A few days back, Instapundit linked to this scathing and reasonably entertaining attack on Glenn Greenwald by Benjamin Kerstein. At the time, I thought about linking to it, with a post along the lines of: “here’s a link to an entertaining attack on Glenn Greenwald. It’s well-written, unfair, a bit hysterical, with some grains of truth. In other words, it’s exactly the sort of criticism that Greenwald merits, given his own writings.” I then reconsidered; even Greenwald deserves a fair shake.
But then I saw Greenwald’s response [scroll down]:
many of the most extremist neocons this morning (TNR’s Jamie Kirchick, Martin Kramer, The Weekly Standard’s John Noonan, Red State’s Josh Trevino, the “Republican Jewish Coalition”) are falling all over themselves in praise of this 2,800-word attack on me in The New Ledger for my views on Israel. Written by Benjamin Kerstein — a standard-issue, Israel-devoted neocon smear artist whose self-selected slogan is “Bostonian by birth, Israeli by choice” and who has written similar screeds about other heretics such as Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky (a whole blog devoted to that), and even Peter Beinart — it’s filled to the brim with trite neocon attacks that once worked to deter free debate but are now pitiable in their impotence…
I view the increasingly unhinged attacks by the worst neocon elements to be a vindication of what I’m doing. I see them as pernicious and destructive, and genuinely welcome their contempt.
So you see, Greenwald doesn’t take the opportunity to point out any actual errors or unfair statements in Kerstein’s piece, or even to simply express his contempt for Kerstein. Instead, he uses Kerstein’s piece as an opportunity to launch his own “unhinged” attack on “neocon elements,” which he seems to define as anyone who isn’t rabidly hostile to Israel like himself, and to attack Kerstein for being an “Israeli by choice,” as if there is something inherently evil about choosing to live in Israel.
In Kerstein’s piece, in other words, Greenwald reaps precisely what he sows.
UPDATE: Pejman Yousefzadeh has more on Greenwald’s reaction, including a fun analogy.