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The Hitler Test

The strongest evidence that the taboo against anti-Semitism is being eroded is the fact that obvious forms of verbal abuse are tolerated—even justified

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Sounding Off

Note to some of my fellow progressives: If we can’t argue about Israel without using anti-Semitic tropes, then the debate is lost before it even begins

Framed

Robert D. Kaplan’s deification of John J. Mearsheimer in The Atlantic last week shows that the authors of The Israel Lobby are winning

Why is it that no one bats an eyelash when a former United States national security adviser says, “The Israelis have a lot of influence with Congress, and in some cases they are able to buy influence”? Last week in an interview, Zbigniew Brzezinski accused the government of Israel of a crime. If he has evidence that Israeli officials have broken the law by bribing U.S. politicians, law enforcement authorities should compel him to produce it. But of course Brzezinski’s not really talking about Israelis. What he means is that American Jews have subverted the interests of the United States on behalf of a foreign power.

You don’t need to know much about history to recognize that Brzezinski here is trading in a classic anti-Semitic trope. Why didn’t his Salon interviewer call him out on it? Why hasn’t anyone else? Where are the American elites—the intellectuals, writers, policymakers, and political activists—when it comes to vigilance against anti-Semitism?

The editors of magazines and newspapers have a responsibility as gatekeepers of polite society. It turns out the gatekeepers haven’t been vigilant. We live in a culture where the social taboo against anti-black racism is so fierce that violating the taboo means certain expulsion from polite company. But the very reverse process is taking place when it comes to anti-Semitism: The taboo is being rapidly eroded, and those who ought to confront it are enabling it.

***

Israel Firsters, dual loyalists, Likudniks, ziocons, neocon warmongers—in the wake of the Holocaust, such anti-Semitic rhetoric would have been unimaginable. Yet it became commonplace little more than half a century later at the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003. Midlevel George W. Bush Administration officials with Jewish-sounding last-names—Wolfowitz, Abrams, Feith, and the rest of their neocon cabal—were accused of dual loyalty, sending American boys to die for the sake of the country that had their true devotion: Israel. According to this theory, administration principals like Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, and the president—policymakers with actual decision-making power—were merely instruments in the control of vast Zionist networks that were also manipulating the media and financial industries.

This theory reached full bloom in 2007, when Farrar, Straus and Giroux, one of America’s most esteemed publishing houses, handed the political scientists John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt a $750,000 advance for their book The Israel Lobby. As my colleague Adam Kirsch pointed out last week, the book’s impact was massive because it made it possible to say almost anything about Jewish money, and Jewish power, and the Jewish state. Walt and Mearsheimer’s thesis was praised as bracing, and to question their motives or their ideas was to traffic in McCarthyism. And so the book’s argument earned respect.

Today that discourse has made its way into a Washington-based think tank with close ties to the Obama Administration. Last month, the Center for American Progress found itself in the middle of controversy when some contributors to the organization’s Think Progress blog were accused of writing posts and Tweets that were out-and-out anti-Semitic. One blogger, Zaid Jilani, used the term “Israel firsters” to describe pro-Israel Obama donors. “Waiting 4 hack pro-Dem blogger to use this 2 sho Obama is still beloved by Israel-firsters and getting lots of their $$.”

American Jewish groups were incensed. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Washington Post that, “The language is corrosive and unacceptable.” Jilani left the organization and apologized for using the term, but his colleagues remain, only slightly chastened.

CAP’s chief of staff Ken Gude explained in response to the criticism that, “We have a zero-tolerance policy for racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, or any form of discrimination.” However, it would seem that Think Progress’ bloggers were well-suited to the general temperament of the organization. The problem isn’t just CAP-sponsored ephemera like blogs and tweets, but its more significant offerings relating to the Middle East, like its massive research project on Islamophobia. On Page 94 of that study, for instance, the authors take issue with the Middle East Media Research Institute, founded by Israelis. “MEMRI is respected in some circles for its work to combat hate language and anti-Semitism, but it is also criticized for its selective translations. The institute contends that it highlights moderate Muslim voices on its Reform blog. Yet MEMRI’s selective translations of Arab media fan the flames of Islamophobia.”

How do the Jews who run this translation organization promote Islamophobia, according to CAP? By translating the opinions of those who want to persecute and kill Jews. Try fitting this twisted reasoning into Gude’s zero-tolerance policy against any form of discrimination: Women’s rights groups stir up male hatred by collecting statistics of violence against women; the NAACP fans the flames of racism because it advocates on behalf of equal rights for African-Americans.

***

The root of this problem is not a twentysomething blogger writing something stupid on the Internet. Rather, it is that anti-Semitic rhetoric and logic are being protected and justified by those who are supposed to be gatekeepers. These people, often in the service of their larger political aims, are willing to apologize for or ignore what is obviously Jew-baiting and Jew-hatred.

Consider, for example, Robert Wright’s take on the CAP affair in a blog post at The Atlantic he titled “How to Smear a Washington Think Tank.” “I’m not Jewish,” writes the best-selling author, “so I always feel awkward weighing in on the question of what constitutes anti-Semitism.” What an odd statement. Presumably Wright, who is also not African-American, feels no such qualms about weighing in one what constitutes racism.

For Wright and so many others, anti-Semitism now seems to fall into a special category of prejudice. In this instance, you need to be Jewish to have an opinion. Instead of enforcing the limits, the limits are erased, making phrases like “Israel Firster” acceptable. The next step is to have that move validated by Jews who may not be interested in promoting anti-Semitism but are eager to push a separate political agenda that in order to silence opponents requires dirty tricks, including the use of anti-Semitic tropes. That’s the reason Wright cites an Israeli who appeared alongside him in a recent edition of the Internet debate forum Bloggingheads and who explains that the criticism of CAP is similar to the way his own Israel-based organization has been treated.

J Street’s founder Jeremy Ben-Ami chalked up the CAP blogger’s anti-Semitic rhetoric to mere semantics. “The use of the term ‘Israel Firster’ is a bad choice of words,” wrote Ben-Ami, but in his opinion it’s not really anti-Semitic. On the J Street website, he advised “American Jews and communal leaders [not to] overreach with charges of anti-Semitism in incidents like this. When real anti-Semitism actually rears its ugly head, people will be far less likely to listen.”

Apparently, Ben-Ami has postulated some sort of acid test in order to discern “real” anti-Semitism. The bar has been set so high that just about anyone can clear it, so long as they’re not a brown-shirt, neo-Nazi, or Klansman. Say whatever you will about the Jews, and we’ll give it a pass, so long as it meets the Hitler test. According to this standard, if someone wants to eliminate the Jewish state, then they’re just an anti-Zionist. It’s only when that sentiment comes from someone wearing a swastika and who has the resources to slaughter Jews wholesale that they’ve crossed the threshold into “real” anti-Semitism. Otherwise, raising a fuss makes you just the little boy who cried anti-Semitism.

This isn’t how the world works. Americans’ sensitivity to racist language directed at African-Americans has not made Americans insensitive to “real” anti-black racism. Rather it has made us scrupulous about our language, and subsequently our beliefs and practices have come to reflect, if not wholly fulfill, the promises embodied in this country’s founding documents.

What makes people insensitive to racism is when American political and intellectual elites refuse to confront racist language. The use of phrases like “Israel Firster” and “dual loyalist” that are based on anti-Semitic tropes is anti-Semitic. So is the belief that Jews fan the flames of hatred for discussing the opinions of those who hate them. What is even more vile than the anti-Semitic language impugning the political motives of pro-Israel American Jews is someone like Ben-Ami crying foul when those Jews object to being slandered as disloyal. In effect, the message is, don’t defend yourselves against the calumnies heaped upon you, Jews, because the more noise you make the more trouble there will be for you in the long run.

No doubt there are some in the Jewish community who would prefer that I—who, like Wright, am not Jewish—stay out of what they perceive to be essentially an intramural debate. Tough luck. This is not just about the Jews. Anti-Semitic ideas and language corrode our entire social fabric. It is my business. And there is something wrong with anyone, especially those who are not Jewish, who thinks this isn’t their problem as well.

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Israel firster is not a dirty word.

I think we read different accounts of what Mr. Brzezinski said Mr. Smith.

http://www.salon.com/2012/01/20/zbig_israelis_bought_influence_and_outmaneuvered_obama/

Bravo, Lee Smith!

Lynne T says:

No Jules: it’s two words spoken in a particular order that is an anti-Semetic slur, but trust a jackass like you to be oblivious to that.

It astonishes that Brzezinski, who has never concealed a devotion to his country of birth, Poland, and who has fought admirably on its behalf–particularly going to Moscow to ask for formal acknowledgement of Russia’s responsibility for the Katyn Massacre–is so quick to make accusations about alleged American Jewish influence over foreign policy.

Applying Brzezinski’s own criteria for responsible citizenship, his testimony before Congress urging NATO to extend membership to countries formally under the sway of Russian influence, after the breakup of Soviet Union, would appear highly suspect. Was it in America’s interest to rekindle Cold War hostilities after the end of a 75-year-old conflict in which democratic capitalism prevailed? To undermine Russian democrats and burnish the nationalist credentials of Vladimir Putin?

Robert Wright says:

Mr. Smith–
Your reference to my piece on The Atlantic about the CAP affair [http://bit.ly/wxdZvY ]would leave the naive reader under the impression that in the piece I defended the use of the term ‘Israel firster’. That is in fact not the case. Should your conscience compel you to add a clarification to your piece, I wouldn’t object.
Thank you,
Robert Wright

MeMyself says:

Concerning the Jewish neocons of the Bush administration, I would note that few maintained any connection with the Jewish community at-large, unless it served their political agendas. Wolfowitz was known as an Arabist before he tried to sell the Iraq war as good for Israel. That’s why the majority of the American Jewish community paid him no heed.

Also note the then confidential conversations between Bush and the Israeli PM Sharon, which have now become public. Sharon advised Bush NOT to go into Iraq!

But these facts are of no importance to the anti-Semites.

“For Wright and so many others, anti-Semitism now seems to fall into a special category of prejudice.”

I have to say that I agree that anti-Semitism falls into a special category of prejudice. Unfortunately, it seems like anti-Semitism is tolerated in polite society in ways that other prejudices are not.

Once again Lee Smith demonstrates that reality has but a tentative and fleeting foothold within the minds of the paranoid far right. Of the terms he provides as “Commonplace” – “Israel Firsters, dual loyalists, Likudniks, ziocons, neocon warmongers” – only one, the last, is something I have come across in common parlance, and it refers to the people – Jewish, non-Jewish, American and European – who supported the unjustified and illegal Bush Wars of the past decade which profoundly and perhaps irrevocably undermined the security and interests of the US and Israel.

Marty Janner says:

For some reason the commenters have forgotten the dual issue,which was so prevalent during the years of 30′s and 40′s!

These were the years, I was growing up. The current voices of hate for our President, has only brought this back! I can understand a less knowledgable person capitalizing! I would suggest that those so virulent, relative to our President temper their tone, as to eliminate the fuel, they are providing!

Thank you, Lee Smith!

It is interesting that you track mainstream acceptance of anti-semitism from 2003, with an anger against neo-cons and Iraq war. But why 2003? You show that people had not many reasons to blame Jews for Iraq war, because the ones who made decisions were not Jews. So, what happened that made it acceptable to blame Jews for everything? Is it possible that the culture changed on 9/11/2001, when people started blaming Jews for Muslim hatred toward America? Ben Laden made himself heard, and the people listened.

Debrarae says:

This doesn’t surprise me because BOTH LIBerals and LIBetarians are doing this!

And when I as a conservative Jew, point this out; I’m told to GET OVER IT!

I’m also told that I’m not a TRUE American. And that I am a RACE and not a RELIGION!

This is Antisemitism. And I will NOT get over it, or PUT UP WITH IT!

JCarpenter says:

So to question Sheldon Adelson’s millions-plus donation to Newt Gingrich’s campaign is to become anti-semitic? Casino money, a philandering opportunist hypocrite—just the type of support Israel needs.

VHJM van Neerven says:

Jules, I read the same as Mr. Smith read via the link you so friendly provided. I’l give the quote more extensively here, in order for you to be able to tell us what the difference is between what Lee Smith and I read, and what you read.

“In a telephone interview from his office at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., Brzezinski has both praise and criticism for the president: “He was an improvement by a very large score over his predecessor, but he could have been better.” He thinks the Obama administration ‘should have stuck to its guns in promoting a fair settlement’ in the Middle East. A longtime foe of Israel’s partisans in the United States, he says the Obama team ‘fumbled by getting outmaneuvered by the Israelis.’ Then he gets blunter: ‘Domestic politics interceded: The Israelis have a lot of influence with Congress, and in some cases they are able to buy influence.’

I clearly read “Israelis” twice and there is no reason to assume that the earlier “Israel’s partisans in the United States” qualifies the former term. That would really stretch the limits of grammar and syntax.
Now we all assume that quotation marks denote an exact repetition of what was said. Even so, I keep an open mind to the possibility that Jordan Michael Smith, the Salon article’s author, used a very inauspicious shorthand for what Mr. Brzezinski actually said. It was, after all, a telephone interview and not every reporter uses ‘tape’.
Too often I have to witness (and protest!) this confounding of “Jew” and “Israeli.”
Or could it be that you, Jules, suffer from the confusion this causes, so that now you use the same inauspiciously confounded meaning so fitting your critique?

I must agree with David against Lee Smith.
I can see no anti-semitism in the terms “neocon warmongers” and “likudnik” in, of or by themselves.

Yours,
VHJM

Re: Zbig, scratch a Pole…

Re: Zbig, scratch a Pole….

For the most part I agree with Lee Smith’s main point, but he makes a complex problem look simple. For example his citation of the Brzezinski quote. “The Israelis have a lot of influence with Congress” is a true statement. It is also true that we have the best Congress money can buy and lots of people buy influence there–not through open bribery but through campaign contributions. Where Brzezinski really engages in Antisemitism is in the implication that only the Israelis/Jews do so, not in claiming that we have or sometimes buy influence.

So what do we do? All of this talk about what is happening and no suggestions about action. I commend you and anyone else who brings this to light but we need to do something if the words “never again” are to ring true.

Interesting points. But is the image of Hitler over this article really necessary? Do we really need to bring him into this discussion?

To understand Brzinski’s antisemitism you have to look at his track record of “dissent,” rather than just one incident. He’s had a long stream of actions and deeds that seem to show an obsession with Israel and Jewish control.

One comment of his that went largely ignored was after the wikileaks memos were dumped. One curious result of these frank memos coming to light was that Israel came off looking pretty good; namely, there were none of the smoking guns that Israel-critics assured us would be there, and instead much of the duplicity of Israel’s foes was exposed.

Once these documents came to light, Brzinski made a rather strange comment. He said something to the effect of “the release of the wikileaks documents may likely be controlled by a foreign government looking to promulgate self-serving propaganda.”

That comment blew me away at the time, and yet it was apparently never followed up on.

Combine Brzinski’s paranoia and mistrust of Jews with his lobbying for certain Eastern European groups (as mentioned by a commenter above) and a certain kind of picture emerges.

I think the important thing is recognizing how your use of Hitler and other propaganda tactics are having less and less effect. People see thru this tactic more and more and it no longer intimidates.You are loosing control of the discourse and I must say it is fun to watch.

USA had never had so many failures as it did during time when Mr. Brzezinski was “adviser” to President Carter. Iran, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (and consequently Bin laden and Al-Qaida), Nicaragua, Angola, Ethiopia… just few of his “great” advises. So, if he is looking for people who do the most harm to USA he should at the mirror.

MonkFish says:

A timely article. As a Franco-Brit I’ve been exposed to overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist and, yes, frequently anti-Semitic arguments in the media since the beginning Al Aqsa intifada. It seems the US is becoming more European in this respect. What makes me worry more about the US is the existence of a far stronger extreme right (of which Ron Paul is the semi-respectable face) which is currently conniving with the anti-Israel left to mainstream Jew hatred.

Thanks for shedding light on Brzezinski’s reaction to wikileaks Dave. Many on the anti-Zionist far-right and far-left (they are almost indistinguishable now) were disappointed when the cables proved that the most active warmongers in the ME were not the Israelis but rather Saudi and the Emirates. This is proof of Brzezinski’s adherence to the dogmatic and increasingly anti-semitic “Israel lobby” conspiracy theory.

Robert Wright, the co-founder of the otherwise excellent Bloggingheads.tv video blog website, is a naive and blithely utopian proponent of the withdrawal of sovereignty from and ultimate disenfranchisement of Israeli Jews through democratic means (the one state solution). While by no means an anti-Semite, he has persistently advocated the dismantlement of a foreign state (to my knowledge, the only UN member whose abolition he seeks) against the democratic wishes of its citizens and the mountains of evidence showing that such a “solution” would be hugely detrimental to all parties involved (except, perhaps, Hamas). A former Bloggingheads fan, I stopped visiting the website due to a disproportionate focus on Israeli political and society ills to the neglect of other pressing international issues.

Robert Wright has a very Manichean (Israel bad, Palestine good) and apolitical understanding of the conflict which places all the burden on the Israeli side. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that he should seek to whitewash the insalubrious side of “one state” advocacy.

Ultimately, Jew-hatred is a refutation of Enlightenment ideals and, as such, is a refutation of Modernity.
Classic anti-semetic tropes, like all memes, are persistent, virulent and difficult to dislodge once introduced.

Steven says:

Jules: Yes it is a dirty word – and so is the intention in how it is used.

I see we have the usual troll patrol of bigoted no brainers. Incisive as always. Two dimensional thinking at its very peak best.

Hank Essay says:

Of course, Lee Smith has refuted what is actually wrong about this statement:

“The Israelis have a lot of influence with Congress, and in some cases they are able to buy influence”?

Is he actually denying this is not true? What planet is he on?

Hank Essay says:

I should correct that to read, “Of course, Lee Smith has NOT refuted what is actually wrong with the statement” that began his essay….So, I’ll repeat:

What is wrong about it? Is it really not true?

Hank Essay, your point is direct, and what is more, useful and honest argument, unadorned and absent of baroque stutters and unthinking excuse, it is more directly to the point and appreciated.

Bill Pearlman says:

Brezinki is a Polish anti-semite of the “old school. Always has been, always will be.

Bill you have no evidence upon which to draw that wild and frivolous conclusion. None.

Jules says:
7:14 AM

“Israel firster is not a dirty word.”

Jules stayed up all night to be the first poster. As usual his comment justified and excused antisemitism.

He has in the past here quoted Iranian and Hezbollah sources.

Jules is an Iranian firster.

Jeff Blankfort says:

No one called Zbiggy out for what he said for one simple reason. Everyone in Washington, including you know that it’s true. Tom Friedman said the same thing in his NYT Column, ‘Congress is bought and sold by the Israel lobby.’

Does anyone in their right mind believe that Netanyahu received 29 standing ovations from Congress because they love him or Israel, although indeed some of them do, but I would suggest the majority are more akin to the behavior of what one “pro-Israel” member told Morton Kondracke at TNR in August, 1989, that it was not of love for Israel that there is no debate over US aid, but that you don’t want to wake up the next morning and find that your opponent has a $500,000 war chest to run against you.’

This debate, except at its fringes, has nothing to do with antisemitism so please leave Hitler images out of it or you’ll end up looking ridiculous.

MonkFish says:

Jeff, I challenge you to provide one piece of hard evidence that either Likud or AIPAC has bribed Congress. If you have access to internal AIPAC memos or congressional communiques I suggest you hand them over to the relevant authorities immediately. Bribing a congressman is a federal crime and should not be taken lightly. If, on the other hand, all you have is rumour, insinuation and a distaste for Israel, then at least have the decency not to defame your democratically elected representatives.

AIPAC is the gadfly in the process and running of judicious, just, and even handed foreign policies that are good for all Americans.

A principle of balance has been lost to ambitious backward minded neoconservatives and Israel admirers too blindly ardent in their admiration of Israel and who are simplistically and slavishly unwilling to adjust to a world where Israel is not the only partner we as Americans have in the Mid East. Uncritical attitudes are deeply disastrous to Israel’s interests as well and most particularly to those of the US.

Civility is fragile. 9/11 unleashed the dark animal fears and hatred toward “others”. Muslim terrorists are winning by reducing civilized society to their level, making latent, hidden anti-Semitism acceptable again. Liberals gladly support any totalitarian ideology. They loved Stalin and Mao, now they are happy to go along with Islamists. Bush helped Osama by pandering to Islam, “Religion of Peace”. Our current president made this animal hatred the cornerstone of his foreign policy, blaming Israel (and Jews, of course) for all the evil in the world.

Mr. Monkfish–
You will not find legally sound evidence that congresspersons were bribed, and more than you find evidence that Newt Gingrinch registered as a lobbyist.
It is easy to establish a quid pro quo without leaving evidence that the payment was ONLY for that service (see million dollar historical advice).
Campaign contributions are not legally bribes unless there is direct evidence that the elected representatives made a specific agreement to cast a vote in exchange for that contribution; that the contribution would not have otherwise been given.
That’s the difference between influence peddling and bribery.

MonkFish says:

pkb

Exactly, and in the absence of hard evidence and a thoroughgoing official or journalistic investigation into AIPAC lobbying (one which, for instance, compares AIPAC’s Washington’s activities with those of other lobbies, whether Arab, Armenian or Cuban to determine if there is anything unusual about AIPACs practices) all we have is rumour, insinuation and innuendo. I for one believe a charge as serious and potentially damaging to the reputation of Israel and American Jews as “they bought congress” (an expression that taps into centuries of anti-semitic fantasies about jewish money and jewish “cabals”) should be shored up by FACTS. What Friedman, Walt and Mearsheimer have done is put out a theory whose credibility rests almost entirely on the biases and prejudices of the ill-informed public. AIPAC/Likud must be guilty because Obama isn’t twisting Israel’s arms, goes the theory. A crass simplification of the complex set of relationships and calculations behind policy in Israel and the US. Just because standards of academic writing are so abysmally low today doesn’t mean we throw all norms of evidence out the window. I strongly suspect the popularity of this accusation is entirely due to the willingness of people to find whatever explanation fits their particular set of anti-Jewish or anti-Israel prejudices, not its empirical validity.

All pacs should be extracted and redacted from American politics period end of story.

mommadona says:

I watched a young American woman run down by an Israeli bulldozer. For just standing there, in protest, in front of it.

I like your Israel. I do not like your Zionists zealots. They are so unlike your Israel.

Look in the mirror. Closely.

MonkFish says:

Jules

Perhaps you’d like to repeal the first amendment too? PACs aren’t the problem. The huge amounts of money sloshing about in the system is, as well as earmarks, ideologically strident pressure groups and the apathy and small-mindedness of the average voter. The entire system needs a re-haul but no one wants to think seriously about how this can be accomplished. At the end of the day, it’s at lot easier to parrot “The Nation” or “Stormfront” and rail against shadowy Jewish money and Jewish influence. Now that’s something you know about Jules, ain’t it?

PACs are the problem all over the place. They’re in political campaigns in how business works in government everywhere you turn there is a PAC sapping true democracy away and making it a mockery in every conceivable way each and every single day.

They’ve got to go.

Frank Messmann says:

The claim of “dual loyalty” cannot be cavalierly dismissed. It is not a baseless charge. Would the neocons around President Bush such as Perle, Wolfowitz, Wurmser, Feith and Abrams, for example, have been so eager for war if they thought that Iraq was Israel’s friend?

I don’t know how much financial support Obama is getting from Jewish voters these days, but it is public knowledge that Sheldon Adelson and his wife have given at least $10 million to the Super Pac supporting Newt Gingrich. One might conclude that Mr. Adelson will have more influence in a Gingrich administration than virtually any other voter in the country. If Gingrich doesn’t win on Tuesday, my guess is that Adelson will be sending millions Romney’s way. If you can’t be the King or the President, it is good to at least be a billionaire.

The goodwill that Israel enjoyed in years past in the US and some other countries is rapidly being eroded by the settler movement and by actions of hard right influential American Jews such as Adelson. Read the story about the Migron West Bank settlement here:

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/28/146024083/israeli-outpost-pits-courts-vs-government

Sheldon Adelson has gifted Gingrich twice with a cool five million the first time and an additional five million the second.

yidishkind says:

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/27/10249298-gingrich-funder-isnt-trying-to-buy-the-presidency-aide-says Reading this article on Tablet followed by this article on MSNBC will make one’s head spin and will make many question whether we are all living on the same planet. We have a leading presidential candidate being given 10 million dollars by an American who said that he’s ashamed to have served in the US military and not the Israeli. And according to Mr. Smith quoting him accurately (even without interpreting the quote to its logical conclusion) is anti-Semitic. Hmmm

Mr. Smith is an anti-Arab bigot and a garden variety neoconservative in my most humble opinion.

Robert says:

To be fair here.
If Soros and his family gave Obama $10 million that would be legal too. And nobody would say Soros was “buying” the Presidency. Let’s just keep it real here.

Keep millionaire money out of politics or at least lower the ceiling on campaign contributions. Things are just getting absurd. I’d like a president for once who as Ann Richards remarked wasn’t born with a “silver spoon in his mouth.”

jacob arnon says:

“Mr. Smith is an anti-Arab bigot and a garden variety neoconservative in my most humble opinion.”

The pro Hezbollah Jew hater Jules calls Lee
Smith a bigot; that’s rich.

bpete1969 says:

Monk,
I was going to respond to your first post but then saw where you stated PACs aren’t the problem.
PAC money is nothing more than a legal bribe and you may not agree with the term bribe but that’s exactly what they are. If it wasn’t, the PAC’s wouldn’t spend their money. I did a quick search and found the most recent amounts. I realize that AIPAC doesn’t directly contribute to campaigns but they do have connected PAC’s which are directed to give their money to certain people in certain amounts. Here’s the link…quite a hefty amount of influence.

http://maplight.org/us-congress/interest/J5100/view/all

bpete1969 says:

Monk,
I forgot to say that this site is pretty good for researching the questions you ask about other groups as well. When the page loads, re-click on the interest groups tab and it will take you to the page where the groups are listed. Also at the bottom of that initial page is a link to opensecrets.org..another good site.

jacob you’re lying again in the most delirious and insanely dispicable way of which you are able and willful in doing.

bpete 1969, I agree precisely with what you are saying.

ronald says:

how can you possibly deny the existence of the powerful jewish lobby in congress…just look at the foreign aid…one of the smallest countries in the world with one of the smallest populations in the world gets the most foreign aid…please how stupid do you think we are…

Kint Verbal says:

“Why is it that no one bats an eyelash when a former United States national security adviser says, “The Israelis have a lot of influence with Congress, and in some cases they are able to buy influence”?”

Because it’s true, even if it hurts. Anti-Semitism cannot be tackled head-on because that will only stimulate it. It can be tackled via negotiation and slowly giving back what historically is others’ property.

I know it’s also painful to read this, but really, that’s it. All things that could be tried have been tried – if they won’t calm and forget, down just give it back to them. Yes, I mean the land.

I admire Israel(is) for many reasons and its core competency is way above the petty politics it often finds itself into.

Kint Verbal says:

Now the article becomes disappointing: “How do the Jews who run this translation organization promote Islamophobia, according to CAP? By translating the opinions of those who want to persecute and kill Jews.”

You do understand they meant (of course I have no idea whether it’s true or false, but this is what they meant): …. “translating __ONLY THE___ opinions of those who want to persecute and kill…”

Simple intentional logic fails like this destroy credibility.

And stop bringing up Hitler, he’s dead and if you stopped mentioning him maybe everyone else would.

bpete1969 says:

Kint,
Unfortunately, we are going to see Hitler comparisons until the end of time. Which I find strange when you consider the eradication of Jewish populations under Soviet/Communist rule was much greater and went on for much longer (and carried out by fellow Jews in power). But the Holocaust Lobby has so much influence that even pointing that out in Germany would get you fined and thrown in prison.

Robert…Have you been asleep for the past decade? Soros is, and has been, one of the great bogeymen of the right for a long time.

Yes, does try and influence the administration and congress, but so does “BigPharma”, the agribusiness lobbies, the NRA, the American Petroleum Institute, the Catholic Church, etc. That is what they do. Unfortunately, as a country, we have managed to evolve to the point that these “bribes” are now like the center of an onion, hidden behind so many layers of nice names, labyrinthium money paths, etc. that an American public that firmly believes in the dictum that if it can’t be put on a bumper sticker, it’s not worth the effort is not prone to follow the influence/money.

Robert says:

bpete 1969,
you are comparing what happened in the USSR to the Shoa?
You are either an anti-semite or need to go back to some good history books. It is precisely this sort of uncouth conflating of make belief history which outs people who lie. Jules of course is right behind you. This thread is straight oudda mondoscheiss. Tablet really is going down hill.
*
And Israel would not need the aid, which goes straight back into the US industry were it not for 300 million brain washed Arabs who can only agree on one thing, and that is anti-semitism. The other thing Arabs seem to agree on is killing each other.
*
“But the Holocaust Lobby has so much influence that even pointing that out in Germany would get you fined and thrown in prison.” . That sentence is sickening. What the “lobby” has to do with Germany’s post Shoa trauma needs to explained in more detail. That law exists because there are still hundreds of millions of people like you around who lie. Every day.
*
This thread is the pits. What is happening to Tablet? It has lost much of its quality recently. Many badly researched and banal articles have been published as of late. It clearly is missing the mandate the AVI CHAI foundation had set.

bpete1969 says:

Robert,
As you have shown, there is no discussion on the subject. Your declarations while passionate show you don’t have a clue. I suggest you do some serious study yourself and I would suggest starting with the Black Book of Communism. It’s available on line for you to read. From there I suggest you read something based on fact compiled from the archives of various countries that were involved in the mass extermination of not only Jews, but Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Gypsies, Christians, Homosexuals, the disabled and handicapped (all groups that included Jews in their ranks). Verifiable numbers based on records and census data taken over the years during and immediately after WWII up until the time the Communist Empire fell.
In the meantime, refrain from the Pavlov response of hitting the red button marked anti-semite until you know who you’re talking to and what you’re talking about. Your knee jerk reaction is quite sickening.

Here comes Roy Cohn’s “Black Book” BS baloney and bogey man again. Have we even grown up as a country?

I’m not time tripping back to the nifty 50s again fellas…just want put that out there.

Bring back the grace.

bpete1969 says:

Jules,
I’ll save you some time and give you the wiki description:
The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression is a book authored by several European academics and edited by Stéphane Courtois, which describes a history of repressions, both political and civilian, by Communist states, including genocides, extrajudicial executions, deportations, and artificial famines. The book was originally published in 1997 in France under the title Le Livre noir du communisme: Crimes, terreur, répression by Éditions Robert Laffont. In the United States it is published by Harvard University Press.

Your Roy Cohn analogy is crap. So to answer your question, no, I don’t think you’ve grown up.

Shalom Freedman says:

Lee Smith is of course right about the new toleration of anti- Semitic slanders in public discourse. He is also right in pointing out the negative influence of the Mearsheimer and Walt book which was published and promoted by Farrar, Straus. & Giroux’s Jonathan Galassi. He too is correct in excoriating Robert Wright’s studied neutrality on ‘Anti- Semitism.’ All of this is part of what is happening or has happened to the Left in the United States. Against all common sense and decency a good share of the Left now allies itself with the most extreme Islamist forces.They also are joined by an anti- Israel nativist force that resents the attention and importance given to the Jewish state.
An ugly anti- Israel climate of opinion has emerged .Zbiggy the hero of the Carter Administration’s Iran debacle is a major voice in promoting this. There were in the past many State Department figures who promoted this ’tilt against Israel’ line but now the Anti-Israel forces are more widespread. The accusations about the Gulf War as Lee Smith points out and the whole neo- Con double loyalty charge was a major part of this.
Fortunately the great majority of the American people and their leaders are far from having bought the New Left- Islamist line. But the story is far from over.

Shalom, I agree on your first point but your conclusion stinks of tar and feathers and a narrowness of field vision almost to the point of self parody and pompous self derision.

LazerBeam says:

So how does one legitimately criticize Israel’s policies toward Palestinians or Iran, when they are the obvious product of a dangerously extreme Right-Wing point of view? … U.S. foreign policy as pertains to Israel?

Unlike the isolates in Israel, I live in a Christian-dominated world here in the U.S., where non-Jewish Liberals are increasingly put off by the content and tone of the responses to questions in interview after interview of Jewish-American voters, because their sole concern is Israel and the candidates’ position on Israel, not human rights, the economy, the environment, or any other Liberal issue. So if I, as an American of Jewish descent and lapsed practice, question the priorities of these people, am I anti-Semitic? Or am I only anti-Semitic if I question their loyalty to the Fatherland?

(I also have the same reaction to Cuban-Americans whose sole priority is overthrowing Cuba so they can return to their promised land. If I question their loyalty, am I anti-Hispanic or just anti-Cuban, or am I raising a legitimate concern about the degree to which U.S. foreign policy can get torqued around by a vocal and influential minority?)

By only posing questions about Israel, perhaps Jewish spokespersons are being baited by the Liberal Press into self-stereotyping by answering only questions about Israel to prove the point that they are only concerned about Israel. If that’s the case, these spokespersons need to demand that they also be asked about their positions on gun control, a woman’s right to choose, equal pay for equal work, the economy, or the environment, because those issues are more important to non-Evangelical Christian Americans in general and Liberals in particular, than is the fate of Israel, as tough as that might be to swallow for someone fogged in by an Israel-centric worldview.

The Zionist Lobby is being outmaneuvered by the Wahhabi Lobby on this and the Palestinian issue here. Focus on fixing that and not on blaming everybody else.

As I said, it is my belief that all moneyed lobbies should be stricken and banned from participating in the governance of this country. That’s my line and I am NOT changing it.

jzsnake says:

I only know if I was Italian/Greek etc American and my ancestral home was located in the cesspool that Israel is located I too would be lobbying like crazy and I as a Jew would fully support them.

Well you’re at liberty to support Israel and I’m at liberty not to.

This isn’t an article about antisemitism. Instead, it’s a continuation of the long Hatfield and McCoy dispute in the foreign policy community. A good strong ad hominem on Zbig because Smith an his ilk are in full on “When Prophecy Fails” mode after the Iraq war.

Maybe there are a bunch of antisemites out there bent on destroying Israel. But stifling the debate is a pretty bad way of beating them.

Maybe there lions and tigers and bears oh my…maybe the wizard of OZ will be made into a sequel…how many angels can sit on the end of a pin..who is black who is white who scores the big win and when does Israeli settlement construction ever cease to dispossess with a big wide grin?

Ask Bibi baby…

eliezer moshech bagezer says:

The American empire does not have boots on the ground in Israel. They do almost everywhere else around the globe, policing, soldiering & at times shedding precious blood for the cause, justifiably or not. Relatively to other American commitments throughout the globe, supporting Israel’s cause is benign. Those who cannot/do not wish to see it plain & simple, are stirring up the oldest hatred.
Hatred is corrosive & incurable.

Here’s a question:

Can you please give a list (perhaps we can trot out Abe Foxman to give his heksher for them) of terms that aren’t anti-semitic dogwhistles that allow me to express my disapproval for the settlers who attacked the IDF, for the Charedim who spit on children, and for the counterproductive nonsense of Avigdor Lieberman?

We’ll call that “Non-Dogwhistle No. 1″ as a placeholder.

Next, can you give me a term for being an observant Jew who is Pro-Israel, skeptical of the PLO, hates Hamas, can’t stand the world’s double-standards with respect to Israel, doubts seriously that a peace deal with the Palestinians will improve their lot or make the Muslim world suddenly like Israel, thinks despite all of its problems (which are no worse and often much less worse than the vast majority of other nations on Earth), Israel is doing a great job, and who doesn’t have all the answers.

We’ll call that “Non-Dogwhistle No. 2″ as a placeholder.

Now, I’m a [No. 2] that wants to express [No. 1]. Can you please give me a list of terms that won’t cause me to be compared to Hitler?

Ariella says:

Thank you so much for writing this article. I am amazed at people tell me there is no or little anti-semitism in America today. We are following the dismal example of Europe and Great Britain, where anti-semitism (often disguised as anti-Zionism) is standard in the media, government, and other ‘leaders’ of society, yet few people acknowledge it. Exposing these code words for what they are is the first step in combating this scourge.

Will Edwards says:

Please remember these comments reflect MY opinion so don’t take this to extremes. In my opinion, a republican Jew is no better then a collaborator. How can you sacrifice your faith, your people, and your own self respect to support a philosophical belief designed to relegate Jews as well as blacks, hispanics…well practically everyone but the wealthy white anglo-saxen protestants and celebrated Nazi sympathizers, the catholics. There is no such thing as a good republican just as there is no such thing as a good Nazi.

Will Edwards says:

Uh apparently my cutting and pasting failed. I have to add the following:

Please remember these comments reflect MY opinion so don’t take this to extremes.

In my opinion, a republican Jew is no better then a collaborator. How can you sacrifice your faith, your people, and your own self respect to support a philosophical belief designed to relegate Jews as well as blacks, hispanics…well practically everyone but the wealthy white anglo-saxen protestants and celebrated Nazi sympathizers, the catholics, to a second class citizenship in poverty and oppression. There is no such thing as a good republican just as there is no such thing as a good Nazi. What are you trading your dignity for…money and a good job?

Some of you need to stop thinking that there is a Nazi under every bed. As I have stated before, one of the biggest threats facing Israel is the growth of intolerance and the religious right. Here is a link to a story on rabbinical influence in the Israeli military from Monday’s Haaretz:

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/the-army-needs-to-fight-back-1.409740in Israel

There was also a story about Jews moving to Germany, the country with the fastest growing Jewish population in the world these days.

A third story was about an 8 year old Jewish American immigrant boy who was attacked by Haredi teenage boys on his way home from school. One reader compared it to a gang turf fight.

bpete1969 says:

Will,
It’s nice to see who you feel. Please understand that these comments reflect my opinions and I don’t care if you take it to any extreme.
Republicans in the U.S. are not currently engaged in stealing property, bulldozing houses, restricting anyone’s right to assemble, move about, make a living or worship where they choose. Republicans in the U.S. didn’t introduce terrorism to the Middle East, Menachem Begin boasted of that and later went on to become prime Minister of Israel. The Republicans in the U.S. didn’t get where they are by starting a bombing campaign in 1946 and then later go on to create Hamas to throw a wrench in the works of the PLO. The Republicans in the U.S. do not currently have over 20 laws discriminating against minorities keeping them from the same status as the majority of citizens. Republicans in the U.S. are not committing genocide of indigenous people in an occupied territory in an effort to gain room for immigrants to ensure a voting majority.
The Republicans are not instituting the same policies of the Nazis nor are they trying to control the language used by people who disagree with them over those policies.
Wish I could say the same about the Jews in Israel.

jacobo says:

Israel firster is an accurate description of Americans and organizations who put the interests of Israel before those of the U.S.A. What’s more it’s a generic term, since Israel firsters come in various religious, ethnic and political persuasions. Matter of fact there are more Christian (evangelical) Israel firsters than Jewish. Characteristic of Israel firsters is that they think nothing of pushing our government into fighting wars on Israel’s behalf. Their current push for an Iran war, even though Iran is no threat to America, and despite the liklihood that such a war could lead to a wider conflagration,and ultimately to WWIII en route to doomsday. Calling out Israel firsters for the anti-Americans that they are is a legitimate way to shame and cow them into backing off in their attempts to draw america into Israel’s wars. Now is the time for all Americans to stand up to the threat posed by these Israel firsters.

This is the clearest analysis of I’ve seen of this issue – bravo.

Don’t you all see the writing on the wall? Hatred of Jews is at levels worldwide far exceeding anything in the past, even in the Nazi era.

There is a deep undercurrent of Anti-Semitism in the USA simmering just under the surface.

No Jewish organization is going to be able to keep the lid on. Liberal Jews are fanning the flames with their meddling into the affairs of everything that does not concern them.

Whoever thinks that they are protected and somehow beyond the coming violence is delusional.

Shalom Freedman says:

The ‘star’ of this particular thread is the poster who goes under the name ‘Monkfish’. He presents the most detailed and informative indictment of the latest form of Anti-Semitism. His analysis of the action of Robert Wright is particularly informative.

Carroll says:

I am an American and if I see and think any individual or group is pushing my country in the wrong direction I am going to say so.
Anyone paying attention right now to the Iran issue sees we have some very public Israel-firsters that are promoting an attack on Iran for Israel’s benefit. We even had Netanyahu touring the US to rally Jews support on Iran.
Sorry, but Israel-first Jews aren’t going to get pass because they are Jewish any more then the pubic is going give any Gentile neos pushing a war a pass.

You’re going to have to get use to it…that IS the real way the world works.
You want to be in the ring as an agenda group?… then you’re gonna get knocked around like everyone else.

imbaju says:

brezinski always has been and is a notorious anti semite…going back to his days of poland.
it is so obvious to see through this evil person.
time to retire brezinski…you never did accomplish anything in politics…they passed you around,not knowing where to place you..YOU FOOL NO ONE.

I like the term. These Zionist Yank, Prod zombies need to make up they’re minds; America or some out-of-place bloody European
suicidal-homicidal up start in SW Asia.

Who cares even if Israel’s enemies do not fit classic definitions of antisemitism? Is it nicer if Jews end up dead because they are Israeli citizens than if they are killed for merely being born Jewish?

I find in a survey that I am currently fielding that the Holocaust is a declining topic of interest to Jews. The corollary may be that as the touchstone of the Holocaust becomes blurred, the taboo of Antisemitism is being eroded. The receding Holocaust may be accompanied by the recession of the senses sensitized by the Holocaust. Case in point: The Hitler title and graphic of this article is akin to the proverbial to-by-four piece of lumber used to get the attention of the mule which is being used to pull the concept of what terminology can be used in polite company.

http://www.jewishjournal.com/demographic_duo/item/a_blessing_for_hitler_may_his_memory_be_eradicated_20120125/

Joachim says:

Dear Robert, Jews (or more precisely E. European ethnic Ashkenazim) have been out of control since the 16th century.

It is pointless to attempt discussion with racist ethnic Ashkenazim, who show no awareness that Jews need to start showing awareness, remorse, contrition, penitence, and atonement for the last 500 years of Jewish exploitation, depredation, and aggression directed toward non-Jews.

Joachim says:

Churchill’s support for exporting Jewish predators to the ME was nothing less than despicable.

ILLUSTRATED SUNDAY HERALD, February 8, 1920
Zionism versus Bolshevism.
A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People
By the Rt. Hon. Winston S. Churchill.

Terrorist Jews

There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution, by these international and for the most part atheistical Jews, it is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders. Thus Tchitcherin, a pure Russian, is eclipsed by his nominal subordinate Litvinoff, and the influence of Russians like Bukharin or Lunacharski cannot be compared with the power of Trotsky, or of Zinovieff, the Dictator of the Red Citadel (Petrograd) or of Krassin or Radek all Jews. In the Soviet institutions the predominance of Jews is even more astonishing. And the prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the system of terrorism applied by the Extraordinary Commissions for Combating Counter-Revolution has been taken by Jews, and in some notable cases by Jewesses. The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews in the brief period of terror during which Bela Kun ruled in Hungary. The same phenomenon has been presented in Germany (especially in Bavaria), so far as this madness has been allowed to prey upon the temporary prostration of the German people. Although in all these countries there are many non-Jews every whit as bad as the worst of the Jewish revolutionaries, the part played by the latter in proportion to their numbers in the population is astonishing.

Joachim says:

Jewish women have long been out of control.

Churchill underestimates the role of Jewish women in revolutionary violence. On p. 650 of Fire in the Minds of Men, Origins of the Reolutionary Faith, James Billington writes:

Important new research by L. Gerson for a biography of Dzerzhinsky indicates that the first love of that Polish-Russian founder of the Soviet secret police was Julia Goldman, the Jewish sister of a founder of the Bund. Jewish women continued to play a disproportionately great role in those aspects of revolutionary activity that required dedication and risk. almost 30 percent of the women terrorists in the SR Party were Jewish, though very few Jewish men were involved (Knight, 146).

Joachim says:

In the past a few decent Jews used to discuss abominable Jewish behavior honestly.

Jews and non-Jews used to talk about Jewish history and activities honestly.

From Esau’s Tears by Lindemann (a prominent Jewish studies scholar), p. 195.

“The Famous Viennese journalist Karl Kraus saw in Benedikt’s Neue Freie Presse the embodiment of unprincipled commercialism, the unscrupulous efforts to manipulate popular opinion, that so troubled many public-spirited observers. It says much about the Austrian scene that Kraus, himself Jewish, was one of the most persistent critics of Jews in Austria. Revealingly, his own style — intransigent, mocking, sophisticated, and supremely witty — was precisely the kind of style that anti-Semites considered typically Jewish. He would at any rate have considered the charge that hostility to Jews was based entirely on Gentile fantasy either ludicrous or incomprehensible. As far as he was concerned, Viennese anti-Semitism was without a doubt the result of justified resentment by Gentiles concerning the outrageous antics of Jewish journalists.

“He was by no means alone in that opinion. Friedrich Austerlitz [Jewish socialist writer] further asserted that the Jewish-owned liberal press was concerned to serve Jewish interests, to cover up misdeeds by Jewish capitalists, and to shower with abuse anyone who criticized Jews. Jewish press supremacy, he later observed, ‘was a conspiracy in favor of the Jews; the legend of the solidarity of all members of the people of Israel was at that time a reality.’ Austerlitz granted that in the earlier part of the century, when Jews had been oppressed, criticism of their ‘eccentricities’ was inappropirate, but by the latter half of the nineteenth century, when they dominated so much of public life in Austria and when their activities were so often corrupt, criticism was not only appropriate but the duty of all honest observers, Jews and non-Jews.”

Today honesty is rare and Lindemann whitewashes to an extent.

Dear Joachim,

Isn’t your last name heard like von Ribbentrop?
Or the middle one Joseph?
You also may to try the nickname Julius for your future insights about jews out of control.

DulyNoted says:

So when is enmity with Israel not considered anti-Semitic? If I’m a Palestinian who wants to destroy it? Or if I’m a Lebanese who hates it? or never, as Israel is the Jewish state – ergo, hating Israel equates anti-semitism?

When Americans explicitly argue for Israel’s safety and interest, as the so-called “Israel firsters” had done in support of the invasion of Iraq, are they considered patriots?
So many questions with more than one point of view.

Sorry, ‘Antisemitism’ is a made up term, no longer applies. The “Jews” in Israel are European, not related to the tribe of Israel, or sons of Abraham. They are NOT Semitic nor are 99 percent of the rest of the Jews in the world. In 2014, Jew is a religion, nothing racial.
And Lee Smith is a knucklehead. Lee, are you saying no one can say anything about Israel in a negative manner, that to speak of anything negative is Antisemitic? You one of the boneheads that cry when someone says something about Obama that is negative, that its racial.
Do you believe Israel and Obama should get an indefinite pass? STFU and do some research idiot.

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