Tag Archives: Media

Can you spot manufactured outrage over “anti-Semitism”?

Crown Heights riot, 1991

Crown Heights riot, 1991

In a previous post, Pariahdog explained the historical context and meaning of the anti-Semitic joke told by John Whitbeck to warm up a Republican crowd in September, and Whitbeck’s dismissive response to the outrage it generated. The joke itself embodied the historically lethal ideas of deicide, replacement theology and the “greedy Jew” stereotype: “And by anti-Semitic, I mean really anti-Semitic. It’s about Jews presenting the pope with the bill for the Last Supper, so it packs two of the most toxic anti-Jewish stereotypes into a single punchline: God-killers! Cheapskates!” In their ignorance, or perhaps their cultural hostility, Whitbeck and his supporters have tried to claim that the offense taken to both his joke and his non-apology was manufactured and politically motivated.

Now, the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn has given us a contrasting incident involving accusations of anti-Semitism.

In the Crown Heights incident, the offense was caused by New York Councilman-elect Laurie Cumbo when she made a statement about a recent cluster of “knockout game” attacks allegedly perpetrated by African American youth against Jews. In her initial statement, Cumbo suggested that resentment over “Jewish success” was a factor in the attacks, explaining that in conversations with constituents during her campaign “many African American/Caribbean residents expressed a genuine concern that as the Jewish community continues to grow, they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes.” The Anti-Defamation League responded:

“…we are troubled by the incoming councilwoman’s sentiments, particularly her comment about resentment over Jewish economic success, which evokes classic anti-Semitic stereotypes.”

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Of Power Towers and Trees

Two of Loudoun’s more loquacious activists and commentators have entered into a bit of a debate at Leesburg Today. Leesburg’s own Ann Robinson wrote a thoughtful letter about power lines, trees, development and piorities, framed in the context of a long drive she recently took.

Looking out my balcony windows this morning, I see a steely high voltage tower where just over a year ago, huge evergreens graced the view, shielding my community from both noise and pollution. The air is dirtier, the atmosphere filled with the sight and sound of nonstop traffic, with the very ugly reality of high tension wires cutting a scar across the town. Was this degradation absolutely necessary to bring electric power to those who need it? No. The wires could have been run underground-but someone convinced the powers that be that the cost would be too high.

Too high for whom? I would have paid more for electricity in order to maintain the pollution shield of large old-growth trees. Their contribution to the health and well-being of my family and me is immeasurable. Who knows how our lives are now shortened by the combination of dirty air, tension and high voltage electrical wires constantly overhead. Surely, if we the consumers could have paid a little more and the electric company’s investors accepted a little less in ROI, then we could have saved our quality of life. – Ann Robinson

I, for one, happen to agree with Ann on this one, and have been a proponent of full undergrounding of major power lines for a few years now. Ann’s letter illustrates the unrecouped cost of decisions to act, or not act, made by our elected leaders years ago. Dominion earns billions in profit, even while sometimes failing to do their essential job. I think we can and should insist that companies like Dominion repay us, the public, for the unfunded costs to our land and community that they impose as part of their business. It doesn’t matter whether those costs are lost old-growth trees, or more traffic, or the need for more schools. If your business decisions directly incur a cost on the public, you should be responsible for offsetting that cost in some manner. We should get our fair share, and you should pay your fair share. That is my choice, and my priority.
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