Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Roger Cohen: The Racist Scourge

Nothing makes my blood boil like racism. I got a lot of angry mail over a recent column about Norway’s rightist mass murderer and his sympathy with “racist Islamophobia.” Muslims are not a race, the writers claimed.

Funny, several of the angry notes were from Jews, who seemed to have forgotten that not being a race but a religion had scarcely saved Jews from racist persecution: Perhaps the Einsatzgruppen just got in a semantic muddle before opening fire. Perhaps the Malaysian soccer crowd who just booed Chelsea’s Yossi Benayoun, an Israeli player and a Jew, were not really racists. Dream on.

Hatred of Muslims in Europe and the United States is a growing political industry. It’s odious, dangerous and racist. Thanks to my colleague Andrea Elliott, we now know the story of the orchestration of the successful anti-Shariah campaign in the United States, led by a Hasidic Jew named David Yerushalmi who holds that “most of the fundamental differences between the races are genetic.” The rightists in Europe using anti-Muslim rhetoric are true heirs to the Continent’s darkest hours.