Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. --Nietzsche
Meet Rabbi Daniel Lapin- David Duke's favorite Jew.
But, you ask, where could this anti-semitic, racist, white separatist possibly find common ground with this Jewish man of God?
(You're right- it's downright counter-intuitive. Lapin is an Orthodox rabbi from the enlightened Pacific Northwest, and an influential voice of the religious right. Nazi-but-nice David Duke with his blow-dried Republican "statesman" haircut is a racist, and anti-Semite who traded his KKK percale for custom 2-buttons from Barney's of Baton Rouge).
As it turns out, they have lots in common. Both have been Republicans, (Lapin still is one) and both agree with Adolf Hitler that Jews are largely responsible for "filth and debasement" of Western culture.
Duke is a holocaust denier; Lapin has stood up for holocaust deniers and says "enough already" about all this Holocaust stuff.
Both have multi-syllabic rationales resounding with truthiness for the God-given superiority of Western Civilization and disdain for those (mostly colored) peoples who hadn't foresight to be born into the Judeo-Christian tradition.
(OK, OK, Duke would take strong exception to the "Judeo" part of that equation, but Lapin's specialty is "strengthening understanding between Christians and Jews" and ecumenical "bridge-building" between secular wackos. Maybe he could look beyond Duke's Christian Identity belief that Jews are the "Children of Satan." Or, in the interest of shared values, overlook Duke's dark bayou dreams of lampshades made out of such as the good rebbe.)
We're not sure how Rabbi Lapin feels about Duke, but Duke really likes Rabbi Lapin- as Duke has written, "...there are so few honest voices like that of Rabbi Lapin."
BlatherWatch has long chronicled the strange case of Rabbi Daniel Lapin, the clergyman whose life and work has been muddied lately by revelations of his long and deep ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Until this scandal, Lapin for us was but a long-winded didact whose haughty South African-accented voice has frequented Seattle talk radio over the years in fill-ins for right-wing talkers; his own briefly syndicated Sunday evening shows; and presently on his weekly kulturkampf he buys onto local right-wing talker, KTTH (Sundays, 7=10p).
Raised in white supremacist South Africa in the 1950's, Lapin has declared many times that non Judeo-Christian cultures and secular liberalism are closer to the animal world than God's Own.
Lapin has always made historically contentious- we say outrageous- inferences that Western scientific and technological superiority developed directly from Judeo-Christianity heritage. “Why didn’t the periodic table surface among the Eskimos?” Lapin asks. “It doesn’t make sense that Africa hadn’t figured out the wheel by the time England was at the end of the Industrial Revolution."
The reason these people are so backward is, Lapin says, because they never had the words, ‘In the beginning, God created the heaven and earth.” (for you non-Judeo-Christans, those are the opening lines of Genesis, the first book of the Bible).
Lapin's arrogant sense of superiority and "chosenness" is not unlike that of the mid-20th century South African Dutch Reformed Church whose retributive, racist, and self-righteous world-view enslaved millions of people and provided the sociopolitical framework of his formative years.
He has said, “The only question is whether human beings are more like God or more like dogs.” There’s no question which side of that Lapin puts those that disagree with him. “America has been occupied by a different breed” he says, “by a type of person who rejects everything we believe in.” Gates wrote: “Lapin’s sincere belief that secular liberalism represents the animalistic side of his argument makes the ‘culture war’ a Manicheaean struggle.”
We, cast as animals are a lot easier to put down (in the veterinary sense) than regular people who can look you in the eye.
The gifts of science, currency, and capital markets, he says, are
revelations passed from God to the Jews, who thoughtfully dealt in the
Christians- at least certain Christians- Bible-believing,
traditional, orthodox ones grateful for the Providence of their moral
and doctrinal superiority.
That leaves out- no matter how righteous their lives or their works- mainline Protestants, Unitarians, most Catholics and Anglicans; the heretical doubters, the unchurched, the apostates, the agnostics and the atheists. These (read liberals) are, according to Lapin, are united by "rampant secular fundamentalism," miring them in the dog-squalor of vulgarity, cultural decline, immorality, amorality, false prophets, tattoos, and total disregard for traditional marriage.
This is not to speak of the Moslems, Buddhists, Bahai's, Hindus, Wiccans, Theosophists, and Breatharians, etc. who are even further stuck in the muck of the barnyard.
Lapin, like Duke, knows just what we should do with these dangerous mongrels.
Indulging in what watchdogs of the extreme right call "eliminationist" speech, this man of the cloth says it's time to "spill a little blood" in the war between the "two incompatible moral visions for this country," and like the Civil War, it must finally be "settled."
Doesn't that sound like a "final solution?"
After 9-11, he advocated "retribution and destruction" upon entire nations (not just the guilty individuals) and the implication was, of course, that it is Moslem countries who should feel the violent punishment.
(Maybe it's a pathology- perhaps his imperiousness and championing the strong over the weak is because he's a bully. As he wrote in the National Review: "I know bullies because in grade school I was one myself. In the momma's boy who would not put up a fight against me I found something contemptible, inviting me to humiliate him." Kicking the shit out of the towel-heads might just be an extension of his schoolboy contempt for human weakness).
As you can see, his is not the Judaism with the long honorable history of progressive activism in the American labor, civil rights and justice struggles which Abramoff-sullied conservative guru Grover Norquist has called "Dershowitz Judaism." (After Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz) Norquist told the Washington Post's, Hannah Rosin "Lapin is the opposite of that."
Though tedious on the radio, he's charismatic one-to-one or on the stump; a striking figure with his meticulous ear-to-ear rabbinical beard, his bald be-yarmulked pate, his tall, lanky, ascetic presence in expensive dark suits and bright ties.
(We used to think Rabbi Lapin was just boring, but we were proud our homey was chosen to address the 1996 Republican Convention in San Diego (though he didn't provide any Viagara to the flaccid prospects of the Bob Dole candidacy). We were impressed that Newt Gingrich called him a "spiritual advisor)."
Lapin has always said that God is on the GOP's side; and what's more: it's biblical. "Republican principles are more closely parallel the moral vision of the God of Abraham than those of anyone else," he once told the Washington Post.
In that case, what's a good man of the God of Abraham to do? Well,
if the Republicans have all the power and money- you work it...
The Seattle Weekly's Rick Anderson, described how he worked it and reaped the benefits of being the "show rabbi of the right" to the party in power. "
Lapin is involved in other religious/political alliances that worked to get George W. Bush elected and re-elected. Last year, Newsweek reported, "When fundraising began for Bush's re-election effort, Rabbi Daniel Lapin...urged friends and colleagues to steer campaign checks to Bush via Abramoff." President Bush recently reappointed Lapin to the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, which helps preserve cemeteries, monuments, and historic buildings in Eastern and Central Europe. Donors to his charity, according to IRS tax filings, comprise the cream of the religious right, such as Lenore Broughton, the Carthage Foundation, and the Scaife Family Foundation.
As we dug deeper into Lapin's past, there's something darker than mere far-right Republican politics- there's a pattern of recurring disdain for anything in the 3rd World- especially that inhabited by dark-skinned "idiots," "troglodytes," or "morons," as his friend and cohort Jack Abramoff called the Native Americans he was shaking down.
There's no question the ultra-religious Abramoff shares the racial and cultural imperiousness of his friend, spiritual mentor and business associate, Rabbi Lapin. Abramoff has had no compunction making millions cynically exploiting the ignorance and corruption (and by implication, the inferiority) of under-developed nations- from the American Indian tribes to the unregulated sweat shops of Saipan to black South Africans.
That Lapin hails from Apartheid-era South Africa where racism was strictly codified and staunchly defended with Christian arguments, we think, is more than of passing interest.
It was in South Africa that Abramoff began his friendship with the Lapin brothers.
His long, well-documented affinity with the now-defunct racist regime started in 1983, when, as chairman of the College Republican National Federation, he helped pass a resolution condemning "deliberate planted propaganda by the KGB and Soviet proxy forces" against the South Africa regime. Apartheid was never mentioned.
In the late '80's, Abramoff shot his rank, potboiling, virulently anti-Communist action movie, "Red Scorpion," in South Africa. He was assisted by the separatist regime who provided extras, military equipment and locations in Namibia for the movie.
It was later
revealed that the movie itself was funded by the racist government,
though Abramoff incredibly denies knowing that.
When shooting was done, Abramoff, guided by his infamously haywire moral compass, and rationalized by his world class disdain for the wogs, disappeared from South Africa, stiffing everyone- actors, extras, and technicians. He apparently got his from the government and lowered his overhead by fucking over the help.
During the film production, Abramoff met younger brother David Lapin, another rabbi/businessman who sent him home to LA with an introduction to his brother Daniel, and a long term friendship ensued which included Abramoff helping found Lapin's non-profit Toward Tradition in 1991, and serving as board chair and board member until he was quietly expunged in 2005 after his indictment.
In the early '90's, Abramoff worked for the racist South Africa government directing the International Freedom Foundation (IFF) a phony "conservative think tank" later revealed to be an intelligence-gathering and propaganda operation secretly funded by the apartheid government to trash Nelson Mandela, the ANC and massage the international pariah state's image.
IFF drew prominent wingnuts like clown/zealot Alan Keyes; Congressional wingnuts like Sen. Jesse Helms, Reps. Dan Burton and "B-1" Bob Dornan; who served as advisers and delegates to international forums.
In 1994, Abramoff's religious sociopathy reached new heights when he took as a client the kleptocratic Mobutu Sese Seku, the Zairian despot also tied to the business misadventures of right-wing Christian clergyman/businessman and Lapin friend, evangelist Pat Robertson; who also has a penchant for seeking profits by joining corrupt, despotic 3rd World regimes in shaking down their citizenry.
(While later schhtupping Saipan, the New York Times says Abramoff commissioned Lapin's brother David with a $1.2 million no-bid Northern Marianas government contract to conduct ethics-in-government programs. But near as anyone in the Marianas can determine today, David Lapin failed to provide any services).
Herein we see this sense of "chosenness," this culture of disdain, and the belief that these Africans, Indians, Pacific Islanders, goyisher, non-believers, can be used like cattle, because as heathens, they are animals. They fall conveniently outside the moral framework these men of God allegedly adhere to in their rhetorical lives in the white enclaves of Mercer Island, Virginia Beach, and Washington D.C.
Lapin always says on the radio, "Everyone needs a rabbi." And generously adds: "I want to be your rabbi."
David Duke took him up on the offer.
In a screed for the Jewish Review titled, "Our Worst Enemy," Lapin bemoaned the 2004 comedy, "Meet the Fokkers," starring his old friend, Barbra Streisand and said " this film’s vile notions of Jews are not too different from those used by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels." He went on to excoriate other Jews he says are ruining American culture- Dr. Ruth, Howard Stern, Jerry Springer, and porn virtuoso, Ron Jeremy. He wrote:
"It would be foolish not to realize that most decent Americans are bothered far more by the trashing of American culture today than they are by our possible complicity in the killing of Christ two thousand years ago. Because so many of the most prominent trashers possess Jewish names and proudly proclaim their Jewish ethnicity, it becomes a Jewish responsibility to condemn the vulgarity by means of which they defame Judaism."
David Duke couldn't have agreed more, writing, "...he [Lapin] points out revulsion toward Jews does not emanate mainly from so-called anti-Semites but from the nefarious activities of Jews themselves."
Duke's been trying to tell the world for years who our worst enemies are, and when he finally found one of them who agreed with him, he was delighted. Duke quoted Lapin quoting Hitler who seemed to back up everybody involved:
"Was there any form of filth or profligacy, particularly in cultural life, without at least one Jew involved in it? What had to be reckoned heavily against the Jews in my eyes was when I became acquainted with their activity in the press, art, literature, and the theater….It sufficed to look at a billboard, to study the names behind the horrible trash they advertised….Is this why the Jews are called the “chosen people”? The fact that nine tenths of all literary filth, artistic trash, and theatrical idiocy can be set to the account of a people, constituting hardly one hundredth of all the country’s inhabitants, could simply not be talked away; it was the plain truth. (Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler, Chapter II)
Lapin continued: The sad fact is that through Jewish actors, playwrights, and producers, the Berlin stage of Weimar Germany linked Jews and deviant sexuality in all its sordid manifestations just as surely as Broadway does today. Much of the filth in American entertainment today parallels that of Germany between the wars.
"Indeed, it does," Duke writes glowingly, "It is interesting to note that there a few Jews in America who are concerned about the destructive influence of many powerful Jews. He [Lapin] is concerned not only because he believes that such evil is against his own morality but that it also inevitably brings down Gentile wrath upon Jews. The amazing thing is that there are so few honest voices like that of Rabbi Lapin."
In other words, it's the Jews own damn fault they got genocided...
This wasn't the first time, Lapin has found himself and his words tangled with the far right extremists and Holocaust deniers.
In 1995, Human Life International, a Catholic anti-choice, anti-sex organization who’d been labeled anti-Semitic and racist by a Seattle civil rights group, held a convention in Tacoma.
If you're right-wing and you need a Jew to make you look tolerant- who do you call? Why "Everybody's Rabbi," Daniel Lapin.
Dominic Gates, now a Seattle times reporter. covered the conference for the now defunct Eastside Week and interviewed HLI founder Father Paul Marx who confided some doubts about the Holocaust: “Some say,” he said, “good Germans say it was, it may well have been, impossible to have killed that many in so short a period of time.”
Such Holocaust mitigation talk is close to Holocaust denial, that keystone of doctrinaire anti-Semitism- so you can imagine the ensuing kerfuffle. Never one to let duck the media spotlight, Lapin generated more headlines and not a little Jewish outrage by jumping in to defend Marx’s statements. He’d not back away from Marx’s revealing choice of words. “That is not anti-Semitic...I think de facto questioning the numbers should not be construed as anti-Semitic.”
Lapin apparently hasn’t changed his mind about what the significance of the Holocaust should be in today’s world.
He said recently to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: “I do believe that we in the Jewish community need to stop being so prickly about [the Holocaust]...Right now, serious Catholicism and serious Judaism faces secularism, rampant secular fundamentalism. And so, it’s enough looking backwards. It’s enough already with the apologies and the Holocaust and the past.”
David Neiwert is a journalist and author who's watched the extreme right for years and wrote the respected In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest, (1999, Washington State University). On Neiwert's widely-read blog, Orcinus, he has written at length about the eliminationist speech and war rhetoric cropping up more and more frequently as the right feels its oats. He quotes Daniel Lapin:
"I am absolutely convinced that God is far from finished with the story of the United States of America," he said by way of summation. "First of all, [there's] the matter of the little battle that must be fought, just as it was in the 19th century." There were, and are, "two incompatible moral visions for this country. We had to settle it then. We're going to have to settle it now. I hope not with blood, not with guns, but we're going to have to settle it nonetheless. The good news is that I think our side is finally ready to settle it. Roll up its sleeves, take off its jacket, and get a little bloody. Spill a little blood. We'll settle it. And we'll win. And then there's no holding us back." (emphasis ours).
Combine this with Bush's "Axis of Evil" (White House surrogates added Syria to the list yesterday on the Sunday TV talk shows) the idea that we can "understand" and dehumanize whole nations by labeling them with theological "evil," which in this crowd literally means The Devil or Satan. Throw in the fear of terrorism and we have a recipe for annihilation.
Nuke Satan? Has certain ring to it, eh?
Guilt by association? Hell, yes. Lapin, Abramoff, Robertson et al's pernicious culture of economic, cultural, secular and racial superiority. With deep roots in apartheid South Africa, this is pattern racism and archness that's colonialism taken to its post-modern extreme.
Their agenda is partly greed and censorial, retributionist power lust; the rest is to insinuate their religion and culture on the rest of the world. In serving their ends, they've acted as a bridge between Republicans and a constituency who hear what they want to hear even if it's racist, nationalistic, vengeful, anti-Semitic and xenophobic.
In order to get these votes delivered, Republicans, so intent on keeping power, have let charlatanic midwives like Lapin hijack their social platform and stink up their mainstream.
There's only a hair's breadth of difference between the far, far, right of the white supremacists, the militias, the Christian jihadists, Timothy McVeigh and the pragmatic far, far right of Lapin, Abramoff, Falwell, and Pat Robertson.