I did post a comment on Ian Thal's Clyde Fitch article some time ago - I believe last Friday. It doesn't seem to have worked it way through "moderation" yet, which has me a little worried; I hope Clyde Fitch hasn't morphed into a thought-control site like Parabasis.
So just in case the comment never appears over there, here's the text:
Ian, I realize you and I will never see eye-to-eye on Israel; I don’t see concerted political pressure on the West Bank settlements, or on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in general, as inherently anti-Semitic, and I think at bottom you do. Perhaps if I was Jewish I would agree with you – and I admit of course that actual anti-Semites can, and do, operate under the cover of legitimate protest of Israeli policy. So the situation is very fraught and complex, and almost every action in this arena casts a complicated moral shadow.
Still, I think your piece would be stronger if you could consider, or even mention, at least two points that come to mind in regards to this whole imbroglio. The first is that (legitimate) political pressure like this is often brought to bear more on democracies than autocracies (which tend to shrug off charges in the court of public opinion). Thus Israel may be being targeted not (or not only) because of an anti-Semitic agenda, but also because to its great credit, the country has a civil discourse in which protest can have an impact.
The second point goes right to the heart of the “nexus of art and politics” that the new Clyde Fitch Report targets – and that is the deep political irony of a Jewish state staging one of the reifying documents of Jewish oppression at a political moment in which it itself is accused of oppressing a minority (well, actually a majority) of the residents under its control. In short, has The Merchant of Venice now been effectively converted by Habima into a new validation of oppression, this time by the Jews themselves? I find it troubling that you would elide this issue – particularly given your obvious hostility to Caryl Churchill’s “Seven Jewish Children,” which makes a similarly ironic point, i.e. that consciousness of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism in turn serves as unspoken justification for the oppression of the Palestinians.
I don’t think a technical discussion of this or that territory, or this or that application of the Oslo Accords, can really answer this question. But I’d like to hear you give it a shot.
[Update - And whaddya know, the comment just appeared on the Clyde Fitch Report! They've got more cojones than Isaac Butler after all!]