The announcement has ignited a backlash and a campaign to get Josh fired, centered around a tweet he wrote on June 25th last year: "Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla – well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me." I'm glad to see that Josh apologized and clarified that it was intended as an expression of support for Israel's right to defend itself, using force if necessary. It was a callous way to make that argument, though, and although I don't have a ferocious position on Israel, I would not be "cool with" the situation posited. With that said, it strikes me as a stretch to call the specified tweet "incitement to murder". An additional charge, that Josh is a white supremacist, is silly. (For another perspective, see Seth Mandel at Commentary, among others.)
Josh's critics are obviously within their rights to argue with him, this being a free country and all, and if they want to attack him in more personal terms--well, he's probably not in a position to complain about manners. Still, I hope the campaign to get him fired fails. His views are different from mine in many respects, but he doesn't come by them glibly, and he is an ardent and informed advocate for them. (I thought his take on the Ryan pick, for example, makes an astute point about incumbency.) That is, of course, why I value his perspective and presumably this is why the Guardian hired him in the first place. Josh is certainly more abrasive than I am, which is partly because I'm not a partisan, and partly a temperamental difference. He doesn't mind a stampede, whereas I'm like this guy. When it comes to the public conversation, I would prefer it if people were always fair, broad-minded, and civil. Given that people on all sides occasionally fall short of that aspirational ideal, however, it's better to risk occasional offense than to circumscribe the discussion or live in an echo chamber.