Calling Jude
 By Judy Andreas
I was comfortably seated in the beauty parlor, having my monthly argument with Father Time, when suddenly my cell phone rang.   The voice on the other end asked, "Is this Jude the Holocaust Denier?"  Having been caught off guard, I had no pithy response. I neither denied the appellation nor did I embark on a lengthy explanation of my readings about the event.  I merely laughed.  Perhaps it was the nervous laugh of someone who suddenly realized that the calls, which had begun on Tuesday, were becoming habitual. Perhaps it was the laugh of someone who wondered how far this creep would go to make my life uncomfortable.  I suspected, however, that a response would have fallen on deaf ears.  Actually, it would have fallen on no ears, since the caller immediately hung up, and obviously, this man was already "hung up" when he dialed my number.  It had been but another hit and run,  though less mordacious than its predecessor.  Yes, friends, it was not the first call of this nature that had found my ear.
On Tuesday,  I was driving to Nyack, an artsy little village in Rockland County, en route to a wonderful independent bookstore that has stocked my new book.  I was "Jude the Joyous",  when suddenly, my cell phone interrupted the transcendent strains of Ralph Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending,  and replaced it with The Jude Descending.
 The caller began "Are you proud to be on 'Holocaust Denier' Jeff Rense's web site?"  There it was again, the H.D. accusation.  But this time the "gentleman" lurched into a fulmination of naughty words and phrases.  He called me an anti-Semite.  He called me a bitch.  And he called me the C word. (Propriety prevents me from spelling the word, but I will give you a clue:  it does not stand for "cute" or "cuddly")  The crass comments were followed by the customary cowardly "click". 
The Holocaust is a topic that I have neither written about nor have I denied.  I have, however, read and viewed videos challenging the official story and I am well acquainted with the voices of revision and do not call them "Holocaust Deniers".   To me, they are people who are questioning the details of what occurred during World War 2.  Why should questioning be a crime?
I was born of Jewish parents but, fortunately, none of my family had an experience of the Holocaust.  And yet,  I am deeply aware of the sensitive nature of this event and I know people who have lost entire families during that bloody period. However, nobody, to my knowledge, is suggesting that the Jews were not rounded up and put in camps and ghettos.  Nobody is suggesting that they were not treated in a horrific manner.
World War 2 was a tragedy for many different peoples and I have heard that over 50 million  died.  There were non Jewish Polish people, Russians, Germans and Austrians.  And, of course, lest we not forget the Gypsies, who were also targets.  So although the details may be open (or not be open) to debate,  nobody is saying the event did not occur.   Nobody is denying the event.  Correct me if I am wrong.
I am a pacifist and feel that the death of one person is one person too many.  I also cringe at the possibility that there could be manipulation and distortion in the details and that people could be profiting on the death and despair of others.   And so, I welcome debate on all sides.   Agree or disagree with the revisionists, I do not believe that they are committing a crime by asking.   I do not believe that their questions merit the punishment which they are receiving.  I believe that the truth can stand on its own, and, at the end of the day, it is only the truth that everyone is after.  
It is a frightening reality that in these troubled times, asking questions has become a hate crime in many places.   Questioners have been silenced and several of their voices have been placed behind bars.
When I wrote the essay, Question Everything",  I meant EVERYTHING.  Could that have been what had angered my caller?  Perhaps questions were anathema to this man. Perhaps he was hoping to intimidate me into assuming the guise of  "Jude the Obedient". 
I was reminded of my essay, Freedom of Speech, RIP.   The phone call was merely another shot being fired at the "remains" of this once laudable constitutional right.   And though it was miniscule compared to what others were experiencing,  it was vicious in its own respect.(or lack thereof)
Being the object of name-calling is not a new experience for "Jude the Jaded".  Peppered among my usually flattering email is the occasional malicious missive.  The insults have run the gamut and spanned the spectrum. They have been hurled at me from all sides.  I have been called  a  "Jewish hypocrite", an "Aryan bootlicker", an "N lover", an anti-Semite, a self-hating Jew, and now, a Holocaust denier.
And so, as I watch the first major snowfall blanket Suffern, I find myself in the midst of an identity crisis.  Who am I, if not "Jude the Confused"?  Aren't I greater than the labels that are being flung in my direction?  Aren't we all greater? 
Perhaps if my 'gentleman' caller had thoroughly read Jeff Rense's site, he might have stumbled across the following quotation...  
 "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
Noam Chomsky
Copyright 2005: Judy Andreas



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