Colin Powell: A double standard or anti-SemitismPowell has consistently employed a double standard when it comes to Jews.
OK, I get it. An errant slip of the tongue isn't proof of prejudice. We have all said things the offensiveness of which we perhaps didn't fully appreciate when we opened our mouth.
Like the time when, according to Bob Woodward, Mr. Powell accused Douglas Feith, one of the highest-ranking Jewish officials in the Bush administration and the son of a Holocaust survivor, of running a "Gestapo office" out of the Pentagon. Mr. Powell later apologized personally to Mr. Feith for what he acknowledged was a "despicable characterization."
Or the time when, according to George Packer in his book "The Assassins' Gate," Mr. Powell leveled another ugly charge at Mr. Feith, this time in his final Oval Office meeting with George W. Bush. "The Defense Department had too much power in shaping foreign policy, [Powell] argued, and when Bush asked for an example, Powell offered not Rumsfeld, the secretary who had mastered him bureaucratically, not Wolfowitz, the point man on Iraq, but the department's number three official, Douglas Feith, whom Powell called a card-carrying member of the Likud Party."
Anyway, on this business of hypersensitivity to prejudicial remarks, real or perceived, here is Mr. Powell in the same interview talking about what ails the Republican Party:
"There's also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party. What do I mean by that? I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities. How can I evidence that? When I see a former governor [Alaska's Sarah Palin] say that the president is shuckin' and jivin,' that's a racial-era slave term. When I see another former governor [New Hampshire's John Sununu] say after the president's first debate when he didn't do well, he said he was lazy. Now it may not mean anything to most Americans but to those of us who are African-Americans, the second word is shiftless and then there's a third word that goes along with it."
So let's get this straight. Mr. Powell holds it "disgraceful" to allege anti-Semitism of politicians who invidiously use the phrase "the Jewish lobby." But he has no qualms about accusing Mr. Sununu—along whose side he worked during the George H.W. Bush administration—of all-but whispering the infamous N-word when he called Mr. Obama's first debate performance "lazy."
It's hard to decide whether Mr. Powell is using a double standard hypocritically or inadvertently. I'll assume the latter, since he seems to have missed the reason why Mr. Hagel's nomination to be secretary of defense has run into so much opposition.
Consider the following hypothetical sentence: "The African-American lobby intimidates a lot of people up here." Would this pass Mr. Powell's smell test?Read the whole thing.
I don't believe Powell's double standard was inadvertent, and I believe it has much darker motives than just supporting Hagel's nomination. I don't care how much Yiddish Powell ostensibly knows.