October 16, 2006

Tony Judt, Radioactive?

Tony Judt is a liberal (NY Review of Books variety) who teaches at New York University. He's published articles questioning various Israeli policies and suggesting a unitary Palestinian state encompassing both Jews and Arabs. He's anything but an anti-Semite.

Nevertheless, Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League was instrumental at getting a program involving Judt cancelled at a Polish diplomatic venue in New York City, and loudmouth rabbi Avi Weiss pressured Manahattan College to promise that a Judt talk at a Holocaust event would not inolve discussion of Israel, leading Judt in turn to cancel.

This turn of events is very disturbing. It reflects the continuing misuse of accusations of anti-Semitism by the ADL and professional Jews like Avi Weiss, to chill debate on Israeli policy and US policy toward Israel. The attack on Judt resembles a private bill of attainder. It also reflects cowardice on the part of people and institutions whose fear of accusations of anti-Semitism leads them to cave in to the Foxmans and Weisses. Manhattan College should have said, "Picket away; we're having our speaker." Instead, they chickened out.

When blacks did this sort of thing years ago, Tom Wolfe coined the phrase "mau-mauing" to label it. It's discreditable, and playing the Holocaust card as Sharpton and Jackson play the race card is just as shameful.

Just because some genuine anti-Semites pose as anti-Zionists doesn't mean that criticism--even strong criticism--of Israel should be beyond the pale. All forms of political correctness are worthy of contempt.

HT: Daniel Larison.

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