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Emet m'Tsiyon

Thursday, April 16, 2009

PR Hack Bill Moyers moves over to Goebbels Land

Three months ago, Bill Moyers, press secretary to Pres Lyndon B Johnson during the war in Vietnam, made an explicitly racist anti-Jewish claim. He said that the Jews were "genetically" inclined to violence. Note, not Muslim peoples especially and generally [the Arabs, the Turks, the Pakistanis, etc] but the Jews. He does mention the Arabs but gets in his racial point by mentioning the Jews' and Arabs' common link to the Patriarch Abraham. Thus the Arabs are "genetically coded" to be violent through their link to the Jews.

Now, this claim is especially sinister coming from Moyers who is a professional propagandist, a long-time commentator on PBS, a US-govt supported TV network in the US supposedly aiming at a high-brow audience. Since leaving Johnson's employ in the Sixties, Moyers has spent his time in promoting various political programs through PBS and other avenues. He has always been subtly anti-Israel. Now, he is clearly racist against Jews. After all, "genetically" means racially.

Here's a video of his broadcast. One of his false claims is that Israel was "waging war on an entire population." In fact, the Israel army made immense efforts to avoid killing non-combatants. The large majority of those killed were in fact Hamas terrorist militiamen. Ostensibly civilian targets, like the Islamic University of Gaza, were hit because they used by Hamas to store rockets, explosives and other weapons. In the case of the "University", its laboratories were used to "improve" their deadly rockets. Don't forget that Moyers was a spokesman in favor of the Vietnam war and American military actions there, which often killed civilians. Bizarrely, he admits that civilians were often killed in Vietnam, claiming that Israel did in Gaza what the United States did in Vietnam. What he does not admit on this broadcast is that he was one of the chief US propagandists defending the war and the mass killing of civilians that it involved.

What got most people upset was his absurd and outrageous claim that "God-soaked violence became genetically coded." Here he referred to both Jews and Arabs. I don't think that Jews were ever "genetically coded" to be violent anymore than that violence is a common, near universal human phenomenon. I think that Jews are patient, maybe too patient with the violence of others committed against themselves, although this patience and forebearance may be due to the political weakness of Jews in most places throughout the world. Nor do I think that Arabs are genetically coded to be violent any more than humans in general. However, in practice Arabs do seem to more violent and blood-thirsty than others, but this is due to their Muslim religion which encourages violence and killing [call it murder if you like] on the grounds of various religious principles. But this does not mean genetically determined. Moyers claim is nasty and has racist implications.

By the way, Moyers makes several other factual errors and/or lies. For one, he mistranslates the Biblical commandment in the Ten Commandments, Do Not Murder לא תרצח as Thou shalt not kill, making the unfounded insinuation that Moses was a hypocrite since he called for war, which obviously involves killing. However, neither Moses nor the Israelites/Jews nor any nation that I know of, ever renounced war, if only as a last resort. The mistranslation "Thou shalt not kill" may be due to the translators of the King James Version. However, it does not fit the original Hebrew. If Moyers is ignorant of this translation error, than maybe we can't blame him. But I think that he is rather too sophisticated not to know that the Hebrew original differs from the translation. Note that insinuation is one of propagandist tricks.

I commented on Moyers' lie at the Augean Stables blog, starting with a quote from a reader who tried to defend Moyers. On 18 Jan 2009 [I think], Bill Stewart remarked to RL, the chief blogger at Augean Stables:
Why did you choose to end your transcript where you did? Perhaps because it doesn’t fit your narrative and your zeal to smear an honest man. When you go back to the original statement (it’s at about the 5:12 mark for those of you who would rather skip over other sober and interesting thoughts on the Gaza violence), Moyers’ next words are: “A radical stream of Islam now seeks to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth.” It’s clear with anyone of even middling intelligence that Moyers is not singling out Jews but in fact the rooting out a biblical source of violence encoded in the human race in general. I’m thrilled at Conservatives’ new found zeal to root out anti-Semitism (because we all know where traditionally anti-semitism has resided in this country), but I don’t think it’s too much to ask you to exercise a little of dignity and rigour in your readings and analysis. Moyers could have been more precise, you can question his theological acumen, but I think it’s pretty clear that Moyers is not being anti-Semitic.

I trust that Stewart correctly quoted Moyers and I think that he has unwittingly pointed to an important aspect of Moyers’ modus operandi. What Moyers did was to embed or implant like a stinkweed his very offensive, indeed Nazi-like, remark within a rosegarden of reasonable, even truthful statements, such as Stewart quoted above. It’s an old trick of psywar. It’s like mixing bitter medicine into a sweet syrup to disguise its taste from children. Here the sweet syrup are rather innocuous remarks. And the offensive remark embedded into it does not reflect its context. So it’s appropriate to take it out of its context. Vance Packard called this technique a “hidden persuader.” The innocuous context might mislead people into overlooking how sinister the statement is.

Now, Moyers is an expert at psychological warfare. That’s what he’s been doing at PBS for years. When he worked for Lyndon Baines Johnson, he was a relative beginner in the field, just a White House press secretary. Now, he influences the supposedly educated, refined, cultured crowd that watches PBS and listens to NPR, which by the way, are financed in part by your taxpayers’ dollars. They are semi-official agencies
of the US govt. Anyhow, how dare LBJ’s press secretary pontificate to us and preach morality to us about violent mass death? Does he recall that anti-LBJ chant?
LBJ, how many kids did you kill today? Does Moyers think that that chant was fair to his boss?

I think that the kindest thing to say about Moyers is that he is a demopath, somebody who uses humanitarian and democratic rhetoric for the opposite purpose. RL made an important contribution in discerning the demopath phenomenon.

Now, the fact that such a prominent member of the Establishment has seen fit to utter this scandalous claim of Jews’ being genetically coded for violence is a very sinister omen. The remark is worthy of Nazi propaganda. It is not as crude as Der Ewige Jude, the Nazi propaganda film against Jews. However, we ought to bear in mind that the Nazis too were capable of saying things that were very reasonable or might seem to be, like Chomsky and A-jad. Indeed, Genevieve Tabouis reported that at the fall 1933 session of the League of Nations, German delegates stressed their attachment to democracy, liberalism, peace, and other Good Things. The outrage over Moyers’ sinister remark should not become silent.

Just recall that Moyers has been working for the US govt since the 1960s. And your tax dollars finance PBS.

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  • Oh please, drop the PC crap!

    All races are created equal! Despite thousands, often tens of thousands, of years of isolation and separate development, all human groups are exactly the same. Any diversity or differentiation exists solely on the individual level. Race does not even exist! The concept of "race" was invented by evil white European fascists in the 1700's. After all, blacks suck at sports, Asians are terrible at math, let's see...

    While I agree that his comments about Jews are deplorable and anti-Semitic (for starters, Jews can not properly be called a "race"), he is right about Arabs. They do appear to be genetically predisposed to violence as well as fanaticism and other forms of savagery and barbarism. How many Jews drape themselves in vests made out of C-4 or Semtex and detonate the device in civilian areas? Name one.

    And it's not just Muslims. Arab Christians are just as bad. I can give you a couple examples where Christian Arab-Americans behaved in a very Muslimy way. The disorder does not have a particularly religious origin (though the Islamic faith does not alleviate but often instigates it), it is rooted on racial and cultural grounds. These Arabs are latter day Amalekites!

    By Anonymous Peaceful Solution, at 8:44 PM  

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