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A tip of the hat to the Department of State, which had the guts and good sense to express its opposition (sort of) to congressional legislation creating an office for monitoring “anti-Semitism.”

The bill passed both houses of Congress by voice vote and was signed into law by President Bush last week.

It’s a very silly and dangerous measure.

“We opposed creation of a separate office for the purpose and opposed the mandating of a separate annual report,” a State Department spokesman told the press. “We expressed the view that separate reports on different religions or ethnicities were not warranted, given that we already prepare human rights reports and religious freedom reports on 190 countries.” [Anti-Semitism office planned at State Department, By Nicholas Kralev,Washington Times, October 14, 2004]

But the Department isn’t dumb. Having seen how easily it passed, the spokesman explained also why the law really wasn’t a problem after all:

“It´s more of a bureaucratic nuisance than a real problem. We are not going to fight a bill that has gained such political momentum.”

You bet your pension you’re not.

The bill did not, of course, pass Congress because there was such a massive groundswell of grassroots support for it. It passed because Jewish organizations demanded it, and no sitting politician wants to get on the wrong side of these groups.

That’s why the bill passed the Senate by agreement and the House by voice vote—there’s no debate and no record of how anyone voted.

Pushed by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and most other major Jewish organizations, the bill requires the Department to record acts of physical violence against Jews, their property, cemeteries and places of worship abroad, and the response of local governments to them.

As the Department notes, it already issues reports on “human rights”abuses, and there’s no special reason why attacks on Jews should be recorded separately.

Why not reports about attacks on other groups—black people, white people, women, Christians?

If the lobbies that represent such categories can make enough noise for it, there would be such reports. The State Department could then spend all its time recording what should be the concern of local police departments.

The Department was right the first time that the bill requires a duplication of what it already does, but that’s not what’s really wrong with the law.

What’s wrong with it is that it opens one more door to the criminalization of thought and expression.

The bill requires only that acts of physical violence against Jews be recorded, not expressions of anti-Semitism, but you can bet the bill’s promoters will soon be pushing to include what they claim are “anti-Semitic” expressions to be reported as well. As press reports noted,“among the attacks that prompted passage of the bill” was “the recent claim by former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad that Jews ‘rule the world by proxy.’”

That’s the sort of stuff the State Department will now have to record and report about?

Last year the British Parliament debated a bill that would have allowed British citizens to be extradited to European Union countries to stand trial for expressing “xenophobia and racism” if the expressions were broadcast into countries where they are illegal, as in several European countries they are. It didn’t pass, and the law just enacted doesn’t do that, but all of it is part of the same pattern.

The pattern is the criminalization of thought—for xenophobia,” “racism,” “white supremacy,” “homophobia,” “anti-Semitism,” “patriarchalism,” and any number of other isms, manias and phobias unknown to any language a few years ago.

What really drives the crusade to criminalize thought and expression is not any legitimate revulsion against real violence (which is already illegal) but the compulsion of powerful and well-organized lobbies to muzzle criticism.

Neoconservatives are already claiming that criticism of them is really “anti-Semitism,” which is what they also said about the recent FBI investigation of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for espionage for Israel, and what the Anti-Defamation League and many other Jewish spokesmen said about Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” and what the same groups say about criticism of Israel or of U.S. policies toward Israel.

It might be a lot simpler if the State Department had to report on what isn’t anti-Semitism.

The list would be a lot shorter.

What is worrisome about the new law is not that the Department will have to duplicate what it already does but that what is not anti-Semitism at all, let alone violence, but merely criticism and dissent will be demonized and curbed.

Maybe in some minds that was the real purpose of the law all along.

And maybe, before the congressmen and senators all shouted their approval of the measure, they should have talked and thought about it a little more than they did.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Anti-Semitism, Thought Crimes 
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Does the Guinness Book of World Records have an entry for the politician fastest to apologize for Thought Crimes about ethnic issues?

I figured Sen. Trent Lott held the world championship in the apology Olympics. But now comes Rep. James Moran, who seems to have trounced even the Mississippi senator in the belly-crawl competition.

Mr. Moran’s offense, as the world now knows, was to say that American Jews have played a large role in pushing the United States into the coming war with Iraq and thereby utter what is supposed to be unutterable about Jewish power and Jewish loyalty.

Specifically, what he said at a rally of religious opponents of the war in response to a Jewish woman who wondered why more Jews were not present, was “If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this,”and “The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should.”

Jewish leaders in and around his own constituency at once denounced him and, despite his immediate belly flop, demanded his resignation from office, as did the Washington Post.

Meanwhile, the Republicans, sniffing blood, paddled in to take a bite of Mr. Moran’s flesh. The world’s only Jewish Republican congressman, Rep. Eric Cantor, told a meeting of 150 Orthodox Jewish leaders that what Mr. Moran said was “reminiscent of the accusations contained in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a classic anti-Semitic forgery.

Of course Mr. Moran said nothing like that—any more than the hapless Washington bureaucrat who nearly lost his job a few years ago for using the word “niggardly” said anything racially offensive. Mr. Moran’s critics either make the same kind of confusion, out of an obsession with their own persecution, or else are simply using the charge to score political points.

What Mr. Moran actually said is more or less (though perhaps not literally) true.

Only a month before the Washington Post editorial page was blathering for his resignation, its news section carried on the front page (Feb. 9) a long story by reporter Robert Kaiser on how “Bush and Sharon [are ] Nearly Identical on Mideast Policy.” It showed how mainly (but not exclusively) Jewish neo-conservatives in the Bush administration have pressed for war with Iraq and how these same people share the agenda of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s bellicose Likud party. “The Likudniks are really in charge now,” a senior government official told Mr. Kaiser. Other observers agree.

Articles in The Nation by Jason Vest, the Los Angeles Times by political scientist Chalmers Johnson, and most recently in a hard-hitting and well-researched article in The American Conservative by Pat Buchanan, among several other pieces by major journalists and scholars, have all uncovered much the same facts.

When Tim Russert of NBC’s “Meet the Press” asked his guest Richard Perle, a leading neo-con hawk who’s chairman of the Defense Policy Board in the Pentagon , “Can you assure American viewers across our country that we’re in this situation against Saddam Hussein and his removal for American security interests?” (as opposed to Israel’s), then, as the Forward, the leading Jewish newspaper in the country, remarked last month, “the toothpaste is out of the tube.”

None of this literally corroborates what Mr. Moran said about “the strong support of the Jewish community” for war with Iraq; the Bush Likudniks don’t necessarily represent all (or even very many) American Jews, but, as Michelle Goldberg noted in an article on last fall, “mainstream Jewish groups and leaders are now among the strongest supporters of an American invasion of Baghdad.”

What Mr. Moran said was close enough to the truth not to be so ruinously “offensive” as his enemies are claiming.

And the Jewish leaders who started the stampede for Mr. Moran’s resignation aren’t mainly concerned about “anti-Semitism” anyway. What they don’t like is his voting record on Israel.

As Ronald Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Council of Washington, told the Post, the congressman’s remarks were merely “the icing on the cake. Over the past several years, Congressman Moran has expressed a hostile tendency toward Israel. It has come up in his votes and in his statements.”

Anti-Semitism is one thing, and a good reason to resign. Opposition to Israel, at least for Americans, isn’t.

If American Jewish leaders, inside or outside the Bush administration, can’t make that distinction and insist on using the charge of “anti-Semitism” simply to smear and silence all critics of Israel and our policies toward it, then there may be good reason to ask more and much harder questions about their real political and foreign policy agendas.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Anti-Semitism, Iraq 
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If anybody had a bad weekend last week, it was probably the Rev. Billy Graham, who at the ripe age of 83 finds himself slapped in the face by various private remarks he uttered 30 years ago. The comments were made to President Richard Nixon in what a more naive world once really considered “privacy.” Little did the clergyman imagine he was being recorded.

Whatever Mr. Graham had to tell Nixon about God was quickly forgotten; what made the headlines last week and led him to issue an immediate—and cringing—apology was what he had to say about Jews. “Although I have no memory of the occasion,” he sniveled, “I deeply regret comments I apparently made in an Oval Office conversation with President Nixon.” The comments “do not reflect my views, and I sincerely apologize for any offense caused” by them.

But why does Mr. Graham feel the need, obviously overpowering because issued so quickly, to apologize? The factual core of what he said 30 years ago was essentially true—and worth thinking about.

Aside from various offensive wisecracks about Jews from Nixon, chief of staff Bob Haldeman and Mr. Graham, coupled with asseverations that all three really liked Jews and had Jewish friends, the main brunt of the conversation was that “Jews dominate the media.” As a matter of fact, that’s more or less true—and significant.

As Jewish historian Benjamin Ginsberg notes in his “The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State” (University of Chicago, 1993), “The chief executive officers of the three major television networks and the four largest film studios are Jews, as are the owners of the nation’s largest newspaper chain and most influential single newspaper, the New York Times.” He later notes the “elite newspapers—in which, as it happened, Jews also had significant influence, most significantly the New York Times and the Washington Post.”

Professor Ginsberg isn’t the only one to say what the most powerful man in the world in his conversation with Mr. Graham said, “I can’t ever say.” In 1996, Michael Medved, an Orthodox Jewish film critic, wrote in the Jewish magazine Moment,

“It makes no sense at all to try to deny the reality of Jewish power and prominence in popular culture. Any list of the most influential production executives at each of the major movie studios will produce a heavy majority of recognizably Jewish names.”

Hollywood isn’t the same as the news media, of course, but it’s probably far more influential.

Well, what difference does it make that Jews “control the media” — or, more accurately, have disproportionate influence in it? Nixon’s and Haldeman’s complaints in 1972 were that Jews are liberals or leftists and were trying to wreck the administration. They cited by name the White House correspondents employed by the major papers and NBC News, all of whom were Jewish.

This brings us back to Professor Ginsberg.

“With their special stake in domestic programs and spending,” he writes,

“…a number of Jews played important roles in mobilizing opposition against the Nixon administration…. In their battles with the Nixon administration, forces defending the domestic state were able to rely upon the support of another major institution in which Jews played key roles—the mass media.”

You can approve of this little factoid, or you can rant and whine about it like Nixon and his pals, but facts remain facts.

The larger truth to which such facts point is that a great deal of the dominance of liberalism in the news and entertainment media—not to mention culture and politics generally—is, quite simply, due to Jewish influence. It’s well known that American Jews vote Democratic (70 percent or more every four years) and have been prominent in liberal or left-wing causes (e.g., the ACLU, the NAACP, not to mention the New Left and the Communist Party—check out Professor Ginsberg on that too).

Neo-conservative Irving Kristol once cracked that Jews are the only ethnic group with the income of Episcopalians and the voting behavior of Puerto Ricans. The blunt truth is that American liberalism, in the days of Nixon as today, is powerful in large part because Jews are powerful.

There are strong historical reasons for that, of course, and there are many exceptions (not all Jews are on the left; most on the left are not Jews), but the fact remains that liberalism would be nowhere near as powerful and as well-entrenched in the United States today if it were not for the Jewish power that entrenches it.

Mr. Graham called it a “stranglehold,” and neither he nor the president of the United States was willing or able to say it out loud. Now that it has been said, we need to know they were right — and to think, rather than rant and whine, about what it means.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Anti-Semitism 
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The Demon of the Week is Bob Jones University, a relatively obscure Baptist educational institution in South Carolina that has suddenly become the political equivalent of the hanta virus. New Jersey’s liberal Democratic Sen. Bob Torricelli plans to introduce a resolution condemning the school, and after the unpleasantness attending Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s recent visit, it’s likely no serious politician will ever set foot on its campus again. For the university, that would not be a major loss.

Bob Jones is in trouble because its founder supposedly held that the Roman Catholic Church is a “Satanic cult” and its current rules forbid interracial dating by its students — but mainly because Mr. Bush happened to address the student body there and failed to denounce his hosts to their Satanic faces. The partisan motivations of the ranting about Bob Jones is so obviously naked that it’s pornographic.

Mr. Bush’s chief rival for the GOP nomination, John McCain and his campaign, as well as most of the media have spent the week blabbering and strutting about Mr. Bush’s “insensitivity,” his mindless embrace of the “extreme right” and his own supposed “anti-Catholicism” and racial views — all because he declined to insult his hosts at the university.

What is remarkable about the whole episode is the infantile level of the entire discussion. No one with a mental age over 14 can seriously believe that Mr. Bush is really “anti-Catholic” or condones “anti-Catholicism” or even that “anti-Catholicism” is a serious force in American politics and culture today. Nor can any grown person possibly believe that Mr. Bush himself really agrees or sympathizes with the religious views of Bob Jones or Pat Robertson.

The “religious right” as represented by the university and Mr. Robertson are Mr. Bush’s political allies, as they have been of major Republican presidential candidates since the early 1980s. For all their faults and shortcomings, they have in fact been extraordinarily helpful to the Republican Party, as Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr. and Robert Dole could tell you. Yet today what they get as their reward is at best “distancing” by other leaders of the party and, from Mr. McCain himself, a shrill, rude, gratuitous, insulting and simply libellous denunciation that is transparently the product of Mr. McCain’s political ambitions.

Mr. McCain himself has also been the target of childish slander because of his political associates in South Carolina and his language about his communist Vietnamese captors, while his ally in New Hampshire, former Sen. Warren Rudman, lobs his own foolish charges at Mr. Bush’s allies about being the victim of “anti-Semitism” because of the way Christian Coalition phone callers supposedly pronounced his name. The whole collection of these clowns would be far more appropriate as special guests on the Howdy Doody Show than in serious national politics, but their infantilism betrays one of the major flaws of the Republican mind.

What the Republicans have done is allow the left to dictate what the right should think, say and do. Both Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain have done this, and in allowing it to happen they have contributed to the further isolation of the political right, its further delegitimization and its further political destruction by the left. In a word, by importing left-wing accusations of “intolerance” and “insensitivity” into the GOP campaign, the candidates have split the party in two.

The reason Republicans have done this is that their leaders share or at least are willing to salute the premise of the left — the delusion that “insensitivity” and “intolerance” are serious problems in American life today rather than quaint if often crude remnants of earlier patterns of belief — and are therefore willing to exploit the premises of the left to clobber each other within their own party. By doing so, they seem not so much to think that they will convince other Republicans and conservatives as to imagine that they will impress the leftish masters of the media and the dominant culture.

Of course, that is precisely what the left wants Republicans to do and why it repeatedly instigates Republicans into fighting each other rather than the left itself. And of course, because the Republicans now habitually lend themselves to being so instigated, the GOP is no longer much of an effective political vehicle for the serious American right.

And of course also, given this mentality among Republicans, it never occurs to any of them to challenge the moral legitimacy of the left. If it did, the United States Senate would not be about to consider a resolution condemning Bob Jones University for policies and beliefs that are entirely its own business but would instead be debating a similar resolution condemning the vice president of the United States for meeting with black racial demagogue Al Sharpton.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Anti-Semitism 
Sam Francis
About Sam Francis

Dr. Samuel T. Francis (1947-2005) was a leading paleoconservative columnist and intellectual theorist, serving as an adviser to the presidential campaigns of Patrick Buchanan and as an editorial writer, columnist, and editor at The Washington Times. He received the Distinguished Writing Award for Editorial Writing of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) in both 1989 and 1990, while being a finalist for the National Journalism Award (Walker Stone Prize) for Editorial Writing of the Scripps Howard Foundation those same years. His undergraduate education was at Johns Hopkins and he later earned his Ph.D. in modern history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

His books include The Soviet Strategy of Terror(1981, rev.1985), Power and History: The Political Thought of James Burnham (1984); Beautiful Losers: Essays on the Failure of American Conservatism (1993); Revolution from the Middle: Essays and Articles from Chronicles, 1989–1996 (1997); and Thinkers of Our Time: James Burnham (1999). His published articles or reviews appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, National Review, The Spectator (London), The New American, The Occidental Quarterly, and Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, of which he was political editor and for which he wrote a monthly column, “Principalities and Powers.”