Jonathan Weisman writes: Bernie Bernstein pretty much fits the mold of a Jew — at least as the alt-right sees us.
A strange Northeastern accent, somewhere between New York and Boston? Check. Tossing money, but not too much money, around to no good end (remember, we’re rich, but cheap)? Check. Pursuing the agenda of the liberal fake-news media? Check. Riling the worst instincts of the South’s conservative base? Check.
But there was something a little too on the nose, forgive me please, about those robocalls in Alabama from a mythical Washington Post reporter named Bernstein seeking women to dish dirt on Roy Moore, something too “Jewy” to be actually Jewish. And that’s where the rising anti-Semitism of the new white nationalists loses its punch.
He may be Bernie Bernstein; he may be Lenny Bernstein — it’s a little hard to tell from the tape. Regardless, as the Princeton historian Kevin Kruse wrote on Twitter, “Whoever’s behind this is a horrible anti-Semite. I mean, just really bad at being an anti-Semite.”
Last week, voters in Alabama — rocked, befuddled or riled by allegations that Mr. Moore, the Republican nominee for the Senate, sexually assaulted teenage girls — were treated to an electronic “robocall” that intoned, or really whined:
I’m a reporter for The Washington Post calling to find out if anyone at this address is a female between the ages of 54 to 57 years old, willing to make damaging remarks about candidate Roy Moore for a reward of between $5,000 and $7,000. We will not be fully investigating these claims however we will make a written report.
I could be charitable and suggest that the name is a play on the Post’s legendary Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein. There really is a Lenny Bernstein at the paper, a health care reporter who most certainly does not share the caller’s voice or penchant for journalistic duplicity. But honestly, I’m more inclined to invoke Occam’s razor: The most logical explanation is usually the right one. Bernie Bernstein is the creation of an anti-Semite — or at least an opportunist appealing to Alabama voters’ willingness to believe the worst about a man named Bernie Bernstein. [Continue reading…]