Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The real reason to get mad at Andrew Sullivan

Is it me, or is this whole "Andrew Sullivan is an antisemite" thing the most ridiculous internet/media dustup of all time?

I guess I should start by recounting the whole sordid drama:

The arts editor at the New Republic, Leon Wieseltier, wrote an extremely pretentions, extremely personal, and dubiously reasoned attack piece on Sullivan suggesting (without coming right out and saying it) that Sullivan's views on Israel bordered on antisemitism.

The charge is, in a word, ludicrous. (Not just ludicrous -- it's also vile.)

Sullivan replied persuasively. Wiesltier counter-replied (calling Sullivan's response "sentimental"). And, since then, many other writers and bloggers have weighed in.

I've read Andrew Sullivan every day for the past five years (with a few days off here and there) and I have never detected the faintest whiff of antisemtism in his writing. Nor have I seen any writing that could be legitimately described as unfair to Israel (even if I don't always agree).

The real question, however, is:

What the hell was the fight between these two?

The way Sullivan describes it, he and Wieseltier were once BFF. And then there was some falling out. Sullivan coyly demurred to tell us what the falling out was over. And that is something worth getting upset over. Come on, Andrew. Out with it! Your readers have the right to know!