T. Belman. Abe tells me that the Forward sat on this for two weeks before publishing it. He is a lawyer who knows how to defend someone.
As Steve Bannon oversaw the publication of thousands of articles during his tenure at “unabashedly racist,” “white supremacist,” “anti-Semitic” Breitbart.com, surely there are hundreds of illustrative examples of those “anti-Semitic tropes” the ADL, Forward, Ha’aretz and Conservative and Reform movements could point to. Well, certainly dozens. OK, ten? One, even? Nope. Where does Bannon go to get his reputation back?
Raymond Donovan, President Reagan’s Secretary of Labor, was repeatedly investigated and cleared – including by the FBI and Justice Department – of apparently politically-motivated accusations of bribing union officials, mob connections and fraud by his construction company.
Still, in 1985, a politically ambitious Democratic Bronx District Attorney resurrected those accusations, and secured a highly-publicized 137-count indictment against Donovan and seven others. Facing lengthy trial, Donovan resigned his cabinet post. The prosecution’s case lasted nine months–but amounted to nothing: the jury found unanimously, on its first vote, all defendants innocent of all charges. Donovan reacted to the acquittal with a poignant question: “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?”
Good question–one justifiably asked by every victim of public, trumped-up accusations. Now it’s Stephen Bannon’s turn: President-elect Donald Trump’s newly appointed chief strategist should pose that question to the Anti-Defamation League and much Jewish media–this paper most of all–who recklessly, unjustly, tarred Bannon as an anti-Semite and bigot.
Now with some hindsight, the initial uproar over the Bannon appointment warrants revisiting.
The ADL lit the anti-Semitism fire on Nov 13, calling Bannon “a man who presided over the premier website of the Alt Right, a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists.” (Interestingly, the ADL did not identify the website – the overtly Zionist, disproportionately-Jewish Breitbart.com.)
The ADL effectively gave license to Bannon/Trump opponents to fuel the flames; the Forward poured on gasoline. Its cascade of vicious anti-Bannon headlines, news and opinion pieces included journalistic gems such as: “Will Steve Bannon Be the Anti-Semitic Firebrand in Donald Trump’s Inner Circle?”, asserting that Bannon “turned Breitbart News into a haven for white supremacy, the so-called ‘alt-right’ and anti-Semitic tropes” and offered “a platform for racists and anti-Semites;” ascribing to Bannon “ideas of so-called white nationalism and rank racism, and his tolerance of anti-Semitism and proto-fascism;” claiming Bannon’s website “unabashedly embraced the white supremacist movement…”; and warning that “Steve Bannon Signals Coming Storm for Jews in Age of Donald Trump.”
Haaretz, which cross-posts articles with the Forward, flat-out called Bannon “a white supremacist and anti-Semite,” the “standard-bearer for the racist” alt-right, and “Trump’s powerful, anti-Semitic predator, ” characterizing his appointment as “a moment of truth for U.S. Jews.”
The Union for Reform Judaism further fanned the fire, accusing Bannon of advancing “anti-Semitism, misogyny, racism and Islamophobia.” Piling on, the Conservative movement asserted that Bannon “trafficked in white nationalism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and misogyny.”
Wow, this Bannon character must be one of those really “bad hombres!” Good thing …read more