I was interested to learn yesterday that one of Spain’s most prestigious newspapers, El Mundo, has been accused of fanning the flames of anti-Semitism for alleging that five Jewish families control the entire economy of Honduras.
This came as a surprise to me, a relatively ignorant person.
Although I have a vague notion where Honduras is to be found on a map of the world, I had no idea that Jews had flocked there in sufficient numbers to become a problem to the indigenous inhabitants. I would perhaps have been equally surprised to learn that Jews had just taken over the South Pole and that the penguins were now up in arms.
“El Mundo owes an apology to its readers for publishing such hateful garbage,” rages Dina Siegel Vann, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Latin American Institute. “El Mundo should be ashamed of promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and fanning the flames of hatred.”
The question that concerns me here is not whether these inflammatory claims of Jewish influence in Honduras are “conspiracy theories” or “garbage”, but whether in fact they are true.
If they are true, is it anti-Semitic to proclaim this truth, and, by extension, to register a strong complaint about obnoxious Jewish behavior or Jewish economic and political domination? Or are complainants under some sort of obligation to keep their mouths shut, allegedly because failure to do so might promote hatred of Jews and lead to a second Holocaust?
These are questions it would be inappropriate for me to answer, given that I know little about Honduras — apart from the well-known fact that many Hondurans don’t seem to like Jews and wish there weren’t so many of them milling around.
Here are a few facts which may be of interest to the intellectually alert reader.
There was no anti-Semitism whatsoever in Honduras before the arrival of the first Jew in Honduras at the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Anti-Semitism, for reasons easy enough to comprehend, grew in direct proportion to Jewish immigration. This progressed at a slow and steady rate throughout the nineteenth century, picking up considerably after Hitler’s rise to power in Germany. Jews began to arrive not only from Germany, but from Russia, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Greece, Turkey and North Africa…and all during this time, it could be argued with almost mathematical precision, there was a direct correlation between growing anti-Semitism and the increasing number of Jews arriving on the scene. The growth in anti-Semitism became even more glaringly obvious after large numbers of Israelis began to pour into the country in the late 1970s and thereafter.
Stating this bald fact, however, is regarded as politically incorrect, if not downright tactless. More Jews = More anti-Semitism is a forbidden formulation. It’s false because it’s true. It’s garbage because it’s offensive. It’s conspiracy theory because it’s alleged by people who would do well to shut up.
Anti-Semitic scrawls are today a common sight on the walls of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sulva. The wealth of Honduras appears to be concentrated in the hands of a few Jewish families–not surprising given the role of six Jewish oligarchs in the Russian economy after the fall of the Soviet Union. As in America, the rich grow richer at the expense of the poor. Any attempt to share out the national cake more equitably is strongly resisted by the super-rich. The recently ousted president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, fell from power because he had forged links with Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro — men whose sympathies for the toiling masses were naturally anathema to the plutocratic Jews of Honduras who drive round the streets in Rolls Royces and Ferraris, casting a supercilious eye on the street urchins glowering at them from a safe distance.
Things came to head recently with the 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis. There was a coup d’etat, remember? President Manuel Zelaya had to take to his heels. Even as he fled for his life, he complained bitterly about the Jews who had driven him from power. The coup was really about his ties to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — both of whom are critics of Israel.
It was then that a commentator on Radio Globo, David Romero, uttered shameful words that put him completely beyond the pale of human discourse — though he was probably expressing what many in Honduras actually felt. He expressed regret that Adolf Hitler had failed in his life task. If only, he sighed, the Holocaust had succeeded and the Jews had all been exterminated.
Shame on you, sir!
I won’t go on. All this is too upsetting. Why, I ask myself, can’t the Jews just settle down and assimilate? Why can’t they become model citizens like the rest of us?
Ooops, I’ve put my foot in it! There are no model citizens. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there — and the Jews are getting all the juiciest bones.