War on Christmas? Blame The Jooooos!

I’m sure by now we’ve all heard about the Right’s new whipping post, the imaginary “War on Christmas.” This is the latest attempt by the Christian Right to paint Christians (ie., 85% of Americans) as a persecuted minority.
The Grand Marshall of this media parade is Fox News anchor John Gibson, who recently authored a book quaintly entitled, The War on Christmas. Gibson has allegedly “been digging up evidence about the liberal activists, lawyers, politicians, educators, and media people who are leading the war on Christmas.”
He is joined in his chorus by the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Michelle Malkin, and other Rightards, all of whom are claiming that liberal organizations like the ACLU and People for the American Way are leading the charge against Christian religious expression. You know, the same ACLU which defended Jerry Falwell and Rush Limbaugh.
Salon reports,

As the holidays approach, the right is making ever more fevered preparations to thwart this ostensible conspiracy. Last week, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights launched a short-lived boycott of Wal-Mart, charging the megastore with “insulting Christians by effectively banning Christmas.” The American Family Association called for a Thanksgiving-weekend boycott of Target because of the chain’s purported refusal to use the phrase “Merry Christmas” in its advertising. (Target denies having such a policy.) A few days later, Jerry Falwell announced he was joining with the Christian right legal group Liberty Counsel’s “Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign,” which intends to sue officials who try to curb religious Christmas celebrations in schools or other public places. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “The 8,000 members of the Christian Educators Association International will be the campaign’s ‘eyes and ears’ in the nation’s public schools. They’ll be reporting to 750 Liberty Counsel lawyers who are ready to pounce if, for example, a teacher is muzzled from leading the third-graders in ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.'” Meanwhile, the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian right legal outfit co-founded by James Dobson, has ramped up its three-year-old “Christmas project,” organizing over 800 lawyers to defend the sacred holiday. “It’s a sad day in America when you have to retain a lawyer to wish someone a merry Christmas,” says Mike Johnson, senior legal counsel for ADF.

Ever the whore of moral outrage, Bill O’Reilly, self-appointed Christmas martyr, has made a spectacle of himself in the weeks ramping up to this “holiday season,” spreading malicious nonsense about everyone he deems an opponent of Christmas (excluding his own network, of course, which was caught selling O’Reilly Factor “holiday ornaments”).
O’Reilly’s recent attack on The Daily Show, in which he aired a year-old clip claiming it was from the previous night, prompted John Stewart and Co. to respond to O’Reilly’s inanity, ending with a plea from Stewart to O’Reilly to “please, please make your enemy.” Also check out The Daily Show’s Mo Rocca on Keith Olbermann’s show for a hearty chuckle.
Salon’s Michelle Golberg continues,

In fact, there is no war on Christmas. What there is, rather, is a burgeoning myth of a war on Christmas, assembled out of old reactionary tropes, urban legends, exaggerated anecdotes and increasingly organized hostility to the American Civil Liberties Union. It’s a myth that can be self-fulfilling, as school board members and local politicians believe the false conservative claim that they can’t celebrate Christmas without getting sued by the ACLU and thus jettison beloved traditions, enraging citizens and perpetuating a potent culture-war meme. This in turn furthers the myth of an anti-Christmas conspiracy.
“You have a dynamic here, where you have the Christian right hysterically overrepresenting the problem, and then anecdotally you have some towns where lawyers restrict any kind of display or representation of religion, which is equally absurd,” says Chip Berlet, a senior analyst at Political Research Associates and one of the foremost experts on the religious right. “It’s a closed loop. In that dynamic, neither the secular humanists or the ACLU are playing a role.”

That’s right, it’s not the secular humanists who are out to destroy Christmas — they’re too agnostic to care! Burt Prelutsky, a Conservative columnist righting writing for Townhall.com, identifies the true enemies of Christian expression in the United States: The Jews.

When it comes to pushing the multicultural, anti-Christian, agenda, you find Jewish judges, Jewish journalists, and the ACLU, at the forefront.
[…] I am getting the idea that too many Jews won’t be happy until they pull off their own version of the Spanish Inquisition, forcing Christians to either deny their faith and convert to agnosticism or suffer the consequences.

The disingenuous nature of these remarks is worse than insulting (and seriously, read the whole thing if you want to shudder to the core of your being). It’s reflective of the pathology lurking beneath the Religious Right’s ideology that gets us Jews all amped up to begin with.
Goldberg continues,

As the Web site News Hounds pointed out last year, Henry Ford was sounding the alarm about the war on Christmas in his notorious 1921 tract “The International Jew.” “The whole record of the Jewish opposition to Christmas, Easter and other Christian festivals, and their opposition to certain patriotic songs, shows the venom and directness of [their] attack,” Ford wrote. He listed local outrages: “Christmas celebrations or carols in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, St. Paul and New York met with strong Jewish opposition … Local Council of Jewish Women of Baltimore petitions school board to prohibit Christmas exercises … The Council of the University Settlement, at the request of the New York Kehillah [Jewish leadership], adopts this resolution: ‘That in the holiday celebrations held annually by the Kindergarten Association at the University Settlement every feature of any sectarian character, including Christmas trees, Christmas programs and Christmas songs, shall be eliminated.'”
To compare today’s “war on Christmas” demagogues to Henry Ford is not to call them anti-Semites. Rather, they are purveyors of a conspiracy theory that repeatedly crops up in America. The malefactors change — Jews, the U.N., the ACLU — but the outlines stay the same. The scheme is always massive, reaching up to the highest levels of power.

Ah, but as Prelutsky demonstrates, it is, very much still, all about the Jews. And this bring us to our current drama with Christian America.
The “Christianization” of America, as Abe Foxman recently termed it, is not merely the innocuous expression of “majority rule,” as Steven I. Weiss, for one, would have us believe. Dominionism and its rise in America reveals an attempt at the subversion of democracy itself, and it is permeated by a deep-seated antisemitism (contrary to what Salon’s Goldberg thinks). As such, the Christian fascists (not to be read “all Christians”) seek to use their influence to bring about a theocracy through the legislative process. Meager attempts to hold back the floodgates are now being used by these fascists to portray the opponents of Christianization as enemies of democracy, the common man (the Christmas celebrator), and God his/herself. It’s the world gone dafouch (upside down)!
No Jews are trying to put an end to Christmas, nor prevent Christians from expressing themselves religiously. What they are trying to prevent is the legislation of Christian ideology — abortion bans, infringing on queer rights, prayer in school, teaching Creationism, using public funds for “faith-based initiatives” and so forth. Christians don’t have to get abortions, they don’t have to go to gay weddings, they can open their own schools and use vouchers to send their kids there, and they can get tax breaks for donating to Christian charities. But see, they want to force you to live as they see fit. They want to legislate their version of morality. They want you to pay for America’s Christianization. That’s not democratic, and that’s not separation of church and state. And that is the issue.
However, by conflating a simple row over political correctness as an attack on Christians and Christianity itself, as with this imaginary “war,” the Christian fascists turn liberal Jews and their allies into lecherous boogeymen. In playing up concerns about “undue Jewish influence” (which is really what’s at the heart of the recent AIPAC scandal) and using overt threats now (ie., the AFA’s threat to withdraw support for Israel) to keep the Jews in line, the beast lurking beneath is beginning to unveil itself.
Once America’s Christian soldiers are fueled to the brim with paranoia about “those damn liberal Jews,” how long could it be before the American Jewish community is sent packing, in the expectation that their return to their Evangelically-subsidized homeland, will bring about the Second Coming?
Last December, a Jewish caller phoned into Bill O’Reilly’s radio show and stated the following:

I agree with what you’ve been saying recently — you’re concerned about the secularization of Christmas and — I’m concerned about the secularization of Jews and about the — and Christmas going into schools.
When I was growing up — I’m Jewish, but I was not in a very Jewish area. There were some Jews there but, I was kind of — grew up with a resentment because I felt that people were trying to convert me to Christianity —

O’Reilly’s response:

You have a predominantly Christian nation. You have a federal holiday based on the philosopher Jesus. And you don’t wanna hear about it? Come on, [caller] — if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then.

And there you have it. Christian fascist dominated America: Love it or leave it. But don’t dare exercise your rights to stop it.
[Update] O’Reilly: Geroge Soros is the Grinch.

45 thoughts on “War on Christmas? Blame The Jooooos!

  1. thanks for trying to bring a little seriousness to this issue.
    for myself, i’ve had trouble just trying not to laugh my damn head off whenever i hear o’reilly or whoever talking about this “war on christmas” stuff. i mean, it just seems so blatantly moronic and trumped-up and false and nonexistent that it’s fun to watch them talk about it.
    then again, that was the exact feeling i had when bush and his little cronies were talking about how saddam hussein was an immediate threat to the united states.

  2. Thank you for this long report about that “War on Christmas”.
    I think in the same way of Sam, these guys are just too ridiculous, and they do not see that this “discussion” about the “War on Christmas” is totally useless. Come on, it is just fucking business ! They are too paranoiac and see an offence to Christians where there not.

  3. Okay, I agree that the concept of a ‘War on Christmas’ is ridiculous at best. I also think that, irrespective of whether or not you agree with O’Reilly, the use of invective or name calling absolutely cheapens and degrades whatever argument you are trying to make. O’Reilly calling anyone a ‘Nazi’ is unacceptable, whetever the reason.
    But hey, Mobius, so is calling someone a ‘Rightard’. Firstly, this may be insulting to retarded folks who don’t wish to be associated with conservative or right wing folks. Secondly, you were making your argument just fine without having to use this term.
    You are at your best when you’re making a passioned and lucid argument without having to stoop to name calling. That’s a tactic I expect from someone who hasn’t a very good point to make.

  4. This is totally parenthetical, but I’m a little bit annoyed. Between the “other Rightards” here, the “friggin tools” there, etc., I really think it’s time to remove the “Jewish Bloggers for Responsible Speech Online” button. Responsible speech does not involve attacking someone’s character or making fun of their name. Nor does it involve justifying doing any of those things, which past practice would indicate you are about to do. Rather, it involves engaging with opinions, not personalities, and doing so in a respectful manner — whoever is making them.
    Enough with the Hafetz Hayyim button. In this context it is downright offensive. (Sorry, just read the Matityahu post above. Obviously, I agree with the second paragraph of it.)

  5. I agree with 90% of what you say except for linking the aipac scandal to hatred of liberal jews, since one aipac aren’t jewish liberals(many may not even be Jewish at all) and by and large they are the ones joining groups like Jews against antichristian demfamation and supporting the idea of the antichristmas conspiracy.

  6. Dan, thanks for writing this. This situation is illustrative of what I was trying to describe in the thread about the conservative evangelicals’ support of Israel. Despite their purported “love” for the Jewish people, ultimately, we’re little more to most of them than a political and theological expedient – and they’re very quick to disengage when we don’t, collectively, behave as they want us to. If I were to disagree at all, it would only be in that I’m not sure that so many of us ARE getting “all amped up” as a result of their tactics any more. Conservatism seems to be growing by leaps and bounds within our ranks, even (perhaps especially) among the young. I wish that more of us WERE trying to prevent, as you say, “the legalization of Christian ideology”.

  7. While I agree that the rancor of this brand of the Social-Right is hideous, I guess I have a slightly different perspective as I grew up in an area that was only 2% Jewish.
    I accept the fact that this is, to an overwhelming degree, a Christian country, and my only concern is that I should be able to opt out of any Christian based experience. This does not mean, for me, that everything has to be the parved down “Happy Holidays.” That’s asking a bit much, from where I come from.
    My biggest concern here — and I guess I am talking specifically to Mobius and Dameocrat– is that we spend a lot of time battling things like xmas and stuff like that, while ignoring the more ominous aspects of the Fiscal-Right, such as the horrible Bankruptcy Law that decided that a Feudal system based law was too lenient, or energy programs that never, ever, seems to include mass transit programs on a Federally mandated level. Cause that might mean less cars.
    My biggest concern is that Liberals fall into this trap as well, focusing on fighting the social issues, and going along with the Fiscal horrors.
    I personally have bigger fish to fry than worrying about xmas trees, or letting the likes of O’Reilly determine what the battle of the day will be.
    Social issues are more emotional and compelling, but it is the fiscal ones that are currently destroying lives. I know more people in much more trouble because of debt and asthma and lack of health care than I do suffering for having seen a Santa in the public space or being told Merry Xmas. Sure the latter thing is a little annoying, but it’s really the social cost of being a small minority.
    The interests of the Right will always shift the focus to social issues to avoid discussion of fiscal ones.
    Don’t get suckered. You are playing their game their way.
    I would like to see a Left that focuses primarily on the critical wonkish policy stuff I just mentioned, but is more agnostic about race, gender, and other social issues, and leaves that stuff to all the others who want to let Fox News dictate the parameters of the debate.
    The Times reported that credit card companies are bombarding prospective clients who are filing for bankruptcy before the new bankruptcy law takes affect, as they will have no recourse this time, and will pay much higher interest rates and more frequent late fees.
    Bet you won’t hear about that from O’Reilly on Fox News. It’s a bit harder to wrap yourself in the flag over that one, and they are big advertisers, aren’t they?

  8. David, I am not trying to make people say “Happy Holidays” nor am I trying to ban Christmas trees. My mother has the biggest Chistmas tree on earth, and puts one up in my house when I am too lazy to do so, generally in the lates decorator colors, and I go to Christmas mass every year. The point is the war in Christmas is a made up. It is Phony. It isn’t happening. I agree the right is trying to shift the coversation with the culture war, but it isn’t my fault, the damn media go along with it.

  9. at a friend’s place so only have a moment to briefly say:
    i was not saying that every person with right-wing views is a “rightard” … i was speaking specifically about people like bill o’reilly and michelle malkin who consistently make absolutely preposterous statements, inventing fake scenarios such as this to negatively portray liberals. that’s not every right-winger.
    and bill o’reilly is a tool. and i’m going to take advantage of jewish ethnocentrism to say that the laws of lashon harah don’t apply to goyim. now if you want to say, “yes they do” then i’m going to hold you to that standard any time you talk about palestinians not being entitled to torah protections for ger toshavim.

  10. yep, its the same in australia – a few christian spokespeople claiming there’s some war against christimas being waged by ‘multi-culturalist PC extremists’. in general, ethnic communities never push for this as we’re too conscious of being slight ‘outsiders’ to dare rock the boat. it’s liberal whites / christians pushing this. good point made by DK. i would love to see a strong left that argues on the ‘fiscal issues’; pushing for cheap housing, interest free bank loans, public transport etc. these ‘social issues’ can indeed serve as an easy point to argue around, rather than the more meaty concerns that actually affect people. happy winterval / holidays / channukah / festivus to you all.

  11. John Donvan, ABC News, Washington: Conservative Christians like William Donohue, obviously, would like to see more of that. In fact, today I asked him, “What if we elect a Jewish president? He or she should send out cards every year that say ‘Merry Christmas’?” “Absolutely,” was his answer.

  12. Why is anti-Abortion activism viewed as a strictly “Christian” cause? Just because many Jews are pro-Abortion does not nullify the fact that Judaism itself is against abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger.
    Truth hurts.

  13. forcing a woman to bear the child of a rapist is unethical; and christian fundies would also require the woman to bear the child even if her life were in danger

  14. Yonatan–I don’t know about you, but I have never met anyone who considered themselves “pro-abortion”, be they Jew or gentile. There is a reason that people call themselves “pro-choice”: the issue is keeping the government from making that extremely personal decision for us.
    I thought that Judaism permitted abortion if the health of the mother was endangered. I’m no halachic scholar but that has always been my understanding. Regardless, I wouldn’t want to live under any theocracy.
    DK–I absolutely agree with your analysis. Although I think Mobius’ post on the war against Christmas was great, I do think that progressives–Jews and gentiles alike–should emphasize economic issues. I think that this “War against Christianity” has been timed to turn people’s attention away from the war in Iraq and the Right’s economic agenda.

  15. Yonatan,
    Even in Fundamentalist Jewish circles, never mind Modern Orthodox ones, there is disagreement over what the law should exactly be regarding abortion, and therefore it is frequently deemphasized as a priority. It is for this reason that the pro-Life camp is not considered a “Jewish” issue.

  16. but mobius, don’t you think palestinians are entitled to be included in the ger category? i’m pretty sure you do. i do too. so, given that this is our position, shouldn’t we refrain from this “tool” and “rightard” stuff? it really does serve no purpose other than letting you express how angry you are, and you do that just as easily by saying “this makes me very angry.” lashon hara issurim are largely about habits, right? you try to get out the habit of calling people names, because while in one instance you might say you are restricting the name-calling to one group of right-wingers and not all, in another instance you might call someone else a name because you have allowed it to become a habit.

  17. Confused,
    It is so hard today to find politicians on the Left who emphasize fiscal issues that the Bankruptcy Law finally passed. Even Hillary, who actually wrote in her auto-biography how proud she was to get Bill to veto it while president, felt safe enough to vote for it this time.
    Because she realized that few cared if she capitulates to the credit card companies.

  18. Everyone,
    The right’s whole thing is to keep using the fear factor. As long as they can keep rallying people to their point of view by using “9-11” “Terrorism” and “Christmas”, they keep the debate in their terms, keep people terrified that somehow they might lose X (x=safety, christmas, freedom), and don’t have to answer for their other shenanigans (props, DK, tho I have to say, i don’t think anyone on the Left would consider “Hillary” a liberal).
    While I agree that the economic stuff and of course, the war in iraq are extremely important, we do still have to keep an eye on this, and much respect for Mobius putting the pieces together.

  19. Mobius writes in an essay about how some Christians are pointing fingers at Jews:
    “No Jews are trying to put an end to Christmas, nor prevent Christians from expressing themselves religiously. What they are trying to prevent is the legislation of Christian ideology — abortion bans, infringing on queer rights, prayer in school, teaching Creationism, using public funds for “faith-based initiatives” and so forth.”
    “They” would be referring to a small percentage of Jews, in my experience, and not Jews in general. By making the claim you make here, essentially you speak of Jews as a group or unified body that acts en masse with some sort of agenda. We know that is completely untrue and yet it is the claim many of these commentators you list imply in their comments. For the most part, my experience has been that while some Jewish groups are active in promoting continued separation of church and state, most Jews are just fine with Christmas being prevalent around them. They just figure out how to politely engage in the part of the holiday they deem appropriate, and disengage from that which they reject.
    The other element of this is that while there are certainly many liberal Jewish activists involved in some of the battles listed in your post, I think it is also true that many Jews are not made of the same ideological stuff and either reject or do not support many of the ideals these liberal Jews find to be very important. It is also important to note that many of these groups may have Jewish members and high ranking Jewish officials, but they are typically not Jewish organizations. They are secular organizations with a majority non-Jewish base of supporters.

  20. TM,
    While you are correct that most Jews are not involved in these battles, a disporpotionate number of the leaders are Jewish, and hence, it is perceived to be a liberal Jewish movement to some extent. A higher percentage of Jews I know have “issues” with say, Christmas and Christian theology in the public space than do Christians, even nominal ones.
    The ADL has joined the fray, which is the most well known Jewish domestically focused political organization.
    Additionally, most of the defenders are not Jewish, but in fact, religious and political Christians.
    So it does seem to line up like that to some degree.

  21. mobius – I’m sure not ALL Xtian fundies are that extreme in their beliefs. And those that are, are wrong. But in general, the Halachic guidelines are more sound and humane than Roe v. Wade.
    Given the number of times I’ve seen abortion “rights” mentioned as a Jewish issue, it simply troubles me that there are so many Jews at the forefront of the fight for this supposed “right.”
    For a real eye-opener as to how and abortion was cynically marketed as “choice,” Google “The Silent Scream.”It was made by the same former Jew (apostate Dr. Bernard Nathanson) who initially helped push abortion-on-demand.
    Yes, it’s nasty. Guess what—abortion is nasty. And, in the vast majority of cases, clearly contrary to Jewish law.

  22. You’ll need to look around to find Nathanson’s memoirs, but they are worth a look, wherever you stand on abortion.
    The Southpark Christmas Special from last year (recently shown here in Israel) also, inadvertently, sheds some light on the issue as well.

  23. Mobius:
    ‘and bill o’reilly is a tool. and i’m going to take advantage of jewish ethnocentrism to say that the laws of lashon harah don’t apply to goyim. now if you want to say, “yes they do” then i’m going to hold you to that standard any time you talk about palestinians not being entitled to torah protections for ger toshavim.’
    You’re welcome to your opinion regarding Bill O’Reilly as well as any descriptor you choose. I happen to think that calling people ‘Nazis’ or ‘Rightards’ is just about equivalent in the annals of pathetic debating techniques.
    However, please note that I did not reference the laws of Lashon Harah as I anticipated your response that ‘this doesn’t apply to goyim’ and instead appealed to your better nature as an individual. Now, if your position is going to be one of invoking ‘jewish ethnocentrism to say that the laws of lashon harah don’t apply to goyim’ it would be intellectually dishonest to apply this solely to the goyim that you don’t like. You may wish to have a wee chat with John Brown and inform him that, per your invocation above, it is not applicable to use the Chief Rabbi’s discourse on Ki Tetse as any kind of an argument when discussing Israeli policies which he would like to equate to ‘sippenhaft’.
    It pays to be consistent, so if you want to call folks ‘Rightards’, be prepared for them to view your leftist and Liberal ideologies as Nazi like.

  24. Mobius:
    Yep, couldn’t agree more! We should seek other outlets, though, as you are above namecalling. Perhaps a lifesize cutout of O’Reilly’s head to be placed on a dartboard in your home? I’d be happy to supply certified darts from the good aul UK!

  25. DK: “While you are correct that most Jews are not involved in these battles, a disporpotionate number of the leaders are Jewish, and hence, it is perceived to be a liberal Jewish movement to some extent.”
    This is the bread and butter of political antisemitism. In other words, when a Jew engages an issue, it has a wierd way of becoming a Jewish issue; and Jewish issues have an even wierder way of becoming insular and nefarious (yet, somehow, Christmas is all-American).
    And it truly is high comedy to see conservative PC comments regarding “rightards,” etc., since conservatives are supposed to be so firmly anti-PC.

  26. Zionista:
    It’s not a conservative PC comment to point out that this website is supposed to be a lashon hara free zone and yet we still seem to be reverting to namecalling (e.g. ‘Rightard’) to enhance a point. To call someone a ‘Rightard’ or ‘tool’ adds nothing to the argument.

  27. “You have a predominantly Christian nation. You have a federal holiday based on the philosopher Jesus. And you don’t wanna hear about it? Come on, [caller] — if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then.”
    There is actually a point in what he says, I mean, Israel was meant to be the home for Jews, where there is no such thing as people who try to convert you and that national holidays are Jewish.
    I don’t see any flaming bit as far as I am concerned, he in fact, hinted the caller what many Jewish people would politely advise him.
    However, the United States should be a religion-safe (no ethical rules which had been derived exclusively from Christianity) country, not just because the minorities want it to be so, but because of the instability that it brings,
    that doesn’t mean that public institutes should be bent to an atheistic ideology where faith and beliefs aren’t expressed, despite the differences, Judaism and Christianity have a lot in common, and the common morals of both religions should be expressed publically.
    For instance, take the known American motto “In God we trust”, I do not forsee a disagreement in the motto from Jews, Christians and Muslims, it really just says ‘we trust our creator’.
    At any rate, there are many more serious concernes that should be dealt with first before we take a glance at those minor problems.

  28. Actually, the United States has a secular winter holiday named Christmas. The secular celebration of this holiday involves tinsel and eggnog and Christmas trees and Santa Claus.
    The religious celebration of Christmas may also be celebrated in the United States, and may involve religious symbols like Jesus and Creche scenes. People who observe this religious day are known as Christians.
    Those like Bill O’Reilly who want more religious observance of Christmas should move to a Christian country. The United States just happens to have a majority of Christians within its borders.

  29. Excellent article – but I think the discussion on this point has seriously digressed…
    I didn’t see the original article as “name-calling” or painting all Christians or even right-wingers as “Rightards” but only a select few who I agree deserve to be called to task for their behavior. I think we all need to remember that “ignoring racists” is a prescription for disaster.
    The tactic of a Privleged group painting themselves as a victim while attacking is an old one. I’ll avoid the N word here but it is appropriate but certainly not limited. I do think that we are being naive to not see under-currents of anti-semitism in this…
    As far as Avihoo’s comments as a Jewish-American I find it very insulting. I respect a Jew from Israel (or any Jew from any country) expressing the opinion that I or any other American Jew should move to Israel. But coming from any gentile it is pure and simple ethnic cleansing. I have as much right to be in America as anyone. Both of my parents were born here. My father was a Viet Nam vet.
    The right-wing theocrats that Mobius was decrying are historic revionists. The founding fathers of this country predominently (if not unanimously) had very strong feelings about the seperation of church-and-state. We must be vigilant against them – especially since they currently control the federal govermment.

  30. Matityahu: “To call someone a ‘Rightard’ or ‘tool’ adds nothing to the argument.”
    No. But it doesn’t take much away anymore either. I suppose it could do some damage to the civility of political discourse, if such civility ever really existed in the first place. But I and other liberals and Democratic voters have been called “moonbat,” “Democrap,” “PC thug,” “loony leftist,” and so on, so much and for so long now that it has taken root in the culture. Maybe you’ve missed it. Tune in to the stations on the AM band and check it out sometime. Especially the stations owned and operated by Clear Channel and other companies that have an interest in the privatization of the public sphere.

  31. Dan: I did not mean to insult you or anything, it’s just that I believe that Israel is a considerable option for Jews, regardless of the fact that you do or do not like your country, you have to understand that no matter where you live and no matter how well you are at your state, Israel shall always be the altrenative, both to allow the mistreated, opressed Jews a better life and to make sure that the other Jews are well wherever they are.
    [Hence: http://www.specwarnet.com/misc
    Please note that I do respect the United States, and I would never urge someone from the United States to move to Israel, (Dan) you indeed have the right to be in America, and I am sure that you are well in your country.

  32. “no, i think you’re right matityahu…it’s just so relieving to exhaust one’s rage.”
    Well don’t say things like that online then, when hundreds of Christians can read it, I can only see 50 sh. freaking out right now and all his friends leaving responses.
    Because I am often the only approachable Jewish friend many of my relgious christian friends have. Most of them live on the other side of Crown Heights or Bushwick.”They ask me questions to the affect of I why do Jews think they are better then everyone else, do you think G-d really has favorites, it’s hard for me to believe in a G-d that has favorites.” Why are my neighbors so unfriendly and such and such. And honestly i don’t know how to answer them all the time. With you comments, posted online the question is going to be much more difficult for me. Thank G-d they don’t read Jewschool.
    I tell them mostly, that a Jews responsibility is to bring light into the world, and unfortuntly we fail and fall short.

  33. DK–What you refer to as “the Left” would be considered barely liberal by standards of political discourse of, say, thirty or forty years ago. The Democratic Party, at least on the national scene, has all but given up championing the rights of ordinary people. I believe that they are getting their money from the same people as the Republicans. The Democratic Party is not too stupid to champion ordinary people–THEY DON’T WANT TO.
    The Democratic Party wants progressive support and on many important personal freedom issues–pro-choice, gay rights, religious freedom, etc.–there is a marked difference. But this party is only too happy to let the economic powers that be maintain power. It’s hard to believe that the party of the New Deal and the Great Society has become so indifferent to people’s needs.
    Like Lewis Black says: The Republicans are the party of bad ideas and the Democrats are the party of no ideas.

  34. Zionista:
    I can’t really comment on or refute your analysis regarding AM radio, or whether the lack of respect and civility in public discourse has taken root and that I might have ‘missed it’, given that US AM radio stations aren’t available here in the UK. What I can say is that I am still not convinced by your argument. The old ‘yeah, but they do it as well’ defence just isn’t valid in my opinion. If this lack of respect and civility is so pervasive in American culture and, as you seem to believe, has been brought about largely by the Right…then expose, rail, and publicly decry that. I’ll happily stand with you.
    But speaking from a UK perspective, I tend to view any argument with a healthy dose of cynicism when authors feel the need to use derogatory references like ‘tool’ and ‘Rightard’. I’m not really interested after I read things like that. Don’t make me (or others) sift through diatribe and namecalling to find the pertinent and relevant arguments when it is clear to me that you do have very valid points to make.
    It’s worth it, in my estimation, to show the world that not only do you think O’Reilly is wrong but that his arguments must resort to namecalling.

  35. Excellent article – but I think the discussion on this point has seriously digressed…
    I didn’t see the original article as “name-calling” or painting all Christians or even right-wingers as “Rightards” but only a select few who I agree deserve to be called to task for their behavior. I think we all need to remember that “ignoring racists” is a prescription for disaster.

    it’s called navel-gazing. get the opposition hung up on one irrelevant point and you can distract attention from the greater issue.

  36. In an effort to clarify my position, I don’t believe that I categorised my views as being in opposition to the points that were raised. I merely pointed out that using terms such as ‘Rightard’ is counterproductive.
    Apologies if anyone thought differently.

  37. Matityahu: “It’s worth it, in my estimation, to show the world that not only do you think O’Reilly is wrong but that his arguments must resort to namecalling.”
    Do you mean because the world has consistently proven so responsive to sober analytical debate? Because my experience has shown me that cultural perceptions have a greater effect on persuasive dynamics. Nevertheless, I agree with you to the extent that the support of solid reasoning enhances the effectiveness of cultural persuasion.

  38. Fantastic post, but, not to be a Puritan, I think that Matityahu’s right to the extent that it would have been better without the “Rightard” thing. I’ll agree that in a namecalling contest, O’Reilly et al. are unbeatable. If anyone’s responsible for lowering the discourse, it’s them.
    Still, I can’t get past my PC-bred distaste for using “retard” as an insult, — and even though sober analytical debates have a small audience — using terms like that only reinforces the right-wing’s caricature of liberals as condescending.
    Calling him a tool, however, is both helpful and funny. I can’t comment on its lashon harah permissibility, but the icon looks fine to me.

  39. and bill o’reilly is a tool. and i’m going to take advantage of jewish ethnocentrism to say that the laws of lashon harah don’t apply to goyim. now if you want to say, “yes they do” then i’m going to hold you to that standard any time you talk about palestinians not being entitled to torah protections for ger toshavim.
    finally, someone who gets it. yes, that std applies everywhere. no excceptions.
    Do you mean because the world has consistently proven so responsive to sober analytical debate?
    not because it’s effective but because it’s right. thats all we can do. is do the right thing. there’s this bearded guy right below the window where i’m writing this, egging me on.
    Calling him a tool, however, is both helpful and funny. I can’t comment on its lashon harah permissibility, but the icon looks fine to me.
    i think it’s either or in this case. it’s fine for people to say, fuck lashon harah, so-and-so really is an asshole, and screw the people i disagreee with, and the rest of it. it’s not so fine for people to misrepresent that as all responsible-speech like and un-lashon-harah-ish; it ain’t.

  40. heyheyhey…. as much as I agree with you about responsible speech being right, if not effective, I think there is a place for mocking despicable people. For example, when mobius made that other Bill O’Reilly joke about the felafel (loofah) fantasy, he took the hot air out of pundit’s moralizing. It’s good to shove it in his face, and wake up his fans who regard him as a guardian of ethical virtue. What will happen to satire if we aren’t allowed to mock wrongheaded demogogues?

  41. George Soros is a grinch. Not much of a “Jew,” though.
    He throws millions at Indymedia which spreads anti-Jewish filth worldwide, yet can’t seem to find anything in Israel worth investing in.
    With “Jews” like him, we don’t need goyim.
    Sorry if I am violating the Lashon Hara guidelines here, but considering how much Lashon Hara Soros himself bankrolls…

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