Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Why RFK Jr. flunked the Roger Waters test - Jonathan Tobin

But even those pundits most dismissive of his efforts are admitting to surprise at the level of support that RFK Jr. is generating, as evidenced by the 20% he received in the latest CNN poll. Some are starting to believe that dismissing him as a crackpot extremist might be a mistake for an incumbent who began his re-election effort with only 26% of Democrats saying they wanted him to run again and with a job-approval rating that's been deep underwater for the last two years.

That's why Kennedy's tweet last week in support of aging rock star/antisemite Roger Waters shouldn't be ignored.

Though it was soon deleted and the candidate then tried to rationalize what he had written (which was also eventually deleted), it's worth probing what would have led him to praise Waters after one of his most despicable performances.

Let's start by noting the irony of Kennedy's support for someone who is as dedicated to the destruction of Israel and to defaming the Jewish people as Waters. His father was, after all, murdered by Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian Arab who claimed that his crime was revenge for Bobby Kennedy's support for the State of Israel. Though, ignoring all the evidence, RFK Jr. doesn’t believe Sirhan killed his father and wants him freed, a bizarre stand that may, at least in part, help to explain his willingness to embrace Waters.

The timing of the tweet was also appalling.

It came just as Waters was being assailed by critics for a performance in Germany, of all places, where he added images of Anne Frank and dressed in a black costume with red armbands that while reminiscent of his "The Wall" days looked very much like an SS uniform. The Pink Floyd star has long been known for peddling conspiracies involving fictional Israeli crimes against humanity and his hostility to Jews, even as he denies being an antisemite. Not to mention employing antisemitic imagery in his past shows, such as flying a pig balloon with a Star of David.


Oh dear. I didn't know this (assuming it's true). I suppose I shall have to withdraw my tentative support for RFK Jr. for runner up for the official endorsement of the RC. The is a problem with People of the Left. Even if some of them are right about some things, so many of them hate Israel.

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"Anti-semitism" used to refer to the attitudes of Jew-haters: dreadful stuff. One of my grandfathers, an Irish Roman Catholic, didn't shake off the anti-semitism of his upbringing even though he was otherwise an excellent chap.

Nowadays, though, the term is routinely abused to slander anyone who criticises Israeli government policies. I tend to assume the hysteria is dishonest. Sometimes I'll be wrong but that's the price paid for the dishonest manipulation of language.

Posted by: dearieme | Jun 7, 2023 11:05:21 AM

"the weaponisation of allegations of antisemitism": this sounds interesting. I've followed Fenton's writing on Covid - good stuff.

Posted by: dearieme | Jun 7, 2023 1:30:31 PM