January 31, 2011 2:52 pm ET
During the past several months, many people have noticed the increasingly vitriolic and anti-Semitic nature of the smear campaigns that are part and parcel of the Fox News operation. In particular, Glenn Beck has evoked some of the vilest anti-Semitic canards and caricatures in an ill-conceived attack on liberal philanthropist George Soros. The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, for instance, has accused Beck of engaging in "anti-Semitic dog-whistling." The hate is so vile, in fact, that just last week, a group of 400 rabbis took out a full-page advertisement to protest the increasingly anti-Semitic rhetoric spouted by Fox:
In their advertisement, the 400 rabbis single out Fox News host Glenn Beck and Fox News chief Roger Ailes for using Nazi and other Holocaust references in slamming adversaries.
The rabbis are demanding that Ailes apologize and that Fox owner Rupert Murdoch sanction Beck.
"In the charged political climate in the current civic debate, much is tolerated," the rabbis write in their advertisement, published in the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal and the Forward, a Jewish newspaper.
"But you diminish the memory and meaning of the Holocaust when you use it to discredit any organization or individual you disagree with."
Ailes landed in hot water last fall for calling National Public Radio executives Nazis for firing Juan Williams, who also was working as a commentator for Fox News.
Beck has been under attack for three days of programs attacking liberal billionaire and Holocaust survivor George Soros. Beck described Soros as a "Jewish boy helping send Jews to the death camps."
Faced with mounting criticism, you'd expect Fox to ratchet down its hateful rhetoric. Instead, the network is deflecting attention away from itself by accusing others of anti-Semitism. Today, a post on the Fox Nation front page makes the charge that "Media Matters Blames the Jews for Egypt Violence." The misleading headline links to a piece I wrote last week in which I argued that prominent pro-Israel groups, such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, support Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, have opposed Middle East peace and have long supported policies that have made revolution in Egypt inevitable.
To suggest that my column blames "the Jews" in any form is as absurd as someone claiming that an article critical of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries blames "the Muslims" for high oil prices. In fact, the reference to "Jews" that Fox highlights is missing from my piece entirely. Instead, I focus on the hawkish groups that comprise the so-called "pro-Israel lobby," a title which AIPAC itself prominently promotes on its website. Most importantly, as I have argued time and time again, groups such as AIPAC do not represent the views of the American Jewish community.
Fox assumes that my criticism of the "pro-Israel" lobby, or for that matter, criticism of the Israeli government, is an attack on all Jews. That sort of thinking suggests that all Jews — by virtue of being Jewish — agree with all of AIPAC's policy prescriptions. Even when deflecting its own anti-Semitism, then, Fox just can't stop themselves from advancing tired anti-Semitic arguments. Good grief.
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