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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Political Hate Speech of Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby's annual column on how liberals are mean was published on the second-to-last day of '04, and in it Jacoby criticized statements by "mainstream players and pundits" on the left such as Cameron Diaz. I ignored it then because everything I wrote a year ago about Jacoby's column remains true.

Then I saw a letter in today's Globe that makes this worth blogging. The Jacoby column noted Hitler comparisons by both the left and right (before going on to say liberals are worse, naturally), and Jacoby says, "Such Nazi labeling is no less disgusting when it comes from Republicans, of course. ... Whether it comes from the right or the left, language like that is vile."

The letter writer says the following of Jacoby:

Doesn't he read his own columns?

To Jacoby, Yasser Arafat created the "vilest culture of Jew hatred since the Third Reich" and should have been "hanged for mass murder much as the Nazi chiefs were hanged." In defending that in "When hatred is necessary" (op ed, Nov. 21), he twice juxtaposed Arafat with Hitler.

Palestinians have long been exempt from Jacoby's opposition to Holocaust analogies. His condemnation of the Geneva Initiative ("Geneva is a blueprint for war, not peace," op ed, Dec. 4, 2003) argued against Israeli "appeasement" and contained at least four references to the Nazi Holocaust, including one to Hitler.

I think you lose credibillity in arguing for an end to hate speech involving Hitler analogies when you publish columns on "When hatred is necessary" and employ Hitler analogies yourself. Is it only OK to use hate speech against people Jeff Jacoby hates then? That doesn't sound like much of a stance to take.