Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Anti-Healthcare Thug Shouts "Heil Hitler" at Israeli

An Israeli man talking about the virtues of Israel's national healthcare system faced a woman who yelled "Heil Hitler" to him at a conservative townhall meeting in Nevada.

The man is understandably agitated, more so when the woman (wearing an IDF t-shirt, for crying out loud) lectures him that he should be the "most against President Obama" (I just love it when conservatives lecture Jews on what we should and shouldn't support). Then, when he tells her of his experience with the American health system (namely, an $8,000 bill for a two hour emergency room visit), she makes mock crying noises at him.

ThinkProgress cites this as the clearest example yet of the anti-Semitism burbling beneath the far-right populist revolt the right has been staging these past few weeks (yes, photo-shopping Obama as Hitler qualifies)*. Meanwhile, the conservative Legal Insurrection blog is so embarrassed that he denounces it in the strongest terms immediately assumes it's a set-up. Ah, responsibility.

Meanwhile, YNet reports that the woman considers herself to be a staunch supporter of Israel (but clearly not its health care system), which, as we've long since figured out, means "support for Israel insofar as it advances a American conservative vision of global politics". It's support I can do without.

* Though I think photo-shopping Bush as Hitler is also remarkably distasteful, the fact that over 3/4 of American Jews voted for Obama does make a difference, because it buys into the trope that Jews are "the new Nazis" (which one often sees nowadays in particularly virulent attacks on Israel -- and why those attacks are more anti-Semitic than the same words directed at another, random country). Nazi comparison in general are usually diminishing of Jewish suffering and the genocide we experienced ("having the option to get publicly financed health care is just like what Hitler did!"), and wrong for that reason, no matter who the target was. But certain targets are worse than others because of the heavy implication that Jews are now complicit in the Nazi ideology that murdered us. Jews were victims of Hitler in the past, but now they're backers of Nazism through their continued support of President Obama and the Democratic Party. It's difficult to imagine a message more disrespectful to the Jewish community than that, regardless of who the source.


PG said...

The other thing that makes comparisons to Nazis and Hitler disrespectful is that it implies what was *really* bad about the Nazis was something other than the Holocaust. I have seen this over and over, both on the left and the right, but I guess it does bother me more on the right. On the left, it tends to be more like "Destroying the procedural checks and balances of democracy is what enabled Hitler to commit so many evils," whereas on the right it seems to be "Nazi Germany had universal health care, ergo universal health care is evil."

My understanding is that Hitler and Stalin were evil because they deliberately killed millions of civilians, and because of the lesser violations of fundamental rights that both accompanied and made these genocides possible: the loss of due process, of free speech, of freedom of religion, of the right of free movement. With regard to Hitler, he is invoked because of the particular disgust we now feel for the idea of trying to wipe a particular ethnic group out of existence. Whatever else they did -- socialized industries, created cults of personality through youth groups, had mustaches -- is not why we find them so particularly awful above and beyond other evil dictators.

ansel said...

He's shouting "Shame on you" - problem is, she has no shame. What a horrible, stupid person.

limo bus said...

U man !! how terrible......