Friday, June 19, 2009

Goldfarb: Bad for the Jews

Pretty much every anti-Semitic apologist nowadays will give you a song and dance about how they've dedicated their life to opposing "real" anti-Semitism, and it is that staunch opposition which motivates them to police so vigorously "false" cries of anti-Semitism. Alas, for many of these bold paladins, there is little indication they've ever seen anything that they'd label the real thing. So as for me: I can only hope my volumnious writing on the subject will insulate me from the charge when I call him out on making the ridiculous charge that Andrew Sullivan believes that the Jews control the media.

The context is this post by Sullivan regarded the current flap over the Washington Post's firing of prominent liberal journalist Dan Froomkin. The offensive bits are as follows:
Hiatt will publish op-eds peddling dishonest partial numbers to buttress Ahmadinejad, because that's what the neocons wanted.... Maybe the quality of [Froomkin's] free-lancing was showing up the hackneyed AIPAC boilerplate they publish every day on their op-ed page.

I don't like it when AIPAC gets used as a stand-in for a laundry list of conservative ailments that it may or may not have anything to do with (see the discussion in this thread). There are certainly plenty of neoconservatives affiliated with AIPAC, but I don't think that AIPAC as an institution is the driving the neoconservative movement.

But that being said, there is nothing in here that indicates Sullivan holding a belief that the "Jews control the media". He is arguing that Froomkin was fired because he made folks like Charles Krauthammer look bad, and Hiatt (who is the top dog at the Post, albeit a position he does not hold on behalf of the Jews) didn't like that because Hiatt sympathizes with Krauthammer and his ideological compatriots over those of Froomkin's. A totally legitimate point to make.

And since I keep trying to argue that anti-Semitism is not typically a case of trying to cheap shot political points, I'm a bit resentful towards Michael Goldfarb for making my job more difficult. I take solace in the fact that Michael Goldfarb is a complete moron who isn't taken seriously by anyone respectable of note (though, given the way that Jews are mistakenly assumed to be represented by the American right, he might be trotted out yet). More importantly, conservatives like Goldfarb, who (in my general observations) don't really have a sophisticated grasp of discrimination or prejudice and who tend to view those issues as fig-leaves for political power plays, are always going to wield these sorts of charges clumsily, because as far as they're concerned their core function isn't about remedying a system of disadvantage but rather the more provincial concern of winning the day's argument.

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