I believe Valerie Plame, the former CIA operative and fading liberal celebrity, when she says she missed the anti-Semitic “undercurrents” in an article she called “provocative, but thoughtful.” I believe her when she says she “zeroed in on the neocon criticism” but missed the article’s more prejudicial elements.
The article was titled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars.” It uses variants of the word “Jew” 22 times. The word “neocons” appears twice.
I believed then-candidate Donald Trump when he insisted last year there was nothing amiss with him tweeting the image of a six-pointed star superimposed over a pile of $100 bills alongside a picture of Hillary Clinton and the caption “Most corrupt candidate ever!” I believe him when he said it was a sheriff’s star, not a Star of David.
I did not believe white supremacist David Duke when he said there was “no way” it was a sheriff’s star. What does David Duke know about dog whistles anyway?
I believe the national council of the American Studies Association was taking an “ethical stance” when it voted unanimously in 2013 for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions. I find nothing askance in the association never previously boycotting the institutions of any other country. I believe the group’s then-president, Curtis Marez, made a valid argument that Israel was targeted because “one has to start somewhere.”
I believe the ASA will one day get around to boycotting the academic institutions of China for its occupation of Tibet, or of Russia for its occupation of Ukraine, or of India for its alleged occupation of Kashmir. I believe there’s nothing discriminatory in singling out the Jewish state for behavior the ASA accepts from other states.
I believed then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he said, at a New York breakfast I attended in 2010, that anti-Semitism is mostly unknown in his country. I believe that the Islamic Republic is welcoming toward its Jews, as evidenced by the one seat it reserves in its parliament for a Jew.
I believe there’s nothing anti-Semitic in calling for Israel to be wiped off the map. I believe Iranian leaders were only interested in historical scholarship and artistic freedom when they hosted a conference for Holocaust deniers or supported Holocaust cartoon contests. I believe a Jewish community in Iran that has experienced mass emigration since the Iranian revolution is happy with its political masters.
I believed there was nothing amiss with former Sen. Chuck Hagel remarking in 2006 that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” on Capitol Hill.
I believe Hagel had nothing to apologize for in the remark for which he later apologized during his confirmation process for secretary of defense. I believe Hagel’s apology was sincere. I believe his apology for opposing James Hormel’s nomination as Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Luxembourg — Hagel slammed Hormel as “openly, aggressively gay” — was also sincere.
I believe the thesis of “The Israel Lobby,” the 2007 book by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, is a sound one. The idea that a small group of (largely) Jewish-Americans manipulates Congress, the media and other levers of power and influence for the benefit of a malign Jewish state has no connection to previous anti-Semitic conspiracy theories alleging the same thing.
I believe that when Mel Gibson said, in the course of a DUI arrest, “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” he meant it as a statement of hearty approval.
I believe that targeting Jews for being Jews is anti-Semitism, but targeting Israelis for being Israelis is a legitimate form of political resistance. I believe anti-Zionism has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. I believe calling for the elimination of the Zionist entity is a morally legitimate idea.
Another thing: I believe Valerie Plame when she writes, “Just FYI, I am of Jewish descent.” I believe some of her best friends are Jewish.