I was just watching C-Span, the commercial-free channel that likes to inject its cameras into relevant political events as well as occasional cultural events of note. This program was covering the National Book Festival and they were broadcasting a stellar line-up of speakers who were guests of the Festival.

David Brooks, who is a columnist for the NY Times and editor at The Atlantic, has an enviable record as a journalist and writer and was speaking at the Festival in order to promote his new book, On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now. I found his talk about where Americans were headed politically to be engaging and funny. It seemed the large audience in attendance did as well.

Then came the question period. Now I can’t be sure whether they edit these programs and how they are edited if they do. However, the very first question asked was never completed.

Why? Because the questioner, a large white guy who looked middle class enough that you’d expect him to be carrying a bag of golf clubs in his trunk at all times, began his question to Brooks as follows: “You belong to the Jewish Zionist Neo-con cabal that took us to Iraq…”

Many people in the audience immediately booed and hissed, which was nice to hear. Brooks reacted calmly and merely pointed at another person in the audience. “Next question.” The camera cut back to the Cabal Dude, and it was clear he wasn’t done but was out of luck because the sound person had cut off his microphone. Brooks then added, just before the next person asked a question, something to the effect of, “The Jewish thing was going too far. And yes, I am Jewish.”

Now of course it was very fashionable among Jewschool posters Lefty circles to bring out this accusation back when it looked like we would go to war in Iraq, and even in the first few months there. However, this cry of bigotry seems to have died down so it was quite surprising to see someone use this formulation without a hint of shame in a very public forum. In fact, I believe the man expected to be applauded by some in the crowd. He wasn’t applauded but vilified by many there, and virtually everyone remained for the rest of the question period.

Just a story I thought I’d share.

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