What do Tony Blankley, George Soros, and Mahathir Mohammed have in common?
They all excel at saying unbelievably stupid things. Let’s start with Mohammed and Blankley — both of them blame Soros for the Asian Financial Crisis. About Mahathir’s anti-Semitism, click here and here. Blankley’s statement is the new one. He said the following on the June 3rd Hannity & Colmes: BLANKLEY: This a man who blamed ...
They all excel at saying unbelievably stupid things. Let's start with Mohammed and Blankley -- both of them blame Soros for the Asian Financial Crisis. About Mahathir's anti-Semitism, click here and here. Blankley's statement is the new one. He said the following on the June 3rd Hannity & Colmes:
They all excel at saying unbelievably stupid things. Let’s start with Mohammed and Blankley — both of them blame Soros for the Asian Financial Crisis. About Mahathir’s anti-Semitism, click here and here. Blankley’s statement is the new one. He said the following on the June 3rd Hannity & Colmes:
BLANKLEY: This a man who blamed the Jews for anti-Semitism, getting Abe Fluxman (ph) — excuse me — head of the Anti-Defamation League to call it an obscene statement. This is a man who, when he was plundering the world’s currencies in England in ’92, he caused a Southeastern Asian financial crises in ’97. RICHARD ABORN: Please, come on. Wait a second. You’re so far beyond the facts. Hold on. BLANKLEY: He said that he has no moral responsibility for the consequences of his financial actions. He is a self-admitted atheist. He was a Jew who figured out a way to survive the holocaust. (emphasis added)
Mark Kleiman says this demonstrates “how much of the [Republican] campaign [against Soros] was based on simple anti-Semitism.” Indeed, Vincent Morris of the New York Post reports that in a Republican National Comittee memo e-mailed to congressional staffers, “Republican lawmakers are encouraged to use ‘floor speeches’ and other opportunities to blast Soros, who has given millions of dollars to various groups to help defeat President Bush.” (link via the Poor Man). OK, let’s try to referee this: 1) Blankley is clearly an ass. As a Jew, I find that last bolded sentence repugnant. So I’ll just nod my head at what Eugene Volokh said:
[W]hen a person just trots out someone’s Jewishness (or whiteness or blackness) in a context where it seems to make very little sense (the first Blankley reference to his Jewishness does make sense, but the second does not), it does at least suggest that the person is more focused than he should be on who’s a Jew and less on the merits on the debate — and it certainly hints at broader hostility to Jews.
2) Kleiman’s larger assertion rests on extremely shaky foundations — it would be like blaming the entire Democratic party for anything idiotic Michael Moore said about the Bush administration. Furthermore, as Stephen Bainbridge points out, there’s some evidence to support Blankley’s claim that Soros accused the Jews of fomenting anti-Semitism. I have very mixed feelings on Soros. The man is and was a first-rate philanthropist. That, said, having read The Bubble of American Diplomacy, I’ve concluded that Soros is a political loon of the first order. It is ridiculously easy to attack George Soros without ever discussing his religion. 3) Finally, while Blankely was, to repeat, clearly way out of bounds, the Republican decision to go on the offensive against Soros is perfectly legit. He’s dedicated large sums of money to attacking the Bush administration. According to the Post story, “Soros has said in interviews that he has concluded that ousting Bush is the most important thing he can do with his life.” The trigger for the Hannity & Colmes discussion was Soros’ statement comparing the Abu Ghraib prison scandal to the 9/11 attacks. In Bubble of American Diplomacy, Soros admits that he’s become “quite rabid” in his political views. He’s entered the political arena — which means he’s opened himself to political attacks.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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