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Washpo: On anti-Semitism and dog whistles

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 21:17
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(Before It's News)

Antisemitism is an issue with which I am generally interested. I believe that sometimes there is actual antisemitism. But sometimes I think it is a label used to tarnish people who are entirely reasonable. Being critical of Israel does not make one antisemitic. Being anti-banking does not make one antisemitic. Being critical of lawyers does not make one antisemitic. Being critical of Hollywood does not make one antisemitic.

There are antisemitic people out there, though outside of liberal circles ironically (I guess ironically) I’ve never heard it expressed openly. At least not to me. However “dog whistles” are often heard by people falsely. What some people consider a political dog whistle actually only works for their ears – not the “dogs.”

Again, this is certainly not always the case. Sometimes political dog whistles are dog whistles. But at least as often they are not.

(From The Washington Post)

I had the opportunity to revisit this issue when I came across this statement today:  “Americans below the top of the heap, with or without college degrees and regardless of race, have been ill served by the axis of Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, and the Davos-class donor base that during Bill Clinton’s presidency helped grease the skids for the 2008 economic collapse and allowed the culprits to escape from the wreckage unscathed during Barack Obama’s.” Hmm. Only two villains are mentioned, and they are both Jewish. One (Rubin) has an obviously Jewish name and was treasury secretary under Bill Clinton. The second (Summers) is known for being outspoken on Jewish issues and served as director of the U.S. National Economic Council under President Barack Obama. Both have been involved in international finance, but neither had much of anything directly to do with the financial crisis, yet they are being blamed for it, along with their compatriots in a class of international (Davos) elites, a classic anti-Semitic trope.

I have little doubt that if Stephen K. Bannon, or someone else associated with Donald Trump, had written the sentence quoted above, it would be seen by many as an obvious anti-Semitic dog whistle, or maybe even as overt anti-Semitism, as “blaming the Jews” here seems far less subtle than in the ad described above.

It turns out, however, that the relevant sentence was written by liberal (and Jewish) pundit Frank Rich. If you read the sentence and thought it was anti-Semitic, does your opinion change because you know that Rich wrote it. Why? Because he’s writing for predominately liberal audience? A far higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans thought that “the Jews” were to blame for the financial crisis. Because he’s Jewish? Maybe he unconsciously picked up societal anti-Semitism. Because he has no history of anti-Semitism? Neither did Bannon.

Click here for the article.


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