11/21/2005

Anti Semitism: Where There's Smoke There's Fire

I've never been one to scream fire, even when there's a lot of smoke, until I actually see the flames. Even now I have a reluctance to write what I'm about to write because I'm still not one hundred percent convinced of how accurate my sight is. But sometimes you just have to go with your gut instinct and accept that what you're seeing is the truth, no matter how much you'd like to deny it. Over the past few years I've been steadily trying to ignore something that seems to have started appearing on both sides of the political spectrum, a rise in anti-Semitism. Since that infamous day in September 2001 when the planes were crashed into the World Trade Centre undercurrents and whispers have started to pop up all over the place. From the blatantly ridiculous; Jews knew in advance not to come to work that day so none were killed in the attacks, and that Israeli citizens were evacuated from the Jordanian hotel the day before it was bombed; to the overtly offensive of Wal-Mart selling copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; anti Jewish propaganda has been on the rise. Anti Semitism has been part of my life in some polite form or another since I was a child. When I was kid we lived in a very WASP part of North Toronto and most of the kids I went to school with were far more affluent than my family. Inevitably each year one of my classmate's would have their birthday party at the Granite Club; a type of a country club in midtown Toronto. Of course it was exclusive, which really means exclusion, restricted to people who were of Anglo Saxon protestant background. I remember being shocked when I found out about this and wondered aloud to one of my friends about it. His response was, well they wouldn't be comfortable here anyway. Well duh, of course there not going to be comfortable with that sort of attitude. Of course none of these people would have considered themselves racist or anything like that, that wasn't polite. But if you asked them why they didn't let Jews into their clubs or why they didn't have any for friends it was because they were different: "They're just not like us" They'd tell me things like this, not realising how it must make me feel, because I was different. Of course as I grew older I began to realise that this was pretty mild compared to what was out there in the way of anti-Semitic activities. The seventies in Toronto saw the rise of several Neo Nazi groups who advocated the usual white power/Jewish conspiracy type of crap. They were also my first exposure to Holocaust denial. I couldn't believe anybody could take that stuff seriously. The death of six million plus people never happened. Pretty elaborate deception don't you think, with a lot of people involved going to a lot of work to build all those fake camps, crematoriums, mass graves, and faking all those photographs. But then you find out that there are teachers in schools who are telling their students these lies, and people were actually defending their right to do that as freedom of speech. I don't know how I managed to avoid the Christ killer shit for so long but I did. I don't think I actually heard anyone say that until I was around fourteen or fifteen. How are you supposed to respond to that one: "You killed the son of God" What me personally? Geez I missed that, was it during one of my black outs from drinking too much Manichewitz? I actually had some kid say to me at school one day that the only reason he didn't like me was because I was a Jew and had killed Christ. I broke his nose. The only fight I got into in my whole adolescence. Pathetic really but he pissed me off. It's people like that guy who made me so grateful to Lenny Bruce latter in life when I heard his take on the topic. He did this routine where he says: "Okay, Okay I admit it. Me and a couple of the boys took him down in the basement and did him. You happy. Look be glad we did it back then and not now. Think of having to walk around with an electric chair on a chain around your neck" I'm paraphrasing obviously but you get the point. I like a syringe better, but electric chair works. It’s funny how the Romans got away with that one wasn't it. They were the dudes running the country at the time, responsible for crucifixions and all law and order stuff, but still they managed to pass the buck to the Jews. Of course that has nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Church I suppose. Oh sorry was that out loud? It used to be that the predominant source of anti-Semitic thinking was from the right side of the political spectrum. Communist Jewish bankers were out to take over the world. Or the labour movement was rife with Jewish anarchists looking to overthrow the government. Judaism and Communism went together like ham and cheese. Now though things seem to have changed. The new theory is there is Jewish conservative cabal of bankers and businessmen in Washington who dictate foreign policy for the United States. It's because of them that America supports Israel and is opposed to the Arab countries, and therefore indirectly the towers were destroyed. Is this the same American government that's the conservative Christian one in power right now, or is this an American government I don't know about? What about a thing called the Senate and the House of Representatives? Don't they have something to do with the running of that country? I'm not talking about Muslim or Arab world criticisms either, cause that's a completely different kettle of fish. When they lash out at Israel at least you know why, they're at war with them, that's the type of behaviour you expect from countries at war with each other. This stuff is coming from supposed left wing people and they are now parroting the nazi propaganda of seventy years ago. It would be funny if it weren't so sad and upsetting. I wonder if these people even listen to what they're saying. I have no problem with people criticizing the policies of Israel, hell I do it all the time. But too often the criticisms sound like attacks on Jewish people using the word Israel as a smoke screen. I expect I'll be roundly criticized for this article; told I'm being over sensitive and paranoid. But tell me how would you feel hearing people regularly say things like they were Jewed out of something, or they Jewed somebody down to get a good bargain? Nobody ever seems to make a big deal out of the religion of a group of business men or corporate leaders unless they happen to be Jewish; why's that? Have you ever heard Donald Trump being called a Christian businessman? The world is heading into troubled economic times and things are more and more in turmoil. Now's the time people look for scapegoats, someone else to blame for their troubles. To me it looks like a lot are turning to an old favourite.

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