The Coastal Post - November, 1999

Anti Semitic Newspaper In Marin?

By Stephen Simac

"I'd like to see the owner, I want to talk to him about his advertising in that anti-Semitic newspaper, the Coastal Post," the woman told my informant, an employee at a local business.

She wouldn't tell him who she was with, or where she'd got her opinion, but it was obvious that she wanted to smear the paper with one of it's advertisers. Since the Post is a forum for a wide variety of voices, including my own, it seems a cowardly and un-American way to brand us all with a swastika. Nor is it any way to change prejudices and stereotypical thinking.

I have no way of knowing if other writers for the paper collect Nazi regalia. They are entitled to their opinions, and those who disagree are welcome to rebut those if they can. This is true freedom of the press and freedom of speech and over time it is an effective path to political and social change.

I believe the woman was incensed over certain viewpoints on Palestine and Israel expressed in these pages, but we have no way of knowing what she objected to because she hasn't written us. It would be published.

Intelligent people can disagree over what is the best course of action or non action in the middle east. They can disagree with Zionism, the dogma that Jews are God's Chosen People, the intermediaries between God and all humans, and have a divine right and a historical claim to a Palestinian homeland and still not be anti-Semitic. In fact many Jewish people do not agree with Zionism or the political policies which result from it.

The very term is a misnomer. Semite is an old word, meaning children of Shem, first son of Noah. Biologists today would not call them a race, but then it denoted the Arab race, including the Sephardic Jews and native Palestinians. But 90% of the citizens of Israel are Eastern European Jews, or Askenazi Jews. They are actually descendants of the Khazars, a Turkish people whose royal court and military lords converted to Judaism in the year 740 AD. Not even Semitic, but traditionally Hamitic, after Ham, third son of Noah.

The Sephardic Jews and the Ethiopian Jews who are Negroid, are treated as second class citizens in Israel, which would make Palestinians, who are definitely Semitic, third class non-citizens, since only Jewish people can be citizens of Israel. Perhaps we can retire the "anti-Semitic" slur as a relic of the 19th century, and talk more accurately about prejudice towards Jewish people or Palestinian people.

Since Jewishness is not a genetic descent from Abraham or Jacob, and since many Jews are not religious practitioners or believers, the label or identity has been classified as an ethnicity or a shared culture.

The question of who's really a Jew has split Israel into religious camps. American Jews are mostly Conservative or Reformed Jews of Eastern European descent, but the Orthodox Jews control Israel's granting of citizenship. Their rabbis have decided that only Orthodox Jews are truly Jews, because they practice the Law most rigorously, and all others might as well be goyim with their abominations. Naturally this has placed most American Jews in an adversarial position against these arbiters of The Book.

Meanwhile Jews, Christians and Moslems all believe in the same deity as Supreme Being, but despite this shared God, or because of Him, they have preferred to hate and kill each other more often than celebrate their common roots.

The Christian and Jewish enmity goes back to Rome, in the first century of the first millennium. The early Christians were just starting to write down their collected stories about Jesus, their anointed Messiah, who had been crucified by the Romans decades before. They chose to make him a victim of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish rabbinical court, even though Romans used the cross, and Jews liked stoning.

This was both to tone down Jesus' anti-Roman stance as potential liberator of Israel, and to distance him from his Jewish roots, to make him more appealing to the gentiles and the Romans. There was an element of revenge as well, because many orthodox rabbis of the time, including Saul, had persecuted the converts to Christos and routinely referred to him as "the bastard Jesus and his whore Mother, Mary."

The Romans tolerated both religions for a while and many Jewish people served in the government of the empire. But after right wing zealots gained control in Israel and revolted, the Roman legions destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD and scattered the Israelites in a Diaspora which lasted until 1947, when the United Nations voted to partition Palestine, and the nation of Israel was founded.

If Israel is to last for more than a few decades without another Holocaust, then the Jews must make peace with the Moslems. This may be easier than peace with Christians, because they have maintained better relations through their shared histories. We all share in prejudices which have grown out of this history.

Prejudice is not going to disappear because we don't talk or write about it, and prejudice always goes both ways. Every prejudice has at least a seed of truth in it, otherwise it would not stick or sting, but every prejudice always has a great deal of projection, the shining on others of our secret fears or desires.

Most prejudice is related to ignorance, but cultural patterns of behavior also play a big part. Anything different is naturally suspect and if we view it as threatening we can become quite vicious around differences. But broad prejudices are generally wrong because they are based on generalities, and humans in every culture or religion vary widely and often don't agree with each other, much less people of other cultures or religions.

As far as Jewish conspiracies go, it seems more likely that the wealthiest and most powerful families and corporations of whatever religion think alike and act in similar ways, whatever means necessary, to keep control of most people on the planet.

The Roman Catholic Church owns more property in America than any other entity except for the federal government. It's to their benefit to divert attention to their historical scapegoat, the Jews. The richest people in the world right now, Bill Gates and his partner, and the Walmart family are nominally Christian. More bankers and financiers are Christian than Jewish, though neither rigorously follows the basic precepts of their faith.

There have been many holocausts and genocides in human history. We can learn something about the human capacity for killing other humans from studying all of them not just one, and understanding that they begin with self righteousness, intolerance of difference, and blaming others for our problems. These behaviors and attitudes were not limited to the Nazis who murdered Jews, drug users, some Catholics, mentally and physically handicapped, Gypsies, Slavs, and other types of people who didn't fit into the Master Race concept.

A Free Press and Freedom of Speech are guardians of our individual rights, and attacks against those by people of whatever religion or ideology are acting like Nazis, and if in power would follow similar practices.

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