It’s an itch he can’t stop scratching.
In a New York Times op-ed Friday evening titled “World War II and the Elements of Slaughter,” conservative columnist Bret Stephens referenced the bedbugs that a media professor jokingly compared him to in a tweet Tuesday, which ultimately drove Stephens to deactivate his Twitter account later that day.
In the op-ed, Stephens seemed to draw parallels between the bedbug tweet and Nazi-era anti-Semitism, writing that “today the rhetoric of infestation is back.”
“The political mind-set that turned human beings into categories, classes and races also turned them into rodents, insects and garbage,” Stephens wrote. “‘Anti-Semitism is exactly the same as delousing,’ Heinrich Himmler would claim in 1943 … Watching Warsaw’s Jewish ghetto burn that year, a Polish anti-Semite was overheard saying: “‘The bedbugs are on fire. The Germans are doing a great job.’”
Twitter users pointed out that a link embedded in the op-ed connected to his own Google search for the phrase “Jews as bedbugs.” NYT Opinion responded to the observation a few hours later by saying it was “added by editors before publication” and has since been updated.
Dave Karpf, the George Washington University professor who first tweeted the Stephens-bedbug comparison, tweeted Friday evening that the debacle “just stopped being funny” and that he’ll have “more to say.”
(2) I’m attending the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association right now. I have an actual job that doesn’t leave me with endless time to pursue pointless online vendettas.
So I’m going to try to take the night off from this. I’ll have more to say tomorrow.
— davekarpf (@davekarpf) August 31, 2019
Read Stephen’s op-ed in the New York Times here.