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Sheldon Kirshner
Sheldon Kirshner

The Persistence Of Antisemitism

On January 5, an American high-tech entrepreneur named Dave Bateman sent an inflammatory e-mail to 50 friends and acquaintances during which he blasted coronavirus vaccines. An anti-vaxxer, Bateman acknowledged that his message “sounds bonkers.” Little did he realize how crazy and deranged it really was. The pathologically twisted missive would cost him his job.

In his crudely racist e-mail, Bateman — one of the founders of the Utah-based Entrata property management software company — wrote, “I believe there is a sadistic effort underway to euthanize the American people. I believe the Jews are behind this.”

Claiming that Jews had conspired to develop the vaccine to weaken the immune systems of people and kill off huge numbers of them, Bateman suggested that their endgame was to be masters of the universe — a theme amplified ad nauseam in that antisemitic czarist forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

“I believe the pandemic and systematic extermination of billions of people will lead to an effort to consolidate all the countries in the world under a single flag with totalitarian rule,” he said. “I pray I’m wrong on this. Utah has got to stop the vaccination drive. Warn your employees. Warn your friends. Prepare. Stay safe.”

Not stopping there, Bateman crawled out on another limb. As he said, “For 300 years the Jews have been trying to infiltrate the Catholic Church and place a Jew at the top. It happened in 2013 with Pope Frances.”

To no one’s surprise, the backlash was immediate.

Embarrassed by Bateman’s baseless accusations and concerned they could adversely affect the company’s bottom line, Entrata’s chief executive officer, Adam Edmunds, lambasted Bateman. In a statement, he condemned antisemitism “in any and all forms” and assured shareholders and the public that Bateman’s moronic conspiracy theories do not reflect the values of Entrata, which has been valuated at more than $1 billion.

The upshot was that Bateman, the largest shareholder in the company, was forced to resign as chairman and step down from the board of directors.

This sorry saga should have ended there. But in a text message to radio station proprietor in Utah, Bateman said it had not been his intention to raise “a big stir.”

Doubling down on his outrageous effrontery, Bateman had the gall to say that he has “nothing but love for the Jewish people”  and that “some of my closest friends are Jews.”

Reverting to form as an anti-vaxxer and an antisemite, he added, “I fear billions of people around the globe right now are being exterminated.”

Bateman’s senseless foray into full bore racism is a stinging reminder that antisemitism, the world’s oldest hatred, is like a deadly virus resistant to all vaccines. It afflicts the educated and the ignorant, the young and the old, the rich and the poor. One never knows where and in what shape it will next appear.

Bateman’s vicious rant, which could have come out of the filthy mouth of a neo-Nazi, underscores the persistence and durability of antisemitism.

It’s depressing to think that antisemitism is endemic and will never vanish from the face of the earth. But judging by the events of the past 2,000 years, it is apparently here to stay.

That being said, antisemitism, such as the type espoused by Bateman, must be fought ferociously by each and every generation. Yet no one should be under the illusion that it will disappear like an exploding star.

About the Author
Sheldon Kirshner is a journalist in Toronto. He writes at his online journal, SheldonKirshner.com
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