Friday, November 24, 2006

A Sign Of Disorientation

[Posted by reader_iam]

Is "the road to the be found in a country-and-western bar in Tucson?"
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world.

With anti-Semitism reemerging in Europe and rampant in the Islamic world; with Iran acquiring the ultimate weapon of genocide and proclaiming its intention to wipe out the world's largest Jewish community (Israel); with America and, in particular, its Christian evangelicals the only remaining Gentile constituency anywhere willing to defend that besieged Jewish outpost -- is the American heartland really the locus of anti-Semitism? Is this the one place to go to find it?

In Venezuela, Hugo Ch?vez [sic] says that the "descendants of the same ones that crucified Christ" have "taken possession of all the wealth in the world." Just this month, Tehran hosted an international festival of Holocaust cartoons featuring enough hooked noses and horns to give Goebbels a posthumous smile. Throughout the Islamic world, newspapers and television, schoolbooks and sermons are filled with the most vile anti-Semitism.

Baron Cohen could easily have found what he seeks closer to home. He is, after all, from Europe, where synagogues are torched and cemeteries desecrated in a revival of anti-Semitism -- not "indifference" to but active -- unseen since the Holocaust. Where a Jew is singled out for torture and death by French-African thugs. Where a leading Norwegian intellectual -- et tu, Norway? -- mocks "God's Chosen People" ("We laugh at this people's capriciousness and weep at its misdeeds") and calls for the destruction of Israel, the "state founded . . . on the ruins of an archaic national and warlike religion."

Yeah, well, that's different. Right?

A finely ironic thing, to ponder Charles Krauthammer's excellent column after reading about the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of a football fan after a mob formed following the defeat of a French team by an Israeli team.
"The crowd hurled insults — dirty Jew, dirty nigger — and monkey cries and raised Nazi salutes. Some shouted 'Le Pen for president'," he said.

There is no question that racism and anti-semitism are alive and well in America (Michael Richards and Mel Gibson, anyone?), and there's no excusing that. But, as Krauthammer points out, let's not lose all sense of proportion about where the real threats to Jews--and other minorities, as well--lie.

Thinking that a major path to the Holocaust runs through America, rural or otherwise, indicates to me that the thinker has lost a sense of proportion and landed on the road toward intellectual dishonesty.

Update: Speaking of disorienting.

Memeorandum is working up quite the little theme today in its links.

Update, 11/28: An eminently reasonable counterview, here.