Warning Today’s Memo is Highly Controversial and I Do Not Pretend to be Objective
I can be silent no longer.
I am prejudiced concerning Jews. But my prejudice is not against them. I am prejudiced in their favor.
Tulsa, Oklahoma – 1978: 20 year-old me is in need of a car. I dream of a Triumph Spitfire. Waking early one Saturday morning I scan the classifieds to see, “1973 Triumph Spitfire. Runs good but needs work. $900.” There is no telephone number given. Breathless, I drive like a madman to the address listed and find a fabulous, British racing green sports car glistening in a driveway. The man who answers the door, Irv Lenovitz, is the first Jew I have ever met. “Here are the keys,” he tells me. “Drive the car and tell me what you think.” A quick spin around the block tells me all that I need to know.
“Mr. Lenovitz, the steering wheel jerks back and forth only because one of the tires has a bubble protruding from the tread. Twenty-nine dollars will make this car as good as new.” Smiling, Lenovitz replies, “So you would like to buy it?” “Yes, sir,” I answer, extending a check for the full nine hundred, “and I’ll be happy to give you this check for it but I feel you should know that there are insufficient funds in the account to cover it.” No longer smiling, Lenovitz asked, “Why would I want such a check?” “Because I will leave the car with you until Monday morning, at which time I will return with the cash.” Accepting my check, Lenovitz nods and says, “The car will be here.” Nervous, I take a deep breath and say, “Mr. Lenovitz, this car is worth at least 22 hundred dollars and there is no telephone number in your ad. Please believe me when I tell you that a lot of people will soon be here with cash in hand.” Lenovitz stiffened almost imperceptibly, then quietly responded, “Young man, I said the car would be here.”
Monday morning came and I was ecstatic to see that Lenovitz and the car were still there. He smiled at me after he counted the cash and said, “To you, I should have listened.” “Why? What happened?” I asked. “People came and came and I tried to explain our deal but they would not hear me.” Lenovitz shook his head. “One man was determined to put fifteen hundred dollars into my shirt pocket and I kept pushing away his hands and almost we had a fistfight. Finally, my son hid your car at a grocery store so the people who came to this house would no longer see it in the driveway.”
I could name a lot of people who would quietly have torn up my hot check for 900 dollars and taken the other man’s 1,500 in cash.
My Jewish friends tell me that my prejudice in favor of Jews is as irrational as any other prejudice. But I can honestly say that in the many thousands of dealings I’ve had with them since that fateful day in 1978, not once has a Jewish person ever failed to do precisely as they promised they would do. Several of my closest friends today are Jewish and among them are many Israelis. These peace-hungry friends are fighting for their very lives in the Middle East but still they use restraint, fighting mostly house to house and hand to hand so that innocent Moslem lives will not be lost. When terrorists scream of atrocities supposedly committed by Jews, we print it as Front Page news. But when those accusations are proven to be utterly false, we print only a small paragraph at the bottom of page 19. Israel is losing a public relations war in the minds of most Americans and I can only say that this troubles me deeply. The accusation that Jews are violent and unfair makes me laugh so hard that I cry.
Yes, that’s it. That must be it.
That must be why I’m crying.
Roy H. Williams
PS – The always shockingly eloquent Dennis Miller shares his thoughts on the subject at click “Executive Summary on the Middle East.”