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Sunday, November 23, 2003

Acts of Hatred: the ominous new wave of anti-Semitism

by Yitzhak Santis, in today's San Francisco Chronicle
Some obtuse observers have blamed the victim by excusing this anti-Semitic resurgence as an unfortunate, but not unexpected, response to the Middle East conflict.

It is time, however, to dispel this myth. Seeking to kill as many Jews as possible at a Sabbath service in Istanbul or torching a Jewish school in Paris -- which happened the same day -- are unjustifiable acts of pure hate. Regardless of events in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or one's perspective on Israeli policies, the extremists who commit such actions deserve unconditional and universal condemnation. The Jewish community will not sit idly by -- and all responsible world governments should join in expressing outrage also -- when criticism of Israeli policies gives way to blatant anti- Semitism.

. . . Some may dismiss all this as only a Jewish issue. That would be a mistake.

Not so long ago, anti-democratic movements used anti-Semitism to attract millions to their banners and seized control of great countries with catastrophic consequences. Anti-Semitism is the leading edge of totalitarianism. This should serve as a stark warning for every person dedicated to democratic values.

Read in full.
Yitzhak Santis is director of Middle East Affairs at the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Relations Council (www.jcrc.org).