Why Do Nazis Hate Jews?

Newsweek published this story under the headline of “Again, Anti-Semitism” on February 16, 1981. In light of the recent neo-Nazi, white power and alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Newsweek is republishing the story.

Charles Benjamin, a leader of the Jewish community in his quiet, suburban New Jersey town, came home to find bright red swastikas painted on his back door. The outdoor furniture had been dumped into the pool. The mailbox had been looted. “My knees buckled,” Benjamin later told a television interviewer. “I sat down on the ground, not believing that this could happen in… my little patch in the United States. “Anti-Semitism is an ancient story that is suddenly making news across the United States. The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith reported 377 anti-Semitic “episodes” in 1980, a nearly threefold increase in one year. Most of these sporadic incidents involved little more than scrawled graffiti or vandalism, but there were also 10 cases of arson, four fire-bombings and several death threats. No one has been killed or seriously injured, and no evidence suggests a campaign of any scale; most of the incidents have been juvenile pranks. Yet many American Jews are worried. “Hitler started with a handful of people and paint brushes,” says Jeffrey Maas of the ADL in New Jersey. And many government officials agree that the incidents cannot be shrugged off. “There is a tendency… to treat incidents of anti-Semitic or racial vandalism as isolated acts of mischief,” warns New Jersey Attorney General John J. Degnan. “Unfortunately … these acts may represent deep-seated racial and religious hatred.” 

To combat the flurry of anti-Semitic incidents, Degnan and other law-enforcement officials around the country have stepped up their investigations, often forming special police and prosecution units. Many Jewish leaders have begun holding seminars on bigotry and rallies against anti-Semitism, such as one that drew 3,000 people in California’s…

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