Words of the Week: Andrew Silow-Carroll (on Alice Walker)

I don’t begrudge Walker her politics. But I would take her seriously only if she demonstrated that she understood the history of the conflict, the legitimate security fears that have undermined Israeli peace efforts, the political pressures that have stymied Israeli peacemakers, the vicious terrorism and hateful rhetoric that has characterized the Palestinian “resistance” for decades and repelled even Israeli moderates; the seemingly unbridgeable divisions within the Palestinian movement itself; and the cruelties on both sides that must be confronted, acknowledged, and repented for before you can even start talking about a solution.

–Andrew Silow-Carroll, Editor-in-Chief, New Jersey Jewish News.

Read the full post here. Please.

You know, like a lot of readers and writers, I used to admire Alice Walker, the author. But Alice Walker, the activist, appalls me. Thank you, Andrew Silow-Carroll, for articulating my own frustrations so eloquently.

Words of the Week

Whatever the reason, I can’t understand why some writers seem so intent on distancing their work from being identified as “Jewish.” That they do so while simultaneously benefiting from the “label” and showing no evidence of suffering from any career-stultifying “ghettoization” only adds salt to the wound.

From an essay of mine just published on JewishJournal.com.

Words of the Week: Nina Badzin


Jews are like that. Well, not all Jews. But I’m certainly not the only Jew who can’t get through the day without uttering or thinking the word ‘Jewish’ in some capacity. Though I do admit I’m particularly Jewey. I don’t know why that is. I’d tell you to ask my parents, but I think they’re just as mystified by my all-consuming Jewiness as you are.

Source: NinaBadzin.com

Dear, sweet, funny Nina Badzin. A wonderful writer, with a delightful personality to boot. We became acquainted online, and we had the opportunity meet “in real life” at the Grub Street Muse & the Marketplace conference back in 2011.

Nina has just upgraded her blog, and on the occasion of the relaunch, she offers a self-interview that includes the above snippet. Which resonates with me, in part because, like Nina, I “can’t get through the day without uttering or thinking the word ‘Jewish’ in some capacity,” and in part because my dad, in particular, has admitted that he is “mystified” by my Zionism.

Words of the Week: Bret Stephens

“But the important point is not whether you’re for a democratic Israel or you’re for a Palestinian state. The important question is how that Palestinian state is going to come into being, whether it’s going to be a — it’s going to come into being in a negotiated and peaceful way and, also, what the character of that state is going to be in the future.

Is that state going to be a progressive, forward-looking, liberal-minded state that really wants to live in peace with Israel or is it going to be another miniature of Lebanon or Iran or another state the sort of remains irredeemably intent on destroying what remains of Israel.

That’s the issue. It’s like needing an operation. Just because you need an operation, I think both Peter [Beinart] and I can agree that, at some point, Israel might need an operation, doesn’t mean that you just take out the hack saw and cut off your leg because otherwise you’re faced with the possibility of the cancer spreading.”

Source: Fareed Zakaria GPS. I watched this on Sunday and I thought that in these lines, Stephens captured something significant. (Emphasis in the second paragraph is mine.)

Words of the Week: Ambassador Michael Oren

“Unfortunately, we Israelis observe several minutes of silence every year. We stand in silence for the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, for our soldiers who fell defending the state, and for the victims of terror. We stand in silence for the five Israeli tourists recently murdered by a Hezbollah suicide bomber in Bulgaria. And we will stand in silence tomorrow for our athletes who were senselessly killed at Munich. We stand in silence because we remember and honor, and we stand in silence because this is the loudest expression of our humanity.”

Source: Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, for The Washington Post‘s “On Faith.”

Beautifully said, Mr. Ambassador. Thank you.

Words of the Week: Deborah Lipstadt

“I have long inveighed against the tendency of some Jews to see anti-Semitism behind every action that is critical of Israel or of Jews. In recent years some Jews have been inclined to hurl accusations of anti-Semitism even when they are entirely inappropriate. By repeatedly crying out, they risk making others stop listening—especially when the cry is true.

Here the charge is absolutely accurate. This was the greatest tragedy to ever occur during the Olympic Games. Yet the IOC has made it quite clear that these victims are not worth 60 seconds. Imagine for a moment that these athletes had been from the United States, Canada, Australia, or even Germany. No one would think twice about commemorating them. But these athletes came from a country and a people who somehow deserve to be victims. Their lost lives are apparently not worth a minute.”

Read Deborah Lipstadt’s full essay, “Jewish Blood is Cheap,” on Tablet.

Image courtesy of StandWithUs