From: Marc Lemire firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Friday, 9 May 2008 2:32 PM
Subject: Kulaszka and Fromm hammer the CHRC on Secrecy Obsession,
Untimely disclosure and Hiding of Documents
1: Submission from Barbara Kulaszka
Attention: Ms. Carol Ann Hartung, Registry Officer
Re: Warman v. Lemire, Tribunal No. T1073/5405
To the Tribunal:
1. Untimely Disclosure of Jadewarr and Police Materials:
I have the first letter of Ms. Blight of May 7th. In that letter the Commission acknowledges that “the disclosure of the jadewarr materials ought to have been made before March 25, 2008.”
Hundreds of pages have now been disclosed, not only with respect to the “Jadewarr” questions, but also with respect to the police questions, which were the subject of the judicial review to the Federal Court on January 15, 2008 and the order of the Tribunal of August 16, 2006.
I want this Tribunal to imagine how different the examinations of Richard Warman, Dean Steacy and Harvey Goldberg would have been had this information been disclosed when it should have been disclosed, which was in 2006.
The prejudice is simply extraordinary. And the prejudice is not only to the respondent but also to the public interest since the public has a right to know if constitutional guarantees have been compromised.
I was handed a bundle of emails of Dean Steacy’s “Jadewarr” email account on March 25, 2008 by Ms. Blight and never had the opportunity to study those documents or to question Mr. Steacy on them. I have now been provided with hundreds more documents which I should have been able to question him about.
I have still never received any documents about the other persona and email account revealed in his testimony that day, namely, Odensrevenge, except what appears to be registration acknowledgments.
I would not be protecting my client’s interests without making it clear that the only way this prejudice can be even partially alleviated, is by the recall of Mr. Steacy. The Commission acknowledges that these documents should have been disclosed prior to the hearing in March. It cannot complain if the witness must be recalled to deal with the issues arising out of them.
I will be making further submissions on this after the Tribunal’s ruling with respect to the redactions.
2.Disclosure and the August 16, 2006 Tribunal Order:
The Commission submits that the disclosure did not fall within the August 16, 2006 order. That is patently ridiculous. The order stated “all documents’ and was not restricted to general files. The police documents should have been disclosed in 2006.
When questions were asked of Dean Steacy regarding relations with police, the Commission claimed section 37 of the Canada Evidence Act and the respondent was forced to go to the Federal Court to obtain those answers.
It is submitted that the Commission is fully aware that in this particular area, the unintended effects of section 13 on the rights of Canadians have been severe and it has tried valiantly to stop this evidence from being put before this Tribunal.
Proper disclosure has not been made. The Tribunal got a taste of the type of redactions made with the documents filed before it on March 25th. At that time, the Tribunal made the comment that it was up to the respondent to demand full disclosure.
He is making that demand now for these documents.
It is clear from some of the documents that material parts have been whited out. Other parts have large areas blacked out.
The Commission simply states that all of this relates to private information. I cannot tell from the documents is that is true and I should not have to rely on the word of the Commission.
Further, there can be no expectation of privacy for persons who are acting in an official capacity with police and other government agencies, nor can there be for the complainant if his name and email are included.
In L.L.A. v. A.B.  4 S.C.R. 536, the Supreme Court set out the test elaborated in Wigmore:
In a case-by-case privilege, the communications are not privileged unless the party opposing disclosure can show they should be privileged according to the fourfold utilitarian test elaborated by Wigmore (Evidence in Trials at Common Law (McNaughton rev. 1961), vol. 8, at [sec.] 2285). These criteria are:
(1) The communications must originate in a confidence that they will not be disclosed.
(2) This element of confidentiality must be essential to the full and satisfactory maintenance of the relation between the parties.
(3) The relation must be one which in the opinion of the community ought to be sedulously fostered.
(4) The injury that would inure to the relation by the disclosure of the communications must be greater than the benefit thereby gained for the correct disposal of litigation. [Emphasis in bold added]
In criminal proceedings, all of these documents would be disclosed fully. There can be no expectation of privacy whatsoever when the rights of Canadians subject to proceedings under section 13 are involved and persons are acting in their official capacity. Without this first branch of the Wigmore test fulfilled, there is no need to even consider the rest.
The expectation of privacy cannot be applied to police officers and investigators with the Commission, carrying out official duties or any other individuals involved in these investigations.
And Ms. Blight cites no case law where this has been done. She had provided no authority to you to allow these redactions to stand.
The respondent is entitled to see the documents in their original form with no redactions.
This applies as well to the documents disclosed in Ms. Blight’s letter of May 7, 2007. Overwhelmingly, the redactions have been retained. The only privilege claimed is a right to privacy. Again, no expectation of privacy exists in these circumstances.
RESPONSE TO BLIGHT'S SUBMISSIONS BY CAFE
Canadian Association for Free Expression
Box 332, Rexdale, Ontario, M9W 5L3
Ph: 905-274-3868; FAX: 905-278-2413
re: CHRT File: T1073/5405 .
Richard Warman and the Canadian Human Rights Commission v Marc Lemire
Attention: Carol Ann Hartung, Registry Officer Fax: 613 995-3484
I write in response to the submissions made by Ms Blight on behalf of the Commission in her letter of May 7, 2008.
Ms. Blight states: "The Commission has acknowledged its disclosure obligations in relation to the subject areas to which previous objection was taken under Section 37 of the Canada Evidence Act." She further goes on to state that "it has acknowledged that those disclosure obligations arose … at the time objections were withdrawn."
With the Commission now withdrawing its objections for Section 37 subject areas, and, thereby, admitting it abused Section 37 and should have never made the claims, we demand to have full copies of all material that was simply dropped on Mr. Lemires table on the first day of the hearing in January, 2007. Most of these documents were blank with "s.37" written on them. This amounts to close to at least 500 pages of material disclosed by Mr. Vigna.
Ms. Blight states: "This portion of the disclosure totaled 229 pages and, to my knowledge, it did not contain any new materials other than 'spam' and 'phishing'."
This is totally absurd. At the March 25, 2008 hearing, Ms Blight produced a mere 38 pages of "Jadewarr" emails. Furthermore, she waited until half-way through the afternoon session to produce them, so that Ms. Kulaskza was unable to completely read them and fully question witness Steacy..
The new disclosure of "Jadewarr" e-mails received on April 29, 2008, consisted of 229 pages. Of those some were "spam" e-mails. But a good portion were e-mails which were not disclosed at the March 25, 2008 hearing and are highly relevant to the issues raised by Mr. Lemire in his constitutional motion, filed in 2005.
As well, the "Jadewarr" e-mail disclosure package had three e-mails from the "email@example.com". To date only three e-mails from that account were disclosed. We want full disclosure of all e-mails in that account.
INFILTRATION AND SPYING ACCOUNTS:
CAFÉ DEMANDS full disclosure of:
1. All posts, private messages, correspondence, print outs, times accessed and all other evidence for the following CHRC users names:
· "jadewarr" on FreeDominion
· "jadewarr" on Stormfront
· "jadewarrior" on Stormfront
· "oldens Revenge" on Stormfront
· "odens revenge" on Stormfront
· "jadewarr" on AOL
· "jadewarrior" on Vanguard News Network Forum
· "jadewarr" on "Recomnetwork"
And any other account used by any CHRC employee with respect to a Section 13 case.
2. All posts, messages, correspondence, print outs, times accessed and all other evidence for the following CHRC email addresses:
And any other user account used by any CHRC employee with respect to a Section 13 case.
CHRC Claims of Privacy
The Commission is claiming it has heavily redacted documents for "privacy" reasons. This is totally unacceptable. The documents should be disclosed fully unredacted. Just a brief glace at the documents, the redacted portions appear to be names of Police officers, government officials, and others acting in their official roles of their respective agencies. The redactions are inappropriate and without any merit in law.
Ms. Blight refers to "Wigmore" privilege with a claim of "reasonable expectation of privacy". We are only dealing with disclosure at this point, where there is an implied undertaking to not make public. The victim/respondent Marc Lemire has never made any of the disclosed documents public. Back in May 2007 the Commission did try to claim Mr. Lemire was both "selling" disclosure items, as well targeting CHRC witnesses by making public disclosure items. After a careful review of the documents, it was clear the two pieces of evidence at issue -- a CD entitled "The Best of the Midnight Man" and a DVD entitled "Shane Ruttle Martinez Exposed" were indeed FRAUDULENTLY represented to the Tribunal by the Commission. Both the items claimed by the Commission contained no such information, and were used to promote the fabrication that Mr. Lemire had violated some implied undertakings and targeted Commission witnesses. Mr. Martinez wasn't even involved in this case.
[Sadly] The Commission has shown that it is willing to create fake evidence in order to forward its position. At that time, the Commission was demanding the draconian measure of banning Mr. Lemire from his own hearing. After it was revealed that the CHRC had misrepresented two key pieces of critical information, its response was to mention in passing, that yes the documents were not as represented. It was just a small "administrative error" but it was to be ignored since they lost the motion anyhow. A few weeks later, Margot Blight acting for the Commission made a clear admission that: "The Commission did not then, and does not now, have in its possession a copy of the audio CD advertised for sale on the website." (Letter from M. Blight on 18 September 2007)
This is a shocking admission. This confirms that the Commission, indeed, submitted forged evidence. This is unacceptable and should have been sternly dealt with by the Tribunal at the time. Because of the complete lack of action by the Tribunal, the Commission simply continued to ignore the rules with impunity.
Now, the Commission is trying to concoct some sort of nefarious "security issue" and "privacy" claims to redact information from government employees, police, and others. These claims of "public security" by the Commission have already been openly questioned by the Tribunal:
"The outcome of the s. 37 matter gives me pause to question the soundness of the Commission's invocation of public security concerns with respect to the testimony of these witnesses." (CHRT Ruling – March 20, 2008)
The documents should be disclosed in full to all parties. The parties are under implied undertakings. This should be enough for the tribunal to order complete unredacted copies. If, indeed, real objections of privilege occur, they can be made under the Act when the materials are filed into evidence, but certainly not at the disclosure stage.
Furthermore, even if filed as evidence, all the personal information is still protected, when the material is entered into evidence, as the general public can only receive copies via the Access to Information Act. And any such violations of the implied undertaking can be dealt with if/when they happen. But to hide the contents of documents on totally unsubstantiated blanket claims, is wrong and a total denial of natural / fundamental justice. This tribunal must not stand for it.
The Commission has abused these absurd claims of "privacy" and "security" to the point that the documents disclosed are now almost devoid of any meaning, and, therefore, deny the respondent/victim any real possibility of questioning witnesses on the meaning, intent, context and content of documents.
During the March 25, 2008 hearing, Douglas Christie attempted to put some of the heavily censored documents to Mr. Steacy. The redactions were so obscene, the witness was unable to answer any of the questions at all, because whom they were from, to whom, the date, most of the content and every single name was removed.
That is not disclosure, but rather a clear and deliberate attempt to stifle the process and avoid following the rules. Throughout this hearing, the Commission has handled its obligation to disclose like the dance of the seven veils. Instead of full and forthright disclosure, the respondent/victim has had to battle every step of the way for full disclosure and has still not been granted this right which is fundamental to mounting a proper defence.
In the alternative, the Commission should provide a list, detailing every single claim for every single redaction on a page by page basis, so that the privilege claimed can be properly challenged. In keeping with the normal rules, the Tribunal, should receive full unredacted versions of the documents, and make a decision on a per-instance claim.
CAFE submits that the "Wigmore" privilege can not and should not be applied to the redactions of the Commission. The Commission states that it has invoked "Wigmore" for "individuals' reasonable expectation of privacy", yet "Wigmore" has no such exemption. If Ms. Blight wishes to claim some sort of "reasonable expectation of privacy," it is incumbent on her to provide evidence of such. She has not provided any evidence to support her claims.
"Wigmore" refers to a four-pronged approached, and it clearly does not in any way relate to the redactions made by the Commission. Those criteria are:
• the communication must originate in confidence that it will not be disclosed;
• this element of confidentiality must be essential to the full and satisfactory maintenance of the relations between the party;
• the relations must be one which in the opinion of the community ought to be fostered; and
• the injury that would incur to the relations by the disclosure of the communications must be greater than the benefit thereby gained for the correct disposal of litigation.
The Commission has provided no evidence or proof that there is any infringement or how the four-pronged "Wigmore" test would even apply to this situation. There are no submissions on how, for instance "the element of confidentiality must be essential to the full and satisfactory maintenance of the relations between the parties."
In much of the disclosure, the redactions are to remove the names of police officers, or other government officials, acting in their official capacity as police officers or government agents. In fact, on page 4 of 13 -- the slightly “less redacted” pages regarding a Sec. 13 action plan and dated April 29, 2005, Harvey Goldbrerg's phone number and FAX number are blacked out, despite the fact that this information is readily obtainable.
The redactions are simply a way in which to harass the victims/respondent and to run up the legal bills Mr. Lemire has to incur to defend his rights to a "full and ample" hearing. Past redactions by the Commission have been shown to be totally unnecessary, like the recent disclosure of "less" redacted correspondence with the Winnipeg Police. A simple comparison shows the material redacted was both relevant and should not have been redacted in the first place.
When a privilege is claimed by the Commission, it is its responsibility to backup that privilege and provide compelling evidence to justify the claim. Simply making blanket claims is unacceptable. To date, the Commission simply implies it might invoke some privilege, and the Tribunal, puts the burden on the victim/respondent Marc Lemire to then flail in the dark and argue why he needs the information the contents of which is unknown to him.. This is totally unacceptable.
If the Commission wants to claim some sort of privilege, it is up to them to demonstrate why they are claiming the privilege and then up to the Tribunal to review the material in question and determine if the claimed privilege applies.
This "maximum disruption" techniques beloved of the long absent Mr. Warman, who having filed the complaint and cost Mr. Lemire tens of thousands of dollars now seems to have grown bored and no longer attends these hearings, are now being employed by the Commission. They are an affront to our legal system, and CAFÉ strongly condemns this practice. At every juncture the Commission tries as hard as possible to maximize the legal fees Mr. Lemire incurs. A clear example was the Section 37 appeal. The Commission held out until the day of the hearing, to make sure it could drain every last cent from the victim/respondent.
The Tribunal needs to step in and assert its authority over these proceedings. It has now become so lopsided, that Mr. Lemire is put to a huge financial and personal burden just to request that the Commission follow the rules of the Canadian Human Rights Act. This is wrong and has to be remedied by this Tribunal.
The Commission states: "There is nothing to be added to the respondent's case by identifying individuals or their private information." That is nothing more than conjecture not supported by any facts or argument. Why, for instance, on the April 29, 2005 e-mail from John Chamberlin, mentioned above, are the names of two of the seven persons to whom it was sent redacted in this less blacked out disclosure? The names of recipients Dean Steacy, Harvey Goldberg, Kathleen Fawcett, Monette Maillet and Sherri Helgason do appear.
The Act dictates to the Tribunal that a full and ample hearing has to take place. With the late and heavily censored disclosure, the victim/respondent is so severely prejudiced, it is nearly impossible to allow for a "full and ample" opportunity for him to make his case, and the Act dictates.
Ms. Blight states that "Ms. Kulaszka has referred to documents which have been disclosed by the Commission in an incomplete form. The new disclosure includes the first page only of two 1995 letters. The Commission has tried but was unable to locate the remaining pages". This again is completely inappropriate. Only after a very careful study of the material by Ms. Kulaszka, does the Commission now admit that several pages are missing. Why did they not disclose this when the documents were sent?
These games by Ms. Blight and the Commission are an outrage and make a mockery of this process. The Commission now has a long documented history of only admitting to things once it has been caught with documentary evidence.. This raises the question, how much more arguably relevant evidence has the Commission "misplaced" or was unable to find due to seriously restricted or purposely irrelevant searches?
Since the Commission seems unable to properly look through its files in a way consistent with orders from this tribunal, CAFE demands full access to the CHRC's Section 13 files, so that a proper and through search can be completed.
1. An Order for all documents, e-mails, correspondence, and anything else related to: Users Accounts: "jadewarr" on FreeDominion, "jadewarr" on Stormfront, "jadewarrior" on Stormfront, "oldens Revenge" on Stormfront, "odens revenge" on Stormfront, "jadewarr" on AOL, "jadewarrior" on Vanguard News Network Forum, "jadewarr" on "Recomnetwork" and to e-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
2. An Order for all documents in which Section 37 was claimed to be given to all parties, in their complete form (not redacted). This includes the late disclosure from the first hearing day, and all disclosure of the Commission in which Section 37 was invoked.
3. An Order for all documents in the recent April/May disclosure to be in their full form, and unredacted. In the alternative, the Commission must specify a privilege on each and every redaction and submit unredacted copies to the Tribunal, for a ruling on a per-instance basis.
4. That the Tribunal dismiss any claims of "Wigmore" privilege and/or privacy
5. An order that the closing argument dates be postponed to a later date in the Autumn.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
Josef Fritzl blames Nazis for crimes
By Andreas Sam in Vienna, 9 May 2008
Josef Fritzl, the Austrian father who kept his daughter locked in a dungeon for 24 years, has for the first time described in detail what motivated him to commit such horrific crimes and how he managed to keep them secret.
His explanations, which included bizarre claims that Nazis were responsible for fostering his twisted morality, were detailed by his lawyer after Fritzl wrote notes from his prison cell.
The 73-year-old said Hitler’s Germany had instilled “control and the respect of authority” in him, pushing him to imprisoning his daughter Elisabeth under his family home in Amstetten, west of Vienna, and fathering her seven children.
Fritzl said he had never intended to rape Elisabeth, now 42, but felt an “overpowering” desire for “a taste of the forbidden”. He added that he raped her while thinking of his own “lonely” childhood and said he “wanted them (the other children) to always have someone to play with”.
After complaining that he had been unfairly portrayed as a monster by the media, he was asked how he would describe someone who had committed the horrific acts that he had.
“On the face of it, probably as a monster,” he replied, but insisted he did not have sex with Elisabeth until she was much older than 12, which is when she claims he first abused her.
“I am not a man that has sex with little children. I only had sex with her later, much later. It was when she was in the cellar by then, when she had been in the cellar for a long time.
“My desire to have sex with Elisabeth also got much stronger as time went by. We first had sex in spring 1985. I could not control myself any more. At some stage somewhere in the night I went into the cellar and laid her down on the bed and had sex with her.”
He said his daughter, then 19, had cried, but that did not stop him. “I knew that Elisabeth did not want it, what I did with her. The pressure to do the forbidden thing was just too big to withstand.”
Fritzl would visit Elisabeth every few days, delivering food and clothing and repeatedly raping her.
“It was an obsession with me,” he said, adding that Elisabeth had fallen pregnant for the first time in 1988, giving birth to Kerstin, then a year later to Stefan.
“Elisabeth was of course very worried about the future, but I bought her medical books in the cellar, so that she would know when the day came what she had to do, and I arranged towels and disinfectants and nappies.”
“I was delighted about the children. It was great for me to have a second proper family in the cellar, with a wife, and a few children. We celebrated birthdays and Christmas in the cellar, I
even bought a Christmas tree secretly into the cellar and cakes and presents.”
In 1992, Lisa was born but was frail and ill and Fritzl decided to bring her to the surface, arranging for Elisabeth, who he described as a “superb housewife and mother”, to write a letter claiming she had abandoned her daughter on Fritzl’s doorstep.
“Elisabeth and I planned everything together, because we both knew that Lisa, because of her poor health condition and the circumstances in the cellar, had no chance to live had she remained there,” Fritzl said.
The same occurred with Monika in 1994 and Alexander in 1996 because they were “weak, difficult, and often ill”.
Fritzl also described the amazing planning and secrecy behind his crime, admitting he had thought about it for “two, three years before (abducting Elisabeth).
“I guess it must have been around 1981 or 1982 when I began to build a room in my cellar as the cell for her,” he said.
“I got a really heavy concrete and steel door, that worked with an electric motor and a remote control that I used to get into the cellar.
“It needed a number code to open and close. I then plastered the walls, added something to wash in and a small toilet, a bed and a cooking ring, as well as the fridge, electricity and lights.”
He had installed a system to ensure his captives did not starve in the event of his death.
“I prepared well for this eventuality, every time I left the bunker I switched on a timer that would definitely have opened the door to the cellar after a set time. If I had died Elisabeth and the children would have been free.”
The bunker was extended in 1993, to give it another two rooms and a television, radio and video were added. Pictures were put on the walls and equipped with household furniture and kitchen utensils.
“After the birth of Felix at the end of 2002 I even gave Elisabeth a washing machine as a present so that she did not have to wash her own clothes and that of the children by hand.
“I tried really hard as well as possible to look after my family in the cellar. When I went there I bought my daughter flowers and the children books and cuddly toys, I used to watch videos and adventure stories with them, while Elisabeth used to cook for me and the children. We used to sit at the table then with each other.”
Asked how it was possible for people not to know that something strange was occurring under his house, he said: “Perhaps some people did notice what I was doing, but they really did not care, why should they?
“The cellar of my house at the end of the day is my house, it belongs to me, it is my kingdom only I can enter.
“That is what everyone knew who lived in the area. That includes my wife, my children, and my tenants, and none of them ever managed to force their way into my kingdom or asked me what I did there. I made it clear that this was my office with various files and folders was stored that only had anything to do with me and that was enough of all, everybody obeyed my rules.”
Blaming the Nazis for his attitudes, Fritzl wrote: “I have always had high regard for decency and uprightness. I was growing up in Nazi times, when hard discipline was a very important thing. I belong to an old school of thinking that just does not exist today.
“I grew up in the Nazi times and that meant there needed to be control and the respect of authority. I suppose I took on some of these old values with me into later life, all subconsciously, of course.”
Fritzl claimed that he had kidnapped the teenage Elisabeth to keep her away from alcohol and bad company. He also said he had “rescued” Elisabeth, who was then 18, to keep her from “going out to seedy bars” and “drinking and smoking”.
“When she got into puberty, she stopped obeying any rules,” he said. “She was going out to seedy bars and would spend whole nights there drinking and smoking. I only tried to rescue her from that life. She even ran away twice and hung around with persons of questionable moral standards, who were certainly not a good influence on her.”
In letters written by Elisabeth in the weeks before she was imprisoned, she spoke of going to nightclubs with friends and getting drunk.
She wrote to a friend: “I went out on Saturday. Can you imagine how hammered I was? At first we went to a couple of clubs. At about 5am we all went to my place to get a coffee because we’d had so much fun, and they all slept at my place. That was a mess. It took me half a day to clean up the flat.”
Fritzl said: “I was forced to act. I had to create a place where I could keep Elisabeth separated from that world, and I was ready to use force. I always had to bring her home, but she always ran away again. That is why I had to arrange a place where I gave her the chance - by force - to keep away from the bad influences of the outside world.”
But he denied handcuffing his daughter or restraining her on a leash, saying: “That was not necessary, my daughter had no chance to get away anyway.
“I guess after the kidnap I got myself in a vicious circle, a vicious circle not just for Elisabeth but also for me from which there was no way out.
“With every week that I kept my daughter prisoner my situation just got more crazy. I was scared of being arrested, and that my family and everybody that knew me would know my crime.
“That was why I kept putting off the day I should make a decision, putting it off again and again. Eventually, after a time, it was just too late to bring Elisabeth back into the world.
“I always knew over 24 years what I did was not correct, and that I must be mad, to do something like this. Yet despite that at the same time it just became a matter of course that I lived my second life in the cellar.”
In a bizarre admission, Fritzl said he had incestuous feelings for his mother – whom he described as “the greatest woman in the world”.
Asked whether he fantasised about sex with his mother, he said: “Yes, probably. But I was a very strong man, probably as strong as my mother, and as a result I was capable to keep my desires under control.”
He was then asked to compare his mother with his wife, Rosemarie, saying: “She had nothing in common with my mother - well, perhaps there were a few similarities if I really think about it.
“I mean Rosemarie was also a wonderful woman, is a wonderful woman. She is just a lot more shy and weaker than my mother.
“I chose her because I had a strong desire then to have lots of children. I wanted children that did not grow up like me as single children, I wanted children that always had someone else at their side to play with and to support.
“The dream of a big family was with me from when I was very, very small. And Rosemarie seemed to be the perfect mother to realise that dream. It is also true to say that I loved her and I still love her.”
Discussing his childhood, he said: “My father was somebody who was a waster, he never took responsibility and was just a loser that always cheated on my mother. When I was four she quite rightly threw him out the house.
“After that, there was just us two. My mother was a strong woman, she taught me discipline and control and the values of hard work.
“When I say she was hard on me, she was only as hard as was necessary. I suppose you could describe me as her man, sort of. She was the boss at home and I was the only man in the house.”
Rudolf Mayer, his lawyer, claimed that the notes revealed the extent of Fritzl’s insanity.
Kevin MacDonald had just completed the first in a series of books that would come to define him. Awaiting feedback from his publisher 15 years ago, MacDonald sent his manuscript to a colleague in the psychology department at California State University Long Beach (CSULB). The feedback was not encouraging.
"What troubles me most is that your criticism of Jews may be taken seriously by groups and individuals who both fear and hate Jews," Martin Fiebert wrote in a 12-point reply. "Your manuscript, unintentionally perhaps, reinforces the stereotype that all Jews, be they assimilated or not, are clannish, deceptive, and exploitive. I'm sure you would be dismayed to find that your book has a treasured place in the bookcases of neo-Nazis along with 'Mein Kampf' and the 'Protocols of Zion.'"
How prophetic Fiebert's insight turned out to be.
MacDonald, 64, has been deemed America's "foremost anti-Semitic thinker" by civil rights experts. A tenured psychology professor who lent his expertise to Holocaust denier David Irving, MacDonald has suggested restricting college enrollment and increasing taxes for Jews to mediate what he perceives as inequities with non-Jewish whites.
For continuing updates on this story, keep reading The God Blog by Brad A. Greenberg
His three-volume critique of Judaism as a "group evolutionary strategy" -- known collectively as "The Culture of Critique" and published by Praeger in 1994, 1998 and 1998 -- claims the religion discourages inclusion, eggs on anti-Semitism and uses study of Talmud to thin the reproduction of less intelligent members. The books have become sacred scripture for white supremacists, and a growing number of MacDonald's colleagues have urged the university to denounce his writings.
"He is repackaging traditional anti-Jewish beliefs in contemporary pseudo-scientific language," said Jeffrey Blutinger, a history professor leading the push against MacDonald. "If you think of classic anti-Jewish tropes of Jews as clannish, conspiratorial, opposed to Christendom, a threat to the nation, using contemporary ideas as a way of undermining traditional beliefs -- all of these show up in his writing."
These are strange credentials for a man who in person seems every bit a slice of Midwest Americana. Part German, part Scottish, raised to be a traditional Catholic, though he is now agnostic, MacDonald was reared in a small Wisconsin town best known for the children's clothes that carry its name.
"Oshkosh was a great town to grow up in," MacDonald said in a recent conversation. "There weren't any Jewish families at all. I guess there was one; I knew one Jewish kid in high school. Nobody talked about Jews. There was no anti-Semitism in town. It was an unknown."
He first discovered his future research subjects as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He had a few Jews as roommates, and many more were fellow travelers in the anti-war movement. Almost three decades later, when MacDonald began connecting Jewish power and success to evolutionary strategies, he would identify his leftist years as the first time Jews used his gentile face to promote what he considered their group agenda. It wasn't until the '90s that MacDonald began to see Jewish communities as inimical entities slowly destroying their hosts.
"Jews are inevitably going to be an elite," he said. "They are smart; they are well organized. The problem, from my point of view, is that there is a hostility there, a fear and hostility, that over the past 40 years has resulted in some changes that have not been in the interest of people like me. As simple as that."
MacDonald's core complaint is Jewish influence on immigration laws. He blames passage of the 1965 Immigration Act, which abolished national origin quotas and made immigration easier for non-Westerners, on a Jewish desire to oust European Americans from the majority.
"European people in this country will be a minority in a few years," MacDonald said. "I don't think that would have happened if we had had a sense of ourselves as a culture worth defending. Now, everything is up for grabs."
He sat for the first of two interviews in his cramped office on campus. Tall and lanky, with white hair and a disarming smile, MacDonald hardly looks like America's scariest academic. He is affable, even in light of the vilification he's received, much of it from -- and this shouldn't surprise -- Jewish peers and organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
"Everybody who crosses them, they are going to have a price to pay," MacDonald said. "People won't be seen with me; they won't talk to me; they won't have lunch with me. I am pretty much a nonentity around here."
Until 2000, MacDonald was largely unknown on campus. Testifying for Irving in a lawsuit against Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt attracted a flurry of attention. But then the storm quieted, and MacDonald was left alone to develop and detail his theories on Jewish strategies to "destroy" Western culture, typing out page after page in his office on the fourth floor of CSULB's 1970s-era psych building.
"He is not the type of guy who is going to dress up in a KKK outfit or swastika armband. The truth is that with his Ph.D and this veneer of respectability, he's very dangerous," said Heidi Beirich, who directs SPLC's research and special projects.
"The Nazi types are reading his stuff like it is the Bible," Beirich continued, "and they're using it to say why Jews should be exterminated, why they should be thrown out of the country -- because he says Jews are responsible for all this immigration that is destroying white culture. His books are like the new Bible of the movement."
Last spring, Beirich wrote a scathing profile of MacDonald for SPLC's magazine, Intelligence Report, and the local chapter of the ADL became more active in raising awareness. Then earlier this year, the ground ruptured beneath MacDonald
when a few uneasy colleagues from a range of academic departments coalesced and began to urge CSULB President F. King Alexander to distance the school from its infamous academic.
Alexander so far has declined all such requests on the basis of academic freedom.
"Despite the fact that I personally disagree and even find deplorable some beliefs and opinions expressed by a few individuals on our campus, particularly those ideas that are hurtful of certain groups, I believe as Thomas Jefferson stated, that 'errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it,'" Alexander, who declined to be interviewed, said in a written statement.
"Universities should always ensure that good ideas always outweigh bad ideas," he continued. "Universities should also be firmly committed, even at times when it is against popular opinion, to freedom of thought, and when we act to restrict opinion from the far right or the far left, then it will not be long before we can no longer call ourselves a university."
But the pressure from the academic community to condemn MacDonald continues. During the past six weeks, the anthropology and history departments, as well as the Jewish studies program, all have issued statements denouncing MacDonald's work as "professionally irresponsible and morally untenable"; the psychology department voted to disassociate from his writings because of their popularity with "extremist groups."
"His approach to historical investigation is antithetical to our discipline in that he selects only those materials that support his preconceived thesis, while ignoring all evidence to the contrary," the history faculty's statement said. "MacDonald's misuse of historical methodology would be unacceptable in an undergraduate history paper; how much more disturbing, therefore, is the fact that in these writings he is identified as a professor at CSULB."
MacDonald's intellectual pursuits began innocently. In 1990, he'd been at Cal State Long Beach five years, teaching and researching child psychological development, when he read an article in the Los Angeles Times about the tight-knit 19th century Jewish community of Cheyenne, Wyo.
"They came with a distinct culture, community activities and forms of cooperation, and they practiced their religious rituals even in the most isolated conditions," the Times reported. "One child tells how before there was a rabbi in Cheyenne, his father dressed meat in the kosher tradition in the back of his furniture store."
The article made MacDonald think of animals.
He had graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1966 with a degree in philosophy and dreams of being a jazz musician. When reality sank in, MacDonald entered graduate school at the University of Connecticut in the mid-'70s, earning a master's in biology and then, four years later, a doctorate in biobehavorial science.
His research focused on the personalities of wolves, and by the time he left UConn in 1981 to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois, MacDonald was convinced that, like the lab wolves he'd studied, human behavioral tendencies also led back to specific genetic blueprints. And that is where his mind wandered when he read about Cheyenne's Jews.
"My adviser, Benson Ginsburg, wrote an article saying that wolves would be a better model for human behavior than chimpanzees, because of social bonds and their acting like a family," MacDonald said. "They have to police the boundaries and police in-group behavior; you can't have freeloaders. My earliest research on the behavior of Jews focused on that, and you see wolf packs do that."
MacDonald began to think of Judaism as the vehicle through which an evolutionary strategy was mechanized. He decided to read Paul M. Johnston's "A History of the Jews" and the Tanakh, or as MacDonald knew it, the Old Testament, and within short order, he was mentally outlining "A People that Shall Dwell Alone."
The book became the first in his series, "The Culture of Critique." "A People that Shall Dwell Alone" lays the foundation for MacDonald's theory of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy and briefly discusses other groups that he believes employ similar strategies: Gypsies, the Amish, Chinese living abroad.
Jews, he pointed out, are taught they are different -- God's chosen -- and they are encouraged to live lives that benefit other Jews. They also marry within the Tribe, and more often their neighbors within their extended family, MacDonald wrote. Focusing on the Ashkenazim of Central and Eastern Europe, he argued that competition for resources benefited Jews who chose niche businesses, like trading and banking. And in one of his most controversial claims, MacDonald wrote that, over time Jews have grown increasingly successful because of a eugenics program built into the religion -- Talmud study, which helped determine which men got the prettiest wives, the best business opportunities and the most children.
"These documents contain a vast amount of material for which there are no practical functions at all," MacDonald wrote. "The incredible elaboration of Jewish religious law in these writings suggests that this mass of material is the result of intense intellectual competition within the Jewish community and that the resulting Torah then provided an arena for intellectual competition within the Jewish community."
The second volume, "Separation and its Discontents," offers an evolutionary explanation for anti-Semitism, from the late Roman Empire to modern Diaspora life, and discusses Jewish strategies for combating discrimination. The most controversial portion of this book, Chapter 5, compares Nazism to Judaism.
"The National Socialist movement in Germany from 1933-1945 is a departure from Western tendencies toward universalism and muted individualism in the direction of racial nationalism and cohesive collectivism.... It may be usefully conceptualized as a group evolutionary strategy that was characterized by several key features that mirrored Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy."
MacDonald concluded that Nazi ideology "may well have been caused or at least greatly facilitated by the presence of Judaism as a very salient and successful racially exclusive antithetical group strategy within German society."
His final volume in the series, "The Culture of Critique," focuses on Judaism as a culture of belittling non-Jews and makes broad claims about Jewish dominance in media and the social sciences, identification with radical leftist politics and influence over immigration laws. He argues in the preface to the paperback edition (2002) that Jewish intellectuals and influentials have discovered, and are committed to, the best strategy for "destroying Europeans": convincing them of their own moral bankruptcy. "And thus," he wrote, "the intense effort among Jewish intellectuals to continue the ideology of the moral superiority of Judaism and its role as undeserving historical victim while at the same time continuing the onslaught on the moral legitimacy of the West."
MacDonald's newest addition to this library, "Cultural Insurrections," was published last month by Occidental Press. The book is a compilation of his essays from the past few years, with topics ranging from "Stalin's Willing Executioners" to "What Makes Western Culture Unique." In the book's final essay -- "Can the Jewish Model Help the West Survive?" -- MacDonald embraces Jewish "hyper-ethnocentrism" as a strategy to fight the "onslaught" of immigration that he believes has increased ethnic competition for resources and threatens white European American culture.
"We already see numerous examples in which coalitions of minority groups attempt to influence public policy, including immigration policy, against the interests of the European majority. And we must realize that placing ourselves in a position of vulnerability would be extremely risky, given the deep sense of historical grievance harbored by many ethnic activists toward Europeans," MacDonald wrote.
"This is especially the case with Jews, and of course Jews have shown a tendency to become part of the elite in Western societies. We have recently seen reports in the press of religious Jews spitting on Christian symbols in Israel, thereby resurrecting an age-old Jewish practice. Indeed, hatred toward all things European is normative among a great many strongly identified Jews."
In fact, there were reports from Ha'aretz and Christianity Today in 2004 of a spate of spitting incidents in Jerusalem, in which ultra-Orthodox Jews allegedly assaulted Christians. However, spitting, like the blood libel that claims Jews ritually slaughter Christian children and bake their blood into matzah, is not and never has been an "age-old Jewish practice."
Most of the essays for "Cultural Insurrections" appeared in The Occidental Quarterly, a Mount Airy, Md.-based journal that "unapologetically defends the cultural, ethnic, and racial interests of Western European peoples." In 2004, the journal awarded MacDonald a $10,000 prize.
"MacDonald's 'racism' is nothing more than the idea that European-descended peoples have as much right as any other people, including Jews, to preserve their people and their culture," Virginia Abernethy, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University and, like MacDonald, an editorial adviser to The Occidental Quarterly, wrote in the book's foreword.
MacDonald's research rests on the assumption, based on interpretations of intelligence tests, that Jews are born with superior brains. The intelligence quotient sits on a sliding scale, with the average IQ at 100. The average IQ of Ashkenazi Jews, however, is a whopping 107 to 115, at the median higher than 70 percent of people, according to a few contested, though oft-cited, studies by Margaret E. Backman (1972), Julius S. Romanoff (1976) and Richard Lynn (2004).
The results have been dramatic: Freud, Einstein, Dylan. In the second half of the 20th century, Jews received 29 percent of the Nobel Prizes, while accounting for only 13 million of the world's 6 billion inhabitants -- about two-tenths of a percent.
"The profile of disproportionately high Jewish accomplishment in the arts and sciences since the 18th century, the reality of elevated Jewish IQ, and the connection between the two are not to be denied by means of data," Charles Murray, co-author of the controversial 1994 book, "The Bell Curve," which discussed the socioeconomic consequences of racial differences in intelligence, wrote in Commentary magazine last year. "And so we come to the great question: How and when did this elevated Jewish IQ come about?"
There is no accepted explanation. Some researchers have attributed higher IQ to medieval persecution, others to Jewish identity as the People of the Book and a few, maybe flippantly, to the fruits of being God's chosen.
But how researchers answer that same question depends heavily upon what school of thought they come from. Evolutionary psychologists like MacDonald credit better Jewish genes, while traditional biologists argue heightened IQ is the result of nurture, not nature.
"Jews may have been able to actualize their intelligence differently than other groups because we have an enormous, 5,000-year cultural history prizing learning and achievement," said Richard M. Lerner, a critic of MacDonald who directs the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University. "There is no innateness."
Few people would deny that Jews number strongly among the American elite, but very few American Jews want to talk about it. Among those who will is J.J. Goldberg, author of the authoritative 1996 book, "Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment."
"A lot of the politics of Jewish advocacy, minority advocacy in general, is victimhood," Goldberg said in an interview. "You can't do that if you are not actually a victim. There are some people who think Jews are powerless and others, like Kevin MacDonald, think that Jews control everything. In fact, the truth is somewhere in the middle."
Another journalist eager to discuss this topic is Philip Weiss, who writes the blog, Mondoweiss, and, unlike Goldberg, is an anti-Zionist who can be a brutal critic of his co-religionists. In December, MacDonald mentioned Weiss on his Web site, kevinmacdonald.net, where he links to his articles about Jews and Western culture and writes lengthy responses to critics. MacDonald praised Weiss as a fellow traveler. On his own blog, Weiss quickly rejected the embrace.
"He is trying to examine some important ideas. I just wish he wasn't racist about it," Weiss said in an interview, adding, "There was scrutiny of Jewish power in Central Europe when the Nazis arose. Therefore there is no ability to scrutinize Jewish power now because it makes you a Nazi. But I think that it is a legitimate intellectual and journalistic exercise to scrutinize Jewish power. I know MacDonald is engaged in that, and I respect that. But it is his generalizations about Jews that I find disturbing."
Broad brushing, a central criticism of MacDonald's work, is a professional hazard in evolutionary psychology, a field of study whose legitimacy has been fiercely contested. For its advocates, it is scientific research that applies Darwinian principles to human behavior. Opponents liken it to Rudyard Kipling's "Just So Stories, " which explained contemporary phenomena with fantastic ontological accounts that traced the maze backward.
Nevertheless, MacDonald was once a respected member of this community. His first book was fairly well reviewed, though the second less so and the third almost not at all. From 1995 to 2001, he served as the elected secretary-archivist of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society. That organization's president would come to repudiate MacDonald as an "embarrassment."
"The theoretical viewpoint expressed in MacDonald's books stands in the most extreme contradiction to nearly every contentful core claim of evolutionary psychology," said John Tooby, co-director of the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at UC Santa Barbara and a pioneer in the field.
Tooby's comment, which appeared on Slate.com, was prompted by MacDonald's decision on Jan. 31, 2000, to enter a British courtroom as an expert witness on Jewish behavior. On that day, MacDonald explained his belief that Jewish activists conspire against individuals who threaten the group interest, a model he alleged had been used to suppress, after publication, Irving's biography of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
"Yes, I think that anti-Semitism is, you know, a perennial problem, and Jewish organizations have developed very sophisticated ways of dealing with it," MacDonald said, in what ended up being a very short testimony. "This is one way of dealing with it. Anti-Semitism or any anti-Semitism is fought very, very intensely. They take it very seriously, and they do quite a job, obviously, of suppressing it, yes."
That statement surprised Irving, who didn't like being called an anti-Semite in court, and those few minutes have dogged MacDonald since. On his Web site and that of the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), a Holocaust-denying organizatin based in Newport Beach, MacDonald presented a lengthy explanation for why he agreed to testify.
He claimed that Lipstadt, following a pattern of Jewish activism, had "attempted to prevent the publication of writings conflicting with their constructions of reality" and exaggerated Irving's Holocaust denial. MacDonald also appealed to the academic importance of Irving's book, "Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich."
"He had access to original documents in the Soviet Union that nobody knew about. It was the kind of thing that any historian would have to read. And yet it was rescinded; they actually took it off the shelf. I thought that was ridiculous, just activism stuff," MacDonald added in an interview. "It was just suppression of free speech."
In Lipstadt's memoir, "History on Trial," she recalled the surprise of learning an expert on anti-Semitism would be a witness against her.
"I could not fathom," she wrote, "how a specialist on anti-Semitism would voluntarily testify on Irving's behalf, unless, I thought -- facetiously -- somehow he's for it."
Cal State Long Beach's Jewish studies program is located about 100 yards from Psych 417 on the second floor of a collection of history and sociology offices that looks 70 years old and smells older. The program is identified by a corkboard adjacent to the office of co-director Jeffrey Blutinger, who teaches Jewish intellectual and cultural history and post-communist Holocaust memorialization. Waiting outside, visitors are entertained by the printed phrases of "Jewish Buddhists" -- "If there is no self, whose arthritis is this?" and "Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis." -- and satirical headlines from a backdated issue of The Onion -- "Furher's Slaughter of Millions Blamed on Serious Self-Esteem Issues."
Blutinger's office is stuffed with six bookcases full of Jewish history, from Heinrich Graetz to pioneer Jews of the American West. And lumped on a pile of binders beneath the Encyclopedia Judaica lay first editions of MacDonald's first two books, checked out from the university library, and borrowed copies of "The Culture of Critique" and "Understanding Jewish Influence," an Occidental Quarterly monograph containing three MacDonald essays.
A former lawyer who joined the faculty four years ago, Blutinger has emerged as a leader in the battle against MacDonald, urging colleagues across campus to join the fight and authoring the Jewish studies' program statement denouncing MacDonald's research and the appended 18-page explanation.
"It's important that we take a stand," Blutinger said. "I teach the Holocaust every fall, and the thing I always end the course with is that, God willing, we will never have to make the choice people did back then, but all of us face the choice between what's right and doing what is easy or convenient. I tell them that I hope they will do what is right."
"If we are not willing to stand up when the risks are small," he continued, "why would we be willing to take a stand when the risks are big?"
Unpopular as MacDonald's views are, there appears little the university can do. He is protected by his status as a tenured professor, which he achieved in 1994, the year the first book in his "Culture of Critique" series was published. MacDonald also received a distinguished faculty award in 1995, and there is no record of any student complaint about anything MacDonald has said in 23 years, the administration, ADL and Hillel all reported.
Cal Sate Long Beach has been down this road before.
Nearly 30 years ago, Reinhard K. Buchner, a physics professor who from 1980 to 1983 was an editorial adviser for IHR's now-defunct Journal of Historical Review, drew protests from the ADL and Simon Wiesenthal Center. The journal carried such Buchner essays as "The Problem of Cremator Hours and Incineration Time," which argued, using time-space calculations, that the number of Jews who possibly could have been killed at Auschwitz has been exaggerated.
Buchner eventually returned to Germany, but a former colleague on the editorial board, Arthur R. Butz, remains in American academia. A long-time associate professor of engineering at Northwestern University, Butz was an early Holocaust denier. In 1976, he wrote "The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry."
Many other tenured scholars, from the lowest to highest levels of academia, use their position to share unsavory opinions. The issue is one of academic freedom, designed to encourage bold research by protecting faculty from the political whims of capricious administrators. And even as it promotes experimental research in every discipline, it also frequently puts universities in uncomfortable positions.
MacDonald has publicly warned Cal State Long Beach administrators, responsible for the second-largest student body (population: 37,000) in the country's largest university system (23 campuses scattered from Arcata to San Diego), that the school could expect a lawsuit if he was terminated without just cause.
This is why faculty statements have urged only that the university distance itself from his theories about Jews and his support for ethnostates that create a haven for European American interests. Each of the four departmental statements professed a belief in his freedom to write about whatever he wants.
"We wish to make it clear that we do not seek to impede Kevin MacDonald's First Amendment rights," proclaimed the statement from the anthropology department, released April 28. "However, just as he has rights, we have the right, if not the obligation, to denounce his writings on race, ethnicity and intelligence that promote intolerance, as not only inaccurate, but as professionally irresponsible and morally untenable."
In the second of two recent interviews, MacDonald said he is not a fan of anti-Semitism. But he also described his opinions on a Palestinian American TV news program in 2005 as "rational" anti-Semitism and has joked that being branded a Jew hater was a "badge of honor," the knee-jerk reaction of a scared Jewish establishment.
The chief concern over MacDonald's writings about Jews is directed at his fan base: white supremacists like Stormfront.org and Vanguard News Network -- whose motto is "No Jews. Just Right." The members of these online communities have become his loudest defenders, often in language that is as offensive as possible.
"So the goddam Kikes are getting their way yet again, putting the thumbscrews to a White scholar whose ass they are not worthy to lick.... At least this oppression proves that Prof. MacDonald's great work is hitting the scum hard," a Vanguard commenter wrote in February below a republished story about MacDonald from CSULB's student paper.
"How much more of this humiliation is our race going to take? How long before this motherf---ing plague of repulsive, hook-snouted ticks is given a real Zyklon fumigation, as opposed to the fairy tale one?"
MacDonald repudiated such rhetoric as "crazy stuff" but said he supports the ideology behind it.
"White people have legitimate ethnic interests. To the extent that that is all they believe, then we are on the same page," he said. "I don't like to use words like white supremacists. You could say that Koreans in Korea are Korean supremacists if they want to maintain their culture. It is kind of a loaded word; it is a politically charged word of the left, basically, to pathologize any sense of having an ethnicity and culture by people like me. I reject that."
"I certainly reject the tactics and the rhetoric of these people. It's very crude," MacDonald added. "But to the extent that David Duke is trying to advance a white ethnic interest and so on, I don't have any problem with that."
Professor Kevin MacDonald
Jews must never use the term 'shvartza'
By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, 2008-05-09
The other day I was speaking to an engaging young Chasidic student who impressed me with his erudition in Jewish and secular studies.
I was engrossed in the conversation, gaining more and more respect for him, when he suddenly said, "Where I grew up, we lived in a tough neighborhood surrounded by shvartzas." Hearing his words broke my heart, and my impression of him plummeted.
A friend with whom I discussed the incident told me that I judged the young man too harshly, that he might have meant nothing by it, and that it was just an expression to which he had been acclimated.
He asked me that, rather than judge this student, I lend him the benefit of the doubt and attempt instead to educate him as to why the term ought never be used.
About a year ago I wrote a column about how the word "shvartza" must be retired forever. It is an insulting, offensive, and derogatory term that has no place in the mouths of people committed to ethics.
And since we Jews have a faith that demands the highest moral standards, it simply can never be part of our lexicon.
In the wake of that column, I was surprised to find that a number of people -- religious and secular alike -- wrote that I was exaggerating. "Shvartza," they said, was an innocent and benign term that simply meant "black person."
It doesn't. It's a pejorative, a term with a distinctly condescending connotation. While I will not go so far as to agree with my esteemed former radio co-host, Peter Noel, one of America's leading African American journalists, that it is Yiddish for the "N" word, I will say that it has some of the same vibes.
My purpose in addressing this issue again is not to sound holier than thou or be self-righteous. Believe me, I am the worst person I know. But when I hear the term I feel pain. Pain that we Jews who have suffered so much persecution can be so callous as to speak condescendingly, however unintentionally, of other human beings. And pain that we religious Jews in particular can so betray our core values by inadvertently coming across as bigots.
I once found myself in an argument with a fellow Orthodox Jew, who lived in Brooklyn, after I had politely shared with him why the term "shvartza" is offensive: "It's OK for you to criticize, Shmuley, because you don't live in a neighborhood where you have to be afraid to walk the streets or where your car gets vandalized every night. We don't mean anything bad with the term, but we are the victims here."
But what do the sins of a few have to do with criminalizing an entire population? And isn't this tactic of blaming an entire community not only racist, but exactly what is used today against Jews by the worst anti-Semites?
How many Jew-haters will harp on a few high-profile white-collar criminals from Wall Street or Enron who are Jewish to reinforce anti-Semitic stereotypes such as "scratch a Jew and find a Shylock?"
Jews are called by the Torah to be a light unto the nations, and it is religious Jews in particular, who live lives openly committed to Jewish ritual and values, upon whom this responsibility first devolves. But what light is it that we impart when we use a term of vulgarity that betrays the Torah's most sacred value, that there is only one God in heaven who created every human being in His likeness.
And just think how people who are unfamiliar with Jews must react when they hear any of us using an unpleasant expression about a fellow human being.
Bigotry is least appealing among those whose lives should be most dedicated to its opposite. If you can love giant ducks and outsized rodents, then surely you can find a place in your heart for your human brother who goes by the title Jew.
How much more so that we Jews, a righteous and generous people, whose Torah calls us to the mighty ideal of loving our neighbor as ourselves, must never speak of another person contemptuously. How much more so that Orthodox Jews in particular, who are renowned the world over for their charity, humility, and loving-kindness must be extra vigilant never to offer even a hint of discriminatory language.
The speeches of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright have caused considerable consternation to the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama. Obama has eloquently expressed the need for America to transcend red state and blue state divisiveness and come together for shared national purpose. People expect that his pastor should be at least as loving, that men of God should be especially careful with their words.
But Wright has given speeches that have put rifts over reconciliation and generated heat rather than healing. The same is true of Louis Farrakhan, whom Wright has praised, even though he is guilty of hate speech against Jews and Judaism.
Our moral authority to condemn such insensitive and inflammatory rhetoric is dependent upon us being utterly different in thought, speech, and action.
Who better than Jews and blacks know what it is to suffer? And who better than Jews and blacks know that there can be no tolerance for intolerance? And who better than Jews and blacks must come together to battle bigotry, defeat discrimination, and generate good will among all of God's children?
Blacks and Jews share not only a common history of oppression, but a common legacy of spiritual longing and a love for the eloquence of the Bible. Let us find words that will draw our communities together and a vocabulary that will instill a common faith and a common hope.
“So will the good rabbi now call up his fellow Jews to "retire forever" the pejorative term goyim? Please do not hold your breath, already. “
Austria is defined by its nasty secrets
By Nigel Jones, 09/05/2008
Austria is launching a propaganda offensive to counter the impression, following the horrific happenings in Amstetten, that the picturesque Alpine republic is not, as a Government spokesman put it: “A nation of child abductors.”
Indeed not. But there is, as any foreigner who has lived there for any length of time will tell you, something, well, odd about the Austrians.
Some Austrians recognise this. The country’s leading contemporary writer, the gloomy novelist and 2004 Nobel literature laureate Elfriede Jelinek, affectionately calls her country “the land of murder and death”.
The late Austrian psychologist Erwin Ringel even wrote a book, The Austrian Soul, in which he diagnosed a severe case of national neurosis. He likened his country to a house with two rooms - one in apfel-strudel order; the other - like the forbidden chamber in Bluebeard’s castle - a locked room where hideous, unnamed horrors lurk, but which no-one is permitted to enter.
The parallels with Josef Fritzl’s chamber are a little too close for comfort. I spent four years in Austria, in the 1990s, working as a radio journalist for the state broadcasting corporation, ORF. I arrived knowing that Austria has the second highest suicide rate in the world ( after neighbouring Hungary). But I hardly expected to be greeted by a concrete demonstration of the trait on my first day in Vienna.
While making my way to register with the Police a senior civil servant whistled past my ear on his way to a messy death on the pavement beside me. I discovered that the man was a high official in Austria’s Ministry of Forests who had been operating a profitable embezzlement scam for years.
As he approached compulsory retirement age, he knew the books would be examined, his misdeeds discovered and his guilty secret revealed. Fearing the shame of exposure above all else, he jumped from the fifth storey.
Attempts to deny or cover up some nasty secret have defined Austria throughout its history. As the more recent cases of Natascha Kampusch and the monstrous Fritzl demonstrate, sometimes the secrets can be very nasty indeed.
Some trace Austria’s warped coldness to its geographic location; what crimes does the chocolate box Sound of Music beauty of these hills really conceal? Hemmed in by mountains and dark woods, its closed rural valleys encourage deep and wharped introspection.
Others blame the Austrian neuroses on the greatest crime of all: the Third Reich. Specifically Austria’s refusal to recognise that it was part and parcel of its native son Hitler’s plan.
The official Austrian attitude had always been that it was ‘Hitler’s first victim’ - occupied in March 1938 ahead of Czechoslovakia and Poland. But the newsreels of the delirious crowds who greeted Hitler’s entry to Vienna told their own undeniable story.
In truth, as the Austrian-born British journalist Hella Pick recognised when choosing the title of her 2000 postwar history of the country Austria was a ‘Guilty Victim’.
When I was in Vienna a vaguely familiar foxy face could still be seen at receptions and formal occasions: Kurt Waldheim, the Austrian President and former Secretary-General of the UN. Though long since exposed as an accessory to Nazi war crimes in the Balkans, and banned from entering the US, the Austrians still clung to this slimy individual, denying his guilt until the bitter end.
At the other end of the social scale from Waldheim, the big story during my Vienna years was the case of Jack Unterweger, the fruit of one of thousands of post-war liasions between Austrian girls and passing US GIs. Jack grew up a small-time crook with a penchant for beating up women.
One night he went too far and killed a stranger in front of his under-age girlfriend. Jailed, he proceeded to bombard Austria’s great and good with prison-penned poems, plays and stories, together with lachrymose protests that he was a victim of society and his unfortunate upbringing. His pleas worked. Paroled, it took him just four months of freedom to resume killing.
In the meantime little Jack had become a media star - rarely off the radio or out of the glare of the TV cameras. As the tally of Austrian prostitutes strangled with their own underwear mounted from a postwar annual average of one to an astonishing eight in as many months, the reporter who seemed to be closer to the case than anyone else was dapper little Jack.
Curiously, it took the Austrian police many months to work out that Jack the lad was actually Jack the bad. In the meantime Jack had jetted off to California in pursuit of Hollywood stardom - killing a further three prostitutes while he was there.
Even when he was arrested and put on trial there were many, including the lawyer Astrid Wagner who continued to deny what was staring them in the face. Wagner - who runs a fashionable Viennese legal practice - even wrote a book seeking to prove Jack innocent.
On the night he was convicted, Jack hanged himself in his cell - using the same rare knot he had used to strangle his victims.
The Austrian great and good had been wrong all along. Again. Now the Austrian establishment - its closely intertwined knot of politicians, legal officials and police - has another crime of equal or greater magnitude to talk down. It will take some doing, but they’re used to it.
Their Austrian inner conception of themselves is so set in cement that when reality collides with their considered image, it is reality that goes out of the window.
Thus Fritzl’s latest plea that he actually saved his children/grandchildren from the wicked world’s contamination by locking them in a dark dungeon for decades may even be the truth - as he sees it.
He could actually believe this grotesque distortion. He is, after all, an Austrian.
Is China Really Ready for the 2008 Olympics?
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