The Bizarre World of Dr Theodore Isaac Rubin

We all have our guilty pleasures. One of mine is that I occasionally love reading the often crazy and convoluted theories of Jews who wrestle with the question: why have Jewish populations attracted so much animosity through the centuries? Whether the authors call it anti-Semitism, Judeophobia, Jew-hatred or any other label which is fashionable these days, the theories, abstractions, emotions, obfuscations and intellectual blindness in their works rarely fails to shock or amuse me. The productions of the psychoanalysts are among the most dependable for raising a chuckle. Clearing out a bookshelf recently, I found an old favorite tucked away and decided to give it one last read before consigning it to its rightful home — the trashcan. And before it began its fateful final journey, I took some notes in the hope of putting together an article through which I might share with you some of its choice pieces of dubious wisdom.

Although written in 2009, Ted Rubin’s Anti-Semitism: A Disease of the Mind,[1] is in several respects a relic of a by-gone era in that it is a classic work of old-school Freudianism and psychoanalysis. Kevin MacDonald has noted in The Culture of Critique that:

One way in which psychoanalysis has served specific Jewish interests is the development of theories of anti-Semitism that bear the mantle of science by deemphasizing the importance of conflicts of interest between Jews and gentiles. Although these theories very greatly in detail — and, as typical of psychoanalytic theories generally, there is no way to empirically decide among them — within this body of theory anti-Semitism is viewed as a form of gentile psychopathology resulting from projections, repressions, and reaction formations stemming ultimately from a pathology-inducing society.[2]

Rather than antipathy being a natural and normal result of real conflicts of interest, antipathy towards Jews is thus seen as a psychological illness — owing absolutely nothing to the behavior of Jews, and everything to Western culture. This is the central thrust of Rubin’s book. He writes (20) that the “special dynamics” of anti-Semitism are “intimately connected to and often spring from sociological, political, philosophical, and religious forces comprising world cultures, particularly of the West.” Even the back of Rubin’s book clearly places it within the tradition of this theory, which posits that all anti-Jewish feeling is essentially a form of mental illness:

As a child, Ted Rubin could not understand why some people hated him and his family only because they were Jews. He soon discovered that other groups were hated, and that bigotry was a dangerous disease that destroys its hosts as well as its victims. Later in life, as a psychiatrist, Dr Rubin learned that anti-Semitism and other deep-seated prejudices are, in fact, non-organic diseases of the mind: malignant emotional illnesses that could be treated only by first understanding the unique psychodynamics involved.

Rubin identifies himself as Jewish in an off-handed manner at the beginning of his book, but refuses to engage on how this might impact his treatment of the subject matter. He roots his interest (11) in anti-Semitism “in my identification … I am a human being. I am a father and a grandfather. I am a Jew, and I am a psychiatrist.” Without going into any specifics at all, Rubin claims that “as a Jew I have experienced personal hurt, pain, and fear as a consequence of Jew hating,” and moves swiftly onto a far more lengthy (and unconvincing) section on why his interest in anti-Semitism stems primarily from his role as a psychiatrist. His Jewishness is glossed over and its potential to cloud his judgment is denied. Again, this is predictable within typical psychoanalytical treatments of anti-Semitism. From the authorship of studies, to the role of Judaism in human relationships, MacDonald points out that “within psychoanalytic theory, Jewish identity is irrelevant to understanding human behavior. As in the case of radical political ideology, psychoanalysis is a messianic universalist ideology that attempts to subvert traditional gentile social categories as well as the Jewish-gentile distinction itself, yet it allows for the possibility of a continuation of Jewish group cohesion.”[3] Hence Rubin’s primary claim that he is interested in anti-Semitism as “a human being.”

Rubin wastes no time in applying medical and psychiatric language to anti-Jewish attitudes. They comprise (11–12) a “malignant emotional illness,” a “psychiatric illness,” and a “chronic, pandemic and incredibly destructive disease.” He writes (13) that “it is metastatic, attacking every area of our lives.” Real conflicts of interest are unimportant (13): “Though there are, as in all emotional illnesses, socio-political, economic factors, and effects, this is primarily a psychiatric problem.” It is (14) “the most contagious, the most destructive, and the most difficult to treat and eradicate.” But fear not, because Ted has a cure (14): “Treatment cannot be effective unless we recognize that we are in fact dealing with psychiatric pathology and that we must continue the struggle to understand the psychodynamics involved. Medication will help!”

With this optimistic refrain, Rubin sets out his book in three sections. The first is meant to explain his theory of anti-Semitism, through what he calls the system of “symbol sickness.” What Rubin actually produces is a meandering and very Freudian walk through Rubin’s own perception of anti-Semitism. To Rubin, the ‘anti-Semite’ must be mired (19) in “all extant kinds of neurosis — anxiety, repressed anger, low self-esteem, insecurity etc., as well as neurotic defenses — displacement, projection, rationalization, alienation, compartmentalization.” Moreover (20), “only people who are sufficiently neurotic or psychotic can generate the disease,” and “every anti-Semite is emotionally disturbed.” To the anti-Semite, Jews are not real, but merely “symbols” of hate onto which a litany of mental tortures are projected, and by this method the role of Jews in provoking negative feelings is written entirely out of the equation. Or as Rubin earnestly expresses it (25): “We now have a ‘free symbol’ that brings on all kinds of feelings no longer requiring the original subject.”

Because ‘the Jew’ is said to be merely a symbol, Rubin argues (26) that anti-Semitism contains an endless list of contradictions and “mutually exclusive superlatives.” This idea that anti-Semitism contains logical contradictions is actually extremely commonplace in Jewish narratives, histories and apologetics. Jewish historian Derek Penslar states that “the anti-Semite’s arguments are by their very nature illogical, inaccurate and indefensible.”[4] Jeffrey Herf argues that anti-Semitism is “riddled with contradictions and highly irrational.”[5] This Jewish response to anti-Semitism has a substantial pedigree. Kevin MacDonald has noted that a sizeable part of the Frankfurt School’s The Authoritarian Personality was devoted to “an attempt to demonstrate the irrationality of anti-Semitism by showing that anti-Semites have contradictory beliefs about Jews…The Authoritarian Personality exaggerates the self-contradictory nature of anti-Semitic beliefs in the service of emphasizing the irrational, projective nature of anti-Semitism.”[6]

In this vein, Rubin really goes to work in his attempt to draw out what he views as contradictions, even including allegations about Jews that have probably never been made. He writes (26) that all anti-Semites see Jews as both:

  • Moronic, brilliant.
  • All-powerful, weakling.
  • Cosmopolitan, provincial.
  • Cunning, naïve.
  • Extraordinarily sensitive, calloused.
  • ‘Nigger-lovers,’ ‘worst bigots.’
  • Richest, poorest.
  • Artistic, tasteless.
  • Money-lovers, intellectual snobs.
  • Socially pushy, exclusively clannish.

But these ‘contradictions’ are clearly over-simplifications. In A Culture of Critique Kevin MacDonald reviewed works by Levinson, Ackerman and Jahoda, in which the authors argued that it was contradictory for individuals to believe that Jews are clannish and aloof yet still want them to be segregated and restricted. It was also proposed that another contradictory attitude was that Jews are both clannish and intrusive.[7] But, as MacDonald states,

Agreement with such items is not self-contradictory. Such attitudes are probably a common component of the reactive processes discussed in Separation and Its Discontents. Jews are viewed by these anti-Semites as members of a strongly cohesive group who attempt to penetrate gentile circles of power and high social status, perhaps even undermining the cohesiveness of these gentile groups, while retaining their own separatism and clannishness. The belief that Jews should be restricted is entirely consisted with this attitude. Moreover, contradictory negative stereotypes of Jews, such as their being capitalist and communist, may be applied by anti-Semites to different groups of Jews.[8]

In much the same way, Rubin’s ‘contradictions’ can also be resolved very quickly as soon as his false over-simplification, reliant on extremes, is done away with. Jews are rarely, if ever, portrayed simply as ‘nigger-lovers,’ but are certainly seen as being in frequent partnership with Blacks in places like the South and in efforts to bring down Apartheid in South Africa. But never is this seen as arising from an altruistic ‘love’ for the Black man. Rather, the partnership is incredibly one-sided, and its ultimate goal is to serve Jewish interests and Jewish interests alone. Indeed, for an anti-segregation organization, the early NAACP was essentially divided between the Jews who ran it, and the Blacks who went along for the ride. As Hasia Diner puts it in In the Almost Promised Land: American Jews and Blacks, 1915–1935, many in the NAACP’s Jewish leadership “worked most intensely with other Jews.”[9]

Viewing Jews as the ‘worst bigots’ would be consistent with this account of events since the partnership with Blacks is purely opportunistic and often patronizing, and also because of traditions of slave ownership within Jewish populations, and extremely negative Talmudic pronouncements on Africans. For example, in The Image of the Black in Jewish Culture, Abraham Melamed explains that while the Romans had a “climate theory” of race in which they “assumed that the inferior psycho-physical traits of the Blacks in the south and the Whites in the north arose from harsh geographical and climatic surroundings,” they also believed that “change and improvement are possible.” By contrast, Rabbinic teaching was much more deterministic and held that Blacks were “to suffer perpetual slavery forever.”[10]

One might also mention the towering hypocrisy in which the organized Jewish community in the Diaspora strongly supports displacement-level non-White immigration into White countries but also support Israel as a Jewish state and its policies of apartheid, ethnic cleansing.

The other ‘contradictions’ offered by Rubin are equally flimsy, and more than a few are complete fabrications. For example, history shows extremely few examples of anti-Jewish propaganda playing on a stereotype of a moronic Jew. Instead, it is an overwhelmingly universal theme that Jews are extremely adept at resource competition, and attaining economic, cultural and political dominance. While there is a sub-theme that the notion of ‘Jewish Genius’ does involve ethnic networking and exaggeration, there is little doubt that attempts to reckon with Jewish influence have been built primarily on the need to tackle the realities of high Jewish intelligence as well as the organizational and strategic efforts arising from it. Nowhere does the “moronic Jew” make an appearance.

Nor do opinions of Jews as being uniquely “artistic” feature in historical anti-Jewish writing. In fact, another universal theme and consensus of anti-Jewish thought is that Jews are devoid of genuine artistic talent, and in the past this was often linked to (as a cause or product of) the Jewish ban on creating ‘graven’ images. Wagner’s Das Judenthum in der Musik may be seen as a classic in this regard. Jews have also never really been portrayed as “the poorest” of society outside of the brief period in the early twentieth century when the first masses of Jewish immigrants washed upon Western shores from Eastern Europe. This was very specific in terms of time and place, and even then it was frequently remarked by contemporaries that the ascendance of these “paupers” up the socio-economic ladder was nothing less than remarkable. Also, never in my life have I heard of Jews as being stereotyped as “provincial” or linked substantially to rural life outside of the wild imaginings of those who penned Fiddler on the Roof. Jews can also be seen as “all-powerful” as a group, while as physically unimpressive specimens individually — so the “all-powerful, weakling” dichotomy is also an intellectual dead end. To finish off Rubin’s little list, it is logically consistent for those opposed to Jewish influence to see Jews as “extraordinarily sensitive” towards any infringement on Jewish interests while being “calloused” to the needs or interests of other groups.

And thus the anti-Jewish position becomes all too consistent. However, out of conscious evasion, or unconscious self-deception, Jewish scholars persist in bending over backwards to cling to the idea that these positions are somehow innately contradictory. For Rubin and his fellow psychoanalysts, the ‘contradictions’ are real — and the product of a fractured psyche and the ‘anti-Semite’s’ own frustrated desires. Rubin writes that “Since inner conflicts are very powerful and tend to be seen in an utterly self-hating light or in a purely idealizing one, polarization usually takes place. This polarization makes for the necessity of characteristics to project to in order to encompass the conflicting extremes.” These ‘scholars’ aren’t just barking up the wrong tree — they are barking up a tree that simply isn’t there.

Another of Rubin’s assertions, and this is equally common among many Jewish psychologists and academics, is that those holding anti-Jewish attitudes are low in self-esteem and are (31) “desperate for simplistic explanation and solutions, especially for those they may find outside themselves.” But ‘anti-Jewish theory,’ if one wants to call it that, is far from simplistic. The assumption is made by the psychoanalysts that since the only problem causing conflict with Jews exists solely in the mind of the ‘anti-Semite,’ then the ‘anti-Semite’ needs only a ‘symbol’ to cure his own inner conflicts — this symbol is the Jew. He is said to cling to the simplistic belief that “the Jews” are behind all of his personal problems, and thus he can externalize his internal conflicts by ‘hating’ Jews, somehow raising his own self-importance and self-esteem in the process. But this assessment is built on a deeply flawed assessment of both anti-Semitism and the holder of anti-Jewish attitudes. It is typical psychoanalytic armchair theorizing taking advantage of the infinite malleability of psychoanalysis and without a shred of real psychological data to support it. Nor does it in any way correspond to the expression of anti-Jewish attitudes throughout history. Indeed, ‘anti-Jewish theory,’ is more often than not a complex affair, which must by necessity touch on economic, social, cultural, religious, political, and philosophical questions of significant scale.

The psychoanalysts never acknowledge that some of the most high-profile anti-Jewish writers of the past have been at pains to blame their own people and nation before the Jews — there has never been a rush to ‘externalize’ all blame for the ills of society.

For example, even when confronted with overwhelming evidence of Jewish monopolies in several key industries, the position of leading historical ‘anti-Semites’ has often been based primarily on ruminations on the stagnation of their own culture, as much as its subsequent exploitation by the foreign elite. In Jewry in Music (1850) Wagner complained about growing Jewish influence in German music, but only after explaining how and why German culture had opened the door to the Jews by sacrificing its cultural authenticity. Similarly, in The Victory of Judaism over Germandom (1879) Wilhelm Marr described German culture as increasingly “ineffective and powerless.” Alphonse Toussenel wrote in The Jews: Kings of the Epoch (1888) that Jews had only been able to become influential in France because the nation had succumbed to “times of terrible stagnation.” Jakob Friedrich Fries wrote in 1816 that Jews could only gain power where countries had become “idle and stagnant.” In A Word About Our Jewry (1879) Heinrich von Treitschke wrote that Germany was vulnerable to external influence only because “our country still lacks national style, instinctive pride, a firmly developed personality.”

Based on this, and a vast amounts of evidence like it, coming to the realization that Jews possess inordinate influence in a given nation does not confer any psychological relief to the possessor of anti-Jewish attitudes. If anything, the worldview necessitates an essentially pessimistic outlook, entailing a number of other problems requiring solution. Rubin claims (p. 31) that “feelings of superiority are a major component of symbol sickness.” But the evidence provided above surely proves that these authors suffered no such sickness. The authors are pre-eminently occupied by the failings and weaknesses of their own culture.

The ‘Jewish question,’ rather than being the focus of an internal neurosis, has also frequently served as the springboard for broader social commentary encompassing society as whole — Bruno Bauer wrote in The Jewish Problem (1843) that “the emancipation problem is a general problem, is the problem of our age. Not only the Jews, but we, also, want to be emancipated.”

Beginning in the Middle Ages, blame also very frequently rested on non-Jewish elites as much as the behavior of Jews.

Since the role of Jews as tax farmers (as well as all of their other roles in traditional societies) was dependent on the gentile elite, anti-Jewish writers have often condemned the gentile aristocracy for allowing Jews to exploit the lower orders of society. A petition to King Enrique of the Cortes of Toro (Castile) in 1371 complained that because of the power given to Jews by the King and the nobles, Jews controlled the cities and even the persons of the Spaniards (Netanyahu 1995, 118). In the following century, Fray Alonso de Espina, the Fransican friar who was instrumental in establishing the Inquisition, condemned the “detested avarice of the Christian princes” and “the temporal gains which they get from the Jews” (in Netanyahu 1995, 731). On the other hand, Espina praised King Philip Augustus, who “burned with the zeal of God” when he despoiled the Jews and expelled them from France in opposition to the pleas of the nobility and prelates and offers of bribes from the Jews (in Netanyahu 1995, 831). (Chapter 2 of Separation and Its Discontents, p. 41)

The theme of blaming non-Jewish elites continued into modern times. Hartwig von Hundt-Radowsky’s The Jewish Mirror (1821) blamed growing Jewish power not on the Jews themselves, but on “an injustice perpetrated by the government against the non-Jewish inhabitants.”

Contrary to the arguments of the psychoanalysts, the problem always contains a very significant internal element, and thus the holder of anti-Jewish attitudes is rarely free to simply blame all on ‘the Other.’

This phenomenon continues today. Critics of Jews are equally concerned with developing an understanding not only of Jewish power and influence, but also of the pathology of Whites that has facilitated Jewish power and influence as well as the current disaster of displacement-level immigration and multiculturalism. The emphasis is on the identification of multiple sources and origins of the current societal malaise, and on evidence-based intellectual and scientific investigation of all aspects of the interactions between Jews and non-Jews in all locations and throughout historical time. This activity can in no way be seen as the seeking of simplistic answers.

It might also be said in counter-argument that the “we are all the same” mantra offered up by the multicultural gurus, and imbibed by the unthinking masses amounts to a vastly more simplistic worldview. And the scorn heaped on “racists,” “bigots,” and others whom the Left designates as their boogeymen, who allegedly prevent mankind from entering the rainbow utopia, offers considerably more psychological relief and self-esteem-boosting properties than the pessimistic view focused on the decline of Whites and European civilization generally.

The second part of Rubin’s book contains his thoughts on how Western society or culture breeds the fragmented psyches of ‘anti-Semites’. Rubin ignores vast amounts of evidence of anti-Jewish attitudes in the ancient world, writing (53) that the belief that Jesus was a Jew is “the single and most important factor in the explosion of the disease.” Anti-Semites apparently envy Jews because they are allegedly related to Jesus (God) by blood, and therefore (54) are victim to a “self-hate born of lack of God connections.”

This is classic psychoanalysis, completely devoid of any empirical basis but serving the interests of its practitioners. You see, Palestinians can’t stand the Jews not because they have been dispossessed and massacred, but because they really wish deep down that they were, like Jews, blood relatives of God. Makes total sense.

But it gets more complex, because Rubin also claims that at the same time we also hate God, and therefore displace our hatred of God onto Jews also. We non-Jews also hate God because we are perverts and (p. 58) “the would-be pervert hates Jesus for standing in his way of satisfaction.” Ah right, OK. Therefore, we have anti-Jewish attitudes because we are perverts who aren’t related to Jesus, and because we both love and hate God. All those immigration policies, restrictions of our freedoms, industrial monopolies, financial scams and cultural appropriations and degradations — that’s just a gloss over the fact we aren’t cousins of ol’ JC.

The final part of Rubin’s turgid tome is dedicated to “the cure.” His proffered ‘cure’ is one I have touched on before and it came as no surprise to see it presented in medical terms. Anti-Jewish attitudes are viewed, or at least portrayed, as being on a par with a highly infectious disease — with inoculation, in the form of aggressive “educational” treatment, at an early age seen as the surest remedy for the ills of an “intolerant society.” This process of ‘inoculation’ is geared primarily against our children and is ongoing. Although Rubin’s work, like that of Freud and others since him, is clearly nonsense from beginning to end, its central tenets remain current in mainstream Jewish academic and political circles and have an ongoing social impact on our nations. Abraham Foxman frequently urges parents and teachers to “try to help the next generation grow up freer from the infection of intolerance.”[11] The goal being, as Mr. Foxman once articulated, to “make America as user-friendly to Jews as possible.”

Rubin’s atrocious Anti-Semitism: A Disease of the Mind, concludes by stating, “extremely active application of insight and education is necessary to check the disease. Checkmate and eradication is [sic] extremely difficult and probably only possible if applied to the very young before roots of the disease take hold.” To Rubin, and his like-minded co-ethnics at the ADL, in academia, and in the corridors of power, the solution to the problem of anti-Jewish feeling is one of “prophylaxis” and “approaches to children.”

So the onus is on you to safeguard your children’s ‘education’ by any means necessary. How exactly you do that is up to you. As for me, right now I might teach my kids how to recycle some nasty old books.

[1] T.I. Rubin, Anti-Semitism: A Disease of the Mind (Barricade Books, 2009).

[2] K. MacDonald, The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements (1st Books, 2002), p.147.

[3] MacDonald, p.146.

[4] D. Penslar (ed) Contemporary Anti-Semitism: Canada and the World (University of Toronto Press, 2005), p.3.

[5] J. Herf (ed) Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism in Historical Perspective: Convergence and Divergence (Routledge, 2007), p.11.

[6] MacDonald, p.449 (endnote 120).

[7] MacDonald, p.449.

[8] Ibid.

[9] H. Diner, Hasia Diner puts it in In the Almost Promised Land: American Jews and Blacks, 1915-1935 (The John Hopkins University Press, 1995), p.123.

[10] A. Meladmed, Image of the Black in Jewish Culture: A History of the Other (RoutledgeCurzon, 2001), p.114.

[11] A. Foxman, Jews and Money: Story of a Stereotype (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), p.230.

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