Courtesy of the Anchoress, I’ve learned that Ann Coulter has done it again, this time coming out with remarks that are going to sound anti-Semitic. Here’s what Ann said during an interview with Donny Deutsch:
DEUTSCH: Christian — so we should be Christian? It would be better if we were all Christian?
DEUTSCH: We should all be Christian?
COULTER: Yes. Would you like to come to church with me, Donny?
DEUTSCH: So I should not be a Jew, I should be a Christian, and this would be a better place?
COULTER: Well, you could be a practicing Jew, but you’re not.
DEUTSCH: That isn’t what I said, but you said I should not — we should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians, then, or —
COULTER: Well, it’s a lot easier. It’s kind of a fast track.
COULTER: Yeah. You have to obey.
DEUTSCH: You can’t possibly believe that.
DEUTSCH: You can’t possibly — you’re too educated, you can’t — you’re like my friend in –
COULTER: Do you know what Christianity is? We believe your religion, but you have to obey.
DEUTSCH: No, no, no, but I mean –
COULTER: We have the fast-track program.
DEUTSCH: Why don’t I put you with the head of Iran? I mean, come on. You can’t believe that.
COULTER: The head of Iran is not a Christian.
DEUTSCH: No, but in fact, “Let’s wipe Israel” –
COULTER: I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention.
DEUTSCH: “Let’s wipe Israel off the earth.” I mean, what, no Jews?
COULTER: No, we think — we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say. .
I’m Jewish, but I have to admit to being entirely unoffended by what Ann said — but that’s only because I understand what she said. All Christians believe that Jews have stopped short of attaining salvation, in that they’ve got a firm grasp of the “Judeo” things regarding morality and God, but they forgot to put in the Christian part. That is, as a Jew who does not recognize Christ as my savior, I’m denying myself salvation. Indeed, that’s what Christ himself said. Indeed, that’s the entire point of Christianity, especially when seen against the foil of Judaism against which it arose. And that’s what Ann is saying in the language I highlighted: “We have the fast-track program.”
Of course, we Jews think the other way entirely: Since we do not recognize Christ as the Son of God (sorry), we do not see him as a path to salvation. Instead, we believe salvation can be achieved only through keeping the terms, the many terms, of the covenant with God.
What rational Jews and rational Christians have in common is that, rather than hating the “other,” they are saddened that the other is failing to recognize the true path to God. Ann doesn’t want to kill me. She wants to offer me, without violence or coercion, the opportunity to get with “the fast-track program.” In this, she is entirely distinct from an Islamist who will either convert me at sword or gunpoint, or kill me. And indeed, when it comes to the Jews, Islamist hatred is so wild, killing is often deemed the better option.
Jews, of course, don’t have a conversion tradition, but they certainly don’t hate Christians. Indeed, smart Jews nowadays recognize that Christians are our companions in morality, and that we serve each other well by having dialogs about the values common to both faiths.
So I totally get what Ann is saying, and I don’t take offense. But, Gosh Darnit Ann! — could you have phrased the whole thing more stupidly? Here’s what the Anchoress has to say, and I second entirely her point of view:
If you read that transcript to the end, you can see where Coulter tries to clarify her meaning, but she can’t, partly because a sound-bite forum is NO PLACE for that sort of deep and too-easily-misunderstood discussion, and partly because her host is, from his perspective as a Jew, unsurprisingly appalled by what he is hearing, by what he thinks Coulter is saying. This is a discussion best left to someone with a gift for diplomacy, a deft tongue and a loving, civil and collected mien. It is is absolutely not a discussion that should be undertaken by someone who has the deftness of a hammer and the mien of a German Shepherd. Coulter tries to explain, but keeps sinking further because she’s in deep waters, weighted down by time constraints and her own clumsiness; rather than rescuing herself, she’s taking down a whole ship!
The damage is done and it is HUGE damage, done very thoroughly; and her clarification is too little, too late and too inarticulate to do the job. And this is going to be red meat all through ‘08, folks. This is going to be the caricature of Christians and conservatives for the next 18 months, (and beyond) and it’s going to stick because people want it to stick and because it’s EASIER to let it stick than to find out what this woman – who is really out of her depths here – was trying to say.
Or, as we Jews say, “Oy vey!”
UPDATE: I’ll second Charles’ viewpoint at LGF, which echoes Dennis Prager’s viewpoint on his morning radio show. We on the Right should be less upset, and should be vaguely amused, in a superior way, about the hysteria on the Left. Having said that, I still think Ann does not serve the Conservative cause well by making a spectacle of herself in this way.