November 24, 2004

The Volokh Conspiracy Needs Better Quality Control

I use the word "Likudnik" routinely to refer to those in American who support Likud, and who believe that the national security of the United States is advanced by feeding Likud's annexationist fantasies. I'm not an anti-semite. And I don't like being called one:

The Volokh Conspiracy - : ...the phrase "Likudnik" is gradually becoming a general anti-Semitic term for Jews whose opinions one doesn't like.... "Likudnik" has become a term of disapprobium analogous to the term "Uncle Tom" for non-left-wing blacks. Just like it's assumed that moderate, conservative, and libertarian blacks must not be thinking for themselves, but instead serving "the Man," so moderate, conservative, and libertarian Jews must be serving the interests of right-wing Israelis (the obvious difference is that left-wing culture values African American self-interest and nationalism, while left-wing culture values Jews and Judaism only to the extent they are put in the service of internationalism and humanist causes.)... Well, the Left (along with the Washington Post, which used the term in a major article attacking Bush Admnistration neonconservatives) has let this particular anti-Semitic genie out of the bottle...

Suggestions for what should replace the Volokh Conspiracy on my regular reading list?

Posted by DeLong at November 24, 2004 05:15 PM | TrackBack
Comments

resourceshelf is very nice. (www.resourceshelf.com)

I'm assuming you see Fistful of Euros, The Sideshow, and The Sports Economist.

Posted by: Ken Houghton at November 24, 2004 07:42 PM

I am sorry. I did not receive the e-mail. Why the sudden interest in appearing outraged at the hyperventilations of pro-Israel auxiliaries? This is the second post on this topic in two days. Were we so undone by the fabulist victory on November 2 that we must now emulate our adversaries' humbug? Is not the more Democratic response to empty threats and faux hysteria a simple "Oh, horsefeathers!"?

Posted by: MTC at November 24, 2004 08:40 PM

First MEMRI, now the Volokh Conspiracy, banished from Brad DeLong's sight. They'll furrow his brow no longer.

What a shame. I associate this maneuver more with George W. Bush. Shouldn't we all have a little more tolerance for challenges to the stainless honor of one's heroes or the political shibboleths of the moment? Or does one side have a monopoly on virtue, and the other a monopoly on vice?

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Posted by: Squirrel at November 24, 2004 09:23 PM

First MEMRI, now the Volokh Conspiracy, banished from Brad DeLong's sight. They'll furrow his brow no longer.

What a shame. I associate this maneuver more with George W. Bush. Shouldn't we all have a little more tolerance for challenges to the stainless honor of one's heroes or the political shibboleths of the moment? Or does one side have a monopoly on virtue, and the other a monopoly on vice?

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Posted by: Squirrel at November 24, 2004 09:27 PM

Suppose this had been printed in a newspaper in 1932: "the phrase "Nazi" is gradually becoming an anti-Germanic term for Germans whose opinions one doesn't like"--wouldn't it be more clear then that such a statement aims to curb criticism of Nazism? Wouldn't it be clear that criticism of Nazi expansionist ideals, evident in "Mein Kampf" could then by countered by words that in effect say, "Shut up! Why do you hate Germans so much?" which is akin to what those on the Left hear today--"Why do you hate America so much?". It was quite possible to be against Stalinism without being anti-Russian. In fact, one could argue that anti-Stalinism was pro-Russian.

Whatever critical facilities Volokh has fail him when he makes such "arguments".

Also, Volokh can't effectively discriminate between derogatory, derisive words, such as "Uncle Tom", which is used to criticize cowardice or capitulation, and words used to characterize a political position, such as "Likudnik". Would an African-American resent being called an "Uncle Tom"? Yes. Would a member of the Likud Party or a supporter of the Likud Party resent being called a "Likudnik"? I don't think so, especially given the alternatives (Likuder? Likudite?).

Posted by: Carl at November 24, 2004 09:27 PM

For alternative reading, spend some time at What Really Happened.

Posted by: Brian Boru at November 24, 2004 10:07 PM

Reminds me of that David Brooks column where he called people who use the term neoconservative, anti-Semites.
Ooops!
I forgot. He was just trying to be funny.

Posted by: no at November 24, 2004 10:35 PM

Overgeneralizing criticism, deflecting it on a broad and at best vaguely related concept, and conflating various critics under a generalized brand associated with unethical, immoral, etc. behavior are standard rhetorical tools.

Critics of specific Israeli (not Jewish!) power groups are labeled "anti-Semites".
Critics of specific US power groups (incl. big business) are labeled "unpatriotic".
Critics of specific power groups in Nazi Germany were labeled "Communist" or "people enemies".
Critics of specific power groups in "Communist" states were labeled "reactionary".
Critics of specific rewritings of history and philosophical texts in "Communist" states were labeled "revisionist". (BTW note the irony.)
Etc.

Posted by: cm at November 25, 2004 12:27 AM

Brad, use Volokh Conspiracy's filtering mechanism. For example: http://volokh.com/?bloggers=eugene

Posted by: Ken at November 25, 2004 01:32 AM

You can just filter out David Bernstein instead of dropping the whole blog. Instructions at http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2004_11_00.shtml#1099419750

Posted by: Tim Lambert at November 25, 2004 02:26 AM

All Bernstein does at VC is simper about how hard-done-by Jews are in America. It bespoils what is usually a pretty interesting site.

I wasn't aware of the filtering mechanism there - making use of it will make VC a better read.

Posted by: Barry P. at November 25, 2004 03:07 AM

All Bernstein does at VC is simper about how hard-done-by Jews are in America. It bespoils what is usually a pretty interesting site.

I wasn't aware of the filtering mechanism there - making use of it will make VC a better read.

Posted by: Barry P. at November 25, 2004 03:12 AM

All Bernstein does at VC is simper about how hard-done-by Jews are in America. It bespoils what is usually a pretty interesting site.

I wasn't aware of the filtering mechanism there - making use of it will make VC a better read.

Posted by: Barry P. at November 25, 2004 03:12 AM

All Bernstein does at VC is simper about how hard-done-by Jews are in America. It bespoils what is usually a pretty interesting site.

I wasn't aware of the filtering mechanism there - making use of it will make VC a better read.

Posted by: Barry P. at November 25, 2004 03:14 AM

You are right that it is the practice of contemporary settler colonialism (the "annexationist fantasies") on land captured in 1967 which is the most objectionable and indefensible of Israel's policies. The use of the word "Likudnik" to describe those who believe that the security of the US is enhanced by enabling or excusing this settler colonialism is pretty accurate.

The shortcoming with the term Likudnik, however, is that the goal of keeping hundreds of thousands of settlers on land taken in 1967 is not restricted to the Likud. Labor led governments in the 1990s also continuously expanded the number of settlers and settlements (partly under pressure from Likud and their allies) and refused to negotiate their removal. Just as all French governments are at least partly Gaullist, so all recent Israeli governments of whatever partisan complexion have had a large portion of Likud thinking.

Shorter post: The real objection is to the "annexationist fantasies", which sadly are not restricted to the Likud.

Posted by: otto at November 25, 2004 06:10 AM

Hmmmm ... I think I was one of the original advocates of "Likudist" as a replacement for "Zionist".

I don't like "Likudnik" myself, as I don't understand what a Russian suffix is doing on the end of a Hebrew word used in an English sentence, and suspect that "nik" is doing work as a careless piece of stereotyping of Russian Jews.

But I think that the pretence that there isn't such a thing as the Likud Party in Israel, or indeed that the Likud Party could fairly be described as "moderate", "conservative" or (good christ) "libertarian", is silly. Bogus accusations of anti-Semitism are absolutely contemptible, and coming from Bernstein they are hypocritical as well, because every post of his that isn't about shouting "boojums!" on anti-Semitism is obsessed with promoting his damnable book "You Can't Say That!", which is, more or less, aimed at defending the Constitutional right of Americans to call black people niggers.

However, it has to be noted that even the freaking Likud Party is more or less evenly divided on the question of the settlements, and its leadership are pursuing an agenda which is clearly and visibly more moderate than that of many rightwing bloggers, and it is possibly unfair to the Likud party to smear them by connection with genuine loonies.

Posted by: dsquared at November 25, 2004 07:00 AM

I recommend: http://rising-hegemon.blogspot.com/
if only becuase it makes me laugh when I know I should be crying.

An article of interest in (today's) New York Review of Books should help clarify a few distorted opinions as to the Likud Party's true motives to the 'road map to peace' (ie: the one way street that leads to a dead end).

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17591

Posted by: Lyagushka at November 25, 2004 08:20 AM

Note the "gradually becoming". It might be the case that the term is being used by some as described, even though you're not an anti-Semite. Remember giving up on "Oriental"?

Personally, though I dislike most of Sharon's policies, I don't think it's useful to apply a term which (in the view of many) is suggestive of undue foreign influence to fellow Americans who disagree with me. Why not call them neoconservatives or those who support Likud policies?

Posted by: rilkefan at November 25, 2004 08:50 AM

That's a typical right-winger, playing the anti-semitism card. I've been called an anti-semite for opposing the war in Iraq (I forget my accusers twisted logic). Since 75% of Jews voted for Kerry, there must be an awful lot of anti-semitism in the Jewish community.

Posted by: rps at November 25, 2004 09:26 AM

Does anyone know what Bernstein does at VC?

/Let this be a lesson to you, don't let economists play at sysadmin!

Posted by: jerry at November 25, 2004 09:58 AM

"it has to be noted that even the freaking Likud Party is more or less evenly divided on the question of the settlements"

Well, divided in the sense that half or so say they will never remove any settlements ever, and half or so say they may be willing to remove a small number of them, and annex the rest to Israel. In other words both parts of this "even division" share "annexationist fantasies".

Or am I wrong?

Posted by: Otto at November 25, 2004 10:20 AM

I suggest Dodo from Hungary: engaged and informed.
Assuming you don't mind reading another European Blog that does not have great numbers of visitors. Well, I did notice your comments on the French-German border region at A Fistful of Euros and for the less visitid part I remember you once had a post on encouraging starting blogs by looking to referrers to your site with the lowest number of visitors.
link: http://manicnetpreacher.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Frans Groenendijk at November 25, 2004 12:20 PM

http://maverickphilosopher.blogspot.com

Posted by: Professor Bill at November 25, 2004 12:56 PM

Am I the only one old enough to remember when Soviet dissidents were referred to as refuseniks - and one objected, including the dissidents?

Bernstein is also possibly conflating Likudnik with "nudnik"; something which he is being by making unfounded claims of antisemitism.

Posted by: Randy Paul at November 25, 2004 01:38 PM

Am I the only one old enough to remember when Soviet dissidents were referred to as refuseniks - and one objected, including the dissidents?

Bernstein is also possibly conflating Likudnik with "nudnik"; something which he is being by making unfounded claims of antisemitism.

Posted by: Randy Paul at November 25, 2004 01:41 PM

There are many items put out by "good Jews": the kind who want to see Israel commit slow-motion suicide: Tom Friedman comes to mind at once.

"Bad Jews" can be smeared as "Likudniks", and then one can artfully spin the nuance as not being anti-semitic....if your readers are similarly inclined to wish the Jewish State peace...the peace of the grave, that is.

Posted by: scoop jackson at November 25, 2004 03:05 PM

There are many items put out by "good Jews": the kind who want to see Israel commit slow-motion suicide: Tom Friedman comes to mind at once.

"Bad Jews" can be smeared as "Likudniks", and then one can artfully spin the nuance as not being anti-semitic....if your readers are similarly inclined to wish the Jewish State peace...the peace of the grave, that is.

Posted by: scoop jackson at November 25, 2004 03:07 PM

Scoop,
Follow that line a reasoning a bit farther.

Posted by: dilbert dogbert at November 25, 2004 05:25 PM

Any of the H.P. Lovecraft short stories. Even if you've read them before, the horror will grow with each passing read- much like reading Volkh.

Posted by: Hal at November 25, 2004 05:32 PM

"Suggestions for what should replace the Volokh Conspiracy on my regular reading list?"

The Volokh Conspiracy. Irritating opinions are among the most worth reading. Life gets much worse than that, with far less benefit.

Posted by: Gary Farber at November 25, 2004 07:13 PM

Likudnik seems to me to need more information. What does is mean to be a Likudnik? Some members of Likud supported the Oslo peace process. Other did not. Some support the Gaza pullout. Others do not. Some align with the settlers, others do not.

Is it actually a helpful term? I'm not exactly sure what it means except a member of the Likud party, which most the of the people it is referring to are not.

Posted by: Hektor Bim at November 25, 2004 08:11 PM

http://www.interfax.net

Peter Peterson's Running on Empty as Hack Job

Mr. Peterson's expostulation on the projected deficit crisis and the future of America's retired is a hackneyed attempt to capitalize on economic theory de jeur. It's no more accurate as prediction of some proverbial future than, say, a writer in the 1920's might have in forecasting then the effect of taking the US$ off the gold standard. You can read all kinds of bell-jar theories about economics, all of them linear monotheism in a universe which is anything but. A better title might have been: Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Abandoned the Gladiator's Arena for the Imperial Army, and Gave the People Bread and Circuses Instead, Just as Russia Achieved Hegemony over Central Asian Oil and Gas, Developed Electro-Magnetic Nuclear Weapons, and in Doing, Rekindled the Cold War.

Or in street language, you don't worry about how much coin you have in your pocket, if you just ran out of gas in East Compton, LA.

Posted by: Tante Aime at November 25, 2004 10:54 PM

http://www.interfax.com/com?item=servermap

Posted by: Trent Horvaldt at November 25, 2004 11:12 PM

Hi Brad,

I think Hektor Bim above has it about right. Likudniks don't all have annexationist fantasies.

That being said, the way it's used in the American context seems to be fairly derogatory. I always laugh when I see the term "Likudnik" and ask myself "What's that a euphemism for?" And I think in every context it tends to be a euphemism for something else, which leaves the term fairly ill-defined. Anyway, some of my best friends are Likudniks ... (etc.)

Tel Aviv Reader

Posted by: Tel Aviv Reader at November 26, 2004 12:36 AM

"The Volokh Conspiracy. Irritating opinions are among the most worth reading. Life gets much worse than that, with far less benefit."

Gary Farber gives good advice. It's always a mistake to restrict one's reading only to those whose opinions one finds palatable.

Posted by: Abiola Lapite at November 26, 2004 02:55 AM

"The Volokh Conspiracy. Irritating opinions are among the most worth reading. Life gets much worse than that, with far less benefit."

Gary Farber gives good advice. It's always a mistake to restrict one's reading only to those whose opinions one finds palatable.

Posted by: Abiola Lapite at November 26, 2004 02:59 AM

"The Volokh Conspiracy. Irritating opinions are among the most worth reading. Life gets much worse than that, with far less benefit."

Gary Farber gives good advice. It's always a mistake to restrict one's reading only to those whose opinions one finds palatable.

Posted by: Abiola Lapite at November 26, 2004 03:04 AM

I still read Volokh occasionally, but not the same way. The two I really liked were Eugene Volokh and Jacob Levy. But Jacob Levy left, and I fundamentally lost respect for Eugene Volokh around the same time Kieran Healy did. Now I read it, not so much to see what these principled libertarians think, but what the prettiest possible defense of the indefensible looks like. But Kerr, Lindgren etc. don't even get you that much.

The supply of right-of-center blogs I can stand is fast dwindling--I mean, what the hell has happened to Tacitus? Let alone Instapundit. It's a problem, but I'm not really sure what to do about it. Pretending to respect people I no longer do doesn't change very much.

Posted by: Katherine at November 26, 2004 01:04 PM

"Gary Farber gives good advice. It's always a mistake to restrict one's reading only to those whose opinions one finds palatable."

Thirded. It's the only reason I listen to NPR. (Or visit this place, for that matter.)

Posted by: Bernard Guerrero at November 26, 2004 01:07 PM

hey, your comments edit out html.

Kieran Healy's post is here:
http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002092.html

On the Likudnik thing: there are people on the left who use legitimate criticism of Israel or Likud as an excuse for anti-semitism. There are also people on the right who like to pretend that legitimate criticism of Likud or Israel is anti-semitic.

When someone declares that references to the Likud party or to neoconservatives are out-of-bounds, I am strongly inclined to believe they are in the latter category. Because those are not some slurs that can be tainted--they are the name of the political party that controls Israel, and the name of the school of political thought that is among the most influential in U.S. policy. And in both cases, it's a name that the party in question, or the group in question, chose for itself. So if use of that term, alone, is an example of anti-semitism, it's hard to know how you ARE allowed to discuss Likud or neoconservatism.

Compare that to the hateful way that Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, and Sean Hannity use the word "liberalism"--does that mean that any discussion of "liberals" or "liberalism" is inherently wrong? For that matter, some people have used "Communists" as a proxy for "Jews". Should we not discuss Communimism? The Republican party uses "Massachusetts liberal" and "San Francisco democrat" as code words for gay bashing. Does that make it homophobic to use the words "Massachusetts" and "San Francisco"? Southern segregationists in the 1950s said their real issue was with "judicial activism" when it was quite clear that their real problem was with integration. Does this mean that denouncing Roe v. Wade as judicial activism is illegitimate?

Posted by: Katherine at November 26, 2004 01:22 PM

"The supply of right-of-center blogs I can stand is fast dwindling--I mean, what the hell has happened to Tacitus? Let alone Instapundit. It's a problem, but I'm not really sure what to do about it. Pretending to respect people I no longer do doesn't change very much."

Heh. Katherine, you seem to assume that everything is changing around you while you stand still, a steady rock in a world suddenly shifting rightwards. But there are no privileged frames of reference. Mayhap _you're_ moving...

Posted by: Bernard Guerrero at November 26, 2004 01:22 PM

hey, your comments edit out html.

Kieran Healy's post is here:
http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002092.html

On the Likudnik thing: there are people on the left who use legitimate criticism of Israel or Likud as an excuse for anti-semitism. There are also people on the right who like to pretend that legitimate criticism of Likud or Israel is anti-semitic.

When someone declares that references to the Likud party or to neoconservatives are out-of-bounds, I am strongly inclined to believe they are in the latter category. Because those are not some slurs that can be tainted--they are the name of the political party that controls Israel, and the name of the school of political thought that is among the most influential in U.S. policy. And in both cases, it's a name that the party in question, or the group in question, chose for itself. So if use of that term, alone, is an example of anti-semitism, it's hard to know how you ARE allowed to discuss Likud or neoconservatism.

Compare that to the hateful way that Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, and Sean Hannity use the word "liberalism"--does that mean that any discussion of "liberals" or "liberalism" is inherently wrong? For that matter, some people have used "Communists" as a proxy for "Jews". Should we not discuss Communimism? The Republican party uses "Massachusetts liberal" and "San Francisco democrat" as code words for gay bashing. Does that make it homophobic to use the words "Massachusetts" and "San Francisco"? Southern segregationists in the 1950s said their real issue was with "judicial activism" when it was quite clear that their real problem was with integration. Does this mean that denouncing Roe v. Wade as judicial activism is illegitimate?

Posted by: Katherine at November 26, 2004 01:24 PM

Brad, for a completly different perspective, give Key23 a shot :-) :

http://key23.net/occulture/

Posted by: Tommy Gatherion at November 26, 2004 02:55 PM

Katherine - did you see the bit in Slate where Timothy Noah discovered that "Christian Right" is no longer acceptable to the Christian Right?

They are to be referred to only as Christians, because Christian Right is a derogatory term to their leaders.

Nevermind that any number of the rank-and-file still haven't gotten the message and proudly call themselves that, or the peculiar problem of how what is actually happening is that they are so odious that every name they choose for themselves to self-identify (like Moral Majority, or Christian Right) becomes a term of derision - what they're trying to do is utterly marginalize and wipe away, in proper Minitrue fashion, the idea that any Christians exist who are liberals or progressives and not good orthodox Capitalists at the Church of Tashlan.

Same kind of thing...

Posted by: bellatrys at November 27, 2004 11:06 AM

Bernstein on the Volokh Conspiracy doesn't say that anyone who uses the term "likudnik" is an anti-semite. He says 'the phrase "Likudnik" is gradually becoming a general anti-Semitic term for Jews whose opinions one doesn't like.' Which is my general impression as well. It's becoming like calling someone a "cosmopolitan Jew," or an "oriental" or a "negro." These were once neutral terms, or even terms with positive connotations. But these terms' meaning has shifted and they are now pejorative.

If you don't believe this, I wouldn't claim that you're anti-semitic. I would guess, though, that you've been a little sheltered and haven't read much of the borderline-anti-semitic left. You probably haven't been receiving hate mail calling you a "likudnik monkey."

In the end, Bernstein says 'Let's start by having a moratorium on the term "Likudnik" to refer to anyone but actual, declared supporters of Likud (I'm actually a Shinuinik, if anything), and only when they are supporting or justifying a policy on Israel-related affairs.' This is almost the same as DeLong's position. And posters on this thread seem to agree that this is the legitimate use of the term. So, what's to object to in Bernstein's post?

Posted by: Ragout at November 27, 2004 01:22 PM

"Heh. Katherine, you seem to assume that everything is changing around you while you stand still, a steady rock in a world suddenly shifting rightwards. But there are no privileged frames of reference. Mayhap _you're_ moving..."

except I feel more or less the same way about most issues, politicians, left-of-center-weblogs, newspapers, magazines, and TV news networks, as I did one year ago. It's only right-of-center weblogs that seem to have taken a precipitous dive in quality. And I'm not the only one to notice.

Posted by: Katherine at November 27, 2004 01:37 PM

Bernstein on the Volokh Conspiracy doesn't say that anyone who uses the term "likudnik" is an anti-semite. He says 'the phrase "Likudnik" is gradually becoming a general anti-Semitic term for Jews whose opinions one doesn't like.' Which is my general impression as well. It's becoming like calling someone a "cosmopolitan Jew," or an "oriental" or a "negro." These were once neutral terms, or even terms with positive connotations. But these terms' meaning has shifted and they are now pejorative.

If you don't believe this, I wouldn't claim that you're anti-semitic. I would guess, though, that you've been a little sheltered and haven't read much of the borderline-anti-semitic left. You probably haven't been receiving hate mail calling you a "likudnik monkey."

In the end, Bernstein says 'Let's start by having a moratorium on the term "Likudnik" to refer to anyone but actual, declared supporters of Likud (I'm actually a Shinuinik, if anything), and only when they are supporting or justifying a policy on Israel-related affairs.' This is almost the same as DeLong's position. And posters on this thread seem to agree that this is the legitimate use of the term. So, what's to object to in Bernstein's post?

Posted by: Ragout at November 27, 2004 01:38 PM

Bernstein on the Volokh Conspiracy doesn't say that anyone who uses the term "likudnik" is an anti-semite. He says 'the phrase "Likudnik" is gradually becoming a general anti-Semitic term for Jews whose opinions one doesn't like.' Which is my general impression as well. It's becoming like calling someone a "cosmopolitan Jew," or an "oriental" or a "negro." These were once neutral terms, or even terms with positive connotations. But these terms' meaning has shifted and they are now pejorative.

If you don't believe this, I wouldn't claim that you're anti-semitic. I would guess, though, that you've been a little sheltered and haven't read much of the borderline-anti-semitic left. You probably haven't been receiving hate mail calling you a "likudnik monkey."

In the end, Bernstein says 'Let's start by having a moratorium on the term "Likudnik" to refer to anyone but actual, declared supporters of Likud (I'm actually a Shinuinik, if anything), and only when they are supporting or justifying a policy on Israel-related affairs.' This is almost the same as DeLong's position. And posters on this thread seem to agree that this is the legitimate use of the term. So, what's to object to in Bernstein's post?

Posted by: Ragout at November 27, 2004 01:40 PM

Sorry about the multiple posts. I kept getting error messages telling me the server wasn't responding.

Posted by: Ragout at November 27, 2004 01:44 PM

Hey I'm with Ragout. If I were Israeli I'd vote Shinui (a moderate, secularist party). Remember Israel is a parliamentary democracy and is governed by coalition, not one party as here in the U.S.

I would hope that I could speak up for Israel's right to defend against terrorism without being assumed to be a rabid loyalist of Ariel Sharon.

Posted by: Lisa at November 29, 2004 02:36 PM

O.K., so you simply use the phrase to refer to those unthinking Americans who prostrate themselves at the feet of a vital and democratic ally in a hostile and un-democratic part of the world "without putting American national security first." Sure, you're not an anti-Semite...

You and Mr. Buchanan have much in common, perhaps you could bring him into your site as a guest contributor? Mr. Bernstein should take it as a compliment that his piece struck so close to home.

Posted by: Rockford Hemperweasel at November 30, 2004 07:25 AM

Use the term only when describing actual supporters of Likud. That's all Professor Bernstein asked for. Nowhere did he claim that all users of the term "Likudnik" were anti-Semitic, merely that anti-Semites were using it to describe almost all Jewish people they didn't like, even on topics that had nothing at all to do with Israel or foreign policy. He's noticed an increasing use of it in his hate mail.

Is it so surprising that some anti-Semites are using a Jewish-related term incorrectly? Anti-Semites have done the same with "neoconservative," using it to describe people who are not neoconservatives by the classic definitions. Heck, when I was younger I was carefully cautioned to avoid the word "Jew" and to instead say "Jewish person," because of the connotations that had been established by anti-Semites.

"Fascist" gets misused a lot as well. Also, Professor Delong, would you appreciate it if people well to your left started calling you a "Bushie," a "Republican," or a "free-market absolutist" because you favor free trade, oppose the Byrd Amendent, don't wish to stop outsourcing, etc., or otherwise disagreed with their position on some matter? While those terms are accurate to describe some people, it's still ridiculous to use them inappropriately.

I am disappointed in the lack of reading comprehension and understanding on your part, Professor DeLong.

Posted by: John Thacker at November 30, 2004 08:15 AM

Wow. This little Derrida-gasm is quite entertaining.

Posted by: Scipio at November 30, 2004 08:26 AM

This strikes me as kind of a scream and leap, Prof. DeLong. As far as I can tell, Bernstein made the following assertions:

1) Some people on the left are casually using "Likudnik" to refer to any non-left-wing Jew who has an opinion on foriegn policy.

2) Some other people have begun to use Likudnik as a general anti-semitic term. One example of this is "Matthew Hess," who wrote an email to Bernstein criticizing Bernstein's opinion that Bush voters are not dumb, and calling Bernstein a "dumb Likudnik monkey."

3) Bernstein would prefer if people would be more careful to use "Likudnik" to refer to people who support Likud or its goals.

From this, DeLong concludes that Bernstein was calling DeLong an antisemite. Unless "Matthew Hess" was actually DeLong under a pseudonym, I don't see how DeLong could reach that conclusion, particularly since DeLong promises us that he *already* follows the use preferred by Bernstein.

Posted by: J Mann at November 30, 2004 10:16 AM

Bernstein was responding to an email complaining about a posting he had written that had nothing to do with Israel, yet the emailer ended by calling Bernstein a "Likudnik monkey." Now if that isn't using "Likudnik" as a synonym for "dirty Jew," then what was it? And that, sadly, is how it is often used.

Maybe some of you read the comments on Kevin Drum's blog, following his discussion of Bernstein's posting about the misuse of the word "Likudnik," where some commenter described Israel as the "Gangster State of Talmudic Hate." I find it difficult to distinguish those sentiments from the disparaging use of the word "Likudnik" to describe any Jew who departs from the left world view.

Posted by: DBL at November 30, 2004 11:00 AM

Likudnik is a derogatory expression (as in "expressive of low opinion"), used for anyone supporting the Israeli Likud government, and those that are associated with likewise ideas.

And that includes Shinui supporters, since that party is part of the current Sharon government.
And it can (and will) as easily be used for supporters of Avoda, Kerry, Bush, Badnarik, whatever, as long as they can be associated with current Israeli policies.

As such it can be expected that that word is used as an insult towards David Bernstein.
If David B. shouts anti-semitism in response, that wil be interpeted as an insult. Not as an accurate desription of fact.

The first blogger that doesn't use derogatory terms hasn't been born yet, but whereas likudnik is accepted, anti-semite is not accepted as a derogatory remark.

Well at least that is my explanation for it.

In the spirit of David B.'s request, please only use "the left", "lefties" or "left wing" in a factually correct way - for those that are standing on the left, are lefthanded or for the left wing of a plane - and refrain from using it in other circumstances.

Posted by: Duh at November 30, 2004 11:53 AM

The last part of much prose is called the conclusion. It is often the most important part of a piece. Although newspapers often put the conclusion at the beginning, we can't count on that. My reading suggestion for you, Professor DeLong, is that you read the conclusion, whether or not it is at the beginning and whether or not you read Vololkh.

Yours,
Wince

Posted by: Wince and Nod at November 30, 2004 02:21 PM

Forget about my last comment. I should have followed the example of Prof. DeLong and stopped reading volokh.com.

Given the tripe David Bernstein wrote in his last two entries about Israel, he deserves to be called something worse than Likudnik.

Posted by: Duh at November 30, 2004 06:38 PM

Forget about my last comment. I should have followed the example of Prof. DeLong and stopped reading volokh.com.

Given the tripe David Bernstein wrote in his last two entries about Israel, he deserves to be called something worse than Likudnik.

Posted by: Duh at November 30, 2004 07:36 PM

Try linking to stormfront.org you Nazi. You're such a Nazi! Nazi, Nazi, Nazi!

Posted by: Jesus at November 30, 2004 08:30 PM

Try linking to stormfront.org you Nazi. You're such a Nazi! Nazi, Nazi, Nazi!

Posted by: Jesus at November 30, 2004 08:36 PM

My reading suggestion, whether you read Volokh or not, is to always read the conclusion. Sometimes, especially in newspapers, it is found at the beginning of a piece. Sometimes, as in the original Bernstein post, it is found at the end. In any case, making sure you read the conclusion will improve the quality of your reading experience.

Yours,
Wince

Posted by: Wince and Nod at November 30, 2004 09:39 PM
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