Marty Peretz’s personal assistant, James Kirchick has been let loose in the pages of the New Republic and, like a not yet housetrained puppy, he’s made a mess of things. He’s lied about the views of J Street (and its director, Jeremy Ben Ami), Eric Alterman, Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein. And now he’s been forced to apologize–sort of.
Here’s what he originally wrote on July 25th:
The attempt by people like Ben-Ami, Alterman, Yglesias, Klein et. al. to portray their advocacy of unconditional Israeli negotiations with Iran and Hamas, unconditional Israeli territorial concessions, the Palestinian “right of return,” (among other extreme positions) as having any truck within the mainstream of Jewish, American or Israeli opinion, while also having the gall to allege that anyone remotely to their right is an extremist, is something that psychologists call “projection.”
All the victims then took him to the woodshed in their various publications and demanded corrections. Kirchick, on July 30th, rather lamely published this comment (not even in the body of the original post) which was neither a correction nor an apology:
Both Matthew Yglesias and Eric Alterman claim that I've misrepresnted [sic] their views vis a vis J Street.
I’ve got to say that neither TNR nor Marty Peretz is known for their high journalistic standards, but someone told Kirchick to stand up and take it like a man. Eric Alterman notes at Huffington Post that Kirchick has now penned a more complete correction and apology. But even this leaves something to be desired:
Dept. of Corrections
I recently wrote that that J Street…backs “the Right of Return” and “unconditional territorial concessions by Israel.” The group doesn’t. I also mistakenly imputed that position to several bloggers — Eric Alterman, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. I now know that none of them have explicitly endorsed either unconditional territorial concessions or the right of return. I was wrong to imply that they did.
To be clear, I continue to think that the policies promoted by J Street are dangerous and naive. And I’ll return to this debate again soon. But my serious disagreements do not excuse these inaccuracies, for which I apologize.
Considering that Alterman made clear that he not only hasn’t endorsed any of these positions–but that he hasn’t ever publicly addressed them–one wonders how Kirchick thinks he can get away with the locution “explicitly endorsed,” which of course means that they have, or may have implicitly endorsed these positions. The problem is Kirchick is trying to be too cute by half formulating his correction in as qualified a way as possible, when it would’ve been better to make a clean break, admit the mistake without restraints and get on to the next order of business.
I enjoyed Kirchick’s promise/threat to return to lying about J Street “again soon.” The Truth Squad will have to be there waiting for him to take a dump so that it can clean up after him. Otherwise, the pages of TNR will be stinking to high heaven.
Unfortunately, amidst all this apolgizing, Kirchick neglected to address my quarrel with him. In the original J Street rant he swore Robert Wexler would never accept a J Street endorsement:
…I guarantee that neither representative [Wexler or Barney Frank] will be accepting a J Street endorsement this fall…
Of course, J Street released a press release a day or two later which trumpeted:
Kirchick seems to have no pride, so I doubt he’s bothered by his inane claim nor about the laughingstock it makes of himself and TNR.