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Crazy Jews, Continued | The Nation

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Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

Well-chosen words on music, movies and politics, with the occasional special guest.

Crazy Jews, Continued

My new "Think Again" column is called, "Global Warming: You Don't Need a Weatherman" and it's here.

My new Nation column is called "Don't Cry for Me, David Frum," and it's here.

I interviewed Garry Wills, one of my heroes, for the Brennan Center's new book site, "Just Books" about his new book, Bomb Power, here.

And I did a post Sunday night for Daily Beast about the future of the Supreme Court, here.

Crazy Jews, continued. The craziness of one Martin L. Peretz, part owner and self-appointed editor of The New Republic is of continued interest to this blog alas. Usually we feel compelled to take it somewhat seriously, given the prestige that the magazine continues to enjoy among elites and some liberals, in our view, allows Peretz to legitimate his vile racism directed towards Arabs and his slander directed toward fellow Jews who do not share his prejudices and obsessions. Today, however we are pleased to report that they are just kind of funny, well, unless you work at The New Republic, I assume, because not only did Peretz call David Axlerod a "Jewboy," he did it twice and bragged about it the second time. I swear I am not making this up. Leave aside the craziness of the rest of his kvetches, seriously, what the hell kind of lunatic brags about calling someone a "Jewboy?" Words fail...

Anyway Peretz, that miserable little k**e, calls Axelrod a "Jewboy" here...

then quotes himself here.

For the naches he apparently thinks he deserves. (Eventually, someone of relative sanity at TNR heard about this and replaced the original blog "Jewboy" with "Jew." The cached original should be here. I'm not sure that's any better really. But I'll take back the "miserable little k**e" thing too. In the meantime, as Peretz apparently has no friends in the world to protect him from doing this kind of thing in public, perhaps Abe Foxman might wish to get on the case.)

In the meantime, as to the issue that Obama does not like Jews, here's from deep in Hymietown, is that noted Yid biographer of President Obama--I forget what his dayjob is--on the question:

"Take Obama's supposed indifference to Jews and the State of Israel. Among the many Chicagoans who are apt to find this idea hilarious is the one politician who has beaten him, Bobby Rush. In 2000, Obama, a bored member of the Illinois state senate, challenged Rush, a popular incumbent, for the seat in the state's First Congressional District, on the South Side. Rush, a former leader of the Black Panthers, viewed Obama as the creation of cynical white liberals--particularly Jewish liberals, who constituted, in his term, a "cabal."

As a rising politician with Ivy League connections, Obama had financial backing from all over, including from a class of young black entrepreneurs. But he has had Jewish mentors throughout his career. Philanthropists like Bettylu Saltzman, Penny Pritzker, and Lester Crown were crucial to his campaigns. His friend and neighbor the late Arnold Jacob Wolf was a rabbi. Michelle Obama's cousin Capers C. Funnye, Jr., is the first African-American member of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and the spiritual leader of Beth Shalom, a congregation on the South Side. One of Obama's closest colleagues in Springfield was Ira Silverstein, an Orthodox Jew, with whom he shared an office suite in the Capitol building; Obama acted as Silverstein's shabbos goy, turning on lights and pushing elevator buttons for him on Saturdays.

Obama's Jewish friends and supporters report that they were convinced of his ease among Jews and of his advocacy for a two-state solution, with an emphasis on justice for the Palestinians and on real security for the Israelis. Obama also listened carefully to the arguments of Palestinian friends, such as the historian Rashid Khalidi. And why not? Obama told fund-raising audiences that it was entirely possible to support Israel, even passionately, without endorsing the platform of Likud and the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. One of his mentors in Chicago, Abner Mikva, a former congressman, federal judge, and counsel to Bill Clinton, jokingly told the Chicago Jewish News during the campaign, "I think when this is all over, people are going to say that Barack Obama is the first Jewish president." O.K., not quite, but he did win seventy-eight per cent of the Jewish vote. Only African-Americans voted for him in higher numbers." Read more: here.

Oh and Commentary's blogger thinks Obama might be like Hitler, here and here for the original, just saying...

This week on Moyers.

How did award-winning author Louise Erdrich find her voice? Renowned for her mastery of multiple genres--including thirteen novels, poetry, children's literature, and a memoir of early motherhood--Erdrich discusses how her Native American heritage and unique cultural experience has impacted her life, motherhood, and work. Also on the program, Bill Moyers talks with history and international relations expert and former US Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich to discuss America's long war in Afghanistan. Respected across the political spectrum, Bacevich has contributed to The Nation, The American Conservative, Foreign Affairs, among others, and his latest book is The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism.

The Mail:

Name: Kent Burnside
Hometown: Franklin, TN

Dear Eric,

Your "What Is Conservatism?" column was right on the mark. And the special call-out of Newt Gingrich was priceless, but you forgot another of his real stretchers: In the 1900s Susan Smith, the South Carolina housewife drowned her two children so as to be with her lover, Gingrich prophesied that the country would see more incidents like that unless a majority of Republicans were elected to Congress (which, sadly, they were in 1994, but that's another story).

Name: Paul-Andre Panon
Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.

Further on Pierce's skewering Douthat's claims Catholic sexual abuse being triggered by the sexual revolution promoted by liberals, it would be interesting to hear Douthat's explanation for how abuse in the Canadian Indian residential school system goes back to the 19th century. Or perhaps he thinks that abuse back then was limited to Canada, just as abuse in the '70s and '80s was limited to North America? Douthat is right about one thing, this scandal has come to light as a result of the liberalization of sexual mores and the secularization of society. Without those two factors enabling past victims to recount their tales with less fears of persecution or ostracization, this skeleton would still be safely in the closet and the list of victims would be continuing to grow.

Name: Michael Green
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

We are seeing something with the Catholic Church right now that we are seeing in American politics, and it is bad for both: a willingness on the establishment's part to make excuses or just plain excuse the fringe. I am a non-Catholic, but I would be willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of priests are good and decent men who would never commit this kind of crime. But too many of them, from Big Ben (sorry to be disrespectful) on down, are too busy trying to protect their image to do what is more important: what is right.

Consider, in comparison, American politics. When Democrats are asked about the fringe left--and the fringe left is way out past Brother Alterman or Brother Pierce--we dismiss them. When Republicans are asked about the fringe right, they say nothing or condone it--as in John Boehner FIRST saying Democrats made people angry, then saying the racist, sexist, homophobic and hateful should come volunteer for his party. Then they attack Democrats when some nut job compares Bush with Hitler.

By the way, a theory: Boehner hates Obama because he wanted to be the first non-white president. Orange people deserve representation, too.

Name: Dave Richie
Hometown: Birmingham, AL

Charles Pierce,

Our red beanied leaders have mostly come from a generation even previous to mine. While at seminary from 1959-1961 as a very young and vulnerable seminarian I was exposed to (no pun intended) a group of very devout, holy men. It has been difficult to look back and try to discern any untoward behaviour. What I have concluded is that in those days there was a very good system in place to quash the revelation of such atrocities. We did not hear of it simply because, in those days neither the perpetrator nor the victim wanted or needed that kind of noteriety. God bless those who have come forth with their awful stories. Perhaps a few future victims will be spared.

As for Shithead O'Conner, the less said the better. As usual she spares little detail in describing her victimization at the hands of an awful mother. And, yes she was right to call attention to some very pertinent issues. She also contributed mightily to the general coursening of a dialogue which turned so many away who would have otherwise listened.

Pax vobiscum, dave Richie

Name: Don Hynes
Hometown: Portland, OR

Hey Charles,

The "banjo mass?" Next thing you'll be taking shots at Woodstock and the Holy Grail of Leary.

But all is forgiven. Your link to Sinead's oped in the WaPo takes a tidy wipe to that journal's growing iniquity and puts something back into language all the drivel coming out of the curia omits: love.

"And if there ever is gonna be healing There has to be remembering And then grieving So that there then can be forgiving There has to be knowledge and understanding"

You go girl!

Name: Frankus Brockerman
Hometown: Toms River, N.J.

Hey Eric,

While I fully appreciate all types of music, I have special affinity for jazz, but don't really know what the heck I'm "listening" to. I've read a lot of your reviews and comments through the years and feel as though I'm a bit underwater. Can you recommend some good "starter" songs, groups, bands, etc. to get me in the know? Maybe even a good book?

Thanks!

Eric replies: The New History of Jazz coauthored by Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeux is a great place to start and comes with a cd for close listening. They've also put together a companion box set of music they discuss here.

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