Enough is enough

To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
September 15, 2001

PERMIT me to respond to Ms. Jean Rosen's letter (SN 09/07) which accused one from myself, which appeared in both the Chronicle and Stabroek News (09/04), as containing "anti-Semitic" messages meant to instill "hostility" between Jews and Blacks.

Ms. Rosen contended that in America, the Jews and the Blacks are regarded with equal importance. She also enquired from where I "picked up" my views. I find her accusation as testimony to my view that criticism against Jews or Israel in the U.S is automatically censored or regarded as "anti-Semitic."

In a PBS (public-sponsored TV in N.Y) programme titled "From Swastika to Jim Crows" (deals with Black-Jewish relations in the U.S), one is told "currently there exist huge disparities between Jews and Blacks in terms of crime, family breakdown, drug addiction, alcoholism and educational achievements."

James Baldwin, in his `Georgia has the Negro and Harlem has the Jew', dealt with this disparity. For decades there existed a gulf between Blacks and Jews. The Crown Heights (Brooklyn) riots in 1991 (after a Guyanese Black child, G. Cato was accidentally killed by a car in a Jewish motorcade, and a rabbinical student, Y. Rosenbaum, was stabbed to death by a group of Blacks) reflected this. Black Muslim leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan once referred to Judaism as a "gutter religion" and Jewish landlords as "bloodsuckers."

Accepting her Oscar in 1978, legendary English actress Vanessa Redgrave criticised Jewish directors/producers, etc. ("Zionist hoodlums") for the control they have in Hollywood. Fast forward. In 1991, Black director Spike Lee received additional funds from prominent Blacks including Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson to complete "Malcolm X," after management refused to increase his meagre budget. However, when Steven Spielberg made "Schindler's List" (1993), the allocated budget greatly exceeded that received by Lee. I don't think that it is a mere coincidence that a movie about a Black (American) received red tapes while one about European Jews is given a red carpet.

U.S presidential candidate, Senator Bob Dole returned Arab-American campaign contributions (1996) when the Jewish community complained. About two years ago, Jews bashed First Lady Hillary Clinton for meeting with the wife of Chairman Arafat on a trip to Israel. Then last year during her senatorial campaign, she promptly returned money from the American Muslim League after similar criticism. This is possible because Jewish America has an immense presence in every social sector, the media, entertainment, and government especially. Why does the U.S government allocate more money to Israel, than it does to the premier U.S Black organisation (NAACP)? Why did key U.S politicians (e.g., ex-U.S Senator, Alfonse D'Mato) campaign for reparations for Holocaust survivors, but not Blacks? Was it mere coincidence that on a programme last month about slave reparations, the CNN "expert" that rejected it is Mr. David Horowitz (Jewish), founder of Frontline Magazine?

My saying that Jewish America has been "wailing about the Holocaust" points to the ceaseless referencing that bombards U.S popular opinion (which is globalise). It has been packaged in endless forms - movies, dramas, novels, film documentaries, etc. The story of Anne Frank alone has been transmitted in almost all these forms. Other topics like anti-Semitism in literature (e.g., James Shapiro's Shakespeare and the Jews), is on a steady rise (every character from Shylock to Fagin and thereafter is being deconstructed), as are Jewish Chapters and Holocaust museums in the U.S.

One polemic book is very unique (featured on BBC in January, 2000, and called the "Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering"), written by Jewish historian/professor (City University of New York), Mr. Norman Finkelstein, who argues that the Holocaust is being used by American Jewish groups for purposes of ethnic supremacy, political advantage and financial gain: "Since the late 1960s, there has developed a kind of Holocaust industry which has made a cult of the Nazi Holocaust. And the purpose of this industry is, in my view, ethnic aggrandisement - in particular, to deflect criticism of the State of Israel and to deflect criticism of Jews generally."

So, there it is, from the horse's mouth. Our public must recognise the terrifying influence Jewish America has in the creation of news stories and images found in Hollywood (where Blacks and Arabs are given negative movie roles), in U.S publications like Newsweek, Time, New York Times, and on TV stations like CNN. We must recognise that criticism of Israel/Jews is not necessarily "anti-Semitic." While the Holocaust should be remembered, it should not be at the expense of making obscure, other world tragedies. We must never compromise the call for reparation for slavery, etc., but must study the reasons that still prolong its due. As they would say in Yiddish, "Genug iz genug." Enough is enough.