Saturday, February 02, 2008

Slurring Words

I really shouldn't be surprised or upset by this, but I am. In the wake of my last post pointing out that in no way, shape, or form is Samantha Power a disciple of the Walt/Mearshimer thesis, Paul Mirengoff at Powerline has decided instead to double-down on the argument -- claiming that she "actually goes even further than Walt and Mearsheimer" and taking portions of this interview wildly out of context to assert she's making "some sort of modern blood libel." We already had an email conversation in which I explained why the spin he's putting on this interview is completely bogus, but Mr. Mirengoff apparently prefers to play shock jock.

This was a slimy, disgusting political hit job that showed reckless disregard for truth or decency. I had hoped that he'd show me a bit more respect than this, but the desire to smear Obama and his advisers trumps all.

I'll be keeping that in mind.

3 comments:

Jason. said...

"Change" is a difficult thing to define and measure, so in the coming months we should see many commentators attempting to do so - for better or for worse . It appears that Mirengoff and others want us to believe that Obama's change in foreign policy is something untoward. Shock jock indeed. Unfortunately, I suspect that these types of smears will rise in direct proportion to Obama's success.

Thank goodness for people like you.

I love the ominous "I'll be keeping that in mind"... cheeky.

Also, the CAPTCHA verification for this comment was "diyyy". I dunno, kinda cool I suppose.

PG said...

How did he get "Jews use human blood in religious rituals" from "Also, America's important historic relationship with Israel has often led foreign policy decision-makers to defer reflexively to Israeli security assessments, and to replicate Israeli tactics, which, as the war in Lebanon last summer demonstrated, can turn out to be counter-productive" ?

Does this guy know what the "blood libel" is, or does he just have a bag of phrases to use when accusing someone of anti-Semitism, and he randomly pulls a few out without checking to see what they mean?

You give Mirengoff more credit than I do. You assume he knows what he's doing and is a deliberate shock jock. Someone who uses "blood libel" without troubling to make an actual analogy just strikes me as an ignoramus.

One cannot blood libel Jews without making some reference to their religion, which Powers at no point does -- she never even mentions the word "Jew" or a variant thereon. She only mentions Israel, and only in the sentence quoted above.

I don't mind Mirengoff's saying she's anti-Israel (I can't look inside her brain), but saying she's anti-Jew is typical of precisely the reductionist Israel=Jew, Jew=Israel political thinking usually associated with the people he pretends to decry. It's a belief that underlies his previous post as well, where he says that Obama hasn't *really* addressed the issue of whether his pastor is anti-Semitic, because he didn't discuss his pastor's words or actions that could be viewed as anti-Israel. You see, to Mirengoff, what really matters for anti-Semitism is not how one views Jews but how one views Israel.

To me, the bottom line distinction we all ought to be able to draw is that one ought to be able to criticize Israel, and America's relationship with and support of Israel, without drawing kneejerk suspicion that one is anti-Semitic.

In contrast, talk about Jewish conspiracy, about Jewish money's influence, about Jews' having more loyalty to another nation than to the U.S. and thus directing the American foreign policy to that nation's favor and the detriment of America's own, is almost prima facie anti-Semitic. Someone who makes such claims without excellent evidence to back them (could I get a tape of the conspiracy's last conference call, please?) is going to sound like an anti-Semite.

I certainly hope that my criticism of America's relationship with Pakistan, despite coming from a Hindu Indian-American, isn't presumed to be due to some hatred of Muslims or excessive loyalty toward India, but instead can be viewed on its own merits or demerits. But it's folks like Mirengoff who make me unwilling to reveal much about myself up front on the internet -- there are too many people who want to reduce your ideas and beliefs down to a group membership.

Jack said...

You forgot the best part of Paul's post.

"Barack Obama claims he's putting together a coalition more diverse than any we've seen for a long time. His close association with an anti-Semitic pastor and his use of at least one virulently anti-Israeli adviser suggest that, at root, his coaltion isn't as diverse as it might be.

Yes. Because diversity means having no advisers you disagree with.