You ran two embarrassingly illogical letters critiquing my “integrity,” but providing no evidence that I lack such. So let me just point out why these attacks are so false, and, had they been from more serious critics, why they would have been quite offensive.
The two claim that in my defense of Ron Smith that I point out that he associated with and had many Jewish friends. They find that proof of the disingenuousness of my case, although, of course, I made other arguments, such as the absence of any evidence of anti-Semitism in Ron’s life whatsoever.
The disparagement of the “some of my best friends” argument appeals to superficial critics because they don’t ask themselves whether a def-ense against anti-Semitism in any particular case provides a better answer. If it is actually the case that a person surrounds himself or herself with Jewish people, it is not dispositive, but it is some evidence of a lack of hostility against those of the Jewish faith. Again, in combination with the absence of (any) evidence, accusations of anti-Semitism are the refuge of cowardly critics. It’s always important to research your opinions.
One of my critics “refutes” my def-ense against charges of racism against Ron by pointing out that some of his African-American supporters are conservative. Brilliant. He then speculates that I may be unethical in my scholarship. I’ll let readers judge the evidentiary basis for that calumny.
The other critic calls me an “alibi Jew.” Nice. Good substantive disagreement.
I hope the quality of your readership is not evidenced by these letters. I have already received communications assuring me it is not.
Hope they’re right.
Richard E. Vatz