The content of her character: Chloe Valdary responds to Richard Silverstein

On Saturday we commented on a racist Facebook update and Tweet by “liberal” Jewish blogger Richard Silverstein, which he posted in response to his apparent ‘outrage’ at a pro-Israel op-ed written by an African-American woman named Chloe Valdary.

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Chloe Valdary

Today in Times of Israel, Valdary published a new op-ed addressing Silverstein’s attack, and the broader issue of racism and anti-Zionism.

Here are some excerpts:

On February 22, a gentleman by the name of Richard Silverstein took considerable issue with an article I wrote in the The Times of Israel about the contentions of one Judith Butler, professor at the University of California, Berkley. I find Butler’s analysis regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict lamentably disagreeable.

Silverstein did not point out any possible faulty premises in my column. He did not question the evidence I presented. He did not find I was lacking in my analysis. Instead, to illustrate his (ahem) intellectual prowess, he shared a Facebook status linking to my column and in his commentary, wrote: “They finally did it: found a Negro Zionist: Uncle Tom is dancin’ for joy!

His intention is obvious: I am an African-American, and Silverstein believes that all African-Americans are monolithic. Indeed, he believes that because of my skin color, I must think, act, and behave in the certain way — a manner in which he perceives black people to be. Like the old white masters in the antebellum American South, Silverstein believes that he and his ilk alone can be the bearers of opinions which must be held by African-Americans. To think for oneself, to formulate an opinion independent of his consent — well now, this is unacceptable. The consequence is a verbal lashing on social media; an attack on my character because of my skin color, and because, I am, as he puts it, “a Negro,” who does not feel the need to make her analysis contingent upon his approbation.

Moreover, I am a Zionist. I am unabashedly pro-Israel, and a proponent of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their ancestral homeland. Silverstein is not a Zionist, and because I disagree with him —  like the old slave masters who believed that their view of the world was superior to and should be foisted upon the negro slaves — he contends that I am an “Uncle Tom” (a derogatory term meaning “house slave,” or one who is subservient and servile to white masters.).

I am certain that Silverstein does not comprehend the irony. After all, white supremacists tend to possess an astounding propensity for cognitive dissonance. It isn’t evident to Silverstein that to assert that a human being must, by virtue of her skin color, behave in a certain manner, is itself prejudicial and bigoted. Silverstein is judging me on the color of my skin, not on the content of my character, or rather, the content of my treatise.

Silverstein [a ‘Comment is Free’ contributor] inverts terms, making them devoid of any meaning, all the while having the temerity to believe his musings are erudite, when in point of fact they are ludicrous, and contributory to the cause of mass homicide. That such obscene characters are given license to spew nonsense in prominent newspapers like The Guardian, I find lamentable

You can read the rest of her essay, titled ‘In Defense of Liberty’, here.

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