An open letter to Ian Buruma

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Article/book #: 4225
Title: An open letter to Ian Buruma
By: Bret Stephens  
Published in: Jerusalem Post
Date of issue: Thursday, 4 September 2003
Topic(s) addressed: People/entities mentioned in this item:

  1. Refers to this article, by Ian Buruma in The New York Times

  2. This book by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt refers, on page 174, to this open letter
  3. This article by Philip Weiss in MondoWeiss refers to this open letter
  4. This article by Philip Weiss in MondoWeiss refers to this article
Commentary (by JB):

If Stephens's piece disappears, here is a cache This article used to be available here">.
This nasty example of Zionist smear-mongering and bullying refers to Buruma's piece, How to Talk About Israel. Stephens is a bit young (in his late 20s) for his position as editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post. Maybe the "exalted post" (the quotes are used because the JPost has degenerated into a right-wing rag) has gone to his head -- as well as defaming people like Paulin and the editors of this database, he seems not to know much about Ian Buruma or, even, the first name of Robert Fisk, one of the most prominent journalists writing about the Middle East in the English language.
But other people also have a low opinion of Stephens -- see this article

Dear Mr. Buruma: Are you a Jew?

For reasons somewhat obscure to me, this was the first question that sprang to mind while reading your article in last week's New York Times magazine, "How to Talk About Israel." Buruma is not an obviously Jewish name (neither is Stephens, for that matter), and what little I knew about you is that you'd written a great deal about Asia. I did remember a piece you wrote in The Guardian some time ago, when Tom Paulin accused you of having "Zionist credentials" and your answer was somewhat coy. Rightly so, I suppose. Paulin is an anti-Semite and he was accusing you, in effect, of "thinking like a Jew." Your answer, as I recall, was: Whether or not I'm a Jew, what possible difference does it make?

Still, I want to know: Are you a Jew? A Google search on "Buruma" and "Jew" brings me to an Irish website called "Palestine: Information with Provenance." There's a snapshot of you there, and above it a line that reads: AUTHOR CLASS: BRITISH JEW. The effect is sinister - sinister enough to make me wonder whether I'm badly out of line for asking if you're Jewish. Yet it doesn't really matter to me that some Irish Leftists have classed you in a way that would have done Eichmann proud. What matters to me is that you say, "I am a Jew."

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