- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 4, 2004

The Dec. 3 headline, “Attacks by Arabs on Jews in France Revive Old Fears,” in the New York Times, was followed by a report from Gagny, a middle-class suburb east of Paris, about boys in a school “scorched by fire and fear” hiding “their skullcaps under baseball caps. The girls tuck their Star of David necklaces under their sweaters.”

Writing in the introduction for a new book by Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-DefamationLeague, renowned Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel asks: “Was Hannah Arendt (author of ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem’) right when she predicted that of the 20th century’s social diseases, anti-Semitism would survive, reaching beyond time and geography, religious beliefs and political affiliations?”

In Mr. Foxman’s very timely new book, entitled “Never Again?: The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism,” Holocaust survivor Foxman says that in his lifetime he “never expected hatred re-emerging so boldly from the darkness.”

Neither did I almost 60 years ago, a boy in a Jewish ghetto in Boston following on the radio the progress of the Nazis’ “final solution.” After the Nuremberg trials, I thought, “How could it happen again?”

But continually, Jews have been the “chosen people” for hatred for millennia. In “Anti-Semitism: The Longest Hatred” (McGraw-Hill, 1996) Robert Wistrich of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of London writes of a first-century B.C. Egyptian priest, Apion, “one of the first anti-Semitic polemicists of antiquity.” Apion wrote that Jews once a year “kidnap a gentile Greek, who is fattened to be eaten by their deity in his Holy of Holies (the first ritual murder charge against Jews known to history).”

Millennia later, in a Dec. 3 National Public Radio account of an allegedly suppressed European Union report on extensive anti-Semitism in Europe — the “new” anti-Semitism — reporter Sylvia Poggioli noted that the research found anti-Semitism not only among the growing number of Muslims in European ghettos, but also among other groups, including very far-left anti-global activists.

Mr. Foxman calls this “new mutant strain of anti-Semitism … combining traditional bigotry with modern resentments … unprecedented and particularly virulent.”

IntheUnited States, as I have witnessedinsome demonstrations against the Iraq war, there are fierce supporters of Palestinians who link their anti-Israel rhetoric with such signs as “Hitler did not finish the job.” Of course, criticism of Israel is not automatically synonymous with anti-Semitism — but some criticism can cross that line.

Mr. Foxman says of the range of modern resentments — targeting Jews as a source of their grievances — that in America “a youthful liberal who would find traditional anti-Semitism old-fashioned and easy to discredit is much more likely to findthenew-anti-Semitism appealing, cloaked as it is in more fashionable rhetoric of anti-imperialism, anti-racism and anti-Americanism.”

In a rather startling speech at York University in Toronto (reportedNov.28in WorldNetDaily.com), former CIA Director James Woolsey, not known previously to indulge in hyperbole, accused some of the media and cultural entities in Europe of adding to the increasing hostility against Jews, thereby drawing “the first breath of totalitarianism.”

Invoking eventual “totalitarianism,” is indeed hyperbolic. But there is a mindset among certain intellectual entities across the political spectrum, who, despising what they regard as predatory Zionism, believe these grasping characteristics are embedded in Jews everywhere.

In this country, a classic example of the perennial anti-Semites was Henry Ford, whose weekly newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, printed the bible of anti-Semitism, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” — still widely circulated in the Arab world and among some antediluvian bigots in America — along with other defamatory caricatures of Jews. As historian Robert Wistrich noted, Ford’s four-volume reprint of his newspaper’s anti-Semitic articles “was highly praised by Adolf Hitler and widely distributed in German translation by his Nazi Party.”

As a kid, I knew why no one in my neighborhood bought Ford cars.

Neither the new nor old Anti-Semites have gone so far as the claim made by Egyptian Foreign Minister Zulficar Sabri — weeks before the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the Gestapo’s head of its Jewish eradication section — that Hitler was the victim of the Zionists who had “compelled him to perpetuate crimes that would eventually enable them to achieve their aim — the creation of the State of Israel.” So, as Arendt wrote in “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” according to that theory, Hitler was innocent of those crimes.

Recently, in further demonization of Jews, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” were the focus of a 41-part series on Egyptian state television that was also carried on other Middle East stations during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Also recently, at Canada’s York University — as reported in March in the Toronto Globe and Mail, a Jewish professor of sociology found swastikas painted on her door. Among other graffiti in the washroom at the university: “Jews are a disease.”

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