On September 28, 2012, The Nation, America’s “flagship of the left,” exploded in an un-American burst of antisemitism. Its cover article stated:
Looking like a slightly deranged grandfather obsessed with something only he can see. … Benjamin Netanyahu fussed and scribbled over a cartoon bomb at the podium of the United Nations yesterday. With any luck, the bombastic, extremist, too-far-right-for-even-Likud Israeli prime minister has done himself in. … No one, or almost no one, believes that Iran is a vast nuclear threat and that the United States (or Israel) has to bomb it in weeks or months or, as Netanyahu suggests, at the latest next summer. Not the Obama administration, which is treating Netanyahu as if it wishes it could haul out a straitjacket and a syringe. … But few people, other than The Nation, are willing to say that Netanyahu might actually be crazy.
(You can read the entire antisemitic rant here.)
The Nation‘s antisemitic hysteria reminds me of the new antisemitic madness that exploded in Moscow in 1998, soon after one of my former colleagues in the KGB community, General Yevgeny Primakov, became Russia’s prime minister. Russian television showed General Albert Makashov, a member of the Duma, screaming: “I will round up all the Yids [pejorative for Jews] and send them to the next world.” Makashov alleged that the Jews were ruining the motherland, and he called for the “extermination of all Jews in Russia.” [i] On November 4, 1998, the Duma endorsed Makashov by voting (121 to 107) to defeat a parliamentary motion censuring his hate-filled statement. At the November 7, 1998, demonstration marking the 81st anniversary of the October Revolution, crowds of former KGB officers showed their support for the general, chanting “hands off Makashov!” and waving signs with anti-Semitic slogans.[ii]
So, why do I put America’s oldest continuously published weekly, The Nation, on the same page with Moscow and Makashov? Because The Nation has been Moscow’s mouthpiece for almost nine decades. In 1924, when Lenin died, The Nation raved:
Lenin is the hero of a legend, a man who had torn the burning heart out of his breast in order to light up for mankind the path which shall lead it out of the shameful chaos of the present, out of the rotting bog of stupid current politics. … His hero-character has almost no outward adornment.[iii]
Let’s not forget that in fact The Nation‘s “hero of a legend” fathered the world’s bloodiest tyranny in history, which eventually killed some 90 million of its own people, unleashed a 44-year Cold War, and ignited the current international terrorism. Let’s also not forget that the successor to The Nation‘s “hero of a legend” made a pact with Hitler, who at that very moment was planning to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth. On August 23, 1939, when the Soviet foreign minister and his German counterpart met in the Kremlin to sign the infamous Hitler-Stalin Pact, Stalin solemnly declared: “The Soviet government takes this new pact very seriously. I can guarantee, on my word of honor, that the Soviet Union will not betray its partner.”[iv] Now a more recent Russian successor to The Nation‘s “hero of a legend” is secretly arming a contemporary Hitler dedicated to eradicating the state of Israel with nuclear weapons. “Israel will soon be destroyed,” Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad screamed on August 17, 2012. He described the Jewish state as a “cancerous tumor” that would soon be excised.[v]