Frazier Glenn Miller, a hate-filled neo Nazi, murdered three innocent people outside a Jewish community center. The fact his victims were all Christians was tragically incidental. After his capture by police, he shouted “Heil Hitler” as he was taken away.
Four years earlier, according to the New York Times’ Frank Bruni, Miller appeared on the Howard Stern show and proclaimed Adolph Hitler as the “greatest man who ever walked the face of the earth.” Miller, who also hates Blacks, was then asked whether he hated Jews more than Blacks. “Definitely the Jews,” he responded. “A thousand times more.”
I’d seen that kind of hate before, in the early seventies. As part of an undergraduate class project, I went to Chicago and interviewed Frank Collin. At the time I met him, Collin was the director of the National Socialist Party of America, a neo-Nazi hate group. His operating philosophy was boiler plate stuff – distortions, lies, rabble-rousing. His core belief was that Jews have always been the root of all evil. His “final solution” was also boiler plate - “They must be completely expunged.” He aimed to complete what Adolph Hitler had started.
For days after the interview I could still feel my skin crawling.
In the nineties I had the privilege of mentoring a young Palestinian engineer. I grew to love him like a brother. We agreed about many things. When we did disagree, we almost always found paths of compromise. There was one exception – Israel. I believed in a two-state solution and he believed that all Jews had to be “driven to the sea and slaughtered like dogs.”
A few years after I moved here I began receiving e-mail correspondence from someone who wanted to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As things progressed we offered our points of view. My belief in a two state solution was countered by a belief that the Jews were illegal occupiers of Palestine and that they should all go to Texas with George W. Bush.
Seeing no fruitful avenue of discourse, I ended the correspondence.
Jews all around the world have been the focus of this kind of hate for centuries, yet somehow they’ve overcome and continue to flourish. How have they been able to do this? I think it’s because there’s something very special about the Jewish soul. It’s best expressed in a poem that’s recited every year at Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the Shoa:
“I believe in the sun when it isn’t shining.
I believe in love even when I don’t feel it.I believe in God even when He’s silent.”