Over these past few days I have had a chance to catch up on some reading – I actually read a few books. I uploaded several to Kindle: Jews Don’t Count by David Baddiel, a British stand-up comedian who addresses anti-Semitism within the progressive left, and People Love Dead Jews by Dara Horn. I highly recommend both books. Horn is an excellent writer and there is much to recommend this book.
Both address how anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism have permeated our western culture. Our universities are supporting anti-Israel campaigns, our students feel afraid to speak up in class, and as Horn details, violence, even murders against Jews have escalated beyond our imagining. Our newspapers misrepresent or even publish fabricated lies about Jews and about Israel. As Jews we are standing more and more alone in the world. And we are told that anti-Semitism isn’t racism, isn’t a problem. We are told over and over to be quiet.
On Shabbat I mentioned that Archbishop Tutu scolded Jews at Yad VaShem the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, insisting Jews should forgive the Nazis for murdering millions of Jews during their war against Jews in Europe. Tutu of course failed utterly to address the complete collapse of Christian values within Christian Europe, values that have been part and parcel of a rhetoric of a “teaching of contempt” for Judaism and Jews for millennia.
Tutu “encouraged others to have similar views and because he was so influential, he became the most influential anti-Semite of our time,” Alan Dershowitz went on.
“People say you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. Well, that’s wrong… The bottom line is that at a time when people are reckoning with the careers, of people with mixed legacies, whether it be Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and others, we have to include in a reckoning of Tutu his evil, bigotry against Jews, which has existed for many, many, many years.”
Even in Victoria, as people address issues of colonial history, where a statue of Captain Cook ended up in the Inner Harbour and John A Macdonald was removed from City Hall, we have to address people like Tutu who have used their considerable Christian influence to continue to blame and silence Jews – for our own people’s deaths.