Aug
01
2012

Islamophobia, Antisemitism and the Demonized 'Other'

Parallels among bigotries reflect the conspiratorial mindset

Salman Rushdie--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/David Shankbone

Republican hopeful Mitt Romney is portrayed by online bigots as a Manchurian Candidate for a secretive cabal of Mormon elites—echoing anti-Catholic conspiracy theories about John F. Kennedy being a wind-up toy for the Vatican. Meanwhile, a chain letter currently being circulated warns that the “American Government is under the command and control of…the Freemasons and Leadership of the Catholic Church.” There are right-wing websites and blogs warning that if President Barack Obama is re-elected, hordes of scheming fanatic Muslims plan to impose Sharia law and turn America into a totalitarian socialist/Nazi theocratic state. Other websites and blogs warn that Obama […]

Apr
19
2007

Howard Kurtz's Imus Amnesia

Critic forgets requests to shun racist show

The firing of Don Imus by CBS radio and MSNBC provided an opportunity for the many elite journalists who appeared on and supported his show to examine their own roles in enabling his bigotry (FAIR Media Advisory, 4/11/07). But the prospects of an honest self-examination are dim, as illustrated by this exchange on CNN's Reliable Sources (4/15/07) between the show's host, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz, and Post columnist Tony Kornheiser: KURTZ: But did anyone ever say to you on this -- the things that he would say-- "How can you go on this show when he's making fun […]

Nov
29
2006

Post Columnist Repeats Chávez Smear

Krauthammer recycling discredited anti-Semitism charges

Are the Washington Post's editorial pages entitled to not just their own opinions, but also their own facts? This seems to be the case with the paper's commentary on Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, where editors and columnists have shown a disturbing pattern of inaccuracy and unaccountability. In a November 24 column, Charles Krauthammer used a deceptively edited phrase in order to portray a Chávez speech as anti-Semitic. After chiding actor Sacha Baron Cohen for using his film Borat to go after small-time anti-Semitism in the United States, Krauthammer listed what he saw as more menacing instances of anti-Semitism, including: In […]

Jan
23
2006

Editing Chavez to Manufacture a Slur

Some outlets spread spurious charges of anti-Semitism

It began with a bulletin from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles (1/4/06) accusing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of invoking an old anti-Semitic slur. In a Christmas Eve speech, the Center said, Chavez declared that "the world has wealth for all, but some minorities, the descendants of the same people that crucified Christ, have taken over all the wealth of the world." The Voice of America (1/5/06) covered the charge immediately. Then opinion journals on the right took up the issue. "On Christmas Eve, Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez's Christian-socialist cant drifted into anti-Semitism," wrote the Daily Standard (1/12/06), the […]

Jun
01
2005

The Mainstreaming of Antisemitism

Few raise alarms when media bigs attack Jews

The commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, held at the former Nazi death camp in Poland on January 27, featured speakers warning about a new rise in antisemitism. “From broken windows to death camps was the blink of an eye,” said Moshe Kantor of the European Jewish Congress (New York Times, 1/27/05), referring to the brief time between the 1938 “Kristallnacht” attacks on Jewish neighborhoods and the hatching of the “final solution” in 1942. The warnings from Auschwitz come at a time when police records and public opinion surveys show increasing antisemitism and anti-Jewish sentiment in […]

May
01
2005

Confusing Israel Criticism and Anti-Semitism

While some examples of increasing anti-Semitism go little noted, considerable attention has been paid to dubious accusations that seem to equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. Before Harvard President Laurence Summers drew fire for suggesting that women were inherently inferior at math and science (see Extra!,5-6/2005), he stirred things up by proclaiming that a new form of anti-Semitism was menacing academia (New York Times, 9/21/02). “Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent,” said Summers, referring to a campaign to have Harvard disinvest in Israel to protest the occupation […]

Jul
15
2003

Savage Anti-Semitism

Radio host Michael Savage, whose MSNBC cable show was cancelled on July 7 after the host dubbed a caller "a sodomite" and told him to "get AIDS and die," has amassed a lavish record of on-air bigotry of many kinds: dismissing child victims of gunfire as "ghetto slime," referring to non-white countries as "turd world nations," calling homosexuality "perversion" and remarking that Latinos "breed like rabbits." (See FAIR Action Alert, 2/12/03; http://www.fair.org/activism/msnbc-savage.html .) Less well publicized is Savage's penchant for applying ugly ethnic stereotypes and slurs to Jews he perceives to be political enemies. An article to be published in […]

Jul
01
2003

Savage Anti-Semitism

Radio host takes ethnic aim at Jewish enemies

Though racism, sexism and immigrant bashing have long thrived on American radio, one had to go back to the days of Father Coughlin and Gerald L.K. Smith in the 1930s to find mainstream broadcasters railing against the Jewishness of their political enemies. But no longer. Welcome to the Savage Nation, the radio show hosted by Michael Savage. Well-known for his bigotry against non-whites, immigrants, women, gay men and lesbians (see Extra!, 3-4/03), Savage is virtually the only national talk jock targeting progressive Jews with ugly ethnic slurs and stereotypes. Consider Savage’s December 6, 2002 attack on Jerry Springer. Best known […]