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Copyright (c) 1998 - Ingrid A. Rimland

June 20, 1998

Good Morning from the Zundelsite:

I have received some very complimentary letters about the Dr. Alexander Jacob evaluation of the Zundelsite - the main topic of which might be summarized as a sharper definition of "antisemitism' - not as an absolute "evil" that must be dismissed outright without an examination of its origins and merits, but as a responsible and, indeed, unavoidable response to relentless provocation against the gentile culture and tradition conflicting with a Jewish culture and tradition - a cause-and-effect situation lasting throughout centuries.

Here is one reader's reaction:

After reading the latest couple of Z-Grams where (Dr. Alexander) Jacob discusses antisemitism, a few things quietly clicked into place.

What we do is inherently antisemitic.

This is necessary, unavoidable, a matter of definition, take your pick.

There is no harm or wrong inherent in such a position.

Attempts to label such discussion or positions as wrong and to stifle discussion of same are in fact the mechanism which brings about the wrong and harm alleged to be contained in the initial and legitimate criticisms.

(Our opposition does) this by giving the impression that the natural culture-centric actions of the group criticized are part of an offensive action undertaken for gain without regard to its cost to others. That impression is a natural result from having legitimate criticism met with false accusations of evil intent.

The average person's life experience teaches that such resistance is encountered only from the irrational and criminal elements of society. Since irrationality is ruled out in strident and convincing tones by the source of the resistance, criminal intent is the only remaining alternative.

On examination, irrational is the correct description - irrational because the perceived gain of stifled criticism is short-term peace of mind, and the long-term effect is shown by history to be an eventual violent pogrom as the bottled frustrations of what began as legitimate critics are turned by insistence into the explosive rage of enemies who have been given only two alternatives -- bow to imposed cultural hegemony or lash out physically, because no discussion is allowed.

We have allowed a subtle campaign of deification conducted in the media and in academia to characterize antisemitic criticism of any sort as inherently evil, and the word itself to serve as a label of evil intent.

What needs be done is to say,

"Yes. I am antisemitic, in the same way that I am anti-Mormon inasmuch as the subject of polygamy is concerned. Polygamy is a sincerely held cultural belief of Mormons that I cannot countenance and must oppose vigorously but without affecting my otherwise tolerant attitude toward that culture.

"I am anti-immigrant inasmuch as the subject of unrestrained immigration is concerned, if that is how you wish to characterize my opposition to surrendering this society to the vicissitudes of world poverty based on some vague idea of unexplained moral culpability.

"I am anti-Zionist if that is how one must characterize a refusal to support financially and morally the idea and practice that ethnic cleansing (of Palestinians) is justified and that murder to further that and self-defined 'security' is necessary."

Jewish culture has made an indelible impression on American culture, on Western culture, a sign of the strength and vitality of the Judaic product. But it is not a sin, not a crime, not even unnatural for an adherent of Western culture or American culture to at some point oppose the either specific facets or further incursion of Jewish or any other culture.

In fact, one of the hallmarks of American culture is its fierce insistence on the right of anyone to criticize or promote anything as they see fit, and to do so without fear of retribution for the open expression of their ideas.

The decisions of cultural inclusions and exclusions must be decided in the arena of public debate or history teaches us that they will be decided by the physical equivalents of debate, in a contest of wills where reason and other such niceties become irrelevant and brute strength alone dictates the outcome.

The concept of antisemitism may have originated in good intentions, but it has been turned to darker use, as a club to stifle open expression, as a label to silence dissent. If the only way to get rid of it is to define and then embrace it, then call me what I am -- antisemitic on and in certain clearly defined issues and areas. This bears no relation whatsoever to my attitudes toward Jews or any other people. It is a description of my legitimate expression of my personal political and cultural opinions, and that is absolutely all the hell that it is.

Cultural sway in a society has in the past been decided mainly by choice of association - and wars to decide whether that choice is allowed or not. A third and much discussed but little used way is to legitimize anti-whatever expressions and thereby keep open debate as a workable option.

But in practice, anti-whatever is said by those it offends to present such a danger of violence that it is better to suppress it, when in fact such suppression will guarantee eventual violence.

Those who seek to extend "anti" to a blanket accusation of total rejection of the "whatever" in order to sell this canard are thus warmongers by purpose or default, and the end result of their approach ignores the distinction of their intent along with a host of others.

Policies which seek to exclude public dissent either in whole or in selective part from the area of acceptable activity lead inevitably to what Cormac McCarthy described as: "...[A] higher court...[where]... are considerations of equity and rectitude and moral right rendered void and without warrant [and] the views of the litigants despised. Decisions of life and death, of what shall be and what shall not, beggar all questions of right. In elections of these magnitudes are all lesser ones subsumed, moral, spiritual, natural."

In other words, to war.

(Submitted to the Zundelsite)

Thought for the Day:

"Listen, folks. America is our country. Our ancestors built it. If we are to survive, we must take it back, inch by inch."

(N. B. Forest)

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