December 18, 2008, - 3:59 pm

Slovenly Vanity Fair Anti-Semite Attacks Schlussel, Uses Madoff to Attack Jews

By Debbie Schlussel
I keep getting e-mails from people–some of them clearly anti-Semitic–asking why I haven’t written about investment Ponzi scheme king Bernard Madoff and his scandal. Well, for one thing, it’s been covered and over-covered to death, and I don’t have anything to add. For another, a greedy left-wing liberal rips off mostly other greedy left-wing liberals. Sorry, but that’s got nothin’ to do with me.
That said, I’m really surprised at the level of anti-Semitism leveled at me and other Jews because of this charlatan who was more left-wing than he was Jewish (he wasn’t a religious, practicing Jew by most accounts, even if he funded some, mostly left-wing and a few worthy Jewish charities).
The worst of it appears on Vanity Fair and it invokes my name. Anti-Semite, pan-Islamist, calorically-gifted (or is that, Differently Digestive?) Vanity Fair writer James Wolcott wrote this typeface version of rat-a-tat-tat:


James Wolcott (left):

Anti-Semitic Vanity Fair Writer Uses Madoff Scandal to Attack Jews, Me

Working from the deep, respectable, cushioned inside, Bernard Madoff inflicted more damage and misery on Jewish families, charities, and institutions than all of the homegrown cells of jihadists running wild in the imaginations of Pamela Geller, Debbie Schlussel, Francis Porretto, Michelle Malkin, David Horowitz, and the flat sodas at Pajamas Media. These great bloggers have been scanning the horizon for pirates, oblivious to the bomb about to go off below deck.

Not to dignify his anti-Semitism, but . . . .
Um, Mr. Wolcott, let’s be clear: While what he did was reprehensible and criminal (and he should have the book thrown at him), Madoff didn’t murder a single individual, Jewish or otherwise. He didn’t fly planes into buildings and tell people to call their families and say good-bye. 19 Muslims murdered nearly 3,000–not 3,000 Jews, but 3,000 Americans. It’s not relevant who did what to Jews, when we speak of terrorism. 9/11 should have made clear–if not, many attacks on Americans beforehand–that terrorism is everyone’s issue, not just the Jews. Likewise, why should I care whether his victims were Jewish-Americans or random Americans? That you would indicate I’d only care about the former tells me what you think of the Jews, even aside from your screed.
Bottom Line: To compare Madoff to Islamic terrorism is like comparing an ant urinating to a continental tsunami or Hurricane Katrina.
Wolcott has attacked me before (in between his repeat traipsing to Dairy Queen) because he was upset that I called Sharon Stone, “Crotchwoman,” telling his warped audience about his “Stone-on-Schlussel” fantasy (which, I assure you (and him), is all that will ever be–his fantasy). Because, after all, it wasn’t Ms. Stone who is known mostly for–and became famous because of–a crotch-bearing shot on the big screen. No, I must be mistaken because that Sharon Stone is all talent. Must’ve been some other harlot baring her bottom frontal in “Basic Instinct.”
Just like I’m “mistaken” that Mr. Wolcott is a flaming Jew-hater and flat-out (well, he’s actually not so flat, just roly-poly) moron.
Reader There Is No Santa Claus, a moderate/centrist, writes:

I’ve been hearing news in “Jewish circles” on how the Madoff scandal is hurting Jewish charities. While I don’t rejoice in that, I couldn’t help but notice that most of these charities are either moderately left-leaning or very-left-leaning organizations.
Stephen Spielberg? I’ll bet your heart bleeds for that one. Eh? (He’s a “Jewish charity”???)
Hadassah? OK, there’s worse, but still rather leftwing; even for my tastes.
Mort Zuckerman? Isn’t he the clod who raised several millions of dollars to purchase Israeli businesses in Gaza to give to the Arabs? Oh yeah! That was a bright move; a brilliant investment in the future of the Mideast.
So… like I’m thinkin’… a lot of these Jewish organizations hurt by Madoff are leftwing or left-leaning organizations that haven’t always done right by Jews or Israel even if they meant well.

TINSC, you have a point.

26 Responses

There are obviously double standards at work. Look at a crook like Blagojavich, the crook governor of Illinois. Do these anti-semitic blogs draw these kinds of generalizations about Blagojavich? What about crooked Mr. Jefferson of La.? There is an obvious double standard. Apart from general anti-semitic prejudice, there is an element of stupidity in these comments. They are on a very low intellectual level, and, as is typical of self-educated people (i.e. self-educated in subjects like politics, history, etc. which they purport to utilize in their anti-semitic analyses), they make unwarranted generalizations that are so broad that it requires pages to untangle all the nitwit assumptions and oversimplications and falsehoods that they make. I guess the effort to untangle all of this is necessary, but it is a very unpleasant task, and of course, the anti-semites will just make another stupid generalization in place of it.

c f on December 18, 2008 at 4:33 pm

And unfortunately, I don’t think they care how religious Madoff is, since their anti-semitism is racial in nature, just like Hitler’s. Hitler didn’t care how religious the Jews were, they were still Jews. Same thing here, although on a lesser scale, at least in their written utterances.

c f on December 18, 2008 at 4:35 pm

One more comment about Wolcott — the homegrown cells of terrorists mentioned in his passage are only running wild in the IMAGINATIONS of you, and the other individuals mentioned in the paragraph. This seems to mean that Madoff did real damage, but the homegrown terrorists did not; they only exist in your imagination. So not only are they not worse, but they don’t even exist. Only Madoff’s damage exists. People like Wolcott let their real feels subtly escape in their garbage writing.

c f on December 18, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Who is James Wolcott? I just assumed liberals were conned by another liberal in Madoff. I thought that was rather amusing. He should go to jail. Wolcott’s line of reasoning is rather delusional. Madoff more destructive than fascist Muslim jihadist? Someone is off the reservation.
Maybe he is left to “fantasies” since his gut won’t allow him reality.

californiascreaming on December 18, 2008 at 5:06 pm

I agree with you, Debbie. However I just want to say that as a Jew, I DO feel embarrassed when another Jew commits a financial crime. I do feel that when you are a member of a minority, you have a responsibility to think about how your actions and words reflect on the larger group. It’s not fair that the world stereotypes minorities, but that’s the way it is. When blacks or hispanics, who statistically speaking commit a higher percentage of crimes than whites do, commit violent crimes, I find myself asking “why don’t they have any concern for their people?” Why do they perpetuate their own stereotype instead of trying to fight it? So when Jews commit financial crimes, I ask the same thing. Knowing full well how antisemites accuse Jews of running the financial world, I would think a Jewish businessman or investor would be super vigilant about being honest.
Maybe I’m wrong to feel that way, but I do feel especially angry when a member of a minority behaves in a way that increases the world’s prejudice toward his people. You might say I’m blaming the victim, but it really has more to do with expecting people to be aware of their special responsibilities.

batyahgirl on December 18, 2008 at 5:20 pm

Anti-semites don’t need reasons to hate Jews. The misdeeds of Jews are used to validate a pre-existing hate of Jews, not to justify a new found dislike of Jews. And apart from their religion, what do Bernard Madoff and Debbie Schlussel have in common? As she rightly says, “nothin’.

NormanF on December 18, 2008 at 5:21 pm

I don’t disagree with you, NormanF. And Debbie has no obligation to respond to anyone with regard to Bernie Madoff, beyond condemning his wrongdoing, which she has done. I do want to see Jews condemning crimes committed by other Jews, and I’d like to see more blacks condemning black violence (instead of cheering en masse when OJ got acquitted of murders we all know he committed). We want to see Muslims condemning Islamic violence instead of defending it or getting indignant. We can ask no less of ourselves.

batyahgirl on December 18, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Debbie, I always have wondered why there are any poor people with all the tax and charitable dollars floating out there. I bet if you did the math we could give every poor person in the US $1 million if there were just one central charity. BTW all these Jewish families and charities that lost money, I agree we can do without them. What we need are more Jewish people living Jewish lives instead of hoarding money.

Anonymous1 on December 18, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Madoff drew in mega-millions from Jewish charities. Assuming he did operate a Ponzi scheme, Jews are victims and not victimizers.

supercargo on December 18, 2008 at 9:54 pm

While I don’t disagree with some of the comments, my main concern is attacking the mindless antisemitism aroused by this situation. Such condemnation, and discussion of how to fight the antisemitism is infinitely more important to me than to discuss how Jews should react to crimes committed by other Jews.
An emphasis on this reminds me too much of the behavior of way too many Jewish self-proclaimed leaders in the 30s. Faced with anti-semitism in the US, their emphasis was on Jews acting as Americans, and soft-pedaling aggressive condemnation and opposition to anti-Semitism. While I understand that none of the commenters is advocating this, I think that there is a risk of such a dynamic developing if we don’t stay right on the emphasis of focussing on the anti-semitism, itself.

c f on December 18, 2008 at 10:34 pm

Open expression of anti-Semitism has become socially acceptable. Anti-Semites such as that swollen tick James Wolcott feel free to spew hate that just a few years ago he would have kept under control. It doesn’t help to have so many self-hating lefty Jews running around in high profile positions. Like Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Yenta Streisand in Hollywood and a bunch of court Jews in the State Department and other gov’t agencies.

lexi on December 18, 2008 at 11:08 pm

c f, point well taken. It is shocking how freely people will say anti-Israel, anti-Jewish things now.
Slightly off topic, but I was disgusted by a recent Boston Legal episode I watched in which Candace Bergin’s character (yuk) is soon to marry a Jewish coworker and makes incredibly antisemitic remarks to him about Jewish holidays, Jewish attitudes, and the very existence of Israel — and he is all too eager to take her back and “make up” right before they run off to marry. Yuk yuk yuk. I know it’s just a stupid tv show but it reflects, as well as helps shape, societal attitudes. The worst part about it is that I’ll bet Jews wrote the script.

batyahgirl on December 18, 2008 at 11:26 pm

It is my understanding that Yeshiva University had invested with Madoff (I also believe he served in some capacity as a financial adviser to YU) although I do not know how much. A couple of years ago when I took an MBA class that at the time was studying University endowments, YU’s endowment was around the 25th largest in the country.
As for this nutcake’s claim of of “jihadists running wild in the imaginations”, this upsets me for two reasons:
1) As an American I suffered with all Americans at what happened on 9/11.
2) As someone who was working at United Airlines on 9/11 and provided assistance to the FBI afterward, I am especially upset that he believes Jihadists are made up creatures of someones imagination. Debbie, I suggest you invite this dirtbag to take a tour of Dearbornistan with you.

i_am_me on December 18, 2008 at 11:27 pm

I am tired of all the coverage that this is getting. Get a grip for heaven’s sake. ANYONE who invests in equities (the stock market) has lost a minimum of 30-50% of the money in their accounts. TRILLIONS of dollars have disappeared from accounts all over the world. EVERYONE has lost tons of money, if they were invested in the stock market, commodities, bonds etc. over the past year. The majority of citizens in this country are down 50% of their savings, IRA’s, mutual funds, 401Ks etc. I don’t want to hear any more about investors who were not smart enough to diversify and put all their money in the hands of one person,stock, commodity or fund. Religion has NOTHING to do with this. There are thieves and sinners of every faith,sect, group etc. Too bad, so sad for those who invested with Madoff. Get over it, just like the rest of us.

bonzerwolf on December 19, 2008 at 2:08 am

I have no idea how religiously observant Madoff is, but unfortunately he was on the Board of Directors of Yeshiva University until he was forced out last week. Some non-left leaning Jewish institutions – like YU ($100 million) – lost money in Madoff’s scheme.
Madoff was apparently an equal opportunity embezzler and stole from Jews and non-Jews across the political and religious spectrum – from Ezra Merkin (who is religiously observant) and Yeshiva University on the one hand, to many Jewish-in-name-only left-wing ’causes.’ And of course he stole from non-Jews too.
Yes, Madoff himself was a leftist who donated to leftist causes. But when it comes to making money, the financial markets tend to ignore right/left distinctions in favor of who performs best. For a long time, Madoff performed best. Unfortunately, a lot of Jews and non-Jews – including investigators at the SEC – didn’t take a close enough look to understand why. And a lot of Jewish communal services may now suffer because of it.

Carl in Jerusalem on December 19, 2008 at 6:58 am

Vanity Fair is unfit to read (even in the powder room – it should be flushed). I am not surprised that Wolcott thinks terrorists are imaginary as I am sure he denies the Holocaust too. For some years now mags & TV/movie plots have been openly anti-Semitic. I’ve heard few complaints. Speilberg et al are repulsive turncoats.
As for the mentally ill (at best) Madoff, he is simply a ganiff (thief). I am sad that he is of Jewish descent and looted Jewish institutions & charities – but he is essentially a left-wing criminal (redundant). Many Jewish Americans are leaning left in a delusional state of denial in the face of the anti-Semitic cabinet appointments of the Pres-elect. These appointments add up to an intention to end the Jewish state of Israel (with 5+ million Jewish lives- number ring any bells?). That’s the change Wolcott and his ilk in DC want to believe in!

crazycatkids on December 19, 2008 at 10:09 am

What Madoff did is unexcusable and he should get the highest sentence a court can impose on him…provided he’s found guilty. As to why people in the main stream media (MSM) have to couple what he did to his religion he might purportedly practice is beyond me. I don’t believe one has to do with the other. Madoff, simply got greedy. And greed leads most people to do things they think they weren’t capable of doing. Don’t be surprised if more people like Madoff are apprehended and charged with doing what he did. There is never just one. Wall Street has lost it sights a long time ago. It’s all about the bottom line. Either people must produce or they’re out of a job. Still not an excuse to commit fraud. If something sounds too good to be true. Then it’s too good to be true. And never should a person entrust just one person or company to handle their money so freely. If a broker is handling your account. They should have to tell you before hand and get your approval to make a subsequent move in the market.

Tenn Scholar on December 19, 2008 at 10:11 am

Great comments on the Madoff and Wolcott postings … but for me, per usual, I just love your incredible sense of humor, your uncanny ability to coin, or turn, a phrase/name and your spot on lampooning of events and individuals …
Madoff: Heartless
Wolcott: Dickless
“Crotchwoman”: Priceless
Jimmy Lewis
SCS, Michigan

Jimmy on December 19, 2008 at 10:44 am

James Wolcott is a woman who praised uber liar and anti Semite Robert Fisk – looks like Jon Lovitz’s sister.

Ripper on December 19, 2008 at 10:55 am

Self-hating Jews like them aren’t really Jews at all because the only place they worship is at the altar of liberalism.

horselady on December 19, 2008 at 11:55 am

There is a serious problem when these antisemitic attitudes and insane comparisons are propagated by mainstream sources. As I’m sure you know, these issues are not only with Vanity Fair, or with Wolcott. It’s Conde Nast in general and their many publications:
* Vogue
* W
* Glamour
* Allure
* Self
* Teen Vogue
* GQ
* Details
* Men’s Vogue
* Architectural Digest
* Brides
* Modern Bride
* Elegant Bride
* Lucky
* Domino
* Cookie
* Golf Digest
* Golf World
* Vanity Fair
* Gourmet
* Bon AppÈtit
* CondÈ Nast Traveler
* Wired
* CondÈ Nast Portfolio
* The New Yorker
Of course, Conde Nast is owned by Advance, which controls all the media outlets found here, too:

Peter on December 19, 2008 at 12:36 pm

A friend, one of your Landsman, made a point to me, a poor benighted Goy of the Presbyterian type, that when you steal you take part of a persons life because you a stealing time.
To say that Maddy didn’t kill anyone is begging the point. He caused people to despair and possible will drive some to suicide. He destroyed the good works of others too.
In the words of Urban VIII, spoken when informed of the death of Richelieu: “If there is a God, he has much to answer for. If not, then we can say he did very well for himself.”
He did murder his victims, by pieces. Debb, do no blind yourself to the crimes done by Jews to other Jews, during Shoah.

taffy on December 19, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Madoff isn’t “mentally ill”–he’s just a crook. Kind of like old Joe Kennedy, George Soros, Jesse Jackson, Franklin Raines, Jamie Gorelick, etc. He’s just on a bigger scale. Well, maybe not bigger than Joe Kennedy.

lexi on December 19, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Amazing: When, over the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, there were at least 10 young men shooting up Bombay in the explicit cause of jihad, the media (with the occasional exception of Fox) abstemiously refrained from calling them “Islamic/Muslim terrorists.” Yet, they are all over Madoff for his Jewishness? Double-standards, much? Yes: Jews are soft targets. Muslims shoot back (with real bullets).

gunjam on December 20, 2008 at 3:52 pm

I heard it said that an Anti-Semite is someone who hates a Jewish person from before that person was born.

CHOI on December 20, 2008 at 4:18 pm

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