Goldberg, Beck, Fox Piven.


As I mentioned yesterday, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic is accusing Glenn Beck of “a classic case of anti-Semitic dog-whistling” by “Beck`s recent naming of nine people — eight of them Jews — as enemies of America and humanity.” See, everybody is supposed to at all times know who is Jewish, or you could be an anti-Semite. You are also supposed to not know, because only anti-Semites know that stuff.

Goldberg admits that he can`t prove that Beck knew that eight of nine people on his eccentric list are Jews, but

But Beck is a smart person, and has researchers at hand with access to Wikipedia. Further, most of these people on Beck`s “big lie” list are already the targets of straightforward attacks in the dark, anti-Semitic corners of the Web, so an extended Google search, in some cases, would show that much of the opposition to some of these people is motivated by anti-Semitism.

Yet, how much Internet searching did Goldberg do before accusing Beck of anti-Semitism? For example, where`s the Internet evidence for Goldberg`s “eight of them Jews” assertion? In particular, Goldberg should explain how he`s so sure that sociologist Frances Fox Piven, co-founder of the National Welfare Rights Organization back in 1966, is Jewish. Where`s the Internet evidence for that?

Piven and her second husband Richard Cloward were Columbia U. professors who were highly influential in the 1960s and 1970s advocating for expanding the number of people on welfare. (In 1976, I read a book by them, The Politics of Turmoil: Essays on Poverty, Race, and the Urban Crisis, that was assigned reading for my History of the 1960s class at Rice U.) Eventually, most people figured out that putting more people on welfare was a really bad idea and their reputation receded to academia (where they, evidently, are still worshiped as gods), but they had another triumph with the Democrat`s Motor Voter act in 1993.

I`ve wasted an hour poking around on Google and I can`t find much evidence that Frances Fox Piven is Jewish. (Nor any evidence that she`s not Jewish.) Here, for example, is Fox Piven`s Wikipedia page, which doesn`t mention anything about it.

I found one one fellow on Media Matters on January 14, 2011 saying that eight of the nine on Beck`s list are Jewish. Perhaps Goldberg is just echoing him on the theory that an organization as trustworthy and unbiased as George Soros and David Brock`s Media Matters has to be unbiased and trustworthy. On the other hand, at Matzav.com, commenter Yerachmiel Lopin asserts, “The most radical name on the list, more radical than Soros, is Frances Fox Piven who is not Jewish.” I would take both assertions with about equal weight.

Frances Fox was was born in Calgary in 1932. Piven is the name of her first husband. (Maybe she converted to Judaism when she married her first husband and then, like Walter Sobchak, didn`t convert back after the divorce because of “3000 years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax.” I don`t know.)

Is Fox a Jewish name? Sometimes, sometimes not. Wikipedia, which features a gigantic list of semi-famous people named Fox, explains that “Fox or Foxe or Foxx is a surname originating in England and Ireland.” For example, actor Michael J. Fox was also born in Alberta. As far as I know, Michael J. Fox, Charles James Fox, Jimmy Foxx, and Redd Foxx weren`t Jewish. On the other hand, Beck`s Fox News is named after William Fox, who Anglicized his mother`s surname of Fuchs. Moreover, the bass player in The Runaways, Jackie Fox, went back to being Jackie Fuchs at Harvard Law School, where the youthful Barack Obama reminded her of her former bandmate Joan Jett, who starred in Light of Day with Michael J. Fox. (See, it really is all connected, just like Beck says.)

Perhaps Goldberg once exchanged the secret handshake with Frances Fox Piven, which is why he`s so sure about her. I don`t know.

It all seems increasingly farcical.

I can`t imagine how Beck, who sounds like the epitome of the clueless goyishe kopf, is supposed to know these things.

Of course, he`s also supposed to not know these things. Damned if he does and damned if he doesn`t.