Contentions – the new blog of Commentary Magazine – has rapidly become one of the most interesting stops for informed, well, commentary on the Internet. They have an impressive array of participants (VDH when he’s not over at Pajamas, Max Boot, etc.).
In the last few days they have been discussing the flap over an American Jewish Committee pamphlet by Alvin Rosenfeld (“Progressive” Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism), which drew some attention from the New York Times. Rosenfeld’s essay concerns what he believes to be a mounting assault on Israel by Jews on the Left. (Judt, etc.) The Times piece, interestingly, characterizes the AJC as “conservative.” How times have changed. (Or perhaps the author is simply illiterate.)
Ruth Wisse sums things up well in her post at Contentions: Jews, “Progressives” and The New York Times. (The quotes around progressives may be bring a smile to readers of this blog. The lyrics to “Which Side Are You On” have been turned on their heads for many of us.) Here’s Wisse’s conclusion:
Similarly, real existing anti-Semitism seems to interest the Times far less than does the drama of Jew-against-Jew in which the Times gets to name aggressors and victims. In this offhand, underhanded manner the paper’s editors and reporters abet the anti-Semitic lie that the existence of Israel “explains” the misery and rage of the people yelling for its destruction and for the destruction of all Jews everywhere.
UPDATE: I now see that the NYT’s website has “corrected” its characterization of the AJC as “conservative.” From my POV, their initial blind characterization – do they actually have editors? – is yet another indication that the NYT is, in essence, reactionary.
MORE: You can download the Rosenfeld essay as a PDF at the AJC link above. Just search on the title. You must sign up at the site, however.