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Speaker incites hate, violence against Jews

To the Editor:

Six weeks ago, Kwame Ture upset some of the more fretful natures on campus with his call to kill the Zionists. Now, the Students for a Free Palestine have given the interested parties, the potential murderers and their potential victims, yet another occasion to "dialogue." On Sunday past, their guest Dr. Kaukab Siddique, the editor of a noisy sheet called New Trend, held forth in Wilder on Zionism and the peace process. As a bonus to his listeners, Dr. Siddique laid out for the taking a flyer issued by the Islamic People's Movement (Baltimore) calling for the boycott of "Jewish businesses which support Israel." But since Israel is funded by "international Jewry" and thus also by "the vast majority of Jews living in America," the qualifier soon gets dropped and the reader is simply asked to "identify Jewish businesses" and "not buy from them." This, we are told, is "the least (we) can do to discourage the Jewish state." If one wishes to do more, I suppose one can write to New Trend for instructions.

In Hitler's Germany, too, the least one could do was to boycott the Jews. "Don't buy from the Jew!" ran the slogan in 1933 when the Nazi party called for a boycott of Jewish stores and businesses. But one can always do more, and in the Third Reich it happened as follows: First, the boycott of Jewish businesses, which were identified by smearing the word "Jew" on the shop windows. Then, on Reichskristallnacht in March 1938, the same windows were smashed, the businesses ransacked and soon thereafter liquidated. A few years later, the Jews themselves were liquidated - along with the store owners every Jewish man, woman and child in Europe who could be herded together and beaten, starved, shot or gassed to death.

Jean-Paul Sartre in Anti-Semite and Jew (1948) put it this way: "A destroyer in function, a sadist with a pure heart, the anti-Semite is, in the very depths of his heart, a criminal. What he wishes, what he prepares, is the death of the Jew." Twice this semester, Students for a Free Palestine have sponsored a speaker - first Kwame Ture, now Kaukab Siddique - who incited to hate and violence against Jews. When will they, those who help to fund such lectures, and the answerable college offices recognize that they are fostering a climate that in the past has led to murder?

- Sidney Rosenfeld (Professor of German)

Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 124, Number 22; April 26, 1996

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