Remember The Outraged Cries of “Antisemitism!”?

The reason we watch for hypocrisy, and call others on it when we see it, is because – in order to do hypocrisy, we must lie. Therefore, when we call out a hypocrite, we are negating any point they may have been trying to make, by demonstrating that they don’t really mean it; it’s especially hard for the hypocrite to claim ignorance or accident when they’re caught out.

Recently, Nancy Pelosi, Chelsea Clinton, and others, fired a barrage of rhetorical shots at Ilhan Omar for making an ill-advised tweet that can be considered to be antisemitic. The gist of the accusation is that, by accusing congress of taking money from AIPAC (the pro-Israel lobby), she was promoting an antisemitic trope about Jews with money being behind the scenes manipulating things. It’s not as though she quoted from The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion [wik] but from the drubbing she took, it seemed as though she might have.

So, every politician who didn’t jump out of their seat yelling “antisemitism!” when Trump tweeted this:

… is a hypocrite if they said anything about Ilhan Omar’s tweets. Anything that they have to say on this topic should be given extreme rhetorical vetting.

To draw between the dots, in case you need it, George Soros, billionaire and Jew, is often demonized by conspiracy theorists for being the powerful financial impetus behind a variety of weird things. Trump was not quoting from The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion, either, but he was closer to it than Ilhan Omar was. Other than the usual shocked cries at Trump’s crass, distasteful, badly-written twitterpation, the question of whether it was antisemitic was largely ignored – presumably because Trump can’t be antisemitic since he’s a big friend of Israel.

What a great load of bullshit.

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This is not an episode of Argument Clinic but I’ll observe that it is better to deflect such criticism by focusing on supporting someone, rather than criticizing someone else. In other words, her better strategy would have been to say something like “I wish that BDS could afford high quality congresspeople like Nancy Pelosi.” No doubt there would be a massive outcry about her calling Palestinian’s rights supporters “poor.” Omar needs to level her game up; she’s playing in the top-tier deathmatch level against professional politicians who don’t believe anything, who will say anything, and who take money from anyone.

By the way, using charges of antisemitism as a cynical rhetorical trick is antisemitic, as it downplays the significance of a very real historical crime in hope of scoring cheap points in an argument. Anyone who’d use that trick is using accusations of hatred as a verbal club and the fact that they are doing so, lightly, shows that they don’t care about the 6 million very real dead in The Holocaust.

Also: did Trump imply that his supporters are basement-dwellers?


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    The gist of the accusation is that, by accusing congress of taking money from AIPAC (the pro-Israel lobby),

    I believe she was mistaken about the source of pro-Israel sentiment in US politics. A lot of it comes from the religious right, not from Jews tehmselves. If you bother to look, you will find they (the religious right) are pretty anti-semitic themselves, but they see the re-establishment of Israel with Jerusalem as its capitol as a necessary precursor for Armegeddon, and they are pro-Armageddon.

    Cross-reference: John Hagee, red heifer

  2. Jazzlet says

    Who is it that pays for visits to Israel by every US senator? It is quite possible for both things to be true and AIPAC do put a bus garage load of money into lobbbying American politicians.

  3. says

    You’re both right. The reason the christian death cultists like Israel is because they hope for something worse than Hitler. That’s hardly antisemitic in its own right. And as far as the money goes: oil lobby, NRA, AIPAC, Trump’s Russian oligarch pals – the scandal there is how easily American politicians can be rented.

  4. says

    Tabby Lavalamp@#4:
    It’s almost like they waited for the first thing that a Muslim woman in congress said that they could jump on.

    Yup. I am slightly heartened to see other writers pointing out the hypocrisy. But they’re giving Pelosi and Clinton and all the others who jumped on the bandwagon a pass. I wish that this sort of faux outrage would register against the bandwagon-jumpers, but it never seems to.

  5. bmiller says

    Marcus: Off topic but nonetheless related: What is your opinion about the Virginia situation? (Not the Lieutenant Governor. Sounds like he was a nasty, nasty guy)

  6. Reginald Selkirk says

    Tabby Lavalamp #6: And now the Hamberdler is calling for her resignation…

    I saw this morning that Trump called her apology “lame”, although he has made a habit of never apologizing for anything, even when he is undeniably wrong. He has never apologized for his positions on the Central Park 5, for his Obama birtherism, etc. etc. etc.

  7. konrad_arflane says

    Aside from everything else, it’s pretty funny for Trump to be calling out the other side’s protesters for using “professionally made identical signs”. Pretty much every photo of one of his rallies includes a sea of those. But I guess that means he knows what he’s talking about (for a change).

  8. Curious Digressions says

    BREAKING NEWS: Politicians Accept Money from Lobbying Group! Concern that money may influence decision making met with scorn and accusations of hate mongering.

    Israel is a weirdly sacred cow. Omar was going to run up against it sooner or later. Opponents were salivating at the first chance to denounce her for something.

    Trump crying antisemitism. If he were honest enough that his mouth-noises still had meaning it would be an example of hypocrisy. The question is what he gains from these particular lies. Is he just a bully piling-on someone else’s target? Is he getting some reward for appearing to oppose her?

    Both? Both. Why not both?

  9. says

    Virginia is a mess. If anything it’s a case study in “why the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.” I don’t trust any of these people.

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