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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Surprise: Anti-Semitism abounds at HuffPo, Salon and Kos

A survey of posts at three of the largest 'progressive' blogs - Huffington Post, Salon and Daily Kos - shows widespread and classical anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitic commentary on the three progressive blogs in question falls into three categories.

1. Excessive Jewish Control/Power over Society/Government

The claim that Jews wield disproportionate power and influence over culture, the economy, media, and especially the institutions of government, a power that is injurious to the nation - often rising to the level of a Jewish conspiracy - is clearly anti-Semitic in nature. The U.S. State Department's 2008 Report on Global Anti-Semitism[9] notes that anti-Semitism includes "stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective-such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions."

Within polite circles Jews are no longer accused of "poisoning the wells." Yet they are still often accused of running Hollywood, controlling the financial system, and manipulating U.S. foreign policy and public debate to blindly support Israel. This latter claim, in particular, is all too common in the commentary reviewed in this article.

2. Dual Loyalty: Jews More Loyal to Israel than to the United States

One of the oldest anti-Semitic staples is that Jews are not sufficiently loyal to the countries where they reside and instead are more loyal to Israel. Indeed, this notion underlay the failure of European emancipation. From the Dreyfus Affair in France through the Nazis' rise to power, Jews - no matter how devoted they actually were to their host countries -were viewed as outsiders lacking in national loyalty.

Such ad hominem attacks against American Jews who support Israel are common within the blogs in question. The "Working Definition of Anti-Semitism" of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia defines as anti-Semitic: "accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations."

3. Israel as Nazi Germany

Since Israel has only been a state for sixty-one years, this is a much more recent manifestation of anti-Semitism. In most working definitions of anti-Semitism, however, charges that Israel's behavior can be compared with the actions of Nazi Germany are considered anti-Semitic. A recent report by the Anti-Defamation League shows that such comparisons are increasingly common among anti-Israeli activists.[10]

Protests against Israel's Gaza offensive in 2008-2009 included banners and slogans likening Israeli soldiers to German troops, the Gaza Strip to Auschwitz, and the Star of David to the swastika. As the U.S. State Department Report notes: "the demonization of Israel, or vilification of Israeli leaders, sometimes through comparisons with Nazi leaders, and through the use of Nazi symbols to caricature them, indicates an anti-Semitic bias rather than a valid criticism of policy concerning a controversial issue."


There is even evidence to suggest that the outright anti-Semitism featured in this report is consistent with the increasing identification with such views among the American progressive community as a whole. A Stanford University poll[65] in May-June 2009 gauged the extent to which anti-Semitism was increasing as a result of the U.S. economic crisis. Respondents who were self-described Democrats were nearly twice as likely as those who identified themselves as Republicans to agree that Jews, as a group, were primarily responsible for the economic meltdown. The authors called this finding "somewhat surprising given the presumed higher degree of racial tolerance among liberals and the fact that Jews are a central part of the Democratic Party's electoral coalition."

Seemingly, even for those who deny that hatred of the Jewish state represents a new form of anti-Semitism it would be difficult to defend the manifestations of classic anti-Semitism - staples of dual loyalty, Jewish control, and so - seen in these blogs. Such sentiments hearken back to the racially and religiously based anti-Semitism of centuries past, a historically lethal force that self-styled progressives should ostensibly be in the forefront of resisting. And yet, a blogger with a large national following such as Glenn Greenwald, among others, can bemoan the corrosive effects of "Jewish money" and still be considered a progressive in good standing. This is despite the fact that progressive politics is supposed to entail a commitment to combating bigotry of all kinds and a sensitivity to even subtle negative stereotypes.

Likening anti-Semitism to pollution, in a Jerusalem Post interview Manfred Gerstenfeld[66] makes a distinction between that "which comes out of a chimney and spreads over a huge area" and that "which comes from the exhaust pipes of millions of cars, each one contributing its little bit." The former, he says, was characteristic of the Nazi era with its "leader," Adolf Hitler, as the central cause of the anti-Semitic smoke the world over. The latter, Gerstenfeld claims, characterizes today's postmodern form of the phenomenon: global but fragmented, with no single leader. Indeed, this aptly describes the new, diffuse media with its myriad of political blogs that lack any central and readily identifiable address, or "boss." This situation enables the new media to escape the regular and focused scrutiny that previously existed.

It is impossible to know just how much harm such rhetoric emanating from progressive blogs is causing. But it is time for principled progressives to take a stand against those in their own ideological community who claim to oppose all forms of intolerance but exhibit it blatantly toward Israel and Jews.

During an appearance by Martin Luther King at Harvard University, a student stood up and made a sharply hostile comment about Zionism. King responded: "When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism."[67]

Such moral clarity is needed to confront the increasingly acceptable hatred of Israel - and Jews - within the American progressive community.
Read the whole thing. You might want to shower afterward.


At 2:28 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Particularly J-Street which is an enabler of the worst anti-Semitism from the Left. If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem.


At 3:34 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

A poignant example of a comment by an "antiZionist" allowed through by the class-act moderators over at HP:

"NEVER AGAIN they said after WWll. What they meant was never again would they be of the receiving side of such an action. To be on the Opp.ressor side of things, well that slogan should be FOREVER AGAIN, WE HOPE!
The chosen ones. Yeah. Right."

I have been posting about Israel on HP for nearly a year, and I absolutely agree that the atmosphere is incredibly antisemitic. Any criticism of Israel or Jews is allowed, no matter how bigoted or distorted, but any criticism of Islam, Palestinians, or Arabs is almost instantly nerfed by the "moderators". If somebody does write a comment which is overtly antisemitic, it is almost impossible to accuse them of being so -- the moderators actually seem to think that would be an attempt stifling free speech (ahhh, the irony).

Recently, there has been a series of postings linking to Holocaust deniers such as David Irving and the IHR, as well as a couple of others to NS websites (since deleted). It took the moderators DAYS to remove these posts.

For the most part, the anti-zionists entertain fantasies about the destruction of the state of Israel, "sending the Jews back to Europe", and Zionist control of congress, the banking system, etc.

The most worrying part isn't the antizionist ideologues spreading propaganda, it's the drive-by comments by random posters who actually agree with them.

A great blog dedicated specifically to antisemitism on the Huffington Post:


At 6:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


pleaese note that this article is pointing out the commentors...not the blogs themselves (except for greenwald)

although it is a huge problem...but many times its hard to tell if the jew hate comments come from regular contributors or those just waiting for a thread about israel and are no more progressive than someone who regularly comments on a blog like stormfront

however, it is very scary to see that many of the comments are allowed to stand, and those that confront the commentors are frequently banned (especially if they point out that the comments border on anti semitism)

it does not help when leading jewish liberals such as chomsky and his dog finkelstein, lend credence to these views, and if you read the posts, many cite these two frauds, and then point out that both are jewish....so how can they be labeled with being anti-semites

however, dont think that the left are the sole purveyors of jew hate

its there on the right too...just in more subtle terms

and the right's support of israel has no connection to loving the jewish people

At 6:51 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Parts of the Right also have an ulterior agenda. Jews don't expect them though, to become Jews or Zionists. There can be and are difference of views between friends. But denying your existence and wishing to kill you is NOT friendship. Its a red line.

At 5:06 PM, Blogger Brian from Toronto said...

We have this problem in Canada, too. This year, I was able to persuade the CBC (our national broadcaster) to tighten up their moderation policies to weed out most of the antisemitic comments.

I wrote a piece about it for the Jewish Tribune. See here:

On a positive note: one of the reasons antisemites are all over the net is because they don't find their views reflected in mainstream media. It's a sign of how marginal they are.


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