Check yourself, part II


The back and forth on Glenn Beck and diminishing the Holocaust is like a scab to a 6-year-old: picking at it is painful, probably useless — but irresistible.

Call me 6!

So 400 rabbis, organized by Jewish Funds for Justice, publish a Wall Street Journal ad asking Fox News Channel to stop, already, and quote folks like Abe Foxman and Deborah Lipstadt to back it up.

Foxman in the WSJ and Lipstadt in the Forward say, thanks but no thanks for quoting us, we’d prefer a generic call on all sides to stop with the Holo-mongering.

Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post dips in and tells the rabbis shame on you, which reinforces my point, above, about 6 year olds and scab-picking, but there you go.

And now JFSJ’s Mik Moore hits back in the Forward and says, you know what? Beck is different.

He’s persuasive, I gotta say.

I mean, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) on C-Span at some godawful hour, and Beck on prime time, day after day?

Here’s Moore:

Fox News is not some fringe public-access channel. It has more viewers than the next two most popular cable news networks combined. Beck alone reaches millions of devoted viewers every day. This gives Fox more power to shape our public discourse than almost any other entity. We must demand greater accountability from those with greater influence.

Finally, Beck doesn’t just invoke Nazis and the Holocaust to demonize people more often than any other prominent figure in America. He is advancing a worldview that asserts, counterfactually, that progressives during the first half of the 20th century paved the way for Nazism — and that today’s progressives are doing the same thing. While other people use the word Nazi for effect, Beck has placed his warped understanding of the shared DNA of Nazism and progressivism at the center of his show. This is not just hyperbolic rhetoric. This is historical revisionism. And it has an effect. In a 2009 report, the ADL labeled Beck the “fearmonger-in-chief,” noting that the claims made on his show “play an important role in drawing people further out of the mainstream, making them more receptive to the more extreme notions and conspiracy theories.”

Three points:

–I’ve made this suggestion before: Republicans and Democrats need to set up a hotline. National Jewish Democratic Council and Republican Jewish Coalition, Eric Cantor and Debbie Wasserman Schultz — it doesn’t matter. Here’s how it would go:

Ring ring. Hi Debbie! Eric here. Listen, some idiot backbencher/talk show host/ presidential wannabe is calling someone Goebbels/ invoking the blood libel/ comparing protesters to brownshirts. Per our informal agreement, y’all’ve got 24 hours to carpet this dodo, no holds barred. See ya next Tuesday at the JFNA backslapper!

I guarantee you, Holocaust references would disappear from the rhetorical landscape, and fast. No one likes their own side making them look stupid.

–The key, of course, is "no holds barred:" The shamer would have to make the shamee look stupid. The NJDC’s acceptance of Cohen’s first non-apology was a nasty wimp-out. And before that blistered RJCHQ thumb hits "retweet", I was a little aghast at how the RJC went all medieval on Cohen, considering how their denunciation of Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) — for calling the grandchild of Holocaust survivors "Gestapo" — seems to be stuck in the mail.

–Abe, and a battery of conservatives, keep bringing up how Beck, Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch luuurve Israel.

This is getting majorly tiresome.

Beck invokes conspiracies. He has Jewish financiers and intellectuals conspiring to control the world. He implicates a child survivor in the Holocaust.

He illustrates all of this with marionettes. "Puppet master."

What part of this does not add up to trouble?

Consider the flipside of this "He-Loves-Israel-I-Cannot-Hear-A-Word-You-Say" nonsense: A postulate where Jews and their culture are celebrated, preserved, adored, and Israel is reviled, repudiated, rejected.

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare for landing, we are approaching Birobidzhan.

Identity is holistic. Rip Israel out of Jewish identity and you have a Yiddish-theater-in-Communist-Warsaw sham. A depressing artifact.

But the reverse is true too. Infect Israelophilism with tropes about Jewish control, and, people, it’s the same nightmare: A hall of horrors that rips our humanity from our embrace.

The guy who loves me as a victim? I don’t want him at my party.

The guy who loves me as a monster? Him, especially, I don’t want at my party.

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