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Comments on "Memories of Madison": White ethno-nationalism and Zionism

Kevin MacDonald

March 27, 2009

I received many positive responses to my VDARE.com article “Memories of Madison: My life in the New Left” — quite a few from people who went through similar experiences. I hope that some of these people would write up their experiences. They are very valuable as a firsthand account of history. Another column based on others’ experiences would certainly have quite a bit of interest.

A lot of us are still “getting over” those days, and there can be little doubt that the sensibilities of the 1960s are a major ingredient in our current cultural malaise. The big story of the 20th century in the US is a struggle for influence by the Jewish-dominated left. The Jewish Old Left was contained during the 1950s by the influence of McCarthyism. But the breakthrough of the New Left into the mainstream culture in the 1960s has had a very large influence on current cultural norms, especially on elite attitudes toward immigration and multiculturalism. As I mentioned in the article, the implicit agenda of the Jewish left has been the general displacement of non-Jewish whites.

Two comments bear an extended discussion. A correspondent, Mark A. Mendlovitz, asks why I “oppose Zionism. Is not what Israeli Jews are doing analogous to what you and I are seeking to do here in the U.S.?”

It seems to me that Mendlovitz and others like him should first and foremost ask this question of their fellow Jews. That is, the vast majority of American Jews are Zionists but the organized Jewish community and the vast majority of American Jews are opposed to the idea that European-Americans have any legitimate interest in retaining political and cultural dominance. My view is that Jews who are interested in supporting European Americans in these goals should attempt to change the views of other Jews.

I certainly do not oppose the principle that it is legitimate for people to carve out a piece of real estate so that they can develop their own form of ethnic nationalism. Indeed, in a previous VDARE.com article, I emphasized the legitimacy and benefits of universal ethnic nationalism, based on the work of Jerry Z. Muller and Frank Salter.

Mendlovitz writes “Yes, supporting Israel is trouble for the U.S., but as is often the case, doing what is right is troublesome.” As he suggests, the problem is that Jewish ethnic nationalism has resulted in a very large cost to the United States for all the reasons that writers like Mearsheimer and Walt and I — describe.

Frankly, I do not believe that it is in my ethnic interests nor is in the interests of the United States to antagonize the Arab and Muslim world in the interests of an expansionist, ethno-nationalist Israel. It’s simply not our fight. And now there is a real danger that the Israel Lobby will persuade the US to go to war against Iran. This would be yet another enormously costly effort. There can be no question at all that the hostilities between Iran and the US are centered around US support for Israel.

I completely agree that Arabs and other Muslims should be excluded from Western countries, but I don’t single them out in this regard. As an ethnic nationalist, I would like to see Western countries committed to preserving European peoples and their cultures. Let the Arabs continue to fester in their failed, undemocratic societies, with veiled women, clans, polygamy, and cousin marriage. I certainly do not blame Israel for their failures, any more than I blame the West for Africa’s problems. The neocon dream of converting the Arab nations into democratic, republican states was always nothing more than a bit of utopian propaganda that was aided and abetted by staunchly Zionist academics like Bernard Lewis and his neocon publicists. (Yet the ADL and the SPLC claim that I am the dishonest one who attempts to use his academic position to spread falsities.)

I would be willing to make a quid pro quo with the organized Jewish community: If you support white ethno-nationalism in the US and provide intensive, effective support for ending and reversing the immigration policy of recent decades (i.e., something approaching the support you presently provide Israel), I would be willing to go to the wall to support Jewish ethno-nationalism in Israel, even at substantial cost for the US. The fact that a miniscule number of Jews — none of them part of the main Jewish activist  organizations that have been so destructive to white ethno-nationalism — are immigration patriots and see value in America as a European civilization is certainly not a reason for someone like me to support Jewish ethno-nationalism.

As a humorous aside (we can't always be serious!), Philip Weiss reports that Abe Foxman made the following argument for why just about everyone should support Zionism. It is a reductio ad absurdum of the argument that white ethno-nationalists should support Jewish nationalism:

Can you be anti-Zionist and not be an anti-Semite? Almost never. Unless you can prove to me you're against nationalism. If you're one of those unique individuals in this world that's opposed to American nationalism, French nationalism, Palestinian nationalism, then you can be opposed to Jewish nationalism. Is it racist? You bet it is. Every nationalism is racist. It sets its laws of citizenship, it sets its own capital... It sets its songs, it sets its values. It is, if you will, exclusive, and you can even call it racist. But if the only nationalism in the world that is racist is Jewish nationalism, then you're an anti-Semite.. I don't want to make any apologies for it.

Hmmm, racism means excluding anyone from anything? In practice, Jewish nationalism means, among other things, erecting an apartheid society and enacting racialist marriage laws in Israel (see below). On the other hand, mainstream forms of American "proposition-nation" nationalism — led by the ADL — seem resolutely committed to a post-European America. If sing the Star Spangled Banner at a baseball game, I must logically support Jewish nationalism as it exists in Israel?  I think not.

As I argued previously, white people must be less principled and more self- interested. This implies that they should support others' nationalism only when it is in their self-interest.

I must agree with Weiss that Foxman is "a loud man with reality issues." 

I agree with Mendlovitz that “while many Jews still vote largely Democrat and have a soft spot for liberal causes, the number of Jewish ‘radicals’ is vastly less than it once was, partly because of the general affluence of the Jewish population, and partly because of a number of other factors.” The problem is that the Jewish defection from the far left has not really altered the fundamental conflicts of interest between the organized Jewish community and white Americans.

A major factor easing the defection of Jews from the radical left (in addition to concerns about anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and Soviet support for the Arabs against Israel in the Cold War) was the leftist critique of Zionism. Mark Rudd’s comments, quoted in my article are typical of the leftist critique: Israel is “militarized, racist, religio-nationalist, corporate, riven with so many internal splits and hatreds that only the existence of a perpetual enemy keeps the nation from exploding.” Whereas Rudd remained a leftist, Jews deserted the left in droves when it became impossible to reconcile their leftism with their commitment to Jewish ethno-nationalism and the state of Israel.

Neocons — really the only significant group of “conservative” Jews — are no help on issues like immigration. Their main concerns are to organize US support for Israel and to keep the conservative wing of American politics safe for Jews. Neocons only adopt conservative social policies as positions of convenience in order to appeal to the Republican base. As Peter Brimelow noted, “[William] Kristol will return to immigration  enthusiasm once he has helped persuade Bush to attack Iran.” (Kristol failed to persuade Bush, but he is now hard at work trying to persuade Obama.)

Even though the organized Jewish community is  now best described as liberal rather than radical, it is still deeply committed to a post-European America, and that is really the only important issue.  A recent spectacle illustrating this is the “Progress by Pesach” campaign to promote open borders immigration reform. Even Lawrence Auster, whose role as a Jewish activist seems to be to advance the cause of Israel within what he calls the “traditionalist, politically incorrect Right” (see below), sees this as a Jewish problem:   

What they are explicitly saying, as a national Jewish coalition, is that as Jews, they are required by their Jewish tradition to seek to undermine American law and sovereignty and allow America to be invaded by a mass immigration of illegal aliens.  

I have said before that when Jews declare that as Jews they are required to strive for open borders, when as Jews they demand U.S. national suicide, that allows critics to criticize Jews as Jews, and not just as generic “liberals.” This is the strongest case of that nature I've ever seen. [italics in text] 

Well, I thought I made a pretty good case for that over a decade ago. Anyway, even the prospect of millions of Muslim immigrants is not enough to diminish the enthusiasm for massive non-white immigration by the organized Jewish community — a sure sign that the decades-old emotional commitment of the organized Jewish community to a post-European America trumps rational considerations altogether.  

Mendlovitz’s comments are interesting and reflect fairly widespread Jewish concerns. On the other hand, Lawrence Auster’s comments, posted on his website, are first and foremost an attempt to place me beyond the realm of legitimate discourse. By titling the article “The idiocy of Kevin MacDonald,” Auster is saying, “Don’t go near MacDonald—he is off limits.”

This is the same sort of thing that Jewish activists like Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Chait have tried to do with Mearsheimer and Walt. Dershowitz called The Israel Lobby a “hate-filled screed against Jewish participation in American politics.” Chait chimed in with “Walt and Mearsheimer wrote a book that, even by the account of fair-minded and even ideologically sympathetic critics, is a shoddy, paranoid screed.”

Certainly no respectable person would want to publicly sympathize with screed writers — or idiots.

Auster is clearly living in an alternate universe — a universe in which Israel is a “post-Zionist” state dominated by “soft-hearted liberals.” Whereas everyone else is pondering the horrific brutality of the Israeli invasion of Gaza under a Kadima government and the specter of a Likud government organized by Benjamin Netanyahu with Avigdor Lieberman as Foreign Minister apparently with a secret agreement for expansion of a critical settlement near Jerusalem, in Auster’s world Israel has already ceased to exist as a Zionist state.

The connections between the racialist Jabotinskiist wing of Zionism and the current politics of Israel are straightforward. The Likud party and its leaders — people like Ariel Sharon (who later formed the Kadima Party), Menachem Begin, and Yitzhak Shamir — have been open in their allegiance to Jabotinskyism. (Here’s a photo of Sharon speaking to a Likud Party convention in 2004 under a looming photo of Jabotinsky.) Jabotinsky believed that Jews were shaped by their long history as a desert people and that the establishment of Israel as a Jewish state would allow the natural genius of the Jewish race to flourish, stating, for example: “These natural and fundamental distinctions embedded in the race are impossible to eradicate, and are continually being nurtured by the differences in soil and climate.”  As Geoffrey Wheatcroft recently pointed out, at the present time Israel “is governed by [Jabotinsky’s] conscious heirs.” 

One knows that racial Zionism has completely won the day in Israel when Kadima — the party of Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni and the Gaza invasion — was described by Benjamin Netanyahu during the recent election campaign as the party of the left. (The LA Times dutifully calls it “centrist” but, as Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery writes, Livni “cries to high heaven against any dialogue with Hamas. She objects to a mutually agreed ceasefire. She tries to compete with Netanyahu and Liberman (sic) with unbridled nationalist messages.”) Indeed, Netanyahu’s only worry during the election was that the openly racist Lieberman — a disciple of the notorious Meir Kehane — would take away too many votes from Likud. Avnery analogizes the election to a joke where a sergeant tells his men: “I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that you are going to change your dirty socks. The bad news is that you are going to exchange them among yourselves.” 

Now, if Israeli politics was dominated by people like Avnery, Auster would be quite correct. But Avnery’s Gush Shalom movement has no power in Israel. Even labeling the Labor Party as “soft-hearted liberals” is a huge stretch given that Labor has supported all of Israel’s wars, including the expansionist 1967 war when it held power and the recent Gaza invasion which was implemented by Defense Minister Ehud Barack — leader of the Labor Party.

Labor is dwindling away to nothingness, its only role to provide cover for the far right. Labor won only 13 out of 120 seats in the Knesset in the February election. Parties to its left (including Arab parties) won another 15 seats. Labor has opted to join Netanyahu’s government, or, as Avnery describes it, “Ehud Barak decided that the Labor Party must join the ultra-right government, which includes outright fascists.” This move is seen by many as providing the government with a fig leaf of respectability (see also here) that will appeal to European governments and others who have been critical of Israel’s behavior while nevertheless allowing the government to pursue its ethno-nationalist agenda.

Even excluding Kadima, the right wing nationalist and religious nationalist parties form a majority of the Israeli electorate — a percentage that is sure to increase because of the high fertility of religious and ethno-nationalist Jews and because intensified troubles with the Palestinians tend to make other Israelis more sympathetic to their cause. And if one makes the reasonable conclusion that Kadima is part of the ethno-religious-nationalist right, this faction holds 92 of the 120 seats in the Knesset.

Another phenomenon illustrating the ethno-religious-nationalist bent of current Israeli politics is that some of the rabbis accompanying the Israeli Defense Force during the Gaza invasion lectured soldiers that the purpose of the invasion was to banish non-Jews from the biblical land of Israel. Nationalist rabbis turned the invasion into a religious, messianic — “war against an entire people, not against specific terrorists.” Particularly noteworthy is that religious nationalists have taken over senior positions in elite combat brigades.

In other words, the army has become much more like what Auster wants it to be.

Although (as usual) there are conflicting accounts of the role of the role of religious fundamentalists in the atrocities committed in Gaza, J. J. Goldberg’s account does not dispute the general finding that religiously Orthodox soldiers form a substantial percentage of soldiers in infantry combat brigades and officers training programs. Moreover, 'some of them appear to be a sub-rosa part of the unfolding story of the ethical standards upheld by the military, which Israelis praise routinely as 'the most moral army in the world.'” Avnery’s account detailing the atrocity allegations is a must-read.

Over a decade ago Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky noted that Gush Emunim — a religious group that believes that a greater Israel was allotted to Jews in the Book of Deuteronomy — already constituted a significant percentage of the elite units of the Israeli army. (By “Greater Israel” they mean all the land promised to Abraham in Genesis: From the Nile to the Euphrates. Americans who support Israel should prepare themselves for a very long series of wars indeed.) The Gush Emunim are quite willing to treat the Palestinians in a savage and brutal manner. Their ideology is what one might call “theological racism”: A founder of Gush Emunim, Rabbi Abraham Kook taught that “The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews—all of them in all different levels—is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”

Just another soft-hearted liberal fuzzball.

Finally, Avnery also discusses the recently enacted law barring Arab citizens of Israel from marrying someone who lives on the West Bank. The law contains the following remarkable sentence: “The State of Israel is at war with the Palestinian people, people against people, collective against collective.” That means that the State of Israel has declared itself to be at war with all Palestinians, including the ones living in Israel. The purpose is to create a homogeneous Jewish state: “The inherent aim of the Zionist enterprise was and is to turn the country — at least up to the Jordan River — into a homogeneous Jewish state. Throughout the course of Zionist-Israeli history, this aim has not been forsaken for a moment. Every cell of the Israeli organism contains this genetic code and therefore acts accordingly, without the need for a specific directive.”

Whatever else one might say, Israel has definitely not entered into a post-Zionist era.

Rather than condemning me for telling the truth, Auster should be happy that things are going his way in Israel. I wish that a similarly powerful (but not similarly brutal) ethno-nationalist European movement was on the horizon in the US and other countries of the European Diaspora.

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