-- by Dave
Just the first day's dose of Glenn Beck's weeklong smear campaign against George Soros -- particularly its coarse insensitivity -- has outraged Jewish leaders:
The ADL's Abe Foxman is also a child survivor who lived only because his parents turned him over to his Catholic nanny.
“Look, I spit on Jews when I was six years old,” Foxman told me. “Does that make me an anti-Semite?”
The issue of the Shoah “is so sensitive that I'm not even sure Holocaust survivors themselves are willing to make such judgments,” Foxman went on “For a political commentator or entertainer to have the audacity to say, there's a Jewish boy sending Jews to death camps, that's horrific. It's totally off limits and over the top.”
Beck's comments “were either out of total ignorance or total insensitivity,” he said.
Elan Steinberg, vice president of the The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, called the Beck accusations “monstrous; you don't make such accusations without proof, and I have seen no such proof.”
Beck's charges, he said, “go to the heart of the instrumentalization and trivialization of the Holocaust."
Simon Greer, president of the Jewish Funds for Justice, met with Fox News executives in July to discuss Beck's “constant and often inappropriate invocation of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany on the air.”
Greer and Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) received a handwritten note from Beck saying “Please know that I understand the sensitivity and sacred nature of this dark chapter in Human History. Thank you for your candor and helpful thoughts.”
Yesterday's on-air comments by Beck “made a mockery of their professed understanding,” Greer said in a statement. “In an effort to demonize a political opponent, Beck and Fox News scurrilously attacked George Soros, a prominent Jewish philanthropist and Holocaust survivor. No one who truly understands 'the sensitivity and sacred nature' of the Holocaust would deliberately and grotesquely mis-characterize the experience of a 13 year old Jew in Nazi-occupied Hungary whose father hid him with a non-Jewish family to keep him alive.”
Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy said Beck's “use of the Holocaust to discredit George Soros is beyond repugnant. The Holocaust is one of history’s most tragic events and those who survived it are owed our enduring respect.”
Moreover, as we pointed out, the whole argument is a replication of the classic anti-Semitic argument, largely unchanged from the 1920s:
Here is this conniving, conspiratorial rich international-investor JEW who is buying up all the media in American and surreptitiously seeking to destroy the American economy.
And if the anti-Semitism already weren't already obvious enough from the first day of the smear, Beck dug the hole even deeper yesterday, by opening the hourlong conspiracy-laden smear thus:
Last night, we introduced you to the puppet master, billionaire financier George Soros, notorious for collapsing economies and regimes all around the world. He's known as the man who broke the bank of England. The Prime Minister of Malaysia called Soros an unscrupulous profiteer. In Thailand, he was branded the "economic war criminal." They also said that he "sucks the blood from people."
Well, as Matt Gertz at Media Matters observes:
When Beck says that "The Prime Minister of Malaysia called Soros an unscrupulous profiteer," he's referencing former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's anti-Semitic conspiracy that Soros "helped trigger the economic meltdown" of Southeast Asian currencies in 1997. Mahathir was quoted at the time saying: "We do not want to say that this is a plot by the Jews, but in reality it is a Jew who triggered the currency plunge, and coincidentally Soros is a Jew. It is also a coincidence that the Malaysians are mostly Muslim." According to the New York Times, Mahathir "suggested that Malaysia's troubles might be the result of a Jewish 'agenda'" to weaken the country's economy.
Mahathir later denied blaming a Jewish agenda, and conceded that Soros was "not involved in the devaluation of the Malaysian currency," a statement confirmed by the Bank for International Settlements, the New York Times, and Soros himself.
Gertz goes on to explore the many other ways this opening was classic anti-Semitism (particularly the bit about "blood sucking").
But when it comes to Mahatir, his attacks on Soros are only the half of it. Mahatir has a long and unfortunate record of traducing in the ugliest of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and he regularly embarrassed the Asian world with his public rants against Jews and Israel.
Most notorious was the time in 2003 he declared "Jews rule the world by proxy":
We [Muslims] are actually very strong, 1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Nazis killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million [during the Holocaust]. But today the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them. They invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong so they may enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries. And they, this tiny community, have become a world power.
When the rest of the world expressed its outrage, Mahatir was defiant:
"The reaction of the world shows that they [Jews] do control the world," he told the Post.
He later went on:
"I am not anti-Semitic ... I am against those Jews who kill Muslims and the Jews who support the killers of Muslims."
He tagged the West as "anti-Muslim", for double standards by "protecting Jews while allowing others to insult Islam." He also said "But when somebody condemns the Muslims, calls my prophet, "terrorist", did the European Union say anything?"
This is someone Glenn Beck considers a credible source for attacking George Soros. All the while claiming he's a big defender of Israel.
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]