If you recall my pre-Rosh Hashanah post on my discomfort with the National Book Critics Circle blog (and specifically, its tendency to express/promote distinctly anti-Israel views), you may be interested to know what’s happened since.
At times, that anti-Israel preoccupation (primarily on the part of the organization’s president; one other blog reader posted a comment in which s/he called it the president’s “kvetching about Israel”) seemed to fade. So I was a little more comfortable with remaining a member. Not that I didn’t still put my two cents (or more) in when it seemed necessary. Even while I was away on the residency.
But it became emotionally draining. And when I saw myself mentioned on the blog (the words “NBCC member” prefaced my name and a link to a piece published several weeks earlier) just a short scroll away from a post I found (once again) utterly biased (and, frankly, offensive to anyone who even attempts to understand that Arab-Israeli conflicts, whether involving the Palestinians or Lebanon, simply cannot be viewed through a stubbornly reductionist lens in which the Arabs are always Israel’s “innocent victims”) I’d had enough.
So last week, I resigned from the National Book Critics Circle. I may not have done my career too much good through this episode. But I’ve eased my conscience.
And an ancillary benefit: now I don’t feel compelled to check in at that blog every day to see what new mischief’s going on. Which, I have to tell you, is a real relief. Though I admit I can’t help wondering if my message finally got through and if someone on the board may finally have persuaded the president to keep his personal political opinions separate from the organization’s blog.