Eli Lake, formerly a senior national security correspondent for Newsweek and current columnist for Bloomberg, decided today to represent in a single Tweet all that is toxic within the American Jewish community when it comes to discussing Israel.

Lake, himself Jewish, responded to fellow Jewish journalist Glenn Greenwald’s critique of congressional Iran-deal supporters with the following, vile description:

What caused Lake, who is no fan of the Iran deal, to parrot anti-Semitic language and direct it toward a fellow Jew? He took exception to Greenwald’s suggesting that some Republican members of Congress are prioritizing Israel’s interests over those of the United States in opposing the Iran deal.

Now, the dual loyalty charge sometimes thrown at American Jews who support Israel is an anti-Semitic trope which intends to cast Jews as traitors. However, Greenwald was not making such a charge. He was simply noting what every honest political observer understands: with Netanyahu, AIPAC and a host of organizations – backed by $145 million – lobbying Congressional members to oppose the Iran deal, hawkish ‘pro-Israel’ positions are influencing where some members stand.

Of course, this isn’t reallly about Greenwald “Jew baiting.” It’s about the fact that, as a Jew, he has the chutzpah to vociferously critique Israel and support the Iran deal. This is just the latest iteration of so-called ‘pro-Israel’ Jews calling progressive Jews self-haters.

As I and many American Jews have learned recently, those of us who support the Iran deal have become the latest rods upon which the lightening of institutional Jewish rage is striking. Those called self-hating for critiquing Israel are now being called similarly for supporting the Iran deal and critiquing Netanyahu’s opposition (despite support from some in Israel’s security establishment).

Sadly, Lake’s smearing of Greenwald represents the ugly toxicity and intolerance which pervades Israel discourse in America. It’s an intolerance often inspired by institutional Jewish organizations in America which ban open Jewish discourse on Israel, an intolerance now being echoed by media figures. This includes Jeffrey Goldberg, a colleague of Lake’s at Bloomberg (and fellow Jewish journalist), who responded to Lake’s smear with one of his own:

Fortunately, the vast majority of American Jews support Obama’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, and increasing numbers are critical of Israel’s geo-political policies in general. Meaning: most Jews in the U.S. are disgusted by Lake’s words, by his hate.

They are also, however, chilled by them. Which is one reason he must be called out in public, so that the silent majority knows they are not alone in the face of such vocal attacks against those Jews who dare to critique Israel.

-§-

What Do You Buy For the Children
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, published recently by Oneworld Publications.

Follow him on Twitter @David_EHG.


Bookmark and Share