Tuesday, March 23, 2021

I cannot get over this section that Peter Beinart highlighted from an essay of his on Substack:

When ordinary Americans grow paranoid, some of them lash out at the targets of their fear. As the historian Russell Jeung recently told the Washington Post, “When America China-bashes, then Chinese get bashed, and so do those who look Chinese.”

There’s nothing wrong with American politicians worrying about China’s economic and military ambitions. There’s nothing wrong with American politicians noting that China sometimes bullies its neighbors. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with American politicians speaking up for people in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and other places who are suffering terribly under Beijing’s brutal rule. But if American politicians talk only about China’s power and belligerence without also reminding Americans that Beijing’s military budget is a fraction of America’s, that China has good relations with major democracies, and that China has waged far fewer wars in recent decades than has the United States, they will be contributing to the kind of hysterical fear that over the last century has victimized vulnerable Americans again and again.
Beinart says that the constant demonizing of China inevitably results in Americans attacking Asian people. Yet Beinart's entire career is to demonize Israel, the Jewish state - and he is not at all concerned that this could result in antisemitism.

Beinart says that demonizing China should be contextualized by cherry picking specific facts about China and comparing them favorably against the US. But he never puts context around Israel's actions, except in a condescending way ("sure, there is X, BUT..."). 

And he always puts context around Palestinian crimes, exactly the way he does with China.

Apparently, dictatorships must be coddled while democracies must be attacked. There is no moral universe where the US is remotely comparable to China just as there is none where Israel is remotely comparable to the Palestinians' two governments. Choosing to selectively highlight and amplify problems in the US and Israel while downplaying major human rights abuses by Palestinians and Chinese is the exact same methodology used by conspiracy theorists - grabbing one fact and parlaying it into a giant universal theory that has no relationship with reality. 

But, unbelievably, Beinart wasn't finished on Monday. In response to a story in the Washington Post that showed how many people in Richmond's Jewish community - individuals as well as leaders - were upset that he was going to speak at  Virginia Commonwealth University, Beinart wrote that "the American Jewish establishment is an oligarchy run largely by its (often right-wing) donors." 

Beinart claims to be so sensitive about critics of China inciting against Asians - and hours later, he invokes a stereotype of rich Jews trying to shut down opinions they don't like with their financial clout.

The only bigot here is Beinart himself.





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