To the editor:
(re: “DSA question not anti-Semitic,” Aug. 27)
My father was a socialist in what became Hitler’s Germany. However, it became clear — at least in much of Saxony — that in their quest for power, many had adopted the anti-Semitic stance of the extremes of left and right. He became a social democrat, and with his colleague Willy Brandt (later mayor of West Berlin and chancellor of a free Germany), they campaigned against Hitler and bigotry.
My father died at Hitler’s hand because of his religion, and his publicly stated beliefs.
That pre-war affinity of the extremes of left and right to anti-Semitism extended after World War II. When Austrian Jews were released from displaced persons and concentration camps, it was the socialist minister of the interior who attacked these victims of the most awful persecution, and opposed restitution of their property because they were Jewish.
Sadly, Georges Santayana was right: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to relive it.” To our shame, there are again those — including some among those who prostitute the names of both the Democratic and Socialist parties — who demonstrate their anti-Semitic bent as, under the term “BDS,” they advocate boycotts of Jewish businesses in Israel, or attack Israel and then falsely say they were only attacking certain of its leaders or policies.
Few are deceived. What these peddlers of hate and disruption forget — or lack the wisdom to care to know — is that in the interim between those last voyages in the sewers of mankind, federal courts and various international treaties and edicts have aptly termed anti-Semitism as “racism.”
And racism it is.
It is neither chic nor liberal nor progressive. It is vile. It is cruel. It is hateful. It is crude. And it indelibly brands the utterer.
And if we have not learned that after millions of deaths and endless sorrow, then we may well relive it.
So, as these racists proclaim the virtue of anti-Semitic BDS boycotts and besmirch the only democracy in the Middle East — Israel — let them carry with them the brand “racist,” a term this nation has finally come to recognize with the disdain it has so long richly deserved.