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November 24, 1981 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-11-24

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0

OPINION

0

Tuesday, November 24, 1981

The Michigan Daily

A

'Jew-boy'thinks about anti-Semitism

It doesn't really startle me anymore. It used
to-back when I was growing up in the
predominately Jewish and very sheltered
community of Highland Park, Illinois. But not
anymore. Not now that I've been out in the
larger world for awhile..
So the malevolent rasp of the anonymous
telephone caller didn't shock me as it was sup-
posed to.

Howard
Witt

Anti-Semitism is alive and well and
flourishing in the United States.
This is no great revelation, I know. Every
Jew senses it, sees it, experiences it. It's just
that you don't think about it all that much; it's
something you learn to live with, like arthritis.
Sometimes it flares up with crippling pain, but
most of the time it lingers in the background,
like some dull constant ache.
"Hello, Jew-boy." Just a quick spasm.
Strange that just a day after that phone call a
derisive Senator Ernest Hollings -of South
Carolina should refer to Senator Howard Met-
zenbaum of Ohio as "the Senator from B'nai
B'rith" during a debate about the school prayer
program.
AND STRANGE that just a day later, I
should be watching Skokie, a television movie
about the neo-Nazis who wanted to march
through that largely Jewish Chicago suburb a
few years ago.
It was a good week for anti-Semitism.
I am fascinated by this phenomenon, this
unreasoning prejudice, this blind hate even as I
am the object of it. What type of person is my
anonymous caller? I wonder. Some blonde-
haired, blue-eyed Aryan jock living in some
party-down fraternity with his beer-chugging
pals? Some uncouth, redneck rube from out in
the sticks? The upright, outstanding son of

some southern senator?
I picked up a book a few months ago on sale
for $2 (an 80 percent markdown; how could I
resist?), but had never gotten around to
reading it. Anti-Semitism in America, it's
called. I cracked it open last week.
THE RESULT OF 15 years of nationwide
survey research commissioned by the Anti-
Defamation League, the book-published in
1979-documents contemporary American at-
titudes toward Jews and attempts to determine
the causes of anti-Semitism.
Some of the findings are heartening. The
virulent anti-Semitism of the 1920s, '30s, and
early '40s has largely disappeared. Very few
non-Jews today favor discrimination against
Jews (or other minorities) in such public areas
as employment, housing, college admissions,
and hotels and resorts.
But in place of the virulent, overt anti-
Semitism, the research found, a more subtle
prejudice has been growing. Fully two-thirds of
the non-Jewish public subscribes to one or
more stereotypical images of what Jews are
like. Such images are predominately those of
traditional anti-Semitism: that Jews are
deceitful and dishonest in business, clannish in
their behavior toward others, pushy and
aggressive, vain and conceited, and that they
control the media, motion pictures, and-

banking industries.
IT IS THIS insidious undercurrent of
prejudice we saw when an otherwise
diplomatic senator blurted his anti-Semitic in-
sult in the heat of a debate. And when otherwise
upright politicians started pointing to a "Jewish
lobby" during the AWACS furor. And when an
otherwise ordinary student called me a "Jew-
boy" because I wrote a column that upset him.
Anti-Semitism is running just below the sur-
face in American society. Give it the slightest
opportunity and it comes boiling to the top.
Not surprisingly, the researchers found that
working-class Americans are more anti-
Semitic than those in the middle-class, a result,
largely, of the former's lack of education.
Similarly, older Americans are more anti-
Semitic than younger Americans, a pattern
again linked to education. And, prejudice
toward Jews is distributed similarly to
prejudice toward blacks (a prejudice which,
granted, is more prevalent and pernicious in
America today).
EDUCATION IS important not only because
it teaches people the norms of democracy,
equality, civil rights, and cultural tolerance,
but also because it arms them with the
cognitive skills to recognize prejudice and
reject it. In general. There are certainly more
than a few bigots running around with college

degrees.
Most interesting to me was the suggestion
made by the research that Christianity often
fosters anti-Semitism. Especially when it b
teaches that there is no path to salvation except
through Christ and that all non-believers are
subject to damnation.
Remember the Rev. Bailey Smith? He was
the Baptist preacher who announced to the
world that "God does not hear the prayer of a
Jew."
That type of zealous fundamentalism-at-
tracting followers in the United States today at
an alarming rate-stresses religious in-
tolerance. And it poses an ominous threat ndt
only to Jews but to any non-Christians.
Worse yet, the problem seems absolutely in-
soluble. Consider this: All those hard-line, or-
thodox Christians-whose religion would be
absolutely undermined if they conceded that
anyone but Christ could be the Messiah-can-
not help but want to convert all the doomed;
non-Christians in the world. And as they are
met with resistance, they will tend almost
inevitably to despise those who refuse them.
Not a pretty picture.
I wonder what the anonymous phone calls
will sound like this week.

0

Ring, ring. "Hello, Jew-boy. You're going to
die." Five seconds, if that. Click.
It was just one of eight anonymous calls I got
after my column of two weeks ago about the
College Republicans. I can scarcely remember
the other seven-just the usual creative variety
of "You asshole" and "Commie hippie."
BUT THIS ONE I remember. Not because I
was shocked. Not because I was afraid.
Because I am concerned.

,'6

Witt's column appears every Tuesday.

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wasserman
1 PIPNT MAkE
TV1}o5E STATrEMENTS
X0(2 PERSONAL &AN

Vol. XCIt, No. 65

A20 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Honoring fascism

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T* BEN A
MiRD-WORKINWG
pUJ$LJC gAVANT N
WW4VS

BUT ONE D AY I WAS
15XPIININ6G SUPLY-SIDE
ECONOI(CS To fE ES
OF THE
CABt NEt

F ROM AFAR, Spain seems to be
progressing rather nicely.
Since the death of Francisco Franco
six years ago, the nation has moved
steadily down the road to democracy.
A new, liberal constitution has been
adopted, basic liberties that were sub-
jugated during the Franco years have
been reinstated, even the anti-Franco
Picasso mural "Guernica" has been
hung in the Prado Museum in Madrid.
But some of-Spain's progress is at
least partly illusory, as was demon-
strated this weekend. On Sunday, tens
of thousands of Spaniards gathered-
as they have every Nov. 20 for the past
four years-to mark the anniversary of
the death of Franco.
In the Plaza de Oriente, the very
square in which Franco once ad-
dressed throngs of Spaniards,
thousands of rightists listened to
denunciations of the programs in-
stituted under the post-Franco gover-
nments.,
It was all there: The thousands of
teenagers wearing para-military garb,
the stiff-armed fascist salutes, the
chants of "Franco! Franco!"

They all listened to calls for the
release of Lieut. Col. Antonio Molina,
who attempted a coup last February
when, leading a small band of Civil
Guards, he took most of the member-
ship of the Spanish Parliament
hostage. His attempt failed, and
Monlina is now imprisoned.
In short, the demonstration was an
amazing show of vitality for a
movement that has done very poorly in
the two elections held since Franco's
death.
But in a way, the demonstration was
also an amazing show of vitality for
Spain's emerging democracy. A
massive demonstration against the
Francogovernment would have been
unthinkable, but under the new
regime, demonstrations against
'government policy have become
almost blase.'
Hopefully, the recent Madrid
demonstration is indeed manifestation
of the vagaries of a healthy
democracy, rather than a display of
increasing alienation toward
democracy.

AND~ ~V Y tY AS
N4ODDING AND'
$MIU~N6-

SUDpNL'/ IT Ht ME-#/1Tay ARE ALu.
MI~lIOtiAIRS

o

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
'U'parking situation should improve

60

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To the Daily:
For many students who live off
campus, driving their own cars to
school is the best form of tran-
sportation. For these people
public buses are not available, or
car pooling is impractical.

Whatever the reason is,
problem is common to
parking. Since I encounter
problem every day, I know
what a nightmare parking
be.

one
all:
this
just
can

I would like to see the parking

LSA-SG elections important

i
4 Ail
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i
1! ;

I

}

To the Daily:
It is time once again for LSA
students to decide whether or not
to vote in the LSA Student Gover-
nment elections. Having been
president of LSA-SG for the last
year, I have realized how impor-
tant student support and in-
volvement can be. Only with this
support and involvement can
LSA-SG be effective in represen-
ting student, views in governing
the College.
In the past year, LSA-SG ac-
complished many goals set by
their 17 member executive coun-
cil. These accomplishments in-
clude funding of various
organizations for educational
purposes, sponsorship of the
Community Forum on National

terested students to get involved
in student government.
The budget cuts' Action Group
was instrumental in the for-
mation of It's Our University
(IOU). They were extremely ac-
tive during the geography discon-
tinuance procedures, trying to
gain influence in the precedent
setting procedure.
When students were excluded
from official membership on the
Geography Review Committee
the Action Group helped organize
a student hearing to assure that
the students' viewpoint was
heard.
Each of the Action Groups and
the Executive Council strived to
help students gain a role in the
decision making process at every-

situation improved. If the
University and the City of Ann
Arbor make a couple of
seemingly small changes, this
situation could be improved. My
idea of small chages is:
* Create a student-paid permit
parking section; located at the
top level of staff-paid-permit
parking structures (because
these are rarely occupied by
more than a half-dozen cars);
" Remove the one-hour-parking
limit parking zones on many of
the side streets in the central
Feiger letter
To the Daily:
The letter published in the
Daily (Nov. 21) is an irrespon-
sible action of the president of the
Michigan Student Assembly.
I agree that LSA-SG elections
are an important event and
should not be taken lightly, but
should our governing body be
endorsing a particular political
party?
Mr. Feiger says that "the ob-

as a whole, what right does
Jonathan Feiger have in using his
title as president of MSA.
In other words, it is fine that
Mr. Ronald Reagan sold Arrow
shirts some years ago, but it
would be inappropriate for
President Reagan to be adver-
tising Lacoste Izod shirts on
Western European television.
I am not sure if I voted for Mr.

campus area (because one hour
is just too short of a time).
" Increase the number of
parking spaces on streets where
parking is already allowed, and
create spaces on streets where
parking is currently illegal.
All of these suggestions are
aimed at reducing wasted space.
I also hope they will reduce the
difficulty of parking for those
students who drive to school.
-Christopher Konrad
November 19
irresponsible

. ..... _ _ M

AW

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