- The Washington Times - Monday, July 22, 2002

As someone with a personal, lifelong interest in anti-Semitism, I noted an omission in a recent editorial in the Washington Post: "The sad reality is that anti-Semitism has no more died away in Europe than racism has in the United States." However, neither has anti-Semitism ever died away in this nation.
As a boy growing up in Boston during the 1940s, I became quite knowledgeable about anti-Semitism by reading the Rev. Charles E. Coughlin's publication, "Social Justice," Gerald L.K. Smith's "The Cross and the Flag" and the periodicals of the Christian Front. I wanted to know why they hated me so.
I bought a 1943 book "Under Cover," by investigative reporter John Roy Carlson that detailed, from inside, the activities of the native fascist groups fueled by virulent anti-Semitism. Though not by name, I was in that book, which the New York Times said was of "sensational importance." "Jewish boys and girls were set upon and severely beaten by 'patriotic' bums glowing with Coughlinite 'Christianity,' " wrote the author from Dorchester, near my home in Boston. I was one of those beaten boys.
In the local public library, I found what Henry Brooks Adams, grandson of John Quincy Adams, had written when my forebears had come to this land from the old country: "Furtive Ysaac or Jacob still reeking of the ghetto … snarling a weird Yiddish … The Jew makes me creep."
Accordingly, I was surprised when in May of this year, Leon Wieseltier in the New Republic and on National Public Radio referred to the "Jewish panic" in the United States about the rise of anti-Semitism in the Arab world, Europe and here. By contrast to what Jews had long experienced in Europe, Mr. Wieseltier said, "even the anti-Semitic prejudice that Jews have experienced in this country being refused a room in a hotel in Saratoga Springs is not like a pogrom."
I doubt if the first-generation Americans in my Jewish ghetto in Boston had even heard of Saratoga Springs or would have had the money to try to get a room there. But they knew that the incendiary forgery, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," was being sold on Sundays outside churches in the city. They knew that, on weeknights, young bullyboys avenging the death of their Lord descended on our neighborhood.
As a reporter, I have covered this undying bigotry in these United States ever since. I saw "The Protocols" re-emerge in campus newspapers, published by acolytes of Louis Farrakhan. The late Khalid Abdul Muhammad, invited to speak at Columbia University by the black student union in the fall of 1990, began by praising his "guide," Louis Farrakhan, and then added, "I thought that should be said at Columbia Jewniversity."
In a letter to the Columbia Daily Spectator, Rachel Stoll wrote, "As a white Jewish American, I'll just stand in the middle of a circle comprising … Khalid Abdul Muhammad and let them all hurl large stones at me. From recent events and statements made on this campus, I gather this will be a good cheap method of making these people feel good." Jewish students at other campuses also wondered, in the 1980s and 1990s, "Why do they hate us so?"
On March 6 of this year, the self-ordained Rev. Matt Hale, leader of the World Church of the Creator exercising his First Amendment rights spoke at the Chicago Public Library on "the history and present of Jewish ritual murder," the century-old claim that Jews murder Christian children before certain of their holidays. The charge is also familiar to present-day readers of the press in Arab countries.
At San Francisco State University in May, students trying to break up a pro-Israel rally regretted that "Hitler did not finish the job." On June 25, Jonathan Schanzer and Daniel Pipes of the New York Post reported that "even after this incident, pro-Palestinian students continued to use a San Francisco State College Web page to engage in Holocaust denial and accuse Jews of ritual murder … At the University of Colorado at Boulder, students desecrated an Israeli flag and chalked anti-Semitic slogans on the main campus walkway."
About 10 years ago, as I was lecturing at Michigan State University on homegrown anti-Semitism, a well-organized phalanx of black students tried to shout me down. I silenced them briefly by quoting from one of the last speeches by my friend Malcolm X (a friend, I told them, even when he was in the Nation of Islam): "We don't judge you because you're white, we don't judge you because you're black. We judge you because of what you do."
When the shouting resumed, a young woman stood up: "I am a Jew. Nobody knows that by looking at me, so I hear worse things than blacks do because the bigots don't know they're talking about me. I hear all the time that Jews should be driven out of every country."
I have been taken as a Greek, an Armenian, a Lebanese, and like her, all my life I've heard anti-Semitic comments not only from blacks but from varieties of Americans. But Mr. Wieseltier said on National Public Radio that "Anti-Semitism never enjoyed any legitimacy whatever in this country." Never?
Now, he would have no trouble finding active anti-Semitic Web sites. And in April, a construction site at the University of California, Santa Clara, was marked by the graffiti: "God hates Jews!" One can say racism is no longer "legitimate" in America, but it, like anti-Semitism, has not died away whether you call it legitimate or not.


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