Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pseudo-scholarly Jew-hatred

It is worth skimming this long, boring and heavily footnoted article in the far-left "People's Voice" webrag. (It evidently also was propagated to Al-Jazeerah.info.) Written by Curtis Maynard, one of those people whose entire existence seems to depend on vilifying Israel and Jews in articles written for publications that will publish anything, it breaks no new ground, but it shows that Jew-haters will desperately try to justify their hate with an avalanche of footnotes that they think can substitute for thought.

The author starts off by admitting that the dictionary definition of anti-Semitism is indeed Jew-hatred, and then goes on to disagree with the definition because Arabs are semites. One wonders if he uses "awful" and "awesome" as synonyms.

The writer then descends into absurdity, where he reviews a book by Joseph Bendersky that describes the latent and explicit anti-semitism of the US Army in the first half of the 20th century. Maynard mentions some of the generals who made statements against Jews, including Patton, and then expands it to other prominent Americans who made bigoted statements as well.

Maynard then quotes a critique of that book that mentions the background of the Army's anti-semitic statements, putting it in the context of the times. In no way was the critique itself anti-semitic, from what I can tell.

But Maynard then goes off into bizarro land, saying that if this book was subject to scholarly criticism, then somehow Jew-hatred must be justified. He brings as "proof" the more recent letter written by "5000" Russian "academics" that recommended closing all Jewish institutions in Russia (it was in fact 500 Russians), and then he ends off his huge article with this whopper:
In the end, the reader should take into consideration the fact that numerous seemingly intelligent, educated and patriotic Americans have believed that Jews for whatever reason have accumulated a considerable amount of influence in the United States and elsewhere around the world in a variety of different ways, through banking, the stock market, the news media, government, etc… it is up to the reader to decide if each and everyone of them was a complete crackpot, crank, racist and/or anti-Semite.

In the end, this 7500 word article boils down to the argument that "thousands of Jew-haters cannot be wrong."

More tellingly, the cartoon that was used to illustrate the article subconsciously shows the truth about today's anti-semitism far better than any number of quasi-intellectual arguments:

Naked Jew-hatred still exists, today, in the US. And its proponents are not shy about expressing it and justifying it. Just like the expression "anti-semitism" itself was coined to create a pseudo-scholarly aura around what was simply hate, so do today's anti-semites use the pretense of scholarship to justify their poisonous opinions.