• Anti-Semitism Reconsidered

    October 30, 2023

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    National Review, founded by Bill Buckley in 1955, has been a stumbling block to neo-progressive Democrats for nearly seven decades. The mission of the magazine, Buckley announced at its founding, was to “stand athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.”

    Jack Fowler, now running for City Clerk in Milford, Connecticut, has been associated with the magazine for more than three decades and served for a time as its publisher.

    Fowler, along with Buckley and other non-far-right conservatives at National Review, cannot reasonably be accused of either anti-Semitism or unflinching support of former President Donald Trump.

    Before he threw his hat in the presidential ring, Buckley characterized Trump as a “vulgarian,” and National Review took some kicks in the stomach for having devoted a whole issue of the magazine to a political polemic titled “Never Trump.”

    In 1992, Buckley published what some consider the best view of modern anti-Semitism, In Search of Anti-Semitism.

    John O’Sullivan, then publisher of National Review, characterized the book this way: “It is not a history of anti-Semitism, nor a social-psychological definition of anti-Semitism, not a survey of anti-Semitism in the world today.” The book is rather “an examination of how anti-Semitism is treated when it appears, or is alleged to appear, in the limited but influential milieu in which he [Buckley] happens to live: opinion magazines, op-ed pages, syndicated columns, television talk shows [emphasis mine].”

    The book may be considered especially relevant considering the current pro-Hamas protests, some of them patently anti-Semitic, among leftist outposts in ivy-league fever swamps, opinion magazines, op-ed pages, syndicated columns and television talk shows.

    “The election for Milford city clerk,” a Hartford paper reports, “is traditionally a low-key, overlooked local contest for a job that includes approving items like marriage and dog licenses. But the campaign this year has exploded into charges and countercharges as Democrats are blasting Republican Jack Fowler for a series of controversial posts on a variety of subjects dating back to 2012.”

    Opposition researchers likely associated with Connecticut’s mud-throwing Democrat Party have unearthed “a series of controversial tweets by Fowler that date back more than a decade and involve sharply criticizing another Milford Republican and making references to Jews.”

    The tweet in question “written by Fowler, which came to light recently when retweeted to nearly 44,000 followers by Connecticut Democrats, states “Jewrack Jewbama. Jew Biden. Nancy Jewlosi. Hebrewllary Clinton. Yeah, you’re right now that I think about it.”

    Fowler, the paper observes, “admits writing the posts but says they were either sarcastic, done in jest or responding to news events of the day that cannot be understood properly without knowing the original tweets that caused the response… Fowler says he was responding to another post, which has since been deleted, that had criticized National Review, which is a staunch defender of Israel. In addition, Fowler released a series of pro-Israel tweets that he wrote, along with three articles that he authored for the magazine on anti-Semitism.”

    Defending himself from a charge of anti-Semitism, Fowler answered, “There is no question where I stand thoroughly, very publicly, repeatedly, voluminously over the years [on Israel]. To be accused to being anti-Semitic is reprehensible, especially by people who know it’s not true. … People who know me in Milford know this is B.S. This is the age we live in. It’s not to win an election. It’s to destroy the reputation of somebody.”

    Given the prevailing circumstances in the hot war between Israel and Hamas, every rhetorician on planet earth would acknowledge that, if you are defending yourself against an unwarranted charge of anti-Semitism, you are losing the argument. Quite like a poisonous false charge of racism, the mere making of the charge itself is certain proof of culpability.

    Fowler’s statement, even if made in jest, said Democrat Party leader Nancy DiNardo is “inappropriate.” But it is seemingly appropriate to tat political opponents with anti-Semitism. Such ideological tattoos do not easily wear away, even if they are demonstrably false.

    DiNardo, applying her pitch-brush more broadly, continued “I think it points to how bad the Republican Party is getting. They’re going to be extremists at every single level. It’s just not what the Connecticut voters stand for… He was the publisher of an ultraconservative, far-right magazine. Of all the candidates that the Republicans could have picked in Milford, and they picked him? That’s shocking to me. He’s not a good candidate to be running for this position.”

    The easily shocked DiNardo very likely has never leafed through the non-far-right, non-ultraconservative National Review. She certainly has never read Buckley’s In Search of Anti-Semitism.

    We have here reached a point –of no return? – in which ideologically polluted charges need not be proven before they are unjustly launched against political foes simply to win elections.

    When Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass rebukes Humpty Dumpty for having used the same word to mean opposite things, Humpty Dumpty replies imperiously that the word he is using means exactly what he “chooses it to mean, neither more nor less. The only question is – who rules.”

    In Connecticut, Democrats rule.

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    Don Pesci

    Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.

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