Sunday, May 02, 2021

The Reverse (Full) Livingstone (aka "The Hannity"?)

The Jerusalem Post wrote an article covering allegations of antisemitism against Sean Hannity after he referred to Bernie Sanders as "Bolshevik Bernie". The Post noted the long history of "Bolshevik" being used to tar Jewish public figures with left-of-center views as dangerous threats to the integrity of the nation, even (or especially) when those figures' positions have little in common with Soviet Bolshevism but rather appear to be social democratic.

Hannity is furious (I suppose when is Hannity not furious?), and is demanding a "retraction" from the Post -- despite the fact that the Post's article was a news story simply reporting on the controversy, not making any judgment of its own.

The basis for Hannity's demand?
“I demand an immediate retraction & apology from the @Jerusalem_Post,” Hannity tweeted Friday evening. “Israel has no greater friend, ally and supporter in the U.S. than me. I have a record of unwavering and passionate support for the state of Israel for 33 years on radio and 25 years on TV.”

Hannity mentioned what he described as friendly relations with Israeli Prime Ministers Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, and the late Shimon Peres, which he misspelled Perez.

I've noted before the frequent usage of pro-Israel attitudes as an attempted "get-out-of-antisemitism-free card", but it seems time we give it a more formal name. 

A related practice, it seems, is "the Livingstone Formulation", where one dismisses accusations of antisemitism on the grounds that those accusations actually stem from naught but a desire to silence "criticism of Israel". I've dubbed "the full Livingstone" as those cases where this dismissal is made even when the conduct that is accused of being antisemitic has nothing to do with Israel (as it was not in Livingstone's original case).

So, from that, I'd suggest that where someone dismisses an allegation of antisemitism by noting they are a "strong supporter of Israel", we dub that a "reverse Livingstone." And when, as here, the allegation of antisemitism has nothing to do with one's views on Israel, then that would be a "reverse full Livingstone", or, perhaps, the "Hannity".

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