Fitz’s comment on Majikthise that the Catholic League is a Catholic civil rights organization, and the periodic casting of critics of Israel as anti-Semites, together display many unnerving parallels. The delusion of oppression is a radical pathology that is present in smaller amounts among non-radicals. Whether this oppression exists or not is immaterial; organizations like the Catholic League would look for it in the wrong places anyway.
Being an oppressed group carries a few fringe benefits: the right to call clueless members of the majority group bigoted, greater leeway in criticizing mainstream values, mainstream tolerance of safe spaces. These are far outweighed by the very real effects of discrimination, but white people are likelier to notice a black person who calls the media racist than a hundred white people who support school segregation.
Now, enter ethnic whites. Many were discriminated against in the past for being named Ferrera or Cohen or O’Leary or even Bauer, rather than Jones. In that climate, it’s easy for organizations like the Catholic League and the Anti Defamation League to sell themselves as civil rights organizations, while engaging in pure sacroturf and political intimidation.
Conservative WASPs can’t talk about the civil equality of people who came to the US on the Mayflower without looking like idiots. Therefore, they launch organizations that try to make it look as if white Christians are an oppressed group: the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, the Moral Majority. Talk radio hosts like Limbaugh and Savage demonize black people and complain about black racism in order to portray whites as a marginalized group.
Obviously, some of these do suffer from latent discrimination. Hate crimes against Jews exist, though more in Europe than in North America, and in mostly Jew-free areas of the US, anti-Semitic bigotry runs rampant. The ADL really was a civil rights group for a long time, allied with the ACLU and the NAACP.
But right now, systematic discrimination against Jews and other ethnic whites is gone. Jews and Catholics are overrepresented in the Supreme Court. Kerry ws criticized for being insufficiently Catholic rather than too Catholic. For the individual cases of civil rights violations that invaribly linger, there’s the ACLU.
So in their lust to become oppressed minorities, many Jews and Catholics (Jews more so than Catholics) turn to organizations that support a controversial country’s controversial policies. For Catholics, that country is the Vatican, with its Papal social policy. For Jews, it’s obviously Israel, with its occupation of Palestine.
These delusions of oppression create absurd political alliances. Most hawkish Jews have internalized the notion that Jewry equals Israel to the point that they ally themselves with anti-Semites as long as they support Palestine. In Europe, they end up apologizing for anti-Semites on the extreme right whose redeeming feature is hating Muslims more.
And the Catholic League is simply the Catholic version of the religious right. Non-denominational and Protestant organizations call anyone who disagrees with them an anti-religious traitor with no evidence; the Catholic League uses “anti-Catholic bigot” instead.
This despite the fact that many Catholics in the US are in fact oppressed for being Hispanic. Given that almost all of the 14.5% of Americans who are Hispanics are Catholics, it’s likely that the majority of American Catholics are Latino. In light of that, supporting civil rights for Catholics in the US means supporting greater rights for immigrants and measures for racial equality.
It’s true that Anglo racism isn’t religious in nature, Samuel Huntingon’s rationalizations notwithstanding. But the NAACP and NOW don’t attack discrimination directly, either. Abortion, school funding, paid family leave, and public housing aren’t strictly speaking about gender or race; they just affect women and minorities disproportionated, making it sensible for NOW and the NAACP to advocate for them.
The organizations that do the most to advance Catholics’ and Jews’ civil rights are the traditional civil rights organizations, especially the ACLU. Although the ADL was traditionally a civil rights organization, it broke away from the civil rights movements after the 1960s, preferring to focus on shoring up public support for the occupation of Palestine.