My Two Shekels

I feel compelled to add my own pontificating to this Tony Judt foofaraw (actually, I’d say it qualifies as an arglebargle), though I do of course concur with my partner-in-thought-crime’s comments on the matter. First, it seems obvious to me that, while their being a little coy about it, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee applied behind-the-scenes pressure on the Polish Consulate in an effort to have Tony Judt’s talk cancelled. Shame on them for their efforts and shame on the Polish Consulate for caving to the pressure. How do you say “chilling effect” in Polish?

Second, Tony Judt is no crank. He is a widely respected historian and public intellectual. I happen to find his specific views on Israel and particularly his lunatic policy prescriptions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict deeply objectionable, but that is entirely beside the point. What the man has to say about American support for Israel and the influence of the pro-Israel lobby is part of an important public debate and any effort to silence him is a disgrace.

Third, and perhaps most obvious, how friggin’ stupid can Judt’s opponents be? Nothing gives more credence to Judt’s accusation that American Jewish lobbying groups stifle debate on Israel than an attempt by American Jewish lobbying groups to prevent Judt from making that very accusation. They might as well have walked into the room where he was scheduled to speak at the Consulate and made his argument for him.

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