Anti-Semitism of the Intellectuals?
To the Editor:
Reading the letters brought forth by the article on Matzpen [“The Middle East and the Intellectuals,” Letters from Readers, October] must be reassuring to Mr. Peter Viereck, if to no one else, since clearly it is now anti-Semitism which has become the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals.
Tenafly, New Jersey
To the Editor:
With reference to David Deitch’s letter, the following comments are perhaps warranted:
- As one of the Israeli students invited by Mr. Deitch to debate Arie Bober, I would like to assert that Mr. Deitch’s account of my reaction to his offer is inaccurate. I refused Mr. Deitch’s offer only because I did not regard his particular auspices as proper for the refutation of the distortions and misrepresentations of facts about Israel and the Israeli society which he presented to readers of the Boston Globe in his published interview with Arie Bober. . . . I might note, however, that the opportunity to repair, at least in part, the journalistic damage done by the interview was indeed granted to another Israeli student and myself by the editor of the Globe who allowed us, independently of Mr. Deitch, to respond to the interview in a statement of our own.
- Mr. Deitch’s “unintentional” failure to inform various people of his sponsorship of the Committee on New Alternatives in the Middle East and hence of Mr. Bober’s visit to Boston . . . extends to the two-hour meeting that I and my above-mentioned companion had with him. Even while making his offer of the debate with Bober, Mr. Deitch, presumably unintentionally, neglected to mention his association with Bober.
- It is quite instructive to learn from Mr. Deitch about the way he forms his opinion of international, political, and Jewish problems. . . . By his own testimony, six months after not being sure about his feelings about Zionism, the experience of personal harassment following publication of the Bober interview, has “done much” to make up his mind. It would seem that it was this kind of mental gyration that Bertrand Russell had in mind when he wrote: “Many . . . have done more harm than good because they view facts through the distorting medium of their own passion.”
To the Editor:
Murray Kempton appears sincere but naive when he claims that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are not the same thing and ought not to be confused, that dislike of Zionists because of their beliefs is not what anti-Semitism has come to mean. However, it was rarely the Jew, per se, who was hated but the evil qualities associated with being Jewish that were despised.
Early in the millennium, it was the Christ-killer and the hypocritical Pharisee; later, it was the infidel or the heretic; and still later, the usurer and the evil Elders of Zion. But in none of these instances was it the Jew who was being reviled except through the label placed upon the group. In practice, of course, this made no difference to the victim, but it allowed the victimizer the luxury of being able to say that he did not hate Jews, that he even had some as “best friends.” In fact, it was not until recently that it became permissible and fashionable to hate the Jew simply because he was a Jew. And the results were exceptionally gruesome.
Perhaps the world suffered a trauma at these results and it has now reverted to its old-fashioned form of Jew-hating, but with a handy new label: anti-Zionism. It is chilling and frightening to see intelligent observers, like Mr. Kemp-ton, blind to the meaning of this latest episode in a very old story.