Sunday, January 08, 2017

Nat Hentoff, dead

I have been reading Nat Hentoff for years but not necessarily with admiration or approval.  I have always thought that his stances on civil liberties and foreign policy are wishy washy at best.  And as people may become more courageous and outspoken over time, Hentoff becomes less outspoken and less courageous.  He was rather critical of the Israeli invasion of 1982 (how much courage does it take to oppose an invasion which managed to massacre at least 20,000 Lebanese, Palestinians, and Syrians in a matter of a few months, really?) and he has criticized repressive "tendencies" of American Zionists on a few occasions.  But he was also keen on not breaking with Zionism and Zionists.  His comments were always tempered and qualified.  But most importantly, this is a man who championed US Bush invasion of Iraq in 2003 and never apologized for it.  He became more establishment and less courageous over time.  He was certainly more outspoken when I first came to US when he was still at the Village Voice, if I remember correctly.  I mean, I accept his stance on abortion but this was not his only inconsistency.