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Stick it up your
It was mildly astonishing to read that people were unnerved
by an old-fashioned, anti-Semitic portrayal of the Israeli head
of state. Let there be no doubt, whether blatant, subtle or
unwitting, anti-Semitism is alive in southwest Colorado and
elsewhere. Though it seems that what we have here is an example
of the unwitting variety; an unworldly cartoonist and an ignorant
publisher, not a growing wave of anti-Semitism. The Durango
Herald is quite another story, but let’s focus on the
In examining the recent submissions of photojournalists rather
than cartoonists, it is rather obvious that a great big nose
is not Sharon’s most dominant physical feature. So it’s
not a very good caricature. Furthermore, is it not equally obvious
that Arafat has a bigger nose than does Sharon? Indeed, PM Jacques
Chirac, former PM Jean Cretian, Osama bin Laden, Syrian Pres.
Assad and Pope John XXIII each have (or had) a more prominent
proboscis than does Sharon. So, if you’re going to express
your anti-Semitism, then pick something other than your hackneyed
Just so you know, I am a 136th generation Jew, neither proud
nor ashamed, just a plain Jewish man. I am also an adamant Zionist
because I believe unswervingly that Israel (possibly a little
larger than currently defined) belongs to Jews. Sure, Israel
likes visitors, irrespective of race or creed, as long as they
remain peaceable – but Jews unequivocally claim the real
estate. And if it’s not already perfectly clear, many
Jews are willing to put their fortunes and their very lives
behind that claim. Cansay that I agree with the fence decision,
but that will work itself out over time.
Back to the nose thing. Although I am a certified Jew, I have
neither a big nose nor kinky black hair with a swarthy complexion
(go figure). Indeed some of my gentile acquaintances have commented
on the diminutive appearance of my schnoz, while my Jewish comrades
have said that my nose is positively goyishe (i.e., gentile-like).
If I so desired, I suppose I could pass myself off as a gentile.
But that would not be fair because I am a Jew, and I want everyone
who knows me to know me as a Jew. Why? Because Jews dominate
the world including government, science, medicine, law and Hollywood.
Now there is a stereotype I can get behind. And it was confirmed
recently by no less an authority than the retiring Malaysian
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, a leader to be reckoned with
albeit with a small nose. “Dominator” – that
is a label that commands the respect borne by fear – kind
of like Schwarzenegger might have been had he taken the S&M
route. Undoubtedly, I would rather be feared as the world dominator
that I am not, than scorned for a big nose that I do not possess.
I just looked it up on the Internet. Out of a current world
population of about 6 billion, Jews number about 13 million
– that’s 0.22% folks, less than a quarter of 1 percent.
The world Jewish population was about 12 million before the
Nazis did their number, so it’s taken Jews almost 60 years
to recoup their losses. During that same 60 years, the world
population grew by 3.8 billion (more than doubled). By the way,
there are about 5 million Jews in the USA. That’s right,
only 38 percent of all the Jews in the world live in the USA,
the most powerful nation on Earth. Does that prove the world
domination stereotype or not? NOT.
So here we sit with, charitably, a naive cartoonist, an ignorant
editor and an antiquated big nose. As my father would have said,
“If that’s the worst thing that ever happens to
you, you’re a lucky man.” The problem is, history
teaches us the brutal lesson that this is not the worst thing
that may ever happen to us. That’s why I do my part to
make clear to those who know me that I am a Jew, that my children
go out into the world as Jews and that anybody who messes with
us just because we’re Jews knows that they’re in
for a heap of trouble. I want a safe place in the world for
my children and their descendants. Many Jews now realize that,
fence notwithstanding, the best defense is a good offense, and
that particular notion is encouraging anti-Semites to crawl
out from under their rotting logs. Too pushy? Don’t like
the smell of it? Too bad – you can just stick it up your
And to the cartoonist and editor: Isn’t it fascinating
how the intended message of the cartoon has been given over
to a public discourse on anti-Semitism? Nice job.
– Cordially, Henry Silver,
Swingtimes: Fourth-grader Sabrina Clark
makes the most of her recess time on the swings
at the Park Elementary playground on
Tuesday./Photo by Todd Newcomer.
Give Referendum A an “F”
Bad ideas don’t get better with time – they may
actually get worse. This is particularly true of Referendum
A on this November’s ballot. It was a bad idea a year
ago when, as Colorado senate majority leader, I helped kill
an earlier version of this threat to Western and southern Colorado
water and our way of life. It’s an even worse idea now
and needs to be defeated.
A similar proposal came before the General Assembly during
the special legislative session in the summer of 2002. I made
certain that House Bill 1022 was killed in committee and my
vote to kill it was one of the best I cast during that session.
But now it is round two, and the boondoggle is back. However,
this version is even worse than the earlier one. As public policy
Referendum A gets an “F” for failure.
The referendum would authorize the sale of up to $2 billion
in bonds to build dams and reservoirs. But where will those
dams be built? Where will the water come from to fill those
dams? Who will benefit? Who will get hurt? The proponents of
this measure won’t say. Worse, the process for authorizing
a project is left completely in the hands of the governor and
the Colorado Water Conservation Board – a board appointed
by the governor! They can decide on a project without having
to have any public input and almost no oversight.
Trust us, they say. We’ll do the right thing, they say
– but the right thing for whom? I don’t believe
for a minute that it will be the right thing for southern and
western Colorado. I know, as certain as I know that the sun
comes up in the east, that the water for these boondoggle projects
will come from the Western Slope, the San Luis Valley and southern
Colorado. And it will go for the benefit of those who want to
build more golf courses and bluegrass lawns in the metro suburbs,
at the expense of the local economies, interests and way of
life of those of us who live and work in southern and western
Trust us, they say. We’ll do the right thing, they say.
Oh, really? When Western Slope and southern Colorado legislators
attempted to amend the bill placing this question on the ballot
to provide for compensation to localities for the loss of their
water and negative economic impact of that loss, those that
would have us trust them just said no.
Well, it’s time for all of us to “just say no”
to this $2 billion water grab. The best vote I will cast this
November, and the best vote you can cast, will be like the best
vote I cast in the 2002 special session: No on Referendum A.
– Bill Thiebaut
former Colorado senate majority leader
Some finer points of grazing
Thanks for the excellent grazing story. There were two points
we covered in our interview that didn’t appear in the
First: The areas that are currently hardest hit by livestock
are the low-altitude, arid ones. These, in my opinion, would
benefit most from the removal of livestock, although the mountains
would certainly be better off cow-free, too.
Second: The Grazing Permit Buyout Bill is entirely voluntary,
which was not mentioned. This is a crucial feature of the program.