October 18, 2003


Dean Gets Standing Ovation from Arab-Americans (Tom Brown, October 18, 2003, Reuters)

Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean received a standing ovation from an Arab-American audience on Saturday when he attacked leading conservatives and figures from the religious right. [...]

His speech was repeatedly interrupted by applause as he condemned violations of civil liberties, racial profiling and abuse of authority under the USA Patriot Act, the anti-terror legislation championed by Ashcroft that passed after the Sept. 11 attacks. [...]

"Today we see another shameful chapter in American history. Because John Ashcroft touts the Patriot Act around this country does not make John Ashcroft a patriot," he said. [...]

Dean also won applause by reiterating his recent promises to send former President Bill Clinton to the Middle East as his peace broker if he is elected next year.

Never mind his impugning peoples' patriotism, what wouldn't you give to see the Israeli government's reaction if Bill Clinton showed up as our Middle East peace representative?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 18, 2003 10:25 PM

I certainly don't mean to pull an Easterbrook, but if Dean gets the Dem nod I would hope that most liberal Jews would at least not vote for Dean.

Posted by: pchuck at October 19, 2003 12:17 AM

I think that one has to recognize this as a conscious, and in fact seismic political decision by Dean to turn the tables on the American body politic, and it should be neither underestimated nor mocked.

Quite possibly, it is the most politically shrewd decision ever made by any politician. Even if it may not prove sufficiently "productive" for the 2004 elections.

The question Dean is posing to the American electorate is: How many of you, my fellow Americans, are sick and tired of having the Jews and Israel control American policy, which has resulted in making the United States of America the pariah of the world? The Jews of the world?

True, there's always the chance that it will backfire. But before that happens there will be some very sophisticated vileness, of the sort that has been seen in the past, to be sure, but not to this extent on American shores.

(Note: I hope that this post of mine proves to be utterly fatuous.)

Posted by: Barry Meislin at October 19, 2003 4:04 AM


No, I think you're right. If Democrats are serious about drawing down the anger against us they almost have to advocate abandoning Israel.

Posted by: oj at October 19, 2003 5:41 AM

Like Barry, I hope Barry is being alarmist, but I fear not. And the sophisticated vileness will be hidden by the fact that North Americans, because of their tradition of tolerance, their propensity to think in terms of rights and free speech and the safety of their personal lives, will find it hard to overcome a bewildered clumsiness and obtuseness in coping with it.

I just scanned over a hundred comments on Roger L. Simon's site on the Easterbrook kerfuffle. A wide range of strongly held views, but no one seemed able to take the debate on what is and is not anti-semitism out of a timeless, principled context. The fact that Israel is actually in an existential crisis and anti-semitism is rife in Europe(again), academia and the NGO community was never mentioned. The fact is that what was acceptable to debate, assert or joke about twenty years ago may not be acceptable now. We live in real time and words have consequences.

Imagine a German historian addressing an academic conference in 1925 and arguing as a professional that the imposed break-up of Austria-Hungary and creation of Czechoslovakia was a diplomatic mistake. Then imagine his doing it in 1939.

Posted by: Peter B at October 19, 2003 6:41 AM

Of course, the very ability to "warn" against this possibility is proof of the immense power of the "Amen corner" in America.

Merely proving that Matathir's analysis of the most pressing world-wide problem of our time (of all time?) is quite accurate.

Once again, repeat after me.....

Posted by: Barry Meislin at October 19, 2003 10:21 AM