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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Anti-Semitism Growing in Russia, AP Ignorant of Soviet Era Outrages

Little Green Footballs calls it the "most disgusting" news of the day. It is that and much, much worse. The monster of Russian anti-semitism is again slouching toward Armagaddeon, as 20 members of the Duma, the Russian legislature, are calling "for a sweeping investigation aimed at outlawing all Jewish organizations and punishing officials who support them, accusing Jews of fomenting ethnic hatred and saying they provoke anti-Semitism," according to Steve Gutterman of AP, courtesy of Yahoo News!.

This is classic, especially the claim that Jews provoke the very anti-semitism that can lead to a new Holocaust. Joseph Goebbels no doubt would get a chuckle out of that one. One can only hope President Bush will quickly and completely condemn any effort by the Russian government to mount any sort of anti-Jewish "investigation." And put pressure on his good buddy Putin to quash this nascent hatred instead of encouraging it with winks and nods.

An interesting sidepoint here: AP's Gutterman apparently knows nothing about the systematic and comprehensive anti-Semitism that ruled the highest ranks of the Soviet Politburo, particularly during the Stalin Purges years. Here's how Gutterman puts it:

"The stunning call to ban all Jewish groups raised concerns of persistent anti-Semitism in Russia. ... Echoing anti-Semitic tracts of the Czarist era, the letter’s authors accuse Jews of working against the interests of the countries where they live and of monopolizing power worldwide."

As if Lenin's arrival ended the anti-semitism of the Czars. It is this kind of abyssmal ignorance of history that led me as a managing editor to insist that new hires read Paul Johnson's "Modern Times." Like the cliche says, those who are ignorant of their own history are bound to repeat it.

And why didn't somebody on the AP foreign desk catch this???