The Spectator 26 Nov 1994


The 29 October issue of The Spectator, was marred by the inclusion of an article ('Kings of the deal') which advanced the basest of anti-Semitic stereotypes. Far from being the thought-provoking discourse usually found in your magazine, this appeal to the worst kind of 'group think' also crosses the line into very dangerous territory.

Conspiracy theories, 'facts' with little or no basis in truth, code words like 'Jewish cabal', all the usual canards are rounded up in this 'investigation' into the supposed dominance by a new elite. There is, however, nothing new here. We have seen it all before, from the Inquisition in 13th-century Spain to the Holocaust of 20th-century Germany. We have seen the results of hateful scapegoating, of ascribing group traits, of baseless charges of exclusion. What we have not seen lately is this type of racist creed aired in distinguished journals such as The Spectator.

When, to the editors of magazines like The Spectator, racist cant becomes indistinguishable from thoughtful commentary, it should sound a loud warning that we have not progressed so very far after all. The demons of religious and racial hatred which have wreaked such havoc throughout the course of human existence are with us still. When these demons show themselves, however distinguished the venue, they must be condemned, publicly and immediately, lest these ancient hatreds find fertile ground once again in our communities.

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