Monday, August 16, 2010

Taki and the Acceptable Lies

Back in 2001, I think it was, Conrad Black publicly reprimanded Taki Theodoracopulos for being an antisemitic bigot. At the time Black was the publisher of the Spectator, and Taki wrote a column. Black has had an unfortunate decade since then, which is not relevant to the topic of this post, British antisemitism. Anyway, Black explained the case quite well, here.

Taki, it seems, wasn't listening, and has remained a repulsive fellow - see this article about him from 2003 (thanks, Geoffrey). On most days of the week I'd say that anyone with a record like his need not be taken seriously. Except that he continues to write in The Spectator. Over the past few days a number of readers have drawn my attention to a column he published there this week (my link is to the version on his personal website). Forget the odious author: the newspaper is a respectable media outlet.
Mind you, I’d take Ford anytime before Gaza. At Ford you can have medical help, water and a good night’s sleep. Not in Gaza. B’Tselem is an Israeli human rights organization which courageously points out the outrages perpetrated daily by (mostly) American zealot settlers against local Palestinians. The latter live wretched lives as water and other basic human needs are denied them by the settlers. Hebron is a verdant place where the settlers have decided to drive out the Palestinians through hardship. The settlers have water piped in while the Palestinians collect rainwater. The settlers plant trees and gardens, the Palestinians don’t have enough water to drink while they tend their sheep and camels. Meanwhile the settlements continue to grow.

And it gets worse. An even larger share of the Israeli army’s officer corps now comes from the Orthodox or settler group. These are people who see the Palestinians as subhuman, however unpleasant the word may sound to a Jew. Avigdor Liberman, the foreign minister, is a prime example. A Russian thug with blood on his hands he would like to see the last Palestinian driven across the Jordan River, and the 43 year occupation become permanent.

The old fashioned antisemites of yore used to start from the accurate fact that there were a few Jewish bankers and claim the banks were all controlled by Jews; the presence of Jews among the Soviet leadership to prove Bolshevism was a Jewish invention; the Jews who owned the NYT to convince that Jews controlled all the media. Antisemites always find some kernel of truth somewhere upon which to construct their edifice of lies and deceit. So also Taki: indeed, Avigdor Lieberman really is Russian, sort of. And there is an Israeli organization called B'Tselem.


Bryan said...

Is it funny that the moment I saw B'Tselem, I knew he was going to call them "courageous?" I don't really think they're courageous, because you're only courageous if what you're doing has risks. B'Tselem is not in any danger of being persecuted by the Israeli government; they can rant and wail and the State of Israel will indulge them, because that is their right. Human rights groups in Hamastan or Turkey--places where the opposition gets defenestrated or gassed--are much more courageous.

This is not a moral judgment on B'Tselem as a whole (although I mostly find them repellent), but the description of Western NGOs operating in Western countries as "courageous."

Also, note his snide comment implying that settlers and Orthodox Jews are not Jews at all. Irony or total lack of self-awareness?

Anonymous said...

What do you have to do, to hate your own country like these guys from B'Tselem? Strange, isn't it?

Regards, André

Avigdor said...

Lieberman is Moldovan, unless he were actually in Moldova, in which case the Moldovans would call him a zhid and tell him to go back home, somewhere.

NormanF said...

Victor, a Moldovan is an ethnic Romanian. Most of them are and they still have no desire to be enfolded within Romania.

Barry Meislin said...

A Russian thug with blood on his hands he would like to see the last Palestinian driven across the Jordan River, and the 43 year occupation become permanent.

Actually he's said again and again that he's in favor of a two-state solution (but why quibble)?

Aaron said...

Taki recently wrote a couple paragraphs published here at Alternative Right. It was in a little symposium, "Is the Alt Right Anti-Semitic?". Here's a quote from Taki: "So why shouldn't we be anti-Jewish, especially now, with 1.2 million dead following the Iraq disaster that was hatched up by people like Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams, and cheer-led by the men I just mentioned."

Taki's an anti-Semite, but I think his anti-Semitism is harmless so I don't see much reason to get upset. Not every little instance of anti-Semitism is a step on some road to a new Auschwitz.

Barry Meislin said...


Harmless for whom?

England is unravelling because of it. (So can we blame the Jews for that too?)

Philo-Semite said...

"the Iraq disaster that was hatched up by people like Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams"

Maureen Dowd said much the same thing on the editorial page of the New York Times.

It's been a standard anti-Semitic technique for centuries:

1. Find a problem.
2. Rummage about until you find a token Jew in the woodpile.
3. Blame it on the Jews.

penk said...

To be fair, some of the staff have been physically assaulted.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Barry, given he is explicitly NOT in favour of moving any Arabs a mm rather just drawing the border round them so the can live in the multi-ethnic, secular democratic future Palestine rather than the Apartheid hellhole that is Israel - wouldn't that make him a humanitarian?

And how exactly is B'teselem courageous?


Bryan said...

I did some quick research and you're right. They have been attacked a couple times. So I suppose they're sort of courageous? They're still facing much less danger from settlers than from Hamas or the PA.

I still view all organizations with any sort of anti-nationalist slant with a great deal of disdain, though. I was raised in a very patriotic household: anyone who goes out of one's state for the express purpose of hanging that state's dirty laundry out for the entire world to see reeks of treachery to me. (Especially when they laundry is more "lived in" than "dirty.")