Those who label Ann Coulter an anti-Semite do damage to the battle against anti-Semitism.
I say this as a committed Jew, a religious Jew, a Jewish writer and lecturer, a past college instructor in Jewish history, co-author of a widely read book on anti-Semitism, recipient of the American Jewish Press Association's Prize for Excellence in Jewish Commentary, instructor in Torah at the American Jewish University, and a man who has fought anti-Semitism all his life.
There is nothing in what Ann Coulter said to a Jewish interviewer on CNBC that indicates she hates Jews or wishes them ill, or does damage to the Jewish people or the Jewish state. And if none of those criteria is present, how can someone be labeled anti-Semitic?
What damage has she ever done to Jews? What is wrong with a person believing that it would be better if another person adopted their faith? Is there one liberal who doesn't believe that a conservative would be better -- "perfected," if you will -- by embracing liberal beliefs and values? Why is it laudable for a liberal to hope that conservatives convert to liberalism, but dangerous and hate-filled when a Christian hopes that Jews or anyone else will go to heaven (that is, after all, Ann Coulter's and most other Christians' primary concern) by believing in Jesus?
I have read Jewish and non-Jewish writers who argue that Ann Coulter's words will lead to another Auschwitz. How does one respond to irrationality? How does one respond to hysteria?
There is also a move to boycott Ann Coulter, so dangerous are her words. Of course, there is no such Jewish or liberal boycott of former President Jimmy Carter, who has done real damage to the Jewish people by describing Israel as an "apartheid" state in the very title of his anti-Israel book. In fact, Carter was invited to speak on his loathsome book at Brandeis University, an ostensibly Jewish university. But for many Jews and liberals, real hatred, real damage to Jewish security can only come from the right, especially from Christians on the right. So Ann Coulter, who has done nothing in her life to compromise Jewish welfare, is to be boycotted, but Jimmy Carter is worthy of invitations to speak. Jewish groups even invite John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, the authors of "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," which is essentially a tempered modern-day version of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." But Ann Coulter is beyond the pale. And she said nothing to harm Jews.
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