A Review of “The Devil That Never Dies” by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Part 1

Brenton Sanderson

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen is best known for his 1996 book Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. Despite its flawed historiography, this polemical work attracted enormous media attention and established his reputation as a putative authority on “anti-Semitism” and the “Holocaust.” He was soon given a regular platform to peddle his extreme brand of Jewish apologetics in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the New Republic, and other Jewish-controlled media organs around the world.

A former associate professor of political science and social studies at Harvard University, Goldhagen has since produced further books that morally indict Europeans for their inveterate “anti-Semitism” and supposedly enthusiastic participation in the “Holocaust.” These include A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair (2002), and Worse than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity (2009). His latest offering is his 2013 book The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise of Global Antisemitism, published by a major commercial publisher and touted as “a groundbreaking — and terrifying — examination of the widespread resurgence of antisemitism in the twenty-first century.”

Goldhagen favors using the term “antisemitism” over the hyphenated “anti-Semitism” — doubtless because the latter implies the existence of a “Semitism” which could (and indeed does) provide the dialectical basis for “anti-Semitism.” Goldhagen, in this way, signals his rejection of the reality that hostility to Jews stems from conflicts of interest between Jews and non-Jews in a Darwinian world. The assertion by Jews of their ethnic interests (Semitism) inevitably leads to resentment from those whose interests are compromised as a result (so-called anti-Semitism). To admit this basic truth is to admit that non-Jews (including Europeans) have interests that are legitimate, and that the desire to resist those opposed to our interests is eminently rational.

For Goldhagen, however, Jewish behavior is irrelevant for understanding the hostility to Jews that has existed across nations and cultures for over two millennia. He observes that: “Antisemitism has moved people, societies, indeed civilizations for two thousand years, and has done so despite the other vast changes in the world and in these civilizations and societies — economic, scientific, technological, political, social, and cultural.”[1] Despite the persistent, and often intense, antagonism between Jews and non-Jews throughout much of recorded history, Goldhagen argues that “attributing antisemitism to a reasonable (if sometimes exaggerated) reaction against the Jews’ own conduct” is an example of “faulty thinking.”[2] 

Explaining “Antisemitism”

Rather than being a predictable and rational response to Jewish behavior, anti-Jewish sentiment is, for Goldhagen, a form of demonic possession. He labels “antisemitism” a “devil” and claims that “millions upon millions” of morally dysfunctional non-Jews are in the thrall of this fiendish embodiment of unparalleled evil.

The devil, with us for two thousand years, is back. This devil has already insinuated itself into hundreds of millions. He has warped religions. He has inflamed minds and hearts the world over. Unleashed riots and pogroms. Led to the expulsion of millions. He has so perverted people’s sensibilities that he has convinced them to brutalize and torture masses of people in the name of goodness and God. He has gone further, inducing people to commit mass murder again and again, including one of humanity’s most cataclysmic assaults, the attempted murder of an entire people, felling six million of them in one historical instant. The devil, after a period of relative quiescence, has reappeared, flexes his muscles again, and stalks the world, with ever more confidence, power and followers. The devil is not a he but an it. The devil is antisemitism.[3]

The words “antisemitism,” “antisemitic” and “antisemite” have almost supernatural powers of imprecation for Goldhagen; for him they denote the purest form of evil that exists on the planet. By contrast, Jewish hostility to non-Jews has no equivalent labels — leading us to falsely assume that it does not exist. In case we have any doubt as to what “antisemitism” is, and who is deserving of the dreaded epithet of “antisemite,” Goldhagen solemnly informs us that:

Antisemitism is thought. It is emotion. It is speech. It is action. It is inaction. Antisemitism exists and can be identified if any of these in an anti-Jewish form are present, and a person is antisemitic if he or she engages in any of them. A person speaking antisemitic thoughts, prejudicial thoughts against Jews, is an antisemite regardless of his emotions, his words, his actions, or inactions. A person with an aversion or hostility toward Jews, which he feels as instinctive, even without having more coherent prejudicial thoughts or uttering words or taking actions against Jews, is an antisemite. A person who engages in antisemitic action against Jews, regardless of his views of them, is an antisemite. When it comes to prejudice, as with many other things, when you do bad things (your inner thoughts and emotions notwithstanding), you are what you do. And if a person fails to see that obviously prejudicial words against Jews is [sic] prejudicial and therefore antisemitic, this emerges from prejudicial perception bias, and it too constitutes antisemitism.[4]

Having claimed, in truly paranoid words, that even thoughts (or the lack of them) can be “antisemitic” and pose an existential threat to Jews, Goldhagen discusses the results of surveys conducted by the Anti-Defamation League to assess the extent of anti-Jewish sentiment around the world. These supposedly “show that tens of millions, indeed hundreds of millions of people on different continents are antisemitic.”[5] However, these findings, he claims, significantly underreport the extent of “antisemitism” because “people are reluctant to express their prejudicial views when such views are not sanctioned in the public sphere, and such views might get them dubbed racists or antisemites, especially as the latter might be seen to link them to Hitler and the gas chambers.”[6] For Goldhagen, the alleged homicidal gas chambers are absolutely central to the “Holocaust” narrative and the social and political order that has been founded upon it, because without them the “Holocaust” would “not have become synonymous with evil and so delegitimized everything, including antisemitism, that seemed related to it.“[7]

Goldhagen informs us that “according to surveys that tap only a few of many possible antisemitic themes,” some 150 million in the European Union and 45 million in the United States “hold multiple interlocking antisemitic views of Jews — and thus the reservoir for the expansion of antisemitic discourse and other antisemitic manifestations is considerable, disturbingly so.”[8]  Nevertheless, while claiming that “antisemitism” in the United States remains “alarming” and a “substantial problem,” Goldhagen finds it is “extremely heartening” that “the number of people who held multiple and interlocking antisemitic notions in 1964 was about one in three (30 percent),” while “today it is one in seven (15 percent).”

He ascribes this decline to the fact that: “Americans and the character of the public culture and politics they have forged have brought this improvement about,” and proposes that: “Education, which in the United States decidedly teaches people anti-prejudicial views and integrates them more into society’s public discourse, profoundly lessens antisemitism.”[9] Similarly, in Europe, “Younger generations, reared in new public discourses with new plausibility structures and taught in schools a non-antisemitic paradigm of the world, inevitably grew up less antisemitic, so antisemitism became less prevalent across Europe, especially in its antisemitic heart, Germany.”[10]

The “education” and “new public discourses” that Goldhagen refers to are euphemisms for the Jewish domination of the West’s educational, media and entertainment sectors, and their assiduous policing of all public discourse — especially as it relates to Jews. The reality is that Jews are the only identifiable people that, except for the internet, control the flow of information throughout the West, and have a profound need to do so. When Jewish motivations and behavior are widely known and discussed, anti-Jewish sentiment inevitably rises. With the consolidation of Jewish power throughout the West from the 1960s onwards, Western governments and the media closed off critics of Jews’ access “to the public sphere and to shaping its discourse.” The result was that potential critics of Jews were “publically muzzled and had to exercise enormous self-censorship.”[11]

Goldhagen notes that people in Europe and North America must still be careful in how they talk about Jews because “the taboos on the manner of many aspects of antisemitic expression … still hold.”[12] This is hardly surprising given that everything people hear from the mainstream media has passed through the media filter. The unmediated peer-to-peer communication offered by the internet is deeply disturbing to Goldhagen who worries that “the Internet in particular is available to everyone all the time anywhere, with the power of fuelling and sustaining prejudice that is vast, new, in this respect revolutionary, and continuing only to increase in scope and intensity.”[13]

Jews have attempted to change the West’s conception of free speech from freedom of political speech (the original intention of the First Amendment) to freedom to engage in obscenity and pornography — which they are keen to promote because, in line with the conclusions of The Authoritarian Personality, they associate sexual and moral looseness with philo-Semitism, and sexual continence and moral rectitude with fascism and anti-Semitism. Thus, while keeping the external appearance of free speech, they have changed its essence through propaganda films like The People v Larry Flint. Free speech traditionally meant the right to criticize those in power, not the right to broadcast pornography, as Jewish activists would have us believe.

Through their control of the mainstream media and entertainment industries, the anti-White agenda of a tiny hostile two-percent minority has become the mass culture of the contemporary West. In this culture there are no taboos about attacking and insulting White people. It is never hate when Hollywood is attacking “rednecks,” or “white trash,” or “Euro-trash,” or “dumb blonds” or preachers or Germans or Southerners or Catholic priests. That is never hate. It is only hate when people make pointed criticisms of Jews, factual or not. Hollywood subjects White people to an endless barrage of insults where White women are routinely depicted as stupid, brainless sluts, and White men are depicted as weak, wimpy, foolish and useless. The blonde male as arch villain is a longstanding Hollywood trope. Meanwhile, ruthless, avaricious bankers are always depicted as sociopathic WASPs rather than as the Jews who actually dominate the banking and finance industries. Unappealing Jews or Blacks are cast as leading men and the love interests of attractive White women, regardless of how improbable this is in the real world.

Because Blacks and Whites (except in marginal cases) do not naturally mix, this has to be propagandized. So the message from Hollywood to White women is: “Go mate with Blacks, Blacks are really cool and noble, and athletic, and powerful, and they are sexually superior.” All these memes are continuously put out by Hollywood in order to persuade Whites to do what they would not do naturally. This propaganda continuously chips away at the margins of White society and over time it has an erosive effect — it erodes the stable homogenous, White bulk of the population. This is exactly what Hollywood and the media, are doing. They systematically work away at White heterosexual normativity.

Unsurprisingly, Goldhagen offers us no corresponding analysis of Jewish attitudes towards non-Jews. Besides the fact that such information is not even collected, for Goldhagen, Jewish attitudes are not even relevant for understanding the historical and contemporary phenomenon of “antisemitism.” Indeed, he (apparently with a straight face) assures us that: “We do not need to know much about Jews in order to study antisemitism. Prejudice is an attribute of the prejudiced people and not of their victims. This is especially true for antisemitism and Jews.”[14]

He thus attempts to quarantine Jewish behavior (and the Jewish mindset) from any form of critical analysis, and contends that: “The diversity of Jews over time and today — similar to Europeans and Christians — and their many, depending on time and place, communal and individual differences of concerns and practices, render finding the common denominator, especially with regard to how Jews relate or would relate to non-Jews, an exercise in absurdity,”[15] This is incredible hypocrisy and disingenuousness coming from someone who made his name advancing a generalizing hypothesis about Germans in his book Hitler’s Willing Executioners.

Even Hannah Arendt, that doyen of Jewish intellectuals and activists, was willing to concede that Jewish attitudes and behavior were integral to understanding the historical and contemporary phenomenon of “anti-Semitism.” In The Origins of Totalitarianism she notes that:

It was Jewish historiography, with its strong polemical and apologetical bias, that undertook to trace the record of Jew-hatred in Christian history. … When this Jewish tradition of an often violent antagonism to Christians and Gentiles came to light “the general Jewish public was not only outraged but genuinely astonished,” so well had its spokesmen succeeded in convincing themselves and everybody else of the non-fact that Jewish separateness was due exclusively to Gentile hostility and lack of enlightenment. Judaism, it was now maintained, chiefly by Jewish historians, had always been superior to other religions in that it believed in human equality and tolerance. …

This self-deceiving theory, accompanied by the belief that the Jewish people had always been the passive, suffering object of Christian persecutions, actually amounted to a prolongation and modernization of the old myth of chosenness. … Historiography “has until now dealt more with the Christian disassociation from the Jews than with the reverse,” thus obliterating the otherwise more important fact that Jewish dissociation from the Gentile world, and more specifically from the Christian environment, has been of greater relevance for Jewish history than the reverse, for the obvious reason that the very survival of the people as an identifiable entity depended on such voluntary separation and not, as was currently assumed, upon the hostility of Christians and non-Jews.[16]

In his masterful work The Ordeal of Civility, sociologist John Murray Cuddihy likewise noted that: “Attention must be paid to the deeply apologetic structure of Diaspora intellectuality” whereby the Jewish “intelligentsia ‘explains,’ ‘excuses,’ and ‘accounts’ for the otherwise offensive behavior of its people. All the ‘moves’ made in the long public discussion of the Jewish Emancipation problematic [i.e. Jews leaving the ghetto and confronting a more refined European culture] constitute, in the case of the detraditionalized intellectuals, an apologetic strategy.”[17] The Devil That Never Dies stands squarely within this Jewish tradition of apologetic ethnic strategizing.


In a work of some 486 pages which purports to be a rigorous and exhaustive analysis of historical and contemporary “antisemitism,” Goldhagen fails to mention (let alone discuss) the role of Jewish activist organizations in spearheading the demographic transformation of the West through successfully lobbying for open borders and state-sanctioned multiculturalism, and the hostility this inevitably provokes on the part of dispossessed Whites. Indeed, the words “immigration,” “multiculturalism,” “Frankfurt School,” and “Hollywood” are not even included in the book’s (13-page) index. So it is not surprising that no mention is made of Kevin MacDonald and his theory of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy — including an extensive discussion of Jewish intellectual apologetics in Chapter 7 of Separation and Its Discontents. And this despite the fact that Goldhagen, with his obsession with every conceivable manifestation of “antisemitism,” is undoubtedly aware of both the man and the theory. We can only conclude that the reason for this omission is that he is incapable of offering a halfway convincing refutation of MacDonald’s thesis.

Goldhagen acknowledges the far-reaching significance of the intellectual revolution initiated by Darwin which fundamentally transformed our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. Nonetheless, for him, Darwinian conceptions of Jewish relations with non-Jews remain illegitimate lines of inquiry — doubtless because they inevitably fail to exonerate Jewish behavior as a likely cause of “antisemitism.” He even, breathtakingly, proposes that Jews have never really competed with non-Jews for access to resources, claiming that “there was no acute, objective conflict over territory, resources, or political control or domination.”[18]

On this farcical basis he dismisses the applicability of the most compelling intellectual framework we have for understanding intergroup dynamics, claiming that “science has often been perverted to justify such [“antisemitic”] thinking and practice… by merging it with a new body of derivative social Darwinian thought that rendered Jews a biologically-based race of evildoers.”[19] So according to Goldhagen’s circular reasoning, any attempt to understand “antisemitism” along Darwinian lines is necessarily a perversion of science and is itself an example of “antisemitism.” 

Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy

Paradoxically, given that he rejects the validity of Darwinian interpretations of relations between Jews and non-Jews, Goldhagen readily (if unintentionally) concedes that Judaism is a group evolutionary strategy geared to ensuring the survival of Jews as genetically distinct population. He acknowledges, for instance, that Judaism comprises “a mutually reinforcing religion and ethnicity — Judaism and Jewishness — that provided Jewish communities around the world the solid foundation to resist the natural tendencies to assimilate.”[20] Furthermore, he notes that:

From the beginning, the notion existed that Jews formed a people, an identifiable ethnic group, like a large family — after all they were the twelve tribes — and not merely a freely come together collection of believers. More than just a religious group, and still more than merely an ethnic group, the Bible refers to Jews as Am Yisrael, the People of Israel, or better translated as the Nation of Israel, an ethnic group with an overriding corporate sense of community that also possesses a territorial home. Even when in a diaspora with no foreseeable prospect of establishing their country, Jews thought of themselves as a nation, with a fixed idea of a national home’s existence — the land of ancient Israel and Jerusalem as its capital. Only in the post-Enlightenment period, and then ever more so in the twentieth century, when the prospect of citizenship and genuine acceptance in other countries seemed possible did this notion of nationhood begin to break down — though Jews’ sense of peoplehood and their commonality as an ethnic group still endured.[21]

According to Goldhagen, the capacity of Israeli Jews to “survive and prosper under a state of siege, and ongoing existential threat, for more than sixty years, is but the latest installment of this profound determination to adapt and survive.”[22] Meanwhile, any profound determination on the part of non-Jewish groups to adapt and survive has, at least since the early twentieth century, been deemed by Jewish intellectuals and activists to be pathological.

Judaism’s status as a group evolutionary strategy, rather than a proselytizing religion, which is reflected in how it has erected “considerable impediments deterring potential converts,” has, according to Goldhagen, “been significant for Jews’ relations with the worlds of non-Jews, and for antisemitism’s especial strangeness, because Jews have not competed for non-Jews’ bodies and souls.[23] Whilst it is true that Jews have not competed with Christianity and Islam for converts (rather the opposite), they have aggressively competed with non-Jews for access to resources and the enhanced reproductive opportunities that accompanies such access. In their quest to outcompete other groups, diasporic Jews have also, since the Enlightenment, attempted to reshape other societies in their own interests through subjecting them to radical critique, direct ethno-political activism, and through their domination and construction of culture.

While promoting pluralism and diversity and encouraging the dissolution of the racial and ethnic identification of Europeans, Jews have endeavored to maintain precisely the kind of intense group solidarity they decry as immoral in others. They have also initiated and led movements that have attempted to discredit the traditional foundations of Western society: patriotism, the Christian basis for morality, social homogeneity, and sexual restraint. At the same time, within their own communities, they have supported the very institutions they have attacked in Western societies. This is Darwinian group competition played out in the human cultural arena.

Nature knows no pluralistic racial harmony. Nature knows only struggle for position. Even plants fight with each other for physical space and access to sunlight and to water. So it is with human demographic change. The races, just like ants and every other lower form of animal, fight and struggle for room, for sunlight, and for all the things they need to thrive. “White flight” reflects the fact that when living conditions have become unsuitable for Whites to reproduce and to live happily, they exit those conditions and seek better conditions elsewhere; that’s why 85 percent of the time, Whites move to a Whiter area. While some claim that “Whites are suicidal” or “don’t care” about being displaced, their behavior shows that a great majority of them do care. What they are missing is leadership that is willing to stand up to the forces that seek our destruction.

One of the ways that races do battle for position is through controlling the thought and ideas that go into the minds of their competitors. That explains the push by Jews for ownership of the media and entertainment industries. Media influence is simply another aspect of ethnic competition: filling the heads of their competitors with things that are not true, but things which help Jews to thrive. Those non-Jews who are aware of what is going on naturally resent this waging of ethnic warfare through the selective dissemination of information.

When seen from this broader sociobiological perspective, “antisemitism” becomes easily comprehensible and loses its “especial strangeness.” Goldhagen, however, is willfully blind to this reality, and for him “antisemitism” remains a tormenting mystery:

Antisemitism has perplexed people for centuries. Why is there so much hatred against Jews? Ordinarily we would expect such a numerically small, historically mainly impotent people to have been ignored or, at most, been the object of some local prejudices. But instead Jews have been the targets of an enduring, widespread, and volcanic animosity, the world’s all-time leading prejudice. Why are people around the world — this is especially relevant to Europeans — so susceptible to antisemitism?[24]

We would indeed expect a “numerically small, historically impotent people” to have been ignored. However, this description does not accurately apply to Jews. The amount of hostility directed at, say, Gypsies, much less  Mennonites or Mormons, trifles in comparison to that directed against Jews. Anti-Jewish hatred has been a defining component of major historical upheavals, such as the Spanish Inquisition, and the rise of National Socialism — due in no small part to Jews being an elite with radically different interests than the people they have lived among.

Numerically small they may have been (though not always), but “historically impotent” is an egregious misrepresentation of Jews. Any history of the Jews will invariably stress the profound influence they have exerted on others, and how the scale of this influence has been largely independent their numbers. One outstanding area of influence has, of course, been in the realm of religion. Goldhagen’s moral indictment of Christianity for its inherent “antisemitism” will be examined in Part 2 of this review.

Go to Part 2.


[1] Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, The Devil That Never Dies (New York NY: Little, Brown & Co., 2013), 1.

[2] Ibid. 406.

[3] Ibid. Ix; 9.

[4] Ibid. 22-3.

[5] Ibid. 255.

[6] Ibid. 256.

[7] Ibid. 110.

[8] Ibid. 287.

[9] Ibid. 286; 282.

[10] Ibid. 122.

[11] Ibid. 327.

[12] Ibid. 329.

[13] Ibid. 253.

[14] Ibid. 12.

[15] Ibid. 20.

[16] Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (Orlando FL;Harcourt, 1966), xii-xiv.

[17] John Murray Cuddihy, The Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Levi-Strauss and the Jewish struggle with Modernity (New York NY; Beacon, 1987), 6.

[18] Goldhagen, The Devil That Never Dies, 79.

[19] Ibid. 4.

[20] Ibid. 14.

[21] Ibid. 15.

[22] Ibid. 14.

[23] Ibid, 13.

[24] Ibid. 11.

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