I BET HE WANTS TO MASSACRE THE ANTI-ZIONIST JEWS TOO

Over at the Corner, Mark Steyn links the story of one (yes, one) protester yelling “slaughter the Jews” at Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister and smirks

But don’t worry. I’m sure it’s only “anti-Zionist.”

Besides humor (failed), what is Steyn’s point here? Maybe the “slaughter” guy can’t distinguish between the country Israel and the Jewish people. I can. Most Jews can, including the ones who live in Israel. Can Mark Steyn? (More in this vein here)

Meanwhile, Steyn’s corner colleague John Derbyshire (the Marty Peretz of the National Review is defending Tom Tancredo’s call for literacy tests at the polls. But don’t worry. I’m sure it’s only “literacy supremacism.”

BIGOTS IN ABUNDANCE?

James Traub, in his Times Mag piece on ADL head Abe Foxman, notes that

Foxman upset many of his colleagues by extending a welcome to Christian conservatives, whose leaders tended to be strongly pro-Israel even as they spoke in disturbing terms of America’s “Christian” identity.

True that. Brings to mind the Zionist Organization of America’s decision to honor Pat Robertson with a “State of Israel Fellowship Award.” Abe Foxman at the time demurred that “He’s not deserving, but I have no objections to other groups honoring him.” This despite Robertson having literally written the book on how Jews conspired with Free Masons and Illuminati to engineer the major wars in American history in order to manipulate the global market (Norman Podhoretz argued at the time that that kind of antisemitism was rendered irrelevant by Robertson’s Zionism just as in the Talmud a tiny bit of treif can’t render a huge kosher vat no longer kosher). Robertson went on to raise the ire of the ADL, which had previously highlighted some of his rantings with concern, when he suggested that Ariel Sharon’s strike was punishment from God.

Perhaps the most telling piece of Traub’s article is this exchange:

I asked if it was really right to call Carter, the president who negotiated the Camp David accords, an anti-Semite.

“I didn’t call him an anti-Semite.”

“But you said he was bigoted. Isn’t that the same thing?”

“No. ‘Bigoted’ is you have preconceived notions about things.”

The argument that the Israel lobby constricted debate was itself bigoted, he said.

“But several Jewish officials I’ve talked to say just that.”

“They’re wrong.”

“Are they bigoted?”

Foxman didn’t want to go there. He said that he had never heard any serious person make that claim.

This is the Abe Foxman worldview. Intellectual and/or moral serious equals the belief that the pro-Likud lobbying infrastructure exercises no pressure on the scope of the Israel debate in this country. Concern about the role of that lobby (unlike, say, concern about the role of the NRA) in shaping public perceptions and policy outcomes equals bigotry. And acceptance of Jews equals support for the actions of the current Israeli government.

This despite the ADL’s own research showing antisemitism declining in Europe at the same time that “anti-Israel” sentiment rises. As my friend Jacob Remes wrote at the time,

Abe Foxman, while hailing European governments that have worked to differentiate Israel from Jews, fails to do so himself and continues to equate the two.

ANDREW SULLIVAN: NOT A JEW (AFTER ABRAMOFF, WHAT’D WE DO?)

Andrew Sullivan probably expected to turn heads with the first paragraph of this TNR piece on the Foley fallout. But perhaps the weirdest sentence is in the second one:

Gay men, of course, went into a defensive crouch. Like Jews watching the Abramoff scandal, we winced at what we knew would be a collective blame-game.

Say what?

I’m all for a good simile. But actual Jews did watch the actual Abramoff scandal, and not only wasn’t there a “collective blame-game” targeting Jews, “we” didn’t brace ourselves for one either. Did we?

Look, I’ll be the first to acknowledge I’ve spent most of my life in parts of the US with disproportionately little antisemitism (maybe excepting the time Sean Hannity’s niece told me Yale “is basically all Jews at this point, right?”). But the idea that Jews as a community saw Jack Abramoff in the news and started worrying about an antisemitic surge is just spurious.

Sure, Abramoff embodies certain hateful stereotypes about Jews, and Foley embodies certain hateful stereotypes about gay men. But the difference is that blatant antisemitism marginalizes you in American public life. Blatant homophobia doesn’t.

I’m sure you could have heard one Jew crouching somewhere over Abramoff in the news. After Jim McGreevey came out and resigned, I remember a few folks I knew worrying that a story about a governor having a same-sex affair with an Israeli would enflame antisemitism across the country. Those were the same ones who got ganza shpilkes whenever a new article came out about the New Jersey Rabbi charged with homicide. But everyone else – Jews included – saw it as a story about closeted married men, corrupt New Jersey politicos, or both.

Consider the press releases put out by major organs of the conservative movement blaming homosexuality for the Foley fracas. Now try to picture such groups putting out a press release blaming Judaism for the Abramoff scandal.

The leaders in the conservative coalition who feel that way do a better job hiding their antisemitism.

Recently I linked an EUMC report demonstrating that the rise is antisemitism in Europe comes from right-wing whites, not left-wing Arabs. Now Jacob considers another report, this one comissioned by the ADL itself, which challenges Abe Foxman view of the world and the subtext of his fundraising appeals:

Antisemitism decreases in Europe; Abe Foxman confused. The JTA’s Toby Axelrod reports on an ADL survey of Europeans that shows a significant decrease in antisemitism. At the same time, anti-Israel feeling increased. Abe Foxman, while hailing European governments that have worked to differentiate Israel from Jews, fails to do so himself and continues to equate the two.

Gregg Easterbrook’s recently found himself at the center of a controversy around charges that comments he made on his site about movie violence and Jewish studio executives demonstrated antisemitism. As I made clear in an exchange with Josh Cherniss this summer, I tend as a Jew to try to cultivate a healthy
skepticism of that charge – it’s an ugly one, those who deploy it too easily risk both defaming those who don’t deserve it and lessening the weight of the charge against deserved targets. This looks to me pretty clearly like a case of choosing words poorly and missing the implications they held for someone else reading them. But what struck me in this case is not the unfairness of the charge, but one particular and problematic line used in defense:

From Josh Chafetz:
GREGG EASTERBROOK IS MOST EMPHATICALLY NOT AN ANTI-SEMITE. It would be impossible to work at TNR and be anti-semitic…

From Andrew Sullivan:

He has worked for many years at The New Republic, testimony in itself that he is hardly anything even close to anti-Semitic.

I’m not sure which problematic argument is being advanced here:
That someone who works for an “enlightened,” respectable publication could not be antisemitic?
That someone who works with many Jewish coworkers could not be antisemitic?
That someone who works for a magazine that staunchly supported the war in Iraq could not be antisemitic?

Lemme know what I’m missing. Otherwise, it seems to me that Sullivan and Chafetz reached the right conclusion for awful reasons. This brings me back to Norman Podheretz’ execrable argument that under the Talmudic principle of bitul b’shishim, Pat Robertson’s advancement of the theory that Jews had collaborated with free masons and Illuminati to cause every war in American history by controlling the international monetary system could be excused because of his support for the Israeli Government – and the ADL‘s decision to give Robertson an award. I have no reason to believe that Pat Robertson couldn’t have gotten himself a gig with the New Republic in his heyday if he really wanted one – or that if he did, he would become any less prejudiced.