Saturday, June 28, 2008

Rebuttal One to my Truth-Lying Piece

To the Editor:

Click Here!
Those who promote hatred rely on the quiet acquiescence of otherwise decent people to spread their lies.

On July 6, The Tribune published a letter by Elizabeth Mayfield ('A story for our times') directing people to the webpage created by an outfit called "Cactus 48." Even the mildest examination of the webpage revealed what it was - an anti-Semitic diatribe.

The webpage opens, "Why is there anti-Semitism? The reasons for anti-Semitism is [sic] found in its intellectuals and their leaders." What follows is a litany of falsified or out of context "quotes" purporting to show the widespread evil intent of many Jews, and particularly Zionists.

In case the grammatically defective opening left room for doubt, the purpose of this webpage is to blame Jews, and particularly Zionists, for creating anti-Semitism. Unfortunately for the purveyors of this lie, history flatly contradicts the assertion.

While Jews are called by their faith to return to the land of Israel and Jews have answered that call for centuries since their initial dispossession, Zionism is a relatively new manifestation of Jewish return and is not more than 150 years old. In fact, the Zionist movement began in Russia principally as a reaction to pogroms involving the mass beating, rape, murder and expulsion of Jews there.

Other anti-Semitic violence and persecution throughout western Europe, North Africa, and Central Asia gave Zionism the critical mass it needed to become a large movement capable of building a state.

But, even then, Jew hatred had a centuries-old lineage. The biblical book of Esther is the first documented case of an attempt to exterminate the Jews. Since then, the Jews have been brutalized by the Romans, the Crusaders, the Almohads, the Inquisition, Czarist Russia ... all prior to the rise of rise of Zionism.

Perhaps what the author intended was not that Zionism is the cause of anti-Semitism, but that Jews are the cause of anti-Semitism. That is the same kind of doublespeak that allows haters to blame women for rape, blacks for racism, gays for homophobia, and so on.

Apparently the shamelessness of the webpage alone was not enough, Cactus 48 attributes the page to "Michael Santomauro, Editorial Director of Reporters Notebook" and provides the link to the Reporters Notebook Web site. Following the link verifies the ugly truth.

The reader is first confronted with a challenge and reward for anyone who can disprove a notorious Holocaust denial Web site. Next, the reader is referred to the Web site of a man who is doing time in Germany for Holocaust denial. The rest of it is a disturbing mix of anti-Zionism, Holocaust denial, and old-fashioned Jew hatred.

Further examination of the letter reveals that it relies principally on the same falsified or out-of-context "quotes" provided on the page that was cited as well as other parts of the Cactus 48 Web site.

To help activists such as Mayfield, Cactus 48 puts out its own booklet of misleading quotes. Rather than publish in its own name, Cactus 48 tries to create legitimacy by attributing it to a fake organization called "Jews for Justice in the Middle East."

It is possible Mayfield is willfully blind to the anti-Semitism she promotes. But we must be more diligent in preventing careless people from spreading lies. We cannot acquiesce to the promotion of hatred.

James Eaves-Johnson

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