Goldman Sachs did what? Maureen Dowd said what?


A few weeks back Maureen Dowd dedicated a column to slamming the leadership of the Catholic Church, sparking a fiery response from New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

Now some of the Jews are angry, accusing the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of employing anti-Semitic imagery in  a subsquent column lambasting bankers.

Here’s how she got things rolling:

The Great Vampire Squid has gotten religion.

In an interview with The Sunday Times of London, the cocky chief of Goldman Sachs said he understands that a lot of people are “mad and bent out of shape” at blood-sucking banks.

“I know I could slit my wrists and people would cheer,” Lloyd Blankfein, the C.E.O., told the reporter John Arlidge.

But the little people who are boiling simply don’t understand. And Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, who unforgettably labeled Goldman “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money,” doesn’t understand.

Writing in The New Jersey Jewish News, Menachem Rosensaft and Jason H. Dolinsky slammed Dowd for putting "blood-sucking" and a Jewish banker in the same sentence:

We have heard these terms far too often to let them pass. Anti-Semitic tracts and Web sites are replete with references to “blood-sucking Jews.” And Ms. Dowd is too intelligent not to have realized that the depiction of Jews as greedy money-lenders has resulted in persecution and pogroms over the course of the past two millennia. Ms. Dowd has given new life to such ancient anti-Semitic incitements. …

We dread the prospect of swastikas smeared outside Goldman Sachs offices, or of learning that some street hood, inspired by Ms. Dowd’s column, broke an observant Jew’s leg shouting "let Goldman Sachs buy you a new leg."

At a time when a virulent Judaeophobia is on the rise, especially in Europe and throughout much of the Muslim world, politicians, journalists and columnists have a responsibility to refrain from using inflammatory anti-Semitic code words. Our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech does not bestow on any of us a license to incite to bigotry or violence.

Other were upset with the final line of the column, in which Dowd fired off a parting shot at Blankfein’s assertion that bankers are "doing God’s work." 

"And as far as doing God’s work," Dowd wrote, "I think the bankers who took government money and then gave out obscene bonuses are the same self-interested sorts Jesus threw out of the temple."

Robert Sugarman, the ADL’s national chairman, sent this letter to the Times:

While one can agree or disagree with Maureen Dowd’s portrayal of Goldman Sachs and other bankers (column, Nov. 11), her statement that “the bankers who took government money and then gave out obscene bonuses are the same self-interested sorts Jesus threw out of the temple” potentially raises one of the classic themes of anti-Semitism linking Jews and abhorrent money-lending practices.

However unintentional, Ms. Dowd’s invoking the New Testament story to illustrate our current financial mess conjures up old prejudices against Jews.

Here’s the Saturday Night Live sketch that inspired the headline of Dowd’s missive, if not the column itself:

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