The stale bread of affliction

Today’s New York Sun carries an editorial on Andrew Young then and now. The editorial looks at Andrew Young in 1979 when he was forced to resign as America’s ambassador to the United Nations and now when he was forced to resign from a Wal-Mart advocacy group after making disparaging remarks about Jewish, Korean, and Arab small-business owners. The editorial draws on a 1979 Commentary article quoting Young in the aftermath of his ambassadorial resignation:

Mr. Young denounced Israel for having “become the oppressor” of the Palestinians, for engaging in “terroristic” raids and “constant bombing” in Lebanon, and for “losing their moral advantage.” A New York Times op-ed piece from a professor sympathizing with Mr. Young followed, saying that the resignation “brings into sharp focus the immense power of the Israeli lobby in this country.

The Commentary article put the Young affair in the context of the Cold War, noting that during the trial of the Russian Jewish dissident Anatoly Shcharansky, “Young noted tellingly that America, too, has political prisoners.” The article reported that Jesse Jackson warned America against “backing into another Vietnam war” by backing Israel in the Middle East.

“Though the Young affair appeared to be about black-Jewish relations, it was actually about democracy and its enemies,” the Commentary article said, describing “the determination to render America incapable of defending Israel or any other ally, or even itself.”

The Sun comments:

It left us thinking that the battles in which this newspaper is engaged have been fought now for more than a generation. For all Israel’s critics try to distinguish between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism — and we acknowledge, there is such a distinction; it surprised us not one iota to see Mr. Young fetching up as a critic of Jewish merchants [in his most recent remarks]. The critics at Human Rights Watch and the United Nations who complain of Israel’s actions in Lebanon, the professors at Harvard and the University of Chicago who rail against the power of the “Israeli lobby” are making charges that are as stale as the bread Mr. Young accuses the Jewish merchants of selling [again in his most recent remarks].

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