January 19-26, 2004

’ss Backward
The most telling thing about the inset image on the cover [“The New Face of Anti-Semitism,” December 15] was that the swastika is drawn backward. Anti-Semites take note: A swastika should look like two S’s, not two Z’s. I cannot think of a better example of ignorance than to show people who can’t even draw a simple symbol of hatred correctly.
—Bryan Gaffin, Manhattan

Papa, Can You Hear Me?
If the Jews control the media [“The Return of Anti-Semitism,” by Craig Horowitz, December 15], they’re doing a piss-poor PR job. Where is Steven Spielberg on Israel’s right to defend itself and the symbol of his message in the final scene of Schindler’s List? Silent. Where is Barbra Streisand, who once proudly sang the Israeli national anthem to Golda Meir? She ain’t singing. I’ll tell you where these and many other figureheads of the Jewish media are: in hiding.
—Rich Cooper, Santa Monica, Calif.

Craig Horowitz’s article puts anyone who sympathizes with the suffering of the Palestinians or has second thoughts about Ariel Sharon’s policy in the category of anti-Semite. That would include me—a moderate Jew just trying to maintain a modicum of objectivity. For the past 50 years, Jews have been the world’s victims. But we now share this condition with new underdogs. Maybe Horowitz longs for another Holocaust to regain that corner of the market. Count me out on that score. I don’t share his love affair with persecution.
—Eduardo Zeiger, Manhattan

Monster Ball
“The New Face of Anti-Semitism” vividly portrays what many of us (even goyim like me) have known for years—the poisonous and deceitful nature of the politically correct. They purposefully mischaracterize Israel’s more than justifiable need for self-defense, creating a smokescreen based on political differences to mask their agenda of hatred, then align themselves (being the humanitarians they are) with the worst autocratic monsters to be found in that great bastion of freedom called the U.N., to patronizingly lecture Israel about (get this) human rights! What a swell bunch.
—Don Vainonen, Manhattan

Martyr of Fact
It’s easier to blame the victim than to take the difficult actions needed to halt the hatred. Israel has been trying to defend itself from murderers, and the lives of Israeli soldiers have often been sacrificed in attempts at restraint. What else should Israel do? Wait for the likes of the U.N. or the EU to stop the killings? No other civilized country would respond differently. It’s the height of hypocrisy to demand martyrdom of Israel.
—Yitzhak Berger, Kew Gardens Hills

Yasser’s Harm
Israel’s efforts to achieve peace not only were met with rejection and terrorism from Israel’s so-called peace partner, Yasser Arafat, but also perversely gave the entire world an excuse to revive its age-old hatred against Jews. Sadly, a generation after the world did nothing to prevent the Holocaust and just a few years after Israel did everything to achieve a fair and lasting peace with its neighbors, the world now condemns and attacks Jews, finding an excuse in Israel’s efforts to defend its children from terrorists.
—Stephen A. Silver, Walnut Creek, Calif.

P.C. Compatible
It’s not politically correct to hate Jews. It’s politically correct to hate governmentally sanctioned repression, injustice, and hypocrisy. Anti-fascism doesn’t automatically become anti-Semitism when the government in question happens to be Israel. Claiming it does just adds to the hypocrisy.
—Marcella Calabi, Manhattan

A Call to Arms
The recent attacks on Jews prove the necessity of what the Jewish Defense Organization has been advocating for years: a well-trained unit of Jewish volunteers who are armed to protect Jewish communities from anyone intent on slaughtering Jews. It’s called self-defense, which is something some Jews are uncomfortable with. But we must defend our lives so Jewish blood is not cheaply spilled at a Jew-hater’s discretion.
—Mordechai Levy, National Director, Jewish Defense Organization, Manhattan

Puppet Tears
Anti-semitism? Not so. Anti- Israel is more like it. Even after relentless, horrific, and inexcusable acts of terrorism, why do the Palestinians still merit empathy? Because the Israeli nation that marginalized them was formed on stolen land. Israel stolidly remains a puppet of a self-serving United States, and its treatment of the native people is borderline barbaric. And now a dividing wall! Can it get any more chillingly absurd? 
—Pietro Allar, Manhattan

Hatred’s Youth
In the past two weeks, eight swastikas have been drawn on the walls outside my classroom. The staff at our school, in conjunction with the United Federation of Teachers, has determined to take a “zero tolerance” position when it comes to hate and bias crimes. If we allow the ugly head of anti-Semitism to show itself, we will all suffer the consequences.
—Neil Friedman, Brooklyn

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January 19-26, 2004