Greenwald uses the phrase "Israel-firsters" and also recently accused Eric Cantor, the incoming Republican Majority Leader in the House, of pledging allegiance to Israel.
The charge against Greenwald is not one of anti-Semitism, and my posts have made that clear. Rather, the charge is that Greenwald, in his fervor to attack Israel and its supporters, is all too willing to use lines of attack which do not go to the merits of our policy towards Israel, but rather, play upon age-old smears against Jews. This is a distinction Greenwald certainly understands.
Rather than defend his writings, Greenwald instead plays victim, claiming he falsely has been charged by me and Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit with being anti-Semitic:
And just in case you were wondering: yes, it is still true that if you question American policy toward Israel or criticize "pro-Israel advocates" in America, you will be immediately smeared as an Israel-hating anti-Semite by right-wing polemicists who strangely seem still to believe that these sad, discredited tactics will intimidate people and suppress such debate. [Note: Links in original.]This is an intellectual dodge of the first magnitude. No one is saying Greenwald cannot criticize Israel or its advocates.
The issue is why Greenwald feels the need to go much further, and accuse supporters of Israel -- particularly American Jewish supporters of Israel -- of being disloyal to the United States through the use of the term "Israel-firsters," or accusing Eric Cantor of pledging allegiance to Israel.
When Greenwald uses this language, he well understands that he is moving beyond the merits of his arguments into emotional territory which plays upon age-old stereotypes of Jews, both here and abroad.
I have yet to hear Greenwald's explanation. All I hear is someone who falsely plays victim.
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