I'm not usually a big fan of Tom Friedman's column but he is so so right this morning:
I hate to write about this, but I have actually been to this play before and it is really disturbing.
I was in Israel interviewing Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin just before he was assassinated in 1995. We had a beer in his office. He needed one. I remember the ugly mood in Israel then — a mood in which extreme right-wing settlers and politicians were doing all they could to delegitimize Rabin, who was committed to trading land for peace as part of the Oslo accords. They questioned his authority. They accused him of treason. They created pictures depicting him as a Nazi SS officer, and they shouted death threats at rallies. His political opponents winked at it all.
And in so doing they created a poisonous political environment that was interpreted by one right-wing Jewish settler as a license to kill Rabin — he must have heard, “God will be on your side” — and so he did.
Others have already remarked on this analogy, but I want to add my voice because the parallels to Israel then and America today turn my stomach: I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or left. But something very dangerous is happening. Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into delegitimation and creating the same kind of climate here that existed in Israel on the eve of the Rabin assassination...
Somehow it has now become acceptable for Republican politicians to wink at and even utter the most despicable lies against the President and the government. They have deliberately stoked the most violent and treasonous sentiments. The number of prominent Republican politicians willing to denounce this hate mongering is so small as to be essentially zero.
There is clearly a sort of Gresham's law of scumbaggery involved here as ever more extreme voices come to the fore - and get shows on the Fox propaganda network.