Call the PC Police!

The other day, I had a commenter named Dentini booted from this thread for being an anti-Semitic lunk-head.

That bothered regular commenter Decembrist, and I think as a valued, contributing member of the AlterNet community he or she deserves a fuller explanation. Let's get that dirty laundry aired out!

I disagree with Decembrist on the crucial point: I don't think Dentini was simply venting about Israel; he crossed the line into bashing Jews. That line is, admittedly, somewhat subjective, but for me the bar is set quite high. Want to talk about Israel's barbaric human rights record? Call it an Apartheid state? Question its legitimacy? All that's fine by me, whether I agree or not.

I lost my patience with Dentini not when he called me a Palestinian baby-murderer, but when he posted this, in response to the comment that Joe Lieberman's position on Iraq sprang from his being a Republican-lite hawk, not a Jew:

No, he's foremost a Jew.
For example, he won't work for the right wing during the Sabbath.
Foremost a Jew. Secondly, a right-winger. Lastly, what?
An American? A Human? I dunno.
It was the juxtaposition of "Jew" and "human" that won him the boot. Along with the Sabbath jab, which just stinks of classical Protocols of the Elders of Zion shit.

The irony of that entire exchange, as I tried to point out to Dentini, is that I've been a strong critic of the occupation.

Back when I was editing the Trojan Horse at USC, we got into a huge fight with the campus Hillel after we put out an issue dedicated to the subject. A group called SC Students for Israel didn't want to see stories about Rachel Corrie, or about how the wall was cutting off Palestinian farmers from their lands, so they attacked us. They called me a "Nazi propagandist" and a "self-loathing Jew." They threw away our newspapers.

And I've written the following about what I consider the intentional blurring of the line between criticizing Israel's policies and being anti-Semitic - Dentini's charge. It was in response to Eric Cantor (R-PA) suggesting that anti-Semitism was rife within the Dem leadership. I titled the post: "A True Anti-Semite's Best Friend":
It's clear that for Eric Cantor, anti-Semitism means any statement by a non-Republican that in any way implies a hint of criticism of Isreal, suggests that the Israeli lobby actually…lobbies, or in any way, shape or context mentions Hitler or the Holocaust.
Now there are some ugly stereotypes that actual anti-Semites have long propagated (I define anti-Semitism as bigotry towards Jews--just like the dictionary). These include the notion that Jews have developed a "cult of victimization" that they use to stifle criticism of Israel, that Jews are paranoid and take any criticism as a threat to their existence and the age-old smear that Jews represent some secret cabal that actually pulls the strings in Washington.
Eric Cantor and his ilk do a great service to true anti-Semites by giving these stereotypes credence. Somewhere along the line, a Luntz-esque decision was made to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, and it just plays right into the hands of truly anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.
… having chosen to suppress dissent with a rigid and despicable political correctness that precludes any discussion of Israeli policies or U.S. policies related to Israel, and by enforcing that PC orthodoxy by viciously attacking anyone who dares to differ, they feed into that whole Jewish Cabal nonsense.
So let me say this clearly to Congressman Cantor and his type, one American Jew to another: I think you're a putz, you don't speak for me now and you never will and you're the best thing to happen to anti-Semitism since the release of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
That from someone Dentini thought was just itching to "go out and kill some Palestinian children and continue the slow genocide of the Palestinian people."

In the final analysis, I think Decembrist was right that I should have remained above the fray. I also think the exchange was telling about how the cause of Palestinian justice has become so marginalized, even on the left. In all of politics, I can't imagine a less effective political movement. Why? Bad framing, bad media, bad spokespeople. I know it's trite, but there it is. You can blame AIPAC for being good, but the other side is filled with Dentinis.

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