Jewish World Review April 19, 2002 / 8 Iyar, 5762
Lewis A. Fein
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Notice anything peculiar about the recent wave of anti-Semitic violence, from Paris to Tunis to Toronto? In each case, these hateful acts - emblazoned across ancient temples and amplified by the sound of broken glass - are not what they appear, even when climaxed by forbidden symbols and rigid salutes. That is, the path from holy crucifix (Christianity) to evil, crooked cross (swastika) is no longer a politically conservative or religiously inspired phenomenon.
Rather, modern anti-Semitism is largely a Leftist movement: an insidious vine, cultivated by academics that too eagerly excuse it and strengthened by journalists that too willingly ignore it. And, if there is one group partially responsible (through its own convenient acts of omission) for these events, it is American Jewry itself; for the American Jewish community continues to accommodate the very groups - from militant blacks to Leftist hacks - that seek to destroy Israel from the opposite direction - as a racist, colonialist, Jewish Reich.
Make no mistake, Jews are the ultimate victims of this evil hatred, regardless of what they believe or in whom they entrust political power. But the majority of politically liberal Jews should also acknowledge that a genuine evil (anti-Semitism) does not simultaneously implicate a historically ominous foe (Christianity).
Yes, anti-Semitism is the inevitable byproduct of wrongful, hateful religious instruction. And further, too many prelates - having imbibed Church doctrine and having unleashed violence, more often than love and more devotedly than some would admit - minimize the old relationship between Christian theology and anti-Semitic violence. But Christian anti-Semitism is not (nor should it be) a synonym for the nihilistic behavior that threatens Israel's security and every Jew's integrity.
The real villain here is a brand of Leftist relativism that says, on the one hand, anti-Semitism is merely the collective rage - an angry shout and a raised fist, directed heavenly against the ultimate judge - of the world's wretched and oppressed; and, on the other, we Americans have no right to question the beliefs of another people. In fact, we must question these beliefs, unless we accept that the difference between what is righteous and repulsive is simply an editor's prerogative.
We must repeatedly question these beliefs, because - though Jews are the initial victims of this insane ideology - others will soon find themselves targeted. Other victims will suffer, provided poverty or racism or sexism becomes an excuse to behave violently. Others will suffer for a less obvious reason: because Leftist extremists want them to suffer.
The Left views these victims, many of whom are Jewish, as power personified - gatekeepers, upon each of whom rests the ability to unlock stolen fortune; undo negative stereotypes; and relinquish land, tamed by others and illegally occupied by "thieves." Never mind the illogic of this argument, which ignores individual responsibility as an important predictor of personal fate.
The Left prefers false enemies over the more uncomfortable truths of modern society: that murderous violence has many explanations but few excuses; that poverty is usually a circumstance of personal behavior, not outside conspiracy; that anti-Semitic hatred is evil, regardless of which flag flies in the Middle East.
The Left will never concede these points; for any admission is also a
begrudging nod toward morality - toward the principle that ideas have
consequences, and terrible ideas can have murderous results. Today, these
murderous results simmer across the world, wherever Jews pray and wherever
they seek to live