David Brooks, Major A$$hole

jewish week ows kn

Kol Nidrei service at Occupy Wall Street via The Jewish Week

This guestpost is by Mik Moore, a writer and campaign strategist, and the principal partner at Mik Moore Consulting LLC.

This morning I got up, poured myself a bowl of cereal and opened the NYTimes. Eventually I came to David Brooks’ column. A largely forgettable critique of the Occupy Wall Street protests for being insufficiently radical, it included this nugget:

Take the Occupy Wall Street movement. This uprising was sparked by the magazine Adbusters, previously best known for the 2004 essay, “Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?” — an investigative report that identified some of the most influential Jews in America and their nefarious grip on policy.

This is classic Brooks. He writes something that appears innocent enough on its face, but is really underhanded, dishonest, and incendiary.

So, what’s going on here? In short, the right is looking for a way to discredit Occupy Wall Street, and so far nothing seems to stick. Hard to portray them as a mob when they are non-violent. Hard to portray them as just a bunch of hippies when so many different people are participating. Hard to portray them as radicals when their critiques are relatively mainstream.

Brooks has a different idea. Why not call them antisemites? Maybe that will slow them down.

For anyone who takes seriously accusations of antisemitism – and I do – this is dangerous. Crying “antisemitism!” when it isn’t there makes it more difficult to combat real antisemitism. It also makes young Jews cynical and older Jews scared.

Because Brooks thinks he’s slick, he doesn’t come out and say the protest organizers are antisemites. He just implies it. And if the tree (Adbusters) is tainted, don’t eat those apples (OWS)! Because what was the nature of Adbusters antisemitism, according to Brooks? “[A]n investigative report that identified some of the most influential Jews in America and their nefarious grip on policy.”

An influential elite! Controling policy! Hey, isn’t that what these folks down on Wall Street say they are protesting? It doesn’t take much to connect Brooks’ dots.

Don’t buy it? You must not listen to Rush Limbaugh. On his radio show, Rush picked up on Brooks’ inference. But unlike Brooks, Rush doesn’t beat around the bush. According to Rush, the 99% are the gentiles. The 1% are the Jews. Wall Street bankers is code for rich Jews. It all makes sense!

Brooks is counting on his well tended reputation to enable him to play the antisemitism card and get away with it. He shouldn’t. What he is doing is divisive. It diminishes real antisemitism. And it ignores the thousands of Jews who are active participants in shaping Occupy Wall Street.

This photograph (above) was taken for The Jewish Week during Kol Nidre services, held across from Zuccotti Park in support of Occupy Wall Street. Their presence alone should suffice as a rebuttal to Brooks’ insufferable insinuation.

7 Responses to “David Brooks, Major A$$hole”

  1. No unemployed or underemployed New Yorker gives a crap about David Brooks.


    Dan O. · October 12th, 2011 at 11:10 am
  2. Well said. Totally agree. Ad busters has been involved with many many campaigns. Pulling 2004 article to infer anti semitism is something I never thought I would see from Brooks


    J Wheeldon · October 13th, 2011 at 12:16 am
  3. It’s not anti-semitic to hate Brooks! That said, I welcome a healthy dose of Jew hatred in the OWS movement, which I fully support. The best balance is – less than enough to get real attention, but enough to remind Jewish participants that we will never be truly secure, no matter who rules this country, so build some horizontalism with other Jews, maybe get horizontal with them to make more Jews. (But not more than one or two, mmkay?)


    Jew Guevara · October 13th, 2011 at 9:55 am
  4. [...] a turn for the better this past weekend (finally!), when the forces of good sacked the dangerous, probably anti-Semitic, sukkah of [...]


    Capitalism Saved: Watch as Dangerous Revolutionary Sukkah is Dismantled | Heeb · October 16th, 2011 at 4:17 pm
  5. [...] Moore responded forcefully on Facebook, reposted to Jewschool, “What he is doing is divisive. It diminishes real antisemitism. And it ignores the thousands [...]


    Occupy Mishegas | Jewschool · October 17th, 2011 at 11:01 am
  6. [...] David Brooks, Major A$ $ hole Why not call them antisemites? Maybe that will slow them down. For anyone who takes seriously accusations of antisemitism – and I do – this is dangerous. Crying “antisemitism!” when it isn't there makes it more difficult to combat real antisemitism. … Read more on Jewschool [...]


    Latest Anti-semites News | Hoods Off · October 17th, 2011 at 1:07 pm
  7. [...] As for the xenophobic nutcases who don’t…I’m not into giving them more power. JewSchool.com offers a rebuttal to “the right winger who cried antisemitism” argument, Jewish participation in the “Occupy” movement, plus a Torah argument for people coming [...]


    The “Occupy” Movement: Bridging Judaism with the American Economic System, for Better or Worse « Chava's Footsteps · October 30th, 2011 at 2:02 am

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik