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Bad Language Goes Mainstream

2:38 PM, Jan 27, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Lee Smith, writing at Tablet

Why is it that no one bats an eyelash when a former United States national security adviser says that, “The Israelis have a lot of influence with Congress, and in some cases they are able to buy influence”? Last week in an interview, Zbigniew Brzezinski accused the government of Israel of a crime. If he has evidence that Israeli officials have broken the law by bribing U.S. politicians, law enforcement authorities should compel him to produce it. But of course Brzezinski’s not really talking about Israelis. What he means is that American Jews have subverted the interests of the United States on behalf of a foreign power.

You don’t need to know much about history to recognize that Brzezinski here is trading in a classic anti-Semitic trope. Why didn’t his Salon interviewer call him out on it? Why hasn’t anyone else? Where are the American elites—the intellectuals, writers, policymakers, and political activists—when it comes to vigilance against anti-Semitism?

The editors of magazines and newspapers have a responsibility as gatekeepers of polite society. It turns out the gatekeepers haven’t been vigilant. We live in a culture where the social taboo against anti-black racism is so fierce that violating the taboo means certain expulsion from polite company. But the very reverse process is taking place when it comes to anti-Semitism: The taboo is being rapidly eroded, and those who ought to confront it are enabling it.

Whole thing here.

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