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Vigorous!

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"Vigorous!"

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Alvin H. Rosenfeld of “Progressive’ Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism” fame takes to the virtual pages of The New Republic to write some more about this. Unintentional comedy prize goes to this:

Vigorous discussion of Israeli policies and actions is not in question here. Such discussion proceeds across all of the media in this country and within Israel itself. It’s disingenuous, therefore, to say that “you can’t raise questions about Israel.” Such questions are raised continually by a broad range of commentators. Read Yossi Klein Halevi, Michael B. Oren, Dennis Ross, Hillel Halkin, and Michael Walzer, to name only a few of the best informed commentators, and you will find such discussion taking place in thoughtful and clarifying ways.

But, look, this is the point: discussion of Israel is ubiquitous in the American media but it proceeds across an extraordinarily narrow range well-captured by Rosenfeld’s list here. For a long time, America’s Israel policy was rather peripheral to the broad range of things one might want to discuss, and so this situation, if not ideal, was also fine. Since 9/11, however, the question of American policy toward the broad Middle East — including, obviously, Israel — has moved much closer to the center of national attention. Naturally enough, that’s led to demands to open up the debate to a wider range of voices. That, in turn, has led to this campaign — conducted on the rubric of “the new anti-semitism” — to essentially stuff everything back in the box and define in advance what the acceptable conclusions, modes of rhetoric, etc., are.

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