EXACTLY WHAT IS ANTI-SEMITISM?

Mordel George, the editor of the Russian-language Israeli magazine, Krug (Circle), gladly accepted Mr. Suslensky's suggestion to meet with me and interview me for that journal. Krug is published in Tel Aviv, with a circulation of about ten thousand, for the Jewish emigres from the U.S.S.R., who are better versed in Russian than in Hebrew.

"A Ukrainian who spent four years in German concentration camps as a prisoner and not as one of the 'SS', who murdered Jews? It's a novelty to me - something like an extraterrestrial being. Of course, I am curious to see him and talk with him," he told Mr. Suslensky, "and print an interview with him. Let the readers hear the other side's story. In every court, the accused is allowed to take the stand, provide testimony, and provide witnesses on his behalf".

The interview itself was taped. From this an abridged version was printed. The translation of the interview is given at the end of this book; therefore, I will only mention here our discussion about 'anti-Semitism', which was not included in the interview.

"It is hard for me to believe that you, a Ukrainian, are a member of the Association for Hebrew-Ukrainian Cooperation and came to Israel as their guest. How can this be? Ukrainians are known to be anti-Semites from ancient times until the present".

"First of all, Mr. George, please clarify the term 'anti- Semitism' for me. I'm accustomed to a discussion, where at the very beginning the theme is delineated and a definition is given of the term which is the objective of the discussion. So, please what is anti-Semitism?"

The editor became somewhat perplexed.

"Everyone knows what it is. Why does it need defining?"

"It is imperative, since - for example - the Jews regard Arabs as the most virulent anti-Semites. But they are themselves Semites because, like the Jews, they are descended not only from Sem, son of Noah, from whom comes the term 'Semites', but also from a common ancestor, Abraham. So how can Semites be anti-Semites? And don't the Arabs have the same right to call Jews 'anti-Semites', keeping in mind the fact that the Arabs' worst enemies are Jews?"

"The Arabs can't say that since everyone knows 'anti-Semitism' means hatred of the Jews, persecution of the Jews".

"And this, is wrong?"

"Very wrong and very uncivilized - it's savagery, it's a crime. All anti-Semites must be destroyed as the worst kind of criminals".

"But if the Jews don't like Ukrainians and attack them, then this is cultured, honest, praiseworthy? Isn't it also criminal to be 'anti-Ukrainian'? Isn't it necessary to destroy all 'anti-Ukrainians' as criminals? Aren't Russians and Poles 'anti-Ukrainians'?"

"That's different. That's warfare between nations. The Russians or Poles did something to you, and you're repaying them; you did something to them, and they're repaying you. But the Jews never did anything wrong to anyone, so why should they be hated and persecuted? That's why, when Jews are hated and persecuted, it's anti-Semitism. Criminal anti-Semitism, worthy of punishment".

"When and where did this hideous anti-Semitism originate? In Ukraine, during the time of Khmelnytsky? Rabbi Kahana told me it originated with Christianity. But I think it started before that. The Egyptians bore no love for Jews and harassed them, as did also the Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Romans. Isn't that so?"

"Yes. It has existed from the most ancient times".

"From the most ancient times and everywhere, where the Jews appeared, isn't that so? And it never occurred to you to analyze calmly, scientifically and deeply why it was that all the nations of the world, down through the ages, have hated and persecuted the Jews so brutally and criminally? Don't you think that the reason must lie within yourselves, in your behavior towards other people?"

"Oh, are you trying to say that there never was and there isn't any real anti-Semitism?"

"No, anti-Semitism exists everywhere, where there are Jews. Only, not as hatred and persecution of Jews, but as a sly and effective weapon in the hands of Jews, constantly wielded against every non-Jew".17

"What do you mean - a weapon in the hands of Jews?"

"Yes - a weapon. As soon as somebody lifts a hand against a Jew, he begins to cry, 'Anti-Semitism! Help, an anti-Semite wants to murder me!' And he does this for any reason. Let's say you're walking down the street and inadvertently push someone. Should it happen to be a Jew whom you pushed, then before you have time to realize what you've done, he immediately begins to shout: 'You're an anti-Semite! You're pushing me because you're an anti-Semite!' When I came to America, one immigrant who had been here for many years warned me: 'Be careful - whatever you do, don't bother Jews because you'll immediately be denounced as an anti-Semite. And in America, 'anti-Semitism' means the same thing as 'enemy of the people' does in the U.S.S.R. In America you can criticize the President, publicly state that you don't like him because he's stupid, uninformed about politics and whatever else you wish to say. No one will persecute you for this. But as soon as you say you don't like Jews, you're labeled an 'anti-Semite', that is, an enemy of the people".18

"You certainly are exaggerating!"

"No. Let me give you an example. I used to work at a college near Philadelphia called Ursinus College. On the main gates of the college this name could be seen in large, elaborate wrought-iron lettering. One night, three students played a practical joke and removed the first two and the last two letters, leaving only 'SIN COLLEGE'. At first this was dismissed as a silly student prank. But when it turned out that the new stylized letters would be three months in arriving, and the disrespectful 'SIN COLLEGE' would remain on the gate during all that time, the administration grew irate, discovered the culprits and expelled all three of them. Two of them were Christians and they accepted the punishment without protest, but the third was a Jew. On the following day a Jewish delegation consisting of three rabbis appeared before the college president, sharply protesting that the college was anti-Semitic, that it persecutes Jews, and that if the expelled student was not accepted back, a complaint would go to Washington to withdraw any assistance from the college since it fosters anti-Semitism. The president explained, but to no avail, that the three had been expelled because of a harmful prank; that no one was aware that one of the students was Jewish, while the other two Christians; that no Christian called the college 'anti-Christian', because of what had happened. 'Those two don't concern us', the delegation stubbornly insisted. 'Do what you will with them. But this one is a Jew and if he is expelled, then it's anti-Semitism. And we'll go all the way to Washington if we have to'. So the college administration decided it would be better not to risk the loss of Federal funds and accepted the expelled Jewish student back, but not the other two. Here, then, you see an example of 'anti-Semitism' as a weapon. That is why I avow that anti-Semitism is everywhere, where there are Jews. And I'm certain that you'll declare even me to be an 'anti-Semite' for what I've just told you. But I must warn you that this weapon is turning into a boomerang".19

"How?"

"You see, even the best medication, if used too often, becomes less potent or even harmful. Accusing everyone too frequently and too loudly of anti-Semitism diminishes the weapon's power; or else it backfires on those who use it. When Ukrainians were called anti-Semites, others accepted it as the truth. But when the Jews began to denounce the American President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense as anti-Semites, when ever anyone of them dared to do something that displeased the Jews - then this angered the American public and they actually began to dislike Jews. The dagger of anti-Semitism turns against those who brandish it too frequently. In any case, I already know that I'm the same kind of 'anti-Semite' as the President of the United States, Mr. Reagan, as Secretary Haig, and Secretary Weinberger. And if I were to be crucified for anti-Semitism, then I would cry that I'm not the only one - let them crucify Mr. Haig to my right, and to my left Mr. Weinberger, as well, because they're as anti-Semitic as I am. Premier Begin himself called them that".

 

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[17] Harvard's Dr. David Riesmann noted in the Jewish Newsletter (N.Y., Jan. 9, 1961): The Jews "can muster not merely the threat of the Jewish vote and no-less important Jewish financial and organizational skills, but also the black-mail of attacking anyone who opposes their aims, as anti-Semitic".

[18] A. M. Lilienthal in his The Zionist Connections (N. Y. 1978) concludes: "Every incident everywhere in the world in which a Jew was victimized was being incessantly presented to the public as another example of Hitlerian anti-Semitism," (p, 415) "Jews too often have managed to take shelter under the exemption 'Don't dare incriminate a Jew lest you be taking Hitler's side', (p, 416) "As a result, Zionism is a subject on which in the United States there is more effective suppression of freedom of speech than any other". (p. 407)

[19] The famed journalist Dorothy Thompson wrote in the Jewish Newsletter (N.Y" April 6, 1951): "I think continual emphasis should be put upon the extreme damage to the Jewish community of branding people like myself as anti-Semitic... I'am sure that anti-anti-Semitism can reach a point where it has exactly the opposite effect from the one which it has striven for".