The Zionist Conspiracy
Monday, November 07, 2005
Responses to My Rabin Column
I've been getting quite a bit of feedback via e-mail about my Jewish Press column about the Rabin murder and its political implications.
For the most part, the responses have been a mix of short notes praising me and criticism (mostly polite) from those to my political right.
One new Jblogger whom I will not link to has criticized me for not writing a biographic obituary about Rabin, and for purportedly not condemning the murder on moral reasons but only on strategic grounds. He also distorted the column in other ways, such as writing that I criticized the Israeli left for trying to implement Rabin's policies, when in fact I clearly criticized the left for trying to push policies that were in sharp contrast to Rabin's positions, such as Rabin's call - to the very end - for Israeli retention of an undivided Jerusalem, all of the Jordan Valley, the major settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria, and even Gush Katif.
The criticism that I should have written a biography is absurd. Every and any column has its own particular angle. That I did not write about Rabin's military achievements in a column relating to a different subject obviously does not mean that I do not recognize and appreciate those achievements on behalf of Israel. Indeed, on this blog and on other blogs, I have debated about Rabin's performance in the 1948 and 1967 wars - with my position consistently being on the pro-Rabin side.
The idea that someone would write that I do not condemn the murder on moral grounds is galling to me. After I pointed out that my column unequivocally does just that, the blogger criticizing me revised his post to write that I only criticized the murder on moral grounds at the end of the column, again a distortion of reality, but, even if true, rather irrelevant given the severity of my moral condemnation of the extreme right in the last portion of the piece.
Likely, my critic was just looking for a way to attack the Jewish Press, and used me and my column as a useful target, notwithstanding that among the three New York area Jewish weeklies, my column was by far the major piece about the Rabin murder.
If it seems that I have a raw nerve about the criticism I've received, then that perception is accurate. I've written a number of posts from a personal perspective about Rabin, all of which clearly show how strongly I condemn the assassination. I don't think any blogger has written nearly as much as I have on the subject, and in "real life," I have encountered few people in the U.S. who are vehement on the matter as I am.
And as for the Jewish Press piece, months ago, I asked Jason Maoz, senior editor of the Jewish Press, for the front/back page slot of the November 4 issue so that I could write a piece about the Rabin murder that would be critical of the far-right. I wrote the piece and asked for the prime slot not because of any personal interest, but because of how strongly I feel about the subject matter.
Ultimately, between the Jewish holidays and my parental responsibilities (during October, my wife's schedule required me to take primary responsibility for our infant son) I had to write a nearly 2400 word column almost solely during my son's naps, very late at night, or in the very early morning before work.
My motivation in writing was so that a condemnation from an observant Jew holding (moderate) right-wing political sentiments on Israel would appear on the record, particularly on Internet searches about the Rabin assassination.
I am sure that what I wrote could have been better and do not at all mind thoughtful criticism. But for someone to willfully distort my words on a subject that is so important to me even after I pointed out the distortion is something that I will not forgive.