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Reading the anti-semitism piece in the Dec. 20 daily Mendo County Today, I was reminded of the time I learned about the practice (belief?) of Jew-hating.

I grew up in central Connecticut, a place where Catholicism was the dominant religion, but was saved from that by the fact that my Irish father had excommunicated himself at the age of 12. Neither parent was religious but my Scottish mother sent me to a Presbyterian Sunday school where I couldn't get past the painting of a blond Jesus talking to two blond children -- all dressed in white -- in a perfectly manicured city park. That and the smarmy "teacher" who handed out candy to all the kids at the beginning of class. I told my mother I wouldn't be going back and she accepted that without question.

So no, I'm not Jewish, but I had Jewish cousins in Manhattan, from my uncle's wife, who came with kids attached. At the time (early-mid fifties) everyone in New York City was Italian, Irish or Jewish. Or uptown, black and Puerto Rican. Simpler times. Would "West Side Story" have a Pakistani gang if written today?

We moved from Hartford to the suburb of Farmington, what our New York relatives called "the country" --- there were trees -- in 1954. I was eight years old. My parents saw fit to send me off to a day camp the next summer. Camp Winding Trails had some sort of activities, none of which I really remember except the little carnivals where the counselors guessed your weight or you threw balls at bottles.

The one memory I still carry with me is the time we walked through the woods to a neighboring camp in the nearby town of Avon. We were met somewhere in the middle by kids from other camp. Suddenly I was being pelted with rocks, while the blond Hitler-youth-looking kid throwing them yelled "Jew! Fucking Jew!"

I may be Scot-Irish but I had dark hair and more or less my father's nose There's a name for these noses, Roman or aquiline, I think. I've been mistaken for Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and other such Mediterranean types most of my life, but with this "Jew" thing I was being physically attacked. A mixed-race music group I knew in the 60's called the Jam Factory had a song called "What's the Matter with People." This song came to my mind with the Trump thing. I saw the rallies, full of people who had a great deal the matter with them. But it's nothing new.

Eventually some adult stopped the Hitler Youth kid from throwing the rocks. But I had learned something - or other - about things the matter with people.


  1. Pat Kittle December 29, 2016


    Is there ANY criticism of Jews, Israel, or Zionism that ADL/SPLC types don’t call “antisemitic”?

    …seriously awaiting an answer.

    In the meantime…

    “Staggering Cost of Israel to Americans”:
    — [ ]

  2. Jeff Costello Post author | December 29, 2016

    Is there ANY criticism of Jews, Israel, or Zionism that ADL/SPLC types don’t call “antisemitic”?

    Probably not. My concern is not with Israel, which I consider a political nightmare, and marvel at the way American politicians kiss their ass.

    In my New York childhood, Jews were the guys with the rye bread and cheesecake in the deli.

  3. Pat Kittle December 30, 2016


    The prevailing wisdom maintains that if I truthfully say “I have Jewish friends” that’s an unintentional give-away that I’m antisemitic.

    Of course if I say I don’t have Jewish friends that also tends to make me… yup, you guessed it.

    Catch-22’s up the ying-yang if we run afoul of the Chosen.

    So I don’t give a damn what I’m called as long as I get my facts straight. And to do that I necessarily don’t limit myself to Jew-approved sources.
    — [ ]

  4. Pat Kittle December 31, 2016


    Did you censor my 2nd comment?

    I thought it was well within the rules here.

    • AVA News Service December 31, 2016

      I looked around and found it in the Spam box (now posted above). This indicates the computer made the decision, not Jeff.

      • Pat Kittle January 1, 2017

        AVA & Jeff,

        Thanks, good to know.

    • Jeff Costello Post author | December 31, 2016

      I don’t censor If I don’t like something, I don’t normally respond. If anything, I think you’re treading lightly.

      • BB Grace January 1, 2017

        Some months ago Mr. Costello, you kindly emailed me requesting that I do not post comments on your articles, which I have respected until reading your claim hours ago that you don’t censor. I found your request a form of censorship which I am happy to respect. Had I not felt censored by you Mr. Costello, I would have responded to Pat Kittle’s question with: “Ask two Jews a question and you’ll get seven answers”. (Reading that made some folks smile because it’s part of an old joke, anyways).

        Please don’t mistake me for a religious Zionist because my love for Israeli Jews, Messianic, Catholics, Christians, Druze, and secular natives and immigrants is far beyond any religious book. I love religion and politics and for people like me Israel is the best, as the crest of a wave of on the ocean of humanity, Israelis are Palestinians.

        Can you name the countries that were established from the British Mandate for Palestine?

        I am not a Hasbara troll. No one has to pay me to stand up and be counted as a ZIONIST <- Neon Lights.

        I LOVE Palestine, which especially includes Israel, where enlightenment goes way beyond religion.

        • Jeff Costello Post author | January 1, 2017

          Please refresh my memory regarding any so-called request for you not to respond on any article or comments. I recall doing no such thing. Maybe you misinterpreted something I said. Any discussion of Israel seems to me a can of worms that I prefer not to open.

          • BB Grace January 1, 2017

            My former response to your email:

            On Tuesday, May 17,2016 1:40 PM

            If you’re asking me to refrain from posting on your essay Mr. Costello, I will respect you.

            I thought the point in your article was, “Religion is politics”, and I didn’t find anyone who disagreed with you which is why the conversation progressed to the most politically religious topic today, when many people are afraid to say what they really think. So I have an appreciation for open dialogue and credit you, but again, will respect your position on your essay and extend a sincere apology if I have caused you any problem. I am sorry if that would be true. It was never my intent to upset you. BB

            You expressed on this thread titled, “Jew!”, Mr. Costello, that Pat Kittle was “treading lightly” on the subject, which I could be wrong, but I take that it means you encourage more or harsher information against Israel from Pat Kittle, if not more perceived damaging “evidence” that suits your shared perspective, while telling me, an admitted Zionist, that you would prefer to not open that “can of worms” (Pro Palestinian Israel).

            In your article titled, “Jew!”, you confess that when you were a young man you were attacked by rock throwing “Hitler-youth” who mistook you for a “Jew!”. It appears the lesson you obtained from your experience was, “your attackers were wrong” as you are not a (((Jew))), and perhaps why you felt the need to provide an analogy to Trump and Jam Factory’s song, “What’s the Matter with (((wrong))) People”.

            I suggest, Mr. Costello, that if you had been a (((Jew))) and Hitler like youth pelted you with rocks and screamed “Jew!”, correct in saying (((Jew))), as most of the time they are correct when they say (((“Jew!”))), your lesson would have been very different, and unfortunately something every (((Jew))) knows the blame and hate too well.

            When I was in high school in New Orleans, one class, half filled with Black students, took a new student the teacher identified as a (((Jew))) Where I thought, “What a great opportunity to learn something about what is a (((Jew))) (and not smart enough to report the teacher to the administration, which I’m sorry I didn’t know better), it was pretty apparent by the dozen boys who were blocking the exit from the classroom excitedly pulling out their KKK membership cards, as in the Deep South we all know the KKK HATES (((JEWS))) most of all, and went after (((Jews))) and the Blacks who worked for (((JEWS))). The real (((Jew))) never returned. I never forgot him or what those boys said they would do to him for one reason only, he was a (((“Jew!”))). We never got to know him yet, I am reminded of the KKK boys frequently by those who repeat the same old false claims against (((Jews))) in the name of blaming and hating ((((Israel)))) and ((((Zionist)))) today.

            Make the world a better place: Hug a (((Jew))) today!

            BTW, in the 90s Deadheads on the GD Forum used to (((hug)))) each other. As the Alt-Right developed, Pro-Islamic Palestine bloggers adopted the (((hug))) to identify (((Zios)))) and (((Jews))) as part of their conspiracy insider clique. Like everything they took something that was sweet and turned it into hateful and racist.

            • Pat Kittle January 1, 2017

              BB Grace:
              Perhaps you would answer my initial question. I don’t like repeating myself, but here it is:

              SERIOUS QUESTION:

              Is there ANY criticism of Jews, Israel, or Zionism that ADL/SPLC types don’t call “antisemitic”?

              …seriously awaiting an answer.

              In the meantime…

              “Staggering Cost of Israel to Americans”:
              — [ ]

              • BB Grace January 1, 2017

                Happy New Year Pat Kittle.

                First, this is my final post on Mr. Costello’s thread concerning his article, “Jew!”, as Mr. Costello emailed me to express that he fears you are treading lightly and he has no interest in my Zionist “shit”. I informed Mr. Costello that you are a lightweight. So go for it Pat Kittle!

                Mr. Costello may not agree that his lack of interest is a form of censorship, but I assure you Pat Kittle and Mr. Costello, my research showed 463 negative articles to one positive article concerning Israel. The information is unbalanced, unfair, untrue, and IF one is genuinely interested in what is Palestine (Israel is Palestine just as Jordan and Trans Jordan are Palestine), post what you’ve got. Lies don’t hurt until they become rocks.

                I witness Jews being attacked far more than any human beings on the face of the Earth.

                Personally, I find the term “anti-Semitic” inapplicable understanding the rich diversity of cultures and nationalities claiming Judaism as their faith.

                My experience knowing many Jews, Chinese Jews, Farsi, Sephardic, Ashkenazi, and branches of Judaism, I find they all relish constructive criticism. Times of Israel is a wonderful paper in that the diversity of opinions is vast and many Jews don’t agree with each other, but they have one thing in common, and that is the fear knowing when people throw rocks and say (((Jew))), it hurts, especially when they are completely innocent of hurting anyone and that is 99%.

                The staggering cost of Israel to America is America benefits more than any nation with it’s investment in Israel, as America gets technology in so many things, medicine, agriculture and arts. What does the USA get for it’s investment in the UN? Never ending wars.

                “The first report was an eye-opener. The OMB calculated that U.S. contributions totaled $4.115 billion in 2004 and $5.327 billion in 2005. The State Department had estimated 2004 contributions at “well over $3 billion” — only about 75 percent of the actual amount.Sep 14, 2012

                How Much Does the UN Cost Us? – Heritage Foundation


                I am convinced that the UN is THE problem and it scapegoats and blames Israel. What I wonder is how amazing would Israel be if there was peace in the ME? There never has been. Jews or not.

                Perhaps you might write an article for the AVA Pat Kittle, the AVA can publish as to spare Mr. Costello from seeing my uninteresting zio “shit” on his thread so I can post on yours? You see, you can say what you want. It is the Zionist who can not. (Note Mr. Bedrock tried to spare Mr. Costello by relocating the thread to Today’s News).


                • Pat Kittle January 1, 2017

                  BB Grace:
                  I read through your predictable Jewish surpremacist self-pity screed, but STILL haven’t seen where you answered my simple basic question:

                  Is there ANY criticism of Jews, Israel, or Zionism that ADL/SPLC types don’t call “antisemitic”?

                  …seriously awaiting an answer.

                  You still have not given an example of that criticism. Tell us, what is the HARSHEST criticism you would accept, without calling it “antisemitic” (or “Jew hatred,” etc.).

                  In the meantime…

                  “Staggering Cost of Israel to Americans”:
                  — [ ]

                  Anyone opening that link will find what you would greatly prefer they not find.

                  BTW, Israel did 9-11:
                  “9-11 — ISRAEL DID IT”:
                  — [ ]
                  “9-11 made understandable”:
                  — [ ]
                  (by Christopher Bollyn and Alan Sabrosky)

                  Details, details.

                  • LouisBedrock January 2, 2017


                    Thanks for these excellent links–I think I hooked you up with “ifamericansknew”.

                    Check out Abby Martin’s videos on Palestinian camps and Israeli demolitions at The Empire Files

                    Ms. Grace is incapable of responding to any criticism of Israel or Jews in an intelligible, logical manner. Arguing with her is like punching a tar baby–you just wear yourself out.

  5. LouisBedrock January 1, 2017

    This is a reposting of a comment I wrote a while ago:

    “Antisemitism” is an euphemism for hatred of Jews. Along with the silly expression “self-hating Jew”, it is frequently used by inarticulate defenders of Israel and Zionism against any critic of Israel. Noam Chomsky, Ralph Schoenman, Norman Finkelstein, and Alexander Cockburn are among those who have tarred with this label. Cockburn lost his job at The Village Voice because of such baseless accusations. Finkelstein, whose parents endured the Warsaw ghetto and the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Maidanek, has been called an antisemite and a self-hating Jew.

    I don’t hate Jews, Muslims, or Christians. I do hate Judaism, Christianity, and Islam for several reasons:

    1. Their tenets are false. They are mythology, not history.

    2. Churches, mosques, and synagogues do not pay property taxes. My property taxes subsidize them. They are centers for propagation of reactionary ideas and policies like genital mutilation; prohibition of abortion, birth control, and sex education; vouchers for religious indoctrination centers instead of public schools; a foreign policy that is not in the interest of most citizens of this country— like the destruction of Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Syria.

    3. Israel is a theocracy and an apartheid state. It is hypocritical to criticize Saudi Arabia and Pakistan but defend Israel. It is hypocritical to condemn apartheid in South Africa and condone it in Israel.

    The creation of Israel has as much to do with Christian Zionism as it does with Jewish Zionism. It has nothing to do with the Holocaust.

    Christian Zionism has its roots in The Reformation in 16th Century Europe. At the heart of Christian Zionism is the belief that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ cannot occur until all Jews have returned to the Israel of Genesis—all the territory between the Nile and the Euphrates, and their conversion to Christianity.

    Arthur Balfour shared these beliefs.

    Even today, much of Israel’s political muscle stems from the 40 or 50 million Christian Zionists in the United States, including many members of Congress.

    The goals of Zionists, Christian or Jewish, coincided with British imperial interests in the 19th and 20th centuries such as the protection of The Suez Canal, protection of British enterprises that extracted and exploited the vast mineral resources of the region, and strategic concerns. Later, Zionist goals would coincide with American interests.

    Israel and Zionism are complex phenomena and these few paragraphs merely touch the surface. Chomsky has written many informative and well documented books and articles about the issue and its coverage in media. His magisterial works MANUFACTURING CONSENT and THE WASHINGTON CONNECTION AND THIRD WORLD FASCISM cover recent history—from about the end of World War II to the late 20th century, and the woeful media biases toward Israel.

    MARRIED TO ANOTHER MAN and THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE offer the perspective of Palestinian scholars Ghada Karmi and Edward Said.

    Finkelstein is a difficult read—he’s not a great writer, but he gives a detailed account of Israel foreign and domestic policy. And he states that his parents, if still alive, would identify with the Palestinians, not Israelis.

    Ralph Schoenman’s THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF ZIONISM offers a well-written account of Israel’s history and its friendly connections with South Africa and Nazi Germany, as well as the association of many Zionist thinkers with Eugenics.

    Israel is an emotional topic. I’ve avoided talking about it with many friends because it could cause the rupture of old friendships; just as I avoid talking about the history of The Catholic Church with many friends for the same reason. But the distorted coverage of this hideous little country and the implications of its existence and actions for all of us should not be ignored.

    I encourage people to read as much about Israel as possible. Ignorance is not bliss. And Israel is not benign.

    Good article about learning about prejudice.

    • Pat Kittle January 1, 2017

      “Antisemitic” (definition):

      A term endlessly brandished by Israel’s war criminals (& their apologists) with the intention of suppressing all questioning of their long criminal history; lately losing much of its oomph.

  6. George Hollister January 1, 2017

    My impression is that anti-Semitism in America is an Eastern city phenomena. I don’t see it here in Mendocino County, or California. I think there is a reason for that.

    It is in Eastern cities where immigrants from Europe settled in ethnic ghettos. These ghettos bred ethnic and cultural prejudices, and most of those prejudices had European.

    Are there anti-semetic slurs heard in California? Yea, from people who either have an Eastern city experience, or are speaking in the abstract about something they are clueless about. My experience in California has been, that unless someone who is Jewish goes out of their way to identify themselves as being jewish, no one notices, or cares. It has been that way for a long time.

    Israel? That is an issue in itself. Being pro-Israel does not mean one is pro- Jewish, and being anti-Israel does not mean one is anti-semetic. It stands the same as assessing one’s ethnic prejudices are revealed based on being pro or anti Obama.

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