Sunday, January 25, 2004

That Shit Doesn't Fly Over There

They may be able to bully people here, but in Europe, where they know what true ethnic bigtry looks like (they've seen quite enough of the genuine stuff), the Podhoretz tactic doesn't fly.

I refer to the tactic, which I talk about too much on this blog because I have recently been the butt of it myself, of calling critics of the Israeli Government and its Washington Lobby, "anti-semites".

It's a conflagrant tactic used to silence any critic of Sharon or Likud or the ethnic cleansing policy of the Israeli Government.

"During the question-and-answer session he was asked: "Will the US ever be willing to impose an equitable peace settlement in the Middle East, or is it perhaps that the Jewish lobby in America is too strong to make that feasible?"

Well, one apparatchik tried it. This question was posed, apparently in good faith, to an official of the Bush Administration. The following reply is worthy of Norman Podhoretz :

"Mr Johnson responded indignantly, saying: "I am highly resentful of the last part of your remarks, just because of its ethnic slur." And he went on: "During my time here I have become increasingly troubled by the willingness of European audiences to skirt up to the side of anti-Semitic language as a political criticism.""

That must have been a prime time popcorn moment for Sharon.

But the Brits knew this was horseshit (and it's worth noting that the article gives no indication that this was a de facto hostile crowd). The irony was that it took an American to voice it.

"A retired US diplomat, now living in Britain, rose to defend the earlier questioner, objecting that Mr Johnson's remark reflected the American tendency to associate criticism of Israeli policy with criticism of Jews. "There is nothing racial about drawing attention to the existence of a particular ethnic group," he said, noting that the US had not only "a strong Israeli lobby" but Irish, Polish and other ethnic lobbies.

There was a shout of "hear, hear" from the audience and applause rang around the crowded hall.

Of course Poddy and my personal favourite supertribalist wacko would just say that each and every "hear hear" resounded from the larnyxes of virulent anti-semites, merely "proving" their point. You see, the next step, the "logical" extention of this lunacy is to damn the objector's defenders as "anti-semites" by extention.

Watch. This tactic is so powerful, and therefore so addictive, that what I described in the last sentence will be the next in a progression. It's already implied and even employed in very special circumstances (at Hitchens and Chomsky to name two) but soon will be par for the course.

Here's the link.