Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The ADL gets it right

Over the years I've criticized the Anti-Defamation League. In fact, I could have sworn I'd excoriated them on these very pages, but I'm not finding it.

Where to begin? Of course, over the years they've demonstrated that they're on record supporting the Turkish genocide of the Armenians.

Or there was the time during the Gaza war when the ADL called Bill Moyers a racist for criticizing Israel's attacks on the civilians of Gaza.

Or, when Israel was at war with Lebanon, the way the ADL called for the use of cluster bombs against Lebanese civilians.

Still, as I say, fair is fair. If we're going to call them out when they're wrong, they deserve credit when they're right, and today is that day.

Henry Kissinger came under a lot of criticism over the last couple of days because of his comments about a potential genocide against Soviet Jews. In new Nixon tapes that were just released, tapes that once again illustrate the vicious racism and anti-Semitism of Richard Nixon, there is an exchange between Nixon and Kissinger about Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union.

An indication of Nixon’s complex relationship with Jews came the afternoon Golda Meir, the Israeli prime minister, came to visit on March 1, 1973. The tapes capture Meir offering warm and effusive thanks to Nixon for the way he had treated her and Israel.

But moments after she left, Nixon and Mr. Kissinger were brutally dismissive in response to requests that the United States press the Soviet Union to permit Jews to emigrate and escape persecution there.

“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy,” Mr. Kissinger said. “And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”

Fortunately, the ADL is ever at the ready to come to the defense of the poor, maligned Kissinger. Here's the conclusion of their statement from earlier today:

The Nixon Tapes should not change history's verdict on the important contributions and ultimate legacy of Henry Kissinger.

When you're right, you're right.

In Slate today, Christopher Hitchens gives an eloquent assessment of all the reasons Henry Kissinger should never be allowed to be at large among civilized people. One could have demanded this at almost any time during the years since his role as the only unindicted conspirator in the Nixon/Watergate gang, and since the exposure of his war crimes and crimes against humanity in Indochina, Chile, Argentina, Cyprus, East Timor, and several other places.

So it's a matter of context. It would be hard to find someone in our history whose record of war crimes, depravity, and villainy extends to so many disparate countries; who has crushed the legitimate aspirations for democracy of so many peoples; and who has simultaneously demonstrated such abject sycophancy in the presence of the powerful.

Set alongside such a record, a few vile comments made to the most atrocious criminal ever to grace the Oval Office rest like a feather added to the deck of a supertanker.

So have some respect for the ADL. When they say we don't need to judge Kissinger any more harshly than we already do because of these latest revealed statements, for once they're right.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Maybe a humanitarian concern." It's the "Maybe" that makes it art.


December 14, 2010 2:02 AM  

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