Podhoretz defends Rush's comments on Jews and bankers

Conservative talker gets some support after being criticized by head of the Anti-Defamation League

Published January 23, 2010 12:15AM (EST)

There are new developments on the "Rush Limbaugh said a crazy thing" front. For those who haven't been doing their right wing radio homework, a little background: On Wednesday, the radio host, trying both to argue against President Obama's new financial regulation plans and for the idea that Jews should stop voting so heavily Democratic, made some curious comments about Jewish  bankers:

There are a lot of people, when you say banker, people think Jewish. People who have prejudice, people who have -- what's the best way to say -- a little prejudice about them. To some people, bankers -- code word for Jewish -- and guess who Obama's assaulting? He's assaulting bankers. He's assaulting money people. And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there's starting to be some buyer's remorse there.

Later, Limbaugh defended what he'd said, pointing to the part of his remarks where he attributed those sentiments about Jews and bankers to "people who have prejudice." (Of course, he then went on to make that exact connection, stating it as truth, himself.)

But the talker's comments were still inflammatory enough to incur the wrath of Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. It seems like ridiculing these statements would be a no-brainer for Foxman, but the ADL has been reluctant to go after conservatives in recent years, so the fact that he said something on this matter was itself notable.

Now, in the latest chapter of this saga, Limbaugh posted on his Web site a letter from Norman Podhoretz in which the neo-conservative icon defends Limbaugh and attacks Foxman, ironically suggesting that the ADL head has been singling out conservatives. From the letter:

Mr. Foxman has a long history of seeing an anti-Semite under every conservative bed while blinding himself to the blatant fact that anti-Semitism has largely been banished from the Right in the past forty years, and that it has found a hospitable new home on the Left, especially where Israel is concerned. This makes Foxman a perfect embodiment of the phenomenon I analyze in "Why Are Jews Liberals?" Now Foxman has the chutzpah to denounce Rush Limbaugh as an anti-Semite and to demand an apology from him to boot. Well, if an apology is owed here, it is the national director of the Anti-Defamation League who should apologize for the defamatory accusation of anti-Semitism that he himself has hurled against so loyal a friend of Israel as Rush Limbaugh.

By Ethan Strauss

Ethan Sherwood Strauss writes about sports, culture and news for Salon.com. Tweet him @SherwoodStrauss or direct emails to estrauss@salon.com.

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