Posts Tagged ‘R.J. Eskow’

Trump and the Rise in Real Anti-Semitism in America

October 25, 2016

After all the false accusations of anti-Semitism brought by the Israel lobby against the country’s critics and opponents comes the real thing. In this video from The Young Turks, the presenters R.J. Eskow and John Iadarola discuss a new report from the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organisation set up to combat anti-Semitism, on the surge of genuinely anti-Semitic comments posted online. In the year from July 2015 to July this year, 2016, a total of 2.5 million Tweets were posted. These Tweets were viewed 10 billion times. Eskow and Iadarola put this into perspective by pointing out that it’s the same amount of coverage which would be produced by a £20 million advertising campaign at the Superbowl. These included 20,000 hate messages sent to 50,000 journalists. 70 per cent of these messages come from a mere 1600 accounts, however.

Most of these Tweets and messages came from people who identified themselves as Conservatives, White Nationalists and supporters of Donald Trump. The messages’ contents are horrific and disgusting. They included photoshopped pictures showing the journalists in the gas chambers or among the piles of corpses at Auschwitz, and the journos have suffered explicit threats to put them in the ovens. One journalist, Hadas Gold, who was born in Israel, received a message which showed her with a bullet wound in her head and a yellow Star of David on her shirt, as worn by the Jewish victims of the Nazis. Accompanying the picture was the message, ‘Don’t mess with our boy Trump, or you’ll be the first in the camps.’

Eskow and Iadarola make the point that this comes after hate speech against Muslims, Hispanics and Blacks rose thanks to Trump’s campaign. They make the point that, while the Israel lobby accused Israel’s critics of anti-Semitism, especially of its colonisation of the West Bank, the real anti-Semitism was always on the Right. Eskow also describes how he received massive amounts of hate mail from Hillary supporters when he was supporting Bernie Sanders’ campaign. This is interesting, as Shrillary has made a very explicit appeal for support to AIPAC, one of the main political lobbying groups for Israel in the US, and has stated that she wants even greater American support for the country. The Israel lobby also succeeded in getting Sanders’ Jewish Outreach Officer sacked for alleged anti-Semitism, despite the fact that she was Jewish and a very active member of her community. This was because she dared to criticise Israel’s maltreatment of the Palestinians.

The two discuss how this racism comes from intellectual laziness. Instead of trying to grapple with the real, complex issues, the racist Right prefers simple solutions, such as blaming the country’s plight on racial minorities. This becomes a problem when it becomes the driving force behind politics. They also state that it’s very much a product of the Alt-Right. At the moment, this loose collection of extreme Right-wingers is torn by intense controversy about their racism. On the one hand there are those, who would like to hide or tone-down their anti-Semitism, while on the other is a more extreme faction, which sees the main issue as always having been about the Jews, and accuse their opponents of trying to weaken the movement.

The two criticise Trump for not trying to restrain his supporters’ expressions of hate. Eskow states that when he wrote a piece attacking the bankers, he received many messages stating that they should all be ‘strung up.’ Eskow responded by telling the people sending them to tone down their language. The bankers shouldn’t be killed. What was needed was not their deaths, but proper legislation. Trump, on the others hand, has never told his followers to ‘dial it down’, and indeed has stoked up their anger and aggression by encouraging them to attack his enemies and protesters at his rallies, even to the point of telling them that he’ll pay their legal bills.

The two debate whether this upsurge in anti-Semitism is a product of the internet and recent events, or has been there all along. John Iadarola speculates that it may well have been there all the time, given the long history of lynching in America. It’s just while in the past a racist may have said the ‘N’ word to his neighbour, and it didn’t get much farther than that, now with the emergence of the internet such messages can spread far and wide and reach a much larger number of people.

This clearly is a very worrying trend, especially as the content goes far beyond mere derogatory names and racial slurs to death threats and menaces invoking the Holocaust. I concur with the two hosts in that it does appear that the rise in anti-Semitism has been inspired by the Trump campaign’s legitimation of hatred against other religious and racial groups. There is some comfort, however, in that 70% of this vile stuff comes from only 1,600 people. It shows that anti-Semitism at this point is mainly the province of a small group of hardline fanatics. If you consider how large the American population is – well over 300 million – then it’s very clear that those 1,600 bigots are a trivial minority. Which I realise doesn’t make receiving those messages any more pleasant, or the individuals sending them less of a danger. Most of the terrorist offences committed in America are by Nazi and White Supremacist groups, not by Muslims. And while Muslims and Blacks now seem to be the main targets, they certainly have no compunctions whatsoever about killing Jews.

There’s a warning here for Britain. This country has also seen a rise in hate speech and crimes against ethnic minorities following the success of the Brexit campaigns, which some racists and bigots feel legitimates their own expressions of hatred. There hasn’t been a rise in anti-Semitism, but this may yet arise following its resurgence in America.

The piece is also important because it shows very clearly how, contra to what the Israel lobby and the Blairites in the Labour party are trying to tell everyone, the real anti-Semites aren’t on the Left with the critics of Israel, but on the Right, amongst the genuine racists the Israel lobby chooses to ignore in favour of screaming down and smearing genuinely decent people, anti-racists, both gentile and Jewish, who object to Israel, not because it is Jewish, but because it is a racist Western settler state.

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The Young Turks on Fox News Attacking Obama’s Plan for Free Community College Tuition

February 24, 2016

This is another example of a policy by the Democrats that should be taken up over here. And of the right-wing rage that would accompany it if it ever was. The clip comes from a year ago (2015) and shows Steve Doocy and the rest of Fox and Friends getting very annoyed with Obama. That in itself is no surprise. What is interesting is the reason this time round. Obama had the sheer audacity to state that he was going to make federal funds available to pay for two years’ tuition at community colleges. The federal authorities would pay for three-quarters’ of the tuition fees for those two years, and the individual state would be required to pay the rest. This would mean, according to one of the pundits on the TYT panel, that Americans would save on $15,000 tuition fees each year for those two years.

Doocy on Fox and Friends can’t stand it. He states that he’s only just finished paying off his college fees, and doesn’t see why anyone else should get the chance of a free higher education. The Fox panel also shout that if you’ve just got a baby now, you’re not just going to pay for their education, but someone else’s as well. Students shouldn’t have the right to a free education, because nothing is free.

The Turks’ panel of John Iadarola, Dave Rubin, Jimmy Dore and R.J. Eskow give that attitude very short-shrift. They point out that the estimated $60 billion it’s supposedly going to cost is actually the total amount the American state spends on education. They also point out that investing in education is the way Finland actually boosted its economy by educating its people. They also make the point that the money is better spent on education, which will also ultimately benefit everyone in the areas the students in which the students are studying, than just simply giving it to millionaires in the form of tax cuts.

As for the line that present-day students shouldn’t have it, because it didn’t exist way back when, Iadarola states that this is a profoundly un-American attitude. He states that when American introduced Social Security, nobody argued against it’s introduction because, hey, their aunt had to scrimp and save and go without, so why should others have it easy. Or they came to America as indentured servants or slaves, so why should indentured servitude or slavery be ended. People generally want things to be better for the next generation than they are now, not the same or worse. And in the case of education, they certainly don’t agree that something that important, where primary and secondary education are free, should also be made more expensive to stop people taking it up.

As for Steve Doocy, they point out that he’s 58 years old, and attended one of the better American universities. He’d therefore still have to pay his tuition fees if this came in, because he did not go to Community College. Their producer also makes the point that Doocy was at College in the 1970s, so there’s no way he has only just paid off his student debt. And they also argue that the average student debt is so large, $20-30,000, that the only way students can afford to pay it off is for the luck 0.1% to become Fox News presenters.

I’ve reblogged this because British students are now in the same position since Bliar’s government introduced tuition fees, and the Lib-Dem-Tory Coalition hiked them up massively. In the case of Bliar, he was a member of the British-American Project, a Reaganite initiative for schooling the next generation of British politicians. He and the other leaders of New Labour were impressed with Reaganite American attitudes and policies. In the case of Cameron and Clegg, they’re Thatcherite toffs, who resent the working classes getting above themselves and having opportunities which they feel should rightly belong solely to the well-heeled. And it is a Thatcherite policy. I can remember it being discussed when the Iron Lady was doing her best to destroy everything decent in British political culture. Mind you, there were certain figures in the Labour party even then, who supported it, like David Cox, the Labour MP for Hartcliffe in Bristol.

It’s slightly ironic that as British politics has moved to the right with New Labour, so parts of the Democrats have moved to the Left. This particular policy is rather more left-wing, for example, than the current policy in Britain.

I’ve also reblogged this because I’ve also heard the refrain directed against certain policies over this side of the Atlantic, that people shouldn’t have particular benefits, ’cause ‘we never had it in our day.’ And the reply should be the same: it’s not an argument, as people should want to make things better, as The Young Turks have said about education above.