Glenn Beck’s Jewish Problem

Glenn Beck’s Jewish Problem – Jeffrey Goldberg – National – The Atlantic

This is a post about Beck’s recent naming of nine people — eight of them Jews — as enemies of America and humanity. He calls these people prime contributors to the — wait for it — “era of the big lie.” The eight Jews are Sigmund Freud; Edward Bernays, the founder of public relations, and a nephew of Freud’s (which Beck discloses as if this had previously been a secret); Soros, of course; Cass Sunstein, now of the White House; the former labor leader Andy Stern; Walter Lippman, who is no longer here to defend himself; Frances Fox Piven, who Beck believes is “sowing the seeds” of revolution; and, of all people, Edward Rendell.

It is fair to ask if Beck knows that these people are Jewish (It is not widely-known that Rendell is Jewish, I think). But Beck is a smart person, and has researchers at hand with access to Wikipedia. Further, most of these people on Beck’s “big lie” list are already the targets of straightforward attacks in the dark, anti-Semitic corners of the Web, so an extended Google search, in some cases, would show that much of the opposition to some of these people is motivated by anti-Semitism. That said, Beck has not crossed a certain line, by identifying his targets openly as Jewish. Nevertheless, this, to me, is a classic case of anti-Semitic dog-whistling. Beck is speaking to a certain constituency, and the thought has now crossed my mind that this constituency understands the clear implications of what Beck is saying.

My modest suggestion to those Jews who fear the building of mosques in American cities is that they look elsewhere for threats that seem to be gathering against them.


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25 comments on “Glenn Beck’s Jewish Problem

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  1. Walter Lippmann was a Jewish anti-Semite. In 1922, he said, “The rich and vulgar and pretentious Jews of our big American cities … are the real fountain of anti-Semitism…. You cannot build up a decent civilization among people who, when they are at last, after centuries of denial, free to go to the land and cleanse their bodies, now huddle together in a steam-heated slum” (cited in Ronald Steel’s “Walter Lippmann and the American Century”). How one can be rich and vulgar and pretentious and reside in a slum is not explained. Perhaps he considered Central Park West a slum. Lippmann did not take his own advice and go to the land to cleanse his body. Nor did he ever praise the socialist kibbutzniks who did so.

  2. Wow, the Journolist must be churning over time, to have raised this argument, which he seems to have cribbed from Media Matters so it’s not new. Bernays and his Creel Committee, and advertising strategies
    that made it into ‘the Overton Window” with a very waspy pedigree.
    Freud who through poor sampling, seems to have undermined traditional moral codes, Soros, there are plenty of reasons to look askance at, and not some inevitable circumstance nearly seventy years ago,

  3. Lippman was a complicated figure active in American public life for nearly 50 years after that statement. He wrote around 20 books and had a regular news column. Are you sure he never praised the kibbutzniks? Or that he held to the views underlying that statement?

    What I think is interesting about Beck’s anti-semitism is that it probably is largely devoid of the personal animus toward Jews that Lippman showed in that comment, and that seems to have been fairly common among a certain stream of cosmopolitan assimilated Jews. Beckism has an ideological content alongside all of the sensationalism and outright stupidity that really does tend to come into conflict with a Jewish universalist tradition that influenced all or almost all of his enemy Jews. In other words, there is more than mere emotion or prejudice in the collision between the far right’s rejection of the state and a Jewish tradition of moral action that includes the state, but the anti-statist tendency may inherently, if often unconsciously, rely on xenophobia, bigotry, and other “in-group” preferences.

  4. Has nothing of the like, to do with it, it’s what they have said and done, over a considerable period of time, to ‘fundamentally transform’
    this nation. Lippmann does seem to share the unending contempt for
    the bourgeois that Marx had.

  5. “fundamentally transform” is a good thing, unless you think that the world as it is is perfect. Why do you assume that anyone should have a negative reaction to the mere phrase? You use it a lot. It’s just an emotional way of saying “I’m a conservative!” I think we know that by now. For those who are not interested in arguing from the presumption that, whatever else Beck says or does, he’s on the right side, and that conservatives are on the right side, and everyone else is on the wrong side, it’s meaningless.

  6. miguel cervantes wrote:

    Freud who through poor sampling, seems to have undermined traditional moral codes

    this is another gem, miggs.

    rare that a person manages to use a pen and, in error, destroy the moral universe of half the world.

    just imagine what he might have done if he had a daily half-hour on FOX.

  7. @ fuster:
    Right, but it was very common in those days for educated, assimilated German (and other) Jews to express disdain for Shtetl Jews and Ghetto Jews: “Don’t associate me with these people – I’m as much one of you as one of them.” It’s a familiar pattern among ethnic minorities and social climbers of all types.

  8. @ fuster:
    Lippmann never mentioned the subject of genocide, either before, during, or after World War II.
    @ miguel cervantes and CK MacLeod:
    Marx wanted to create a new type of human nature, so that all disagreement would end and the state would wither away. Rejecting humans the way they are necessarily leads to attempts at thought reform and totalitarianism.

  9. At least two of these figures, ‘Marx and Freud’ seemed to participate in lucid dreaming, the former believed there was this wonderful ‘heaven
    on earth’ that could be achieved. The latter, Freud, being the ultimate
    materialist, extrapolated from his idiosyncratic practice, that there is no real moral code, that has done a fair amount of damage to society. That is not to say, that there might not have been rather severe moral
    protocols back in the day, but we’ve gone 180 degrees in the other
    direction.

  10. @ fuster:
    Lippmann was a columnist who wrote about foreign affairs. Had the issue of genocide become known during the war, the United States might have bombed the railroad lines leading to Auschwitz.
    And maybe writing about it wouldn’t have made a difference. We can’t know. We do know that not raising the issue was effectively anti-Semitic–whether or not it was intended to be.

  11. @ fuster:
    If it had been only a tiny bit effective, it still would have saved a life or two. And it would have slowed the transportation of equipment to soldiers, etc. Bombing rail lines in those railroad-dependent days was as useful and less deadly than bombing cities in order to weaken one’s enemies.
    Here’s an old book review of mine, the immediate source of my statement about Lippmann:
    http://www.jochnowitz.net/Essays/Buried.html

  12. George Jochnowitz wrote:

    If it had been only a tiny bit effective, it still would have saved a life or two. And it would have slowed the transportation of equipment to soldiers, etc. Bombing rail lines in those railroad-dependent days was as useful and less deadly than bombing cities in order to weaken one’s enemies.

    Not really. Bombing rail-lines to any effect was extremely difficult given the inaccuracy of bombing. Even if major damage on a line was inflicted, the rail lines themselves were relatively easy to repair. For that reason, attacks on rail transportation focused on main nodes in the system, and even they were of limited effectiveness. In addition, the death camps were at or beyond the extreme limit of the range of bombers, meaning that mounting an effective campaign, if possible at all, could have been done only at very great cost in men, planes, and munitions.

    Even if the genocide had been widely understood, it would remain debatable whether the most effective way to stop it would have been through diversion of air resources to purposes of minimal military importance, in theory extending the war. Post-war assessments of the entire strategic bombing campaign, both in the Europe and in the Far East, suggested that it had been greatly oversold. (Max Hastings suggests that a relatively tiny investment in submarines had greater concrete benefit for the US strategic campaign against Japan than virtually the entirety of the rest of the US effort.) Its main military significance in Europe may have been in diverting Germany’s most effective artillery – which had dual uses – from the Eastern Front to protection of the German homeland. Concentrating the air campaign in Central Europe would have undermined even this one area of effectiveness.

  13. So, here’s a question I’ve never heard asked quite in this form, though there has long been a strain of criticism directed at FDR’s declaration of an unconditional surrender policy: Especially considering that the last months of the war were by far the mostly costly in human lives – direct military casualties, civilian casualties, and victims of the death camps – as well as in material destruction, would it have been a morally more sound position for the U.S. and allies to offer peace terms to the Germans and Japanese that allowed their governments to remain in place, possibly even to retain some of their conquests, in exchange for disarmament, cessation of hostilities, reparations, and freedom and safety for internees of all types? Or were the U.S. and the Soviets driven by historical necessity to seek the destruction of the main centers of potential resistance to their hegemony, regardless of costs?

  14. CK MacLeod wrote:

    Or were the U.S. and the Soviets driven by historical necessity to seek the destruction of the main centers of potential resistance to their hegemony, regardless of costs

    ah, just as if she were here.
    horse hockey choices.

  15. @ fuster:
    If I had the time right now, I could launch a pointless detailed defense of that position, which, properly understood, can coherently explain the course of the war from before the beginning to after the end.

    If you promise to argue the other side responsibly and stubbornly, we can at some other time extend that Wall discussion that Sully found so mind-bogglingly atrocious.

  16. One could speculate specially with the case of Germany, that WH advisors which would include McCloy and company, felt that it was time to extinguish the dragon of Prussian nationalism, certainly Morgenthau had that view even after the war, as Beschloss pointed
    out

  17. @ CK MacLeod:
    Bombing gas chambers is not quite the same thing as bombing rail lines. Bombing factories at Auschwitz requires a certain amount of accuracy. The factories were bombed, but not the gas chambers.
    Primo Levi, in the chapter entitled “Cerium” of his book “Il sistema periodico” (The Periodic Table), tells of how he and the other prisoners in the chemical factories at Auschwitz rejoiced at the air raids, “perche li sapevamo diretti non contro noi, ma contro i nostri nemici” (because we knew they were not directed against us but against our enemies). We cannot ever know whether any lives might have been saved by destroying the gas chambers, but we do know that bombing them would have been the right thing to do.

  18. @ George Jochnowitz:
    If at some point during the war, some plane or planes managed to hit the factories at Auschwitz, that doesn’t speak to the practicality of targeting and destroying gas chambers. I’m not familiar with the events Levi refers to – who did the bombing, what precisely was bombed, what the effects were, if any, other than providing cause to the prisoners to rejoice.

    A high altitude bomber operating at the extreme limits of its range would be lucky to hit the city that was targeted and return home safely, much less destroy a specific facility in a specific area of a specific camp.

  19. Well what would Levi, or my neigbor who survived four years at Dachau, the hegemonist narrative is what is important, maybe Nixon was more right, than many cared to admit, even now

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