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Ralph Nader Says Anti-Semitism Includes Arabs?

Ralph Nader, the consumer crusader, five time presidential candidate and pro-Arab defender has a new cause; expropriating anti-Semitism to include Arabs.  Manfred Gerstenfeld in our review and interview about his latest book, The War of a Million Cuts, noted such examples of flagrant abuse of semantics. Examples, like accusing the Israelis of being the new Nazis and Palestinians as the oppressed Jews. Raphael Medoff, of the David S Wyman Center for Holocaust Studies in Washington, DC, wrote about Nader’s latest twist- anti-Semitism applies to Arabs- because it is about common Semitic linguistics. This is the subject of Medoff’s Algemeiner op-ed  Ralph Nader Targets ‘The Jews’ and Linguistically Hijacks Anti-Semitism.

Here is what Nader said at the American –Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) convention  in Washington:

You never avoid using the word anti-Semitism when Arabs and Arab-Americans are discriminated against, are arrested without charges, are exposed to all kinds of swears and bars against employment and all kinds of discrimination that goes on, and that is anti-Semitism. The Semitic race is Arabs and Jews and the Jews do not own the phrase anti-Semitism.

Medoff asks the relevant question:

Is the Semitic race “Arabs and Jews,” as Nader asserted? Actually, it’s not. “Semitic” refers to a group of Middle Eastern languages. There’s no such thing as a “Semitic race.”

In his critically acclaimed 1986 book, Semites and Anti-Semites, Bernard Lewis (professor emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University) wrote, “‘Semitic’ is a linguistic and cultural classification… It has nothing whatever to do with race in the anthropological sense that is now common usage.”

Medoff goes on to provide the origin of the term anti-Semitism in 19th Century  Europe:

The German anti-Jewish agitator Wilhelm Marr in 1879 coined the term “Antisemitism” (“antisemitismus” in German). His target was still Jews; he simply believed the new phrase would make his brand of hatred sound more legitimate and even scientific. The organization he founded to further these aims was called the Antisemiten-Liga, or League of Antisemites.

He then delves into the purpose of Nader’s  abusive  semantics:

Ralph Nader’s real aim, however, is not linguistic accuracy. As he explained to the ADC convention, he wants to use language as a tool to advance the Arab campaign against Israel.

“Once you use that word, you have equivalence with the other use of that word. It’s anti-Semitism against Arabs, anti-Semitism against Jews—why ignore one to the other?” Nader said.

According to this formula, Arabs would gain victim status just like Jews.

Nader seems to be particularly sensitive to the fact that some hatred of Israel is perceived as anti-Semitic—and he wants to prevent that perception from taking hold.

[Supporters of Israel] know how to accuse people of anti-Semitism if any issue on Israel is criticized, even though the worst anti-Semitism in the world today is against Arabs and Arab-Americans and they know how to use the language, he complained. I suspect AIPAC spends more money on hotels for their national meeting in five hours than ADC’s entire budget, so it’s important to ask the question: “What does it take in terms of human hours and resources to get things turned around?”

I got to know Nader  up close and personal in the late 60’s to early 1970’s before my association came to a screeching halt.

Having collaborated and  co-authored pieces with Nader  and testified  on Capitol Hill on worker safety issues  back in 1968 to 1970, I  came to know what he was like. Fortunately,  I was never a so-called “Nader’s Raider” nor employed in any of his various ‘Centers’. My involvement preceded those developments.  I was an independent researcher and later a systems consultant for a decade in DC.

I left Nader ’s circle  because of two things: his monumental jihadist ego and his maltreatment of subordinates. Some of my comments about this are contained in a chapter on Nader  in Playing for Keeps in Washington, 1977 by Laurence Leamer.

Nader  in his earlier days as the mysterious “white knight of consumerism” lived a monk like existence in a rooming house not far from DuPont Circle in DC. At the time he had a colleague, the indefatigable  Ted Jacobs. Nader was paranoid and a control freak. One day he walked in to Ted’s office and basically told him that he was fired, locked him out of his office and secured all his files!!

Nader  developed a messiah like complex that went well beyond the consumer issues. He  subsequently became an icon in the anti-war movement allied with anti-Israel leftists  like Noam Chomsky. The fact is that he may have mistakenly identified his  Lebanese Maronite Christian immigrant parents as Arabs because they spoke Arabic.  He bought into the Arab vision with all of its attendant problems, including being a dhimmi fellow traveler and an anti-Semite of the 20th  Century variety. Not surprising as Nader  had a Princeton undergraduate  major in Arabic studies. One wonders if he had Professor Bernard Lewis for any of his undergraduate professors at Princeton.

He subsequently earned a law degree from Harvard, became a plaintiff’s  attorney opening offices in Hartford , Connecticut .  His real climb to fame began when the late Senator Pat Moynihan, former aide to New York  Governor Averill Harriman, moved to Washington as a Kennedy  appointee. Moynihan brought with him the treasure trove of his auto crash data files. Nader sought access to that, wrote Moynihan when the later was Assistant Secretary of Labor for Policy Evaluation and Research  in 1961-62. Nader  was invited down to  plough through  Moynihan’s files  virtually camping out in Moynihan’s office mining the auto crash data files.   From that research emerged  the Chevy Corvair controversy, the breathless J’accuse against GM in Nader’s best seller Unsafe at Any Speed. Because GM didn’t know who he was they hired a private detective to check him out which led to a suit by Nader that resulted in  a $400,000 legal settlement with GM  in 1964 for violating his privacy.  The settlement, initial and subsequent  book royalties created Nader’s  personnel wealth. Nader was wise enough to  hire a real pro investing the settlement funds for several decades .  Nader  also had a reputation for not spending  much on himself or for that matter on anyone else. Funds for the Center for Auto Safety and Public Citizens were raised from donations.

Nader always reminded  me of  Girolamo Savonarola, the famous mad monk who ruled  Florence and drove Florentines to burn books, art and other alleged fripperies in the famous Bonfire of the Vanities. He sought to found a New Jerusalem in Florence as a world center of Christianity following the invasion of Italy by French King Charles VII. After the ousting of the Medicis,  Savonarola  ruled  Florence  as the head of a virtual populist republic from 1494 to 1498. After refusing  fealty to Pope Vincent VI’s  Holy League against the French, Savonarola was invited to Rome,  tried and excommunicated. He and two Dominican Friars were ultimately condemned, tried by both church and civil authorities, hung and burned in May 1498.  There is a famous statue  in Ferrara, Italy where gaunt like Savonarola  looks as if he’s uttering that famous Italian expression: “ecco uomo.” Nader  resembles a leftist  American version of  Savonarola.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

GM is alive.Drivers are dead. Any questions?

Remember the arrogant 2012 bumper sticker based on Joe Biden’s boast at the DNC? “GM is alive. Bin Laden is dead. Any questions?”

GM_Alive_Dead_Sticker.jpg

Actually, I do have a question. Was Bin Laden driving GM’s Chevy Cobalt when he died?

It now appears that many American civilians with absolutely no connection to al-Qaeda have also become dead or injured while driving one of those small, fuel-efficient Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5, or Saturn Ion.

The Washington Post reports:

“An investigation into General Motors’ failure to recall millions of small cars containing a deadly ignition switch defect found a corporate culture in which employees failed to take responsibility for the problem, which has been linked to at least 13 deaths, said GM chief executive Mary T. Barra.”

This raises even more questions.

Notice the part about “a corporate culture in which employees failed to take responsibility for the problem.” Was it because the employees knew that they were too big to fail?

How many of them were members of the United Auto Workers? Obama had rewarded this labor union’s political shenanigans and donations to his campaign with 39 percent of General Motors. That alone should have taught the GM employees a lesson that real money comes, not from actual labor but from shady political dealings, and that honest work is for suckers.

General Motors waited more than a decade to recall their 2.6 million defective small cars worldwide. Obviously, the problem started long before the Obama administration decided to bail them out, thus rewarding bad behavior and costing Treasury a loss of roughly $10 billion.

That was yet another real-life lesson from which the GM employees could learn that withholding information is better than honest work, and that those who actually do honest work wind up paying for those who don’t. Now GM is going to establish a compensation program for the victims and their families. How much of that cost will be covered by a taxpayer-funded bailout?

And now for the final question. Using GM chief executive’s own language, who built that “corporate culture in which employees failed to take responsibility for the problem”?

According to her boss, the nation’s chief executive, no one in particular. In president Obama’s mind, businesses just happen to grow and develop their own cultures, like fungus. No one takes credit for a fungus culture; why should anyone take credit for a business culture? Whether you succeed or fail, the administration’s credo is, “You didn’t build that!”

GM officially confirms up to 13 deaths; trial lawyers are likely to raise the number to 60. Is that a fair cost of keeping GM alive? If so, how many lives and billions of taxpayer dollars will it take before the cost of this administration’s meddling with the economy becomes prohibitive? At what point will it stop being fair and become criminal?

Ayn Rand’s prophetic novel Atlas Shrugs has a chapter in which hundreds of people on a crowded train lose their lives because railroad employees have stopped taking responsibility for their actions. Their failure to take responsibility was a consequence of the nation’s new culture of “fairness” and “equality” that was being promoted by an intrusive “progressive” government. In a twist of dark irony, all the participants in the story were fully supportive of that “fair” culture – from the corrupt government officials to the cowardly railroad executives to the clueless passengers who never figured out what had doomed them to die in a smoke-filled tunnel.

It seems that today the Obama administration, the “progressive” politicians, the unions, and all their low-information supporters, many of whom are driving GM’s small, fuel-efficient cars, are writing an updated, real-life version of Atlas Shrugged, in which the story of General Motors is the latest contribution to this man-made dystopia.

RELATED ARTICLE: Documents Show General Motors Kept Silent on Fatal Crashes – NYTimes.com