In his interminable personal battle against the shadows of anti-Semitism that occupy (pun intended) his peripheries, Jeffrey Goldberg loves to highlight examples of alleged anti-Semitism. There is no doubt that conspiracy theories loom large in the Middle East (see, e.g., here and here), but Goldberg’s big problem is that in order to make his point he so often has to ignore: (1) reality, (2) counter-evidence (like here), or (3) meaningful complexities that render his ideological hack jobs less clear than he seems to believe.
In recent blog posts titled “The Mossad Did It”, he implies that believing Mossad would bomb targets in Egypt in order to raise ethnic tension is so far afield that only an anti-Semite could possibly believe it. But of course, the historical record is filled with examples of precisely this thing, of which the Lavon Affair was one of the most famous. In 1954, Israel was worried about Egypt’s relatively strong relationship with the US, and so decided to bomb American and British targets in Egypt and try to undermine the US-Egyptian relationship. Of course, the whole psychotic effort failed miserably, earning the euphemism “The Unfortunate Affair”, but not due to lack of effort or intention.
Given such an ugly history, Goldberg’s innuendos speak only of his ignorance and ideological attachments, not anti-Semitism.
And today, Goldberg doubles down when he argues that “people in the U.S. tend to underestimate the power of conspiracy thinking to shape the minds of people across the Middle East. Much of the region is simply divorced from reality.” Yes, indeed. All those crazy Arabs so prone to remembering important moments from history that “liberal” “intellectuals” like Goldberg so conveniently forget.