Anti-Semitism 2.0

Over at Balloon Juice, DougJ reads this Commentary article (so you don’t have to, of course), and ends up asking:

I know every ethnic group has its ins and and outs that people outside the ethnic group may not understand. So as a non-Jew, I ask: why do so many right-wing Jewish Americans hate other Jewish Americans so much? Both Gellman and and Rubin, for example, traffic in the most shop-worn anti-Semitic stereotypes in a way that just feels raw and out-of-control to me. Where does this come from?

Of course, he’s got it completely backwards. Rubin, Gellman and their friends are part of a tiny band of 100% authentic Jews, and all those other Jews (including myself) are juicebox mobsters, self-haters, and, of course, “cultural” (i.e., fake) Jews.

All kidding aside, though, Jennifer Rubin is actually doing us a great service by unintentionally revealing some of the skeletons in the culture warrior’s closet.

Just witness the progression of the article. Rubin starts by offering up a fairly obvious answer to the question “Why do Jews hate Sarah Palin?” and then shooting them all down because, uh, it doesn’t support the impending nonsensical thesis.

Instead, she offers the following pithy observations about Jews: We’re largely urban creatures, we’re educated, we’re elitists who think you need a fancy degree and some book learnin’ in order to govern effectively, we’re freaked out by Palin’s earthy, blue collar red-stateness and that of her family, and we hate her because she’s an overtly feminine attractive woman, and not androgynous and mousy the way we like ’em.

The funny thing about that list of characteristics is that any lazy conservative writer trying to meet deadline could just as easily staple them to the forehead of their favorite bugaboo, the blue state elitist of indeterminate faith (or, more likely, none at all, those heathen bastards). And they have, in fact! Many, many times. But there’s also considerable overlap between these aforementioned traits and the anti-Semitic stereotypes of the age of Red Scares, Rosenbergs and HUAC hearings.

That’s not a coincidence. In fact, Rubin has accidentally excavated a sort of missing link here between mid-20th century anti-Semitism and modern anti-liberal fervor: the old buzzwords and dogwhistles that used to mean “sneaky Heeb” have been softened, stripped of their context, and recast as referring to elitist liberals in general.

Which is progress, of sorts. But it’s still pretty remarkable to see Kristol, Rubin, Gellman et. al freely employ the same timeworn ad hominen tropes that were used as ethnic slurs against their parents. And yet we’re the self-haters.

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2 Responses

  1. Followup question: why doesn’t Sarah Palin hate Bill Kristol. Think about it: he’s an elitist if there ever was one, being the founding editor of a high brow intellectual journal. He controls the media’s attention to a great extent. He’s rich, from the east coast, born into a privileged background, and hasn’t worked a day in his life in what Palin would consider honorable jobs (non-media private sector).

  2. […] who embrace it are the ones engaging in good, old-fashioned Jew-bashing. Sometimes, as I’ve written before, it’s decontextualized, turning old stereotypes of sneaky Yids into broader caricatures of […]

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