An eye-opening look at anti-Semitism
Saturday, January 06, 2007
For the Star-Ledger

My late father read only the New York Daily News and the Racing Form, so even at 5 I knew something was up when he approached me with a book in hand. He sat me on his lap and showed me photos from the Nazis lampshades made from the skin of Jews, mountains of glasses taken from those who were gassed.

It was part of my introduction to learning about the Holocaust. Of course this was a frightful topic, and remains so. What needs to be stressed is that anti-Semitism did not end with World War II.

A disturbing, yet excellent documentary, "Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence" (Monday, 10 p.m., Ch. 13) exposes attitudes among many in the Arab world. Newscasts air interviews with high-ranking officials who disparage Jews and spew hateful threats intended to incite people. Newspapers publish cartoons with ugly stereotypes.

None of this is pretty, or easy to take, yet that does not lessen its importance. Journalist Judy Woodruff narrates as footage is shown of swastikas defacing Jewish headstones. Interviews with Arabs, from different countries, talk about hating Jews.

The one-hour documentary by Emmy winner Andrew Goldberg explains how millions justify their prejudice by referring to the racist screed "Principles of the Elders of Zion," a book that claims Jews are intent on world domination. The thin volume has been translated into dozens of languages, Henry Ford subsidized a massive printing, and it's still in print; a kiosk at the Livingston Mall was recently selling it.

This important documentary shines the light on bigotry, serves as a conversation starter, and beats terrifying your children while trying to educate them.