--- "Christopher Mahan" <chris_mahan@yahoo.com>  wrote

Surely you are aware that he may be correct in stating that some jews
may have been communists (it was popular in the Soviet Union between
the wars) and that some of them may have been involved in, how shall
I say this, "purging" certain "christian" elements out of the New
Soviet Society.
On the other hand, he may not be. But for you to say that this did
not in fact happen means that your homework is rosk solid.
Calling them concentration camps may stretch the meaning of the word,
but in the very liberal sense, camps where people are concentrated
may be called concentration camp. Of course, it's a poor choice of
words, but it's not illegal.
By the way, my grandfather was sent to a German labort camp. He was a
captain in a french armor unit in 1940. So don't assume I don't know
what I am talking about.
Finally: calling for a ban does not foster wikilove, so please calm
down before clicking send and review your email to make sure it is constructive.
Chris Mahan
818.943.1850 cell

First, Chris, I never claimed that you don't know what you are talking about.  Also, although it isn't always easy to tell from an e-mail, I believe I am pretty calm (pulse and bp seem about normal).

But I do think you misunderstand me, and WHEELER.  WHEELER was not arguing that some Jews were communists (indeed, many were), nor was he arguing that some of the people who established and ran Soviet prison camps were Jewish (certainly, some were).  He wasn't arguing these things, because these issues are not relevant to the article under discussion.  He was neither responding to anyone's argument that "no Jews were communists" nor was he suggesting that the fact that some Jews were communists (or, some communists were Jews) should be included in the article.  He made his assertions solely in the context of a personal attack against AndyL.

More importantly, he did not (as you suggest) claim that some Jews were communists, or some communists were Jews, or that communists persecuted Christians (I wouldn't take issue with any of these claims, and certainly don't think any of them are anti-Semitic).  Rather, he identified Jews with communists, thus repeating a Nazi slur.  He singled out "Jewish" communists as guilty for destroying the Russian Orthodox Church.  This is offensive for two reasons: first, for a very long time it is the Orthodox Russian Church who persecuted Jews and promoted anti-Semitism; secondly, after the Revolution the Communist Party as a whole was involved in persecuting the Church.  Why single out Jews?  It is such singling out that is offensive.  He also referred to "Jewish concentration camps," which I take to be anti-Semitic.  I have no objection to calling the gulags concentration camps; I do object to calling them "Jewish" concentration camps as if "Jews" in general are responsible.  This is offensive on its face.

If you still have trouble understanding the difference between anti-Semitism and a reasonable assertion of facts, let me try an analogy.  Some Nazis were brought up in the Catholic Church.  Yet it would be misleading and offensive for me to talk of "Catholic Nazis who persecuted Jews" (because non-Catholic Nazi's also persecuted Jews, and there were Catholics who helped Jews), or to talk of "Catholic concentration camps."  Yes, there is a complex relationship between the Catholic Church and the Nazis, as there is a complex relationship between the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Jews.  But to talk of "Catholic concentration camps" is just as offensive as talking about "Jewish concentration camps." 

Perhaps you have never suffered from hate-speech, or are simply insensitive to the matter, Chris.  You certainly have a right to disagree with me and even to say this message is unconstructive.  But trust me, I am calm, I have thought about this, and I believe it is constructive.  What WHEELER wrote is not just a violation of wikicivility, it is an example of hate speech.  It served and serves absolutely no purpose at wikipedia, except to use this space as a vehicle for expressing hate speech.  I am against that.


Steven L. Rubenstein
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Bentley Annex
Ohio University
Athens, Ohio 45701