Joe Biden and the Ghost of Shylock

Andrew Joyce



Napoleon once famously remarked that “in politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” In few cases does this seem more apt than in that of Vice-President Joe Biden, perennial lapdog to the ADL’s Abraham Foxman. Biden has recently added to last year’s faux pas by recently committing the egregious sin of using the word “Shylocks” to describe mortgage lenders. The slip came in a speech to the Legal Services Corporation, which provides lawyers to Americans who could not afford them otherwise. In his remarks, the Vice-President described the experience of his son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, who was deployed for one year in Iraq:

People would come to him and talk about what was happening to them at home in terms of foreclosures, in terms of bad loans that were being — I mean, these Shylocks who took advantage of these women and men while overseas.

This accurate and innocuous remark drew a rebuke from the all-seeing, all-knowing, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Director Abraham Foxman, who will presumably continue to stalk the verbally careless right up until his retirement on July 20 2015. A rankled Foxman told Yahoo News that “Shylock represents the medieval stereotype about Jews and remains an offensive characterization to this day. The Vice President should have been more careful. … When someone as friendly to the Jewish community and open and tolerant an individual as is Vice President Joe Biden, uses the term ‘Shylocked’ to describe unscrupulous moneylenders dealing with service men and women, we see once again how deeply embedded this stereotype about Jews is in society.” Read more »

Observations - The Occidental Observer Blog
Benjamin Ginsberg on Jewish hypocrisy and double standards

Tablet interview: “Q&A: Benjamin Ginsberg, the Author of ‘How the Jews Defeated Hitler’”

[Tablet] One of the things that’s fascinating about my WASPy friends and compatriots is that so many dislike the State of Israel, to varying degrees. It bugs them. What interests me is trying to suss out the underlying or psychological impetus or sense of injury beneath these feelings, which are frankly less common in general among American gentiles than they are among American Jews. When I’ve asked them, “Why does this particular injustice bother you so much – why not Tibet?” the answers are very interesting. They come down to something like, “Why on one hand do you Jewish people come to us and say we have to be democratic and inclusive because otherwise we’re anti-Semites, and then back in the old country, where you go on your family vacations or Birthright trips, you get to strut around with automatic weapons and oppress everybody else, which isn’t fair, and is probably what we would want to do here, in some secret corner of our WASPy brains.”

[Ginsberg] That is a very good line, and I think it’s totally true. The animus is some form of displaced anti-Semitism.

Say what? Displaced anti-Semitism would be if these Whites used Jewish hypocrisy as an excuse from some deep irrational hatred of Jews. But isn’t hypocrisy always seen as a negative? The White Protestants who are on trial here assume a principled morality. They assume that if inclusiveness is a moral imperative in the U.S. as our intellectual elites constantly tell us, it must be a moral imperative everywhere. But many of the same people who advocate inclusiveness in the U.S. advocate oppression in Israel. And there’s resentment by many Whites because as a result of the moral imperative of inclusiveness in the U.S., they are losing the country. So, yes, there is probably a “secret corner” of their brains where they would like to reassert themselves and boot out or oppress the interlopers. But that has to remain secret on pain of job loss and social opprobrium.  Because they no longer command the moral and political high ground, they don’t dare  say that. Read more »

Steve Sailer on the need for criticism of Jewish loyalty

There was a time when the Jewish communities throughout the West were deeply concerned over charges of disloyalty. Prior to World War II in the U.S., England, and Germany there was the conflict between the older Jewish communities that were committed to some degree of cultural assimilation and the ideals of the Enlightenment, versus the Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Eastern Europe and their commitment to political radicalism, Zionism, and/or religious fundamentalism. The older Jewish communities were concerned that Zionism would lead to anti-Semitism due to charges that Jews were more loyal to Jewish interests than to the interests of the country they lived in, and because Jews would be perceived as a nation and an ethnic group rather than simply as a religion.

As Jewish power has increased, however, these concerns have dissipated even as possible conflicts of interest over loyalty to Israel have increased exponentially — to the point that, as discussed by Steve Sailer, the NYTimes‘ David Brooks doesn’t feel the need to preface his comments related to Israel or the Israel Lobby by noting that one of his sons is a member of the IDF. (Love Sailer’s title: “Ethnic Extremist Leaves U.S. to Fight in Middle Eastern Tribal War.”)

Although Brooks’ son being in the IDF is certainly worth mentioning, there was never any doubt about Brooks’ strong attachment to Israel. The Hebrew-language interview with Brooks notes that

Brook’s connection to Israel was always strong . … He has visited Israel almost every year since 1991, and over the past months the connection has grown even stronger, after his oldest son, aged 23, decided to join the Israel Defense Forces.

The same can be said for the legion of strongly identified Jews with access to the mainstream media and political process in the U.S, from the neocons who populated the State Department and Pentagon during the Bush years who have strong family ties to Israel (Paul Wolfowitz, David Wurmser,), to media pundits like Jeffrey Goldberg who was and perhaps still is a member of the IDF. If it’s an ethical issue for Brooks, it surely is for Goldberg.  Read more »

Jeffrey Goldberg’s fantasy world

In his review of Hilaire Belloc’s The Jews, Andrew Joyce writes:

 Belloc pours scorn on this falsehood [i.e., falsifying history to always portray Jews exclusively as victims] not only because it “corrodes the souls of those who indulge in it (134),” but also because it “produces in the Jew a false sense of security and a completely distorted phantasm of the way in which he is really received in our society (134).” The more this falsehood is pursued, “the more the surprise which follows upon its discovery and the more legitimate the bitterness and hatred which that surprise occasions [among Jews] (134).”

This is a good point. Studying Jewish reactions to the rising tide of inter-ethnic friction in Central Europe at the start of the twentieth century, one is indeed struck by the “profound shock, the utter disbelief, among the Jews.” ( Y. M. Bodemann, Jews, Germans, Memory: Reconstructions of Jewish Life in Germany (University of Michigan Press, 1996), p. 266.)

A recent rather egregious case of refusing to come to grips with Jewish behavior as part of the phenomenon of anti-Semitism  is Jeffrey Goldberg’s comment in The Atlantic on reactions to the Gaza war in Europe:

A few days ago, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, tweeted the following statement: “Germans rally against anti-Semitism that flared in Europe in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza war. Merkel joins.” Roth provided a link to a New York Times article about the rally, which took place in Berlin.

Roth’s framing of this issue is very odd and obtuse. Anti-Semitism in Europe did not flare “in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza,” or anywhere else. Anti-Semitic violence and invective are not responses to events in the Middle East, just as anti-Semitism does not erupt  “in response” to the policies of banks owned by Jews, or in response to editorial positions taken by The New York Times. This is for the simple reason that Jews do not cause anti-Semitism.

It is a universal and immutable rule that the targets of  prejudice are not the cause of prejudice. Just as Jews (or Jewish organizations, or the Jewish state) do not cause anti-Semitism to flare, or intensify, or even to exist, neither do black people cause racism, nor gay people homophobia, nor Muslims Islamophobia. Like all prejudices, anti-Semitism is not a rational response to observable events; it is a manifestation of irrational hatred. Its proponents justify their anti-Semitism by pointing to the (putatively offensive or repulsive) behavior of their targets, but this does not mean that major figures in the world of human rights advocacy should accept these pathetic excuses as legitimate.

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