... Who's the bigger bigot?
Thus the New York Times:
Debate Heats Up About Mosque Near Ground Zero
An influential Jewish organization on Friday announced its opposition to a proposed Islamic center and mosque two blocks north of ground zero in Lower Manhattan, intensifying a fierce national debate about the limits of religious freedom and the meaning of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The decision by the group, the Anti-Defamation League [ADL], touched off angry reactions from a range of religious groups, which argued that the country would show its tolerance and values by welcoming the center near the site where radical Muslims killed about 2,750 people.
Connoisseurs of moral degeneracy will find much to enjoy here. For one thing, two institutions which one would have thought could not possibly sink any lower, the ADL and the New York Times, have both plunged deeper into the sewer than even their worst enemies -- among whom I am proud to number myself -- would have believed possible. In fact, it's hard to say which of them has, relatively speaking, disgraced itself more.
The ADL, which has always been a byword for impudent arrogance, may not have had quite as far to sink, but has arguably plunged deeper, by injecting the Jewish people into a matter where no slightest shadow of the Jewish Question falls -- assuming, arguendo, that there still is a Jewish Question, and thus a colorable pretext for the ADL's existence in the first place.
But the Times! What's the Times' excuse?
The ADL exists to perpetrate breathtaking enormities. Nobody would pay them the slightest attention if they weren't always finding new sharks to jump. In this sense, they are only running true to form, though breaking a few personal-worst records on this particular topic.
But this Times story reads like it escaped somehow from the New York Post's newsroom, or the London Times', and climbed surreptitiously onto the NYTimes' front page when nobody was looking. The usual solemn Times charade of "balance", the Pilatian other-handwashing, is simply abandoned, thrown barefacedly to the winds. "Ground zero!" "Militant Muslims!" "The limits of religious freedom"!
The first three quotes in the story are given to Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and a little vontz named C. Lee Hanson, who seems to be making a small-time career out of having lost a son in the WTC attack -- one of the innumerable shrill droning swarm of American professional victims.
Interestingly, the ADL and the Times seem in this case to be taking a non-New Yorkish attitude, siding with people elsewhere who think that they have some standing to tell those of us who live here what we can and can't build in our own town. The Times story acknowledges that New Yorkers mostly shrug the whole thing off; it's Yahoos in East Bumfuck who regard the Bathtub and its environs as holy ground.
Here's Foxman the Unspeakable, capo of the ADL, who
... said in an interview on Friday that the organization came to the conclusion that the location was offensive to families of victims of Sept. 11, and he suggested that the center’s backers should look for a site “a mile away.”
“It’s the wrong place,” Mr. Foxman said. “Find another place.”
Asked why the opposition of the families was so pivotal in the decision, Mr. Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, said they were entitled to their emotions.
“Survivors of the Holocaust are entitled to feelings that are irrational,” he said. Referring to the loved ones of Sept. 11 victims, he said, “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted.”
Breathtaking, eh? Some bigots are more equal than others; and Abe Foxman has taken over the functions of the zoning board. "Find another place."
I'm not a big fan of our current mayor, Mike Bloomberg, whose voice is even more annoying than Obama's. But there are times whyen one is tempted to think that a Napoleonic little dwarfish technocrat may still be preferable to a nightstick fetishist like Giuliani, or a smug lower-middle-class ethnic-chauvinist mugged-liberal like Ed Koch, both of whom would surely have been right down with this Clash of Cultures perspective. Bloomberg, to his credit, observed:
“What is great about America, and particularly New York, is we welcome everybody, and if we are so afraid of something like this, what does that say about us?” Mr. Bloomberg asked recently.
“Democracy is stronger than this,” he added. “And for us to just say no is just, I think — not appropriate is a nice way to phrase it.”
The Times immediately counters:
Still, the arguments against the Muslim center appear to be resonating. Polling shows that a majority of Americans oppose building it near ground zero.
"A majority of Americans." Do they live here? No? Then fuck 'em.