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Contentions

Be Careful About Those Charges of Ignorance, O Ignorant One

Matthew Yglesias of the Atlantic thinks he has caught out John McCain:

More ignorance from John McCain:

When McCain made a foreign policy gaffe in Jordan on Tuesday, it was Sen. Joe Lieberman who quietly pointed out the mistake, giving McCain an opportunity to correct himself in front of the international press corps. In Israel yesterday, NBC’s Lauren Appelbaum reports, Lieberman once again intervened when McCain made an incorrect reference about the Jewish holiday Purim — by calling the holiday “their version of Halloween here.”

Admittedly this falls more in the “haha he doesn’t know what he’s talking about” category than in the “holy s–t he doesn’t know what he’s talking about” category where the Iran/al-Qaeda confusion belongs.

This is embarrassing, true — but far more for Matthew Yglesias and NBC’s Lauren Applebaum. In the first place, it was Joe Lieberman who told McCain, who would have no particular reason to know this, that Purim was the Israeli Halloween. The holiday of Purim is the version of Halloween in Israel in the sense that it is the day on which children dress up in costumes and parade through the streets and get treats. (That’s what hamantaschen, the triangular cookies whose photograph illustrates Yglesias’s own item, are — treats.)  It’s a perfectly valid explanation of the holiday as it is celebrated in secular terms, and not only in Israel; my three-year-old daughter, for example, is getting dolled up as Cinderella when she goes to celebrate Purim this evening at synagogue, and she made a tie-dye t-shirt at her Jewish day school  for the goings-on tomorrow.

For reasons having to do with religious Jewish political correctness, I expect, Joe Lieberman found it necessary to say that, of course, Purim is so much more, which it is; it is the commemoration of the salvation through wit and cleverness of the Jewish people from a genocidal threat emanating from Persia (which is to say, Iran). 

All in all, I think this falls in the “haha he doesn’t know what he’s talking about” category when it comes to Internet desk jockeys who evidently know relatively little about the customs of their own people. And as for the “holy s–t” stuff involving Iran and Al Qaeda, I think Mr. Yglesias should scroll through some posts here at Contentions down to Max Boot’s and learn something, maybe. Then go to shul this evening and get a glimpse of how there are actually children wearing…costumes.


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