Friday Bonus: Attacking Occupy with Anti-Semitism

One other article that just showed up on my RSS feeds over lunch: The LA Jewish Journal has an interesting article about how the Occupy Movement is being attacked—not by calling them a group controlled by Jews (as would have been done in the past), but by claiming they are antisemitic because they are attacking Wall Street. Quoting from the article:

Because utilizing anti-Semitism directly would not succeed in this country today, the reactionary defenders of the economic status quo are using the flip side of the coin: the fear of being labeled anti-Semitic. They are accusing Occupy Wall Street of anti-Semitism, relying on the old myth that Wall Street is Jewish and hence that opposition to Wall Street’s agenda is just opposition to Jews.

Not surprisingly, the first right-wing commentator to use this formulation in the Obama era was Rush Limbaugh. In 2010, Limbaugh told his radio audience that Jews might be having “buyer’s remorse” about having voted for President Barack Obama because “[h]e’s assaulting bankers. He’s assaulting money people. And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish.”

Things like this worry me, studying (as I have) the origins of antisemitism. Times of economic crisis are prime brewing grounds for hatred of groups. We’ve already seen how the ire of various groups have been turned in this economic crisis: just look at the reaction you get when you talk about the economic impacts of immigration, and how quickly that turns nasty. We’ve had similar hatred on the other side: hating the people (the wealthy, the bankers) as opposed to the flawed policies.

ETA: Sigh. It also looks like the anti-sems are also trying use the hate rhetoric in the movement.

I’m tempted to quote Rodney King here, but I know it would be of no use. All I can strive for is awareness.