Did VFR make a prejudiced reference to Jewish supporters of homosexual “marriage”?

Steve W. writes:

In your last post about the New York gay marriage legislation, you wrote: “[The New York Times article] also tells how rich Republican donors, several of them Jews, allied with Cuomo and gave huge sums to pay for the lobbying campaign that led to the homosexualist victory.” Did the NYT article specifically mention the Jewish ethnicity of these Republican donors, or is that your own observation? Either way, I fail to see the relevance of noting that some of these donors are Jews. Why single out this particular ethnic group? What about the ethnic identities of the other donors? Are we supposed to believe that Jews, let alone Republican Jews, are uniquely responsible for the passage of gay marriage legislation in New York? Unfortunately, this observation about Jews, without any other apparent connection to the story, strikes me as gratuitous and prejudiced.

LA replies:

Here is the beginning of the Times article:

In the 35th-floor conference room of a Manhattan high-rise, two of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s most trusted advisers held a secret meeting a few weeks ago with a group of super-rich Republican donors.

Over tuna and turkey sandwiches, the advisers explained that New York’s Democratic governor was determined to legalize same-sex marriage and would deliver every possible Senate vote from his own party.

Would the donors win over the deciding Senate Republicans? It sounded improbable: top Republican moneymen helping a Democratic rival with one of his biggest legislative goals.

But the donors in the room—the billionaire Paul Singer, whose son is gay, joined by the hedge fund managers Cliff Asness and Daniel Loeb—had the influence and the money to insulate nervous senators from conservative backlash if they supported the marriage measure. And they were inclined to see the issue as one of personal freedom, consistent with their more libertarian views.

Within days, the wealthy Republicans sent back word: They were on board. Each of them cut six-figure checks to the lobbying campaign that eventually totaled more than $1 million.

Steve Cohen, the No. 2 in Mr. Cuomo’s office and a participant in the meeting, began to see a path to victory, telling a colleague, “This might actually happen.”

Four men are named in this account: the three moneybags pro-homosexual “marriage” Republican donors, and Cuomo’s number two aide, who as a result of their six figure donations “began to see a path to victory.” Of the three donors, at least two, Singer and Loeb, have Jewish names (and the third, Asness, might be Jewish as well), along with Cuomo’s aide, Cohen. So the Jewish aspect of this operation stuck out. Before I decided to reference the Jewish aspect in my post, I wondered if would be right to do that, and I concluded that the Jewish element was so striking in the Times’ account that it would have felt unnatural and dishonest not to mention it. [Update: Asness is Jewish; also, he’s a major donor at his synogogue. So all four men attending this crucial meeting that led to the passage of the homosexual marriage bill were Jews.]

You ask, “Are we supposed to believe that Jews, let alone Republican Jews, are uniquely responsible for the passage of gay marriage legislation in New York?”

Well, Republican Jews certainly played a very big part in it. It was the money from those three moneybags that enabled an enormous lobbying effort which played the key role in changing several former opponents to supporters.

I also mentioned that Cuomo is an Italian Catholic.

Also, I thought of discussing the fact, but didn’t get around to it, that several of the legislators who had previously opposed homosexual “marriage” and who became supporters have Italian names and are presumably Italian Catholics: Joseph Addabbo (who switched because the pro homosexual “marriage” side generated a huge number of constituent letters to his office supporting “marriage”), James Alesi, and (one of the two who switched sides at the last moment allowing the measure to pass) Mark Gristanti, whose mindless conversion (“same-sex couples must have the same right to be married that I and my wife have”) is recounted in the earlier Times story that I posted.

- end of initial entry -

Irv P. writes:

Sorry, Steve W., but if the shoe fits, wear it. I’m Jewish but am not in the least bit offended by references to the truth about our so-called brethren who do everything they can to keep cracking the foundations of this once great culture. Jews have a disproportionate negative influence on the issues that threaten our way of life, and it’s about time we realize it as a group and cease and desist!

Jim C. writes:

Yes, you did make a prejudiced statement about Jews.

Steve W. writes:

Reading the above explanation and Irv P.’s comment, I remain convinced that singling out the Jewish participants in this story was gratuitous and prejudiced. There is an enormous difference between recognizing that “Jews have a disproportionate negative influence on the issues that threaten our way of life” (which I’ll accept, even if this particular formulation raises even more questions) and suggesting that “Jewish moneybags” are the proximate cause behind these problems. Seriously, VFR and its readers are going to “blame the Jews” for the passage of the gay marriage legislation?

LA replies:

In the entry, I said that the Times article “tells how rich Republican donors, several of them Jews, allied with Cuomo and gave huge sums to pay for the lobbying campaign that led to the homosexualist victory.” That’s the totality of what I said about Jews: “several of them Jews.”

I don’t think that any reasonable person would think that I was “blaming the Jews” for the passage of the legislation.

However, it’s a more reasonable assertion, or at least it’s closer to reasonableness, that my comment mentioning the Jewishness of several key actors was prejudicial. So let’s consider that further.

Once in the early ’90s Jared Taylor had a review at American Renaissance of a book by David Rieff. I believe the book was about Los Angeles and the demographic and cultural changes going on there. Rieff is of course a leftist and pro the diversification of America through immigration. In the course of the article, Taylor mentioned that Rieff was a Jew. He didn’t bring up Rieff’s Jewishness in relation to anything, he just said he was a Jew. I didn’t think about it, but a friend of mine who read the article, who is not Jewish, said to me that the bare mention of Rieff’s Jewishness was or could be seen as anti-Semitic. After thinking about it, I agreed with my friend’s point and passed the point on to Mr. Taylor. I said to him that it would be ok to mention Jews and criticize Jews for specific things, but just to throw in the fact that someone with objectionable views is Jewish, without any accompanying argument connecting his Jewishness to his objectionable views, did not feel right and could be seen as anti-Semitic.

Well, my current mention of the Jewishness of the men in that meeting, unaccompanied by any reason for mentioning their Jewishness, could be seen as a violation of the principle that I proposed to Jared Taylor.

However, I think that there is difference between the two situations. In the present case, it wasn’t just one writer who was Jewish, but at least three out of the four people attending this key meeting. The Jewish names—Loeb, Cohen, Singer—stuck out. And, as I said before, NOT to mention the fact that almost all the men in the meeting were Jews would have felt unnatural and dishonest. It would have felt as though I was closing my eyes to an evident fact, in the same way that the media constantly close their eyes to certain evident facts concerning certain racial and religious groups.

So, if there is a principle here that distinguishes my mention of the Jewishness of Loeb, Cohen, and Singer from Jared Taylor’s mention of the Jewishness of David Rieff, it would be this: when almost all the people in a key meeting that leads to the passage of ruinous leftist legislation belong to the same ethnic or religious group, that fact may be pointed out.

James N. writes:

Did you make a prejudiced statement against Jews?

No, you didn’t.

You discriminated.

There is a difference, and the conflation of the two concepts is very harmful to rational thought.

Prejudice means, to pre-judge. Had you said, “There goes that rich Jew. I hate him, because rich Jews support homosexual marriage,” you would have made a prejudiced statement, because you do not know if THAT rich Jew does or doesn’t. You would have pre-judged him.

What you did was to discriminate. You observed the obvious: The three named donors were rich, and there is reason to suppose that they were Jews. This discriminates, or distinguishes, specific individuals in a way that informs public discussion.

Prejudice is a bad thing. Discrimination is a good thing.

Prejudice harms, discrimination can save. Discrimination between good and evil, or nutritious food and poison, or scary-looking people and harmless looking people, is necessary for our existence.

Sophia A. writes:

I do not think you made an observation that was anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic, or prejudiced, in pointing out that the prime muscle behind the same-sex marriage law in New York State were rich Jews.

The oversensitivity of some people is revealing. When I read the article, the Jewishness of the names was evident to me. Jim C. asks why this matters. Let me answer as briefly as I can, with an analogy.

We notice Jewish names that are prominent in destructive radical issues for the same reason we talk about black crime. It’s not the crime—it’s the proportions. Violent crime is pretty much a young man’s specialty, but within that group black males predominate disproportionately. This is Truth 101 to readers of your blog.

Likewise, in the U.S., a huge proportion of loudmouth leftists are Jews. What they espouse is completely antithetical to traditional morals, law, tradition and culture. (Perhaps that’s the reason they espouse them.) And it’s deeply troubling to me, as a traditional Jew, to say this. But I can’t deny the facts any more than a law-abiding black citizen can deny the facts about black crime. Facts are facts.

Usually they are associated with the left, and with the Democratic party, so I have read apologists who say, “It’s because they are Democrats, and leftist, not because they are Jewish.” But in the case of Paul Singer, this isn’t so. His political activity is strictly Republican.

He’s on the board of Commentary magazine. He was a liaison between George Bush and the Israeli political establishment. And he’s got a gay married son, for whom he bought and arm-twisted legislation, which will have profound repercussions for all of us.

More about Singer’s Jewish (neocon) connections.

The JTA noticed the Jewish connection.

As did Jewlicious.

A lot of members of the so-called elite have gay sons. Why this is, I don’t know. Perhaps they grew up in stifling mother-dominated homes, with Daddy away 18 hours at a time making money. Who knows? But I have seen a fair amount in my time, and this is something that has struck me.

In any case I do not believe you are prejudiced. No way. You are bracingly honest. That’s why we read you.

Steve W. writes:

Sophia’s comment perfectly illustrates the danger behind making casual comments about the Jewish ethnicity of certain persons involved in the gay marriage issue. This is not a matter of “oversensitivity”; it is a matter of factual and moral accuracy. To wit, she writes: “the prime muscle behind the same-sex marriage law in New York State were rich Jews.” Really? This statement wildly exaggerates the role of the “Jewish moneybags” profiled in the NYT article. The point of the article is that their efforts helped persuade a few remaining Republican senators to vote in favor of the bill. But they were not “the prime muscle” behind the bill. Such a statement reflects ignorance and prejudice masquerading as clear eyed political analysis. Whether or not “a huge proportion of loudmouth leftists are Jews” (whatever this statement actually means), Jews—of the leftist or liberal Republican variety—are not uniquely or particularly responsible for the gay marriage legislation in New York. VFR frequently points out how liberals treat blacks as non-moral agents who are not responsible for their own actions. This discussion about the gay marriage bill makes it sound like non-Jews are not responsible for their actions, but are the mere victims of “destructive radical” Jews. It is very disappointing to see such rubbish on VFR.

LA replies:

Steve W. swings wilder and wilder. His entire comment is a response, not to anything I have said, but to a comment by another reader, a comment which to his mind proves something amiss about VFR. He calls her comment “such rubbish on VFR,” as though VFR were responsible for the totality of everything said by its commenters. VFR posts reasonable comments that have to do with the issue at hand. Yet Steve W., the crusader against the slightest incorrect attribution of bad things to Jews, rushes to attribute to VFR something that was not said by VFR but by one of its commenters. Ironically, Steve W. is also a VFR commenter, and he improperly and insultingly calls another commenter’s point “rubbish.” So by Steve W.’s logic, VFR could be, with even more justice, blamed for posting Steve W.’s unsuitable and overheated comment.

Pentheus writes:

It is noteworthy and shameful that Catholics figured so prominently in this. Liberalism, not Christianity or Judaism, is the now the religion of America, not only its secular institutions and governments, but in most of its churches and synagogues as well.

Here is the true litmus test question for Steve W.:

If VFR were a liberal, Jewish-oriented blog and Mr. Auster’s post had been celebrating rather than condemning the passage of same-sex “marriage” in NYS, and had praised these men as good Jews for their key influence in bringing about this great advance in justice and equality, would you have written to him to complain of prejudice or ask why he singles out one group for praise?

Or, here I shall offer another example, actually and not hypothetically, by my own comment on what those photos show. They are all white men. None of them is black or Hispanic.

Wealthy white males have brought this about by the closest thing to legal bribery of legislators that I have ever read reported so nakedly.

Now, is anyone out there offended by my singling out one group for criticism?

June 28

Paul Henri writes:

Now why would a Jew (by genetics) point out the errors of many members of his race? He believes in the true, the good, and the beautiful regardless of the consequences. Time and time again Mr. Auster has pointed out that Jews could not have a substantial effect on politics or on any matter unless a large number of non-Jews agreed with them. This fact eviscerates the idea that Mr. Auster is anti-Semitic.

Mr. Auster was trying to express openly that Jews have influence well beyond their numbers (because, as Paul Harvey once said, they possess uncommon intellect and industriousness). We need to know facts such as most Jews are liberal. Those are the premises of Mr. Auster’s post. He did not propose that we do something to Jews. If we cannot discuss the truth, we cannot know the truth.

Heaven forbid that we prejudge? Are we to ignore the black on white violence that the South knew was going to happen before the Civil War and has been happening since before the “Civil Rights Act of 1964,” which greatly escalated the violence? Only ignorant (not in a pejoritive sense) people believe the answer to the questions is yes. Of course we must prejudge the tactics of Muslims, Japanese, and Germans.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 27, 2011 10:31 AM | Send

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