Post-Catholic Politically-Correct Pseudo-Consensual

by Henry on July 20, 2011

Jeffrey Goldberg’s “new authority”:https://crookedtimber.org/2011/06/27/why-is-ireland-such-a-bastion-of-anti-israel-feeling/ on the depths of anti-Israel hatred in Ireland, expands on the topic “in some interesting ways”:http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/kevin-myers-theres-never-been-a-safer-time-for-children-2824766.html.

bq. Now in the toxic Post-Catholic Politically-Correct Pseudo-Consensual culture that has emerged in PC3 Ireland, one may be as loudly anti-Semitic as one likes about Israel, even as one makes a great posturing display show of not being “anti-Semitic” in domestic politics. This is Phoney Liberalism at its most unprincipled. Fear of unjustified allegations of anti-Semitism should not prevent us considering some difficult — that is to say, adult — issues that will probably violate all the dogmas of PC3ness.

bq. Here goes. It is now very possible that a state law governing private Catholic sacramental practices will be introduced by a Jewish Minister for Justice. This raises the question of whether it is ever prudent for a member of any minority to introduce laws affecting the private religious practices of the majority. Moreover, is it acceptable to have a rigorously-enforced state law over children and Catholic priests, but not one concerning Jewish babies and rabbis? How, otherwise, would the rabbinical removal of a baby boy’s foreskin, a deed that by definition involves a non-consensual and irreversible injury and which results in a permanent reduction of the sexual-sensitivity of the glans, be allowed under the proposed new child-protection laws? You no doubt find these questions uncomfortable; well, believe me, not nearly as uncomfortable as I do in asking them.

The pivot, in successive paragraphs, from the claim that (a) that everyone else in Ireland is anti-Semitic (b) that only he is willing and able to ask the uncomfortable questions about whether Jews should govern Catholics (and did he mention by the way that the law doesn’t stop them from mutilating baby boys’ todgers?) is remarkable. And this isn’t to mention Myer’s earlier stuff about permanently tumescent African layabouts who have too many children (one senses that Mr. Myers has a thing about penises). I really think that Jeffrey Goldberg needs to publicly reconsider his stated reliance on this particular source. It doesn’t do any favors to his reputation, or that of the magazine he works for.

Update: It turns out that Jeffrey Goldberg “did apologize”:https://twitter.com/#!/Goldberg3000/status/85433001403613185 (but still wants to “stick to his main claim”:https://twitter.com/#!/Goldberg3000/status/86060718855684096_ )via Twitter after seeing the Myers Africa rant.

Update 2: via Paddy in comments, this really quite revolting Myer “meditation”:http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/why-drought-in-somalia-is-not-our-problem-2821058.html from last week on how feeding starving African babies is a bad thing – after all, one day they may turn into Islamist terrorists.

bq. There is another question here — the difficult one, the painful kind that gets people into trouble. It is this: what is the rationale for keeping a particular demographic group alive when the main result is the maintenance of an implacable enmity towards the rescuers? It is that existential argument — not the one that the UN admits to, of aid-material falling into the hands of the Islamists — that we should be discussing.

bq. It’s not easy, to be sure. For immediately we must face a fourth question: who can look at the photograph of a tiny, fading child, with flies supping the last juices from its desiccating eyes, and decide to let her die? And likewise, hundreds of thousands of other such children?

bq. … A Somali you save today is unlikely to turn into a sort of grateful Nilotic-Dane in 20 years. No, indeed: the chances are he will remain a proud and resentful Somali Islamist, and even if he comes to the West — as hundreds of thousands already have — he will probably despise us as backward savages, who are too lazy even to circumcise our little girls the wholesome radical way, as they should be, with rusty blades and no anaesthetic.

{ 61 comments }

1

dsquared 07.20.11 at 6:16 pm

Counterpoint! : His reputation is that of a “sensible conservative” right wing ballbag, and the magazine he works for is dreadful, so this source is about right!

2

mise 07.20.11 at 6:24 pm

perhaps good to remember that very-much-still-Catholic Ireland is also under fire for its anti-semitism – http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/tr_caire_misdirected_catholic_aid_from_ireland_fuels_conflict_

3

bianca steele 07.20.11 at 6:45 pm

Well, I read him as implying that being a good Catholic prevents anti-semitism. I don’t see why Goldberg has to repudiate him. He can easily support the conservative authorities of other religions because he supports conservative religious authorities on the principle that all conservative religious authorities are deserving of support (with a few false premises regarding inconvenient facts).

4

Mike 07.20.11 at 6:57 pm

I have to admit, my first reaction was disbelief that I was reading something written by an adult. Although, on further reflection that might be debatable.

5

rea 07.20.11 at 7:07 pm

“a state law governing private Catholic sacramental practices” turns out to be about requiring disclosure of admissions of sexual abuse by priests.

6

Malaclypse 07.20.11 at 7:21 pm

“a state law governing private Catholic sacramental practices” turns out to be about requiring disclosure of admissions of sexual abuse by priests.

I was wondering why the state would have an interest in, say, transubstantiation.

Calling sexual abuse a “private Catholic sacramental practice” is not exactly doing the church any favors…

7

Bloix 07.20.11 at 7:24 pm

He seems to be saying that if the Jews try to stop the priests from raping children, well then, circumcision will be illegal, too. Ha! Gotcha, Jews! My goodness, that is one bizarre column.

8

SamChevre 07.20.11 at 7:30 pm

On the other hand, confessions of sexual abuse (and every other sin) are distinctly and importantly part of Catholic sacramental practice.

9

Dragon-King Wangchuck 07.20.11 at 7:34 pm

Not that I mean to defend Kevin Myers, but teh sacramental practice in question is confession. He’s not really claiming that Irish priests must diddle altar boys because of Jesus – just that if an Irish priest learns of child abuse through confession, then teh right thing to do is to assign an extra few Hail Marys and forget about it.

10

Dragon-King Wangchuck 07.20.11 at 7:46 pm

So in defense of my not meaning to defend Kevin Myers, allow me to point out the following:

Kevin states “Let’s be clear. There has never been a safer time or place for children than modern Ireland. A Catholic priest is as likely to sexually abuse a child today as he is to organise bullfights in a confessional.”

And yet, this whole hooferaw has been prompted by teh Cloyne Report, which is described by teh Vatican statement on it by “the period covered by the new report goes from 1.1.1996 to 1.2.2009.”

Yup. Thing of teh past. Nothing to see. Do de dooo.

11

bianca steele 07.20.11 at 7:47 pm

The law in question may well require priests to break the sanctity of the confessional, but nowhere in what Myers wrote is there anything to suggest it does. He quotes a passage that is entirely compatible with what is law in the US now for all religions; in the next paragraph he waxes rhetorical on the sanctity of the confessional; and in the next paragraph he suggests that anybody who disagreed with the previous paragraph is an bigot.

12

P O'Neill 07.20.11 at 7:51 pm

On pure substance, I think today’s column is worse … Charlie Haughey was all the fault of — Garret Fitzgerald!

On the column which is the subject of the post, it’s interesting to note that the general principle outlined also excludes the Republic ever having a Protestant Minister for Justice. He also seems unaware that any legislation will be the collective responsibility of the Cabinet and passed by the Oireachtas.

13

Martin Bento 07.20.11 at 7:56 pm

Well, if we accept this ridiculous parallel for the sake of argument, rabbis who hear other rabbis mention that they perform circumcisions should report this to the authorities. The rabbis and the authorities both will get quickly annoyed, since the practice in question is not illegal, so it will just clog up the phone lines. In the case of kiddydiddling, the practice is already illegal, what is at stake is the the requirement that Catholic priests go against the religious strictures under which confession is practiced and betray confidentiality. I wonder if the Pope will sanction this or rather insist that the sanctity of confession must be respected regardless of the requirements of secular law.

14

Jim Pharo 07.20.11 at 8:03 pm

“non-consensual?” Perhaps he’s referring to the rampant practice of rabbis sneaking into maternity wards and circumcising babies under cover of darkness?

I’m not sure why anyone takes this clown seriously. Pompous blowhards don’t seem to be in especially short supply…

15

Dragon-King Wangchuck 07.20.11 at 8:11 pm

Hey, while we’re on teh topic of “nothing to see here, do-de-doo” Kevin also asks ,,,a criminal offence for anyone not to disclose “information” that a child is being sexually or physically abused. What is information? What is abuse? How long is a piece of string? And where does this nonsense stop?

“Scare” “quotes” or “not”, a confession by teh abuser probably counts as “information”.

16

Daragh McDowell 07.20.11 at 8:19 pm

In a very limited, and very qualified defence of Goldberg he did cop to not realising that Myers was a racist tit, though only on Twitter.

When I gently suggested that he might apologise and retract the statement on his actual blog he came out with this. Apparently basing your smears on a crazy lunatic is OK, as long as you share his prejudices…

In other news, Goldberg is now claiming that standard ad copy praising ‘German engineering’ shows insufficient sensitivity to the Holocaust. Seriously.

I can think of many ways of combatting and exposing genuine anti-semitism. Actively looking for anything that could possibly be construed with a sufficient degree of bad faith as anti-semitic, in the most irritating manner possible isn’t one of them. In fact I think it might have the opposite effect.

17

Bruce Baugh 07.20.11 at 8:28 pm

So if I’ve got this right, the flow of Myers’ argument is not that liberals are too anti-semitic about Israel, but that they’re not anti-semitic about Jews at home.

18

Bruce Baugh 07.20.11 at 8:28 pm

Not enough, that is.

19

Dragon-King Wangchuck 07.20.11 at 8:38 pm

And back to the original story of how anti-semitic Ireland is – from Jeffrey’s quote of Kevin:
“But how can anyone possibly think that Gaza is the primary centre of injustice in the Middle East? According to Mathilde Redmatn, deputy director of the International Red Cross in Gaza, there is in fact no humanitarian crisis there at all. But by God, there is one in Syria, where possibly thousands have died in the past month.”

That’s an odd surname. Oh it’s just a typo. Well what did DeRiedmatten actually have to say? That teh Gaza Strip is totes fine – do-de-doo nothing to see? I believe teh correct phrase is Sadly, No!

20

Dee 07.20.11 at 8:43 pm

Daragh @16,

The “bad faith” may be on the other foot. It’s not the “German engineering” that catches one’s attention but the “screams” that it elicits. Try substituting “whispers”, for example.

As for construals of any form of racism, I generally assume that the victim has more sensitive antennae than I do.

21

Daragh McDowell 07.20.11 at 9:14 pm

Dee @20 No he didn’t. Goldberg writes –

Either you get it or you don’t, I guess, but “German engineering” connotes the mechanized, efficient, aspects of the program of Nazi extermination. The word “scream,” well, means “scream.”

Those are two separate sentences. Goldberg explicitly equates ‘German Engineering’ as a phrase evoking the holocaust. Which is silly.

Yes, you’re right that the victim has more sensitive antennae, and that should be taken into account. But we should also take into account that lots of people like to scream (oops!) ‘racism’ over and over again in order to maximise the benefits of victim status – without, y’know, enduring the pain of actually being victimised. I think its hard to dispute that’s what Goldberg is doing in this case.

22

Henry 07.20.11 at 9:25 pm

I’ve got to say that when I hear the words “German engineering,” the Holocaust is not the first, the second, the third, the fourth or the fifth thing that comes to my mind. But then, since I’ve written a book which is half about the German engineering industry, I might not be the best sample …

23

skippy 07.20.11 at 9:32 pm

i actually cant believe he said that. its incredible. a new low for the indo. its must be up there with mary ellen synons hate rant against the special olympics(good the indo is a truly terrible paper!)

24

Daragh McDowell 07.20.11 at 9:55 pm

I think ‘the first thing that comes to mind when I think of German engineering’ would make a fantastic Twitter hashtag if it wasn’t sadly too long.

25

mise 07.20.11 at 10:01 pm

@14 Jim Pharo – I know its not very crookedtimber-style, but I just have to lol at that image – nuns chasing rabbis down corridors etc… lol lol

26

Dee 07.20.11 at 11:07 pm

Daragh @21, Henry @22,

The (sly) point Goldberg is making (by my reading) is that there is a context for the “German engineering” and that context is “screams”. It works precisely because of two sentences.

And, Daragh, you ought to have a word with the elderly, aristocratic, always immaculately dressed woman who lives alone in my building. She has no family that anyone knows of. I caught a brief glimpse of her apartment, one day. Well-appointed. No “victim”, to be sure. Her dresses are always long-sleeved and I never understood why she would decline a ride home from the nearby supermarket, even when she was carrying a lot of groceries. Then one day I saw her in the basement laundry room with her sleeves rolled up… and a tattooed number on her arm. My car is a Volkswagen.

27

Daragh McDowell 07.20.11 at 11:51 pm

Dee @26

I think if Goldberg’s ouevre proves anything, its that he is incapable of being ‘sly.’ Or subtle. Or coy, or any other variation thereof.

As to your anecdote. First – I dislike the implication that myself and Henry are insufficiently sensitive to the tragedy of the Shoah and that meeting a holocaust survivor face to face would set us straight. Its both a cheap shot as well as being completely untrue. Second – there is a world of difference between someone who actually experienced the death camps and lived through one of the greatest atrocities in human history, and a middle class New York Jew whose greatest hardship in life is traffic on the beltway. If the former thinks someone driving a VW is automatically shady, I’m inclined to give them a pass. It doesn’t mean their right – it just means living through the holocaust buys one a lot of leeway in my book. However, when the latter prattles on about omnipresent anti-Semitism to a degree that Alvy Singer would find obsessive I call shenanigans. One is an actual victim. The other is an insufferable dickhead desperately trying to accrue the benefits of victim status without enduring anything more traumatic than bloggers and commentators like me laughing at him. Hell the man has been writing astonishingly inaccurate stories for years about Arab WMD and how Israel is going to strike Iran any minute now that were spoon-fed to him by government officials obviously looking to plant fake stories in the press without even suffering any professional sanction. The idea that he would have anything in common besides religious belief and ethnicity with a holocaust survivor is ridiculous.

Finally – did you ever ask the little old lady in question (who, I’m sorry to say, bears more than a passing resemblance to one of Tom Friedman’s taxi drivers) if the VW was the reason she didn’t accept your lift? Seniors, especially those who have enjoyed great hardship, tend to be proud and stubborn (I know a former Italian partisan who is one of the most obstinate people I’ve ever met, god bless him.) She might just not have wanted to take the help. And if she really thought everyone driving a VW was a clost Nazi, she’s probably suffering from PTSD and could do with some counselling IMHO, for her own benefit, not mine.

In conclusion – ‘German Engineering’ has been a shorthand for ‘high quality’ in ad copy for decades. Whether screamed, whispered or spoken in a deathly teutonic monotone it means nothing more, nothing less, and Goldberg is trolling. Simple as that.

28

Paddy Matthews 07.21.11 at 12:05 am

And this isn’t to mention Myers’s earlier stuff about permanently tumescent African layabouts who have too many children (one senses that Mr. Myers has a thing about penises).

Still going strong, actually.

29

EWI 07.21.11 at 12:28 am

@ mise

perhaps good to remember that very-much-still-Catholic Ireland is also under fire for its anti-semitism

Unfortunately, you then went on to link to rabid Likudniks as your ‘authority’.

30

Daragh McDowell 07.21.11 at 12:33 am

@Mise and @EWI

Also, that statement about Irish Catholicism is looking increasingly shaky too.

31

bianca steele 07.21.11 at 12:59 am

@Daragh MacDowell

I don’t get why personal “victimization” has anything to do with it though.

As Dee pointed out, a refusal to admire the most well-known example of “German engineering” (often because the manufacturers have historic ties to Hitler’s regime) is hardly something Goldberg can claim for himself uniquely. That others (some of whom, say, may have lost more close relatives in Stalingrad than in Auschwitz) share some of their beliefs with someone who may be a bad journalist, annoying, and kind of a jerk isn’t much of an argument against those beliefs. He isn’t trying to persuade people who don’t already agree with him, saying something like, “You know what that means: Nazis.” And it’s well within the range of the standard Nazism is the negation of religion trope.

32

Dee 07.21.11 at 2:01 am

Daragh @26,

I’ve read Henry enough to know (or imagine I know) what his attitude towards 1933-45 might be: very close to mine. The second part of my comment @26 was directed to you, not Henry.

Since you’ve now accused me of a “cheap shot”, let me return the favour for your “Tom Friedman’s taxi drivers” jibe. No, I never asked the woman (she’s old but not “little”) why she might not like driving in my Volkswagen, or whether it is because of the car’s nationality or historical resonance. And since she’s otherwise quite friendly I doubt she thinks I’m a “closet Nazi”. I’ll leave diagnoses of PTSD to you. What I can tell you, however, is that my lab colleague, a son of German-Jewish refugees, will still look for alternatives to German equipment when ordering for the lab.

Finally, since you’ve (specifically) accused Goldberg of “desperately trying to accrue the benefits of victim status” it would be nice if you would show us where. Exactly.

33

ice9 07.21.11 at 3:15 am

NO ‘e’ in phony.

ice

34

mor 07.21.11 at 5:43 am

mise @ 2:
ngo monitor is a straightforwardly hasbara organisation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGO_Monitor
Again that dismal slur that being anti Israel’s blocade is being anti-Semetic.

35

Henri Vieuxtemps 07.21.11 at 7:05 am

Has he no shame, how can he work for that magazine? Every time I read The Atlantic, all I see is SLAVE TRADE…

36

P O'Neill 07.21.11 at 8:28 am

Now Goldberg has moved on to Tom Friedman style airport blogging from the departure area for the United flight from Dubai to Washington. From his reaction to what he saw, he’s never been through Shannon.

37

Daragh McDowell 07.21.11 at 10:29 am

Dee @32

Now I’m really confused. Your post on the old lady (sorry for inserting ‘little’ – just rounding out a traditional descriptor) coupled with your initial defence of Goldberg seemed to be indicating you thought he was on to something and that the modern advertising and design of German industrial goods is subtly anti-Semitic in a way a gentile such as I couldn’t possibly detect, let alone fathom. Now you’re talking about people boycotting German industry due to lingering (and entirely understandable) resentment of Germany.

Now even if I think both of these things are deeply silly (Its been almost 70 years, modern day Germay is not the Third Reich and has done a lot to repent, including financing large chunks of the IDF war machine – Israel’s Dolphin submarines are German built and supplied at well below cost) they aren’t the same phenomenon.

And frankly, if you can’t see how a Jewish man claiming that he is assaulted on all sides by encroaching anti-Semitism, whether through horrifying ads for washer-dryers or hordes of anti-Semitic Irishmen, is trying to claim victim status, I can’t help ya.

38

Niall McAuley 07.21.11 at 10:40 am

On the article Paddy links above by Myers about leaving starving Somali infants to die because they are Islamic and will therefore someday join Al Qaida to attack the west, or at least leaving them to be saved by the “geographically far closer” Chinese, I would like to point out:

Dublin-Mogadishu – 7381 km
Beijing-Mogadishu – 8251 km

That is all.

39

Niall McAuley 07.21.11 at 10:50 am

Bruce writes: So if I’ve got this right, the flow of Myers’ argument is not that liberals are too anti-semitic about Israel, but that they’re not anti-semitic about Jews at home.
It’s even better: Myers is saying that Irish liberals are both at the same time. We are anti-Israel because that’s PC, and therefore anti-Semitic towards foreign Jews, while anti-anti-Semitic political correctitude at home blinds to the insidious Jewish evil within Irish society that is Alan Shatter and his coterie of winky-slashing Rabbis.

40

Daragh McDowell 07.21.11 at 10:50 am

bianca steele @31

I don’t think Dee was doing any of those things, nor was Goldberg. The examples in Dee’s anecdotes are people who have taken a personal decision to boycott certain German products for historical reasons. As I said I think this is silly but understandable. Goldberg is (to the best of my knowledge) NOT forgoing the benefits of German engineering, he’s simply discovered (after several decades of it being used to sell everything from cars to pilsner) that it is a horrifically anti-semitic phrase. I understand that there’s a need to take Jewish sensitivies into account when encroaching upon this most horrific part of their history (EG – Umbro was right to immediately withdraw and rename its ‘Zyklon’ brand trainers, even its simply the German for ‘cyclone’. The link is their and cannot be undone.) But Goldberg is being opportunistic in order to claim personal and continued group victim status.

This is not incidental – it is central to Goldberg’s politics on Israel, as it is for the likes of Marty Peretz and Alan Dershowitz. If there is a global tide of barely suppressed anti-Semitism, from Euro-intellectuals to the Arab street, just waiting to crash down upon the heads of the world’s Jews, then Israel and the IDF are perfectly justified in their increasingly brutal and oppressive tactics re the Palestinians. After all its a continuing, existential struggle – the chosen people vs. the rest of the world. If, on the other hand, German engineering is just German engineering, and Irishmen like myself are pro-Palestine not because of some primeval hatred of the Jews, but rather due to our sympathy for other oppressed colonial people and general disgust with the occupation, then Goldberg et al, don’t have an excuse. They’re just supporting ultra nationalist chauvinism, in the manner of all the past oppressors of the Jews. They have become what they beheld. That’s not a reality these guys want to face – so instead we’re told that Leopold Bloom better be on the watch and ready to strike first lest someone bash him over the head with a silele.

41

Dee 07.21.11 at 11:02 am

Daragh @37,

… I can’t help ya

Yes (from one “gentile” to another), that’s what I suspected.

42

dsquared 07.21.11 at 11:21 am

I can’t believe that Jeffrey Goldberg is so insensitive as to have “Goldberg” in his name. My ancestors drowned on the Titanic, you know.

43

Dee 07.21.11 at 11:46 am

Daragh @39 (hoping the number doesn’t change post-comment),

So now it’s not anything to do with “German engineering”, eh? It’s all about Israel and pop psychology (I should have suspected from your reference to PTSD) about how “they have become what they beheld”. Now I’ll know how to “read” Goldberg. Thanks.

44

Daragh McDowell 07.21.11 at 11:56 am

Dee @ 42 – see Dsquared @41 and Henri Vieuxtemps @35 for a more succinct summary of how ridiculous Goldberg is being. Honestly – I have no idea what you’re talking about or what your actual critique of my argument is. I’ve been pretty consistent in claiming that Goldberg is claiming victim status on laughably spurious grounds, and that yes, ‘German engineering’ has nothing to do with it aside from being a convenient outrage for Goldberg to be outraged about. I expanded on the PURPOSE of those claims in response to a question from Bianca Steele.

You, IMHO, have been a bit all over the map first claiming its the ‘scream’ wot makes it anti-semitic, to claiming that plenty of Jews don’t use German products so its the ‘German engineering’ that has Goldberg in a tizzy and rightly so. The rest of us have been watching ads for everything from cars to high end electric can-openers use the ‘GE’ line for decades without eliciting a squeak of protest from Goldberg et al. I think its time to leave this little head to head, no?

45

rf 07.21.11 at 12:54 pm

@ Skippy 23
Indeed, exhibit A:
http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/rupert-as-flawed-father-of-the-world-2823573.html

With Myers it’s the little things, the pointless daily articles that don’t stir up controversy, that most capture the man’s bizarre nature:
His recent obituary of an acquaintance he hadn’t seen in decades in which, after acknowledging her guarded and private nature, he began to speculate wildly on her sex life, culminating with the observation “Yes, as a teenager, she had once wrapped those long elegant legs around a man’s body and had abandoned herself to lust.’
His revision of an earlier ‘analysis’ of the Reagan Presidency in which he reached the thoughtful conclusion that ‘Few men in world history have ever achieved so much for so many hundreds of millions.’
And of course his indescribably unintelligent weekly critiques of feminism, his one man campaign to ban the Burqa (which in Ireland could literally be done in a few hours by personally visiting every person that actually wears one and asking them politely to desist), and his seasonal musings on the wonders of nature which, although unreadable at best, at least allow you a rare morning to enjoy your breakfast without being forced to picture a series of erect penises.
Then there was his much derided first novel, his brief television career, and this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1MqEs0c28g

Whatever Jeffrey Goldberg’s faults he’s a bonafide genius compared to these dopes. Myer’s has the intelligence, writing skills and, oddly, the head of an embittered old drag queen who’s spent the past number of decades savagely abusing her brain with lashings of gin and oxycontin. To use imagery Kevin might be more comfortable with, and risk a deletion and banning from CT, he has the head of an 80 year olds ballsack recovering from a recent botched ball removal surgery. It’s still unclear to me whether he’s a real person or a sick joke Jackie Collins is playing on us all.
(Apologies, Professor Farrell, for bringing down the tone of your post. Generally I’m not intelligent enough to comment on your postings so when I get the opportunity I tend to get over excited. Feel free to ban if you see fit)

46

bert 07.21.11 at 1:05 pm

Umbro are English, owned by Americans (Nike).
It’s hard to imagine the Germans at Adidas or Puma being that clueless.

47

Andrew F. 07.21.11 at 1:09 pm

Bosch is an enormous company with billions in annual revenue.

Somehow I suspect that Bosch’s marketing firm tested the ad before releasing it.

Which means Goldberg’s impression is likely a small minority impression. Thinking “Holocaust” whenever you see “German engineering” is a bit like thinking “death march” whenever you see “Japanese efficiency.” It’s certainly not a fair association from a broad perspective (though I can well understand why certain individuals might draw that association), and it’s probably offensive to Germans and Japanese.

As to Myers, I think his point is that Ireland is anti-Semitic already, and a Jewish Minister of Justice implementing this law will not help matters. I don’t agree with his point, and it’s not a point well made, but being charitable, that’s the only semi-reasonable assertion I can draw from the article.

From a separation of church and state vantage in American jurisprudence, the law is completely acceptable. That a law interferes with religious practice is fine, so long as the law was not implemented deliberately to target a particular religious practice out of animus for the religion.

48

Satan Mayo 07.21.11 at 2:01 pm

Bosch is an enormous company with billions in annual revenue.

Somehow I suspect that Bosch’s marketing firm tested the ad before releasing it.

Which means Goldberg’s impression is likely a small minority impression. Thinking “Holocaust” whenever you see “German engineering” is a bit like thinking “death march” whenever you see “Japanese efficiency.”

Goldberg reports that “about 60 percent of the people who write are stating some variation of “these unbelievable clueless Germans.””, which says a lot about his audience.

49

Paul M. Cray 07.21.11 at 2:53 pm

Bosch’s white goods are made by a joint venture with Siemens (if you see Bosch and Siemens appliances next to one another in a showroom, you can tell immediately that they are the same underlying product with a different fascia). And in the early 2000s

“Bosch Siemens Hausgeraete (BSH), the firm’s consumer products joint venture, filed two applications with the US Patent & Trademark Office for the Zyklon name across a range of home products, including gas ovens ” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2233890.stm).

I used to work for Siemens and whereas to the British people of my generation, the use of “Zyklon” seemed inexplicable , I seem to recall that to the Germans it was just the word for “cyclone”. I’m surprised about Umbro, but then I’m constantly surprised by the things that advertisers and marketeers manage to come up with. I think they must live on a different planet to the rest of us.

50

bianca steele 07.21.11 at 4:23 pm

Daragh,

I can’t compete with your skill at reading minds, or your skill at logic. Is “you’re claiming victim status” not considered to be an insult? Is it usual to assume someone who asserts a right to nonviolent self-defense–the post in question was irrational but had nothing to do with Israel or with the a right to use force (or, again, with anybody’s individual psychology)–is probably going to bash you over the head as soon as he gets the chance? Maybe it’s the existence of a third person in your exchange with Dee and in that case I’ll bow out now and apologize.

51

Bloix 07.21.11 at 5:53 pm

There’s a scene in some novel or other, perhaps someone can help me with it, in which an elderly American Jew is met by his relatives at the airport and refuses to get into the cab they’ve hired because it’s a Mercedes. They explain to him that all the cabs are Mercedes – still no go. The airport of course is Ben Gurion.

52

Daragh McDowell 07.21.11 at 6:10 pm

@bianca steele

I was talking about the motivations behind Goldberg’s tiresomely regular discovery of rampant Jew-hatred everywhere he looks. Yes it could be that Goldberg is just Alvy Singer – paranoid and neurotic. However I think its far more likely that he’s bought into the dominant PR campaign of the Likudnik right and its American lobbying operations – “anti-Semitism is everywhere, we are constantly under threat therefore we have the right and the duty to constantly ignore international law and maintain an indefinite brutal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, because the only alternative is extinction. After all – everyone is prejudiced against us.”

I don’t think pointing this out is ‘mind reading.’ I think its ‘connecting the dots.’

53

EWI 07.21.11 at 6:21 pm

@ Niall McAuley

Myers specialises in developing and holding mutually-refuting beliefs in advocating for his pet hobby-horses. One day he will decry war and ‘blood sacrifice’, the next gush at length about some battle that the British Army engaged in.

54

roac 07.21.11 at 6:26 pm

Goldberg’s two most frequently expressed themes are:

(1) US policy is tilted in favor of Israel, not because of any lobby, but because the vast majority of Americans just love Israel.

(2) Israel is vital to the survival of the Jews, as it is the only place they can go when Americans start stuffing Jews into ovens, which could happen any day.

55

Dee 07.21.11 at 6:34 pm

Daragh,

Your “dot-connecting” makes me a bit uncomfortable. So, now that you’ve connected them so clearly, I think I’ll join Bianca in bowing out.

56

IM 07.21.11 at 6:38 pm

I did think the washer post was silly. And the automatic connection of german enginering with the holocaust seems to be a Goldberg* eccentric position.

But then I am probably prejudiced.

* Doesn’t sounds Goldberg very german? He should change his name, the insensitive clod.

57

Jim Demintia 07.21.11 at 7:14 pm

Dee, if any of this truly seems surprising or fantastic to you, you either A) have never heard any public discussion about criticism of Israel or B) have never read anything by Goldberg before. Goldberg is a a well-known hasbara hack, and irresponsible and baseless accusations of anti-semitism have been so often used as a truncheon against critics of Israel that it’s almost become a joke. I’m not sure what your issue is here, but it sure looks a lot like trolling.

58

Kaveh 07.22.11 at 12:03 am

@Dee, bianca: Goldberg is a hack, a long-time supporter and inciter of violence against Palestinians and other Muslims and Arabs (and, incidentally, non-Muslims and non-Arabs who happen to get hit by the same bombs, because that’s how bombs work), a creep (for using collective claims of victimhood, as described in this post, to support Arabophobia and violence) and IIRC a former Israeli prison guard–let’s just get all that out of the way. Being an apologist for Goldberg is not a position one should want to be in, and I’m pretty sure, given his history, that his outrage at “screams German engineering” is cynical and opportunistic.

But. I do think we should avoid (to use the wording from another recent post on this blog) making claims based on how we think a victim is supposed to behave. I’m not all that surprised that some elderly Holocaust survivors would have these reactions to examples of “German engineering”.

But, but: we also should not assume that victim responses are sui generis, totally pre-determined, and don’t have the potential to be manipulated (say, by people like Jeffrey Goldberg); that the long-term process of grieving is always going to be divorced from various forms of self-interest (how could it be?), by various political interests, &c. This is clearly the case with Israel and the Holocaust. The constant reference to Ahmadinejad’s mistranslated remark about “wipe Israel off the map”, conveniently ignoring that Palestinians actually had their country wiped off the map, are but one example.

59

eddie 07.22.11 at 4:16 am

I’d like to second Daragh’s “They have become what they beheld.” The parallels are increasingly clear: For ‘master race’ read ‘chosen people’. For ‘lebensraum’ read ‘settlements’ and so-on. Many continue to oppose fascism. Even jews today in israel do, despite that their government has now made it illegal.

PS – As an aside, I get the impression that Dee’s neighbor would accept a lift in a VW driven by anyone else.

60

politicalfootball 07.22.11 at 1:37 pm

The phrase “German engineering” is, as Daragh points out, a widely used cliche. I’m prepared to believe that certain people are offended by it, just as I am prepared to believe that Dee’s car was the reason for the old lady’s snub. But I don’t think that people who use German cars or cliches are anti-semites.

61

Fargo North, Decoder 07.24.11 at 2:35 am

Late to the party here, but just wondering: Does Mr. Myer offer a Modest Proposal for the victims of the Somali famine?

Comments on this entry are closed.