Borderline antisemitism [follow-up]

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 22 03:03:41 UTC 2010

Politico posted a story reflecting an underlying ADL report slamming
Rush Limbaugh for "borderline antisemitism", but the link provided
appears to lead to a different page, so the official ADL statement will
likely appear later. Still, this is worth bringing into the discussion
of the Harry Reid "Negro dialect" comment (not racism) and TZ (ignorance).

Here's the original Rush Limbaugh quote that was highlighted.
> To some people, banker is a code word for Jewish; and guess who Obama
> is assaulting? He’s assaulting bankers. He’s assaulting money people.
> And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if
> there’s – if there’s starting to be some buyer’s remorse there.

Abe Foxman's response:
> Limbaugh’s references to Jews and money in a discussion of
> Massachusetts politics were offensive and inappropriate. While the
> age-old stereotype about Jews and money has a long and sordid history,
> it also remains one of the main pillars of anti-Semitism and is widely
> accepted by many Americans. His notion that Jews vote based on their
> religion, rather than on their interests as Americans, plays into the
> hands of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.

Personally, I don't think there is anything borderline about this--the
statement is not based on ignorance or some kind of verbal confusion.
The intent is quite clear even if the language does not contain any
specifically offensive words or phrases. In contrast, some patently
offensive language could be inadvertently used in a benign
context--largely out of ignorance. Then there are blends--Harry Reid
used somewhat archaic phrasing that caused an interesting overreaction,
while TZ risked offense for the sake of expressing his ignorance,
contempt and sarcasm all at once.

There is no deeper point here--just an observation that there has to be one.


The American Dialect Society -

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