Meryl Yourish is on a rampage! First, she’s annoyed at Dave Winer for charging a lot of money for the Blogathan, part of it used to bring in “the talent,” which didn’t include her. And, to top it off, it overlaps with Yom Kippur. I also received the invite yesterday, likewise thought $500 plus expenses to listen to bloggers yap about blogging a mite steep, and politely declined.

She also says that Charles Lindbergh was not only no hero but a Jew-hating scumbag. I suspect the same could be said for most of the Founding Fathers, frankly. Anti-Semitism, to the extent people thought about Jews at all, was likely the modal point of view in most of the West until very recently, I’m afraid. As was anti-black racism.

A Berkeley professor who had his students read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to help them understand the mindset of Iraqis also comes in for a firestorm of criticism. This is one of those “he said, she said” deals, as the prof denies saying that he believed the Protocols were “authentic” whereas the student said they were presented as “fact.” Absent other evidence, I tend to side with professors–even Berkeley professors–in such disputes. Having taught college students a number of years, I never ceased to be amazed at what some students gleaned from class discussions. A combination of their pre-conceived notions, trying to write everything down rather than simply listening, and comprehension problems can create all manner of misunderstanding.

Update (1433): A knowledgeable commentator reports that anti-Semitism was less prevalent in colonial days than my post would indicate.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Lemon says:

    Actually, there were a couple of Jews at the Constitutional Convention if memory serves me correct. Also, states like Rhode Island and Pennsylvania were quite open to Jews. Granted, places like Virginia were not all that hospitable to non-Anglicans (including Jews), but they were also not hospitable to non-Anglicans (including Gentiles). And actually, Virginian Anglicans were more freaked out about the Baptists and (later) Methodists than they were about the Jews.

    So, in historical context, the America of the Founding Fathers was much more tolerant of the Jews than most anywhere else around the globe at that time.

    Trust me on this one.

  2. James Joyner says:

    OK, I will!

  3. bryan says:

    Wow, imagine that. Someone is irritated with Dave “I ‘am’ blogs’ W(h)iner. Will wonders never cease.

  4. James Joyner says:


  5. niall says:

    This link would suggest that The Founding Fathers, at least Adams, weren’t quite in the scumbag category.