Sometimes I wonder what's worse, hatred that speaks in whispers or hatred that speaks in shouts.
When hate-mongers come out of the closet, as they have today, is this regress or progress?
Listen to Philip Kurian, a senior at Duke University: "It is well known that Jews constitute the most privileged minority group in the country."
Now read the Bible, Exodus: "Behold [says Pharaoh], the people of the children of Israel are too many and too mighty for us."
Is this not amazing how nothing has changed over the centuries, how anti-Semites speak nearly the exact same words across continents and generations? What's interesting, in this case, is that Kurian wrote that (and much worse) in Duke's student newspaper, the Chronicle, hours after that university held its first annual Palestinian Solidarity Movement (PSM) hate festival, thereby giving anti-Semites license to speak openly even after the event.
Hate is out of the closet, and not with a whimper, but with a bang.
Hatred - in this case, anti-Semitism - usually begins with shy whispers, advances to bold shouts, and the rest is history, and not good history. The Germans kept their hatred under wraps until Hitler came along and said it's okay, go ahead, shout it out. Several years ago, a proper Englishman (sorry, my computer lost the text but I remember this well) said that it is so wonderful that "now we can say what we thought all along."
Back to Duke (was this place named after David Duke of the KKK?). The pity of it is that Kurian is African-American, and probably too young to know that back in the 1960s, Jews were the first to join up with blacks in the struggle for Civil Rights. Jews were there with the Freedom Riders at their peril. When Mississippi was most dangerous, Andrew Goodman, Jewish, James E. Chaney, African-American, and Michael H. Schwerner, also Jewish, marched right in, and were killed.
Personally, I feel betrayed, but the betrayals keep on coming so fast that it's impossible to keep score.
But it is possible to stay hurt and disillusioned.
Kurian gives himself away not only by the substance of his hate speech, but by such innocuous phrasing as "It is well known." That language is straight out of Der Sturmer, back when hatred went public in Germany with Julius Streicher. Yes, that is well known.
Kurian is co-founder of Duke's Center for Race Relations. That absurdity is also well known, and George Orwell will be laughing when he hears this - that his satire of 1984 has found a home in 2004.
I still haven't made up my mind as to which is worse, hatred that whispers behind your back, or hatred that speaks to your face, which, however, I'm beginning to believe, is phase two. Phase three is sticks and stones. Right now in America, we're in phase two. Europe is already into sticks and stones; back to the future.
Over in "O Canada", it's getting close between words and actions. Here's Mohamed Elmasry, president of Canada's Islamic Congress: "All Israelis over 18 are legitimate targets of attack." Honest, I'm not sure if he said "over 18" or "under 18", but I'm sure about the rest, and I'm also sure that anti-Semitism is so open in Canada that hatred has a name (anti-Semitism), but no shame.
After 9/11, you'd think that Islam, that is, the head-chopping brand name of it, would have gone into hiding.
Quite the contrary, Islam is busting out all over.
Some high-ranking members of the Presbyterian Church, indeed, are embracing hate and terror and trying to import European-style anti-Semitism back here to the US. This won't work, because American Christianity is practiced by the virtues of tolerance and lovingkindness. That's why the Pilgrims and the Puritans and the millions that followed came here, to escape all that European garbage. The very soil of Europe is drenched in blood crying up to the heavens.
Not so here, but some keep trying, like Ronald Stone, an elder of the Presbyterian Church USA, who met with members of the terror group Hizbullah. That meeting, a stain on that church's leadership, along with its divest-from-Israel pogrom, took place in Lebanon, not far from where Hizbullah murdered 240 US Marines.
"We treasure the precious words of your expression of goodwill toward the American people." Thus groveled Ronald Stone in comradeship with hate and terror.
Stone also said that he finds Islamic leaders much better company than Jewish leaders. Obviously, this man missed the flight to New York and toward the Twin Towers. He also had no children at school in Belsan, Russia, when his Islamic friends shouted, "Allah Akbar!" and then, as always, as practically everywhere… the slaughter begins.
So, bigotry is out in the open. Killers are "precious" and "treasured." Anti-Semites speak loudly and proudly. And the 21st Century? It is just getting started.
Postscript: I've just received an e-mail message from Ireland. The writer says that Islam is taking root over there as well, and when he asked a gentleman in a kaffiyeh why Ireland, the man said all the world belongs to Allah. The writer says he fears not only for the physical safety of himself and his nation, but for the moral risk of becoming prejudiced.
There's no answer, except, rude as it is, I quote from my novel The Uriah Deadline: "Are you a bigot if by their words and deeds they turn you into one?"