It's a sign of how deeply entrenched now is the idea that 'the Jews' are the real power behind the media, behind US foreign policy and behind almost everything else that a supposed liberal, and a clearly intelligent man, can come up with this sort of thing and not cause the slightest controversy:
When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told - religious Jews anyway - than atheists and [yet they] more or less monopolise American foreign policy as far as many people can see.
So Dawkins, a liberal hero, believes, er, that Jews control world power. And, judging from the Guardian, it is now a part of mainstream debate to say so.
Chris Dillow manages some elegant reflections on social proof.
All I can manage is Oh My God.
The really worrying Dawkins message
Monday, 8th October 2007
Far more worrying than Richard Dawkins' words are the comments left on Daniel Finkelstein's post which are overwhelmingly in defence of Dawkins, along the lines of 'he's right - the Jewish lobby is overwheening', 'don't call critics of Israel antisemites' and 'you're being oversensitive, like so many Jews'.
[BTW, I've yet to see an example of anyone remotely serious calling a critic of Israeli policy an antisemite for arguing against Israeli policy. I know of no one well disposed to Israel who would dream of confusing the two. Just look at the Israeli media if you want to see full-on criticism of the Israeli government. But what's striking is that, all too often, those who are indeed genuinely anti-semitic - who oppose the existence of Jews, not just of Israel - hide behind that distinction.]
Why are such comments as those on the Times' site more worrying than Dawkins ignorant bigotry? Because I'd venture to suggest that readers of the Times' blog are pretty normal people and if that's the consensus view of such people, Jews in Britain really do have cause to worry.
Here's Melanie Phillips' take:
In vain does one point out that the power of the Jewish lobby in America pales beside that of Saudi Arabia; that the most powerful lobby on behalf of Israel is composed of the Christian evangelicals; that the main reason the US supports Israel now is because it views it as a vital strategic ally in the region; that the vast majority of American Jews are Democrats who loathe President Bush and have always been opposed to the war in Iraq; that Israel told the US from the start that Iraq was the wrong target and it should be attacking Iran instead; and so on and on.
It’s no use whatever, of course. Waste of breath. Because what you are arguing against is sheer irrational bigotry. You argue with them because you just can’t believe that apparently rational human beings can be impervious to reason. But they are. That’s why they’ve swallowed this poisonous crud in the first place. And history tells us that ostensibly intelligent, cultured, educated and civilised people can and do believe demonstrable lies about the Jews. You know that. You’ve read about the Nazis venerating Goethe and listening to Mozart, of course. But when you meet the modern equivalents, you just can’t believe it.
We’d all better start believing it. This evil has returned. And it has to be fought by being exposed, named and shamed.
Stand by for the about-to-be-launched European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.
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