To the Editor:
I am compelled to answer a response to my Aug. 21 letter “Be careful to classify a hate crime.” Mark Schickman's letter on Aug. 29 was particularly vitriolic.
Mr. Schickman described me as a “veteran anti-Semite” who “takes a page from Nazi Germany.”
I accept Mr. Schickman's right to an opinion, but he overstepped the bounds of reasonable public debate by publishing falsehoods that do nothing for the discussion and only serve to smear me.
What incurred these remarks? I wrote that there should be standards for calling something a “hate crime” in order to maintain the term's integrity. Mr. Schickman's reaction, in the end, cheapens anti-Semitism and the horrors of the Nazi genocides.
This is indicative of my original point. Mr. Schickman demonstrated why terms such as hate crime or anti-Semitic must be used cautiously. His loose use already diminished the significance of these terms. He compared me and my letter to the editor with Hitler's industrial killing machine.
His words are not only a profound insult to myself, but to my many Jewish friends who themselves or whose family members have been victims of real anti-Semitism, not the kind tossed at those who disagree or criticize Israel.
If he values truth he will publish an official apology to myself and those victims of real anti-Semitism for cheapening it. Or, he should try to substantiate his reckless and irresponsible claims. For the sake of those Jews who I have worked, studied, and lived with, I demand it.