Like many others, I find the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg to be insufferable -- arrogant and nasty in equal measure.
Goldberg is an uberhawk on all matters relating to Israel which is no surprise considering that Goldberg is one of the infinitesimal number of American Jews who actually chose to serve in the Israeli army. He served as a policeman at the Ketziot prison where some 6,000 Palestinians were held, mostly for political reasons.
Not surprisingly, Goldberg's views on Iran are hard-line, and he loves going after anyone who dissents from the AIPAC/neocon line on that issue.
This month Goldberg attacked Iran expert Hillary Mann Leverett for changing her views on Iran. Apparently, when Mann Leverett was still in her 20s, she was actually pretty hard-line on Iran. She isn't anymore.
"What happened?" Goldberg asks. His answer: "Hillary Mann Leverett lost her bearings."
Happily, Hillary Mann Leverett responded on behalf of all those whose views change as the world does.
In a piece called "Explaining The Learning Curve To Jeff Goldberg," Mann Leverett says this, "My current views on U.S. policy reflect, I believe, that I have learned from professional experience and am capable of adapting my policy views in light of a more accurate understanding of reality. I would hope that Mr. Goldberg--who, in 2002, was peddling what turned out to be utterly inaccurate reports about Saddam Husayn's ties to Al-Qa'ida and his possession of weapons of mass destruction--is able to do the same."
Brilliant. Mann Leverett actually learns as she lives more and experiences more. Not Goldberg. He is still the uniformed boy with the gun at Ketziot prison, only now he gets to pretend that he is just an American observer of the Middle East.
Thank you, Hillary Leverett for speaking out for all of us who actually learn as we age. Before I sat on the White House lawn and witnessed the Rabin-Arafat handshake, before I got to know as many Palestinians as I know Israelis, before I saw the occupation with my own eyes, I was as simple-minded on matters Middle Eastern as Jeff Goldberg.
No more. I still care deeply about Israel. But I care just as much about Palestinians. And I think that Israel will only have the security it deserves when the Palestinians have the rights they deserve.
My 19-year-old self would be horrified. But the, I'm not who I was at 19 anymore. Neither is Hillary Mann Leverett. Goldberg still is exactly who he was as a teenager.
It must be nice. It sure is simple.