Thursday, December 24, 2009

WND's Newest Pet Jew

I don't know whether Jackie Mason was unavailable or Dennis Prager was too busy patting himself on the back, but apparently WND felt the need to get themselves another Jew to talk about how America is uber-great, we are totally a Christian nation, and would someone please go burn plant a giant Christmas tree on their lawn, please. Enter Mr. Barry Farber.

Barry first came across my radar back in October, when he announced, to no one in particular, that America may have been declining, but that it was still super-duper awesome:

Who, from professor to peasant, is able to name another country that ever amassed more power and abused it less than America? Or, amassed more wealth and distributed it more fairly? What other country was ever attacked, then rallied and destroyed the aggressors and, instead of the traditional rape and plunder, rewarded its attackers with rehabilitation and democracy? And what country ever won a war and wound up with less territory than when the war began? After spending much blood and treasure ejecting the Japanese from the Philippines, America gave the Philippines independence.
Wow, listening to Barry, you'd never know about America's dismal conduct in Latin America or, yes, Asia. (Funny how we gave the Philippines independence after WWII but kicked Spain out almost 40 years earlier-- what took so long, Barry?)

Without America, no democracy would have been possible anywhere. Surely that claim will make some want to gag, but, please, when you get your breath back, give us your scenario as to how democracy might have survived without America; bearing in mind the behavior of another empire that recently declined – namely, the Communist.

Got that? America is responsible for democracy even existing in the 21st century. You all owe us, big time.

Barry concluded this brilliant piece by telling the world they were so culturally bankrupt that if we disappeared they would pine even for our trashiest celebrities.

The following warning is offered respectfully to the world: You will miss us. Who will forge and give backbone to your NATOs to restrain aggressors? Who will lead the fight against the 12th-century passions of jihad? Mark my words – you will even miss our Britney Spears and our Paris Hilton. You don't have a history, you don't have a tradition, you don't have a hope, you don't have a clue of how to make acceptable conditions prevail over so much of the earth's surface without America.
So there, suckers.

With such a dramatic beginning, you can see how I wasn't expecting much from ol' Barry. But I misjudged him, because Barry soon decided that he really wasn't going to be able to out-America-is-awesome Dennis Prager, so he was going to need a new shtick: WND's friendliest Jew.

Wait, friendlier and more of a suck-up than even Monsieur Dennis? You be the judge:

In this business, there are phrase-makers and word-choosers. And most of us flit back and forth and do a little of each. A few paragraphs down from here a sentence will appear that sounds like a phrase made by a Jewish politician courting American Christian voters. It is nothing of the kind. Every word is carefully chosen. You don't have to be Jewish to write this, but it does help take the edge off.

Off to a great start...

Are you surprised Hitler's allies protected the Jews? Almost all of them did! Jews who managed to get into the Italian zone of occupation were protected. Unfortunately, the Italians only occupied the French Riviera and the western part of what was then Yugoslavia. The Japanese, believe it or not, had a pre-war plan to bring 1 million German Jews to safety in Japan. The outbreak of war limited the rescue to 50,000. They lived unmolested in Japan all through the war. Franco's Spain used its pro-German neutrality to save tens of thousands of Jewish lives.

Um, Barry, you're full of crap. While individual citizens of allied states may have protected Jews, many governments actively supported the Nazis' genocide. Vichy France was a German ally. It showed its loyalty by deporting Jews by the millions to certain death. Hungary, Croatia, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Belarus all formed their own Waffen SS units to support the Nazis and serve as concentration camp guards. While Italy did protect Jews in some areas (particularly lands it had conquered) from being gassed, it also passed its own version of the Nuremburg Laws stripping them of rights and citizenship, deported some of its own Jewish citizens to death camps and even constructed a concentration camp, Risera di San Sabba, which killed an estimated 3,000 people, many of them Jews. To your credit, Japan did save a lot of Jews, as did Spain (though, as you said, it was neutral, not an ally, so I'm not sure how this proves your thesis).

Now, we're almost down to the line that sounds like Jewish sucking-up to Christians. You're free to call it that – but I dare you to deny its validity.

Oh goody gumdrops, can't wait.

We Jews have had many enemies and many friends. But the best friend the Jew has ever had in 5,000 years of history is the American Christian. Here, now, is "the line": If it weren't for the American Christian, there would be no state of Israel and no Jew alive, except those who successfully masqueraded as something else.

Based ON WHAT?

What gives me the right to say that? America was the "swing vote" that won World War II. When America entered the war, Britain and the Soviet Union were two elephants dangling over a cliff with their tails tied to the same daisy. America's un-bomb-able industrial complex, the Arsenal of Democracy, supplied and energized the effort of our embattled allies. America's entry against Germany and Japan turned tired blood into sparkling burgundy.

The American military was 97 percent non-Jewish, because the American population was 97 percent non-Jewish. If all those Christian American men had not gone uncomplainingly to fight Hitler, the Jews of Kansas City and everyplace else would have suffered the fate of the Jews of Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, Zagreb; you get it.

Let's backtrack. Barry is essentially saying the following:

A- If America hadn't entered the war that the Nazis would have won.
B- America's population is overwhelmingly Christian.
C- Therefore, without American Christians, no Jews would exist.

The problem with this is that the central premise is flawed. Barry, unsurprisingly, credits America with "turning the tide." To a large degree, this is uncontested by historians. However that doesn't mean that without America the Allies would have necessarily lost. Furthermore, the fact that America is mostly Christian does not mean that Christianity or Christian identity were the primary motivators driving Americans-- or anyone else, for that matter-- to fight in WWII. Correlation is not causation. You might as well say, "Without American men, no Jews would exist," or, "without American rifles or planes (or boats!), no Jews would exist." (That would have the bonus of actually make slightly more sense.)

Barry is selecting a totally random factoid from history and extrapolating it so far it loses any meaning or context. It's also particularly bone-headed given that before (and after) World War Two, you still had plenty of Christian idiots trying to discriminate against Jews, in part based on their religious beliefs (Jews couldn't be citizens in many of the original 13 colonies, for instance). American Christianity's views on Jews have been a double-edged sword. On balance, Christians in America have treated us fairly well-- but that doesn't mean that everything's been a bed of roses, or that we specifically have Christianity to thank for improving Christian-Jewish relations.

Occasionally, a Jewish member of my audience will challenge me and say, "Wait a minute. Those American soldiers didn't go to war to save the Jews." I didn't say they did. However, in fighting for America, American Christians made possible the state of Israel and Jewish survival!

... Like every other member of the Allied coalition?
Merry Christmas!
You're a moron.

Last but still stupid, Barry's newest cup o'dreck.

It's been half a century since Jewish organizations started trying to ban Christmas carols in classrooms and nativity displays of model shepherds and oriental kings on the courthouse lawn. And I still get the same urge I got then to tell them to throw away their wet blanket and let Christmas be.

Oh good, an opinion, how refreshingly original.

Short version of boring anecdote: Barry grew up as the only Jewish kid in a small town in North Carolina. He was regularly tasked with singing the Latin solo in Ave Maria. He thinks this was totally awesome.

It didn't hurt a bit. Not one of us forfeited a smidgen of our own faith. We Jewish kids in all the other schools in town met and caucused weekly at Hebrew school, and none of us felt alienated or diminished by the exercise joining our Christian friends and neighbors at the happiest moment of their religious year.

Mazel Tov, Barry, you felt included instead of included. I'm happy for you. But the central argument is that celebrating the holiday should be a private matter for people to do in a more appropriate context, like home or church, not pushing it into the public square. Whether you personally get bothered or not is beyond the point.

There's no record of any Jewish child in our community switching creeds due to Hanukkah-shame.

Also irrelevant. Two for two!

The ones trying to protect Jewish children from Christmas use words like "isolation" and "humiliation" to describe the condition of the Jewish child "subjected" to celebrating Christians. As my immigrant grandparents would have phrased it as they were learning English, "On me, they shouldn't depend."

Wow, Yiddish grandparent humor. How fresh. Here, let me try: Your argument's so facockta it makes my kop plotz.

Christmas to a Jewish boy in public school in North Carolina back then was fragrant, dreamy, enticing, beautiful and enviable in the pleasant sense. There was no feeling of anything being forced down our throats, but rather of something exceedingly pleasant being offered to our lips, nostrils and hearts. We didn't feel like tolerated onlookers. We felt like honored guests at a spiritual Super Bowl of our friends and neighbors.

And it's great that your experience in Nowheresville was so pleasant, Barry, but it's like having a black guy say that he didn't mind attending a segregated school. Schools should not be endorsing a religious point of view. Neither should the government. Culture is something else-- but if we're talking culture, we need to include other cultures as well besides just the majority. And no matter how fuzzy Barry may feel about his North Carolina Christmases, the people I see on Fox and over at Stand for Christmas don't seem like they want to invite Jews or others to be "honored guests" at an inclusive holiday for all. They seem like angry cultural autocrats that want things to be their way or the highway.

Forgive me if that doesn't make me feel all that honored.

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