Saturday, December 22, 2018

Alice Walker and the Full Livingstone

Many of you know the term "Livingstone Formulation". It refers to a manner of responding to an allegation of antisemitism by saying something like "For far too long the accusation of antisemitism has been used against anyone who is critical of the policies of the Israeli government, as I have been." Those were London Mayor Ken Livingstone's exact words, but the formulation applies to any such dismissal of antisemitism claim by contending that it is a slur directed against those "critical of Israel".

What many people don't realize is that the Livingstone Formulation can and is used against claims of antisemitism unrelated to Israel at all. Indeed, the original Livingstone Formulation came in just such a case -- Livingstone was accused of calling a Jewish reporter a "Nazi" during an altercation after a party (it had nothing to do with Israel), the reporter took offense, the mayor doubled-down. And yet even here, in this wholly non-Israel-related case, Livingstone said "I'm just being hounded for criticizing Israel."

Call this "the Full Livingstone". If the Livingstone Formulation is a contention that a claim of antisemitism is actually a means of suppressing criticism of Israel, the full Livingstone is the contention that a claim of antisemitism that isn't about Israel is still nonetheless a means of suppressing criticism of Israel.

Alice Walker, for example, just pulled a Full Livingstone. Saying the Talmud teaches the Jews to enslave the goyim (or that Jews are a major part of a lizard-people conspiracy of alien domination) is antisemitic for reasons wholly unrelated to one's views on Israel. And yet, Walker nonetheless contends, she is being targeted for censure because she "criticizes Israel". It's a Full Livingstone!

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