Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How Jewish conspiracies become mainstream

"Mainstreaming Hate," Lee Smith. Tablet Magazine. July 21, 2010.

This is a gutsy piece.  Smith has called a spade a spade, and the spade, which fancies itself a flower, isn't going to like it.
One reason for the surge of public criticism of Israel over the last decade is the increasing interest of American media consumers in the Middle East as U.S. involvement in the region deepened after Sept. 11. The other reason is the triumph of the Internet, which lends itself to anti-Semitic narratives. The genius of the web is its interconnectedness, the facility with which it is capable of making links based on other links, which allows a chain of unbroken and unsubstantiated rumor and innuendo to acquire the stature of fact...
“It hasn’t been secret,” writes Carroll, a commenter on a Lobelog post, that “for a long time that we have a small cabal of US zionist operating in and manipulating the US for their vision of Israel and a group of US Neocons and other assorted special interest who never met a war they didn’t like. … What do we have to do to put an end to them? … Suicide the cabal?” On another post at the same site, a commenter named Rowan Berkeley writes: “It seems to me that it is no exaggeration to say roundly that the USA in its entirety is under Jewish control of one variety or another.” He then makes an entirely accurate observation: “Ten years ago, it would have been a safe assumption that only ‘neo-Nazis’ would say such a thing.”

What is notable about such comments is not that they are original or unusual, but that there are hundreds and thousands of them, each sicker and crazier than the next, appended like a mile-long oil slick to nearly any mainstream news story or opinion piece that mentions Israel. In addition to creating the impression of a wave of popular hatred directed against the Jewish state—an impression belied by polls that show nearly two-thirds of Americans support Israel—the commenters attempt to swamp the news with paranoid anti-Semitic rantings that are entirely detached from even the BBC’s version of reality. On Glenn Greenwald’s Salon blog, there were close to 1,000 comments when the news of the Gaza flotilla incident broke. One commenter took the episode as proof that “The jewish state intends to clean itself of all non-jews. Anything that might slow the starving of the hated ones will be dealt with in the most harsh of terms. This slow-motion genocide/ethnic-cleansing is a horror to witness.” One prominent contributor to Greenwald’s blog, a commenter calling himself Shingo, also appears in the comments section at Stephen Walt’s place, where he manfully exposes Zionist lies: “There is no archeologically and historically evidence that a Jewish state did exist,” he wrote in response to a Walt post.