Understanding Anti-Semitism, Part I of II
by Mark Farrell
29 November 2004
Understanding Anti-Semitism, Part I of II
Why Do Some People Dislike Jews?
"You're anti-Semitic as hell!" a colleague, whose name was Jeff, verbally lambasted me. He had watched a video I made a few years ago called, "Zionist War Crimes: The Case for the Prosecution," and was responding to my question about what he thought of it.
"Why do you say that?" I inquired, although I already had a pretty good idea why he said that. I sensed some hostility from him, as if he felt that I had broken a socially acceptable taboo and that I should somehow suffer as a consequence.
"Well, you just are!" Jeff answered.
It was time to see if my thoughts on this matter were right. "Is it because I refer to Israeli Jews throughout the video as 'Jewish supremacists,' 'Zionist hatemongers,' and other, similar terms?" I asked. I knew that I broke the "taboo" -- that I had committed the unpardonable "sin" of criticizing Jews, who are above criticism (at least, criticism from a Gentile); but I felt -- as a result of my artistic freedom -- that it was a taboo that needed to be broken. I wanted to re-define the argument, not merely comment on it in conventional terms. There were too many other videos out there that said all Jews are great and can only do great things, and that no Jews deserve criticism (except possibly from other Jews in a limited amount).
"Well, yeah!" Jeff exclaimed. While he forgot to put the "Duh!" in between the two-word response given, it was clearly understood; there was no mistaking it. As I suspected, he was just another person who had grown up in a propaganda-rich world where all Jews were somehow above criticism. Indeed, one would have to be an idiot not to recognize this fact, I felt.
I suppose he next expected me to defend myself -- to say that I wasn't anti-Jewish. And while this is essentially true in that I don't dislike all Jews, although I'll be the first to admit there are quite a few of them I do dislike (such as those at the ADL and other Jewish-first organizations who consistently work in concerted efforts to raise the banner of immorality and amorality to unprecedented new heights), I've nevertheless found that it's better to defend my views than try to defend myself. Further, it's always better to be on the offensive rather than the defensive-end of an argument. I appealed to his intelligence:
"Well, what better term is there than 'hatemonger' or 'supremacist' to describe people who shoot children, indiscriminately; who build massive walls for separation [all the while complaining about American racism]; who regularly steal people's land; and who deny citizenship to non-Jewish people who have lived in an area for countless generations, yet give instant citizenship to any Russian Jew?"
He started to open his mouth. Not giving him a chance to respond, I continued,
"You tell me what word is better than 'hatemonger' to describe the acts of random violence that Jews have perpetrated against the Palestinians? I don't regularly terrorize anyone. I don't hurt anyone. I pay my taxes and am a law-abiding citizen. Yet, you call me names for merely pointing out a fact -- and that fact is that Israeli Jews, as a result of public policy in Israel, routinely make the vast majority of the native population, the Palestinians, suffer now. And most, it seems, though not all, American Jews support this."
I waited for some smart-aleck answer. I expected him to engage in the typical name-calling to which I've grown accustomed. What was it going to be this time for daring to criticize Jewish supremacists? Was he going to call me a "Nazi"? Perhaps, a "fascist"? While I've never considered myself such, I've realized long ago that I'm a million different things to a million different people.
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me," I learned as a child. Unfortunately, too many of us haven't learned that valuable childhood statement yet. I usually don't even bother responding to ad hominem attacks any more; and, if I do, it's usually in the offensive, not defensive. Of course, I've often found that I have that foot-in-mouth disease -- to such an extent that sometimes my foot is crammed half-way down my throat. I feel a lot of others with similar views suffer this same characteristic.
"You know," Jeff replied, "I support the Palestinian-issue. But I really think that you should try to tone-down the rhetoric a little."
Perhaps, he had a point. I mean, after all, I was trying to get my message across to the widest number of people, not necessarily preaching to the choir, pardon the cliché. If the average person is offended with my message, perhaps I've lost.
Of course, I've always been really too opinionated to play childish games like others, who typically engage in niceties merely for the sake of broad appeal. Isn't that how America got into this mess in the first place? Isn't that why we're fighting a war in Iraq for Israel? Isn't that why politicians run for cover when AIPAC questions them?
Jeff and I talked for a little while. Invariably, such talk always leads to The Question. Anyone who has ever criticized some aspect of Jewry -- whether it be Israel, the ADL's policies, the Holocaust, et cetera -- and engaged in a discussion knows The Question. It's the eternal Question: "Why do you and/or others dislike Jews?" How many people have asked me that? For myself, the answer is, again, that I don't dislike all Jews; but I'll admit that there are many Jews whom I do dislike, strictly as a result of their actions. I can't say that I'm happy with the ideas and thoughts that so many of the Jews seemingly embrace.
At times like that, when confronted with The Question, I sometimes wish I had several days to lecture to them. I wish I had visual aids. However, as others who share my grief realize, the time allowed for such an answer is often very little; I'm expected to surmise such a broad range of ideas within a few sentences. There is never adequate time permitted. I'm often accused of being an "anti-Semite" for daring to criticize anything at all to do with Jewish groups. Seldom will the person look up your references. Often, such responses are discounted and not given full attention. Fliers are viewed suspiciously, if taken; and I'm not really one who would carry around fliers in the first place.
But, that got me to thinking: What if I made a video that answered this question in an objective manner? What if I dealt with this question fairly and honestly in a manner that some might come to understand, even if not agree, without engaging in the oh-so-typical personal attacks? Could it be done? Certainly, there have been others who have covered this topic, but those videos typically focus on who's saying this (always focusing on the Jerry Springer-type rejects), as opposed to the underlying ideas some may have, some of which "might" just be valid. And it's such a wide-topic, and there is so much information out there -- so many angles. When you think about it -- with the numerous reasons -- just trying to put them on paper, it defies the imagination.
Nevertheless, I feel that I did it, finally, after five years work; I made the most controversial video about Jews in American history -- not just telling, but also showing the many reasons why a great deal of non-Jews tend to dislike Jews:
"Understanding Anti-Semitism: Why Do Some People Dislike Jews?"
[END, PART ONE OF TWO]