NEW YORK (Mar. 5)
Two officials of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith claimed today that a “new worldwide anti-Semitism” was rampant, based on insensitivity and indifference to Jewish concerns. The charge was made at a press conference here by Seymour Graubard, national chairman of the ADL, who reported the results of 3 1/2 years of research by Arnold Forster, the ADL’s associate director and general counsel and Benjamin R. Epstein, its national director. The study will be published next month in the form of a book, “The New Anti-Semitism,” by McGraw-Hill.
Graubard said the research revealed that the major difference between anti-Semitism today and the traditional kind is that “the new anti-Semitism” is not necessarily deliberate in character and is more often “expressed by respected individuals and institutions here and abroad–people who would be shocked to think themselves, or have others think of them as anti-Semites.”
The primary sources of the “new anti-Semitism” according to the ADL study are pro-Arab elements, the radical left and radical right, Black extremists, the Soviet Union, Arab nations and movements in Europe and Latin America–all in addition to the remnants of hate-mongering that plagued the U.S. in the 1920s.
Graubard and the authors of the study conceded that criticism of Israeli actions or policies was not in itself prima facie evidence of anti-Semitism but that calling for or supporting policies that could lead to the destruction of the Jewish State was. The study also named authors, journalists and various media in America who they claimed promote an unfavorable stereotype of Jews.
SPECIFICS CITED BY OFFICIALS
The study accused the Washington columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak of being “consistently hostile to Israel”; it recalled the controversial Palm Sunday sermon of The Very Rev. Francis B. Sayre Jr., dean of Washington’s National (Episcopal) Cathedral calling Israelis “oppressors” and equating the massacre of Israeli athletes at Munich with the “accidental deaths of villagers during Israeli self-defense raids against terrorist bases in Lebanon.” The study also castigated Father Daniel Berrigan for criticizing Israel “In New Left terms” and engaging in “what a prominent American rabbi (Arthur Hertzberg) described as ‘old-fashioned theological anti-Semitism’.”
It also attacked the film “Jesus Christ Superstar” (filmed in Israel) for allegedly white-washing Pontius Pilate and perpetuating “the lie that… the Jews collectively killed Christ.” Other films under attack for “anti-Jewish stereotyping” were “Portnoy’s Complaint,” “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex,” and “Such Good Friends.” When reporters at the press conference noted that some of these films were made or written by Jews, Forster and Epstein replied that those Jews were “grossly insensitive.”
The analysis stated at the outset that “a clear potential for Nazi-like devastation does not exist in contemporary America” and conceded that even in the Soviet Union, “perhaps the world’s greatest purveyor of anti-Semitism today, the situation of the Soviet Jews, onerous as it is, is a far cry from the mass physical destruction of European Jewry in the thirties and forties.”