For those of you who haven’t heard of Eric Alterman of The Nation magazine (and unless you’re a shut-in with a crush on Michael Moore and a strange love of unicorns and lotion, why should you have?), he is a far-left columnist who makes it his mission to say silly things. That is not unexpected, since he is also a professor of English at City University of New York. A liberal professor who speaks out about issues outside his area of expertise and makes a fool of himself in the process? Who woulda thunk?
For example, he penned an entire ridiculous book entitled What Liberal Media?, which argued that the media was actually conservative. In order to reach this counterintuitive conclusion, Alterman essentially labeled everyone to his right “right-wing”, which would make Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and everyone not openly associated with the Marxist left a right-winger in his book. For a solid review of that tome of stupidity, read here.
Today, Alterman’s job is to say silly things about Israel. Well, technically, that’s been his job most of the last week. Falling into the trap that states that because he has a Jewish last name, he is especially qualified to speak about the Jewish state (to find an equally dubious proposition, one would have to posit that because Madonna was born a Catholic woman, she is especially qualified to speak about abstinence in the priesthood), Alterman penned a bizarre piece this week for The Nation in which he contended that certain academics “manage to oppose Israel’s religiously defined state apparatus and yet remain supportive of the rights and aspirations of Jewish Israelis.” Which is akin to saying that you can oppose the Declaration of Independence and Constitution and remain pro-America.
That piece was dumb enough. But Alterman (who, like most professors of English, seems to read foreign policy like poetry rather than with the hard-headed realism it requires) has taken it upon himself this week to attack your humble author personally. In his latest blog post, he wrote,
“I never heard of Ben Shapiro, but if I may be so bold as to hazard a guess based on his name and general hystericism, I should imagine that he is a Jewish right-wing columnist. Whatever he is, he is no historian. In his ‘Open Letter to American Jews,’ he insists that President Obama is ‘openly anti-Semitic’ and who consistently sides with Palestinian and Iranian mass murder-supporters and goes on to compare Rahm Emanuel to a “kapo”–the infamous concentration camp Jews who rounded up other Jews for the Nazis in exchange for special treatment.”
Of course, Alterman does not bother to refute any of my contentions. Instead, he dismisses them out of hand, and mischaracterizes them in order to do so. For example, I didn’t insist that President Obama is “openly anti-Semitic.” He’s not. He’s covertly anti-Semitic. What I did write was that American Jews support certain “Democrats and an administration that is openly anti-Semitic.” Which they are. Just look at Zbigniew Brzezinski, Samantha Power, General Jim Jones, and General Timothy Merrill McPeak, among others. Obama has indeed sided consistently with Palestinians (see this week, for the latest example) and Iranian mass murder supporters (see his soft treatment of Ahmadinejad and his call for Israel to disarm itself of nuclear weapons at Iran’s behest). And as for the kapo line, I’m not going to back down from that one — a Jew who gets special benefits by helping out an Administration that has abandoned Israel and dedicated itself to forwarding the agendas of Israel’s genocidal enemies deserves that label. Emanuel qualifies. Besides, Alterman is late to the game. In May 2009, I called on Emanuel to turn in his “badge as a Jew.” I’ll stand by that one, too.
Anyway, a final note about Alterman. As a professor of English, he should know that the ad hominem attack is the least effective method of attack (simply labeling me a “Jewish right-wing columnist” doesn’t count as an argument). I can only hope he’s better at teaching English than he is at political argumentation. If not, he should be refunding tuition to his students.