Terry Glavin, Special to the SunOf course, Felton wins either way. Felton, who resembles the character Dwight Shrute from The Office, either he gets to speak and gets free publicity for his bigotry, or pressure builds on the Vancouver Public Library to drop the program and Felton can go back to his neo-Nazi and Iranian buddies and claim "censorship," gaining more publicity.
British novelist Martin Amis recently confessed to being at a loss for words whenever he encounters the hysterical, "endocrinal state" that seems to befall certain people when the subject of Israel comes up in conversation.
"I just don't understand it," Amis said. "I know we're supposed to be grown up about it and not fling around accusations of anti-Semitism, but I don't see any other explanation."
And this got me to thinking. If it's not anti-Semitism, then what's the proper word for it?
What is the right word for a book like Greg Felton's The Host and the Parasite: How Israel's Fifth Column Consumed America?
What is the right word for Felton's thesis, which is that a Zionist "junta" was at work on Sept. 11, 2001, and that al-Qaida is a mere concoction in a secret plan to subvert the American Constitution, demonize Muslims and commit mass murder?
What do you call it when the Vancouver Public Library decides to present Felton, an apologist for the book-banning, journalist-jailing Iranian theocracy, as the featured author on the evening of Feb. 25, and as the library's contribution to national Freedom to Read Week?
What are we allowed to call Felton, who traces his Zionist plot back to the 1940s, when these same Zionists made "common cause" with the Nazis to rid Europe of its Jews, and participated in the herding of Jews into Hitler's gas chambers?
What Felton calls himself is an award-winning investigative reporter and Middle East specialist. His last legitimate journalism job appears to have been with a Vancouver weekly newspaper in the late 1990s, when his brief career as a columnist came to a famously embarrassing end. The column that got Felton into such trouble was also about Zionists.
In that column, Felton traced Zionist swindles and trickery back through time and across Europe to a massive coverup of events that occurred in the Caucasus Mountains about 1,000 years ago.
Europe's Jews aren't Jews at all, Felton wrote. Almost all of them are "Khazars," a long-extinct Turkic tribe from somewhere north of the Caspian Sea.
Felton has been peddling this kind of thing ever since his departure from the weekly Vancouver Courier. He now writes for fringe Arab webzines and an online journal out of Tehran affiliated with the Iranian theocracy's Islamic Propagation Organization.
Felton's byline also routinely shows up on neo-Nazi websites, conspiracy-theory bulletin boards, and sometimes even in pamphlets of the Marxist-Leninist sort. And now, Vancouverites can hear Greg Felton in person.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, Janice Douglas, VPL's director of youth services and community relations told me.
Felton approached the library looking for a gig. There was a "banned book" cachet about his tome, and the library hadn't hosted a Freedom To Read event in years. And Felton's book was "a book that people might not feel free to read."
That last bit was odd, I thought. From Dandelion Books, Felton's obscure little Arizona publisher, you can readily acquire titles about the lost continent of Atlantis, space aliens, New Age mysticism, mind control, 9-11 conspiracies, and even a novel by Yvonne Ridley, the disgraced, Taliban-admiring British journalist now working for an Iranian television network.
The Khazar legend was a staple of 1930s-era European racism. Long after it had been wholly discredited by geneticists, linguists, archeologists and historians, the lie was revived by late 20th-century neo-Nazis.
Neo-Nazis find it useful as a twisted justification for their Jew-hatred. For Israel's more conspiracy-prone enemies, the Khazar legend completely delegitimizes the notion of Israel as a Jewish homeland. That's how Felton employs it, and he gets extra mileage out of it as further evidence of the world's real, hushed-up history, which the Jews don't want you to know.
No, wait. Wrong word. Felton doesn't use the word "Jews" quite that way. It's the Zionists who are behind the curtain with their hands on the levers. Sometimes he uses two words to describe them. Zionist Jews. Jewish lobby. Zionist parasite.
When he calls them Khazars, he can attribute to them "the declared purpose of dispossessing and terrorizing" the Palestinian people, and by that one word -- Khazars -- the Palestinians become the only real Semites in the Holy Land, and Israel itself becomes anti-Semitic.
See how it works?
In Felton's words, Hamas is not an Islamist death cult animated by that classic anti-Semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It's the equivalent of the French resistance during the Second World War, the "passionate defender of Palestinians."
There are no suicide bombings in Felton's lexicon. There are only "sacrifice bombings." Israel itself is a creation of the Nazis. It's the "Zionist Reich."
And that's the sort of ugliness that rushes in the moment the word "Israel" is mentioned in certain fashionable company these days. Martin Amis settled on the words "secularized anti-Semitism" to describe it.
If those aren't the right words, then words fail me.
By the way, even on Felton's website he doesn't bother to mention the specific "awards" he supposedly has received. One can only imagine: "Best Disciple of Mein Führer 1997," perhaps.
VPL should be ashamed in its role in promoting pure anti-semitism and its lack of forethought in seeking scum like Felton to speak.