Saturday, November 28, 2009

You can be Pro-Israel and spread anti-Semitism at the same time

Dave Neiwert noticed that Glenn Beck's response to the ADL calling him out for "creat[ing] an intersection between the mainstream and the extreme" which "play[s] an important role in drawing people further out of the mainstream, making them more receptive to the more extreme notions and conspiracy theories" was to dismiss such criticism on the ground that he's "friendly to Israel" and wants to protect Israel from Iran.

As Neiwert astutely observes, Beck seems to not comprehend the actual purpose of the ADL

What really stands out about this rant is the stereotyped image Beck has of Jews, to wit, the only aspect of their "plight" worth mentioning is the defense of Israel.

In reality, the ADL has historically been focused on the much broader "plight" of the Jews represented by anti-Semitism and its pernicious effects. As you can see from just visiting the "About" section of their website, the ADL was founded primarily to combat anti-Semitism. Yes, the defense of Israel is in fact a concern of the ADL's -- but it is only one of many items on its agenda.
Neiwert goes on to note that the point the ADL was making in its report about Beck was that whether or not he intends to, he helps to promote - indeed, to mainstream - extremist ideas that are either anti-semitic in origin or carry with them vestiges of anti-Semitism.

Beck, in fact, gives real succor to some of the country's worst anti-Semites because he helps promote their ideas; Beck's fearmongering echoes theirs so closely that it is rapidly becoming an important recruiting tool for them.

Alexander Zaitchik explored this recently for Salon, examining what white supremacists themselves say about Beck, with illustrations culled from the discussion forums
This comes as no surprise, given how much Beck's conspiracy theories structurally resemble traditional anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

Further, I previously noted that being "friendly to Israel" doesn't preclude anti-Semitism, given that some of the earliest champions of a Jewish state were also promoters of the notoriously anti-Semitic hoax The Protocols of the Elders of Zion; and that John Hagee appears to be cut from such a mold.

Bruce Wilson of Talk To Action - whose writing was the basis of my previous post on Hagee - has written another post about Hagee's anti-Semitic zionism which brilliantly makes the point

As The Economist's Democracy In America blog notes , support for Israel doesn't preclude anti-Semitism:

Bigotry comes in many forms, and can easily be set aside for the right reasons. Marcus Garvey found common cause with the Ku Klux Klan, for instance: they both wanted to keep their respective races pure. Loving racial or theological purity is both easy and juvenile; it is a rejection of the world as is in favour of a perfect world that can never be.
Marcus Garvey wanted to resettle New World blacks in a "homeland" in Africa. Christian Zionists think God wills it that all Jews on Earth move "back" to Israel. The Economist's citation, of the strange alliance between Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan, resonates well with a thought experiment I've recently sketched out...

Imagine, in America of 2009, the formation of a lobby dedicated to, as one of its principal goals, convincing all African Americans to move "back" to Africa - a continent they weren't born on and which most of them had never even set foot upon.

Imagine, further, that leaders of this lobby publicly praised African-American cultural and racial identity but also promoted, in sermons and writing, many of the worst anti-black accusations and slurs known to history.

Imagine those leaders taught that if African Americans don't willingly "go back" to Africa, God will rise up an army to slaughter all African Americans so stubborn as to remain in the land of their birth, as American citizens.

Take out "African-American" and replace it with "Jewish-American", change "Africa" to "Israel," and the description fits an existing, national lobbying group - Christians United For Israel.
Update: I forgot to mention that Beck has previously done an interview with Hagee, in which he asked Hagee whether or not Barack Obama is the Antichrist.

1 comment:

David said...

Kicking in the heads of atheists one at a time...

PZ, I thought the Morris Police Department was going to save you from the wrath of God...