Andrew Sullivan On Whether Andrew Sullivan Is An Anti-Semite
Once a staunch supporter of Israel, over the past couple of years Andrew Sullivan has become one of its most vicious demonizers.
An article last week by Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic insinuated (but did not say) that Sullivan is an anti-Semite.
The new Andrew Sullivan furiously rejects this notion. But if the old Andew Sullivan is to be believed, then Wieseltier has a point. As the 2002 Andrew Sullivan wrote
Compare Israel to any other Middle Eastern country — Syria’s satrapy in Lebanon, Mubarak’s police state, Iraq’s barbaric autocracy or Iran’s theocracy — and it’s a beacon of light. To single it out for attack is so self-evidently bizarre that it prompts an obvious question: what are these anti-Israel fanatics really obsessed about?...
Ask the average leftist what he is for, and you will not get a particularly eloquent response. Ask what he is against and the floodgates open. Similarly, ask the average anti-war activist what she thinks we should do about Iraq and the stammering begins. Do we leave Saddam alone? Send Jimmy Carter to sign the kind of deal he made with North Korea eight years ago?
Will pressurising Israel remove the nerve gas and potential nukes Saddam has? Will ceding the West Bank to people who cheered on September 11 help defang Al-Qaeda? They don’t say and don’t know. But they do know what they are against: American power, Israeli human rights abuses, British neo-imperialism, the “racist” war on Afghanistan and so on. Get them started on their hatreds, and the words pour out. No wonder they are selling the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Central Park.
Such negativism matters. When a movement is based on resentment, when your political style is as bitter as it is angry and your rhetoric focuses not on those murdering party-goers in Bali or workers in Manhattan but on the democratic powers trying to protect them, your fate is cast. A politics of resentment is a poisonous creature that slowly embitters itself. You should not be surprised if the most poisonous form of resentment that the world has ever known springs up, unbidden, in your midst.
Particularly over the last year, Andrew Sullivan has relentlessly singled out Israel, its leadership and its supporters for one vitriolic attack after another. His style is bitter, angry and blaming. He should hardly be surprised if the most poisonous form of resentment has sprung up - even if unbidden - in his midst.