Charles Krauthammer’s "Those Troublesome Jews"

Charles Krauthammer has always been extreme even by neocon standards. He was among the first to recommend that America seize the opportunity created by the fall of the Soviet Union to remake the entire Arab world in the interests of “democratic globalism.”

Beyond power. Beyond interest. Beyond interest defined as power. That is the credo of democratic globalism. Which explains its political appeal: America is a nation uniquely built not on blood, race or consanguinity, but on a proposition—to which its sacred honor has been pledged for two centuries.

America as a country with no biological identity should go to war so that Israel can achieve its ethnic interests. Americans are wonderfully principled people who have no ethnic identity. So he pitches eternal war as a moral crusade for righteousness that America must be committed to because that’s just how Americans are: Principled people who must be reminded once in a while that they need to wage holy war to uphold their lofty principles.

America is committed not to blood but to supporting democracy and freedom. America must defeat “the new global threat to freedom, the new existential enemy, the Arab-Islamic totalitarianism that has threatened us in both its secular and religious forms for the quarter-century since the Khomeini revolution of 1979.”

He’s probably had to rethink the rationale for war against the Arab and Islamic world since Hamas won the largest number of votes and parliamentary seats in democratic elections held in 2006.

Moral posturing is absolutely central to Krauthammer’s modus operandi.  While the rest of the world remains horrified at the behavior of the Israeli military, his column on the 2009 Gaza invasion was titled “Moral clarity in Gaza“:  “Some geopolitical conflicts are morally complicated. The Israel-Gaza war is not. It possesses a moral clarity not only rare but excruciating.”

Krauthammer always knows who the good guys are and he knows Americans are suckers for arguments framed as moral imperatives.

So it’s not surprising that he sees Israel as the hapless victim in the flotilla incident, condemned for simply “defending” itself. Andrew Sullivan is correct that to read Krauthammer is to enter into an alternate universe where aggressors are victims and where “forward defense” means invasion and murder of civilians. Krauthammer is the foremost exponent of the Israeli Derangement Syndrome: “This is a form of derangement, or of such a passionate commitment to a foreign country that any and all normal moral rules or even basic fairness are jettisoned.”

What’s different about Krauthammer is his willingness to play the anti-Semitism card — combined with the usual trademarked dose of moral posturing. His column on the flotilla is titled “Those Troublesome Jews” — troublesome in his view because Jews insist on defending themselves:

The world is tired of these troublesome Jews, 6 million — that number again — hard by the Mediterranean, refusing every invitation to national suicide. For which they are relentlessly demonized, ghettoized and constrained from defending themselves, even as the more committed anti-Zionists — Iranian in particular — openly prepare a more final solution.

Israel’s problems don’t stem from push back resulting from its aggressive ethnonationalism. They stem from the fact that the world–the entire world–wants another Holocaust, including “the supine Europeans who’ve had quite enough of the Jewish problem.” While the rest of the world hates Jews because of Third Worldism, the Europeans hate Jews just as they have for the last millennium. They’re all basically Nazis at heart.

This is not an exaggeration. His 2002 article “Please excuse the Jews for living” had the same logic. He recited the many sins of France, including the fact that Jean Marie LePen — “the modern incarnation of European fascism” — had enough votes to be a run-off candidate for president.

I don’t recall Krauthammer condemning the many signs of fascism in Israel — particularly the present Israeli government and, most famously, its foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman. It’s clear that Krauthammer thinks that European countries are proposition countries too. For Europeans, nationalism is a morally reprehensible reminder of National Socialism; for Israelis, it’s simply Jews being assertive.

And what accounts for the fact that European governments join in the chorus of condemnation of Israel? Plain old-fashioned anti-Semitism. Europeans just don’t like assertive Jews.

The explanation is not that difficult to find. What we are seeing is pent-up anti-Semitism, the release – with Israel as the trigger – of a millennium-old urge that powerfully infected and shaped European history.

What is odd is not the anti-Semitism of today, but its relative absence during the last half-century. That was the historical anomaly. Holocaust shame kept the demon corked for that half-century. But now the atonement is passed. The genie is out again.

This time, however, it is more sophisticated. It is not a blanket hatred of Jews. Jews can be tolerated, even accepted, but they must know their place. Jews are fine so long as they are powerless, passive and picturesque.

What is intolerable is Jewish assertiveness, the Jewish refusal to accept victimhood. And nothing so embodies that as the Jewish state. What so offends Europeans is the armed Jew, the Jew who refuses to sustain seven suicide bombings in the seven days of Passover and strikes back. That Jew has been demonized in the European press as never before since, well … since the ’30s. …

Just when Europe had reconciled itself to tolerance for the passive Jew – the Holocaust survivor who could be pitied, lionized, perhaps awarded the occasional literary prize – along comes the Jewish state, crude and vital and above all unwilling to apologize for its own existence.

It’s a clever argument of the sort that appeals to those morally principled Westerners. Israeli nationalism and aggressiveness are good, and if you don’t think so, you’re an anti-Semite. Europeans have always hated Jews. In another column, Krauthammer writes of “a history of centuries of relentless, and at times savage, persecution of Jews in Christian lands.”

One wonders if there are any examples of Israeli aggression that he would see as morally reprehensible. Probably not. He has rationalized every example of Israeli aggression to date and has denounced the Oslo Accords as  “the most catastrophic and self- inflicted wound by any state in modern history.”

The existence of fanatical Jews like Krauthammer isn’t a surprise given what we know about the massive ethnocentrism at the heart of Jewish identity. What is truly depressing is that he is published in the Washington Post and syndicated in over 200 other newspapers and websites, such as Townhall. He is a regular commentator on Fox News and Inside Washington.

The result is that Americans are continually subjected to pro-Israel chauvinism, towering Jewish ethnocentrism, and anti-European hatred in the most prestigious and popular media outlets. We internalize the double standard in which Krauthammer rationalizes Israeli racialism and apartheid but promotes and exploits the idea that America and European countries exist for the purpose of defending abstractions like “freedom” and “democracy”; any signs of White identity and sense of White interests are morally repugnant.

We come to take these ideas for granted–to the point that Krauthammer is eminently respectable, especially among conservatives. Other commentators, like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, seem to have internalized this mindset as well. Accepting people like Krauthammer is what it means to be a mainstream conservative.

It’s a major part of the sickness we face.

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