Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tailgunner Vic

In the wake of attacks on Brzezinski for his defense of Walt and Mearshimer (more here), Victor Davis Hanson joins in the fun with a loathsome and dishonest column on 'anti-Semitism'.

The rhetorical trick in this one is to start with a few contemporary examples of genuine anti-Semitism (with names given), then shift seamlessly to critics of Israeli policy, and from there to liberals in general. I won't quote it at length, but a couple of excerpts illustrate the sleaziness of the thing. For example:

Here at home, "neoconservative" has become synonymous with a supposed Jewish cabal of Washington insiders who hijacked U.S. policy to take us to war for Israel's interest.
In other words, opposition to neoconservative dreams of empire can be ascribed not to the insanity of those dreams but to the dreamers' being Jewish. Hanson efficiently mixes outright falsehood with just enough truth and half-truth to give the smear some credibility. Obviously, 'neoconservative' is not "synonymous with a supposed Jewish cabal" except to those who seek to discredit criticism of neoconservate policies; at the same time, the neoconservatives have certainly hijacked U.S. policy, they do put a high priority on the interests of the Israeli state, and many prominent neoconservatives are Jewish--just enough truth to make the lie plausible.

This bit is similarly vile:
This new face of anti-Semitism is so insidious because it is so well disguised, advanced by self-proclaimed diplomats and academics -- and now embraced by the supposedly sophisticated left on university campuses.
Remember how Hanson named names when he was talking about the genuine anti-Semites? He doesn't here. In fact, those first three names are the only ones in the whole column. Who are these anti-Semitic "diplomats and academics"? Who is this "sophisticated left"1 that has embraced anti-Semitism? No one and everyone; that's the point. No one is named, and everyone is suspect (every liberal, that is).

We've seen this kind of thing before. Challenge Hanson on it, ask him who exactly he's talking about, and he'll probably say he has a list.

1The Left does review foreign films, so could probably be called 'sophisticated', but it is unclear whether he is the Sophisticated Left of whom Hanson speaks.