Monday, March 21, 2005

A predictably obtuse and petulant response to the letters written in defense of Ammiel Alcalay is now available for your head-shaking perusal. As far as my own part in it goes, I wonder how Lappen's rhetorical question, "Is this really the kind of education that public, taxpayer-funded universities and parents should have to pay for?" fails to constitute a call for censorship, if by "censorship" we mean an action taken to prevent the dissemination of a particular brand of speech or education.

I especially liked this part from the first paragraph: "Incapable of reasoned argument, spewing epithets, pretentious, paranoid, and stupid enough to conspire and provide cause for legal action right in public, they embody, in James Taranto's phrase, a 'toxic mix of self-pity and thuggery… characteristic of an alienated political minority.'" This is a perfect word-for-word description of Lappen's original article and the behavior of the most visible right-wing activists generally—except that they no longer have the excuse of being in the political minority for their behavior.

I hope readers of this blog will continue to join me in wishing Ammiel Alcalay well and in supporting his work. Why not start by checking out a few of his books: After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture, Memories of Our Future: Selected Essays 1982-1999, from the warring factions, and the anthology he edited, Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing.

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