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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.

SEMANTICS: Everyday Terms that Sometimes Cause Confusion

Too many times I find myself in discussions with another person where we both might be on the same page, but end up comparing apples to oranges. In most cases, the difficulty with verbal intercourse is due to either a misunderstanding or unfamiliarity of certain terms. Many words have more than one meaning, especially in the English language, lending more confusion to communication. Some organizations, such as our military, “coin” or write their own definitions of words to fit a particular situation. Used to be the goal of a soldier was to kill the enemy. Today, the military talks about “servicing the enemy.” Does that mean kill? Injure? Wound? Change his oil?

COMMON LAW: Principles of law which are based on custom or judgments of courts rather than upon an enactment of written law. Though our nation is based on custom and historical decree, we are not a common-law nation – we are a statutory country whereas only conduct expressly forbidden by statute is punishable by law.

CONSERVATIVE: A person whose political thinking is to the right side of the political scale. Capitalistic. Conservatives lean toward viewing less government control as being better than more control. One who tends to believe in conserving or preserving established rules and traditions and one who believes that when change is needed, the proper procedures should be followed.

CONSTITUTION: Basic and underlying system of rules of which all other laws and behavior is judged. The supreme law. The rule of law.

CONSTITUTIONAL CORRECTNESS: Sometimes called Strict Constructionist. Persons, who believe in a rigid adherence to the rule-of-law. These citizens believe that if the majority of the citizens wish to act in contravention to a constitution, the only legitimate method for doing so is by amending this Constitution.

CRIME: An act which has been determined (by enactment of a law) to be injurious to the public. We are a statutory nation inasmuch as unless there is a law against a certain act, the act is not a crime. If the subject law is in violation of any constitutional provision, it is not a crime to violate that law.

DEMOCRACY: A nation that is governed by the concept of majority rules. In a true democracy the people decide all issues by whatever the majority wishes. Without any guiding provision, such as a constitution, the rules of conduct change as the majority of the population changes. If the majority is comprised of X persons, they can repress or control Y persons. If there is a shift in population where Y persons suddenly become the majority, then they are free to discriminate (retaliate with their vote) against X persons. America is not a democracy, it is a republic (see REPUBLIC and RULE OF LAW) where this discriminating practice is negated. Some American erroneously believe they can enact and enforce any law (anti-gun, school prayer, etc.) merely by garnering the majority of votes to pass these statutes, regardless of constitutional mandates.

INALIENABLE: (aka unalienable) Something that cannot be taken away. An intrinsic right such as the right to life and with it the right to use what tools (firearms) necessary to protect that right.

LAW: Rules, customs and practices a society has established to regulate and control the actions of its constituents. The “pecking order” is: Ordinances (city/village laws) are subordinate to statutes (state laws) which are under federal acts and laws. All of which must be in compliance with the Constitution (see Rule-of-law).

LIBERAL: A person on the left side of political beliefs. Socialistic. Considers more government control to be better than less control. Persons who view our Constitution as a guideline inasmuch as they believe it can be circumvented and molded to fit the POLITICAL CORRECTNESS du jour – as opposed to amending the Constitution.

LIBERTARIAN: A person who believes in full individual freedom and a very limited size and role of government. It has been said that a REPUBLICAN is one who was robbed last night; a DEMOCRAT is one who was arrested last night and a LIBERTARIAN is one who shot the person robbing him.

MALA IN SE: (Latin) Acts that are wrong in and of themselves – morally wrong. American’s don’t need a law to tell us that murder is wrong. Championing (voting) to pass laws that violate one’s constitutional or INALIENABLE RIGHTS is MALA IN SE.

MALA PROHIBITA: (Latin) Acts that are wrong only because society says it’s wrong. Parking your car in a no parking zone is only wrong because society, via laws, has deemed it so.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS: A rhetorician, with a virtuosity complex, who ignores the rule of law to further a political agenda. A slang catechism meaning the most expedient thing to do regardless of legalities. For example, those who desire to restrict or control firearms by passing unconstitutional laws, will justify their position with the pseudo belief that their actions are (in their opinion) in the best interest of society. (see RULE-OF-LAW)

REPUBLIC: A nation operating under a RULE-OF-LAW where its citizens have the sole power to elect representatives to enforce the rule-of-law and conduct the nation’s business to the best interest of its citizens – in accordance with a constitution. The difference between a true democracy (see DEMOCRACY) and a republic is in a democracy the majority rules, i.e., there is no controlling factors (constitutions) to hinder the will of the majority of the citizens or their representatives. In a republic, the citizens/representatives can only act in accordance within the established RULES-OF-LAW. Of course if the majority wishes to act in opposition to their own rule-of-law (a constitution), they must first change this RULE-OF-LAW/Constitution.

RIGHTS: aka privileges or immunities. That which belongs to a person by law, nature or tradition. Some rights have been established by law, edict, court decrees and constitutions. Others are intrinsic (see: INALIENABLE).

RULE-OF-LAW: An organization (including a nation) that has agreed to live (operate) by a set of pre-established rules or laws and that these codes take precedent over all else. The U.S. Constitution is our rule-of-law inasmuch as it is the set of laws to which all other laws, statutes, ordinances, court orders and executive edicts must conform. It doesn’t always work to perfection as witness how the Judicial Branch forces its uncontested opinion of the law upon juries in direct conflict with the 6th Amendment (see Government Corruption with Solutions, Part 3 – 29 Dec 05).

© 2014 Chuck Klein