"Anti-Semitism Scarcely Exists In The West"

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on June 10, 2009

I remember when Chomsky made this statement back when the Blogosphere was young, and when the likes of Brian Leiter (yes, that is a sneer associated with the name) sought to defend it using bluff and bluster. Of course, plenty has occurred in the interim to prove Chomsky’s assertion to be nothing short of laughable, but if ever there remained doubt as to the presence of anti-Semitism, today’s horrifying events ought to dispose of those doubts once and for all:

An elderly gunman known to authorities as a white supremacist fatally shot a private security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in downtown Washington today before being wounded by guards who returned fire, officials said.

The security guard, who was identified by police as 39-year-old Stephen Tyrone Johns of Temple Hills, Md., and the gunman were both taken to George Washington University Hospital.

Johns died at the hospital, authorities said later, and the gunman was reported to be in critical condition. A third person sustained minor injuries in the incident, according to police.

Museum officials said in a statement that Johns had worked at the museum for six years. The museum said it would be closed tomorrow, and lower its flags to half-staff, to honor Johns’s memory. “There are no words to express our grief,” the statement said.

A law enforcement source identified the gunman as James W. von Brunn, 88. On an anti-Semitic Web site he apparently maintains extolling a “Holy Western Empire,” von Brunn says he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, worked for 20 years as an advertising executive and film producer in New York and then became “an artist and author” living in Maryland.

A woman who opened the door at von Brunn’s apartment, in a neighborhood outside downtown Annapolis, declined to comment.

Neighbors, who asked that they not be identified, said that they recently invited von Brunn to their home for a drink and that he unexpectedly brought up his belief that the Holocaust did not occur.

“He didn’t believe the Holocaust existed. It was just off the wall,” one of the neighbors said.

So much, then, for the Chomskyite assertion. Be sure to read the rest, so that it can be confirmed–for those who actually need confirmation–that anti-black prejudice exists as well. Meanwhile, Josh Marshall tries to stay classy–and fails. We all know what is going on with Marshall’s little game, but of course, it is obvious to anyone who has been paying attention that screaming “BIRTHER!!!!” is not even remotely honest as efforts to smear the center-right and the mainstream conservative movement go. I am sure that Marshall would like nothing better than to imply that the vast majority of conservatives are capable of the kind of violence that was visited upon the Holocaust Museum, but if there remains any semblance of intellectual integrity, that dog will not and should not hunt. It should be added that other dogs will not and should not hunt either.

UPDATE: Yeah. Real rightie, this one. Some lunatics simply do not fit in easily in any category try as people like Josh Marshall might in working to fit them in for the purpose of scoring partisan points. Relatedly, am I the only one disturbed that the deaths of innocents at the Holocaust Museum are being used in so tawdry a fashion?

ANOTHER UPDATE: I see that Mark Kleiman hasn’t gotten the memo either. Quelle surprise. Note the part where he says that he thinks Democrats should “shamelessly exploit this tragedy.” I would think that shameless exploitation should at least take place when we don’t have a killer who denounced George W. Bush, and the “neocons,” thus cementing his status as a loon, and not as any kind of “right-winger,” but obviously, Kleiman has a different agenda. (Note: Kleiman usually demands that people let him know when they have linked to him. I would have offered the courtesy, but I see that he likes to criticize people without even linking to them, thus preventing his readers from determining whether the criticism has merit by actually reading the post being criticized. Since Kleiman won’t offer a basic Blogospheric courtesy, I see no reason to comply with his demands. At least I am linking him.)

  • Brian_Leiter

    Are you really blind to the irony of complaining that Mark Kleiman failed to do you the “courtesy” of linking when your own essay began with an insult that did not include a link. Here's the link you discourteously omitted: http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2003/12/c

    Readers can see that there is no 'bluff and bluster,' just a rational analysis of the statement in question. Anti-semitism still scarcely exists in the West. If you really believe that a hate crime by a fringe lunatic is counter-evidence, then I fear you are as dumb now as you were when you first crossed my radar screen six years ago.

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    Brian! How charming to find you again. And how charming to see you haven't changed a bit.

    Pour vous, mon ami:

    http://newledger.com/2009/06/brian-leiter-still

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    Brian! How charming to find you again. And how charming to see you haven't changed a bit.

    Pour vous, mon ami:

    http://newledger.com/2009/06/brian-leiter-still

  • Brian_Leiter

    Are you really blind to the irony of complaining that Mark Kleiman failed to do you the “courtesy” of linking when your own essay began with an insult that did not include a link. Here's the link you discourteously omitted: http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2003/12/c

    Readers can see that there is no 'bluff and bluster,' just a rational analysis of the statement in question. Anti-semitism still scarcely exists in the West. If you really believe that a hate crime by a fringe lunatic is counter-evidence, then I fear you are as dumb now as you were when you first crossed my radar screen six years ago.

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    Brian! How charming to find you again. And how charming to see you haven't changed a bit.

    Pour vous, mon ami:

    http://newledger.com/2009/06/brian-leiter-still

    I should add that you failed to read my post properly. I didn't complain that Kleiman failed to link me. His post was in reply to a post by Leon Wolf, whom Kleiman didn't link. Please try harder to read carefully the next time.

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