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Tuesday, October 21, 2003


This - in full - from the blog, Cornfield Commentary by David Hogberg:

Apparently anti-Semitism is okay as long as it is used to placate the population and can be blamed on President Bush’s policies. So says New York Times clown Paul Krugman. Writing about the recent remarks by Mahathir Mohamad, leader of Malaysia, Krugman scribbles:
So what's with the anti-Semitism? Almost surely it's part of Mr. Mahathir's domestic balancing act, something I learned about the last time he talked like this, during the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98.

At that time, rather than accept the austerity programs recommended by the U.S. government and the I.M.F., he loudly blamed machinations by Western speculators, and imposed temporary controls on the outflow of capital — a step denounced by all but a handful of Western economists. As it turned out, his economic strategy was right: Malaysia suffered a shallower slump and achieved a quicker recovery than its neighbors.

What became clear watching Mr. Mahathir back then was that his strident rhetoric was actually part of a delicate balancing act aimed at domestic politics. Malaysia has a Muslim, ethnically Malay, majority, but its business drive comes mainly from an ethnic Chinese minority. To keep the economy growing, Mr. Mahathir must allow the Chinese minority to prosper, but to ward off ethnic tensions he must throw favors, real and rhetorical, to the Malays.

Part of that balancing act involves reserving good jobs for Malay workers and giving special business opportunities to Malay entrepreneurs. One reason Mr. Mahathir was so adamantly against I.M.F. austerity plans was that he feared that they would disrupt the carefully managed cronyism that holds his system together. When times are tough, Mr. Mahathir also throws the Muslim majority rhetorical red meat.

And that's what he was doing last week. Not long ago Washington was talking about Malaysia as an important partner in the war on terror. Now Mr. Mahathir thinks that to cover his domestic flank, he must insert hateful words into a speech mainly about Muslim reform. That tells you, more accurately than any poll, just how strong the rising tide of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism among Muslims in Southeast Asia has become. Thanks to its war in Iraq and its unconditional support for Ariel Sharon, Washington has squandered post-9/11 sympathy and brought relations with the Muslim world to a new low.

This is easily the stupidest thing Krugman has ever written, if not the stupidest thing ever written. To suggest that the anti-Semitism in the Muslim world is a result of our War to Liberate of Iraq is imbecilic beyond belief. Has Krugman forgotten how the Muslim world has treated Isreal these last, oh, 55 years?

No, he simply ignores it, just like he ignores recent history. He ignores the Palestinians dancing in the street after the World Trade Center collapsed, and he ignores the popularity of Mein Kampf in the Palestinian Territories in the months following 9/11. Clearly, much of the Muslim world would hate us regardless of the War to Liberate Iraq.

Furthermore, Krugman ignores Mahathir’s history of making anti-Semitic remarks. It didn’t take more than 5 minutes of Google searching to find this article detailing Mahathir’s long-time hatred of the Jews. It extends all the way back (at least) to his 1969 autobiography in which he wrote “The Jews ... are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively.” In 1991 he accused leaders of Australia’s Jewish community of plotting to overthrow him, and in 1994 he banned the movie Schindler’s List from Malaysia because he felt it was pro-Jewish propaganda.

Krugman purposely ignores all that. How do I know that Krugman “purposely ignores” it? Because of the way he whitewashes Mahathir’s 1997 remarks. Although Krugman notes that Mahathir “talked like this” in 1997, he then states that Mahathir “loudly blamed machinations by Western speculators.” Here’s what Mahathir actually said, according to the article in the Sun-Times:
Mahathir told Forbes magazine that his government had "definite information" that George Soros, a Jewish financier, was responsible for the Malaysian economy's collapse. "When a person of Jewish origin does this kind of thing [currency speculation], the effect is the same as when a Muslim carried out something akin to terrorism.
Why did Krugman leave out the fact that Mahathir fingered Soros specifically? Because including it would cast Mahathir in an even worse light and expose his seamy history of anti-Semitism. It would reveal that Mahathir had engaged in anti-Semitism before the War on Terrorism was even a thought, and during periods (the 1990s) when the U.S. did not give Israel unconditional support. That would, in turn, undermine Krugman’s absurd contention that President Bush made him do it.

Krugman’s apologetics are the worst sort. They excuse a bigotry so evil that it resulted in the mass slaughter of 6 million innocents as long as the bigotry is used to pacify domestic discontent. (I wonder if anyone ever said the same about Hitler’s rhetoric in the 1930s? I’m betting someone did.) It also panders to the bigots: anti-Semites in the Muslim world are not responsible for their views because there is a big, mean man in the White House who is making them feel that way.

There are three things to conclude from this. First, Krugman’s willinnginess to excuse anti-Semitism in order to bash Bush policy proves that his hatred of this President is pathological. Second, despite the removal of Howell Raines, the New York Times still suffers from a leadership without any sound judgment. And, finally, Don Luksin recently referred to Krugman as “evil.” Privately, I thought that was a bit over the top. Don, I cannot tell you how wrong I was.

posted by DAVID HOGBERG 8:08 AM 21 Comments