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Department of "Huh?!": Tim Geithner Edition

Marty Peretz, Anti-Muslim Bigotry, Rand Paul, Jonathan Chait, and Tbogg

Tbogg writes:

Rand Paul Is A Filthy Genocidal Muslim Mudperson | TBogg: I just wanted to say something really horrible about Rand Paul... [that] would not upset the delicate sensibilities of The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait...

Jonathan Chait, you see, was upset because Rand Paul's opponent Jack Conway called Paul an un-Christian Aqua-Buddha worshipper:

Sympathy For Rand Paul: The ugliest, most illiberal political ad of the year may be this one, from Kentucky Democrat Jack Conway.... I actually don't doubt the implication of the ad, namely that Rand Paul harbors a private contempt for Christianity. He's a devotee of Ayn Rand, who is a fundamentally anti-Christian thinker. And much of Paul's history, which he is frantically covering up in an attempt to pass himself off as a typical Republican, suggests among other things a deep skepticism about religion. The trouble with Conway's ad is that it comes perilously close to saying that non-belief in Christianity is a disqualification for public office. That's a pretty sickening premise for a Democratic campaign.

But as Tbogg notes:

I figured that calling Paul a sub-human tent-sniffing camel-rapist would not upset the delicate sensibilities of The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait since it has never stopped Chait from cashing a paycheck signed by his boss Marty Peretz.

Here is Mark Feeney on the case of Marty:

After blog post, Peretz again in a firestorm: The scene at Harvard looked less like the ’10s than the ’60s. Students stood outside the Science Center chanting “Harvard, Harvard, shame on you, honoring a racist fool!’’ When Martin Peretz, the object of the protest, left the building that Saturday late last month, they trailed behind, heckling and taunting him through Harvard Yard.... Five decades ago, Peretz had been on the other side of the bullhorns and banners.... Now he was being denounced as an anti-Muslim bigot for comments he had written for his blog on The New Republic’s website.

"But, frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims," Peretz, the magazine’s owner and editor in chief, wrote Sept. 4. "I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse." A week later, Peretz apologized for the First Amendment comment....

More than 500 students at Brandeis University, Peretz’s alma mater, signed a petition calling on him to apologize, and Harvard withdrew an invitation for him to speak last month at the 50th anniversary celebration of the university’s social studies program.... Anti-Muslim sentiment has been on the rise.... [T]he Martin Peretz Undergraduate Research Fund would be announced to honor him and the social studies program. Peretz, as assistant professor then lecturer, had taught in the program for many years. The protest took place outside the program’s anniversary celebration.

"It’s like this was waiting to happen, almost," said Joseph Finder, a novelist and friend of Peretz’s since the early ’80s. "For so many years, he’s [ticked] off so many people with so many impolitic or outrageous statements. And there are a lot of people in the academy who are jealous of that power he has. Or there are journalists who didn’t get a job or he’s attacked before."... A sign of the eminence of Peretz’s friends is that $500,000 had been raised for Peretz’s Undergraduate Research Fund before the blog post. A sign of their devotion is that after the controversy started and there were calls for Harvard to reject the money another $150,000 was donated. (Harvard declined to dissociate itself from the fund.)

The man whom The Christian Science Monitor had described in 1974 as a "socialist millionaire professor" had come a long way. "The fact is that Peretz has the social and economic guns to be a bigot," Atlantic senior editor Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote on the magazine’s website last month, "to then be defended by even those who acknowledge his bigotry, and finally be honored at the highest levels of American academia."

Peretz’s Harvard proteges include Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general, film director Edward Zwick, CNBC personality Jim Cramer, and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. A steady stream of talented Harvard students would move on after graduation to The New Republic, including future editors Michael Kinsley, Hendrik Hertzberg, and Andrew Sullivan....

Critics have charged him with being not just a defender of Israel, but also prejudiced against Arabs. In 2007, Glenn Greenwald, now a blogger for Salon, wrote on his website that "The New Republic is led by someone who harbors — and routinely expresses — what can only be described as pure bigotry towards Arabs and Muslims." Comments Peretz has made on his blog include the application of a barnyard epithet to the description of Jerusalem as "the third holiest city of Islam," on Sept. 8; writing in 2007 that "it is characteristic of the Arabs, who have almost no physicists to speak of... to make their politics a shabby substitute for science"; and to note of Arab extremists, in 2006, "I know that since their passions emerge from Muslim religious belief I should treat them with respect. I can’t. OK, why don’t you try?..."

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