To the editors:
A highly regarded former editor and teacher of fine reporters at the old City News Bureau was famous for his repeated instruction "Check it out! If your own mother tells you she loves you, check it out!" A little of that checking is needed for the amazing letter of August 3 ["Fetishists of the Holocaust"]. The writer claims to be both Jewish and a "child of the Holocaust." I'll believe it when I see a notarized affidavit, signed by two members of the Reader staff, that they have seen proof presented to them by the writer to that effect. Until then I will look at some of the numbers which the writer throws about to show that "the truth is not in him."
One hundred million Blacks died--he says--in the passage to slavery. 100,000,000!!!! The World Almanac 1989 page 539 shows total population of Africa (including the very large percentage of Arabs and other racial groups as well as Blacks) at 100 million in 1650, 95 million in 1750, 95 million in 1850 and 118 million in 1900. Your letter writer seems to have wiped out more people than would back up any numbers. But let's not stop there; "check it out." The World Book, Volume 17, page 503 tells us that in the horrible Slave trade 12 million Black Africans were shipped across the Atlantic to South America, the Caribbean islands, and 6% to North America. Of this 12 million, a horrific 2 million died in the crossing. Now why would this wild number-cruncher want to gratuitously kill off 98 million Black souls? Simple. To try to stir up hostility through perceived favoritism and neglect. At no time did those who sought inclusion of Holocaust studies in history oppose Black Studies in schools. As a matter of chronology, Black Studies were already in before the Holocaust study was added. But the instigator of hatred gets no pause by contrary facts--or numbers.
The writer is angry that Jewish organizations "have been engaged in a shameful ongoing crusade to persecute 70, 80, and 90 year old retired janitors and the like who served as concentration camp guards." The writer feels that since this activity happened as much as 50 years ago, the 70, 80 year old camp escapees and survivors should have learned to "forgive and forget." Two things about that saint-like attitude which he wants those people (whom he designates as "whiners" and "self-centered reactionary bastards") to adopt. (1) the word is "prosecute," not "persecute." It is a legal calling to account for misdeeds done. (2) In Law there is no statute of limitations for murder whether you have lived an easy accumulation of years as a janitor, or a protected "cushy" life in Argentina. If you do the crime, you do the time, Eichman OR janitor.
The introduction of the entire matter of Black Slavery and slave trade into his attack on Jews and Israel is an irrelevant diversionary matter. (1) Jews were never involved in the Slave Trade; that was the exclusive province of the Arabs assisted by Black tribal chiefs. Nor were the Jews owners and exploiters of Black Slave labor. If you want to be cynical, you might say that they never had the chance since they were too busy fleeing from Inquisitions in Spain, massacres in France, expulsions from England, and pogroms in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Moldavia and Austria among others.
Did I say "diversionary"? Yes, diversionary, the purpose of the attacks on the Holocaust museum, the old folks who fear a united Germany, those who shudder at the resurgence of Neo-Nazism and above all the attempt to create animosity between Blacks and Jews; all this is to be spectacular enough to get published a vicious attack on the State of Israel and an advocacy of the PLO position in its continuing attempt of a quarter of a century (roughly) to overthrow that State.
I admit to having fallen into the trap of answering the diversions but I felt that if the mentality is exposed, the lack of creditability would be apparent.
N. Lake Shore Dr.