The SPLC's Attack on Rush Limbaugh, David Horowitz, and Me

The column  I wrote last week, it turns out, has created somewhat of a storm. This is due to one thing only: Rush Limbaugh read it aloud on his radio program. (Start reading in the middle from where it says “BREAK TRANSCRIPT.”) That one decision by Rush led all of our mutual enemies to go viral, sending numerous Tweets and Facebook posts attacking Rush and me for supposedly arguing that the anti-Semitic neo-Nazi Glenn Miller acted because of Max Blumenthal.

Of course, as I wrote last week in an addendum, this was not the point I was making. I wrote the following, and repeat it once again:

 Joan Walsh of Salon has tweeted my column, saying that a two year old blog post by the killer does not show that Blumenthal inspired his actions. What it does show, I argue, is how Blumenthal and his ilk have the same perspective on Israel and the Jews as does this neo-Nazi. Yes, he did not need Max Blumenthal’s book to get him to engage in murder against Jews, only classic antisemitism. My point is simple: It is revealing how the work of this would-be leftist is endorsed by a Nazi sympathizer, who sees things in the same way as Blumenthal. As Dan Pipes asks, how will The Nation folks respond to this?

Now, an even more important attack has been made on Rush, David Horowitz and me, and it comes from that so-called civil-rights organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center. It appears in a report from what the SPLC calls its “Intelligence Project,” and is in their publication called HATEWATCH: Keeping an Eye on the Radical Right. Its headline proclaims: “Limbaugh, Right-Wing Pundits Try to Blame Max Blumenthal for Kansas Rampage.

If you are not aware of what the SPLC really is, you must first look at these two very important articles. The first hails from Ken Silverstein and appeared in Harper’s in the year 2000. The second article, unfortunately under a firewall where it was originally published,  is by the always insightful investigative journalist Charlotte Allen, and was the cover story in The Weekly Standard  in their April 15, 2013 issue. It is titled “King of the Fearmongers: Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center, scaring donors since 1971.” (You can, however, read it here.)

Both Silverstein’s and Allen’s articles present a devastating case that can simply be put this way: The SPLC is not a civil rights group, but rather a far left group that trades in fear and guilt and gains phenomenal backing from gullible liberals who think they are helping to fight hate and racism. But instead, they are helping Morris Dees to line his own pockets and spread a grossly exaggerated picture of a United States dominated by merchants of hate. Interestingly, the paragraph in Allen’s article I find most interesting is the one in which she quotes the views of the late leftist writer Alexander Cockburn. Allen writes:

This leads to yet another SPLC irony: Its severest critics aren’t on the conservative right (although the Federation for American Immigration Reform, another “hate group” on the SPLC’s list, has done its fair share of complaining), but on the progressive left. It may come as a surprise to learn that one of the most vituperative of all the critics was the recently deceased Alexander Cockburn, columnist for The Nation and the leftist webzine CounterPunch. In a 2009 article for CounterPunch titled “King of the Hate Business,” Cockburn castigated Dees and the SPLC for using the 2008 election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president as yet another wringer for squeezing out direct-mail donations from “trembling liberals” by painting an apocalyptic picture of “millions of [anti-Obama] extremists primed to march down Main Street draped in Klan robes, a copy of Mein Kampf tucked under one arm and a Bible under the other.” Cockburn continued: “Ever since 1971 U.S. Postal Service mailbags have bulged with Dees’ fundraising letters, scaring dollars out of the pockets of trembling liberals aghast at his lurid depictions of hate-sodden America, in dire need of legal confrontation by the SPLC.”

Most interesting is Allen’s argument that Intelligence Report, the blog that attacks us, “features alarmed articles, often written by Mark Potok, who now serves as the SPLC’s press spokesman and also as the editor of Intelligence Report and the organization’s Hatewatch blog.” All, she notes, bear “scary sounding titles.” The new attack fits the mold and reveals the SPLC’s true nature.

Rather than condemn the extremist Max Blumenthal -- a hater of Israel and one of the most vile and self-proclaimed journalists one can think of -- and exposing his warped methodology and one-sided pronouncements, as even his Nation colleague Eric Alterman has done numerous times, Hatewatch chooses as its would-be evil hatemongers those who have appropriately noted the ways in which the racist and neo-Nazi Miller shares the world-view of Max Blumenthal.

So extreme is Blumenthal that last week the Democratic pro-Israel activist and lawyer Alan M. Dershowitz told that “Max Blumenthal is well outside the acceptable range of rhetoric about Israel. His constant comparisons between Nazi Germany and the Jewish state establish him as an extremist bigot whose greatest appeal is to antisemites and others who apply a double standard to the Jewish state.”  (Dershowitz was writing to warn Hillary Clinton that if she runs for president, she must dissociate herself from Max’s father Sidney Blumenthal, because he is vociferously defending his son’s book.)

Rush Limbaugh can speak for himself. If he got some details wrong, his overall point was correct. The dangerous words of someone born Jewish, like Blumenthal, were accurately cited by Frazier Glenn Cross,  AKA Glenn Miller, because Miller was saying in effect: Look, even a “Jew journalist” acknowledges that Israel was trying to buy “the presidential election for the neo-con, war-mongering Republican establishment.”

In other words, Miller sees Max Blumenthal as a courageous Jew who alone tells the truth. As Ben Cohen puts it in his valuable column in The Algemeiner:

It’s not an accident that today’s Nazis are attracted to left-wing, viscerally anti-Zionist writers like Blumenthal. Both share the view that the so-called “Israel Lobby” drove the U.S. into foreign wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both believe that politicians kowtow to Jewish interests because they fear the costs of not doing so. And both are convinced that the type of “Jewish supremacism” practiced in Israel makes a nonsense of American Jewish appeals for tolerance and understanding.