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Blaming It All on Them

August 02, 1993

Publications in free societies almost always try, as a matter of policy, to publish the widest possible range of material--and to allow their advertisers, within limits, the widest possible berth. As an official of the distinguished Japanese financial newspaper Nihon Keizai recently put it, "We don't make any judgments on ideology, opinion, thought and beliefs in advertisements."

Sadly, that statement came in response to criticisms of an ugly display advertisement in his newspaper that touched a nerve worldwide.

The ad, for a three-volume series of books alleging a Jewish plot to destroy Japan, went beyond acceptable limits. "The stock crash, the high yen and the political turmoil (in Japan) are no coincidence," the advertisement stated. "After defeating Europe, America and Russia, Jewish capital is now after Japan."

Oh, no, here we go again: A society is feeling the economic pressure, can't understand what is happening and finds a scapegoat. In some societies the blame is directed at those foreigners , but in places with well-developed prejudices the blame goes to particular foreigners.

In Japan, it seems, with its recurrent resurgence of anti-Semitism, some people like to blame "the Jews."

Among those calling for an official apology was Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. He clearly is right to do so.

Civilization will never advance until we stop perpetuating racial, ethnic, religious or gender stereotyping and scapegoating.

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