- The Washington Times - Monday, May 8, 2000

One of the really good things about being a Jew is that you don't have to turn the other cheek. It seemed to me, even as a boy, a most peculiar thing to do.

The idea for us was: "Don't go looking for fights but if they" instantly understood as anti-Semites "hit you once, give it back twice." The trouble was, Jews usually were hit dead, before they struck back once.

Sometimes people ask, in the nicest way possible, of course, if I have a bit of a Holocaust complex? You bet, and I would rather have one than not. Having no anger and no smell for a likely enemy after the murder of 6 million of my own people is too ice-blooded for me and would be the biggest of my delusions.

But after Adolf Hitler made his final state journey to hell, and the creation of Israel gave Jews around the world a bit of a swagger something they had to practice after all those centuries of pretending humility we thought anti-Semitism was finished and we would never have to think of being hit dead, or hitting back.

No, I do not expect another Holocaust, not even a lesser one, although that is a contradiction in terms. But yes sirree, I do think that there are a lot of people who would like to kill a lot of Jews and that the best weapon against them is to know where and who they are.

Note I do not ask why they want to kill, because killers have thought up so many reasons to eliminate Jews that the why clearly is in the murderers' heads, not in sane reality. What counts is how to spot them early so they cannot spread their contagious madness as effectively as they would like.

Jews used to be killed because they did not have a country of their own. Now the world takes it as common-sensical that when they are killed it is because many Jews think they do have one. The killers, actual and would-be, are usually enemies of Israel in the Middle East, nationals of countries assiduously courted by much of the world, and terrorists they dispatch to or germinate elsewhere.

How to find them? Just asking means we have not learned the central lesson anti-Semites try so hard and long to teach us: They tell us themselves. In the Middle East as everywhere anti-Semitism has been fertilized, they shout their hatred from houses of worship, in newspapers and books, send it zipping around the world in broadcasts to places where Jew-hating has never been known. And official approval is deliberately made known. Formal agreements against "incitement" simply are ignored. Jews don't protest much about that, if at all.

In Arab-governed Palestine, attacks on the religion and hideous character of Jews are printed in official newspapers and broadcast on official programs of Yasser Arafat's regime, the same fellow who swore in Oslo to end incitement lest it make true peace impossible.

In Egypt, the official press and the "intellectuals" positively stink with hatred of Jews; the peace treaty with Israel enfrenzies them. In Iran, the controlling ayatollah branches of government put Jews on sardonic secret trial for espionage while the elected government keeps its many mouths shut.

Hate propaganda carried by modern technology, familiar broken promises and something new: Israel, the country openly slated for execution in the not-distant future, by the very governments with which it is negotiating, does not exact a price for the violation of the "anti-incitement" treaty clauses. Instead, it struggles harder to give more and more to the Palestine it has already created and to the Syrian chutzpah champion who won't take back the Golan without additional territory and bundles of American money.

President Clinton thinks he can persuade Syria's dictator, before the Clintons move to Westchester. He rewards the Iranian president's silence on Middle Eastern peace, and the Jewish prisoners, with permission to sell goodies in America; caviar in blood, a naughty Israeli called it.

Do I favor an agreement between Israel and Paletininians? That's moot. Palestininans have outfought and outstayed Israelis. Who would have thought it? They already have their state and have started the inevitable next "phase" in their war with Israel.

That is the 10 years or so when Arab dictators move anti-Semitism from schoolbooks deeper and deeper into the minds of the boys and girls who will fight the next armed struggle against Israel and commit the next murders of the Jews. It won't be another Holocaust, you understand, just murders, on a suitably large scale until the phase after that.

A.M. Rosenthal is the former executive editor of the New York Times.

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