Lubomyr Prytulak   UKAR editorial   22-Apr-1999   My warning to Jews
"But there are bound to be more anti-Semitic incidents any day now.  I feel it in my bones.  Terrific!" Mordechai Richler
Anti-Semitism is valuable to Jewish leaders.  The quotes below from Mordecai Richler's novel Barney's Version serve to demonstrate the acknowledgement, in some minds at least, of conclusions that have been put forward on the Ukrainian Archive many times: that anti-Semitism is valuable to Jewish leaders because it promotes group cohesion, slows assimilation, increases support for Jewish causes, and encourages emigration to Israel.

Maybe very valuable.  A further conclusion reached on the Ukrainian Archive though not in Mordecai Richler's novel, is that anti-Semitism can be so useful to certain Jewish leaders that they will magnify any that exists, and fabricate or incite some where it doesn't exist.  Some Jewish leaders see themselves as able to rule over their fellow Jews only to the degree that those ruled have been herded into a narrow circle and are cowering in fear at the anti-Semitic hostility around them.  Among such Jewish leaders in the diaspora are Yaakov Bleich, Alan Dershowitz, Jerzy Kosinski, Morley Safer, Neal Sher, Elie Wiesel, and Simon Wiesenthal.  In Israel, they are too numerous to list, though one that should be mentioned because he has been particularly featured on the Ukrainian Archive is Yitzhak Arad.

With Ukrainians playing a leading role.  The topic of the magnification and fabrication and incitement of anti-Semitism is relevant to the Ukrainian Archive in that it appears to be the case that Jewish leaders have chosen Ukrainians to play a central role in contemporary Jewish history that of imagined oppressors of Jews, and of seemingly appropriate targets of Jewish fear and hatred and revenge.  The two chief manifestations of Ukrainians having been so chosen is the unprovoked Jewish calumniation of Ukrainians in the Jewish-dominated media, as in Morley Safer's 23Oct94 60 Minutes broadcast, The Ugly Face of Freedom, and in the unconscionable prosecution of disproportionately Ukrainians for their unproven role in crimes said to have been committed more than half a century ago.

My warning to Jews is as follows.  Beware of your leaders.  Their success depends upon your loyalty to them, and they will sacrifice your welfare in order to win that loyalty.  They will terrify you when there is nothing to be afraid of so that you will cling to them for protection.  They will incite anti-Semitism against you even in people who are predisposed to live amicably with you, so as to make you think that you can live amicably only with other Jews.  They will dismantle your community in the diaspora so as to use the pieces to build the State of Israel.  They will erect barriers preventing friendship preventing even normal relations between you and other peoples.  They will even smear the good name of Jews in the hope of exposing all Jews to Gentile disapprobation.  They will tell you that a Jew who does not follow them is a Jew who has perished, such that if no Jew will have followed them, then the Jewish people must be deemed to have perished.  They will hide from you the truth behind the mystery of why it is that in all lands and in all times, Jews have suffered from anti-Semitism.

The gamble of your leaders today depends on the premise that a people are strong in proportion to their dispersion being narrowed to one spot on the globe beware of the consequences of failing to question this premise.  The plan of your leaders reduces to luring you into a desert where you will be surrounded by a sea of their victims crying out for your blood beware of walking into this sea.  The goal of your leaders is to herd you into a single giant ghetto where you will feel safe but think if your worst enemies could have lured you into a more vulnerable predicament where the Jewish people can be subjected to a destruction unprecedented in their history.  The expectation of your leaders is that once inside this ghetto, you will have no fear of the terror that has been unleashed against the external enemy but beware that someday that same terror may be unleashed against you.

Yes, beware the torturers who promise to torture only for your benefit.  Beware the assassins who promise to kill only for your good.  Beware the generals who promise to bomb only people speaking another language.  Beware the day when all these promises are broken, and all these instruments of violence are revealed to be tools not of Judaism, but of a thirst for power.  Beware the day when your own leaders perceive you as standing in the way of their power.  It has happened before in your history that the first to be killed were the Jews and that their killers were other Jews beware that this history does not repeat itself.

You stand by and watch your leaders sowing the wind beware that it does not fall to your lot to reap the whirlwind.

Explanatory notes.  "The Weasel" that Mordecai Richler refers to below is the Premier of the French-speaking province of Quebec.  The "referendum" is one on Quebec separation from Canada, somewhat favored by the French majority, but opposed by the non-French minority.  For readers unfamiliar with French, les autres means "the others," and refers probably to all who are not ethnically French, most notably Anglophones and Jews.  Le Devoir means "duty," but is the name here of a leading French-language Quebec newspaper.  Julius Streicher was the publisher of the Nazi-era, anti-Semitic, Nuremberg weekly Der Stürmer, for which he was hanged in Nuremberg after the war.  Footnote number 2 below appears in the Richler book.  If the reader is using a Netscape browser, then the above link to "happened before" will take him to the section "The Revolution Eats Its Parents" on the Shapoval page; but if the reader is using Internet Explorer, then that same link will only take him to the top of the Shapoval page, and he will have to make his way down to "The Revolution Eats Its Parents" by his own efforts.

All the same, Irv was euphoric.  "But there are bound to be more anti-Semitic incidents any day now.  I feel it in my bones.  Terrific!"
Mordecai Richler, Barney's Version, Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 1997, p. 164.

I volunteered to work as a fund-raiser for United Jewish Appeal[....]


"Shit.  We've got a problem this year.  There's been a decline in the number of anti-Semitic outrages."

"Yeah.  Isn't that a shame," I said.

"Don't get me wrong.  I'm against anti-Semitism.  But every time some asshole daubs a swastika on a synagogue wall or knocks over a stone in one of our cemeteries, our guys get so nervous they phone me with pledges.  So, things being how they are this year, what you've got to do is slam-dunk your target about the Holocaust.  Shove Auschwitz at him.  Buchenwald.  War criminals thriving in Canada to this day.  Tell him, 'Can you be sure it won't happen again, even here, and then where will you go?'  Israel is your insurance policy, you say."
Mordecai Richler, Barney's Version, Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 1997, pp. 188-189.

This poignant tale of true love gone awry among the seniorboppers put me in mind of one of my few surviving septuagenarian buddies, and so that afternoon I bought a box of handmade Belgian chocolates in Westmount Square, and went to visit Irv Nussbaum, now seventy-nine years old, yet frisky as ever, and still active in community affairs.  Irv, bless him, was angst-ridden about the fate of our people, but uppermost in his mind was the coming referendum.  Only yesterday The Weasel's most rabid pointman had warned les autres that if we voted No massively we would be punished.  "That's good news," said Irv, "because that prick must have started at least another thousand nervy Jews packing.  I'm grateful.  Now if only they'd opt for Tel Aviv rather than Toronto or Vancouver."

"Irv, what's to be done with you, you're a terrible old man."

"Remember how when we were young the pepsis2 marched down the Main chanting 'Death to the Jews,' and Le Devoir read like it got its ideas from Julius Streicher?  Do you recall how in those days there were all those restricted hotels in the Laurentians, and a Jew couldn't even get a job as a cashier in one of the banks here, never mind marry out.  Like damn fools we complained about it.  We fought discrimination bitterly.  But, with hindsight, it was a blessing, anti-Semitism, if you feel as deeply as I do about Israel and Jewish survival."

"Do you think we ought to bring back pogroms?"

"Ho ho ho.  I kid you not.  Now we're accepted, even welcomed just about everywhere, and the young think nothing of marrying a shiksa.  Look around, will you.  These days there are Jews serving on the boards of banks, and on the Supreme Court, and even in the cabinet in Ottawa.  That Gursky suck-hole Harvey Schwartz sits in the Senate.  The lasting problem with the Holocaust is that it made anti-Semitism unfashionable.  Ah, the whole world's gone topsy-turvy.  I mean you're a drunk today, what is it?  A disease.  You murder your parents, sneaking up behind them with shotguns and blasting their heads off, like those two kids in California, what do you need?  Understanding.  You slit your wife's throat and you walk because you're black.  Excuse me, African-American.  You're a homosexual now and you expect to be married by a rabbi.  Once that was the love that dared not speak its name, but you know what mustn't show its face today?  Anti-Semitism.  Listen here, my old friend, we didn't survive Hitler so that our children could assimilate and the Jewish people disappear."

2 "Pepsi" is pejorative slang for French Canadians, who were reputed to drink Pepsi-Colas for breakfast.

Mordecai Richler, Barney's Version, Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 1997, pp. 202-203.