Perennial Anti-Semitism; Recent Displays Met with Inexcusable Nonchalance

Article excerpt


As anti-Semitism spreads throughout the world, and is not unknown in this country, I remember - as a Jewish boy in Boston so long ago - dreading Sundays, because the most popular radio program that day was broadcast by Father Charles E. Coughlin from the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Michigan.

The mellifluous priest, later silenced by his bishop, regularly told of the powerful presence of Jews in Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's Politburo, while capitalist Jews elsewhere, he said, stole mites from widows. He also published a newspaper, "Social Justice," which delighted in running "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" - the fake tale of the Jewish conspiracy to rule the world, which is still available throughout the world, and continually updated.

Such twisted words of hate were echoed on Oct. 16 in Putrajaya, Malaysia. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed declared at an Islamic summit that "Jews rule by proxy," recruiting others "to fight and die for them." The attentive sheiks, kings, emirs and presidents gave the prime minister a standing ovation. "A very, very wise assessment," said the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Maher, after the speech. And Afghan president Hamid Karzai said the speech was "very correct."

Coughlin would have been pleased.

In the Oct. 17 issue of the Jewish newspaper the Forward, which my father enjoyed, Gil Troy, author of "Why I Am a Zionist" (Gefen Books, 2002), reported that "students at University College in Cork, Ireland, have put together a list of well-known authors and speakers who are Jews." Mr. Troy then found that the Cork Palestine Solidarity Campaign Web site listed 149 American Jews variously labeled "Zionist American Jews," "anti-Zionist American Jew," "neo-con conservative Jews" and "hard-line Zionist American-Israeli Jews."

As examples, Martin Peretz, editor-in-chief of the New Republic magazine, was listed as a "neo-conservative Jew"; journalists Bob Simon of CBS and Terry Gross of National Public Radio were labeled "American Jews"; and CNN'S Wolf Blitzer was listed as a "Zionist American Jew."

Remembering that the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Pearl was beheaded by his captors after being designated a Zionist American Jew, Mr. Troy decided that when he next changes his residence, his "phone number will be unlisted."

Mr. Troy initially considered the Web site benign, but decided that the use of "Zionist" as a pejorative was menacing.

I have been a Jew for so long that, even had I been on that list, no new harbingers of anti-Semitism would startle me. …