A story appeared in Friday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal about a local high school teacher who has stirred controversy when she questioned the historicity of the Holocaust to her class. I’m not interested in commenting on that so much as I am on the reader comments that appear after the article (here). I certainly haven’t read all 300, but I read through enough of them to see a disturbing trend–a lot of them were viciously, violently anti-Semitic.
Now, I’ve seen plenty of trolls online before, but they’re usually just tossing out quick insults to anger people for fun; the bigots writing on this forum were often writing long, detailed, even eloquent speeches against Jewish people. In short, these are real racists. I can’t put into words how shocked I am.
I also don’t care to dignify their assertions about the Holocaust or Jews in general by analyzing them here, but I have to wonder where all of this comes from. What in the world could any Jewish people have possibly done to create this degree of rancor from so many strangers? Nothing, of course. It doesn’t make any kind of sense. Such is the inherently ignorant nature of prejudice, I suppose.
Having read the posts that I did on that article, I can only think of two explanations: that many in our postmodern world are upset by a people whose very existence testifies of a solid, traditional religious heritage, and that a lot of people have been successfully convinced by multicultural media propaganda that Israel is evil (by overwhelming us with the message that “Palestinians” are underdog victims, mainly). If I’m right about the racists’ motives, the commonality between them is likewise shocking: these are the motives of progressive leftists.
(On a related note, here’s the kind of propaganda I’m talking about: I used to read Salon.com to get some of the other side of the spectrum’s take on things, until Yasser Arafat died in 2004. Salon ran a huge feature on him then that basically lauded what a great statesman this terrorist scum was. The author called his “legacy” one that would be “uneven,” but asserted that “nobody’s hands are clean.” He used a shameless amount of moral relativism to lionize a cheap thug, applauding him for raising the world’s awareness, even at the expense of violence. I haven’t read Salon in the last five years because of that article.)
Are the denials of the Holocaust broadly put forth in the comments I’m referring to judicious, fair, and logical? Not at all; they are, by and large, also riddled with relativism (“The Germans may have killed some Jews, but the Jews and Allies killed some people, too”). Such childish equivalencies are a stepping stone to the kind of intellectual bankruptcy that seeks to legitimize racism and its violent expressions. The vitriol directed towards Jews in general in many of those comments is offensive to me, even though I’m not Jewish, and should be to any rational person; we should all be outraged by any iota of anti-Semitism creeping into our public discourse. It represents the worst kind of ethnocentric scapegoating.
This incident makes me want to be even more committed to publicly defending society’s real underdogs when they’re assaulted by the elites. I can’t imagine any kind of “American Holocaust” today against Jews or anyone else whose identity constitutes an unpopular minority–a threat to the complacency and hegemony of the cultural rulers–but after being alerted to this hateful strain of thought simmering at the edges of our nation’s consciousness, the next time I hear someone talk about reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine, classifying heterosexual marriages as a special legal category, insisting that Christians not let their beliefs influence public policy and voting, or declaring that public displays of traditional religion must be banned, I’m going to picture someone suggesting that we wear a yellow armband outdoors and adhere to a strict curfew.
These concerns–my umbrage at anti-Semitism and society’s increasing tendency to silence and control things it doesn’t like, be they Jews or conservatives or what have you–do overlap. For example, in this recent article, a national columnist makes the case that Senator Joe Lieberman is letting his “fundamentalist” Jewish beliefs lead him to make bad choices on issues. Apparently, anyone who exhibits the slightest discernible trace of piety is now a “fundamentalist.” Also, see how many classic, cruel stereotypes against Jews are hinted at in what is supposed to be an objective, unbiased bit of mainstream journalism. Unbelievable.
To any Jewish readers out there–if the cretins who want to use Holocaust denial as a wedge to bring their hatred into the mainstream ever do so in my presence, rest assured that I will absolutely not let it pass unanswered. This gentile refuses to stand idly by and watch ignorance spread.