Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imus, Sharpton, and immaculate Jews

The Imus story highlights a murkiness that dwells in the back of my mind whenever omertas on speech involving unassailables, especially blacks and Jews, comes into play. Al Sharpton hosted Imus, giving the aging eccentric the opportunity to boast an apology and allowing Sharpton to do what Sharpton does.

I want to know why Sharpton's unctuous indignation isn't used as an opportunity for Jewish elites to open up on Sharpton, whose funeral speech following the Cato car accident in 1991 and subsequent trip to the Levant when Sharpton suggested Israel and Hell were synonymous. Questioning Jewish interests in the US is putatively off limits for members of either political party, but one of the best known Democrats is no friend of American Jews.

Is it that we're talking about two different planes here? Challenges to black interests aren't acceptable at the popular level but in the upper echelons of decision-making society they're a non-factor, whereas crass commentary about Jews isn't paid much attention to but upper echelon challenges to the Jewish story are fiercely attacked.

Imus, Bennett, and Richards create big waves while black wage supression through Congressional immigration policies or US action on behalf of sub-Saharan blacks in Africa are non-starters. Screeching imams are given ample coverage in the Western media and anti-Jewish stereotypes are broadcast in movies like Borat while scholarly treatment of Jewish influence in the US is viciously assaulted, US foreign policy is altered on behalf of Israel, and even flattering work dealing with enhanced Ashkenazi intelligence is to be rejected.

The acceptance of this loose trend seems plausible enough when viewed as paralleling the relative positions of the black and Jewish communities in the US. Making a big huff over some marginal remark about blacks by a non-black is a surefire way to get the black community stirred up. They make up one-eighth of the population, so rallying a groundswelling is easy for leaders like Sharpton. But relatively few blacks have the power or sophistication to see how policies that don't conspicuously involve blacks actually effect the black community.

Jews, on the other hand, are less numerous but much more successful. They don't have the numbers to make a big stink about some offhand comment directed at them, and the relatively high number of Jews in positions of power accurately surmise that such protests won't do them any actual good. Where meaningful decisions are actually made is where pro-Jewish forces go to work.

This is the sort of speculation that's exceedingly difficult for me to articulate. It's why I like to stick to things that are easily quantifiable--IQ and fecundity, race and crime--but the supposed intractable power of Jewish interests and the inability of anyone to say something unbecoming of them and survive in the media to tell about it (something I generally agree with), in the face of well-known commentators like Sharpton who've said plenty of disparaging things about Jews with a level of impunity, frequently bemuses me.

That, however, is not the only phenomenon regarding American Jews that leaves me scratching my head.

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