Commentary Magazine


Leon’s Behind the Times

Leon Wieseltier’s latest meditation on the situation in Israel is typically muddled. It starts out with his usual moralistic preening about Israel’s shortcomings. The only problem is that it’s a bit out of date.

Unfortunately for Wieseltier, the supposed testimony about Israeli war crimes that originated in Ha’aretz has since been undermined by every credible source. The tales of misdeeds were, at best, hearsay, and, at worst, inventions of Israeli leftists who have their own agenda to undermine the IDF. Even the New York Times has acknowledged that the story is sinking under the weight of its own lies.

But that apparently ran before Wieseltier’s piece went to press, so he’s stuck with his acceptance of it. His talk about the “coarsening of conscience” in Israel is itself sickening.

Ironically, if you keep reading past the opening tripe about Israel’s moral decline, Wieseltier says some sensible things: That it makes no sense to deal with Hamas, and that anti-Zionism at the UN is a disgrace, as is Times columnist Roger Cohen’s recent reporting from Iran.

Which just proves that Wieseltier is incapable of a straightforward defense of Israel against its disgraceful foes without first demonstrating how morally superior he is to the Israelis. But given that the latter point was predicated on his credulousness about a false story, the only thing he’s demonstrated is his incoherence.