Alon Confino: Jews as Symbols of Morality

Further evidence, if any were needed, that many Jews are simply incapable of comprehending collective Jewish wrongdoing while at the same time attributing collective guilt to Germans or Christians can be seen in a review of A World Without Jews: the Nazi Imagination From Persecution to Genocide by Alon Confino, an Israeli who is professor of history at the University of Virginia. Confino’s claims that the hostility of Nazis toward Jews was not driven by a sense of ethnic competition or warfare but by hostility because Jews were seen as morally  superior. 

The Nazi struggle “wasn’t about territory, or states, or armies,” Confino emphasized. “It was about identity.” For the Nazis the Jews were “the key to world history,” he writes in A World Without Jews. “It goes back to what the Jews represented: the Bible,” Confino said over the phone. “They weren’t racial enemies. They were the symbols of morality.” Confino knows, of course, that much of the Nazi propaganda about the Jews depicted them as a racial threat, but the far more crucial message, he argues, was that Jews signified the old world of moral law. The Jew had to be destroyed, to be replaced by a pure new vision of the German nation, a people freed from the archaic constraints of doing good. And this ethical revolution required the ultimate realization: mass murder.

Now this is surprising on the face of it. The Talmud has been called many things but I don’t recall it being seen by its critics as depicting a higher morality. During the Middle Ages, Christians burned it because of passages blaspheming Jesus and Christianity. Rather than representing a uniquely higher morality, Jewish religious writings. including the Talmud, are replete with moral particularism (in which an action has very different moral implications depending on how it affects Jews) that is entirely foreign to the Western tradition of moral universalism.

But Confino’s book was published by Yale University Press, so it must be well-based on the evidence.

[Confino] focuses on the widespread burning of the Torah all across Germany and makes the case that the destruction of the holy book meant for the Nazis the freedom from morality that they needed to achieve their new world order. The evidence for Confino’s argument remains only intuitive, but it is still persuasive. 

Intuitive? In other words, based on his gut feelings and certainly not based on statements from National Socialist elites. The idea that Jewish political behavior stems from inherently humanistic Jewish values has been refuted many times, often by other Jews, including the following quotation from Benjamin Ginsberg that I just came across:

This historic background and the continuing relationship between Jews and the national government help explain one of the most notable characteristics of Jews in American politics: their strong adherence to liberalism, and especially to the Democratic Party, as loyal voters, leading activists, and major financial contributors. Geoffrey Brahm Levey has ascribed Jewish liberalism to the inherently humanistic character of Jewish values and traditions. This explanation seems somewhat fanciful, however, since in some political settings Jews have managed to overcome their humanistic scruples enough to organize and operate rather ruthless agencies of coercion and terror such as the infamous Soviet-era NKVD. (see here, p. 14)

In fact, Jewish involvement in mass murder under the Bolsheviks was much on the minds of National Socialists throughout the entire period. Not exactly the image of moral exemplars. The reviewer, David Mikiks, continues:

Israel is often accused of indulging the ethnic nationalism that over the centuries has marked Europeans more than any other people on earth, and that Europe has supposedly now left behind. Instead of symbolizing strict morality, or modernist decadence, Jews now stand for the sins of racism and colonialism. 

But of course the National Socialists saw Judaism as a particularly intense form of ethnic nationalism, far more so than traditional German culture. The emergence of Israel is nothing new in this regard: Jewish ethnic nationalism now expressed as the policy of a sovereign government. Hence its concern to maintain Israel as a Jewish state and all that implies for immigration laws and the status of non-Jews.

Books like Confino’s are in the long tradition of claims to Jewish moral superiority which were manufactured to present an acceptable public image in the post-Enlightenment European intellectual milieu. Assuming Confino and Mikiks actually believes what they are writing, it represents a clear case of Jewish self-deception (see Andrew Joyce’s series on Jewish self-deception).

Despite being without any empirical basis, the book was published by an elite university press at a time when, as the reviewer notes, the actions of Israel are seen by wide swaths of humanity as nothing more than ethnic self-interest.  Now more than ever, Israel and the Jewish diaspora desperately need books like this to reinforce the rapidly failing myth of Jewish moral superiority. Its publication by an elite academic press is more an indication of Jewish power than anything else.

But the myth is crumbling for all the world to see.

Now if those same people who morally condemn Israel could just see that Jewish adoption of liberal politics in the West, and in particular support for displacement-level immigration and multiculturalism, are similarly an expression of ethnic self-interest and essentially a racist program against White majorities, we would definitely be making progress.

41 replies

Comments are closed.