David Frum Claims Left-wing Blogs Are Filled With Anti-Semitism

Apparently left wing blogs have turned into a breeding ground for anti-Semitism according to National Review's David Frum, who made that claim on Re

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Apparently left wing blogs have turned into a breeding ground for anti-Semitism according to National Review's David Frum, who made that claim on Reliable Sources yesterday:

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Frum: "This is -- the Allen-Webb race is one of the two most races most intensely followed by the left wing Web sites in this country. And if you read those left wing Web sites and go into the comment sections, Daily Kos MoveOn.org sites, you will see they are seething with anti- Semitism that is unbelievable to anyone who thought they understand what American life was about."

Frum doesn't stop there. Later in the interview, he again brings up Daily Kos as being filled with anti-Semitism comments. Arianna was there to help put Frum in this place:

FRUM: Well, that is -- that's the embedded story line. And if we're going to talk about anti-Semitism on the campaign trail in 2006, I think people should be reading the comment section at the Daily Kos, where you will see it rich and bold and vivid.

KURTZ: Go ahead, Arianna.

HUFFINGTON: You know, David, this is absolutely ridiculous. The story line is very simple. The story line is that George Allen is dishonest, that he cannot answer a straightforward question with a straightforward answer about the ethnic heritage of his own mother. That's the story. The story is not anti-Semitism and going to the comment section of Daily Kos. This is purely absurd.

Frum really loses it towards the end of the segment when he compares questions of religion to questions of sex life:

But I just want -- it's a question about honesty and being asked about it. In the last segment of the show we are going to discuss Bill Clinton's refusal to answer questions about the intimate state of his marriage, and I think many of the people would say why it's perfectly appropriate to ask George Allen about the state of his soul, would then turn around and say it's inappropriate to ask Bill Clinton about the state of his sex life.


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That is one of the most unbelievable statements that I have heard in sometime. Asking someone about their religious background is the same as asking someone about their sex life? Typical right-wing argument; your losing an argument so you have to try and pull out a bash on Clinton. It backfired of course and Arianna had to once again set Frum straight:

You cannot honestly think that the private state of a politician's marriage is of the same caliber in terms of honesty and questioning and, indeed, permissibility for the press to ask about that as the heritage, the ethnicity of his parents? You really think that's...

Full transcript available below the fold (via CNN)

KURTZ: Joining us now to talk about coverage of the campaign here in Washington, Roger Simon, chief political correspondent for Bloomberg News; David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter who writes for "National Review Online"; and in New York; Arianna Huffington, editor of huffingtonpost.com and author of the new book "On Becoming Fearless in Love, Work and Life."

David Frum, should that question have been asked of George Allen at a televised debate, or it was an attempt to embarrass the senator?

DAVID FRUM, "NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE": Well, we should begin by marking today as the second day of Rosh Hashanah, and, of course, you shouldn't be asking the question and I shouldn't be answering it. I find it an amazing event.

This is -- the Allen-Webb race is one of the two most races most intensely followed by the left wing Web sites in this country. And if you read those left wing Web sites and go into the comment sections, Daily Kos MoveOn.org sites, you will see they are seething with anti- Semitism that is unbelievable to anyone who thought they understand what American life was about.

So, in an age in which that kind of "the Jews led us into this war and the Jews are to blame for all of America's problems" talk is so common on the political left, for someone to stand up and say to a candidate for office, "So, you Jewish?" It's just -- it's just -- I found it flabbergasting. I find it even more flabbergasting that the spotlight is now on the person who was asked the question, not the person who asked the question.

KURTZ: Well, and our job is to put that spotlight on journalists. And Allen, the day after that debate, you know, acknowledged that his mother was Jewish and said he had not known that until recent weeks.

Arianna Huffington, I assume you're 100 percent Greek. You ran for California three years ago. Would you have resented being asked in a debate about your grandfather's or your mother's ethnicity?

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: Absolutely not. I mean, it's a straightforward question. And what made it a story is that George Allen could not give a straightforward answer and has not been able to do so ever since.

He's been telling us even after he acknowledged that his mother was Jewish that he she made really good pork chops and that she gave him ham sandwiches to take to school, as though that had anything to do with anything. And the most revealing and kind of most disturbing aspect of that was his answer to Wolf Blitzer about his conversation with his mother last August, when supposedly he first found out that she was Jewish, when his mothered to him, "I hadn't told you that because I was afraid you wouldn't love me as much."

His own mother doubting whether her son would love her as much if he knew that she was Jewish? What does this say about George Allen?

KURTZ: Let me come back to the question at the debate, Roger Simon. Peggy Fox said -- we heard that the issue was honesty. She told me in an e-mail that she's not the issue, Allen's character is.

Was this a journalistically appropriate question?

ROGER SIMON, BLOOMBERG NEWS: It was not an inappropriate question. There's plenty in George Allen's background to give you an excuse to raise it.

He has talked about his grandfather being imprisoned by the Nazis for supporting -- for philosophical reasons, not for religious reasons. He complained to a columnist in Virginia for having printed that he had a Jewish background. And George Allen demanded a retraction.

The point is, however, that even if that wasn't there, she was asking a question because we want to know about celebrities in American society. And all politicians today are celebrities. How many newspaper columns, how many magazines, how many TV shows are devoted to celebrity gossip? This is just another form of that.

KURTZ: So celebrity gossip is OK in the context of a Senate race?

SIMON: Because people want to know about politicians for the same reason...

KURTZ: They want to know who they are? SIMON: Absolutely.

KURTZ: All right.

Let me ask you this, David Frum. James Webb, the ex-Marine who is running against George Allen, he wrote 27 years ago that the naval academy's co-ed dorms were "a horny woman's dream," and that he never met a woman he would trust to provide combat leadership.

I ask you about this because that became sort of a blip of a story for about half a day, as compared to "Macaca" and now the Jewish question.

FRUM: You know, I think it is an amazing contrast. It also suggests, by the way, that -- the fact that Webb wants to walk away from it suggests that he's walking away from one of the things that one -- is one of his sort of profiles in encourage, which is he was one of the early warners against some of the problems that would occur when you put women into combat roles.

We now have almost four dozen women dead in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it's amazing to me that it doesn't provoke more of a reaction in American society.

But there's a story line. I mean, it would be news to most American politicians that they are celebrities. Let them try to get a reservation at a fancy restaurant and then they'll see how celebrated they are.

There's a story line here. They want to tell the story that George Allen is an anti-Semite. If anti-Semitism...

KURTZ: And who is they? Who wants to tell that story?

FRUM: The woman who asked the question, the journalists who cover this. That is -- that is the assumption.

KURTZ: You're saying that Peggy Fox is trying to paint George Allen...

FRUM: She does...

KURTZ: ... as an anti-Semite, as opposed to just asking him to come clean about his family background?

FRUM: Well, that is -- that's the embedded story line. And if we're going to talk about anti-Semitism on the campaign trail in 2006, I think people should be reading the comment section at the Daily Kos, where you will see it rich and bold and vivid.

KURTZ: Go ahead, Arianna.

HUFFINGTON: You know, David, this is absolutely ridiculous. The story line is very simple. The story line is that George Allen is dishonest, that he cannot answer a straightforward question with a straightforward answer about the ethnic heritage of his own mother. That's the story. The story is not anti-Semitism and going to the comment section of Daily Kos. This is purely absurd.

FRUM: Arianna -- Arianna...

HUFFINGTON: You need to -- and, you know, the fact -- I read what you wrote in the "National Review," saying that the media didn't make as big of a fuss about John Kerry's revelation about his Jewish background.

FRUM: Discovery.

HUFFINGTON: The discovery. And that's totally untrue. Just go and look at how much the media played that up.

FRUM: He was...

HUFFINGTON: The Boston blogs, "The New York Times"...

FRUM: Kerry was never asked to account for his absolutely unbelievable story about his -- about his knowledge.

But I just want -- it's a question about honesty and being asked about it. In the last segment of the show we are going to discuss Bill Clinton's refusal to answer questions about the intimate state of his marriage, and I think many of the people would say why it's perfectly appropriate to ask George Allen about the state of his soul, would then turn around and say it's inappropriate to ask Bill Clinton about the state of his sex life.

HUFFINGTON: But David, what...

(CROSSTALK)

FRUM: Politicians are allowed (ph) to refuse to answer.

SIMON: David, you stumbled on the truth there for a second when you said it was about honesty. And that was behind the reporter's question. Is George Allen honest about it? And tellingly, his reaction is, on a live debate in front of everyone, to lie.

KURTZ: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.

FRUM: So when reporters ask Bill Clinton, how many...

SIMON: And by the way...

FRUM: ... nights do you spend with Hillary, is that also about honesty?

HUFFINGTON: Oh, David, honestly, you cannot seriously...

SIMON: And by the way, senators...

(CROSSTALK)

HUFFINGTON: One second. This is a very important point.

You cannot honestly think that the private state of a politician's marriage is of the same caliber in terms of honesty and questioning and, indeed, permissibility for the press to ask about that as the heritage, the ethnicity of his parents? You really think that's...

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.

I want to play a clip from George Allen on "THE SITUATION ROOM" this week where he talks about the aftermath of that question in the debate.

Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: I know that the audience also thought it was inappropriate, but I'll tell you what I was thinking. I was thinking of my mother. I was thinking as a son, and I wanted to protect my mother and her wishes, and the promise I made to her. And I'm glad that she has released me from that promise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Roger Simon, very briefly, because I want to move on. Would you agree that there are more important issues facing the voters in Virginia about whether George Allen's mother and grandfather were Jewish?

SIMON: Sure. And those issues are talked about all the time. But there are also issues about George Allen's character which he brings to the fore, not the questioner.

All George Allen had to say was what he started to say, "I don't think would be should be talking about religion. It doesn't matter."

KURTZ: Right.

SIMON: He stopped by saying, oh, "I was raised a Christian, my mother is a Christian." That was a lie. He knew it was a lie.

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