4/19/07

Jewish Press on the New Antisemitism: A Smart Man Launches a Poor Attack

I have criticized in this blog Rosenfeld's poorly written and poorly argued essay-attack on the progressives and the new antisemitism. So have many others. The problem with Rosenfeld is that by overstating the case against the critics of Israel, he only weakens his critique, not theirs. And by calling others names - whether it is "schmuck" (which he doesn't do) or "new anti-Semite" (which he does do) - that's just not productive discourse.

So the beat goes on at the Jewish Press. This week we have an ostensibly smart, diligent writer who cripples and twists his own arguments from the opening to the closing of his essay. Instead of saying here are the opinions and here is why they are wrong, he fails utterly in defense of Rosenfeld and in an attempt to attack Rosenfeld's critics:

The Empty Rage of Jewish 'Progressives' By: Kenneth Levin Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The storm of vituperation unleashed against Alvin Rosenfeld in response to his monograph "'Progressive' Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism" (published in December 2006 by the American Jewish Committee) continues unabated.

What is noteworthy about the attacks on Rosenfeld is how uniformly dishonest they have been in distorting his thesis and then condemning him on the basis of their false renderings of what he actually said.

This is Brooklyn rhetoric at its worst. There is the "storm of vituperation" (a few articles and blogs) that is "unabated" (really? five months without cease?) and there is Levin's indignation over "how uniformly dishonest" (there is nothing worse than dressing up when you lie) Rosenfeld's critics "have been in distorting his thesis" (he did not have a thesis) and "condemning him" (all criticism in Brooklyn is condemnation) with "false renderings" (I though you rendered chicken fat). Levin ought to just say it simply: "I don't like those liars."

It's a long essay by a smart man - but it is so twisted from beginning to end. I don't think it would be productive to review it further here.

I've got one thing to say though. Levin should look in his own backyard. The Orthodox overall are the most vituperative and persistent critics of Israel. Indeed, they say constantly that the Jewish State has no validity and no right to exist.

If Levin and Rosenfeld want to find a real cabal of State-of-Israel-deniers, they should turn their attention to their not-so-progressive brethren.

1 comment:

bryce said...

"Indeed, they say constantly that the Jewish State has no validity and no right to exist."

Constantly? And you say that *Rosenfeld* overstates his case?