) and did not issue the apology and retraction he demanded. After his declaration of war, Alterman has encouraged his loyal fans to express their displeasure to my Globe editor, Nick King, posting not only his email address but also his office phone number.
So, let's recap.
Alterman writes a blog post in which he taunts Andrew Sullivan, the journalist and blogger, for criticizing the British Muslim Council's boycott of Holocaust commemorations. In this post, he explains that Arab resentment against Israeli policies makes the boycott perfectly understandable, and one should no more expect Muslims to honor the suffering of murdered Jews than one should expect gays to honor the suffering of "gay-bashing bigots." Also in the process, he takes a gratuitous slam at Sullivan, a gay man and a leading champion of gay equality, for colluding with "gay-bashing bigots." Finally, he slams (justly, in my opinion) a prominent Orthodox rabbi, Daniel Lapin, for an article basically endorsing the right-wing variety of anti-Semitism that rails against secular Jews in Hollywood.
(By the way, I would like, very belatedly, to thank Jeff Jarvis for the pointer to Alterman's little screed.)
I write a column giving Alterman a taste of his own medicine and pointing out that his defense of the British Muslim Council's boycott amounts, effectively, to endorsing anti-Semitism.
Alterman goes into a tailspin in which he has remained for over a week.
His basic argument (echoed by his minions) seems to be that I called him an anti-Semite and a self-hating Jew because he has dared criticize Israeli policies and speak in favor of suffering Palestinians. Puh-leeze. I think there's plenty of reasonable criticism that can be made of Israeli policies, and I don't even think that all unreasonable criticism of Israeli policies is ipso facto anti-Semitic. What I found (and still find) utterly appalling is Alterman's assertion that anger at Israeli policies is a moral justification for refusing to honor the memory of Holocaust victims. Is that really so difficult to understand?
Alterman's rant also includes a bizarre insinuation that I have a vendetta against him because of his writings about my former boyfriend, Wall Street Journal editor John Fund. This is based on a blog item in which John Tabin reports a conversation he had with me at a Reason party in 2003. The only problem is, what I told Tabin was that while I think Alterman is a jerk (an assessment based on this incident, and one that his latest antics have not changed), I was impressed by his defense of John Fund when Fund was falsely accused of domestic violence and much of the left-wing media picked up the smear. So I'm really not sure what Alterman's point is.
Finally: do I think Alterman is an anti-Semite? No, of course not. (For the record, I did not write the Globe headline, "When Jews wax anti-Semitic.") Neither, I'm sure, is Rabbi Lapin. I do think that both of them are willing to endorse and abet anti-Semitism when it comes from those with whom they sympathize politically: in Alterman's case, Palestinians (and by extension, Arabs and Muslims in general); in Lapin's, conservative Christians.
Any more questions?