Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

Minnesota Not-So-Nice  | e-mail post

The Christian Science Monitor ran a story today on the rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S. (although it's a global problem, to be sure).

I was disappointed and then disgusted as I read the third paragraph of the article:
Panzerfaust Records, a Minnesota-based music label specializing in "radical pro-White rock music" and Nazi paraphernalia, just announced that it will sponsor "Project Schoolyard" - the distribution of 100,000 sample CDs featuring such bands as "Skrewdriver," "Bound for Glory," and "Max Resist," on school campuses, in malls, and at mainstream concerts.
I went to the Panzerfaust website, although I'm not providing a link. I was truly appalled that this organization is doing "outreach" on that kind of scale. Their home page greets the visitor with an opportunity to purchase any number of pro-Hitler items, and provides links to jokes aimed at non-Aryans of any stripe, although blacks take the brunt of the abuse.

I wish I could bankroll 100,000 copies of American History X to bundle with each of the CDs they plan to distribute. Or maybe Schindler's List, as American History X might present a confusing message to a hate-prone mind,

Now I really hate the fact that these guys are here in Minnesota, but I will also acknowledge that despite Minnesota's liberal attitudes and racial and cultural acceptance, the fact is this is a very lily white state, and I can't deny occasionally seeing latent bigotry, so I am not shocked it is a Minnesota organization. But while this sort of hate group is disturbing, it is the more subtle kinds of anti-semitism that are far more disconcerting to me. And they are certainly present in the midwest, as I think they are in much of the country, if not the world.

When I was growing up down in Iowa during a time when the family farm was in crisis (and when isn't it, really?) I saw a rise in anti-Semitism in rural areas largely promoted by groups linking bank foreclosures on farms to some vast Jewish financial conspiracy. In more recent years, the rumors circulated of Israel's involvement with the WTC attacks. Can you imagine if the same sorts of rumors were circulated with Irish as their subject, or even Japan, a nation that has attacked us? They could never get started, anyone who heard such a thing would be incredulous. It is only in soil polluted by prejudice and suspicion that the seeds of such rumors can be started.

And even the apathy with which most respond to displays of anti-Semitism reveals the a latent acceptance of the fundamental prejudice as acceptable. I was shocked that there was no outrage when Iran's Judo champion, Arash Miresmaeili, refused to fight his Israeli opponent, and then being rewarded $125,000 by Tehran for his adherance to the Muslim theocracy's overt racism.

It seems a real irony that anti-Semitism is on the rise at a time when the world at large is being subjected to attacks by the same sort of fanatical religious elements that have been a thorn in Israel's side for years. Rather than fostering solidarity, it seems to be encouraging enmity.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I'm not Jewish, more Irish than anything else, I believe.

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Wednesday, September 15, 2004
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