The disease of anti-Semitism has infected all aspects of modern life and the field Journalism is not immune. But there are times when it is difficult to distinguish between the virus of Judeophobia and sheer ignorance. There is a fine line between the two. One is guided by malevolence whereas the other is guided by the inability to process logic. The latest manifestation of this dichotomy was vividly displayed by MSNBC host and hard-core leftist, Christopher Hayes, on Twitter.
Last week, self-described journalist and BDS sympathizer, Collier Meyerson, complained on Twitter of being asked to move her seat on an Air France flight after a Hasidic man in traditional Hasidic garb griped about being seated next to a woman. She also posted a rather unflattering picture of the man that made me cringe. It was the sort of image that Goebbels would have used to disparage the entire Jewish race.
I happen to agree with Ms. Meyerson in this regard. When you purchase a plane ticket, there’s a good chance – at least 50 percent -- you’ll be seated near a woman. If that bothers you, too bad. We are living in the 21st century so deal with it or purchase two seats. Better yet, don’t fly. Meyerson had an absolute right to feel indignant though I don’t understand the necessity of taking a picture of the offender and posting it on social media, but that’s an entirely different article.
That was my take on this unfortunate and rather minor affair but Christopher Hayes saw things from an entirely different perspective, a perspective that at first glance, appeared to be that of a visceral anti-Semite. In response to Meyerson’s tweet, Hayes commented “perfect time to start a good, frank BDS convo.” After coming under a barrage of criticism, Hayes deleted the tweet, though fortunately, a screenshot was taken before deletion.
Hayes soon offered an explanation for the offensive tweet; “this was me giving my friend a hard time for *her* views on BDS. I understand why the joke doesn't scan without that context.” Later he added, “Yeah, I deleted the tweet because without that context I understand people finding it odd and or offensive.”
Irrespective of his explanation, Hayes’ comment is wrong on so many levels it’s difficult to know where to begin. In addition, his attempt at humor was lost on Meyerson who responded with, “Hey man I don't discriminate against Hasidic folk, they could be satmar, a sect who are actually anti-zionist!”
That is an accurate assessment but only an ignoramus or an anti-Semite would conflate the wrong committed by a Hasidic Jew, who is possibly anti-Zionist, with the State of Israel. In the hate-filled, conspiracy world of Judeophobes, the wrong committed by a Jewish person –any Jewish person -- no matter his personal beliefs or background, is linked to Israel. That pernicious and mendacious tactic is as old as anti-Semitism itself.
On a political level, BDS is almost universally recognized as a malevolent, anti-Semitic movement that seeks the destruction of the State of Israel. For Hayes to suggest, even for a joke, that this type of hate speech should be encouraged is beyond the pale. Of course, the United States is a free country where anyone can espouse such odious views but that does not negate the perniciousness of those views.
But is Hayes an anti-Semite or was his tweet the reflection of a thoughtless attempt at humor? His record on Israel is poor (hat tip to Aussie Dave from Israellycool for compiling the data). During operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, Hayes paid lip service to Israel’s right to defend itself but then criticized Israeli military actions, asserting that its effect on Gaza outweighed any moral high ground the IDF had over Hamas. That is a ridiculous argument. The United States pulverized the Nazis during World War II and inflicted far more devastation on Germany than Germany could ever hope to inflict on the United States. Does that mean that the allies lost the moral high ground? Rubbish!
Hayes has also defended BDS in the past. In a 2013 tweet, he expressed support for BDS to operate at Brooklyn College and also claimed that BDS merely seeks a, “1 state w equal citizenship for all.” That makes for a good sound bite but in effect, spells the destruction of Israel for it would flood the Jewish state with millions of hostile Muslim refugees, and as we know, Jews in Muslim countries have not fared very well.
Hayes did condemn Muslim violence against Jews in France but that stance does not reconcile well with his apparent defense of BDS.
So the question boils down to this; Is Hayes an anti-Semite who let his guard down in a slip of the Twitter, or is he simply an ignorant fool who made an awful attempt at humor? I honestly do not know. What I do know is that Hayes’ employers at MSNBC and The Nation are radical leftist propaganda platforms that subscribe to wild conspiracy theories. The doctrine of anti-Semitism is steeped in conspiracy with often heard claims of Jewish control over the “Zionist occupied government” (ZOG), Jewish control over Hollywood, the banking industry and every industry of import. Repulsive comments made by the notorious Helen Thomas in 2010 about “Zionist” control over “Congress, the White House, Hollywood and Wall Street” are reflective of the radical leftist mindset.
Hayes’ employers will probably ignore his transgression because they likely agree with it. At best, they’ll release a statement respecting his right to free speech.
It is time that we recognize that the Left has a Jewish problem and an Israel problem; that anti-Semitism has permeated the very core of the so-called “progressive” movement. That movement is actually regressive because it is pushing the clock backward to a time when it was acceptable to deny advancement opportunities to Jews because they were Jews. It is a regressive movement because it supports the fascist enemies of democracy who would not hesitate for a second to murder every Jew (and Christian) in Israel if afforded the opportunity. The blood-curdling statements made by Arab leaders and political cartoons published in Arab newspapers just prior to the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948 and 1967 speak for themselves.
So don’t expect the conspiracy-prone cowards at MSNBC and The Nation to do anything or take any disciplinary action against Hayes. After all, he deleted the tweet, offered an explanation and only tweeted about the Jews and Israel, so who cares, right?