Norma Sherry: Never Again
By Norma Sherry
Calling someone, "Jew Devil" is far different from saying, "I detest Israel's treatment of the Palestinians'". One is blatantly Anti-Semitic; the other is a disagreement with the politics of Israel's decision-makers.
In the 50's and 60's, the expression, "Never again", was very common in Jewish communities. Fear embodied every Jewish family, every Jewish citizen. Metaphorically, it is comparable to the fear those who lived through the crash of '29 have of never having enough financial security - only imagine that fear a hundred times greater.
For Jews and their children who were born in the 40's, 50's and 60's, fear of divulging their Jewish heritage was inborn. Hitler and Eastern Europe weren't the lone persecutors of Anti-Semitism. Jews were ridiculed, beat up, and ostracized for no reason other than the fact that they were Jewish. Families in their attempt to assimilate shortened their names. "Nose Jobs" became the norm when the amply-endowed turned sixteen -- another misguided notion of camouflaging and assimilating themselves.
"Restricted" communities were common. The not-so euphemistic term meant, "No Jews allowed". As the years progressed, Anti-Semitism became less blatant. The outward fences started diminishing. But the inner prejudice, the slang expressions remained; the snickers and private jokes continued; the innate disdain and distrust, for the most part is still very much with us.
It was with us when a boatload of Jewish refugees escaping Hitler's extermination camps were turned from our shores, as it was from all the shores of the free world. It was with us when Charles Lindbergh said that "Jews were the greatest danger" to the United States. It was with us when automobile magnate, Henry Ford, worked to promote mass hatred of Jews in his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent. For 91 consecutive weeks he ran essays blaming Jews for all the ills of America and describing Jews as, "parasites . . . sloth's . . . lunatics and apostles of murder."
It was with us when Martin Luther defined Jews as, "miserable and accursed people." His Anti-Semitism is legendary and grotesque in its ugliness. His faithful followers will remember he warned to "guard against the Jews, knowing that wherever they have their synagogues, nothing is found but a den of devils in which sheer self-glory, conceit, lies, blasphemy, and defaming of God and men are practiced most maliciously...," or when he said:
Moreover, they are nothing but thieves and robbers who daily eat no morsel and wear no thread of clothing, which they have not stolen and pilfered from us by means of their accursed usury. Thus, they live from day to day, together with wife and child, by theft and robbery, as arch-thieves and robbers, in the most impenitent security.
It was with us when 125 million sets of the McGuffey Readers taught our children for three-quarters of a century its purposeful Anti-Semitism. Now it is a staple of teaching within the confines of the religious right and home-schoolers. It is not only Anti-Semitic; it is sexist and racist. Its pages filled with warnings to students about the perils of rejecting Christianity.
Christianity is championed as the McGuffey Reader emphasizes, "There are no principles but those of CHRISTIANITY, to be depended upon in cases of REAL DISTRESS." (McGuffey Reader's capitalizations) It denigrates Jews for reading the Old Testament and teaches that doing so borders on superstition. It instructs that the rise of Christianity was a result of Jewish infidelity to God.
Strikingly absent in other Christian school texts are any mention of Jews or any of their contributions to American history. In fact, the only references to Jews are to Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx, referred to as, 'an atheistic German Jew'. Instilling Anti-Semitism, it blames the crucifixion of Jesus on the demands of the Jews upon Pontius Pilate and that his fault was giving in to their clamor.
It was with us when Rev. Billy Graham told Pres. Richard Nixon that the Jews had a "stranglehold" on America. It is with us when the Anti-abortion group, Operation Rescue and Life Dynamics, listed "Jewish doctors" as the leading performers of abortion. It was with us when Rev. Jerry Falwell said to his congregants, "A few of you don't like the Jews and I know why. He [sic] can make more money accidentally than you can make on purpose."
It was with us when Pat Robertson proclaimed, "Jews are spiritually deaf" and "spiritually blind", and when he said, referring to Israel, that the Jews occupy the land as temporary caretakers for the true Christians. It was with us when Rev. Bailey Smith preached, "It's interesting at great political rallies how you have a Protestant to pray, a catholic to pray, and then you have a Jew to pray. With all due respect to those dear people, my friends, God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew. For how in the world can God hear the prayer of a man who says that Jesus Christ is not the true Messiah? That is blasphemy."
It was with us when Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam eloquently rebuked Jews blaming them of horrendous acts, and charged that Jewish doctors injected the AIDS virus into black babies. It was with us when he publicly denounced Judaism as a "gutter religion" and called Jews "bloodsuckers".
Sadly, history records a glut of Anti-Semitic rantings: Voltaire complained that Jews are "... the greatest scoundrels who have ever sullied the face of the globe"; H. L. Mencken said, 'The Jews . very plausibly are the most unpleasant race ever heard of". It was with us when Henry Adams said, 'The whole rotten carcass is rotten with Jew worms', and when H.G. Wells, said, 'A careful study of anti-Semitism, prejudice and accusations might be of great value to many Jews, who do not adequately realize the irritation they inflict'. It was with us when Immanuel Kant accused Jews of being, "a nation of swindlers'". It was with us when Dostoyevsky, George Orwell, Ezra Pound, and T.S. Eliot were all unabashedly, virulent, and profoundly anti-Semitic.
Today, we hear derogatory terms such as: Anti-Zionism; Jewish media; Left-wing, Jewish liberal; Humanists; Israeli-Imperialism. We hear deprecating and exaggerated claims that the Jews own all the newspapers, all the banks, all the department store chains, that they run the diamond district, the fur district, that they control all the precious metals, and that they're ruining our country.
Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe and in the United States. Revisionists' claim six million Jews never were put to death in the Holocaust; more preposterous claims such as those by Mel Gibson's father, Hutton Gibson, are that the Holocaust is "fiction".
Rumors abounded after 911 that mysteriously Jews didn't show up to work that day, that 911 was retribution to the U.S. for their misguided support of the Zionist country, Israel. However outlandish and absurd these contradictions to the reality may be, there remain individuals willing to propagate such falsities for the mere chance to rid us of the bothersome, loathsome Jew.
It has been said that wherever there are Jews there will be anti-Semitism. It doesn't have to be that way; we have the power to make "Never Again" a reality. It is time for all good men and women to revile these abhorrent, execrable, deceitful deceptions.
Anti-Semitism is a plague, a scourge upon our humanity; so too is bigotry and prejudice, and narrow-mindedness, and lying, and betrayal, and the mistreatment of our elderly, homelessness, and abused children, and hunger, and illness, and pollution, and despoiling of our air and our earth. So too, is injustice, crimes upon humanity, war, abuse, disease, deplorable living conditions, the lack of medical care, slavery, detention, oppression, tyranny, totalitarianism, to be denied free will, free speech and freedom, torture, poverty, persecution, false imprisonment, and racism, fanaticism, sexism, intolerance, and discrimination.
It is up to us, each and every one of us, to make a difference, to stop the blood-letting, the brutality, the savagery, the vicious, senseless vulgarity. It is up to us to say, "Never Again".
© Norma Sherry 2004
Norma Sherry is co-founder of
TogetherForeverChanging.org, an organization devoted to
educating, stimulating, and igniting personal responsibility
particularly with regards to our diminishing civil
liberties. She is also an award-winning writer/producer and
host of upcoming television program, The Norma Sherry Show
on WQXT TV. Email Norma: