Can you spot the difference?

The Dish’s Quote of the Day, emphasis mine:

“The story here is the dangerous devaluation of a real and ugly phenomenon i.e. anti-Semitism. Equally distressing, is the fact that Foxman, one of the nation’s leaders in the fight against anti-Semitism, also leads the process of its devaluation as either a meaningful term or a genuine challenge.

There is no question that Jew-hatred persists in this country along with other racial, ethnic and gender-based hatreds, and that both Foxman and the ADL have played important and even heroic roles in combating them. But with Jew-hatred on the decline in this country, and even more importantly, becoming almost exclusively the domain of the least educated and empowered segments of society; it often appears that Foxman is nothing more than a hammer in search of more nails,” – Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.

Compare this to Andrew’s quoting of a reader email as a part of his “chorus of support”:

I find it ironic that Abe Foxman, who spends his life defaming others, leads an organization named the Anti-Defamation League.

That’s a pretty offensive way to trivialize antisemitism, since it’s without question that Foxman certainly has identified some genuine cases of it and that his work against antisemitism has at least sometimes been important.

I guess things can cease to be offensive if they are offered in the defense of The Dish. (I wonder if it would have given Andrew pause to find out that email came from one of the obsessive anti-Zionist commenters at HuffPost …)

Anyway, here’s a section of Rabbi Hirschfeld’s article that Andrew evidently thought less worthy of our attention for discussion:

Apparently, Abe Foxman called Andrew Sullivan an anti-Semite in his remarks to the Jewish Council on Public Affairs’ national meeting. I say “apparently” because neither I nor anyone else can confirm the veracity of the twitter feed from the meeting which carried the quote. Of course, nobody will deny its accuracy either. That’s bad.

Andrew Sullivan is many things, and some of his recent analysis of the Middle East conflict has been woefully inadequate. Lately, he finds it easier to substitute easy moral equivalence for the more complex reality in which there is blame enough to go around, without claiming that all bad acts are equally bad. But be that as it may, bad analysis does not an anti-Semite make, especially since the latter is a claim about a person’s beliefs, and inner beliefs can not be measured by a few comments; no matter how objectionable Mr. Foxman or anybody else finds them.

But a tiff between Foxman and Sullivan is not the real story here. In truth, Sullivan seems to love these dust ups – they are simply grist for his ever-churning word mill. If anything he should send Foxman a thank-you note. And the fact that Foxman labels Sullivan a Jew-hater, is hardly surprising. It’s simply one more case of the old adage that when all you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.

[UPDATE, 2/26: What if all you have is a demonic force you call “neoconservativism” what does the whole world look like then? … A kraut-hammer?]

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