Anything you can trivialise, I can trivialise better

In hawk world, anyone who criticises Israel is an anti-semite, even if they’re Jewish. And these anti-semites probably deny the holocaust too. After all, Arabs often deny the holocaust, and these evil types don’t want to bomb the Arabs, so they’re just as bad… I’m not even going to mention equating “understanding the motives behind left wing terrorism” with “being a fan of the murder of Jews” – oh, apparently I just did.

Anyway, the latest expansion of this trivialisation is even bizarrer. I admit, you can’t expect a satirist posing as Allah to be particularly subtle in his politics (and his site is generally quite entertaining). But if there is a serious intent behind this post (as at least one rightist commentator seems to believe), then it’s now legitimate in the eye of the hawks to equate comparisons between George W Bush and Adolf Hitler with holocaust denial.

I’d be the first to admit that most Bush/Hitler comparisons aren’t terribly edifying, in that Mr Hitler was a mass-murdering, hatemongering tyrant, whereas Mr Bush is merely following in the glorious traditions of corrupt presidents with scary advisors. There are some entirely legitimate parallels: the most obvious is that the (broadly but imperfectly democratic) ascent of both leaders highlights deficiencies in the political system before they came to power.

If there were no sensible analogies at all between the two, then equating them would be an entirely nasty personal attack on Mr Bush, who is clearly not a mass murderer. Under English law, it would almost certainly be libellous (under American law it might be OK – although I’m neither a lawyer nor play one on TV). It would be roughly equivalent to equating Mr Bush to Charles Manson, Fred West, or some other Unequivocally Bad Man.

Yet to equate Mr Bush to Mr Manson wouldn’t be to deny the murder of Sharon Tate. If I say “Bush is as bad as Manson”, then the implication is “I know Manson had tens of people murdered; I believe Bush has murdered or ordered murdered just as many”. If I say “Bush is as bad as Hitler”, then the implication is “I know Hitler murdered six million Jews and started a war that killed another 20 million people worldwide. I thnk Bush has done or is about to do the same.” Both points would be stupid – but neither point would be denying the badness of the person to whom Mr Bush is being compared.

It’s forgiveable (and sometimes even correct) when the state of Israel and its friends trot out anti-semitism as an answer to critics – they’re justifiably worried about anti-semites wanting to destroy their country and kill them all. But when the same criticism is used to defend a WASP whose ancestors traded with the Nazis, it looks more than a little ridiculous.

Ho hum. According to the definitions used by the neocons, I probably ought to display this disclaimer at this point:

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