Over the weekend, a Jewish publication sent me an email. They wanted to pay me to write an essay! They thought it could be called “Why I Hate Israel, “because it would be a piece “which develops the ideas you are already publishing,” which is how the editor put it to me. I had to, as the poet famously said, wonder: Did I accidentally publish my Israel-hating dream journal? After ascertaining that the editor wasn’t actually kidding, I checked The Awl’s page for Israel: hmm, mild critique of Israel’s handling of the Gaza flotilla, a summary of Lawrence Wright’s New Yorker piece on Gaza, a rather de facto pro-Israel take on the Times Jerusalem bureau, and uh oh, we quoted Turkish newspapers and published a piece very critical of a dumb Israeli PR outfit that strives to make untoward connections in Americans’ minds between Israel and the MENACE of MUSLIM 9/11 TERROR. Weirdly, nothing in there about how I hate Israel! But I guess I could see how the mistake could be made.
Well? I think this is just a sign of how, if you assume you are speaking to intelligent people, and don’t issue a thousand disclaimers, then guess what: it can be assumed that you hate Israel, because you’re maybe mildly critical or because you’ll mention unflattering facts when they are facts! Hi, every country has unflattering facts, HAVE YOU MET ENGLAND, and do I EVEN have to explain that repeatedly, when I live in a country that was (and kind of still is!) built on slave labor? And you know what? If you hate Israel, that pretty much means you hate Jews. And so: Why do you HATE JEWS so much? Please explain yourself.
But, but-you’re thinking-Jews are awesome, you horrid Jew-hater!
The most irritating and troubling part, I think, is that we all do have to acknowledge (over and over again, for real) that, in the real world, people actually hate Jews so much. Oh my God, everyone still hates the Jews. Believe it! And if the hard Christian wing of the Tea Party crowd weren’t mostly convinced that, yay, the End Times are here, because blah blah the Jews are back in the promised land or whatever, and therefore are sort of uncomfortably pro-Israel, then this would be the worst time ever for the Jews, because don’t think that gang wouldn’t be lunging at every “Jew Banker Friend To MUSLIM PRESIDENT” or whatever that they could. (Allies, take ’em where you can!)
So, nobody can say BOO about Israel without a 2000-word disclaimer that includes, among others, the words “Ramallah” and “but of course” and “to be fair” and “history of persecution” and the like.
This is just a long wind-up to our announcement that the latest website in The Awl Network (not to be called The Awl Network) will be for, by and about Jews!
We call it: Jews Today!
Nah, I’m totally just kidding. There’s really no money in a site like that.