Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: How many of these protesters are anti-Semites?

From my relatively centrist, relatively elite position, the Occupy Wall Street movement seems a lot like the Tea Party movement. Both are full of extremists who tend to have poor educations and an unsophisticated understanding of the economy and our political system. They both hate the Federal Reserve, but have no idea how much better off we are with it. They don't have a fundamental understanding of monetary policy. They want to shut down the GATT and the WTO and free trade, but they never studied the deleterious effects of Smoot-Hawley. They just are not that smart. I don't think the Occupy movements are full of Stanford and University of Chicago PhD's.

But there is a major difference in the two populist surges: the Occupy Wall Street movement has an explicitly anti-Semitic element setting the tone.

The left tried for a long time to portray the Tea Party groups as "racist." But the evidence was weak. I'm sure there are a handful of white, right-wing extremists among the Tea Party who are prejudiced. But the movement itself--to reduce government spending, lower taxes, and to abide by the Constitution--never focused on blaming one group or another for our country's problems. Its focus has always been on an amorphous hatred of big government.

The Tea Partiers have lately favored Herman Cain's bid for president. They don't seem to care about Cain's skin color. They care that his 9-9-9 plan (a rather simplistic plan that would probably harm the interests of lower-income people with a national sales tax) is in line with their ideology.

By contrast, there has not been a big Occupy Wall Street protest anywhere in the country which has not had signs blaming the Jews for America's problems. For hundreds of years--all the way back to the time 1,000 years ago when the English kicked all of their Jewish citizens--the hatred of "the 1%" has been a hatred of the Jews. When people say they hate Wall Street or they hate big banks or they hate people with money, they are at the very least mimicking thousands of years of anti-Semitism, very often explicitly.

I am not saying that all people on the far left are anti-Semites. In fact, many of them are Jews. What I am saying is that this hatred of the people who work for or run banks or who trade bonds or who fund capital calls is right in the tradition of centuries of anti-Semitism. It is scapegoating "the other." It is blaming someone else, some minority, for your own problems.

Up until the 1960s, this sort of anti-Semitism in the United States was mostly the province of the right. But Malcolm X and later Louis Farrakhan made hatred of the Jews popular on the left.

If you find someone who hates Israel in the U.S., he almost certainly will be a left-winger, likely someone protesting today against Jewish bankers. Those who call themselves anti-Zionist never seem to cover their tracks to prove their hatred of Israel is not hatred of the Jews. They don't protest against maltreatment in the Middle East. You never see the so-called anti-Zionists in Davis protesting the inhumane governments of Syria or Iran. They never denounced Ghadhafi or Saddam Hussein. They instead have focused all of their hate on the Jews, protraying Israel as a bastion of evil.

It's funny, though, because Israel is the best country in the Middle East. It always has been. It is not perfect. It deserves criticism for many of its policies. But those doing the criticizing should also be critical of the far worse crimes against humanity committed by Hamas and Hezbollah and the Turkish government and god-forbid the brutal Saudi Arabian regime. The one country which has free speech and democratic elections and has a successful market economy and good schools and fair courts is the only one they hate? Yes, the anti-Zionist left is really just anti-Semitic.

Today in the L.A. Times it was reported that a woman who works for the L.A. Unified School District and is a protestor against the Wall Street Jews in Occupy Los Angeles was fired, after she called for Jews to be kicked out of the United States:

"I think that the Zionist Jews who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve, which is not run by the federal government -- they need to be run out of this country," McAllister said in the video by Reason.tv, a Libertarian-leaning news organization.

Do you think anything this blatantly racist was ever spoken at a Tea Party rally?

I don't think the Occupy Wall Street movement of the left will amount to anything in our national politics, even though it seems to be very widespread. They don't really have any sound political ideas. They seem to just have this hatred for "the other." But if any of them are disturbed by the anti-Semitism of their movement, they owe it to our country and the sake of decency to stop tolerating so much anti-Semitism. They need to go to those sit-ins and carry a sign denouncing the hatred of the Jew.

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