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The Anti-Semitism Letters

August 9, 1983

Win McCormack, Editor
Oregon Magazine
208 SW Stark, Suite 500
Portland, OR 97204

Beloved Mr. McCormack,

The two thoroughly distasteful and nasty articles published by your magazine this month (“Bhagwan’s Jewish Problem” and “Last Year at Rajneeshpuram?”) represent a clear change in your attitude towards the Rajneesh community. You have decided to abandon any pretense of objectivity, balance or fairness, and “go for the jugular.” In doing so, you have parted company with the Oregonian and other reputable publications in this state, and joined forces with such weighty intellectual journals as The Dalles Weekly Reminder.

As a Jew, I rate your suggestion that Bhagwan “appears to justify” the slaughter of my ethnic group by Adolf Hitler as one of the most revolting, malicious, and unfounded accusations ever made against Bhagwan and his disciples.

You have missed the point entirely—and, I believe, deliberately. You are trying to incite the Jewish community in Portland to take a political stand against the Rajneeshees by branding Bhagwan “antiSemitic.”

If a compassionate spiritual master like Bhagwan sees the suffering and guilt which his Jewish disciples are carrying as part of their cultural heritage, do you think he points it out so that others can sneer at them?

Bhagwan is a doctor, a surgeon. He heals wounds that no surgeon’s knife, no psychologist’s couch, can ever reach. Your article is like blaming a surgeon for the cancer he seeks to excise.

For example, there is a Jew here, known to me personally, who used to wake up each morning with the smell of burning flesh in his nostrils, long after that personal horror was over. A survivor of the Nazi death camps, his life was a torment until he met Bhagwan. Only now is he free from the horrors of his own memories . . . and you dare to imply, for the sake of a cheap shot at the Rajneeshees, that Bhagwan justifies the Holocaust? Bhagwan is the cure, he is the remedy, and you want to turn him into a Nazi? For shame. It is you who is [sic] exploiting people, not Bhagwan. You are trying to make us appear anti-Semitic because you have decided to join those who want the Rajneeshees out of Oregon. This is perfectly clear from your Editor’s Notes (“Last Year at Rajneeshpuram?”) in which you predict that the unity within the Rajneesh community will soon splinter and that will be the end of us.

One more thing. Bhagwan has told jokes about Poles, Italians, Germans, Blacks, Gays, Hippies, Irishmen—all kinds of people. No one has ever accused him of being “anti-Polish” or “anti-Italian.” But as soon as he tells a joke about Jews, the cry goes up, “anti-Semitic!”

Jokes are an indispensable antidote against the disease of seriousness which Bhagwan teaches us to avoid. Loving laughter, not sensationalized and covert hatred, is the way to a world where all races, religions, and nations can live in peace.

With love,

Swami Krishna Deva
Mayor, City of Rajneeshpuram
P.S. Why do Jews have long noses? Because the air is free.


September 29, 1983

Mr. Robert Krueger
District Director U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
511 NW Broadway
Portland, Oregon

Re: Application of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Dear Mr. Krueger: I am writing to express my opinion that to seriously consider the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s application to remain in this country on a third-preference category allegation would be a grave travesty of justice.

The Bhagwan is an unabashed anti-Semite (please see the enclosed copy of an article in August’s Oregon Magazine). To view his application with favor would be an affront to every person, Jew or non-Jew, who is concerned with anti-Semitism, and would make a mockery of the immigration laws. The continued presence in this country of an anti-Semite who cloaks his views in religious garb can in no way benefit “the national economy, cultural interests, or welfare of the United States”; it can only do damage to those interests.

Very truly yours,

Rose & Stern Kenneth S. Stern
cc: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh Rajneeshpuram, Oregon


October 31, 1983

Mr. Kenneth S. Stern
Kellogg Building, Suite 101
1935 SE Washington
Milwaukie, OR 97222

Dear Mr. Stern:

As a fellow member of the Oregon Bar, and as an individual with thirty-eight years of Jewish heritage, I am appalled by your letter to Robert Krueger of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Services.

I have never had any doubt that the media could distort information and convince a substantial portion of its audience that these distortions were in fact the truth. What concerns me greatly is that an individual such as yourself should take the obviously biased reporting of the Oregon Magazine as the truth and use that distorted piece of journalism as a basis for requesting the denial of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s application with the INS.

I am amazed that you have not attempted to check this matter out more thoroughly with individuals close to the heart of the matter— Rajneeshees themselves. If you had, you would have discovered that over a third of the 1,200 residents of Rajneeshpuram are of a Jewish heritage. You would have discovered that the mayor of the City of Rajneeshpuram and the city planner are both Jews. You would have discovered that two members of the bar, including myself, are Jewish, and that the late husband of Ma Anand Sheela was also a Jew.

The article you supplied to the INS totally distorted quotations from the Bhagwan’s book The Mustard Seed. I advise you to read that book and see the full perspective, rather than relying on the magazine article which contains such distortions.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh has lectured for over twenty years. Approximately 350 books have been published containing those lectures. These works contain statements regarding all religions and peoples, including Jews. If you were to read an actual lecture given by Bhagwan, you would find that he teaches that true religiousness is beautiful. He uses humor and anecdotal material throughout his disclosures in a way that succinctly presents his teachings. If you chose to read further, you would find that Bhagwan loves all people, and makes no distinction between races or religions.

I am certain you will never find a single incident where Bhagwan has ever discriminated against anyone, regardless of race, creed, color, or sexual preference. Bhagwan has seen and spoken to hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world in his years as a spiritual master.

It is most unfortunate that you have chosen the Oregon Magazine as the final word in this matter. Perhaps this letter will be the impetus for a discovery of the real story.

Very truly yours,

Swami Prartho Subhan


November 8, 1983

Mr. Robert Krueger
District Director
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
511 NW Broadway
Portland, Oregon

Re: Application of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Dear Mr. Krueger:

On September 29, 1983, I wrote you expressing my opinion that Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s third-preference category application be denied on the basis of his anti-Semitism. I enclosed with that letter a copy of the article from Oregon Magazine (see enclosure). That article collected some of the anti-Semitic statements of the Bhagwan and his agents.

On November 3, 1983, I received a letter dated October 31, 1983, from Swami Prartho Subhan, Attorney at Law. It responds to the letter I sent you on September 29, 1983. I did not send a copy of my letter to Swami Prartho Subhan, but did do so to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Swami Prartho Subhan does not indicate whether he speaks only for himself, or whether he acts as an attorney for Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

In his letter (enclosed), Swami Prartho Subhan objects to the Oregon Magazine’s article as containing “distorted quotations” from The Mustard Seed. He does not state how these quotations were distorted, however. Additionally, he does not contend that the quote itself is inaccurate. Indeed, he does not question the accuracy of the other quotes or the assertions in the article.

This lack of response is not in the least bit surprising, as his letter assumes the accuracy of those other allegations, and clearly demonstrates that he does not consider those remarks to be anti-Semitic.

Although Swami Prartho Subhan’s letter does lack precision of reference, it seems to refer to the terribly offensive material as “humor and anecdotal material.” Only an anti-Semite would refer to statements about Jews tasting worse than excrement as “humor.” Only an anti-Semite would indulge in gas chamber “humor.” Only an especially dangerous anti-Semite would consider such statements as not only nondefamatory, but excellent teaching technique. Only an especially dangerous anti-Semite could attempt to justify such antiSemitic statements and at the same time deny ever discriminating against anyone.

Swami Prartho Subhan’s letter has only served to heighten my awareness of the danger Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh poses to Jewish people and all others who suffer when racism is not only openly condoned, but is applauded as a tool for enlightenment.

Very truly yours,

Rose & Stern Kenneth S. Stern
cc: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Swami Prartho Subhan