Justice Denied: Thoughts on Truth, ‘Canards’ and the Marc Rich Case: Part One of Two

‘When someone does you wrong, do not judge things as he interprets them or would like you to interpret them. Just see them as they are, in plain truth.’
Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Four: Verse Eleven.

In my humble opinion, one of the most intriguing features of the posturing of the Anti-Defamation League, and other Jewish ethnic activist organizations, is their frequent discussion of what they call ‘canards.’ There are, I am informed, many ‘canards’ ranging from allegations that ‘the Jews’ killed God and mutilated communion wafers, to allegations that Jews control the media and have inordinate influence in the areas of culture and politics.

For many years I had been vaguely aware of this list of ‘canards’, and one or two things had consistently bothered me about it. For a start, the many attempts by Jewish writers to lay emphasis on the importance and impact of superstition appeared to me to be little more than crude efforts to shift the blame for ethnic conflict onto Christianity and an allegedly ‘irrational’ populace, and away from some of the harsher realities of resource competition in the Middle Ages. While I have no doubt that the so-called ‘Blood Libel’ contributed to violent actions taken against Jews, I have never been convinced that this charge, and others like it, was in any way sufficient in itself to spark violence. Even adopting the mentality of the age, thickly populated with tales of spectres and demons, it is difficult to imagine that the animosity which arose was rooted solely in such charges.

In fact, I am completely convinced by the theory of respected historian and folklorist Gillian Bennett, who argues that “where accusations of ritual murder were made in this period…it is more probable that they were cause celebres around which anti-Jewish feeling could crystallize, rather than the cause of anti-Semitism in the first place.”[1] The posturing of Jewish ethnic activists about the ‘potency’ of this particular set of ‘canards’, both in the past and the present, can be attributed to their desire to deceive others and themselves.

The second problem that I had with this fixed set of ‘canards’ was that it was apparent to me that the question of whether Jews were supernatural ‘demons,’ and the question of Jewish over-representation in the media or at elite universities, were clearly worlds apart — the former simply ridiculous and the latter capable of being empirically examined and, at least in theory, logically and rationally discussed.

Put simply, there was a patently obvious incongruence between, on the one hand the superstitious and extinct, and on the other, the obviously live question of Jewish influence in contemporary society. But time and again I found them bundled together on the same lists of ‘anti-Semitic’ tropes, and discussed in the same breath by committed ethnic activists as if they were in any way comparable.

I believe that self-deception plays a role here, but I have also arrived at the conclusion that the old myths serve a purpose in the present by helping to dent the credibility of legitimate grievances related to Jewish influence. By say, linking a criticism of Jewish influence in the contemporary media with a centuries-old legend that Jewish males menstruate, they can dismiss the former with all the greater ease.

One can clearly see the benefit Jewish ethnic activists can derive simply by maintaining a list of such ‘canards’ long past their expiry date. This should also act as a warning to those who think they help our cause by employing long-discredited charges and equally dubious sources.

Over time, organizations such as the ADL have come to jealously guard this list, and ‘canard’ has in fact achieved the remarkable feat of acting like a magic word — capable on deployment of making even the most blatant Jewish misdemeanor disappear. Take for example American Jews, who are no more ‘loyal’ to Israel than a Chinaman — because to suggest otherwise would be to employ the ‘canard’ of ‘dual loyalty.’ Likewise, Jews have an unblemished record when it comes to matters financial — because to say otherwise would be to employ the ‘canard’ of the greedy or untrustworthy Jew. Palestinian children never fall victim to Israeli incendiary devices — because to say otherwise would be to employ the ‘canard’ of the ‘Blood Libel.’

In fact, any statement or image linking Jews with blood, death, or children — no matter how much it may be rooted in fact —  is enough to bring it within the orbit of the ‘Blood Libel,’ as I demonstrated in my review of Anthony Julius’ treatment of English literature in Trials of the Diaspora. Since any criticism of Jews is liable to fall into a minimum of one category in the ADL’s all-embracing ‘canard taxonomy’, we may conclude that this is an impressive and effective work of artifice.

The ADL, an organization which has long been linked to illegality, has been built around the concept of the ‘canard’ — it is the focus of its work and one of the foundations of its ideology. Much of its ‘research’ output and political leverage derives from ‘annual assessments,’ which measure levels of ‘anti-Semitism’ around the world. These ‘assessments’ are themselves based on obviously unscientific surveys which monitor the level of acceptance of a series of the ADL’s pre-designated yet poorly-defined ‘canards.’

One of the great contributions that Kevin Macdonald has made to our efforts to understand the thought-processes of Jewish ethnic activists, has been his emphasis on the importance of self-deception. In Separation and Its Discontents, Macdonald writes that “Jewish self-deception touches a variety of issues, including personal identity, the causes and extent of anti-Semitism, the characteristics of Jews (e.g. economic success), and the role of Jews in the political and cultural process in traditional and contemporary societies” (see here, p. 248).

The ADL’s surveys are a typical manifestation of Jewish self-deception: these surveys ignore the great prosperity of global Jewry; they ignore the almost total lack of physical or legislative actions directed against Jews around the globe; they ask loaded or closed questions, and conclude on no credible evidence that all Jews are disliked simply for being Jews.

Take for example, the most recent ADL survey on Attitudes Towards Jews in Ten European Countries. This survey asked respondents to describe as “probably true” or “probably false” the statements 1) Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country, 2) Jews have too much power in the business world, 3) Jews have too much power in international financial markets, 4) Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.

How precise will the results be? What would they indicate? Is the methodology even reliable? The introduction of ambiguous terms like probably, and obviously vague value judgments like too much (how much is too much?) allow for any number of conclusions to be derived from the data. And of course, this is precisely why this methodology has been adopted.

G.A. Tobin of Brandeis University at least concedes, in an otherwise execrable article on “Jewish Perceptions of Antisemitism and Antisemitic Perceptions about Jews,” that studies such as those carried out by the ADL and the American Jewish Committee are littered with “analytical problems,” not least the fact that “asking whether statements are ‘probably true’ or ‘probably false’ is too vague.”[2] What poor critics they are of themselves.

The limitations imposed on the question simply by virtue of its structure consequently impose limits on the scope of the answers. By asking questions about “Jews” rather than “some Jews,” or better yet, “influential Jews,” respondents are also goaded into giving a categorical answer which, while closer to their opinions on the subject, is still not an accurate or suitably complex representation of their true thoughts on the matter.

The same approach is often employed in attacks on individuals and organizations committed to White interests who, in their attempts to raise the issue of Jewish influence, are smeared as attacking, de facto, every Jew on earth. As to whether this is a deliberate handicapping of the respondent, I refer readers to the erudite E.R. Emmet’s comments in his classic Learning to Philosophize (1968), in which he states that “questions that are leading or loaded are usually so by the intention of the questioner in the particular circumstances. He who asks is generally aware, to some extent at least, of the suggestive nature of what he is doing.”[3] When you are trying to paint a portrait of extremism, it helps to inhibit the opportunity for a picture of reason and moderation to emerge.

Returning to the issue of the ADL’s ‘canards,’ what do they really tell us? Evidence indicates that positive answers to these questions, far from illustrating irrational ‘hatred’ on the part of the respondent, points to a higher degree of familiarity with the facts. In relation to the question of ‘loyalty’ to Israel for example, which attracted the highest number of positive responses, it is worth bearing in mind the latest report on Jewish attitudes towards Israel compiled by the UK-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research. In this report, conducted under more stringent conditions than anything produced by the ADL, it is said that “the vast majority of respondents exhibit strong personal support for, and affinity with, Israel: 95% have visited the country, 90% see it as ‘the ancestral homeland’ of the Jewish people, and 86% feel that Jews have a special responsibility for its survival.” For 82% of surveyed Jews, Israel played a ‘central’ or ‘important’ role in their Jewish identities, 72% described themselves as Zionists, 87% said that although they lived in Britain, they were part of a larger Jewish Diaspora, 76% said that Israel was relevant to their day-to-day lives in Britain.

This is an astonishing degree of consensus.

Organizations like the ADL cling very tightly to the use of the word ‘loyalty’ when discussing Israel, primarily because it is another one of those usefully emotive, baggage-laden terms that lends itself easily to the concept of a ‘canard.’ By bringing these words into the discussion they dictate its trajectory and tone, and by constantly bringing the word ‘loyalty’ to bear on the discussion of Jewish attitudes to Israel, the ADL thus forces the issue into the territory of emotional polemic. From there it is easily relegated to the fringes of ‘acceptable’ political discourse, and is thus neutralized as a political issue.

However, as crude as the tactic is, it can be overcome just as crudely. Let us dispose of the term entirely. Examining the data, can we not still see that the vast majority of Jews in England hold attitudes towards Israel which are bound to be strikingly different than those held by the average non-Jewish Englishman? As someone who believes that there will necessarily be a conflict of interests on this issue, the acknowledgment by Jewish organizations that they hold fundamentally different attitudes and outlooks from non-Jews on this subject, and the public discussion of the implications of this difference, is all I seek.

Clouding the debate with talk of ‘loyalty’ only serves to obfuscate an otherwise clear fact — let us then see things in plain truth and state that based on this set of evidence, Jews, as a group, differ radically from non-Jewish Whites in the way they see Israel and their role in a global diaspora. The notion of a ‘confluence of interests’ so cherished and propagated by a collection of activists, who are noisier than they are intelligent, is nothing but a myth.

Not that I expect a survey of Jewish attitudes to change the mind of the ADL. To present an example of how one of these people responds when presented with the facts, consider Henry Feingold’s response in his awful Jewish Power in America: Myth and Reality to documented proof of inordinate Jewish funding of both the Democrats and Republicans: “Over 60 percent of the campaign funds collected by the Democratic Party and a respectable percentage of Republican campaign funds stem from Jewish sources. But precisely what this means in terms of enhancing influence is difficult to determine.”[4] Come now Mr. Feingold — let’s not play the goysihe kop!

How many more blatant truths, easily backed by evidence, lie behind the ADL’s many ‘canards’? And how much more clearly will the situation appear when we dispense further with the language of the ADL?

In this essay, I want to probe some more of these ‘canards’ and subject the ADL’s contention that they are simple fabrications to cold scrutiny. Be warned — there are ‘canards’ aplenty ahead: among others we will cover Jews and money; Jewish influence in high places; ethnic networking on a global scale; the perverted use of Holocaust-derived moral capital; the manipulation of the President of the United States of America; and even the role of Israel as a haven for Jewish crooks. My chief source for the exploration that we are about to embark upon, is not, as Mr. Foxman might have you believe, some obscure decaying document from deepest Eastern Europe. We do not deal in fossils here. I prefer those sources which cannot be so easily dismissed, and for the present discussion I have selected a report authored by government investigators acting in the name of the United States Congress. House Report No. 454: Justice Undone, Clemency Decisions in the Clinton White House, United States Congressional Set, No. 14778, Volumes 1–2, concerns the elaborate Jewish campaign surrounding the Presidential pardon given to Marc Rich in 2001. Some of its revelations are remarkable. To ensure the maximum transparency of my methodology and the facts presented here, I draw the attention of all concerned that this document is publicly available, as well as being viewable online. Let’s begin.

For our purposes, the sordid story of commodities traders Marc Rich and Pincus Green began in 1983 when Federal Prosecutor Rudy Giuliani indicted both on charges of tax evasion and illegally trading with Iran. The pair, both Jewish, were indicted while in Switzerland and they refused to return to the United States. According to the authors of House Report No. 454, the Department of Energy issued clear warnings to oil resellers in the early 1980s that they were not to profit by more than $0.20 per barrel. However, according to investigators (p.158), “Rich and Green made profits far in excess of that limitation but created fraudulent invoices and filed false reports to hide about $100 million in illegal profits from both DOE and the IRS. In other words, Rich and Green were engaged in classic criminal financial fraud.” Most of the fake invoices were created in co-operation with West Texas Marketing, in a move described (p.157) by the authors of House Report No. 454 as “clearly intended to contravene the regulations and perpetrate tax fraud against the United States.”

Dear Reader, though we have just begun this journey, I regret to inform you that we have already, despite our best intentions, strayed into ‘canard’ territory. Apparently, there are myriad ‘stereotypes’ about Jews and money — and foremost among them is the notion that Jews tend to be dishonest in business. I have no idea how such an idea could have taken root, but fearful that this case involving Rich and Green might confirm the ‘stereotype,’ I rushed to get a copy of Abraham Foxman’s meticulously scholarly Jews and Money: The Story of a Stereotype. On page ninety-nine of this intellectual tour de force, the jovial Mr. Foxman assures me that “Jewish religion and tradition are exceptional on the world stage for the special emphasis they give to generosity, charity, and fair economic dealings with one’s fellow human beings.”[5]

Exceptional he says! I breathed a sigh of relief only to realize that Mr. Foxman hadn’t provided any credible argument or evidence that this was the case. In fact, his heart-warming quip didn’t chime at all with the first chapter of his book, in which Foxman can name only one Jew who he deems to have been ‘fair’ in matters financial — Aaron Feuerstein of Malden Mills fame. Unfortunately, the sainthood conferred upon this apparently altruistic icon by a fawning publicity machine has been capably deconstructed by Thomas Teal of Oregon State University, so I was back where I began.

Strangely, Foxman found it remarkably easy to think of Jewish businessmen who have been ‘unfair’ in matters financial — listing Bernard Madoff, Michael Milken, and Ivan Boeksy in a New York minute.[6]  Of course, Mr. Foxman is being more than a little frugal here (sorry, another ‘canard’ — it’s like trying to walk across a floor covered in mousetraps).

Now, I think it’s important to state that many non-Jews have also been involved in financial fraud. However, I would posit that interesting common features of specifically Jewish instances of financial fraud are that they are normally based on the ponzi scheme model, and the amount of money concerned is usually much larger. Don’t take my word for it, just look at the cases of Samuel ‘Mouli’ Cohen, Scott Rothstein, Steve Cohen and Michael Steinberg, Maurice ‘Hank’ Greenberg, Eric Stein, Eliyahu Weinstein, Sam Israel, Samuel D. Waksal, Martin Frankel, Simon Feldman, Jeffrey Greenstein, Solomon Dwek, Cary Feldman, Sholam Weiss, Chaim Mayer Lebovits, David and Donna Levy, Frederick D. Berg, Lou Pearlman, Andrew Rosenfeld, and Timothy Roth.

Of course, these higher profile cases don’t include the thousands of frankly ridiculous smaller-scale frauds based on the classic insurance scam model. Take for instance the case of Raymond Roth, who faked his own drowning. Or how about Jews in medicine committing fraud? Have a look at the insurance scam of pharmacist Donald Levine; or David Silverstein, the wealthy Washington chiropractor who decided that making fraudulent welfare claims could pad his lifestyle a little more. Georgia chiropractor Andrew Sokol made over $6.5 million before he got caught. New Jersey chiropractor Scott Greenberg made more than half a million dollars in insurance scams before he got caught. Another New Jersey chiropractor, Daniel Dahan, almost made it to $4 million. Remind me to avoid getting a back injury in New Jersey…

Going back in time doesn’t help matters. There we find incidents like the Indian Silver Scandal perpetrated by the firm of Samuel and Montagu, as well as the Marconi share price fixing scandal (see also Edmund Connelly’s “The Culture of Deceit“).  I’m left with the impression that the only thing likely to get ‘lighter’ around these representatives of the  ‘light unto the nations’ is my wallet. Of course, I’m attributing the behavior of all these individuals solely to a failure to get that memo about the “special emphasis” that, according to Mr. Foxman, Judaism places on “fair economic dealings with one’s fellow human beings.”

Go to Part Two.

[1] Gillian Bennett, “William of Norwich and the Expulsion of the Jews”, Folklore 116:3, 311–314 (313).

[2] G.A. Tobin, “Jewish perceptions of Antisemitism and Antisemitic perceptions of Jews,” Studies in Contemporary Jewry, 1988, p.218-9

[3] E.R. Emmet Learning to Philosophize (Penguin, 1968),p.93.

[4] H. Feingold, Jewish Power in America: Myth and Reality (Tansaction Publishers, New Jersey, 2011), p.4.

[5] A. Foxman, Jews & Money: The Story of A Stereotype (Palgrave, New York), p.99.

[6] Foxman, p.39.