Educate someone who has had limited or no interaction with Jews, much like the soldier described in David Bernstein’s Opinion piece, “Why We Must Rehabilitate The Anti-Semites”(March 15), and that person might be persuaded to change, perhaps move forward towards a place of fellowship and understanding. But, more likely than not, those who were taught from an early age to hate, those who were brought up on textbooks and holy books replete with language that reviles Jews, those who have willingly internalized the propaganda, those people may feign remorse or spout empty apologies but their minds are usually made up.
How naïve is the idealism of Mr. Bernstein in light of Rep. Ilhan Omar, who famously said, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,” or Louis Farrakhan, who called Jews “termites.” They and their minions are unlikely to be convinced, no matter how well-meaning or intense the effort to try to “rehabilitate” them.
Mr. Bernstein writes: “Why pray tell, would we refuse to take an apology? Can’t we take yes for an answer … why should we denounce someone who apologizes?” His approach may well be dangerous, a utopian ideal divorced from reality. Perhaps Mr. Bernstein should venture onto a college campus, Columbia, or Brooklyn College or NYU, and engage with a BDS protester in an effort to rehabilitate. He will, in all likelihood, receive a painful dose of reality.