Archive for the ‘Abraham Foxman’ Category

Madoff and Anti-Semitism

December 20, 2008

Well, this didn’t take long. Less than a week after the Bernie Madoff scandal broke — a Ponzi-scheme which largely victimized the American Jewish community — an epidemic of anti-Semitism is breaking out. Last night, I was jarred to hear the Klezmer-tinged notes of “If I Were a Rich Man”  coming from the McLaughlin Group. I found this pretty distasteful given that one of Madoff’s victims was Jewish philanthropist and McLaughlin Group regular Mortimer Zuckerman.

Now the Anti-Defamation League is drawing attention to what is happening.

“Site users have posted comments ranging from deeply offensive stereotypical statements about Jews and money — with some suggesting that only Jews could perpetrate a fraud on such a scale — to conspiracy theories about Jews stealing money to benefit Israel,” the ADL said in a statement.

“Jews are always a convenient scapegoat in times of crisis, but the Madoff scandal and the fact that so many of the defrauded investors are Jewish has created a perfect storm for the anti-Semites,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL national director.

There’s one surprise in all this. I was sure the trigger for the anti-Semitism was going to be the closure of the financial markets right after the initial crash back in September for the Jewish New Year. My sense is that this is one problem that is going to get much worse before it subsides.

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Sickening WordPress “Hawt Post”

February 15, 2008

 

I find it sickening that for the second day the WordPress “Hawt Post” comes from the vitriolic “Desert Peace” blog.

The “Hawt Post” is typically a WordPress blog post with the most hits that particular day, but it can be one that WordPress technicians deem hot based on their own criteria. My blog is also a WordPress blog.

This particular post, titled “Legal Slave Trade in Israel” combines a routine criticism of the security wall between Israel and the Palestinian Authority along with a critique of the treatment of non-Arab foreign workers in Israel. The post makes no reference to the wave of suicide bombing terrorist attacks which prompted Israel to construct the barrier; nor does it mention the fact that it succeeded in curbing violence against innocent victims.

It then segways into an indefensible rant against Israel and everything connected to Zionism. “Israel does not discriminate in who they discriminate against… racism, exploitation, occupation, and now slavery are an integral part of their system… I wonder what Abe Foxman would say about all of this…. I’m sure one of his cronies will direct him to this post.”

Typical of the site are the comments the post draws. Consider this from “Sharpinchitown”: “Why do they always have animal names like Foxman, Wolfson, Wolfowitz? Are they human or animals? by their behavior our answer is received.

“I understand that comments do not reflect the views of the blogger. I don’t agree with many of the comments made by commentators to Gitell.com. Having said that, I do note that the likening of Jews (such as the names listed in the comment above) to animals was a classic component of Goebbels-Hitlerite anti-Semitic propaganda.

Foxman Confronts “The Israel Lobby” Thesis

September 10, 2007

Abraham Foxman, who spent his childhood in Vilnius hiding from the Nazis, has a new book out critiquing Stephen Walt, John Mearsheimer and Jimmy Carter (two of whom, Mearsheimer and Carter, were prominently featured in CNN’s “God’s Warriors.”)

For Mr. Foxman, the current arguments have an ugly resonance given the historical context: He cites the Dreyfus Affair, Hitler’s allegations that Jews undermined the German effort in World War I, and Stalin’s doubts about Jewish loyalty as significant precedents to the recent charges. “To survive Hitler and to survive postwar communist Europe and to relive these hideous canards, just because they’re being paraded by professors with titles from Chicago and Harvard, does not change their reality,” said Mr. Foxman, making clear he does not equate the current authors with either Hitler or Stalin.

At stake, says Mr. Foxman, is the ability of Jews to engage in American democracy as citizens, much like Irish Americans, Cuban Americans, Italian Americans and members of other ethnic groups. “Will Jews be less willing to act out their full citizenship on issues for fear of being accused of being disloyal or not loyal enough or more loyal to Israel than America?” If some American Jews want to advocate on behalf of Israel or any other cause, he added, “that’s what American democracy is all about.”

“The Deadliest Lies,” which Mr. Foxman hopes will find its way onto academic reading lists that include the books addressed in his account, provides a litany of errors and illogicalities in the works it disputes. Among the offenses: the “denigration” by Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer of Israel’s offer to Yasser Arafat at Camp David in 2000; their “minimization” of Palestinian-Arab terror attacks on Israeli civilians; their account of the demise of Senator Charles Percy of Illinois, the only politician they believe was forced out of office by the “Lobby,” in an electoral defeat that Mr. Foxman attributes instead to the power of Chicago’s Democratic machine; and numerous examples, omitted from the work of Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer, of American administrations acting in opposition to Israel and its advocates.

Regarding Mr. Carter, Mr. Foxman quotes Kenneth Stein, a former aide to the president, to dispute the former president’s assertion that Menachem Begin ever made any commitment during Camp David discussions on settlements in the West Bank, and certainly none involving stopping their growth.

Mr. Shultz goes even further in refuting the idea that any “Israel Lobby” dictates American foreign policy, enumerating America’s sale of arms to Saudi Arabia during the Reagan administration and recounting Reagan’s decision to visit the Bitburg cemetery. He also cautions against scapegoating. “When we make a wrong decision – even one that is recommended by Israel and supported by American Jewish groups – it is our decision, and one for which we alone are responsible,” Mr. Shultz writes. “We act in our own interest. And when we mistakenly conclude from time to time – as we will – that an action or policy is in America’s interest, we must take responsibility for the mistake.”

Read more here.