Across the Wide Missouri: Let me just say that anyone who says that Leon Wieseltier knows anything about what good English prose is is lying.

Consider this rhetorical joke:

Leon Wieseltier: Responds to Michael Oren on Israel and American Jews: But long before Netanyahu’s revolting last-minute demagoguery about Palestinians and Israeli Arabs during his recent campaign for reelection, it was perfectly clear to me that he will never preside over the establishment of a Palestinian state, which in my view is the very condition of the survival of a Jewish state; that he has no interest in the moral dimensions of Israel’s coexistence with Arabs and Palestinians (the Other, indeed!) and will poison Israel’s relations with its citizens and its neighbors if it suits his political purposes; that he prefers military solutions to diplomatic solutions and is utterly lacking in diplomatic imagination; that he regards Israel’s isolation not as a strategic threat but as a moral victory, as a proof of its righteousness; that he has promoted fear from an empirical response to actual dangers into a philosophy of history, and thereby diminished his country’s sense of historical possibility; that he will pander to the darkest forces of Israeli reaction, secular and religious, to advance himself.

Substantively, it was fine — if late to the party by decades.

But to write that as one sentence is simply the act of a rhetorical idiot, no?

I would suggest — and I am somebody whose sentences are usually twice as long as they should be:

Long before Netanyahu’s revolting last-minute demagoguery during his recent campaign for reelection about Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, it was perfectly clear to me that he will never preside over the establishment of a Palestinian state. Yet establisment of such a state is, in my view, the very condition of the survival of a Jewish state. It was also perfectly clear to me that:
  • he has no interest in the moral dimensions of Israel’s coexistence with Arabs and Palestinians (the Other, indeed!);
  • if it suits his political purposes, he will poison Israel’s relations with its citizens and its neighbors;
  • he prefers military solutions to diplomatic solutions;
  • he is utterly lacking in diplomatic imagination;
  • he regards Israel’s isolation as a proof of its righteousness, not as a strategic threat but as a moral victory;
  • he has promoted fear from an empirical response to actual dangers to a philosophy of history;
  • he has thereby diminished his country’s sense of historical possibility; and
  • he will pander to the darkest forces of Israeli reaction — secular and religious — to advance himself.

Tell me: what was so great about the intellectual caliber of the Old New Republic again?