Why the silence?


"The right calls Obama Hitler. Why aren’t Jewish groups making more noise?" asks New York magazine:

There are various explanations: Nonpartisan organizations typically avoid wading into partisan battles like health-care reform. Some Jewish leaders who feel estranged from Obama over Middle Eastern issues may not want to defend him. Others may not consider radio entertainers a serious political threat.

More than anything, though, in breaking the old rules of political debate, the radical right has created a new game, and Jewish groups haven’t figured out how to play it. Post–World War II, if a famous American referenced Hitler or the Holocaust, it was typically seen as a careless comparison or slip of the tongue or bad joke — a mistake. Jewish organizations would criticize such remarks and then either educate or shame the speaker into never making them again. Two weeks ago, after Florida Representative Alan Grayson, a Jewish Democrat, compared health care to a “Holocaust in America,” the ADL requested a retraction. Within one day, Grayson apologized. That’s how the cycle supposedly works…

Land, Limbaugh, and their ilk are immune to guilt; after all, they say, they are attacking, not promoting, Nazism. In August, Beck rationalized the painting of a swastika outside Georgia Democrat representative David Scott’s office: The vandals “are not saying, ‘We hate you because you’re a Jew,’” Beck told listeners. “They’re saying, ‘We hate you because you’re a Nazi!’”

Full story here.

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