Exaggerating Bigotry

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


The Stutterer & the Radio Station


   It is evident from the attitude of the so-called United Nations that this organization has today taken the place of the erstwhile German National Socialist Party (Nazi) in serving as the principal forum for the distribution of anti-Jewish hatred in the world.

   This past week the United Nations has been conducting a forum on racism in Durban, South Africa. Contrary to its announced intentions, this forum does not deal with any effort at eliminating racial and religious hatred and actions in this world. Instead that meeting has been subverted by the Jew haters into a propaganda device of which Joseph Göbbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, would have been proud. Like Göbbels before them, the haters distribute anti-Jewish literature at that meeting. Likewise they curse all Jews, scream for the destruction of Israel, attack the U.S. because Jewish citizens have equal rights here and recite all the same psychotic diatribes which the haters have distributed since the days of Abraham. Once more the world is treated to “christ killer” stories by the dictator of Syria. Once more the so-called Palestinians (Philistines) claim that “the Jews are poisoning the wells”; again the haters resort to bloodshed and  murder and  then blame their Jewish victims. Jews who defend themselves are turned into “aggressors” while the killers pretend to be victims. History is once more rewritten to suit the haters even as the signature of Yassir Arafat al-Husseini is worth no more than that of his friend Hitler was in the 1930’s.

   In view of all this and the concomitant anti-Jewish conduct by some American Christians there are those among us who believe that we are now surrounded by haters and that American Jews are in the same position as the German Jews were just before the Nazi gang was elected in 1933.

   We need to emphatically reject that attitude and that belief. We can do so because the history of the Jews of Europe is quite different from American Jewish history. We can do so because we are absolutely not the victims of widespread bigotry and discrimination here. On the contrary. Our government, headed by a president who received hardly any Jewish votes, has refused to send our Secretary of State to the “hate the Jews” conference in Durban. A recent poll of American public opinion concerning the fighting in Israel reveals that 70% of the American people support Israel in this struggle to survive, 14% are on the Arab side and the rest have no opinion.

   In this country, hate crimes have just been added to the Class One offenses listed by the F.B.I. after Congress passed an anti-hate crime law this year. We have Jews participating in every aspect of American life from the quarterback of one of our best football teams to the president of the Harvard Corporation. Jews are over represented in academia and in the professions and our average income is now the highest of any denomination, even exceeding the Episcopalians, who admittedly don’t like us very well.

   Therefore it is a sin to compare our situation to the pre-Nazi condition of the German Jews or to exaggerate anti-Jewish conduct now in this country. It is of course also stupid to “stick our head into the sand” and pretend that bigotry no longer exits. Here are the  recent facts: In 2000 there were 1,606 anti-Jewish incidents in 44 States and D.C., representing a slight increase over 1999, which saw 1,547 such incidents. The Anti-Defamation League attributes this increase to Arab behavior in this country concomitant with their attacks on Israel.

   The ADL conducts an annual audit of anti-Jewish incidents reported to them. According to that audit, there were 877 acts of harassment including verbal aggression, threats and intimidation. There were 729 acts of vandalism, arson and cemetery desecration. Sixty-nine anti-Jewish incidents were reported on college campuses.  The perpetrators of these acts were mainly Palestinians and other Arabs living here.

   We also have a large anti-Jewish hate literature cruising through the internet all the time. The world wide web, which includes so much pornography, also includes anti-Jewish garbage.

   Despite all this we Jews need to keep our balance and in live in reality. We are not surrounded by haters. The whole world is not our enemy. If that were so we would not be here any more. It is a sacrilege to say that “all goyim are anti-Semites”. That cannot be so or those who say that would already be in the gas ovens. We must live in reality. Let us support our friends, including George W. Bush, one of the best friends Israel ever had in the White House, and remember once more this old Jewish story: 

  Moishe was walking on the street when he met Jake. “Where are you going?” said Moshe. “I am gggoing to the rrrradio sstatioon to lllok for a jjjob as an annnouncer,” stuttered Jake.

    An hour later, Moishe met Jake the stutterer again coming from the opposite direction. “How did you make out at the radio station?” asked Moishe. “ I didn’t ggett ttthe jjob,” stammered Jake, “because they wwooon’t hire Jews.”

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of Stigma:  How We Treat Outsiders (Prometheus Books, 2001) and over 60 other publications.

Home ] Up ]