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How serious is The Atlantic about antisemitism?

Atlantic boss James Bennet tweets:

Just called Goldberg a girl. Now I need to call Abe Foxman and apologize.

I may be missing some context here.  If, however, this is just an off-hand joke by Bennet, it doesn’t inspire confidence in his ability to weigh the seriousness of his magazine’s giving antisemites encouragement against the increased web hits he’ll get from curious Jews and socially conscious gentiles.

Jeffrey Goldberg looks like he’s step&fetchiting around Bennet’s dumb remark — it’s slightly embarrassing:

I think he meant “grrrrl.” Bennet has also referred to me as “Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS,” which I kind of like, though officially, I am offended, offended, offended! You know, one day, the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman is going to retire, and then who will be ready to accept apologies from national figures who use the word “Nazi” inappropriately? It’s a vitally important role to play, unless of course people stop apologizing to the ADL for calling other people Nazis and actually just start apologizing to the people they’ve actually called Nazis for calling them Nazis. In any case, I want to put my name forward as the future recipient of all Nazi-related apologies. I will be dispensing absolution for these sins for free, though Yankees tickets would of course be welcome.

His blog has made a long-standing joke out of pseudo-ass-kissing his employer, but I always wondered whether the jokes were ironic in the same way as Facebook photo albums of some party scene where your acquaintances strike poses of scenesters. In other words, not so ironic underneath.

Foxman has become a target of people who believe that many accusations of antisemitism are trivial and paranoid. Andrew Sullivan even enjoyed insulting Foxman before his pre-conflate-Israel-with-neocons-and-slam-write-propogandistically-against-it-whenever-possible-in-irrational-fear-of-irrational-Muslims.

I have a different approach: When Foxman has gone too far in my eyes, I simply recognize that Foxman has gone too far in my eyes. So far, the target of his criticism can effectively argue against Foxman’s view and his reputation doesn’t suffer. For example, I don’t think Kathie Lee Gifford’s odd on-air comments about her producer’s ethnicity caused her to lose her show, after Foxman oddly weighed in on them.

It’s obvious that Foxman and his organization want to err on the side of more-wary-than-necessary, rather than letting potential antisemitism off the hook.

Somehow, he has become a common target of mockery and villification by people, Jews and Gentiles both, who profess that, in principle, society has to remain wary of antisemitism. Perhaps Foxman has become a symbol for the sense that gentiles should wear the “yoke of antisemitism” after the grievous damage antisemitism has caused the Jewish people, when many non-Jews did not commit antisemitic acts but did not stand in opposition to them either.

However, a “yoke” of responsibility is something I don’t think non-Jews should feel more than every person should feel from anti-Armenianism, anti-Kurdism, racism, etc.

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