Singing the Jews Blues

They're singing the blues, the Jews Blues. And with it the stage has been set for the elimination of the Jewish state and a grim future for Jews in the United States.  If the result sought is that "we are all anti-Semites now," then the Jews Blues are the means to that end.

In music, the blues simultaneously direct sadness and anger at a person or situation, empathically pulling listeners into agreement. The rhetorical blues do the same, offering elites a way to shift the blame for policy and social failures to selected individuals and groups. This creates a background consensus of opprobrium, against which we hear heightened, often murderous rhetoric about groups and/or individuals ...and shrug our shoulders. "Ah, we hear it all the time, everyone knows Jews are traitors (or military veterans are terrorists, conservatives are fascists, etc.). Move on (no pun intended, although Moveon.org is the quintessential ‘blues' organization specializing in scurrilously exaggerated attacks), nothing to see here." 

Hate as background noise, with words disconnected from consequences, produces increasing tolerance of the previously unthinkable. Columbia University is pushing tenure for an academic whose scholarly output consists largely of anti-Jewish theories that would have gotten him laughed off the faculty thirty years ago. Richard Nixon could say about Jews in general almost forty years ago "You can't trust the bastards" and be excoriated as an anti-Semite. But the Jews Blues have since become the Muzak of our political culture, and a leading Democratic Party light, Al ""If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house" Sharpton, who had encouraged an anti-Semitic attack on a Jewish-owned store in New York City resulting in eight deaths, becomes a trusted advisor of a US president.

President Barack Obama courts Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who is putting his nation through what Commentary magazine calls an "unprecedented" surge in anti-Semitism, with state police and media participating in viciously anti-Jewish attacks, and embraces an Iran that urges the destruction of all Jews...and Time columnist Joe Klein-- who occasionally uses his mainstream platform for the kind of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories once the preserve of 1930s totalitarians and now mainstream left (including Jewish left, of which Klein is a card-carrying member) -- hails his "candor and vision," his "stupendous" social engineering.

Forty years ago the leading Democratic intellectual was Patrick Moynihan, eulogized as "a wit and raconteur, a social commentator with few peers" and described as "the nation's best thinker among politicians since Lincoln"; today, the intellectual light of the party in power is provided by the Daily Kos, a blog known for "ghastly anti-Semitic commentary" and occasional "hideous Jew-hating cartoons."

As the Jews Blues resonate, anti-Jewish speech becomes uniquely meaningless. Talk radio and MSNBC host Don Imus was fired during the outrage after he called the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos." Our Knowledge Elites, those who set the agenda for the rest of us, however, merely shrugged their shoulders when Imus called publishing executives "thieving Jews" and referred to a journalist as  "that boner-nosed . . . beanie-wearing little Jew boy".  Few in the mainstream media covered his remarks. Tellingly, a blog of the iconic New York Times devoted to staff insights on current affairs called it "a bit of, shall we say ... insensitive banter."  Very offhand, deliberate British-style understatement. Had the blog been around in the early 1930's, when Hitler referred to Jews as "these well-poisoners of the German people", the Pulitzer Prize winning staff might have chuckled and blogged, "He's a cheeky sort, isn't he?"

Through the Jews Blues, anti-Semitism has become mainstream. Consequently, our government, media, and academic Knowledge Elites cheer a foreign policy that embraces the world's most murderous thugs in a manner that, as Jay Nordlinger of National Review puts it, is "morally sickening", and are ignored by a majority of citizens. And now our liberal-led government is readying renditions of the Veterans Blues (courtesy Homeland Security) and Taxpayers Blues (Obama: How dare you object to paying more; media elites: tax protestors hate soldiers).

The Jews Blues, nearing a rhetorical peak, provides a glimpse of the future for other blues targets.  Propaganda, tinged with regret and sadness (Obama: Sigh, the Jews who force my supporters to call for them to be ‘thrown in the oven' are not the same Jews I have in my cabinet), culminate decades of rhetoric that disconnects reality from fact. Among the media elites, for example, CNN devoted a third of its examination of religion-based terrorism to bloodthirsty Jews, despite the fact that the chance of being killed by a Jewish terrorist is statistically the same as receiving an invitation to the Bar Mitzvah of the son of Jerry Falwell Jr.  Meanwhile, Obama advisors serially blame the Jews for the world's conflicts (Iraq war the fault of Jews, Jews root cause of racism, Jews commit atrocities, etc.) while mainstream media goes about the business of demonizing -- regretfully, of course -- the Jews (The Los Angeles Times showcased the pronouncement of a "self-taught genetics buff"  of "faulty" Jewish genes, eerily reminiscent of the Nazi race theories). The new blues are a means to classic scapegoating.

The FBI hate crimes statistics tell the story of how far along we are in the deadening effects of the Jews Blues.  In a world where anti-Semitism has hit record levels, the percent of official criminal complaints about anti-Jewish hate crimes in the US has declined from nearly 83% of all incidents in the religious category in 1994, the first year the bureau began keeping statistics, to 69% in 2007. In the same period, anti-Semitic incidents worldwide have increased by approximately half again. Some liberal Jews strain to explain the decrease of officially reported anti-Jewish hate crimes (perhaps Jews are defending themselves better?), while most ignore the official statistics and describe what they see, a "pandemic of anti-Semitism" that has become acceptable. "Kill the Jews" simply does not have the punch it once did, certainly no longer enough to report to the government as a crime. We have become desensitized, with anti-Semitism the new normal. Respected pollster Frank Luntz found that graduate student leaders at the nation's top universities view Israel and the Jews as one, and would like to see fewer Jews on their elite campuses and in leadership positions in government and industry.

Anti-Semitism in America has become as ubiquitous as McDonalds. Thirty years ago the pronouncement by one of the nation's most respected liberal magazines that violent entertainment in Hollywood comes from "Jewish executives (who) worship money above all else" would have outraged our mainstream elites.  However, now our leaders simply shrug: Move on, nothing to see here. The New York Times growing hostility toward Jews has been well documented, lending its agenda-setting riffs to the music.

So where to from here?  We turn for advice to country music artist Lorrie Morgan, who sang sorrowfully "What Part of ‘No' don't you understand?" a quarter-century ago. Not the blues, but powerful music nonetheless. And it cuts to the heart of the problem for those, both Jews and non-Jews, for whom words have meaning:

What part of "Kill the Jews" do you not understand?

Stuart H. Schwartz, Ph.D., is a former newspaper and retail executive. He is on the faculty at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
They're singing the blues, the Jews Blues. And with it the stage has been set for the elimination of the Jewish state and a grim future for Jews in the United States.  If the result sought is that "we are all anti-Semites now," then the Jews Blues are the means to that end.

In music, the blues simultaneously direct sadness and anger at a person or situation, empathically pulling listeners into agreement. The rhetorical blues do the same, offering elites a way to shift the blame for policy and social failures to selected individuals and groups. This creates a background consensus of opprobrium, against which we hear heightened, often murderous rhetoric about groups and/or individuals ...and shrug our shoulders. "Ah, we hear it all the time, everyone knows Jews are traitors (or military veterans are terrorists, conservatives are fascists, etc.). Move on (no pun intended, although Moveon.org is the quintessential ‘blues' organization specializing in scurrilously exaggerated attacks), nothing to see here." 

Hate as background noise, with words disconnected from consequences, produces increasing tolerance of the previously unthinkable. Columbia University is pushing tenure for an academic whose scholarly output consists largely of anti-Jewish theories that would have gotten him laughed off the faculty thirty years ago. Richard Nixon could say about Jews in general almost forty years ago "You can't trust the bastards" and be excoriated as an anti-Semite. But the Jews Blues have since become the Muzak of our political culture, and a leading Democratic Party light, Al ""If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house" Sharpton, who had encouraged an anti-Semitic attack on a Jewish-owned store in New York City resulting in eight deaths, becomes a trusted advisor of a US president.

President Barack Obama courts Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who is putting his nation through what Commentary magazine calls an "unprecedented" surge in anti-Semitism, with state police and media participating in viciously anti-Jewish attacks, and embraces an Iran that urges the destruction of all Jews...and Time columnist Joe Klein-- who occasionally uses his mainstream platform for the kind of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories once the preserve of 1930s totalitarians and now mainstream left (including Jewish left, of which Klein is a card-carrying member) -- hails his "candor and vision," his "stupendous" social engineering.

Forty years ago the leading Democratic intellectual was Patrick Moynihan, eulogized as "a wit and raconteur, a social commentator with few peers" and described as "the nation's best thinker among politicians since Lincoln"; today, the intellectual light of the party in power is provided by the Daily Kos, a blog known for "ghastly anti-Semitic commentary" and occasional "hideous Jew-hating cartoons."

As the Jews Blues resonate, anti-Jewish speech becomes uniquely meaningless. Talk radio and MSNBC host Don Imus was fired during the outrage after he called the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos." Our Knowledge Elites, those who set the agenda for the rest of us, however, merely shrugged their shoulders when Imus called publishing executives "thieving Jews" and referred to a journalist as  "that boner-nosed . . . beanie-wearing little Jew boy".  Few in the mainstream media covered his remarks. Tellingly, a blog of the iconic New York Times devoted to staff insights on current affairs called it "a bit of, shall we say ... insensitive banter."  Very offhand, deliberate British-style understatement. Had the blog been around in the early 1930's, when Hitler referred to Jews as "these well-poisoners of the German people", the Pulitzer Prize winning staff might have chuckled and blogged, "He's a cheeky sort, isn't he?"

Through the Jews Blues, anti-Semitism has become mainstream. Consequently, our government, media, and academic Knowledge Elites cheer a foreign policy that embraces the world's most murderous thugs in a manner that, as Jay Nordlinger of National Review puts it, is "morally sickening", and are ignored by a majority of citizens. And now our liberal-led government is readying renditions of the Veterans Blues (courtesy Homeland Security) and Taxpayers Blues (Obama: How dare you object to paying more; media elites: tax protestors hate soldiers).

The Jews Blues, nearing a rhetorical peak, provides a glimpse of the future for other blues targets.  Propaganda, tinged with regret and sadness (Obama: Sigh, the Jews who force my supporters to call for them to be ‘thrown in the oven' are not the same Jews I have in my cabinet), culminate decades of rhetoric that disconnects reality from fact. Among the media elites, for example, CNN devoted a third of its examination of religion-based terrorism to bloodthirsty Jews, despite the fact that the chance of being killed by a Jewish terrorist is statistically the same as receiving an invitation to the Bar Mitzvah of the son of Jerry Falwell Jr.  Meanwhile, Obama advisors serially blame the Jews for the world's conflicts (Iraq war the fault of Jews, Jews root cause of racism, Jews commit atrocities, etc.) while mainstream media goes about the business of demonizing -- regretfully, of course -- the Jews (The Los Angeles Times showcased the pronouncement of a "self-taught genetics buff"  of "faulty" Jewish genes, eerily reminiscent of the Nazi race theories). The new blues are a means to classic scapegoating.

The FBI hate crimes statistics tell the story of how far along we are in the deadening effects of the Jews Blues.  In a world where anti-Semitism has hit record levels, the percent of official criminal complaints about anti-Jewish hate crimes in the US has declined from nearly 83% of all incidents in the religious category in 1994, the first year the bureau began keeping statistics, to 69% in 2007. In the same period, anti-Semitic incidents worldwide have increased by approximately half again. Some liberal Jews strain to explain the decrease of officially reported anti-Jewish hate crimes (perhaps Jews are defending themselves better?), while most ignore the official statistics and describe what they see, a "pandemic of anti-Semitism" that has become acceptable. "Kill the Jews" simply does not have the punch it once did, certainly no longer enough to report to the government as a crime. We have become desensitized, with anti-Semitism the new normal. Respected pollster Frank Luntz found that graduate student leaders at the nation's top universities view Israel and the Jews as one, and would like to see fewer Jews on their elite campuses and in leadership positions in government and industry.

Anti-Semitism in America has become as ubiquitous as McDonalds. Thirty years ago the pronouncement by one of the nation's most respected liberal magazines that violent entertainment in Hollywood comes from "Jewish executives (who) worship money above all else" would have outraged our mainstream elites.  However, now our leaders simply shrug: Move on, nothing to see here. The New York Times growing hostility toward Jews has been well documented, lending its agenda-setting riffs to the music.

So where to from here?  We turn for advice to country music artist Lorrie Morgan, who sang sorrowfully "What Part of ‘No' don't you understand?" a quarter-century ago. Not the blues, but powerful music nonetheless. And it cuts to the heart of the problem for those, both Jews and non-Jews, for whom words have meaning:

What part of "Kill the Jews" do you not understand?

Stuart H. Schwartz, Ph.D., is a former newspaper and retail executive. He is on the faculty at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.