By Andrew Klavan
THERE IS ONE good thing about anti-Semitism: It lets you know who the bad guys are. Right, left, black, white, freak or straight, the minute someone starts rattling on about the evil Jews, you know your train just pulled into Slimeball Station.
All bigotry is wrong, of course, but there’s something about this particular form of prejudice that is weirdly reliable as a sign of deeper wickedness. Perhaps it’s because the Jews contributed so much to humanity’s moral code that to hate them as a race is to despise the restraints of morality itself
Whatever the reason, true, virulent anti-Semitism is such a good indicator of the presence of evil that I’m tempted to believe that when God made the Jews his chosen people, this is what he chose them for: to be a sort of Villainy Early Detection System for everyone else.
Unfortunately, in his infinite love for his creation, I suspect the Big Guy may have overestimated our intelligence. Maybe he thought that after Hitler we’d just, you know, like, get it. Instead, we still see apparently intelligent people appeasing, making excuses for and even embracing the sorts of stinkers who ought to set off the Big Alarm.
That’s why I think the system could use more bells and whistles — a loud honking noise perhaps, or even closed captioning for the morally impaired. Thus, when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the Holocaust is a “myth” or that Israel “must be wiped off the map,” you would hear a loud honk and words would appear in the air below his face: “Hello. I am an evil madman. Please stop negotiating with me now and proceed to cripple my nuclear capability by any means necessary.”
Or how about when Venezuelan leader — and anti-American Iran ally — Hugo Chavez warns that “descendants of those who crucified Christ … have grabbed all the world’s riches for themselves”? Honk. His subtitle: “Hi. I know you lefties are still enamored of the idea of socialism — fine. But personally, I’m a jerk and a friend of tyranny. Oh, and Mr. Belafonte? Go home before you make an ass of yourself.”
Now, I understand the situation in the Middle East is morally and politically complex, as is the situation in South America. I know that honorable people can hold conflicting opinions about the issues in these places. But when the entrenched misery of an area nearly as large as the United States is consistently blamed on 5 million people in a country the size of a shoebox, or when the ills of the world are loaded onto less than 1% of its population, I begin to become suspicious.
If it were only a matter of hating Jews, we could say: “Feel free, hate everyone, knock yourself out.” The trouble is the suffering, the slaughter of innocents and indeed the destruction of entire nations that seems inevitably to follow when anti-Semitism is allowed to spread beyond the cesspool of the mind that contains it. History is too full of lowlifes who thought all their problems would be solved if they could just kill enough Jews — or thugs like Pontius Pilate who thought it was a matter of killing the right Jew — for us not to realize that their Final Solutions aren’t final and are no solution. They are often the first, and sometimes the last, road sign pointing the way to an earthly hell.
So here’s a plan. The next time you express an opinion on what’s wrong with the world, take a look around to see who’s nodding in agreement. If it’s some clown who thinks the Jewish state should be pushed into the sea, or that the Jews killed Christ or are conspiring to subvert the world economy or the government or the media, I beg you to consider that you might be wrong. There is no shame in changing your opinion. Falling into step with wicked fools — that’s shameful, and it’s dangerous too. God gave you an early detection system. Use it.
Crime novelist ANDREW KLAVAN can be reached at AndrewKlavan.com