Jeffrey Goldberg’s meltdown

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Jeffrey Goldberg over at the Atlantic is positively apoplectic that I dared to question his Zionism in my column last week, “Anti-Zionism at 60.” That column critically analyzed present day anti-Zionist discourse as it manifested itself – among other places — in Goldberg’s Atlantic cover article this month entitled “Will Israel Survive?”

Goldberg made his fury known in his blog on the Atlantic’s website.

I focused on Goldberg’s article in my column because in my view it is a typical example of the anti-Zionist boilerplate often espoused by Jews with an unhealthy relationship to their Jewishness. Brushing aside the majority of Israelis who are not leftists, Goldberg set up his “Israeli national dialogue” as an conversation between leftist political opportunists represented by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and radical leftist ideologues represented by non-Zionist Israeli author David Grossman.

I found this bookending of the national debate between two leftists appalling and insulting both to the Israeli public and to my intelligence. Then too, this biased, preconceived limiting of Israel’s national discourse led inevitably to Goldberg’s perverse conclusion that Israel is doomed because it is morally damned.

In his defense against my critique, Goldberg took another cue from the radical leftist, anti-Zionist playbook. Rather than contend with the content of my arguments, he attacked me personally. My arguments are unworthy of note because I am “a far right columnist.” Then too, just in case his readers needed to know why that is bad, Goldberg explained that I “represent a certain strain of mainly-American Jewish [that is, not authentically Israeli] thinking: She believes that all criticism of Israel is illegitimate; she believes Jews who disagree with her are traitors to her cause; and she conflates the settlement movement with the entire Zionist project.”

Truth be told, I couldn’t care less what Goldberg thinks of me. I certainly bear him no grudge for feeling unhappy that I said he is anti-Zionist. Beyond that, I am very proud of my American Jewish heritage, just as my Moroccan, Persian, German, Yemenite, Polish, French, British, Kurdish, Argentine, Canadian, Mexican, Bulgarian, Tunisian, Libyan, Iraqi and Rumanian Jewish friends and colleagues in Israel are all proud of their own distinct heritages. Israel is after all a country of immigrants and each group has made its own unique contributions to Israeli culture and society.

The only reason I think it is worthwhile to note his attack on me is because his little rant is emblematic of the way that the Left has for so long worked to silence debate in Israel and about Israel. Specifically, the Left has two arguments. First, regardless of what the non-leftist says, the Left’s rejoinder is that the person is “a far rightist” and therefore unworthy of note. That is, nothing any non-leftist says matters because the very fact that the person is not a leftist renders his or her view irrelevant. This of course is the view Goldberg clearly enunciated in his article where he included only the views of opportunistic and true believing leftists in his conversation.

Second, the Left has only one answer to every single argument. If you say that Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza was a disaster which empowered jihadists, the Left’s response is to blame the settlements. If you say that Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon was a disaster which empowered jihadists, the Left’s response is to blame the settlements. If you say that Israel is not facing a demographic threat to its democracy and that the view that it is facing such a threat is based on PLO propaganda, the Left’s response is to say that the settlements are responsible and therefore there must be a demographic threat.

In short, the settlements, the settlers and everyone who doesn’t hate them or even – heaven forbid – supports them, is the cause of absolutely everything that happens in the Middle East. As long as they are around, they are responsible. And if, as in the case of Gaza, they are gone, the settlers qua refugees are still responsible because people who are not leftists and therefore are irrelevant insist on pointing out that it was a strategic error of the first order to throw them out of their strategically situated communities and to transfer their lands to the Hamas and Fatah terror groups.

The only thing notable, and actually sort of well nice, about Goldberg is that he apparently isn’t a very good leftist. New to the anti-Zionist game, he didn’t know that he was supposed to ignore me. I am irrelevant aren’t I? So what are you getting so bent out of shape about? Don’t sweat it Jeff. Andrew Sullivan thinks you’re just brilliant. David Grossman patronizes you and Avrum Burg thinks you're a legitimate voice. Take it easy.






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  • Aprpeh 05/13/2008 at 0:35

    please define this: “unhealthy relationship to their Jewishness”. are you making a religious argument or an emotional argument. thanks just curious?

  • Marc Handelsman, USA 05/13/2008 at 4:03

    “Neo-liberals” often employ ad hominem attacks against rivals because their arguments are specious. Someday, “neo-libs” will appreciate the good that Israel has done for mankind in the fields of medicine, technology, farming, et cetera. We can only hope that after Israel neutralizes Iran’s nuclear capabilities, that “neo-libs” will become bona fide Zionists.

  • Ezra 05/13/2008 at 10:58

    Where did you get ahold of their strategy book? You are right on target. You better watch out, they will whip out the ultimate thought-stopping word they save for instances such as these: “extremist.” Then you are in trouble. After all, radical Islamists are not the problem – extremists on all sides are.

  • Donald Braun 05/13/2008 at 12:51

    its clueless libs (icluding self loathing jewish libs) who refuse to see the islamist threat for what it is that will be the death of us. Thank you Caroline for continuing to chop these pathetic, deluded shmendricks into intellectual mincemeat! Also, Hope Netnanyahu regains power and names you Minister of Defense. This will be a good stepping stone toward your eventual title of “Global Czar In The War on Islamofascism!

  • Donald Braun 05/13/2008 at 12:54

    hey Caroline, when i go to preview a post my comments come up in english but everything else is in hebrew which i can’t read. I dont know which button to push to go back and revise a comment if i want to do so. any chance of a
    duplicate set of buttons in english?

  • Nachman 05/13/2008 at 21:43

    At least he didn’t call your criticism McCarthyism as the extreme lefties usually call legitimate criticism – they seem always to attack the messenger when they are intellectually bankrupt to make any meaningful response.

  • Rory 05/14/2008 at 6:48

    Hillarious ending in your rejoinder to Goldberg. We are having a problem with elitists here in America too…It is one thing to stand on one leg and theorize about the existence of God and another to be praying your heart out in a foxhole that the next artillery round or bomb doesn’t hit ground zero. So it is with people who aren’t in touch with the political realities facing those who are “irrelevant”. Personally, since Israel had to fight a war for survival in 1967 and the rest of its wars, I have never understood why there was any rationale for returning to the pre-67 borders. Of course, there may be international precedent or logical reasons, but till true partners for peace appear it is irrational to withdraw to less defensible positions. Israel is the shining star of the Middle East and may the Supreme and All Loving Intelligence continue to sustain her.

  • SkyBlueChris 05/14/2008 at 18:54

    Was linked by Gateway Pundit. Here to stay.

  • Joe Strapp 05/14/2008 at 22:25

    This is the same Jeffrey Goldberg who rushed to Barack Obama’s defense earlier this week when Obama came under attack for some answers he gave to Goldberg about Israel in a recent interview.

  • Avi Solomon 05/15/2008 at 0:54

    Jeff says “I would hazard a guess that he’s given more to Israel than Caroline Glick has” and he’s dead wrong. Personally I had the privilege to serve for two years in Caroline’s IDF unit and can testify to her sterling moral courage and conscience. Caroline’s voice is unique in shedding clarity on Israel’s true situation and might even help prevent the second holocaust from happening.
    One only needs to look at the photos of Ahmadinejad arrogantly/foolishly touring his nuke bomb making facility at Natanz. Ahmadinejad has grossly underestimated the Jewish will to survival. The Jews will still be here even after Tel Aviv is nuked. This neo-Hitler and his ilk will not. “A stitch in time saves nine” but the West as usual will only act to save its own skin. Israel must fend for itself- sooner than later.

  • Kneave Riggall 05/17/2008 at 3:30

    I found your site via a link at the Belmont Club. Great blog! You are one tough cookie. Consider your site “bookmarked”.

  • Phil S 05/24/2008 at 1:12

    please define this: “unhealthy relationship to their Jewishness”. <<
    I think that is Caroline’s way of calling him a self hating Jew. I prefer the simple direct approach myself.

  • nyima 10/17/2010 at 5:44

    For Donald Braun: I have a gmail account and use Google as homepage. This comes with a translator, which you can fiddle with and set up to translate languages you choose. I love your idea of Caroline for Minister of Defense. But who could ever replace her in what she is doing now?
    BTW, for Ezra: the ultimate thought-stopping word I meet the most is “it’s the OCCUPATION, stupid”. Any Liberal, whose mindless Israel-bashing I dare to question, will usually drag out this favorite trump word. Thus, does lefty-with-closed-mind, choke off meaningful discussion. Fabricating the illusion some debate has been won.


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