columnist, The Washington Post
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Colbert King has a reputation for direct and plainspoken commentaries. In a recent column, King expressed frustration with what he calls the "tepid" international response to state-sponsored antisemitism in Iran.
COLBERT I. KING:
Why do I have to be African American to understand that racism is wrong? Why do I have to be Jewish to abhor antisemitism? What are you talking about? It's discrimination.
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Colbert King has a reputation for direct and plainspoken commentaries. In a recent column for the Washington Post, King expressed frustration with what he calls the "tepid" international response to state-sponsored antisemitism in Iran.
Welcome to Voices on Antisemitism, a podcast series from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum made possible by generous support from the Elizabeth and Oliver Stanton Foundation. I'm Aleisa Fishman. Every month, we invite a guest to reflect about the many ways that antisemitism and hatred influence our world today. From Washington, DC, here’s Colbert King.
COLBERT I. KING:
In my lifetime, you know I was a young child during World War II, and learned about what happened as I grew older, but now I have right in my own midst a government in Iran that is explicitly committed to removing Israel from the face of the Earth. It's not just hostility of one government toward another government, one country toward another country. If that were it, you could talk about it in foreign-policy terms, maybe, but this is something different. This is a government that seems committed to the destruction of a people. And that is something that the world needs to recognize. This is something different that we have on our hands. And you don't respond to that with diplomatic language or language that's so vague that no one understands how repulsive you find it. You have to come down hard on it. That's why I wanted to talk about it and write about it.
I make the statement in the Washington Post about Iran representing the most virulent form of state-sponsored antisemitism since Nazi Germany. But I go on to say: "I say this as a great-grandson of slaves, as a son of parents whose potential was stifled by unrelenting racism. And I'm a man whose youth was stymied by Jim Crow and racial prejudice." One of the editors came back to me and said, "Do you really need this? How does that tie in?" I said, "Well, yeah, I want to keep it in because I want it to be clear that the person who's writing this is not Jewish, but also the person who's writing this knows something about being on the receiving end of hatred." The point of which is to say that I recognize not only my own problems, but the problems of someone other than myself, and that this is not just a political issue or foreign-policy issue. This is a moral issue. This is a government that is committed publicly to the destruction of a people. And what are we going to do now?
Voices on Antisemitism is a podcast series of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Join us every month to hear a new perspective on the continuing threat of antisemitism in our world today. We would appreciate your feedback on this series. Please visit our Web site, www.ushmm.org.