That’s not to say she hasn’t ripped him a new one. Because she has. And possibly a second.
When addressing contentions that run counter to such normative values as justice, morality, and truth, I believe it is my academic professional duty to analyze the details of the argument in question and illustrate to my audience why such contentions are sub-par, nefarious, and worthy of reproach.
Admittedly, it is difficult to analyze such pieces from a purely academic standpoint when invectives are hurled at me personally — not in a spirit of academic debate, but rather, to malign and denigrate my personal character. Indeed, I am tempted to speak out in an equally hostile manner against those who would attack me in a pejorative manner. However I will attempt to refrain from doing so here as it is my moral duty to be civil both to my enemies and to my friends, and because I do not believe it to be fitting to stoop down to the level of disrespectful persons.
On February 22, a gentleman by the name of Richard Silverstein took considerable issue with an article I wrote in the Times of Israel about the contentions of one Judith Butler, professor at the University of California, Berkley. I find Butler’s analysis regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict lamentably disagreeable.
Silverstein did not point out any possible faulty premises in my column. He did not question the evidence I presented. He did not find I was lacking in my analysis. Instead, to illustrate his (ahem) intellectual prowess, he shared a Facebook status linking to my column and in his commentary, wrote: “They finally did it: found a Negro Zionist: Uncle Tom is dancin’ for joy!”
His intention is obvious: I am an African-American, and Silverstein believes that all African-Americans are monolithic. Indeed, he believes that because of my skin color, I must think, act, and behave in the certain way — a manner in which he perceives black people to be. Like the old white masters in the antebellum American South, Silverstein believes that he and his ilk alone can be the bearers of opinions which must be held by African-Americans. To think for oneself, to formulate an opinion independent of his consent — well now, this is unacceptable. The consequence is a verbal lashing on social media; an attack on my character because of my skin color, and because, I am, as he puts it, “a Negro,” who does not feel the need to make her analysis contingent upon his approbation.
Moreover, I am a Zionist. I am unabashedly pro-Israel, and a proponent of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their ancestral homeland. Silverstein is not a Zionist, and because I disagree with him — like the old slave masters who believed that their view of the world was superior to and should be foisted upon the negro slaves — he contends that I am an “Uncle Tom” (a derogatory term meaning “house slave,” or one who is subservient and servile to white masters.).
I am certain that Silverstein does not comprehend the irony. After all, white supremacists tend to possess an astounding propensity for cognitive dissonance. It isn’t evident to Silverstein that to assert that a human being must, by virtue of her skin color, behave in a certain manner, is itself prejudicial and bigoted. Silverstein is judging me on the color of my skin, not on the content of my character, or rather, the content of my treatise.
In subsequent tweets, Silverstein also bashed me because of my faith. I am a Christian, and Silverstein accuses me of believing in some bizarre conspiracy to bring about the return of Christ by issuing in an Armageddon of epic proportions. He does not believe my advocacy of Jewish civil rights could possibly be genuine. Rather it must be evidence of a global plot to initiate a new era of civilization.
Silverstein is thus racist against blacks and bigoted against Christians.
And there’s more. Read the entire thing.
I would also like to point out that there were some even on the anti-Israel left who deplored Silverstein’s racist tweet.
— Alex Kane (@alexbkane) February 23, 2014
Some..but not nearly enough. In fact, many, like the detestable Max Blumenthal, linked to Silverstein’s defiant follow-up post as an endorsement of what he said.
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) February 24, 2014
This whole episode has been very instructive, not only demonstrating Silverstein’s level of hatred towards Israel, but also that of his fellow anti-Israel blowhards, who think it’s fine to display such racism for their “cause.”