Michael Rubin’s essay on NRO really is worth reading. I don’t read that much on the “Jews are neocons, neocons are Zionists, Zionists killed my dog” hysteria these days, mostly because it’s so depressing and because it’s rare anything new gets said. But Rubin’s is a very nice recap of the state of play.
I can certainly confirm that anti-Semitic email is way, way up. Of course, it doesn’t help that I have the most Jewish-sounding name this side of Sasha Finkletsein.
But what I find so fascinating about most of it is the incredible amount of literary imagination these folks bring to it without benefit of any facts. They “know” that I am a frequent visitor to Israel (I’ve never been there), that I’m an immigrant or of recent American vintage (Mom’s side — not Jewish — comes from Mayflowerish stock, Dad’s side’s been here for more than a century), that I speak regularly with the White House, the Pentagon or Likud officials to get my “marching orders” (please), that Israel is all I think about etc. Some also work on the assumption that I must be a hypocrite because, well, hypocrites are bad and usually Jewish. Therefore they’ll assume I took different positions when Israel’s (sweaty palmed) interests weren’t at stake.
But what’s perhaps most interesting is how many of them — though certainly not a majority — believe they are being calm and rational and not at all insulting. They “know” the truth and are therefore engaging in a reasonable exchange of ideas with me. They will always and everywhere speak of “the Jews” collectively as if they are all one thing or another and that I am bound by the gravitational force of however they define my tribe. They know I can’t help it, I’m one of “the Jews” after all, and therefore they just want to talk about it, about how I’m deliberately destroying America and Western Civilization and all that — but, honestly, no offense intended!
The other day I got an email from someone who concluded by saying something like “I liked the Jews better when they were all Communists” — i.e. instead of war mongering, bagel-snarfing neocons.
Breaking a general policy, I wrote him back to say “I liked a**holes better when they kept their opinions to themselves.”