Atlantic blogger Jeff Goldberg stirs the pot today with his item on “Glenn Beck's Jewish Problem,” citing the Fox news commentator's “recent naming of nine people -- eight of them Jews -- as enemies of America and humanity”
Most of Beck's targets are “already the targets of straightforward attacks in the dark, anti-Semitic corners of the Web,” he writes, so it's hard to believe Beck didn't know his list was top heavy with members of the Tribe.
A complicating factor: “Beck has not crossed a certain line, by identifying his targets openly as Jewish. Nevertheless, this, to me, is a classic case of anti-Semitic dog-whistling. Beck is speaking to a certain constituency, and the thought has now crossed my mind that this constituency understands the clear implications of what Beck is saying.”
This leads to a difficult question that could define the job for the ADL and other “defense organizations” in this age of angry talk shows, cable news commentaries and blogs: what do you do about those who profess love for the Jewish people and for Israel, but whose ideology echoes age-old canards about malevolent Jewish conspiracies? Is it mere coincidence that so many of the arch villains named by conservative commentators are Jewish, or a new strain of the old virus of anti-Semitism?
Isn't this sort of parallel to the question of what do to about those evangelical Christians who are brimming over with love for Zion but also believe Bible prophecy demands that the Jews undergo a new Holocaust before a remnant see the error of their ways and convert to Christianity?
It's a complicated world out there, for sure.
Goldberg ends on an ominous note: “My modest suggestion to those Jews who fear the building of mosques in American cities is that they look elsewhere for threats that seem to be gathering against them.
The Jewish Funds for Justice is continuing its relentless campaign to get Beck fired; read about it here.
Meanwhile, a new Washington Post / ABC poll shows that “Americans overwhelmingly describe the tone of political discourse in the country as negative, verging on angry.”
What tipped them off, do you suppose?
Before we change subjects, here's another piece of important reading: Walter Shapiro's Politics Daily explanation for the "paranoid" mood of the nation and the rise of anti-government rage.
The bottom line, he writes: "This has been a ghastly century.” With the debacle of a 2000 presidential election decided by the Supreme Court, the 9/11 terrorist attack, the collapse of the economy, the eroding middle class and changing demographics it's “[s]mall wonder that we live in an era where all incentives in politics are to peddle simplistic solutions to insoluble problems."
The result: “A national dialogue that has all the subtlety of a steel-cage debate between Michael Moore and Ann Coulter.”
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