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July 01, 2004

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Wow. I wonder if Ralph got a good look at the shark as he was passing overhead.

Jew Beams Give You Wings!

Do the Saudis who control George W. Bush know that they have shared custody with the Jews? Because boy, are they going to be angry about this.

All the more remarkable since, as our beloved Prince Abdullah has told us, Zionists are responsible for all of the problems in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well!

Or was it alcohol smugglers? Or Zionist alcohol smugglers?

I submit that Nader must have, at some point recently, stumbled across MegaTokyo, mistook it for George Bush's campaign web site (understandable--MegaTokyo has giant robots, and Dick Cheney is apparently a robot, and completely misunderstood their tagline:

"Relax, we understand j00."

Do the Saudis who control George W. Bush

I wonder where Phil got that idea?

Do the Saudis who control George W. Bush

I wonder where Phil got that idea?

Do the Saudis who control George W. Bush

Reminds me of the cartoon where a couple are walking out of "F 911" and the man is saying "Gee, I had no idea George Bush was flying the second plane that crashed into the World Trade Center."

Lies and damn lies as illustrated

In his new movie, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” film-maker Michael Moore makes the eye-popping claim that Saudi Arabian interests “have given” $1.4 billion to firms connected to the family and friends of President George W. Bush. This, Moore suggests, helps explain one of the principal themes of the film: that the Bush White House has shown remarkable solicitude to the Saudi royals, even to the point of compromising the war on terror. When you and your associates get money like that, Moore says at one point in the movie, “who you gonna like? Who’s your Daddy?”

But a cursory examination of the claim reveals some flaws in Moore’s arithmetic—not to mention his logic. Moore derives the $1.4 billion figure from journalist Craig Unger’s book, “House of Bush, House of Saud.” Nearly 90 percent of that amount, $1.18 billion, comes from just one source: contracts in the early to mid-1990’s that the Saudi Arabian government awarded to a U.S. defense contractor, BDM, for training the country’s military and National Guard. What’s the significance of BDM? The firm at the time was owned by the Carlyle Group, the powerhouse private-equity firm whose Asian-affiliate advisory board has included the president’s father, George H.W. Bush.

Leave aside the tenuous six-degrees-of-separation nature of this “connection.” The main problem with this figure, according to Carlyle spokesman Chris Ullman, is that former president Bush didn’t join the Carlyle advisory board until April, 1998—five months after Carlyle had already sold BDM to another defense firm. True enough, the former president was paid for one speech to Carlyle and then made an overseas trip on the firm’s behalf the previous fall, right around the time BDM was sold. But Ullman insists any link between the former president’s relations with Carlyle and the Saudi contracts to BDM that were awarded years earlier is entirely bogus. “The figure is inaccurate and misleading,” said Ullman. “The movie clearly implies that the Saudis gave $1.4 billion to the Bushes and their friends. But most of it went to a Carlyle Group company before Bush even joined the firm. Bush had nothing to do with BDM.”

Thanks for playing Eddie.

I swear, Timmy, if you hijack any more threads you're going to end up on a terrorist watchlist somewhere.

Timmy, play nice. Phil was being sarcastic and Edward isn't defending Moore.

I'm sure it helps you sleep at night to have that flimsy distinctiont to cling to Timmy, but this thread is about civility...no, wait, no, that was the previous thread...nevermind...carry on.

Errr… Moe, though I always love to see heartfelt idealism, if you think that Nadar is going to get smacked down I wonder what on earth you're basing that assumption. Let's be serious, this guy should have been laughed off the American Stage 30 years ago.

Errr… Moe, though I always love to see heartfelt idealism, if you think that Nadar is going to get smacked down I wonder what on earth you're basing that assumption. Let's be serious, this guy should have been laughed off the American Stage 30 years ago.

oops

"Errr… Moe, though I always love to see heartfelt idealism, if you think that Nadar is going to get smacked down I wonder what on earth you're basing that assumption."

(Shrug) Because doing so is both righteous and a smart political move for the Democrats?

Yes, both righteous and smart. As so many other opportunities so far...

Mark your calendar, I agree with Mac...

Let's be serious, this guy should have been laughed off the American Stage 30 years ago.

Of course, someone might want to tell the Republicans trying to help him get on the ballot in Oregon.GOP trying to get Nader on OR ballot

Pragmatically speaking, making sure this boner sees the light of day and that Nader gets smacked down for it is a no-brainer for the Democratic Party. They get to simultaneously take a stand that is unassailable by the GOP, take the high road while doing so, silence those who like to lump liberals in with anti-Semites based on opposition to Israeli policy, and neutralize Nader.

Let's not fight. This thread should be an amicable, bipartisan attempt to hide the fact that we're all secretly controlled by foreign Jews.

You know, I met someone in 2000 who was deciding between Nader and Buchanan. I thought she was nuts, and she was, but apparently she was also psychic.

Fafnir is also psychic, and much funnier.

Er . . . yeah, Timmy, I think my point went way, way over your head. Let me make it a little more bluntly, for the sarcasm-challenged:

"I wish all the nutbags would get together and decide once and for all which group of foreign nationals they're going to claim controls our country."

Okay, here's where I put all my cards on the table, lay it all on the line, come clean, and invoke lots of similar metaphors. Wait for it. I know, most of you suspected it, but I'm throwing myself on the mercy of the ObWi readership.

I am controlled by Jews.

Specifically, my fiancee, who happens to be Jewish, and who would be a little bemused but not at all surprised to hear that I am under her sway.

But that, at least, I can blame on something far more interesting and enjoyable than Jew Beams.

It's nice to see a topic that both sides of the debate seem to agree with (mostly).

"I am controlled by Jews."

What's it like? The closest I've come to it was the time in grad school when I dated this girl who... ah, never mind. Hoo boy, never mind.

You know, I met someone in 2000 who was deciding between Nader and Buchanan. I thought she was nuts, and she was, but apparently she was also psychic.

I had a brief encounter with someone who had similar…err… eccentric politics, which is why I didn't necessarily believe that those Buchanan/Lieberman ballots in Florida were votes of people who wanted Gore. Politics are weird, some people are even weirder.

If memory serves, this all stems from a Nader interview with Buchanan's interesting-if-paleocon "The American Conservative," in which Buchanan asks him "Why should conservatives vote for Nader?" and Nader essentially trots out his Buchananite credentials ("Hey, I'm a paranoid isolationist who thinks Zionists and the Jewish bloc have a sinister strangehold on American foreign policy, too!").

It's all part of Ralph's scheme to woo conservatives. He's going to help Kerry win by stealing Bush's votes like he did in 2000, remember?

And that Nader/Buchanan interview is right here, for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. It's a fascinating slice of the Twilight Zone.

What's it like? The closest I've come to it was the time in grad school when I dated this girl who... ah, never mind. Hoo boy, never mind.

Well... let's just say that if this is what it's like being a puppet of the Zionist regime, sign me up for a lifetime subscription. *

* Disclaimer for the humor-impaired: This is a joke. I strongly oppose a great deal of what Israel does and how they do it, as does she--and both of us make a clear distinction between the Israeli government and the Jewish people when doing so.

If you come full circle on politics, Nader and Pat are back to back, both are isolationists at heart and want to focus internally. It is the internal view where things get interesting but both are advocates of the working stiff.

The problem with Nader's and Pat's worldview is if it is ever implemented, that working stiff (more than likely) is going to end up fighting in a really big global war.

As for "the government of the United States is under the direct control of foreign Jews", well that is so European as well as a view widely held in the 1930s again by Europeans.

Phil, I captured your sarcasim, I hope you understood mine. Catsy certainly did.

When did the Isreali leadership become immune to criticism by virtue of being Jewish? And, just so we are clear, who else is off-limits? Or does even raising the question make me a paranoid anti-semite?

The things I'm reading in this thread make me ill.

"If memory serves, this all stems from a Nader interview with Buchanan's interesting-if-paleocon...."

No, it stems from his speech to an Arab-American conference. (The fact that Nader is of Arabic descent is, of course, completely separable from his opinions.)

"I strongly oppose a great deal of what Israel does and how they do it, as does she--and both of us make a clear distinction between the Israeli government and the Jewish people when doing so."

So, of course, do most Jewish people, and most Israeli citizens; it's more-Israeli-than-Israelis who tend to confuse the two, just as extreme right-wingers anywhere believe that There Is Only One Loyal View And Others Are Traitors (and extreme left-wingers believe that There Is Only One Correct View And That Is Against The Government).

When did the Isreali leadership become immune to criticism by virtue of being Jewish? And, just so we are clear, who else is off-limits? Or does even raising the question make me a paranoid anti-semite?

The things I'm reading in this thread make me ill.

Was a criticism of the Israeli leadership offered in the Nader quote? Nope. Everyone here is sensibly poking fun at the old school, and anti-semitic in origin, conspiracy theory that Jews control the world. Or in this case, Israelis control their "puppets" in Washington.

And just so you know I'm not being naive, poke around opensecrets.org and look at the lobbyists and dollars floating around. Last time I did, I noticed that the Humane Society had as least as many puppets in Washington as the pro-Israel folks. Maybe muppets in their case.

When did the Isreali leadership...
Who are they?
...become immune to criticism by virtue of being Jewish?
I dunno, when? Was that when the Labor Party was abolished? Or was it when Meretz was abolished?
And, just so we are clear, who else is off-limits?
Who is off-limits in the first place?
Or does even raising the question make me a paranoid anti-semite?
It's hard to say, since you're arguing with a point no one is asserting; that suggests "paranoid," though not "anti-semitic."

If you want to agree that Jews control other people as their "puppets," then you'd move into anti-Semitic territory. I assume you don't agree.

"The things I'm reading in this thread make me ill."

Could you quote them, please?

In case anyone is curious about the context of Moe's quote of Nader, a transcript as well as a link to the CSPAN-archived video can be found at the Council for the National Interest's website.

Transcript: http://www.cnionline.org/hearings/muslims/transcript.htm

CSPAN Video rtsp://video.c-span.org/project/c04/c04062904_muslimvote.rm
(Mr. Nader's speech begins at approximately 48:30)

I've checked the transcript against the archived video. Passages below in italics are my additions. Most notably--in an apparently innocent accident--Mr. Nader's first 2 paragraphs on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were skipped in the transcript. Moe's quotation is in boldface. Times refer to the RealPlayer link below

(1:08:49) The Palestianian-Israeli conflict is a resolvable one. For years, the peace advocates among Palestinians and Israelis have been getting together to design an accord. That accord is usually described as “a 2-state solution”: an independent, viable Palestianian state, East Jerusalem as the capital, adequate restitution for properties taken, and a variety of adjustments so that this can indeed be an independent state.

(1:09:24)
Security for Israel in such a situation is maximized. Israeli is the fifth most powerful military power in the world---perhaps the modernized military power after the United States. It knows how to be secure. A secure accord between the two peoples living in peace is supported by a majority of Israeli and Palestinian people. If the United States Government was really interested in resolving that conflict, it would side with the broad, deep, and distinguished Israeli peace movement that just put 120,000 of its members in a square in Tel Aviv to protest the government’s policies. This is a peace movement nourished by members of the Knesset, former members of the Knesset, mayors, former mayors, former military officers, former generals, former intelligence officials, workers, professors, rabbis. This is not a fringe movement. And yet, these distinguished people are very rarely invited to testify before Congress---very rarely invited to meet with government officials.

(1:10:48)
Not long ago, hundreds of Israeli combat officers and soldiers signed a proclamation which stated among others that they would refuse to fight beyond the 1967 borders because they would no longer participate in any effort to “dominate, expel, starve, or humiliate an entire people.” Those were their exact words. The full proclamation can be found on their website, at www.seruv.org.il. There is more freedom to discuss the Israeli/Palestinian issue in Israel by far than there is in the United States.

(1:11:36)
It is time for the US government to realize that this is not a local conflict anymore; it is not just a regional conflict anymore. It is a conflict that is producing flashpoints throughout much of the world and endangering US Citizens in those countries, US businesses in those countries, US workers in those countries, and endangering our own national security here. It is time for the US government to stand up and think for itself.

(1:12:08)
What has been happening over the years is a predictable routine of foreign visitation from the head of the Israeli government. The Israeli puppeteer travels to Washington. The Israeli puppeteer meets with the puppet in the White House, and then moves down Pennsylvania Avenue and meets with the puppets in Congress, and then takes back billions of taxpayer dollars. It is time for the Washington puppet show to be replaced by the Washington peace show. In that, we will enhance the freedom and security of both Palestinian and Israeli people, peoples around the world, and the American people here and abroad.

(1:12:58)
Let me conclude on this note: the pillaring of Islam is in the nefarious tradition of pillaring of religions. Every major religion has been misused by its own violators for violent purposes. We should remember the crusades. We should remember over 200 years between 1095 and the following 200 years. Armies from Christendom moved in to Asia Minor, slaughtering as they went. In one conflict, the Christian generals took out 2500 Muslim prisoners and beheaded them—just one conflict.

(1:13:50)
We should remember that the way to honor any religion is to practice what its practitioners preach. And there’s no better way to practice what its practitioners preach, then for the practitioners to preach what they practice. Its time for the American people to realize that Muslim Americans are only the latest religious ethnic group to feel the brunt of political hysteria and abuse. The Japanese Americans were put into camps in California during WWII, no due process. Men, women, children, families, hustled out of their homes and into these concentration camps. Internments, they called them. Years ago Jewish American’s were stereotyped during the communist witch hunt, as having more than their share of that ideology. Another profiling. Another abuse. Earlier, Italian Americans were profiled as anarchists carrying bombs underneath their big coats. Another profiling. Another abuse. Irish Americans suffered during the civil war. It’s now the turn of Muslim Americans. African Americans, of course, have always suffered… (1:15:27)

I personally think Nader's comments aren't particularly offensive in context, unless you find the general worldwide dovish leftist critique of Likud and hawkish Labour intrinsically offensive. But I leave it to y'all to decide for yourselves whether "puppeteer" was a poor-but-largely-innocent choice of words, a sign of knee-jerk leftist disdain of Likud, or a Freudian slip showing massive, odious anti-Semitism.

Happy 4th of July, y'all!

If you want to agree that Jews control other people as their "puppets," then you'd move into anti-Semitic territory. I assume you don't agree.

I'm sure somewhere in the world some Jewish folks control some other people as one would a "puppet", just as I am sure somewhere some Welshmen are controlling someone else, somewhere some Russians control someone else, etc. This is not an unusual human relationship, it is not unique to any ethnicity, and I'm quite positive that in any ethnic group of any size there are people who have a great deal of influence over other people, the Jewish people included. Do I attribute the power some members of a group have to the group as a whole? Absolutely not. And from what I can tell, neither does Nader. He said the Israeli head of state has undue influence in Washington. He did NOT (at least based on the article linked and the other times I've heard him speak) say "Jews" control anyone in Washington. I am curious how the fact that the Israeli leadership is Jewish lands Nader in hot water when he didn't bring ethnicity into the discussion. Moe brought ethnicity into it, saying Nader thinks Jews control our leaders, which is dramatically different from what Nader actually said.

This mischaracterization is as offensive as Bush's insinuation that those who question Iraq's ability to maintain a stable democracy are racists for thinking so, which he based on the simple premise that Iraqis are not white, while ignoring the hundreds of legitimate causes for concern that have nothing to do with skin color. Calling Nader's claim "anti-semitic" trivializes the term in a deeply troubling way.

Jonas Cord: Was a criticism of the Israeli leadership offered in the Nader quote? Nope.

No? Nader said, "What has been happening over the years is a predictable routine of foreign visitation from the head of the Israeli government." He then goes on to refer to the head of state as a puppeteer. Please enlighten me as to how this is not a criticism of the Israeli leadership (and, more specifically, their relationship to Washington)? I think his claim was hyperbolic to a fault, and that it certainly merits discussion. However, nearly all I read in this thread right now is that Nader is Jew-bashing.

Everyone here is sensibly poking fun at the old school, and anti-semitic in origin, conspiracy theory that Jews control the world. Or in this case, Israelis control their "puppets" in Washington.

There is no equivalency between these two ideas. "Israeli" is not equivalent to "Jewish", even if most Israelis are ethnically Jewish, and even if Israel self-identifies as a Jewish state. Argue against what he said, yes, but don't waste your time arguing against what you imagine he said. When someone actually raises paranoid fantasies about cabals of foreign Jews pulling the strings of government, that person is deserving of ridicule. But Moe and everyone in this thread who takes his interpretation seriously are overreaching to suggest that Nader is proposing such a scenario.

This reminds me of when Dean got blasted for suggesting an "even-handed" approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I understand the idea that some words are codes, but those codes can only be interpreted in the context of the speaker's history in dealing with the issue. To my knowledge, Nader has a history of harshly criticizing the state of Israel, not "Jews". If someone cares to broaden the context for me, please do.

"I personally think Nader's comments aren't particularly offensive in context, unless you find the general worldwide dovish leftist critique of Likud and hawkish Labour intrinsically offensive."

"In context" the odiousness of Nader's comments stand. Let us stop pretending that we do not live in a world where the image of Jews and their puppeteer strings has a history behind it that stretches back over two centuries and an ocean's worth of blood.

Moe

"He said the Israeli head of state has undue influence in Washington."

He said that President Moshe Katsav had undue influence? Are you sure? I'm pretty sure the quote is "What has been happening over the years is a predictable routine of foreign visitation from the head of the Israeli government." Who is presently Ariel Sharon, to be sure, not the head of state, President Moshe Katsav.

"I am curious how the fact that the Israeli leadership is Jewish lands Nader in hot water when he didn't bring ethnicity into the discussion."

Possibly you are not familiar with the classic anti-Semitic accusations and slurs. Saying that Jews are "puppeteers" is one such. I'd agree that I find the rest of what is quoted of Nader's speech inoffensive.

"Moe brought ethnicity into it, saying Nader thinks Jews control our leaders, which is dramatically different from what Nader actually said."

I'm sorry, but this is no different than if someone made a speech in which it was declared that the head of the NAACP loved watermelon, fried chicken, and had natural rhythm, and someone objected to this as racist, you said "you're introducing race into this when it was never mentioned! What he referred to was the head of an organization -- that's dramatically different!"

"This reminds me of when Dean got blasted for suggesting an 'even-handed' approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I understand the idea that some words are codes, but those codes can only be interpreted in the context of the speaker's history in dealing with the issue."

That wasn't a case of Dean being anti-Semitic, or speaking in any code. It was a case of him making a foolish moral equivalence. (Mind, I'm 100% for a two-state solution, and have spent a lifetime criticizing various Israeli policies, and attacking Ariel Sharon; I daresay it's possible I've spent a great many more tens of thousands of hours working towards that goal, working for American affiliates of Peace Now, and meeting with Palestinians, than most, perhaps even you.)

Moe's point is well taken. Words can be weighted not just by abstract historical allusions but with mortal sin and innocent blood. Therefore, the fact that a person (e.g., me) agrees with a broad political message (e.g., the italicized paragraphs in the Nader passage I quoted in my previous comment), doesn't mean that person (e.g., me again) shouldn't forcefully condemn idiotic and offensive rhetoric used to promote that message, even if said rhetoric was used wholly innocently and only in passing.

So I'm writing to Ralph personally to tell him that his choice of "puppeteer" imagery was utterly idiotic and offensive even if he didn't intend anything malign by it.

(And I certainly understand how others could well think Nader did have malice in mind when he used the word "puppeteer". It would be wholly consistent with his rhetoric for him to be thinking something like: "I don't hate Jews in general. Heck, those 120,000 peace activists in Tel Aviv seem like swell folks. Rather, I just hate the small cabal of Jewish financeers who rule the world by exploiting the greed and ambition of Gentiles. In short, I'm not anti-Semitic in general, I'm just specifically anti-Elders-of-Zion." That would be utterly disturbing.)

Moe Lane: Let us stop pretending that we do not live in a world where the image of Jews and their puppeteer strings has a history behind it that stretches back over two centuries and an ocean's worth of blood.

If I call Shari Lewis a "puppeteer" does that mean I am a paranoid anti-semite? At what point does context actually matter?

Gary Farber: He said that President Moshe Katsav had undue influence?

You've exposed my characteristically American conflation of head of government with head of state. Bravo.

Gary Farber: I'm sorry, but this is no different than if someone made a speech in which it was declared that the head of the NAACP loved watermelon, fried chicken, and had natural rhythm, and someone objected to this as racist, you said "you're introducing race into this when it was never mentioned! What he referred to was the head of an organization -- that's dramatically different!"

This is a gross exaggeration. Had Nader said Israel's leaders were puppeteers who control the banking and entertainment industries as well as U.S. government, you would be on target. What he actually said is more equivalent to saying you observed the head of the NAACP eating fried chicken in the context of discussing whether or not he is a vegetarian. Not in and of itself racist.

"If I call Shari Lewis a "puppeteer" does that mean I am a paranoid anti-semite?"

No. If you say it of the head of the Israeli goverment, in regard to that country's ability to manipulate the United States government, however, people will wonder, just as they would if you said it of any leader of a "powerful" Jewish organization. Saying it about anyone else has, of course, no such connotation.

"At what point does context actually matter?" Precisely.

"Had Nader said Israel's leaders were puppeteers who control the banking and entertainment industries as well as U.S. government, you would be on target."

I'm at something of a loss. It's not anti-Semitic to accuse the head of government of Israel of being a "puppeteer," and the many governments of Israel of being a "puppeteer" by controlling their "puppet," the U.S. government. It only is anti-Semitic if one says it about the entertainment, or banking, industry?

I'm not sure what to say to that beyond: WTF?

"What he actually said is more equivalent to saying you observed the head of the NAACP eating fried chicken in the context of discussing whether or not he is a vegetarian. Not in and of itself racist."

I begin to suspect we may not anything further useful to say to each other on this topic, as we appear to view this from drastically different perspectives of prior knowledge and context.

I begin to suspect we may not anything further useful to say to each other on this topic, as we appear to view this from drastically different perspectives of prior knowledge and context.

I must congratulate you on the absolute /best/ ever polite paraphrase of "don't talk to me anymore, you have a rectal-cranial inversion" I've seen in a long time. :)

I'm not sure what to say to that beyond: WTF?

Gary, in your NAACP example, you gave three points of contact with racial stereotypes. How often do fried chicken, watermelon, and natural rhythm come up in reference to a black person in an innocent context? But if, for example, one were to say Al Sharpton has natural rhythm, that is one point of contact, and, outside a broader racial context (such as the one generated by invoking additional stereotypes in the same statement), I should think it is a perfectly acceptable thing to say, even if the truth of the claim is controversial. You created a broader context in your example for which an analog does not exist in the Nader quote. I thought I made this quite clear. Anyway, that's WTF.

Gromit,

No? Nader said, "What has been happening over the years is a predictable routine of foreign visitation from the head of the Israeli government." He then goes on to refer to the head of state as a puppeteer. Please enlighten me as to how this is not a criticism of the Israeli leadership (and, more specifically, their relationship to Washington)?

Within this quote, this looks not to be a legitimate criticism of Israel at all per se, rather, a criticism of Washington for being the puppets used to further nefarious Israeli ends.

My anti-semitism spidey-sense gets buzzing when other foreign heads of government visit Washington all the time, receive millions or billions in financial and military aid, and yet no rhetoric from anyone about how they are controlling Washington. Usually it's the reverse - Washington is controlling these poor, manipulated nations!

It's really easy to criticize Israel without getting in to this sort of mess, which from skimming the rest of Nader's remarks, it seems he was able to do.

Jonas Cord: My anti-semitism spidey-sense gets buzzing when other foreign heads of government visit Washington all the time, receive millions or billions in financial and military aid, and yet no rhetoric from anyone about how they are controlling Washington. Usually it's the reverse - Washington is controlling these poor, manipulated nations!

There are plenty of instances of accusations of undue foreign influence regarding powers other than Israel. See the Clinton/China fundraising story, the Bush/Saudi story (mentioned earlier in this thread), the Kennedy/Vatican story, and the Kerry/Foreign-Leaders story (also probably a distortion), just off the top of my non-historian's head. This is not a phenomenon that is unique to Israel.

And while I don't know if Nader has ever specifically made this charge against another foreign government, I do know for a fact that he makes this very same charge against corporations all the time. He called George Bush and Al Gore corporations masquerading as human beings, which is no less hyperbolic than his claim above.

And I'm not defending his views, I'm just arguing that they are not evidence enough to brand him an anti-semite.

It's really easy to criticize Israel without getting in to this sort of mess, which from skimming the rest of Nader's remarks, it seems he was able to do.

It is clear that a lot of people from lots of political perspectives want desperately to portray this man as a nutcase, so desperate that even highly circumstantial evidence like the quote above is sufficient to start taunting him with phrases like "Jew beams". Just like all those ridiculous boasts Gore supposedly made that were really collective misquotes by the press, the story here instantly became "Nader says Jews control American government" when he actually said something quite different.

I don't fault anyone for looking askance at the specific quote, taken out of context, and wanting to investigate further before passing judgement. But that is not what initially happened here.

Gromit: You said: There is no equivalency between these two ideas. "Israeli" is not equivalent to "Jewish", even if most Israelis are ethnically Jewish, and even if Israel self-identifies as a Jewish state.

Sharon disagrees with you. I quote from an interview:
Sharon throws out the distinction between anti-Semitic beliefs and legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies in the Middle East.
“Today there is no separation. We are talking about collective anti-Semitism. The state of Israel is a Jewish state and the attitude towards Israel runs accordingly.”

See the Clinton/China fundraising story, the Bush/Saudi story (mentioned earlier in this thread), the Kennedy/Vatican story, and the Kerry/Foreign-Leaders story (also probably a distortion), just off the top of my non-historian's head.
These are interesting, and educational, examples.

China: perhaps you are unaware of the long history of anti-Asian/Yellow Peril racism. Fu Manchu as the fiendish and sinister Oriental puppet master is an embodiment. Yes, when an ethnic group of people, or a chosen representative of them, is accused of being a "puppet master," it is almost invariably a racist-type stereotype.

Kennedy/Vatican: although you have to reach back 45 years for this one, perhaps you are unaware of the long history of anti-Catholic/the-Pope-is-a-sinister-puppet-master bigotry, exemplified in American history by the Know-Nothings and KKK, but quite widespread until the last few decades. Another example of not some sort of innocent usage of the "puppet master" imagery, but another case of sheer bigotry.

Kerry/Foreign Leaders: no one significant has accused Kerry of being a puppet of anyone, to my knowledge. This one is simply a case of your reaching for an "example" that turns out not to exist, in an attempt to fill a class of non-bigoted use of "puppet master" usage that, oh, well, doesn't actually exist.

I don't fault anyone for looking askance at the specific quote, taken out of context, and wanting to investigate further before passing judgement. But that is not what initially happened here.

There's nothing to "investigate." What would you suggest should be "investigated"?

Nader said something dumb. I wouldn't make a huge deal out of it, myself, and I don't, and haven't. I certainly haven't bothered to blog it, because it's not reached a threshhold of suffience importance or interest, so far as I'm concerned (I'm fine with others doing so; we all have different blogs and valid choices).

He said something dumb. It would be nice if he apologized for a stupid choice of words with connotations he shouldn't want to propagate. If he doesn't, it's there on the record to see if a pattern does or doesn't emerge.

That's about it. It's up to him if its the end of that story or not.

Meanwhile, squirming around trying to defend a stupid remark advances nothing, except perhaps the cause of lessening your credibility in regard to convincing folks that you have much awareness of or sensitivity to anti-Semitism.

In case you haven't noticed, Ralph Nader has not been singled out for being noted for having made a stupid remark with strong anti-Semitic connotations; there are plenty of more serious anti-Semitic incidents in today's world, and as a result, thankfully, a number of people with sense and sensitivity enough to pay attention and come back at it. That has nothing to do with Ralph Nader, per se, pro or con.

If you want to defend Ralph, I did find worth blogging his accusation of "Democratic dirty tricks" and his campaign's threats to Kerry. Argue about that, if you like, and get out of the anti-Semitism swamp, I suggest.

Dutchmarbel: Sharon disagrees with you. I quote from an interview:
"Sharon throws out the distinction between anti-Semitic beliefs and legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies in the Middle East. "

That certainly is a convenient position for Sharon to take, given that it shields him from criticism. I think it is reprehensible to attempt to saddle the cause of curbing anti-Semitism with the additional burden of defending Israeli military policies. It sounds to me like he's trying to get the folks who are actually fighting this fight to carry his water. They have enough work ahead of them already.

Sharon is also quoted as saying: “Since there is an ever strengthening Muslim presence in Europe, it certainly endangers the life of Jewish people.”

And Nader gets branded a paranoid hatemonger for calling this guy manipulative?

It is clear that a lot of people from lots of political perspectives want desperately to portray this man as a nutcase, so desperate that even highly circumstantial evidence like the quote above is sufficient to start taunting him with phrases like "Jew beams".

Look, people don't necessarily think Nader is a nutcase; they do, generally, think he has nutcase ideas. Deal with it. We're under no obligation to take a man seriously just because you do.

And Nader gets branded a paranoid hatemonger for calling this guy [Sharon] manipulative?

You keep paraphrasing Nader to make him sound more reasonable. He was talking about Sharon and Israel being puppet-masters of Washington. That's unreasonable, especially in the delicate light of centuries of anti-semitic conspiracies about Jewish influence.

Gary Farber: China: perhaps you are unaware of the long history of anti-Asian/Yellow Peril racism. Fu Manchu as the fiendish and sinister Oriental puppet master is an embodiment. Yes, when an ethnic group of people, or a chosen representative of them, is accused of being a "puppet master," it is almost invariably a racist-type stereotype.

1) While we are engaging in pedantry (I ordinarily find it a distasteful debate tactic, but I'll make an exception for you), Nader said "puppeteer", not "puppet master".

2) I was unaware that Ariel Sharon was a chosen representative of the Jewish people. I thought he was a chosen representative of the Israeli people, a majority of whom are Jewish. Perhaps this is where I go wrong?

3) Is it then your opinion, that "puppeteer" is not a specifically anti-semitic term, but a term of general racism? Does the same apply to your previous analog of watermelon, fried chicken, and natural rhythm, or does this suggest that "puppeteer" is, in and of itself, a race-neutral term, except when it is employed in a racist manner?

Kennedy/Vatican: although you have to reach back 45 years for this one, perhaps you are unaware of the long history of anti-Catholic/the-Pope-is-a-sinister-puppet-master bigotry, exemplified in American history by the Know-Nothings and KKK, but quite widespread until the last few decades. Another example of not some sort of innocent usage of the "puppet master" imagery, but another case of sheer bigotry.

I'm sorry, is there a cutoff date for historical references? I must have missed it in the posting rules. In any case, yes "puppet______" has been used many times by bigots, and I would be quite red in the face had I ever claimed otherwise. Now, does the shameful "Yellow Peril" phenomenon now bar the word "peril" from any discourse regarding Asia? Or is the "Yellow" part somehow important? This is not an inconsequential issue, since it has a dramatic impact on our ability to communicate about important matters.

This one is simply a case of your reaching for an "example" that turns out not to exist, in an attempt to fill a class of non-bigoted use of "puppet master" usage that, oh, well, doesn't actually exist.

Actually I was giving examples of times when folks have cried foul over perceived foreign influence, not usage of either term. Are you implying that had Nader simply picked another metaphor for Sharon controlling American leaders that there would be no problem? What phrasing would have worked? Or is the very concept of Sharon in some way controlling the two branches of the U.S. Government also anti-Semitic (sans implicit or explicit ethnic context)?

There's nothing to "investigate." What would you suggest should be "investigated"?

The context of the remark wasn't addressed until Bill posted a much larger excerpt from the speech. Perhaps I'm the only one who hadn't already tracked it down and read it already?

In case you haven't noticed, Ralph Nader has not been singled out for being noted for having made a stupid remark with strong anti-Semitic connotations;

What, you mean in the press? Because I'm talking about the attitudes expressed in this thread, where he most certainly has been singled out for a singular beating.

Meanwhile, squirming around trying to defend a stupid remark advances nothing, except perhaps the cause of lessening your credibility in regard to convincing folks that you have much awareness of or sensitivity to anti-Semitism.

Yeah, my patriotism's in question too, these days. And my willingness to protect the institution of marriage. And my support for our troops. I try not to let that influence my sense of fairness.

And this is about fairness. I detest anti-Semitism for precisely the same reason I'm defending Nader in this discussion: because when the majority gangs up on the minority (whether a group or an individual) and subjects it to unfair treatment, somebody has to speak up. Based on your other posts, I'm pretty sure you get that concept, Gary, even if you think disagree as to what is fair.

Jonas Cord: Look, people don't necessarily think Nader is a nutcase; they do, generally, think he has nutcase ideas. Deal with it. We're under no obligation to take a man seriously just because you do.

Agreed. I should have been more specific. Calling someone a nutcase is clearly a matter of opinion, but calling him a racist nutcase, in my view, demands some evidence.

You keep paraphrasing Nader to make him sound more reasonable. He was talking about Sharon and Israel being puppet-masters of Washington. That's unreasonable, especially in the delicate light of centuries of anti-semitic conspiracies about Jewish influence.

Actually, no, I rephrased for stylistic reasons. Excessive repetition is the bane of readable text.

That said, the initial posts in this thread did not seize on the wording, but rather on the concept. I have been, up until now, arguing with the understanding that it wasn't simply the code word that is at issue here, but the idea of the Israeli leader controlling (manipulating) U.S. leaders. How did I get this impression? Probably because after the quote itself in Moe's post, the first appearance of some variant of the word "puppet" is in something like the 25th comment. The second instance was in your response to my initial post. Mostly, folks used the word "control".

Sharon disagrees with you. I quote from an interview: "Sharon throws out the distinction between anti-Semitic beliefs and legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies in the Middle East."

“Today there is no separation. We are talking about collective anti-Semitism. The state of Israel is a Jewish state and the attitude towards Israel runs accordingly.”

That's indefensible. Of course there's a distinction between anti-Semitism and legitimate criticism of Israeli policy. That fact that plenty of people don't make doesn't obviate that plenty of people do. Including, of course, almost all Israelis and Jews.

To say that it's impossible to legitimately criticize Israel would be nuts.

Gary Farber: To say that it's impossible to legitimately criticize Israel would be nuts.

I could be mistaken, but I think what Sharon is actually saying is that current policies in Europe with respect to Israel are intrinsically anti-Semitic because anti-Semites (implicitly including Muslims) are influencing the agenda in the EU. He says in the full interview: "These days to conduct an anti-Semite policy is not a popular thing, so the anti-Semites bundle their policies in with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

To his credit he avoids any references to puppets, but I agree that it is still indefensible.

I could be mistaken, but I think what Sharon is actually saying is that current policies in Europe with respect to Israel are intrinsically anti-Semitic because anti-Semites (implicitly including Muslims) are influencing the agenda in the EU.
I think that's more or less correct. Not having been familiar with that site, I automatically went to check the full interview. Sharon did indeed say those things, if the "full interview" is an accurate transcript (something I'm still not entirely confident I'd take on faith), and they're comparatively reasonable in context, but as isolated statements, they're dumb; and since he did say them, assuming, again, it's an accurate transcript, he remains responsible for them.

Of course, there are about a jillion more serious things to take issue with Sharon about, so why bother with some trivial statements, beyond making clear they're wrong, and ritually criticizing him for it?

Of course, there are about a jillion more serious things to take issue with Sharon about, so why bother with some trivial statements, beyond making clear they're wrong, and ritually criticizing him for it?

What bothers me is that he puts into words what happens in practise quite often. There is a lot of "Europe is anti-semitic" rhetoric without mentioning the growing anti-muslim incidents and the implications, without mentioning the large number of issues where Israel gets a preference treatment. Hanging out the Palestinian flag has led to accusations of anti-semitism over here...
So in effect being against Israeli policy is quite often translated as being anti-semitic and thus as being morally condonable. Which makes it harder to do something about the very real anti-semitism that still exists.

It occurs to me that there's a really serious question here alluded to several times: how do you distinguish between begin anti-semitic and anti-State of Israel (anti-Zionist, as some say)? The extermination of Jews in the 1930's and 1940's referred to as the Holocaust had popular support all over Europe—it wasn't just the Nazis. This was the context for the recognition of the state of Israel and remains the context for its existence today. It seems to me that for Europeans in particular the line between anti-semitism and anti-Zionism is extremely fine.

Can you favor policies that would effectively abolish the state of Israel without being anti-semitic? I really don't know.

Gromit's right. Nowhere in the article quoted does Nadar claim that "foreign Jews" are controlling the government. Moe is doing the classic "if you criticize Israel, you must be an anti-Semite" line, which Ariel Sharon uses to great effect, as Dutchmarbel points out. But it's a stupid line, as it effectively requires one to believe that many Jews are anti-Semites. (Of course, this is a claim that at least some people make, not that I am accusing Moe of being among them.)

When it comes to Israel, it appears that you will be judged on what people say you said, not on what you actually said. Of course, looking back at Republican treatment of any candidate running against George W. Bush, this appears to be standard operating procedure for present-day Republicans, perhaps because they so fervently wish that their candidates will be judged not on what they said and did but on what the current party line says they said and did.

I don't think it had popular support all over Europe Dave. There were groups who were very anti-Jew, the majority did not really care much about them and there were quite a number of groups who worked hard to protect the rights of jews. Communists for instance, if I may say so coming from an environment were communists are a political party (were, actually, they merged in the Netherlands with the pacifists and the greens) and socialists are as worthy as their conservative and/or christian counterparts. In the Netherlands 75% of the jewish population perished, the highest percentage after Poland. But actions like the February Strike show that the general support was not for the Germans and their cause. I am rather critical of how the victims of the Holocaust (that includes gypsies, homosexuals and political opponents like communists) were treated after the war, but don't think it was anti-semitism that caused it. Last year they publised the letters the secretary of the Amsterdam JudenRat wrote to her fiancee in Palestinia. They are in Dutch, but give a very good feel for what it was actually like in those days and though it gives a lot more insight into the difficulties between the various groups you definately do not get the impression she encountered a lot of Dutch hostility.

Anti-semitic for me means that you bad-mouth jewish people, promote a very negative image of them, being an undistinguishable part of their race/religion. Most of us think in stereotypes if we think of population groups, but my "jewish stereotype" is nog negative at all. A hugh portion of the wealthy history of my country, both material and cultural, is a Jewish contribution.

At the same time I am strongly critical of Israels policies of the last decade. I always was very pro-Israel, I am now in the "they better start cleaning up their act" phase and if they do not I might eventually end up in the "maybe we should no longer support them" camp. But that does not affect the high admiration I have for many jews, or the "positive stereotype" I have.

Oh, and for clarification: In the Netherlands I am a left leaning centrist, on average on the right of our labourparty.

"Moe is doing the classic "if you criticize Israel, you must be an anti-Semite" line,"

BZZZZT! Sorry, wrong answer. What I explicitly said was that in my opinion Nader had "made the allegation that at least two branches of the government of the United States is under the direct control of foreign Jews - and has been for some time, presumably including those times when said branches weren't controlled by Republicans". I see no reason to change that opinion.

Moe

PS: To answer Dave's question, I think that you can be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semite. You can even be anti-Israel (in its two-state form) without being an anti-Semite, although there's a dearth of peace plans based around that concept that don't include "And then a miracle happens" as part of their timetable. But 'puppets' and all variations thereof have long had connotations attached to them when used in connection with both the concept of Israel and the Jews. It's not unreasonable to note this.

OK, the BZZZZT! wasn't very nice of me. Sorry.

Moe Lane: What I explicitly said was that in my opinion Nader had "made the allegation that at least two branches of the government of the United States is under the direct control of foreign Jews - and has been for some time, presumably including those times when said branches weren't controlled by Republicans. I see no reason to change that opinion."

So there is no connotative difference between the phrase "foreign Jews" and the phrase "the head of the Israeli government" or even "Israeli puppeteer"? Otherwise, how could you call that an accurate characterization of Nader's statement? Does this rhetorical trick work for prominent figures in all ethnic groups?

On February 4, 2004, Moe Lane wrote: ...neither would the specter of [Kerry or Edwards] becoming President fill me with an impending sense of doom and a profound desire to emigrate - indeed, the only three that would really so worry me would be Kuchinich, Sharpton and perhaps Clark.

Would it then be fair for a critic to say that you are joking that you might consider leaving the country if a black guy got hold of the White House? Or am I correct in believing that this would be a distortion of what you actually said (which is that the words "President Al Sharpton" give you the heebie jeebies)?

"Would it then be fair for a critic to say that you are joking that you might consider leaving the country if a black guy got hold of the White House?"

If and when I ever give any indication that my specific comments about one particular politician can be legitimately seen as evocative of the worst sort of racial / religious / cultural prejudice generally unleashed against members of that group, you may make that argument. Until then, kindly refrain from making such comparisons, particularly ones that could be also be legitimately seen as being attempts by you to make passive-aggressive, deniable personal attacks without suffering any negative consequences.

Thank you in advance for your compliance in this matter.

Moe

If and when I ever give any indication that my specific comments about one particular politician can be legitimately seen as evocative of the worst sort of racial / religious / cultural prejudice generally unleashed against members of that group, you may make that argument.

And yet, on no evidence at all, that's exactly what you're doing to Nader. Which is, I believe, the point Gromit was making. (Whether it is or not, it's exactly what occurred to me when I read it.)

Now, of course, Nader isn't signed up to this blog, so according to the posting rules you can be as unfair and rude about him as you like. But even with the posting rules on your side, it is a classic case of "you can dish it out but you can't take it".

Moe:

Just to be clear, I'm not to compare the way your own statements could, by malice or by error, be harmfully distorted to the way I believe someone else's comments have been harmfully distorted, correct? If I misunderstand, let me know so I won't offend again. In any case, I'll gladly comply.

That said, any implication that this was a passive-aggressive personal attack is completely false. It was, rather, an appeal to empathy through a hypothetical scenario, and nothing more.

And I have a favor to ask you. In the future, when quoting from my comments, I would greatly appreciate if you quote a sufficient amount to avoid creating a false impression due to lack of context. As quoted, the above excerpt could lead a casual reader to believe that the idea discussed is in fact one that I share, a notion that is contradicted by the sentence that immediately follows, and is, if there is still any doubt, utterly false. This is your house, I am a guest, and I am obviously completely at your mercy in such regard, but this bit of consideration would be much appreciated.

Your opinion has been read and noted, Jesurgislac. As for Gromit's request, if I was entirely convinced that the intent was not to attack I would of course apologize for my response; while I am not so convinced, I lack telepathic powers, so I suppose that I should give the benefit of the doubt and apologize.

Therefore, my apologies. Rest assured, future quotes will include what I consider to be representative and properly evocative of the whole.

Moe

I wonder if, say, any random person with an "R" after their name would get as much leeway by certain people for even uttering the phrase "state's rights" in a context where it was clear that that was where they were talking about as Nader is getting here for using words that carry just as much baggage in Jewish history.

Phil: I wonder if, say, any random person with an "R" after their name

Well, why don't you dig up an example, and find out?

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