Monday, July 07, 2008

Of Creepy Norm Finkelstein and Antisemites-by-proxy


Norm Finkelstein continues to aspire for a spot on "The Daily Show". This is the second time that he tries his hand at satirical writing, with much the same results as the first time ..

Following the horror of last week's bulldozer attack in Jerusalem, which had left 3 dead and 50 injured, his funny bone tickled by so much hilarity, the ever eloquent and witty Norm posted this sly comment on his website, a real knee slapper:

"Times Exclusive: Deranged Arab in bulldozer attacks NY Times' Isabel Kershner at her pedicure. Reporting live from the scene still in her curlers and with her beautician at her side, Kershner gives a minute by minute account of the horrifying moment when the bulldozer crashed through the pedicure's windowfront crushing the nail on her little toe. "My friends in the Catskills just won't believe it," she said. "A smashed toenail. How can Israelis live with so much anxiety?"

Following the post by Dershowitz on The Huffington Post are a bunch of comments to make any antisemite-by-proxy salivate with glee.

An antisemite-by-proxy is my term for what Anthony Julius called, much more decorously, "Antisemitism's Fellow Travellers":

For the second kind, antisemitism is not relevant to the positions that they take; they do not recoil from antisemitism when they encounter it; they are insensitive to the presence of antisemitism in their own positions or in the positions that they support. They may not be antisemites themselves, but they collude with antisemitism. They are often found defending antisemites - not guilty of the offence themselves, but quick to champion others who are guilty of it. The distinction I am drawing is between the culpable adoption of antisemitism and a culpable indifference towards it. ...They share space with antisemites, untroubled by the company that they keep; they comprise a species of "fellow traveller" ("bystander" does not quite do the vice justice), the kind of person ready to overlook or excuse everything that is vicious in the cause he supports, the protagonists he admires.

[--]

As regards a 'fellow-traveller,'" observed Trotsky, "the question always comes up - how far will he go?"[98] The question should be posed of FTASs [fellow-travelling anti semites]. Some FTASs are willing to sit alongside antisemites in the interests of a wider cause.... Some FTASs are willing to use antisemitic tropes and when challenged, to bluff it out... Some give a "free pass" to interviewees with a record of making antisemitic statements... Some will pander to the antisemitic prejudices of their audience

... Some FTSUs, indeed, have merely adopted these positions in support of political Islam.[105] But there is also something new, a fellow travelling with specifically antisemitic positions taken by Israel's most aggressive enemies. These fellow travellers find their political vocation in "judgment-passing" on Israel and its friends, and "excuse-making" for Israel's enemies [106]. This often leads to misjudgements and follies.

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