n mid-October, after the revelation that Donald Trump had bragged about his compulsion to make unwanted physical advances on women, a Wisconsinite named Marybeth Glenn took to social media and published a “tweetstorm,” a series of 17 Twitter entries, that encapsulate and personify a little-noted aspect of the existential crisis into which the Donald Trump candidacy has plunged the Republican Party and the conservative movement.
“I, a conservative female, have spent years defending the Republican Party against claims of sexism,” she wrote. “When I saw Republican men getting attacked I stood up for them. I came to their defense. I fought on their behalf. I fought on behalf of a movement I believed in. I fought on behalf of my principles while other women told me I hated my own sex.”
Glenn specifically mentions having worked to help her governor, Scott Walker, survive a recall and having labored for Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. Then came 2016: “Now some Trojan horse nationalist sexual predator invades the GOP, eating it alive, and you cowards sit this one out? He treats women like dogs, and you go against everything I—and other female conservatives—said you were and back down like cowards.”
Because she does not want this to be a victim’s manifesto, Glenn instantly turns the tables on the politicians she’s attacking for failing to protect her and people like her: “We don’t need you to stand up for us, you needed to stand up for us for you. For your dignity. For your reputation. [Senator] Jeff Sessions says that he wouldn’t ‘characterize’ Trump’s unauthorized groping of women as ‘assault.’ Are you kidding me?! Others try to rebuke his comments, yet still choose to vote for a sexual predator—because let’s be honest, that’s what he is.”
And then she exits the Republican Party, or at least any kind of grassroots activism on its behalf: “I’m just one woman, you won’t even notice my lack of presence at rallies, fair booths, etc. You won’t really care that I’m offended by your silence, and your inability to take a stand. But one by one you’ll watch more women like me go, and you’ll watch men of actual character follow us out the door. And what you’ll be left with are the corrupt masses that foam at the mouth every time you step outside the lines. Men who truly see women as lesser beings, and women without self-respect. And your ‘guiding faith’ and ‘principles’ will be attached to them as well.”
It is not just the Republican Party but the conservative movement that has alienated her: “Various men in the movement are writing it off as normal, confirming every stereotype the left has thrown at them. So I’m done…. And when it’s all said and done, all you’ll have left is the party The Left always accused you of being.”
Glenn’s astonishing essay in Tweet form, some of which I’ve compressed and rearranged here, was read by more than 3 million people over the space of three days. It’s impossible to know how many of them share her ideological perspective. Plenty didn’t, of course, and were just hitting the “like” button as their way of dancing merrily around the right-wing funeral pyre (which would account for the praise Glenn received from the leftish J.K. Rowling, among others). But certainly enough of Glenn’s true compatriots liked these Tweets and shared them to suggest she was speaking for this year’s truly forgotten voter: the Republicans and conservatives who are dismayed, horrified, dispirited, and devastated by Trump’s hostile takeover of the GOP.
From the moment Trump came gliding down that gilded escalator in June 2015, we’ve been told that he was harnessing a forgotten voter—the white, male working-class voter and the many millions like them who had long ago ceased to vote or who had never started. This voter has been the subject of passionate discussion in and about the Republican Party. The attempt to understand this forgotten voter has become the year’s most pressing sociological challenge. If he had been “forgotten,” he is no longer.
Two of the year’s most provocative books, J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy and Nicholas Eberstadt’s Men Without Work, are efforts to summarize and crystallize the social and moral dislocation that appears to be afflicting the worst-off of these men. We have learned their incomes have stagnated, they no longer believe they have agency to affect their own circumstances for the better, and that they lose themselves in video gaming and opiates. We are told they feel that Mexicans are taking their jobs, that free trade destroyed their livelihoods, and that the social changes over the past four decades have made them feel like outcasts in their own country.
Campus social-justice warriors may fret over “male privilege,” but the political story of 2016, we’ve been told, is the story of the rise of the disempowered male—the new populist force that must be reckoned with, whether Trump wins or loses, whether it’s close or whether it’s a blowout. The idea of “the forgotten man” is nothing new in American life. It was, of course, a trope of the Great Depression, the subject of the great final number of The Golddiggers of 1933, whose lyrics (by the Communist songwriters E.Y. Harburg and Jay Gorney) condemned the powers-that-be for leaving him out to dry:
You had him cultivate the land
He walked behind the plow
The sweat fell from his brow
But look at him right now
Change “cultivate the land” to “you had him forge your steel,” and you have today’s “forgotten man” updated perfectly.
Well, just as the forgotten man wasn’t forgotten when the song was performed in 1933—indeed, the entirety of the New Deal passed that year, the largest public-works and economic-stimulus program in American history, was designed to aid him—he is far from forgotten in 2016. His presence not only galvanized the primary race, he has served to terrify the Republican Party with his power ever since. Efforts to challenge Trump in the run-up to the Republican convention, to create a delegate fight, to recruit a serious third-party challenger to give Republicans two options on the ballot and thus save down-ticket GOP office-seekers—all these died aborning because of the threat that the “forgotten Trump voter” would take his revenge in some unknown but enduring form.
Even now, we are told that the issues that have motivated the Trump voter must be integrated into the Republican Party agenda even if Trump crashes and burns. The most obvious of these issues involves immigration and border control, which Trump crystallized into his Great Wall of America idea (which, when you come right down to it, is basically just a real-estate developer’s gloss on John McCain’s 2008 demand to “build the dang fence”).
Trump donned conservative garb to further his quest for power in an echo of Richard III: ‘Thus I clothe my own naked villainy with odd old ends stolen out of holy writ and seem a saint…Then I sigh, and with a piece of Scripture tell them that God bids us to do evil for good.’But taking a hard line on immigration had already become GOP gospel before Trump came down the escalator. Marco Rubio, who had sought immigration reform in 2013, declared his own effort a failure, said he had learned from it, and laid out an immigration agenda that would have horrified George W. Bush had it been presented to him as president. After two decades in which immigration hardliners had failed to demonstrate their issue had deep popular support within the party, they finally got the upper hand. The party learned that a more liberal immigration policy was hugely alienating to its base and was going to conduct the 2016 presidential contest with that as a centerpiece no matter who the nominee was—including self-evident immigration softies like Jeb Bush.
So then we get to Trump’s more, shall we say, innovative issues in a Republican context—his attack on free trade and his neo-isolationism. Here the only evidence that the GOP has moved in these directions is Trump’s rise, and you would therefore have to believe Trump captured his voters’ enthusiasm because of his issue set. And to believe that you would have to believe that the single most incoherent presidential candidate in American history had an issue set comprehensible to his voters. When he says he wants no troops on the ground in the Middle East but he wants to seize the oil, is he George Washington saving America from foreign entanglements or Douglas MacArthur seeking to cross into China? Or both? Or neither? When he says he wants a trade war with China that would raise the prices of the daily goods his working-class supporters live on by 45 percent, is that a serious proposition or merely a guy sucking air out of a balloon and speaking in a helium voice?
When Marybeth Glenn refers to Trump in her tweetstorm as a “Trojan Horse nationalist,” this is what she means—the Trump who effectively staged a hostile takeover of the Republican primary process by denying his own history of social liberalism and pretending to be the possessor of a true conservatism that apparently only just came to him midway through the seventh decade of his life.
But is this Trumpian pseudo-conservatism the reason for his rise, the cause of his takeover of the party, the animating force behind his rally crowds? Of course not. He donned conservative garb to further his own quest for power. It is an eerie echo of Richard III’s glee at his own seductive skill: “Thus I clothe my naked villainy with odd old ends stolen out of holy writ / And seem a saint…Then I sigh, and with a piece of Scripture / Tell them that God bids us to do evil for good.”
But the truly forgotten Republican voter never bought Trump’s new outfit. I mean the Republican person who believes in limited government and a strong national defense and some kind of a moral frame for our politics—a moral frame she shares with Democrats and liberals in the sense that she believes the causes and candidates for whom she has worked and voted are engaged in the act of doing good for the country, doing good for others, and representing a positive understanding of humanity.
Many Democrats and liberals, and most activist Democrats and liberals, do not understand this about Republicans and conservatives and do not accept it. They have always seen conservatism as “naked villainy with odd old ends stolen out of holy writ.”
They believe that if you believe differently from them, you are seeking to do active harm to the country and to others and to humanity, because the policies you support are solely to your benefit. They believe you only want tax cuts and deregulation to enrich yourself, not because you want to free the economy from the government’s heavy and confiscatory hand. They believe you support efforts to prevent voter fraud not because you believe organized efforts have been made to steal elections but because you want to steal elections. And, most important, they believe you support a traditionalist view of life not because you believe it is the deepest reflection of natural law or God’s truth but because you want to privilege males and heterosexuals and seek to disempower women and those who pursue what used to be called “alternative lifestyles.”
And now what are we to say to them? The writer Heather Wilhelm spoke for many of us who were horrified by the October revelations of Trump’s Rat Packish morality and Cosbyish conduct, the excuses made for it by Republican elders, and the silence of many Republican politicians when she tweeted: “I’ve critiqued the left’s ‘pervasive rape culture’ narrative for years. Stunning to see the Trump GOP do its best to convince me it’s true.” (One of those critiques, “The ‘Rape Culture’ Lie,” appeared in our March 2015 issue.)
In the wake of these exposures, Trump has marshaled his “forgotten voter” to ballast him. And still the fear of that voter’s wrath has frozen most of the Republican Party’s officials into place. They are under no illusions, by the way, as they are frozen as well in fear of the judgment of the larger electorate in November. But it seems not to have occurred to them that their paralytic non-response to Trump’s personal barbarity would threaten the party’s future with the truly forgotten Republican voter—the one who worked tirelessly for the common good through the Republican Party until she was told she had to make common cause with those who would elevate a sociopathic misogynist to the presidency of the United States.
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The Truly Forgotten Republican Voter
Must-Reads from Magazine
With the demise of the filibuster for judicial nominations, the Senate has become a more partisan body. Members of the opposition party no longer have to take difficult votes to confirm presidential nominees, and so they no longer have to moderate their rhetoric to avoid the appearance of hypocrisy. Many expected, therefore, that Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings would tempt Democrats to engage in theatrics and hyperbole. Few, however, foresaw just how recklessly the Judiciary Committee’s Democratic members would behave.
The sordid performance to which Americans were privy was not the harmless kind that can be chalked up to presidential ambitions. Right from the start, Democratic committee members took a sledgehammer to the foundations of the institution in which they are privileged to serve.
Sen. Cory Booker made national headlines by declaring himself “Spartacus,” but the actions he undertook deserved closer attention than did the scenery he chewed. Booker insisted that it was his deliberate intention to violate longstanding Senate confidentiality rules supposedly in service to transparency. It turns out, however, that the documents Booker tried to release to the public had already been exempted from confidentiality. Booker was adamant, however, that he had undermined the Senate’s integrity. You see, that, not transparency, was his true objective. It was what he believed his constituents wanted from him.
Booker wasn’t alone. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse appeared to share his colleague’s political instincts. “I want to make it absolutely clear that I do not accept the process,” he said of the committee’s vetting of Kavanaugh’s documents. “Because I do not accept its legitimacy or validity,” Whitehouse added, he did not have to abide by the rules and conventions that governed Senate conduct.
When the committee’s Democratic members were not trying to subvert the Senate’s credibility, they were attempting to impugn Judge Kavanaugh’s character via innuendo or outright fabrications.
Sen. Kamala Harris managed to secure a rare rebuke from the fact-checking institution PolitiFact, which is charitably inclined toward Democratic claims. “Kavanaugh chooses his words very carefully, and this is a dog whistle for going after birth control,” read her comments on Twitter accompanying an 11-second clip in which Kavanaugh characterized certain forms of birth control as “abortion-inducing drugs.” “Make no mistake,” Harris wrote, “this is about punishing women.” But the senator had failed to include mitigating context in that clip, which would have made it clear that Kavanaugh was simply restating the arguments made by the plaintiffs in the case in question.
Later, Harris probed Kavanaugh as to whether he believed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which has never been explicitly ruled unconstitutional, was wrongly upheld by the Supreme Court. Despite calling the decisions of this period “discriminatory,” Kavanaugh declined to elaborate on a case that could theoretically come before the Supreme Court. This, the judge’s detractors insisted, was “alarming” and perhaps evidence of latent racial hostility. In fact, it was an unremarkable example of how Supreme Court nominees tend to avoid offering “forecasts” of how they will decide cases without having heard the arguments—a routine deemed “the Ginsburg Rule” after Ruth Bader, who perfected the practice.
Over a week later, Harris had still not explained what she was getting at. But she doesn’t have to. The vagueness of her claim was designed to allow Kavanaugh’s opponents’ imaginations to run wild, leading them to draw the worst possible conclusions about this likely Supreme Court justice and to conclude that the process by which he was confirmed was a sham.
Harris may not have been alone in appealing to this shameful tactic. On Thursday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein shocked observers when she released a cryptic statement revealing that she had “referred” to “federal investigative authorities” a letter involving Kavanaugh’s conduct. It’s human nature to arrive at the worst imaginable conclusion as to what these unstated claims might be, and that’s precisely what Kavanaugh’s opponents did. It turned out that the 35-year-old accusations involve an anonymous woman who was allegedly cornered in a bedroom by Kavanaugh and a friend during a high-school party. Kavanaugh, the letter alleged, put a hand over her mouth, but the woman removed herself from the situation before anything else occurred. All were minors at the time of this alleged episode, and Kavanaugh denies the allegations.
Some thought it was odd for Feinstein to refer these potentially serious allegations to the FBI this week and in such a public fashion when the allegations contained in a letter were known to Democrats for months. The letter was, after all, obtained by Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo in July. But it doesn’t seem confusing when considering the facts that the FBI all but dismissed the referral off-hand and reporting on the episode lacks any corroboration to substantiate the claims made by the alleged victim here. It is hard not to conclude that this is an attempt to affix an asterisk to Brett Kavanaugh’s name. Democrats will not only claim that this confirmation process was tainted but may now contend that Kavanaugh cannot be an impartial arbitrator—not with unresolved clouds of suspicion involving sexual assault hanging over his head.
Ultimately, as public polling suggests, the Democratic Party’s effort to tarnish Kavanaugh’s reputation through insinuation and theatrics has had the intended effect. Support for this nominee now falls squarely along party lines. But the collateral damage Senate Democrats have done to America’s governing institutions amid this scorched-earth campaign could have lasting and terrible consequences for the country.
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While the nation’s attention is focused on the Carolina coast, something very odd is happening across the country in Sunspot, New Mexico.
Sunspot is hardly a town at all–the nearest stores are 18 miles away. It’s actually a solar observatory 9,200 feet up in the Sacramento Mountains. It is open to the public and has a visitor’s center, but don’t visit it right now. On September 6th, the FBI moved in and evacuated all personnel using Black Hawk helicopters. Local police were told to stay away. The only explanation being given by the FBI is that an unresolved “security issue” is the cause of the evacuation.
The sun is the only astronomical body capable of doing major damage to planet earth without actually hitting us. A coronal mass ejection aimed at the earth could have a devastating impact on satellites, radio transmission, and the electrical grid, possibly causing massive power outages that could last for weeks, even months. (It would also produce spectacular auroras. During the Carrington Event of 1859, the northern lights were seen as far south as the Caribbean and people in New England could read newspapers by the light.)
So, there are very practical, not just intellectual reasons, to know what the sun is up to. But the National Solar Observatory right now is a ghost town, and no one will say why. Such a story should be catnip for journalists.
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It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you.
Americans awoke Thursday morning to a familiar noise: The president of the United States waxing conspiratorial and declaring himself the victim of a nefarious plot.
“3,000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” Donald Trump declared on Twitter. He insisted that the loss of life in the immediate aftermath of 2017’s Hurricane Maria topped out in the low double-digits and ballooned into the thousands well after the fact because of faulty accounting. The president did not claim that this misleading figure was attributable to flaws in the studies conducted in the aftermath of last year’s disaster by institutions like George Washington University or the New England Journal of Medicine but to a deliberate misinformation campaign orchestrated by his political opponents. “This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible,” Trump insisted.
If, for some mysterious reason, Trump wanted to attack the validity of these studies, he might have questioned the assumptions and biases that even their authors admit had an unavoidable effect on their confidence intervals. But Trump’s interest is not in accuracy. His desire is to shield himself from blame and to project his administration’s failings—even those as debatable as the disaster that afflicted Puerto Rico for the better part of a year—onto others. The president’s self-consciousness is so transparent at this point that even his defenders in Congress have begun directly confronting the insecurities that fuel these tweets.
Donald Trump has rarely encountered a conspiracy theory he declined to legitimize, and this tendency did not abate when he won the presidency. From his repeated assertions that Moscow’s intervention in the 2016 election was a “hoax,” to the idea that the FBI shielded Hillary Clinton from due scrutiny, to the baseless notion that “millions and millions” of illegal-immigrant voters deprived him of a popular vote victory, all of this alleged sedition has a common theme: Trump is the injured party.
The oddest thing about all this is that these are the golden days. Trump-era Republicans will look back on this as the halcyon period in which all of Washington’s doors were open to them. The president’s ostensible allies control every chamber of government. The power his adversaries command is of the soft sort—cultural and moral authority—but not the kind of legal power that could prevent Trump and Republicans from realizing their agenda. That could be about to change.
The signs that a backlash to unified Republican rule in Washington was brewing have been obvious almost since the moment Trump took the oath of office. Democrats have consistently overperformed in special and off-year elections, their candidates have outraised the GOP, and a near-record number of Republicans opted to retire rather than face reelection in 2018. The Democratic Party’s performance in the generic ballot test has outpaced the GOP for well over a year, sometimes by double-digits, leading many to speculate that Democrats are well positioned to retake control of the House of Representatives. Now, despite the opposition party’s structural disadvantages, some are even beginning to entertain the prospect of a Democratic takeover in the Senate.
Until this point, the Trump administration has faced no real adversity. Sure, the administration’s executive overreach has been rejected in the courts and occasionally public outcry has forced the White House to abandon ill-considered initiatives, but it’s always been able to rely on the GOP majorities in Congress to shield it from the worst consequences of its actions. That phase of the Trump presidency could be over by January. For the first time, this president could have to contend with at least one truly adversarial chamber of the legislature, and opposition will manifest first in the form of investigations.
How will the White House respond when House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings is tasked with investigating the president’s response to a natural disaster or when he subpoenas the president’s personal records? How will Trump respond when Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler is overseeing the investigation into the FBI’s response to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, not Bob Goodlatte? Will the Department of Homeland Security’s border policies withstand public scrutiny when it’s Mississippi’s Bennie Thompson, not Texas’s Michael McCaul, doing the scrutinizing? How will Wall Street react to a Washington where financial-services oversight is no longer led by Jeb Hensarling but Maxine Waters? If the Democrats take the House, the legislative phase of the Trump era be over, but the investigative phase will have only just begun.
In many ways, this presidency behaved as though it were operating in a bunker from day one, and not without reason. Trump had every reason to fear that the culture of Washington and even many of the members of his own party were secretly aligned against him, but the key word there is “secret.” The secret is about to be out. The Trump White House hasn’t yet faced a truly adversarial Washington institution with teeth, but it is about to. If you think you’ve seen a bunker mentality in this White House, you haven’t seen anything yet.
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Podcast: Google and Kavanaugh.
Will Google survive the revelations of its political bias, or are those revelations nothing new? We delve into the complexities of the world in which important tech companies think they are above politics until they decide they’re not. Also some stuff on the Supreme Court and on polls. Give a listen.
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Smeared for doing the job.
When then-presidential candidate Donald Trump famously declared his intention to be a “neutral” arbiter of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian territories and put the onus for resolving the conflict on Jerusalem, few observers could have predicted that Trump would run one of the most pro-Israel administrations in American history.
This year, the Trump administration began relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel to the nation’s capital city, fulfilling a promise that began in 1995 with the passage of a law mandating this precise course of action. The administration also declined to blame Israel for defending its Gaza border against a Hamas-led attack. Last week, the administration shuttered the PLO’s offices in Washington.
The Trump administration’s commitment to shedding the contradictions and moral equivalencies that have plagued past administrations has exposed anti-Zionism for what its critics so often alleged it to be.
This week, Department of Education Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Kenneth Marcus announced his intention to vacate an Obama-era decision that dismissed an alleged act of anti-Semitism at Rutgers University. Marcus’s decision to reopen that particularly deserving case has led the New York Times to publish an article by Erica L. Green full of misconceptions, myths, and dissimulations about the nature of the anti-Israel groups in question and the essential characteristics of anti-Semitism itself.
In reporting on Marcus’s move, Green declared the education activist and opponent of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement a “longtime opponent of Palestinian rights causes,” a designation the paper’s editor felt fine printing without any substantiating evidence. You could be forgiven for thinking that BDS itself constituted a cause of “Palestinian rights” and not an international effort to stigmatize and harm both Israel and its supporters. If you kept reading beyond that second paragraph, your suspicions were confirmed.
Green contended that Marcus’s decision has paved the way for the Education Department to adopt a “hotly contested definition of anti-Semitism” that includes: denying Jews “the right to self-determination,” claiming that the state of Israel is a “racist endeavor,” and applying a double standard to Israel not “expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.” As Jerusalem Post reporter and COMMENTARY contributor Lahav Harkov observed, this allegedly “hotly contested definition” is precisely the same definition used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. In 2010, the IHRA’s working definition was adopted almost in total by Barack Obama’s State Department.
Green went so far as to say that this not-so-new definition for anti-Semitism has, according to Arab-American activists, declared “the Palestinian cause anti-Semitic.” So that is the Palestinian cause? Denying Jews the right to self-determination, calling the state of Israel itself a racist enterprise, and holding it to nakedly biased double standards? So much for the two-state solution.
Perhaps the biggest tell in the Times piece was its reporters’ inability to distinguish between pro-Palestinian activism and anti-Israeli agitation. The complaint the Education Department is preparing to reinvestigate involves a 2011 incident in which an event hosted by the group Belief Awareness Knowledge and Action (BAKA) allegedly imposed an admissions fee on Jewish and pro-Israel activists after unexpected numbers arrived to protest the event. An internal email confirmed that the group only charged this fee because “150 Zionists” “just showed up,” but the Obama administration dismissed the claim, saying that the organization’s excuse—that it expected heftier university fees following greater-than-expected attendance—was innocuous enough.
Green did not dwell on the group, which allegedly discriminated against Jews and pro-Israeli activists. If she had, she’d have reported that, just a few weeks before this incident, BAKA staged another event on Rutgers’s campus—a fundraiser for the organization USTOGAZA, which provided aid to the campaign of “flotillas” challenging an Israeli blockade of Gaza. USTOGAZA’s links to the Turkey-based organization Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), which has long been associated with support for Hamas-led terrorist activities, rendered the money raised in this event legally suspect. Eventually, as Brooke Goldstein wrote for COMMENTARY, even BAKA conceded the point:
After community members demanded that Rutgers, a state-funded university, hold an investigation before handing over any money to USTOGAZA, the school responded by offering to keep the money raised in an escrow account until a suitable recipient could be found. In June 2011, BAKA sent out an e-mail admitting the University had, after “much deliberation” and despite their initial approval, “decided that they are not willing to release the funds to the US to Gaza effort” due to concerns of being found liable for violating the material-support statutes.
Rutgers prudently limited BAKA’s ability to participate in on-campus events after these incidents, but the organization that took their place—Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)—is no better. The Times quoted officials with the Center for Law and Justice who praised Marcus’s move and cited SJP as a source of particular consternation, but the reporters did not delve into the group’s activities. If they had, they’d find that the organization’s activities—among them declaring that “Zionists are racists,” supporting anti-Zionist individuals despite credible accusations of child abuse, and endorsing Hamas’s governing platform, which labels the entire state of Israel “occupied territory”—fits any cogent definition of anti-Semitism. This is to say nothing of the abuse and harassment that American Jews experience on college campuses that play host to SJP’s regular “Israel apartheid weeks.”
Some might attribute the Times’ neutral portrayal of groups that tacitly support violence and people like Omar Barghouti—an activist who “will never accept a Jewish state in Palestine” and has explicitly endorsed “armed resistance” against Jews, who he insists are “not a people”—to ignorance, as though that would neutralize the harm this dispatch might cause. But the Times piece has emboldened those who see Israel’s Jewish character as a threat both to its political culture and our own. That worrying sentiment was succinctly expressed by New York Magazine’s Eric Levitz: “You don’t have to be a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause to question Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.”
The benefit of the doubt only extends so far. Even the charitably inclined should have discovered its limits by now.