Peretz in Exile

How Former ‘New Republic’ Editor-in-Chief Marty Peretz Has Found Peace in Israel — New York Magazine


The fight, for Peretz, has always been about Israel first, and it has become particularly wrenching recently. As the Palestinian Authority began its first halting steps toward modernization, Israeli politics and society have pivoted to the right. The country’s refusal to stop construction of new settlements; its growing hostility toward the international community and the Obama administration; its storming of an aid flotilla off the Gaza Strip in May—these postures and incidents have led some of the liberal intellectuals who have historically defended Israel to begin to edge away. This summer, Peter Beinart—once a protégé of Peretz’s—published an influential essay in The New York Review of Books arguing that liberalism and Zionism were becoming incompatible and noting that fewer and fewer secular, progressive American Jews feel a stake in Israel at all.

Throughout, Peretz has seemed to grow only more resolute, his constitutional truculence more evident. In September, writing on his New Republic blog The Spine, Peretz homed in on a familiar villain: Islamic terrorists who target other Muslims. “Frankly,” he wrote, “Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims.” He got himself wound up: “I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment, which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.” Nicholas Kristof began his Sunday New York Times column by denouncing the post; Peretz’s sentiments, he wrote, showed how “venomous and debased the discourse about Islam has become.” The Atlantic’s James Fallows, arguably the most reasonable man in liberal American letters, reviewed the evidence and concluded that Peretz is “broadly considered … a bigot.” Peretz had published many similar slanders in the past, but suddenly there were protests bent on a reckoning: a loud demonstration at Harvard, public letters demanding his condemnation, profound indignation across the left. The day after Kristof’s column, Peretz apologized for suggesting First Amendment privileges be revoked for Muslims. It was “a stupid sentence,” he now says. The rest he defended; it was what he believed.


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18 comments on “Peretz in Exile

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  1. This is just more evidence that old homosexual Jews believe that honor is cheap and don’t deserve First Amendment rights and shouldn’t be allowed to own gerbils.

  2. Peretz has a lot to answer for, promoting Beinart and Sullivan, to positions of responsibility, flacking for Al Gore, inexplicably supporting
    Obama back in 2008, but this is clearly a sliming by New York magazine, previously known for trying to Snow the Metropolis of Manhattan with the GZ Mosque scam.

  3. @ miguel cervantes:
    Peretz gives slimy, he doesn’t get slimed.

    Beinart was a good editor and a decent person and, for a while, actually refused to run some of Peretz’s stuff in the mag. Beinart was the one who got Marty out of the main pages and into his own little shit-smearing Spine blog.

  4. This is how he treated and rationalized a truly reprehensible statement, from a profile of Kos in 2006;

    In June 2003, after television cameras caught a cheering, thousand-strong mob in Fallujah dragging the charred, dismembered bodies of American contractors through the streets, Moulitsas linked to the reports and said of the contractors: “I feel nothing… Screw them.” The declaration, gleefully seized on by right-wing bloggers, provoked weeks of controversy. Democratic candidates came under pressure to pull their advertisements from the site, and even Moulitsas’s traditional allies in the liberal blogosphere–including The Washington Monthly’s Kevin Drum–criticized him. (When I asked Moulitsas recently how he felt about the episode, his mouth stretched into a smile: “Vindicated,” he said. The media has recently begun to question the role of American contractors in Iraq, he pointed out, which was the point all along. This is how a liberal noise machine, freed from the don’t-shatter-the-porcelain decorum, might work.)

  5. @ miguel cervantes:
    Apparently, you’re referring to another piece by the same writer. Your problem, it seems to me, is that anything that doesn’t immediately and exclusively embrace your knee-jerk judgments strikes you as biased in the other direction. This is why you are constitutionally attracted to all of these radicals: You are just like them, except you take a step further than most by assuming that anyone who doesn’t offer black and white, bad guy and good guy judgments on everything is really black/bad.

  6. It’s a typical effort by a Netrooter like Wells, trying to branch out from
    the Washington Monthly, Mr. Peretz, won’t jettison Israel, and pretend
    that we assuage the jihadists, readily enough, so he must derided and shamed among the cognoscenti; like Nick Kristof, who is not one of the
    worst commentors on the Times Op Ed page, that honor goes to Krugman, Dowd and Blow, Herbert having proven to be too trite for consideration

  7. @ miguel cervantes:
    Uh-huh. And because Peretz stands behind a certain vision of Israel, it’s of no interest that many of Peretz’s colleagues, including intimates and proteges, including his alma mater and his own wife, have rejected him? You have this story completely backwards. The author, whom you seek to deride through your usual guilt-by-association tactics, has achieved something very difficult: Transform this near-universally reviled, isolated figure “in exile,” into an object of sympathy, while grasping the kernel of Peretz-ism that his (and Israel’s) critics cannot be ready to give up, or can give up only at a price. The only thing more difficult for, broadly defined, liberal internationalists than working through the irreducible Peretz inside them all would be actually detaching from it fully, since that would mean fully detaching from the whole milieu he represents as a typical exception as well as the whole idea of an intellectually and morally self-consistent defense of Israel and the West against its enemies.

  8. Ah New York Magazine, which has vainly tried to make Imam Rauf and
    his sidekick al Gamal, if not a household name, a pitiful victim, Who previously had tried to rehabilitate the notorious Frank Lucas, who held
    a conforting shoulder for the 9/11 denialists, which houses the deeply
    gullible John Heileman, who was a decent reporter when he was back at Wired.

  9. @ miguel cervantes:
    that’s a bunch of crap.

    it’s not that Mr. Peretz, won’t jettison Israel, all of TNR was and is filled with Zionists, and even they were ashamed of the old goat’s hard racism.
    the stuff he says in public and the stuff that he puts in print is far milder than the other stuff.

  10. Well I guess I have fond memories of reading the New Republic, back in the 80s, when the left were calling it fascist for supporting the Contras, Kinsley, Hertzberg, made me nauseous though, Lane was a good editor, over all. Supporting a two party state, even protesting
    Sheikh Jarrah, you were saying something frog about Husseini being
    a relic, Frog, apparently isn’t enough. If Goldberg is the great zionist
    stalwart we have a problem,

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