The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/l/littman.sol/wrong-again-sol

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Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies
Suite 710, 8 King Street East, Toronto, Ontario  M5C 1B5
Tel: 416-864-9735     Fax: 416-864-1083

   Dear Harry,

   The GOLEM GAZETTE forum that followed your request for analysis of the
hateful letter you received from an anonymous source was most interesting.
Unfortunately, in a long career I have received a file drawer full of
similar letters reiterating the same themes.

   Even more revealing were the comments regarding the SWC initiative on
FTCNET in Oliver, B.C. They confirmed what I have discovered over the years,
namely, that whenever you take a bold initiative in the community relations
field, you can count on the opposition to base its counter-attack on
trivialities and at least two Jewish agencies to jump on your back
screaming, " No, no. You're doing it wrong and anyway you should have waited
for us to do it." This is true even when the initiative is well planned and
has had the benefit of considerable consultation and expert legal opinion as
it was in the FTCNET case.

   I have also discovered in the course of a long career that there is
nothing more dangerous than a colleague
who can't distinguish between friends and enemies. In the end he is bound to
attack the wrong party and discredit himself in the process. Last year Ken
McVay and I both delivered papers at a B'nai Brith conference on "Hate on
the Internet." After I had delivered my paper which predicted that some form
of control over the internet was inevitable, Ken's public response was :
"Littman scares me more than Hitler." I realized then that Ken didn't really
know who Hitler was and had, therefore, no real understanding of the Holocaust.

[Ken McVay comments: As usual, Mr. Littman hasn't done his homework. I
did not present a paper at the symposium, nor did I say that Mr.
Littman scared me more than Hitler. For what I did say, see the
Littman letter, URL
Ken McVay, March, 1998]

   As for those of you who were concerned about my characterization of
Oliver as the "hate capital of Canada" let me say this; I have lived most of
my life in Toronto, characterized by Westerners as "Hogtown." Yet in all
those years, I never dreamed of taking the appellation literally or
imagining that it applied to me personally. Nor did I take it to mean that
my residence in Toronto made me an unkosher person.

   In the same way, I never dreamed that people in Oliver would take it
personally. But when Oliver's mayor telephoned to say that she and the whole
town felt insulted, I had no hesitation in apologizing. As a human rights
worker, I have no desire to tread on other people's sensitivities. If Blacks
prefer to be called Blacks rather than Negroes, I'm all for it. If women
wish to known as "women" rather than "Ladies," I will never argue with them.
Similarly, if the Mayor of Oliver says I have insulted her town and its
citizens, I am prepared to apologize and I did so on national radio and two
talk shows.

   What I will not do is apologize to Bernard Klatt and his surprizingly
numerous supporters in the Okanagan. If you had seen what we have seen on
his internet service, I believe that you too would call for his prosecution
rather than dwelling on some inadvertent comment of mine.

Get on track, guys.

Sol Littman

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