Debunking some false accusations
Just like the charge of racism, the charge of anti-Semitism is often leveled falsely against people on the Right. To be sure, there are many anti-Semites on the Right and on the Left, although the anti-Semitism is more prevalent on the Left these days. But such accusations should not be leveled lightly because there is no easy way to disprove them (and it is hard to prove a negative). So, the false accusation of anti-Semitism is just as bad as the false accusation of racism. As a Jew, I have a special responsibility to defend people falsely accused of anti-Semitism, not only because people’s good name should not be smeared, but also because such false accusations prevent the real thing from being taken seriously.
24 January 2008
By Daniel Finkelstein
It happened again the other day. It’s always happening. And I think it is time I said something.
Here’s what goes on. I make a joke to a Jewish friend about that Iranian lecturer who thinks that Tom and Jerry is a Zionist conspiracy thought up by the Jewish Disney corporation. And they reply: “That’s ironic. Walt Disney was an antisemite.”
It is remarkable how many Jews think this.
First, Disney hired Jews, lots of Jews. Disney was not himself Jewish, of course, but the success of his business owed a great deal to a Jew. The bedrock of Disney was Walt’s merchandising partner, the Jewish Kay Kamen, the man who helped make Mickey Mouse into a cult and who once remarked that Disney had more Jews in it than the Book of Leviticus. This was not an accident, occurring against Walt’s wishes. When Harry Tytle joined the studio as a production manager and told Walt that he was half-Jewish, Disney replied: “It would be better if you were all Jewish.”
Second, the supposed antisemite was a frequent contributor to Jewish charities — the Yeshiva College and the Jewish Home for the Aged among them. And in 1955, he was made Man of the Year by the Beverly Hills Lodge of B’nai B’rith.
Third, and most important, is what there isn’t. There just isn’t any serious evidence of antisemitism. And this is not a charge that can be waved about without proof. Jews can enjoy Walt Disney. He was an inspiration.
Read it all. And a message to my fellow Jews: be very careful with leveling the charge of anti-Semitism. There are plenty of real anti-Semite, some of them genocidal. We don’t need the false ones.
P. S. I don’t think I have accused Ron Paul or Barack Obama of anti-Semitism, although both enjoy support of anti-Semites. But I think I was very careful not to level such charges against these men themselves without any evidence, precisely for the reasons laid out in the beginning of this post and in the article I linked to.
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