Zev Yaroslavsky is correct in questioning the city's Cultural Affairs Department as to whether vendors should knowingly peddle hate and false tales at events that have public support and financing (Times, Oct. 14). However, quiet diplomacy would have been a more effective way than the heavy public barrage to handle the described situation.
As reported, the African Marketplace held at Rancho Cienega Park over the Aug. 25 and Sept. 3 weekends attracted more than 150,000 people to a fair, and about 200 vendors participated. That one vendor with 500 books on sale had two tracts that promote hate and violence against Jews didn't warrant the public attention The Times story gave it. The result could have been predicted. A First Amendment debate that would overshadow the individual lack of sensitivity on a matter of mutual concern over the effects of hate literature.
If the two offensive books are gaining "popularity," then the agencies fighting anti-Semitism better go back to the basics of how to deal with such matters. Focus public attention on what needs to be spotlighted, and not become part of its promotion.
Henry Ford's book on "The International Jew" was based on the false, libelous, ludicrous "Protocols" of the non-existent "Elders of Zion," tied to a myth of the non-Jewish Masonic Order control of world power. The absurdity is self-evident in what has happened to Jews in pogrom after pogrom, and under Hitler.
The "Protocols" were judged to be a forgery by a Swiss Court, fabricated by Czarist Russian agents to spread anti-Semitism. Henry Ford was sued for his book, apologized, withdrew it, and made restitution.
HYMAN H. HAVES