Well, not really. But a little. Okay, maybe a lot.

In Richard Cohen’s op-ed for the Post today, he plays a very nasty game of guilt by association. Because Barack Obama belongs to the ostensibly controversial Trinity United Church of Christ, in Chicago, and because the minister there, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, in the pages of an in-house magazine he publishes, “heaped praise on” Louis Farakkhan, calling him a man who “truly epitomized greatness,” Obama must disavow, um, wait, who exactly? Minister Farrakhan? Reverend Wright? It’s not entirely clear from Cohen’s article.

What is clear, though, is that the there’s an effort underway to paint Barack Obama as bad for the Jews. If you’re Jewish, and perhaps even if you’re not, you’ve likely received a piece of hateful spam informing you that Obama is Muslim, or half Muslim, or 3/5 Muslim — just for determining representation, of course — or some other ill-founded crap. You know that he was also educated at a madrassa, don’t you? Well, don’t you? He’s radical. And a terrorist.

Enough. Really. I couldn’t stand it when a relative forwarded me one of these e-mails. But my relative is deeply ignorant. I’m far more outraged when someone who should know better, someone like Richard Cohen, writes a vile article that deals, if only indirectly, in similar themes.

It may be that Obama’s candidacy will prompt a moment of reckoning for the mainstream of the American Jewish community, which is far more progressive than the reactionaries, racists, and fear-mongerers who often speak for it. For example, in the most recent data that I can locate, the findings of a 2007 survey conducted by the American Jewish Committee, Jews disapprove of the Bush administration’s handling of the “campaign against terrorism” by a margin of almost 2:1, oppose “military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons” by similar numbers, and think that the Iraq war is an absolute disaster. When it comes to the domestic front, sorry, er, the Homeland, just a quarter of the Jews surveyed called themselves any flavor of conservative, only 15% are Republicans, and a minute 6% identifed “support of Israel” as the most important factor they’ll consider when choosing the next president. (You can see Glenn Greenwald’s* thoughts on all of this here.)

I don’t think you have to support Barack Obama to be a good Jew. Or a loyal Jew. Or anything else Jewish. But I do think that the time has come that you might have to oppose Richard Cohen. And all of the people like him. They are, I hate to say it, a shande far di goyim.

* I assume he’s a nice, Jewish boy. But who am I to say?

Update: In the time that it took me to contemplate whether or not I should write this post, and then how, exactly, I should write it, lots of other people have written more interesting things on the subject. For just a few examples of an emerging genre, see here, here, and here.

Update II: And now this. Yikes. Also, the third link above, to Henry at Crooked Timber, is really quite good. Worth the time, I think.

Update III: Yglesias and Sullivan have both weighed in. As has Obama. Not like that matters. The man’s a terrorist. And an anti-Semite.