|archive 13: October 8, 2005
The Jewess and The Duke
|Dr. Hesham Tillawi is a Palestinian American who hosts a weekly Internet show called "Current Issues." http://www.currentissues.tv/. Many impressive guests have passed through the portals of Dr. Tillawi's show; such notables as Prof. Norman Finkelstein, Mordechai Vanunu and Cindy Sheehan. (my apologies to those I have omitted, but the list is lengthy)
And so, I was humbled and honored when Dr. Tillawi invited me on the program. I had captured his attention with my essay "Freedom of Speech, R.I.P.", in which I talked about his show. However, it was my essay "Opening Jewish Eyes," that became the template for his interview with me.
I am a bit of an oddity, I guess; a woman from a conventional Jewish home who has been vociferous in my criticism of Israel and its treatment of the Palestinian people. My self-imposed task has been to try to educate my Jewish brethren as to what is truly going on in the apartheid state of Israel, since there is a virtual news blackout in this country. Along with this education is my deepest hope that the great divide between people can be lessened, if not eliminated. It's a daunting task, and I am but one mere small voice.
Current Issues is a two hour show and I knew that I would be sharing my time with another guest. It appeared, for a while, that the other guest was going to be Pam Schuffert.
Two days before the scheduled event, I received a disturbing email. It read:
"Please be advised that the person speaking after you on the Current Issues television program is a former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan."
The words sent a chill up my spine.
The mail continued:
"I realize that this creates a moral dilemma for people seeking a just resolution to the conflict, to appear on shows like this one. It would take one of the organizations working against us and against an end to the Israeli occupation 30 seconds to connect you to someone like David Duke and then dismiss everything you're fighting for."
Yes, I was indeed facing a moral dilemma and friends of mine counseled me not to go on the show. And yet, as a proponent of free speech, I did not want to cancel. My hope was that I would be able to listen to David Duke with an open mind and question him when it was deemed appropriate.
Knowing that much of what I had heard in the past had been innuendo and hearsay, I made a sincere attempt to learn more about David Duke. I consulted with "google."
The following quotes appeared:
"When the American people saw the LA riots and crowds of Blacks cheering O.J. Simpson (who was acquitted by the almost all Black jury), they received a peek into their future."
- Duke Web Site May, 2000
"Hate crimes against Whites receive little attention, while crimes against minorities become national headlines. By focusing on crimes against minorities, the national media is fanning the flames of racial hatred against Whites and leads to more anti-White attacks," states Duke. "The cover up of the racial aspect of this case should make one think that Atlanta Braves baseball player John Rocker is right about New York."
- -Press release on Duke’s web site 12/23/99
(If you recall, Rocker, who was a 25-year-old left-hander said, in a Sports Illustrated interview, that he would never play for a New York team because he didn't want to ride a train next to some queer with AIDS. Rocker also bashed immigrants saying "I'm not a very big fan of foreigners. How the hell did they get in this country?" While driving in Atlanta during the interview, Rocker spit on a toll machine and mocked Asian women.)
The list of Duke quotes went on:
"Increasingly independent black economic, cultural and political power gave Blacks more freedom to do what came natural to them. Divorced from White influence and culture, they reverted quickly to their genotype -- increasingly typical of black societies around the world. Males exhibited exaggerated sexual aggression and promiscuity that led to the dissolution of the Black nuclear family in America. Females reverted to the age-old African model of maternal provisioning of children."
"What we really want to do is to be left alone. We don't want Negroes around. We don't need Negroes around. We're not asking you know, we don't want to have them, you know, for our culture. We simply want our own country and our own society. That's in no way exploitive at all. We want our own society, our own nation...."
A Duke interview with doctoral student Evelyn Rich, who traveled around the country with Duke while conducting research for her dissertation on the KKK. March 1985
"White people don't need a law against rape, but if you fill this room up with your normal black bucks, you would, because niggers are basically primitive animals. It's really the Jew Marxists who see the nigger as their instrument, as their bullets, by which to destroy our society."
- The Sun (Wichita, KS), April 23, 1975
Perhaps the O.J. quote and the media focus on "crimes against minorities," can be rationalized and/or explained away. However, there are certainly those in the media who dwell heavily on every bad thing black people do, to the extent that many White people have come to think that it is typical Black behavior. In other words, "They're ALL like that."
Most of the quotes were beyond disturbing. Since the dates were not recent, a familiar question began haunting me. "Can a leopard change his spots?"
I wrote a letter to Dr. Tillawi voicing my concerns. I certainly did not want to cut and run in the 11th hour. He was reassuring and we decided that I would talk at the beginning of the show and stay on the line while Mr. Duke spoke. I was invited to "jump in" at any point.
Technology has a way of interfering with the best laid plans, and, the night of the show, the phone system in Louisiana refused to cooperate. I was able to speak about my history as well as my feelings about apartheid Israel for the first half hour. However, once Mr. Duke came on the show, my connection kept cutting out and cutting off. There was much I could not say.
David Duke talked about the Israeli / Palestinian situation eloquently. I found myself in agreement with much of what he said. And yet, before long, the peace train came to a screeching halt.
An uncomfortable feeling began welling up inside me. Perhaps it was when a Black caller was engaging in some amicable dialogue, and Mr.Duke emphasized his desire to keep his heritage together and reassured the Black man that he felt the same way for Black people. What was he saying? I had so many questions and the telephone company had muzzled me. I wanted to question the content and intent of his remarks. Duke proceeded, "God created different races and they should be preserved." Was this a return to the old "separate BUT(un)equal" status for Blacks? I wondered. Duke went on to comment about how Jews have tried to integrate the Blacks and destroy them. Destroy them? As a proponent of civil rights, I have never viewed integration as destructive. I have never viewed intermarriage as destructive. I would have loved to have engaged in the dialogue. I would have loved to have questioned David Duke. I thought about the quotes I'd copied from the Internet.
For a brief moment, I was able to reconnect and asked Mr. Duke about the Internet quotes. (selecting a fairly mild one from the list) Duke stated that they were the work of the Anti Defamation League. Now, believe me friends, the ADL is no friend of mine, but how could they have manufactured the words along with the careful citations? He further excused the quotes since they were "old." Ah yes, it was the "leopard/spots" dilemma.
"Well," I told myself, "I certainly have changed over the years. Onward and upward."
Mr. Duke stated that he was never a part of a "violent" Klan. Were there nonviolent KKK divisions? My head was flooded with the images of cross burnings and lynchings.
Call me a "bleeding heart liberal." I've been called worse. However, I am keenly aware of what has been done to the Black race on many levels. And, though I do not excuse criminal behavior, I feel that context is important. Much of what we see is a matter of economics not genetics.
Lest we not forget that that Blacks were dragged to this country and put in bondage. They were treated abysmally and forbidden to learn to read. They were considered a percentage of a person. Let the White man examine his heritage. And while we are scrupulously taking our inventory, let's look at the series of articles about how AIDS was a man made disease, created in laboratories by White men, and spread throughout Africa in vaccines. (please refer to the work of Dr. Leonard Horowitz)
Forgive me for digressing and allow me to return to some of David Duke's comments. He brought out the old favorite about the "Jews killing Christ" and how Jews want to do away with Christianity. He then quoted some vile passages from the Talmud. I am not doubting that these passages exist and they are sickening indeed. However, I must add that I do not know anyone who has even read the Talmud. Perhaps it is woven into the fiber of the ruling class, but it remains a mystery to the rank and file secular Jew. In addition, most of the Jewish people I know are barely acquainted with the Bible. I suspect that they pull out a verse during holidays but I cannot be certain.
Recently I read an article by Allan C. Brownfeld.
He made an important point:
"When Orthodox Jews read the Bible, they are reading a very different book with a different meaning from the Bible as read by non-Jews or non-Orthodox Jews"
I am not trying to present "ignorance" as a defense. I am merely trying to look more closely at a situation in which many people are ill informed. I am trying to examine a situation that is causing violence and suffering in our world. I am trying to find a way to educate those who have been plunged into intentional darkness. I am trying to understand.
Last summer, I spoke with a non Jewish man who was once in the process of converting to Judaism. I asked him if he had to study the Talmud. He replied, "Yes." I asked him about the contents and if he observed anything racist. He stated "It was just a series of rules to live by." Obviously this man had not been given the racist edition.
As for Mr. Duke's comment about Jews hating Jesus, I must again admit ignorance. I have heard Jews say that Jesus was not God. I have heard Jews call Jesus a teacher and/or a reformer. Granted, my circle of Jewish references does not blanket the entire religion, but neither does Mr. Duke's. I do not doubt that there are Jewish people who have said heinous things about Christ, but I, for one, have never heard them.
When the show ended, I was left with a feeling of tremendous sadness. I felt that I had not achieved my goal as a healer and peacemaker. I do believe, however, that Dr. Tillawi was extremely fair and I admire him. Unfortunately, the circumstances were beyond his control.
I went on the show Current Issues to help; to educate. I'd hoped to share my feelings of outrage concerning Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. And yet, I did not want to be complicit in any remarks that I felt were ambiguous. I did not want my silence to be misconstrued as tacit agreement. That has been my motivation for speaking out about the horrors that are being perpetrated on the Palestinian people.
"What you do to the least of My brethren, you do to Me."
While everyone has a right to cling to his heritage, I have a right not to cling to mine. I believe that, at the end of the day, we are all ONE. Our differences are merely tricks of the mirror; illusions and distortions that are part of our physical journey on Planet Earth.
And so, I will continue to consecrate my life to dispelling the myth of separateness, and will try to remain vigilant in my commitment not to fall prey to the hatred that is ruining our world.
I wish I could do more.
Copyright Judy Andreas 2005