San Francisco has been in the press a lot lately (and inspired some pretty funny Jay Leno riffs) because of Gavin Newsom’s sexual misconduct with his ex-campaign manager’s wife. It’s sordid, it’s sexy, and, at bottom, it’s not troubling. That is, as with all good sex scandals, we can purse up our lips disapprovingly, look for the scintillating, salacious details, and know that, in the grand scheme of things, this story will have absolutely no effect on our lives.
The problem with this sex scandal is that it’s been useful to depress two other, much uglier and more significant stories out of that same city. The first story sheds some light on the renewed fervor and aggression of Holocaust deniers. Eli Wiesel, a famed Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner (one of those who actually deserved the prize), was assaulted and almost kidnapped at a San Francisco hotel by a Holocaust denier who had been stalking him for some time. Wiesel sees the attack on him as something larger than a single sick person’s obsessive mania:
Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel said in an interview published Monday that an attack on him earlier this month in San Francisco shows that Holocaust deniers are increasing worldwide and getting bolder by the day.
The Holocaust scholar was dragged from an elevator and roughed up during a peace conference at a San Francisco hotel on Feb. 1, according to police. The author was not injured.
“Until today they used words; now they have switched to violence,” Wiesel told Milan-based daily Corriere della Sera. “Their numbers are growing by the day.”
He’s right. In year’s past, Holocaust deniers were small groups of greasy haired wackos skulking around at hole-in-wall conferences. That all changed when Ahmadinijad convened the world’s most “prestigious” Holocaust denial conference — one that Matthias K