The First-Ever Anti-Semitic Kol Nidre

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 20 2011 3:27 PM

The First-Ever Anti-Semitic Kol Nidre

LAS VEGAS -- The RNC and NRCC have settled on a tried-and-true revanchist attack on Occupy Wall Street. It's copied from the playbook that Democrats used so very effectively to prevent the Tea Party from ever winning anything.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

1) Find video or photos of some activists making some sort of ethnic attacks. (In the Tea Party fight, this played out as isolated racist signs.)

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2) Get a group with some credibility to condemn the attacks -- and more importantly, demand that the activists condemn them. (See: The NAACP.)

3) Force a discussion: Is this movement racist? (See: Oh, any episode of a cable news show.)

The fight this time: Anti-semitism! On Tuesday and Wednesday, the RNC and NRCC tried their damndest to argue that Occupiers are inhabiting anti-Semites. The crown jewel of the effort is one of those videos that makes liberal use of shaky video and pounding music.

 

This follows on the anti-Occupiers nabbing some particularly slow and lumbering prey: They got the ADL to demand that "organizers, participants and supporters" condemn anti-Semitism. (Press release later that day: "ADL Says Susan Sarandon Should Apologize For Referring To Pope Benedict XVI As 'A Nazi'.")

There is a problem: The movement isn't anti-Semitic. It started in New York. Its ideological hero is Naomi Klein. This is a movement studded with liberal Jews! Here's one video that's gotten less play than the one of the irate anti-Semitic dipshit with the "Nazi bankers" sign: The Kol Nidre in New York, at the Occupy camp.

Is it just totally nuts to worry about anti-Semitism here? Well, no. This is a protest against the banking industry. The chairman of the Fed is Jewish. The president of Goldman Sachs is Jewish. The Secretary of the Treasury is Jewish.* If "anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools," there's a hell of a risk that people could get foolish about this.

But... err... they're not getting foolish about it. Like the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street is acting more as a safety valve preventing a slide into extremism than a transmitter enabling a slide into extremism. It takes a while for negative narratives about movements to show up in polls, but right now, the solid popularity of Occupy Wall Street suggests that voters understand this.

*My mistake! Geithner, like me, has a European name that sounds but isn't Jewish. Which proves my point!**

**No, it doesn't.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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