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Jewish World Review April 30, 2001 / 7 Iyar 5761

Don Feder

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Left's M.O. -- decry dissent -- TO advance its more fanciful proposals, the left regularly resorts to denunciations.

Leftists often begin hesitatingly, with the subliminal knowledge that the public is adverse to causes absurd on their face. As time passes, they become increasingly agitated. Finally, they conclude that those who challenge them openly aren't just wrong, but that there's something wrong with them -- that they are guilty of racism and other failings of the heart.

So it is with the quest for reparations for slavery and gay marriage -- issues that have nothing in common, save for their ability to deform society and the ugly tactics proponents utilize.

David Horowitz, himself an apostate from the New Left, has been running paid ads in college newspapers offering 10 reasons why reparations are a dumb idea.

Most student papers rejected the ads. (In institutions ostensibly dedicated to intellectual inquiry, there is a limit to the exchange of ideas, a boundary crossed whenever an interest group decides it's been offended.) At the few colleges where the ad has run, copies of the papers were trashed. The campus left reacts to ideas it abhors the way storm troopers responded to "decadent" books.

Horowitz has been called almost every name in the book. In a recent letter to the editor of The New York Times, Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, thought up a new one: moral equivalent of a Holocaust denier.

The ad "illustrates how college campuses continue to be targeted for hate," Foxman fumed. After comparing the appeals sponsored by Horowitz's Center for the Study of Popular Culture to the insane drivel of Holocaust revisionists, Foxman charged the conservative activist "denigrates slavery's prominence in American history and denies the pain and suffering of African-Americans. ... His premise serves no other purpose than to foment racism and hate."

There is nothing in the ads that denies the reality of slavery or promotes racial animosity -- unless one equates dissent from a militant agenda to hatred of an entire race.

For the letter and other ideological antics, Toward Tradition, headed by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, bestowed on Foxman "Our Own Worst Enemy Award," which is given to "a Jewish American who exemplifies those cultural forces that most endanger the Jewish community, substituting unhealthy values for Judaism itself."

Smears are also freely employed to promote gay marriage.

The issue is heating up in the Bay State, with the Massachusetts Citizens Alliance pushing a defense of marriage act (limiting the honorable estate to a man and a woman) and activists on the other side filing a suit before the state's highest court to secure gay marriage by fiat. In support of plaintiffs comes the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry, a group of anti-Biblical clerics. The coalition's Rev. George Welles claims, "Throughout the course of history, tyrants have known that by denying the rights of oppressed people to form and nurture families, they can kill the spirit of those people."

In other words, opponents of a proposal to radically alter society by undermining the status of traditional families are "tyrants" denying the human rights of "oppressed people" and engaging in spiritual genocide.

Gay marriage would create a right homosexuals have never had before, as well as establishing a precedent for recognition of exotic other combinations. If gay marriage, why not group marriage or the legal union of blood relations?

Slavery reparations (really no more than racial income redistribution) would be the first compensation for past wrongs paid not to those harmed or their immediate families -- the case with Holocaust survivors and Japanese-American internees -- but those almost a century and a half removed from the offense.

Billions would be taken from individuals whose only relation to the wrong is their race and bestowed on others whose only connection to the victims is their group identity. If reparations for slavery, why not compensation for every other group with a past-due bill for ancient grievances?

Nothing proves the unsoundness of a cause more than the hysteria of its proponents. Those who can't contend, calumniate.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.


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© 2001, Creators Syndicate