Friday, November 18, 2016

Mike Huckabee Doubles Down on Jewish "False Flag" Allegations

A few days ago, I encountered a story on some far right websites alleging that left-wing Jewish students at Northwestern had fabricated an incident of bigotry -- spray painting a church with swastikas and other hateful images, along with the word "Trump" -- in order to further the narrative of right-wing prejudice following Donald Trump's election (it's been scrubbed or "updated" from many of these websites, but this one at least gives you a sense of how they initially reported the story). Basically, they suggested that this (and by implication, other) alleged hate crimes that occurred after the election were really false flag operations to frame the right for sins they were not, in fact, committed. Among the proponents of the story was Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (it's gone from his Facebook page, but I checked a cached version and he absolutely endorsed the allegation that left-wing Jews -- and he specifically mentioned Jews -- were behind the vandalism incident).

The story was entirely false -- for starters, because the incident occurred this past March (not post-election day), but more importantly because there was no evidence that the perpetrators were (a) leftist, (b) Jewish, or (c) anything other than earnest (albeit probably drunk) in their hateful acts. And this matters, because the claim that Jews fabricate anti-Semitic incidents in order to generate public sympathy and discredit their supposed adversaries is among the most prominent forms of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorizing extant today. It was, for example, central to the anti-Semitic musings of just-fired Oberlin professor Joy Karega (she alleged that Israel secretly was behind the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and ISIS in order to discredit pro-Palestinian advocates).

I had seen that Huckabee had scrubbed the story from his Facebook page, and today I read in JTA that he had apologized for the initial post. The JTA article does not link to Huckabee's actual note of apology [UPDATE: The link is now in the story], and perhaps for good reason. Because in his "apology", it turns out that Huckabee is not apologizing at all. He very explicitly, and very openly, doubles down on the core allegation that the incident in question was a false flag operation done by left-wing and (potentially -- he hedges here) Jewish students to discredit conservatives. Here's the key segment:
[Critics] accused me of spreading false information and hatred, and demanded an apology. And they’re right, I do owe readers an apology. Due to a posting error, the story was actually from last March, but it appeared to be a new story. I didn’t remember the original story and assumed it was new. For that mistake, I sincerely apologize. But the facts of the story were otherwise accurate.
Read that passage again -- it's clear as day. Huckabee concedes only that the incident occurred in March, not this past week. Other than that, he maintains that "the facts of the story" -- in other words, the claim that the swastikas and vandalism was a hoax perpetrated by left-wing Jews to tar conservatives -- is "otherwise accurate."

Need more proof? Here's Huckabee's very next paragraph:
As for the rest of the paper’s attacks on me, which included a disputed report that the vandals were Jewish, that was part of the original story and was certainly not intended as any sort of slur on Jews. It was considered relevant only because the hateful graffiti included a swastika, obviously intended to make it falsely appear that the vandalism was committed by anti-Jewish Trump supporters.
Again, other than the slight hedging on whether the vandals were Jewish (and, to reiterate, there is precisely zero evidence that they were -- that was not part of the "original story" and was apparently made up out of whole cloth), Huckabee stands entirely behind the core narrative. The act of vandalism was a hoax. It was a false flag.

That is not an apology. That's a double-down. And it's very important that he be called to account for it, because the claim that Jews (or any minority group) engages in false flag attacks on its own community in order to discredit adversaries is incredibly serious, and flagrantly bigoted in its own right. It is not something minor, and it is not something that can be overlooked -- especially when he appears to be the front-runner for Ambassador to Israel.

In presenting Huckabee as apologizing for his false flag allegations, the JTA story is spectacularly misleading, and gives Huckabee a pass on an issue which frankly should end his career. It needs an update, and it needs an update stat.


Anonymous said...

Fyi, for what it is worth, there is a link.

David Schraub said...

Story's been updated (I also backchanneled JTA folk last night).