Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Friday, March 05, 2004

The Passion and Anti-Semitism
Written by: Answerman

I saw the movie last night. I am incredibly comfortable telling all of you (and I realize that "all of you" means John) that anyone who watches that movie and charges it with anti-Semitism is a moron. Plain and simple.

But I want to talk more broadly about the issue of anti-Semitism, because I was repelled by some comments I read by David Frum on National Review Online. Let me start by saying I don't know who's crazy idea it was to bill this guy as a conservative. I mean, it's cool if National Review wants him to work for them; there doesn't need to be some sort of ideological litmus test for writers at a conservative magazine. Frankly, having lots of writers coming from various political perspectives makes a magazine, and certainly an opinion blog like NRO's the Corner, more interesting. What I object to is the mislableing of guys like Frum and David Brooks over at the Weekly Standard, not the airing of their views.

In any event, Frum takes Mel Gibson to task for how he answered interview questions about his father's Holocaust comments. According to Frum, we don't know whether Gibson is anti-Semitic or not because while he said that the Holocaust was horrible, lots of atrocities occurred between 1933 and 1945 that were horrible as well. What's the problem here? Everything in that statement is true. Why are their so many alleged spokesmen for the Jewish community out there looking to jump all over anyone who points out the forced starvations in the Ukraine by Stalin, the treatment of POWs and civilians by both German and Russian forces, the number of Chinese peasants slaughtered by Mao, and the like? Why is one ethnic group entitled to a monopoly on genocide stories? I don't get it. Here's a newsflash for you, David Frum -- Mel Gibson doesn't have to prove to you that he's no anti-Semite, and he certainly doesn't have to do so with a correct recitation of the number of Jews killed by Hitler, or by stifling any discussion of atrocities against other people by the same man and by others of his era and later. Most people are willing to assume Mel Gibson's no anti-Semite, just as we assume anyone we meet is a reasonable person with no ethnic animosities, until someone proves otherwise. And Mel Gibson's true statement about other Nazi-era atrocities doesn't even come close to proving otherwise, or even to raising an interesting question.

But guys like Frum want to find anti-Semitism anywhere they look, so they trump up charges against innocent folks like Mel Gibson. Well, take it to the Nation, to the New York Times, to CNN, or to the DNC Convention this year, David. I don't want to see it sullying the pages of National Review.

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