Monday, February 28, 2011

Thanks To Fox News, Anti-Semitism Is Making A Comeback In America


I had never heard of dress designer John Galliano, don't follow the fashion world-- went out of my way to stay in another part of town when music business brought me to Milan (i.e., the Principe di Savoia instead of the Four Seasons-- and try to not be drawn into giving any of the craved attention GOP sociopath Glenn Beck thrives on. But it's Monday, so...

When I woke up, I turned my TV on to see if any Qaddafis had been strung up by their heels overnight-- or if they were still just partying with Mariah Carey, Usher and Beyoncé and I saw a scrawl go by about Christian Dior firing this John Galliano fellow for an anti-Semitic outburst. I wondered if he was just another deranged Glenn Beck fan, one who instead of shooting up a school or trying to assassinate a congresswoman had decided to go on a Beck-like anti-Semitic rampage. But I was way off base... and there's a lot of money involved. One royal family not in any serious jeopardy of being displaced by any pro-democracy movements, has Galliano designing a wedding dress for the latest breeding mare they're initiating. [Oops! Like I said, this crap is all off my beat and since the media has taken to calling the princess-to-be just "Kate," one-word-Maddona-style, I mixed Kate Middleton up with this other Kate (one who once had a lesbian fling with Courtney Love, according to the deranged Beck-like Courtney, who also claims to have screwed Hugo Chávez) who's just marrying a guitar player from a band I never heard of and whatever prince she's marrying with Jamie Hince. And did you know that Emily Blunt, Gisele Bundchen, Gwen Stefani and Penelope Cruz all wore gowns by the anti-Semite at their weddings too?]. Anyway, apparently the drunken fashion designer with the silly-looking Dali mustache got into a spat with a couple he didn't know at an outdoor cafe. "Galliano sat down at an outdoor cafe table next to her and a male friend of Asian descent around 9 p.m. He reportedly ordered himself a mojito and began to 'me traiter de pute' (translation: 'refer to me as a bitch'). The woman called the police when he, in English, allegedly continued, 'Dirty Jewish face, you should be dead ... Fucking Asian bastard, I will kill you.' The woman contends that she had no idea who Galliano was until a nearby diner exclaimed, 'C’est une star, c’est John Galliano.' The woman is not Jewish." There's another side of the story as well, which has Galliano as the victim of a couple of snobs who don't like outlandish, freaky looking people and an argument over who was uglier and dressed worse. [But he has an ugly anti-Semitic history]

But that isn't the only story in the news with anti-Semitic overtones today. Jack Kimball, a crackpot teabagger who took over New Hampshire's GOP, has been finally forced to cancel an event with Republican Jew-hater Andy Martin-- the loon, who has vowed to "eradicate Jew Power in America," is announcing his run for the GOP presidential nomination-- and now Martin, who also happens to be a notorious Islamophobe and the vicious homophobe who outed Republican Senator Mark Kirk as a closet case and a "de facto pedophile," is suing Kimball to clear his good name.
Saying Republican State Chairman Jack Kimball fell for a “rabid lesbian rabbi’s tricks,” when he cancelled a local GOP event so-called “king of the birthers” Andy Martin plans to file a lawsuit on Monday to clear his “good name.”

“In other words, you, sir, are an incompetent idiot and have no business leading the Republican Party in a state that wants to retain the first primary,” Martin states in a statement directed at Kimball. “Based on your attacks I will warn Republicans nationally that New Hampshire can’t be trusted to maintain a fair and honest presidential primary playing field. Jack Kimball is incompetent.”

Martin continues, “Monday I will hold a news conference in Manchester and announce (1) that I am asking you to step down and (2) filing a lawsuit to clear my good name against your malicious falsehoods and outright lies. If you want to settle my claims before the lawsuit is filed, please have your attorneys call me. I am always open to settlement offers.”

“Sir, resign and apologize, or I will see you in court,” Martin tells Kimball.

Republicans are starting to learn-- too late though-- that you can't lay down with psychotic fascists without getting bitten-- and, vampire-like, turning into one yourself. Nationally, more and more conservatives have begun to realize that however much harm Rush Limbaugh has done the GOP, Glenn Beck could actually bring it down completely. Peter Wehner, a Karl Rove deputy and former Bush Regime operative, warns in the new Commentary, for the second time, that Republicans are playing with fire:
It’s hard to tell how much of what Beck says is sincere and how much is for show. Whatever the case, and even taking into account the entire MSNBC lineup, Glenn Beck has become the most disturbing personality on cable television. One cannot watch him for any length of time without being struck by his affinity for conspiracies and for portraying himself as the great decoder of events. Political movements are not just wrong; they are infiltrated by a web of malevolent forces. Others see the shadows on the wall; Beck alone sees the men casting them. The danger when one paints the world in such conspiratorial terms is that it devalues the rational side of politics. It encourages a cast of mind that looks to expose enemies rather than to engage in arguments. Few things, after all, are as they appear.

Beyond that, of course, is the sense of impending doom, of the coming Apocalypse, of our world being on the edge of calamity. If taken seriously, this has the effect of creating fear, hopelessness, and feelings of helplessness.

All this is quite troublesome in its own right. But what ought to worry conservatives in particular is that Beck not only has the unusual capacity to discredit virtually every cause he takes up; he also confirms the worst caricatures of the right. What was true before is doubly true today. It looks to me like it’s only a matter of time-- and I suspect not much time-- until he blows apart professionally. If and when that happens, one can only hope that conservatism as a movement will have created enough distance from Beck to mitigate the damage.

And he didn't even mention Beck's latest foray into right-wing territory the GOP has assiduously tried to avoid: anti-Semitism, which may sell well in certain parts of the Deep South, but goes over poorly among independents and suburbanites. Beck, a recovering drug addict who converted to Mormonism when he was on a binge, has crossed the line into virulent anti-Semitism a lot lately. And last week he was at it again, comparing Reform Judaism to extremist Muslims and terrorists. "Reformed rabbis are generally political in nature. It's almost like Islam, radicalized Islam in a way, to where it is just-- radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics. When you look at the Reform Judaism, it is more about politics." 35% of American Jews belong to Reform Judaism. Rabbi David Saperstein, a friend of mine and one of the wisest men I've ever met:
“His description of the Reform movement ignores the fact that we're the largest segment of American Jewry. It has been over the last 30 years the fastest growing liberal theological denomination in America. And that is true because of the richness of the religious, spiritual and faith fulfillment it offers a very diverse constituency that defines our movement. For him to denigrate, not just all the Reform rabbis, Reform Judaism, but the million and half members of our synagogues is deeply distasteful and offensive.”

Earlier in the month the Guardian did a feature on Beck pointing out the parallels between him and a deranged, anti-Semitic Catholic priest and hate talker from the 1930s, Charles Coughlin.
His radio show drew millions of listeners. His global conspiracy theories outraged some, but drew many others to his paranoid rantings. He dubbed the American president a communist sympathiser and supported a grassroots conservative political movement aimed at overthrowing two-party politics. He made statements that horrified Jewish groups.

This is Glenn Beck, right?

It certainly sounds like the controversial Fox News star. After all, he lambasts Barack Obama as a dangerous Marxist; his pronouncements on Nazis have caused a coalition of 400 rabbis to advertise against him in the Wall Street Journal; and his penchant for anti-America conspiracy theories on everything from Fema to George Soros knows no bounds.

But it is not Beck. It is, in fact, a description of Father Charles Coughlin, the infamous rightwing "radio priest, whose broadcasts in the 1930s disturbingly echo those of Beck today. Indeed, some experts see Coughlin as a father figure to the extremist broadcasting Beck has honed so well. Many commentators on the left, including in Harper's Magazine and the Columbia Journalism Review, have drawn a parallel between our own troubled times with Beck and the tumultuous 1930s that saw the rise of fascism and Coughlin.

And here's the letter 400 American rabbis sent to Fox owner Rupert Murdoch, a notorious fascist and anti-Semite himself, on the occasion of Holocaust remembrance day:
Dear Mr Murdoch

We are rabbis of diverse political views. As part of our work we are devoted to preserving the memory of the Shoah, and to passing its lessons on to our future generations and to all humankind. All of us have vigorously defended the Holocaust's legacy. We have worked to encourage the responsible invocation of its symbols as a powerful lesson for the future.

We were therefore deeply offended by Roger Ailes' recent statement attributing the outrage over Glenn Beck's use of Holocaust and Nazi images to "leftwing rabbis who basically don't think that anybody can ever use the word, Holocaust, on the air."

In the charged political climate in the current civic debate, much is tolerated, and much is ignored or dismissed. But you diminish the memory and meaning of the Holocaust when you use it to discredit any individual or organization you disagree with. That is what Fox News has done in recent weeks, and it is not only "leftwing rabbis" who think so.

Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a child survivor of the Holocaust, described Beck's attack on George Soros as "not only offensive, but horrific, over-the-top, and out-of-line." Commentary magazine said that "Beck's denunciation of him [Soros] is marred by ignorance and offensive innuendo." Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, called Mr Beck's accusations "monstrous." Rev Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, called them "beyond repugnant." And Deborah Lipstadt, professor of Holocaust Studies at Emory University, says Beck is using traditional antisemitic imagery.

"I haven't heard anything like this on television or radio-– and I've been following this kind of stuff," Lipstadt said. "I've been in the sewers of antisemitism and Holocaust denial more often than I've wanted."

We share a belief that the Holocaust, of course, can and should be discussed appropriately in the media. But that is not what we have seen at Fox News. It is not appropriate to accuse a 14-year-old Jew hiding with a Christian family in Nazi-occupied Hungary of sending his people to death camps. It is not appropriate to call executives of another news agency "Nazis." And it is not appropriate to make literally hundreds of on-air references to the Holocaust and Nazis when characterising people with whom you disagree.

It is because this issue has a profound impact on each of us, our families and our communities that we are calling on Fox News to meet the standard it has set for itself: "to exercise the ultimate sensitivity when referencing the Holocaust".

We respectfully request that Glenn Beck be sanctioned by Fox News for his completely unacceptable attacks on a survivor of the Holocaust and Roger Ailes apologise for his dismissive remarks about rabbis' sensitivity to how the Holocaust is used on the air.

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At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Jack Kimball "a [supposed] crackpot teabagger" did the right thing; by not giving Andy Martin a forum to speak at GOP events in NH but you're still taking a stab at him?

No one was forced; the decision was entirely JP Marzullo's encouraged by Jack Kimball; without any external "force" whatsoever.

This article is as much of a Joke as Andy Martin.

At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Tom M said...

Is Glenn Beck Robert Welch's clone?


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