David was walking his 14-year-old puggle, Dakota, down his quiet street in Glenview Tuesday morning when he noticed a plastic bag at the end of his driveway. Inside, a smorgasbord of antisemitic flyers. He called the police, then took a photo and emailed it to me.
“I reported to the police and they are aware that it’s been happening in West Glenview over the last two weeks,” wrote David — I’m not using his last name; given he’s already received his ration of hate for the week, I didn’t want to invite more.
He wasn’t terrified.
“I didn’t feel threatened,” he said.
Nor do I. Antisemitism is an odd brand of hatred. Usually, bigots try to shore up their broken selves by sneering at those they consider beneath them. But antisemites jeer at a group they imagine simultaneously beneath and above them, both rats and world dominators. Vermin who nevertheless run the banks, the government, the media. (I sometimes hear from readers whose careful analysis of this column detects a subtle Jewish influence, particularly when concerning subjects like Yom Kippur.)
To be honest, I took only the most detached interest in the screeds; mostly, because they are an example of vanishing print media.
”That’s old school,” I told him. Almost nostalgic, like finding a Tony Alamo pamphlet on a bus station men’s room urinal.
Normally, I wouldn’t magnify this stuff. It’s just dull. But distribution of antisemitic material is at “historic levels,” according to an Anti-Defamation League report issued Thursday, up 27% in 2021 over 2020.
And I do have a personal insight I’d like to share, if you’ll journey with me back almost 30 years, to 1993. There was a Neo-Nazi named Jonathan Preston Haynes who murdered Dr. Martin Sullivan, a Wilmette plastic surgeon, because he gave patients what Haynes dubbed “false Aryan beauty.” As the case unfolded, it came out that Haynes had sent form letters seeking white supremacist subjects for a book.
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