Saturday, May 16, 2009


I wish I'd known about this website earlier. Engage is a British pro-Israel, social democratic place that actually encourages debate. And for those of us who have had quite enough of the boorish shlemazl, for whom all "discussion" at his end begins and concludes with insults and accusations, it's a refreshing change.

Engage actually presents a stronger challenge to those of us on the left who are fairly hard-line on Israel than do right-wing bloggers and commentators who are satisfied
merely to call critics of Israel "anti-Semites" and leave it at that. I agree with very little that I've found over there, but there's real, chewy substance in the articles.

Editor David Hirsh has written a kind of position paper that is worth reading. I hardly know where to begin in critiquing it--for example, he posits "anti-Zionism" as a term to describe critiques of Israel, but by so doing he is setting up a straw man. I would not describe my position as "anti-Zionist." And I have no time whatsoever for his concept (to which I have referred in earlier posts) of the "Livingston Formulation," which suggests, incredibly, that complaints about being called an "anti-Semite" for criticizing Israel are themselves anti-Semitic.

But the paper was obviously not constructed by a fool. Would that the on-going debates about Israel and anti-Semitism could all be carried on at this level.

I'm not unequivocal about Engage, though. I have been taking part in a discussion here, and my second-ever post disappeared: after inquiring of one of the moderators, I was told that it had been suppressed because of a mention of Stalin at the end that had rubbed another moderator the wrong way. To the credit of the moderator in question, the comment was restored. But my fourth comment provoked a sharp b/c rebuke from him. Nevertheless...

...give it a whirl. In tone and substance, it towers above much of the unthinking, dishonest and emotive nonsense to which we have become accustomed.

UPDATE: And for some literate counterpoint, be sure to check out Jews sans Frontieres. [H/t commenter Gene]

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