If the leaders of Iran are guilty of incitement against the Jewish people, as they plainly are, they have many coconspirators and facilitators. In recent years these have included several prominent church leaders, such as Cardinal Glemp of Poland, Father Daniel Berrigan of the United States, Cardinal Rodriguez of Honduras, Bishop Tutu of South Africa and numerous others who have crossed the line from anti-Zionism to overt anti-Semitism.
Cardinal Glemp, while serving as the primate of Poland, accused the Jews of bringing Communism, alcoholism and poverty to Poland. He also accused them of provoking anti-Semitism. Father Daniel Berrigan characterized the Jewish state as “a criminal Jewish community” that “manufactures human waste.” A current cardinal of the Catholic Church Oscar Andres Rodriguez Meridiaga, who is the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, has been telling anyone who is willing to listen that “the Jews” are to blame for the scandal surrounding the sexual misconduct of priests toward young parishioners! How did Cardinal Rodriguez ever come up with this ridiculous idea? Here is his “logic:” the Vatican is anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. It follows, therefore, that “the Jews” had to get even with the Catholic Church, while at the same time deflecting attention away from Israeli injustices against the Palestinians. The Jews managed to do this by arranging for the media which they, of course, control to give disproportionate attention to the Vatican sex scandal.
Not to be outdone, Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu claims that Americans are frightened of excessive Jewish influence in America because “the Jewish lobby is powerful—very powerful.” He compared the Jewish influence in America to that of “Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic and Idi Amin”—all of whom who were “powerful, but in the end they bit the dust.”
And now joining in the incitement is Pulitzer Prize willing author Alice Walker, who says that the situation of Arab citizens in Israel is much worse that what blacks experienced in the South during Jim Crow, thus trivializing the suffering of her own people about which she has written so poignantly! She has now decided to withhold her writings from all readers of Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people.
These hateful voices, from the left, the right and the center, are influencing conduct around the world. Anti-Semitic violence is increasing as is anti-Semitic incitement. The time has come to take this threat seriously, whether it comes from absurd sources such as Iran or more respected personages such as Bishop Tutu and Alice Walker.
I am not seeking to constrain freedom of expression through governmental censorship. I am asking people of good will to condemn all anti-Jewish bigotry even when expressed by those who are admired, and to take action against the danger posed by the noxious combination of radioactive words and radioactive weapons.
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