- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 20, 2006

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman — now an insistently independent Democrat — was pilloried during his losing primary contest with Ned Lamont, not only for his stand on the Iraq war but also because he is a Jew. Being one myself for many years, I was not surprised by the centuries-old persistence of this hatred among several of the fiercely anti-Bush bloggers during the campaign.

As Lanny Davis, special counsel to President Clinton, and a Lieberman supporter, reminded us in the Aug. 8 Wall Street Journal, blogging anti-Semites had Mr. Lieberman in their sights back on the Daily Kos Web site on Dec. 7 from a contributor: “… as everyone knows, Jews only care about the welfare of other Jews; thanks ever so much for reminding everyone of this most salient fact.” And on July 8 of this year, on the Huffington Post Web site: “Lieberman cannot escape the religious bond he represents. Hell, his wife’s name is Haggadah or Muffeletta or Diaspora or something you eat at Passover.”

Mr. Davis made the obvious point that “most Connecticut Democrats voting for Mr. Lamont are genuinely outraged at President Bush for his Iraq War policies” and Mr. Lieberman’s religion was not at all their motivation for backing this George Soros-supported Lamont to replace him. But except for Mr. Davis, in all the coverage of this campaign for “the soul of the Democratic Party,” there has been very little notice of the vivid, though limited, obbligato of anti-Semitism.

Similarly, little noted during the pro-Palestinian demonstrations on college campuses around the country is the occasional morphing of anti-Israel hatred into plain classic anti-Semitism. For example, waving in the California sun on a campus was the regret: “Hitler didn’t finish the job!” These are not entirely rare instances. On April 3, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rightsreported: “Many college campuses throughout the United States continue to experience incidents of anti-Semitism … When severe, persistent or pervasive, this behavior may constitute a hostile environment for students in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“On many campuses,” the commission continues, “anti-Israel or anti-Zionist propaganda has been disseminated that includes age-old anti-Jewish stereotypes … that perpetuate the medieval … blood libel of Jews slaughtering children for ritual purpose … as well as Jews as overly powerful, or conspiratorial.”

In the 1990s, I was speaking at Michigan State University, where there was mounting tension between some black and some Jewish students, resulting from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s appearance on that campus months before. Jews, he had assured the students, “suck the blood out of the black community.” During my talk there, I spoke of my friendship with Malcolm X, who had broken with the Nation of Islam, and shortly before he was assassinated for his perfidy Malcolm told me that there were whites he’d be willing to work within the organization he was forming.

This did not go over well with a clamorous group of Farrakhan supporters in the audience who tried to shout me down, which is a hard thing to do. Simultaneously, there were Jewish students in that audience who spoke critically, as I had, of Mr. Farrakhan’s hatred of Jews. Amid the tumult, a student, a young woman, rose, looked around and said: “People who are bigots,” she began, “are ignorant. They can only think and see in generalizations, like the way they look at blacks.” The Farrakhan contingent was nodding approvingly until she said: “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 often hear Jews should be driven out of the country.”

The rancor on both sides had become louder. Undaunted, the young woman went on: “I’m a Jew and I’m a good damn good person! I don’t care what anybody is. If you’re a good person, you’ll be my friend.”

Recently, I went to see my newest grandchild, Ruby, on her first birthday. She’s so full of life that she gave some to me. A Jew, she will be safe in America, unlike in some European countries, let alone in the rest of the world. The chances are that as her years increase, Ruby will become aware that she, too, is among people marked to be especially “chosen” and scorned by bigots who do not want to be her friend.

I’ll tell Ruby, if I’m still around, that you never get used to that, but this is America, and you can stand up to these haters, as the young woman at Michigan State did.

I can still see that Jew, head up high, proud as punch of who she was and would continue to be. At a college, in one of his last speeches, Malcolm X angrily interrupted a black student who was condemning Jewish “bloodsuckers.” Roaring, Malcolm said, “You’re doing what has been done to us for centuries!”

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