Sullivan got over his unrequited Dubya man-crush, and maybe his current see-no-evil attitude toward Israel's enemies will fade if Sullivan discovers that his new presidential idol also has feet of clay. So while I have called Sullivan a menace to society and advocated his deportation, he's probably not a Holocaust denier or a peddler of blood libel.
My friend Dan Riehl called attention to this accusation against Sullivan, by way of firing a shot at Conor Friedersdorf. I've fired my share of shots at Conor, but I certainly would never accuse him of Jew-hating. The extremely toxic nature of the "anti-Semite" label is such that I am extremely hesitant to apply it.
Consider the case of Taki Theodoracopulos, for example. Taki has been called an anti-Semite so often that some people accept the accusation at face value. But when National Review published David Frum's "Unpatriotic Conservatives" -- one of many ill-advised editorial decisions in the erratic career of Rich Lowry -- Taki responded in memorable fashion:
If this bum Frum thinks he's the only one who cannot see a belt without hitting below it, he's got another thing coming. . . . He is a cheap Canadian careerist who jumped on the neocon bandwagon and is now using anti-Semitism as a stick to beat us with. Mind you, to be called "unpatriotic" and an "anti-Semite" by this shameless publicity hound has to be a compliment.Because Taki is independently wealthy, he has no need to fear that his career will be damaged by these accusations, and so he seldom even bothers to notice the charges and only rarely responds to them. This has, unfortunately, resulted in Taki's name being used -- as my own name has sometimes been used -- as a sort of Rosetta Stone that allows liberal mind-readers to decrypt the otherwise Secret Code Of Hate that allegedly unites the Right.
This business of liberals trying to tell conservatives who is "acceptable" has bothered me for years, and I don't like it any better when conservatives play the same game. Despite Frum's misguided centrist tendencies, for example, I have risked my populist street-cred by continuing to be his friend (unlike David Brooks, who is the Living Embodiment Of All Things Unholy.) If I can be Frum's friend, shall I allow him to say that Taki is "unacceptable"?
My own indirect connection with Taki has horrified some of my friends, though the explanation is innocent enough. A couple years ago, I was invited to speak about media bias in a panel discussion of the Duke lacrosse rape hoax, where Duke graduate student Richard Spencer was one of my fellow panelists. Spencer subsequently became editor of Taki's Magazine.
When I got an itch to write about "Melissa Beech," who boasted in a Daily Beast column about being a rich man's mistress, it seemed a good time to accept Spencer's longstanding invitation to publish at Taki's (whose proprietor is reputed to have had many mistresses). That first article led to my writing a series a columns about love, sex and marriage at Taki's, a series I hope to continue now that election season is over.
Did I fear the accusation that, by publishing at Taki's Magazine, I was thereby endorsing the alleged anti-Semitism of Taki or some of his magazine's other contributors? Of course not. My philo-Semitic bona fides are so impregnable that I rather suspect Taki and Spencer have caught more grief than I have: "How dare you publish that Jew-loving Zionist fanatic?"
My Zionist fanaticism -- Netanyahu is a pacifist squish by comparison -- once led me to advance a bit of strategic military advice for the IDF, a war-game scenario contingent upon the hypothetical event of my becoming the first Gentile prime minister of Israel.
You might suppose that a thought-experiment so farfetched would be immune to misinterpretation -- as fools often misinterpret hypotheticals -- as wishful thinking, but you would be wrong. Andrew Sullivan gave me a Malkin Award nomination (my third such honor, though I may have lost count) and Sully has subsequently accused me of advocating genocide of the Palestinians.
"Peace Through Genocide" might be profitably marketed as the title of a comic novel by Chris Buckley, or as one of those ironic T-shirt slogans beloved by clever university students, but it clearly has shortcomings as a serious policy proposal.
It should therefore be unnecessary for me to deny that I am advocate of Palestinian genocide but, alas, there is the problem of the irony-impaired Andrew Sullivan, who has spent 15 months fomenting bizarre speculations about Sarah Palin's uterus. To be accused of genocidal hatred by such a notorious fool is an accusation that requires no denial.
Having been slimed by Sully for the indulgence of a far-fetched hypothetical, let me take another wild risk:
If Conor Friedersdorf were a wealthy Greek shipping magnate, so that he could speak his mind without fear of career repercussion, what would he say about Jews?Nothing bad, I hope, and so I gladly stipulate that Conor Friedersdorf is no more a Jew-hater than Taki.
Or Pat Buchanan. Or Joe Sobran. Or Paul Gottfried. IYKWIMAITYD. Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.
Reaganite Republican suspects the Learned Elders of Sullivanism have fomented this blog-war.