Simon Schama: A Case Study in Jewish Verbosity and Ethnic Activism

I’ve now spent more than fifteen years researching the Jewish Question and the impact of Jewish influence on the West. During that time I’ve encountered and documented a number of Jews who almost single-handedly encapsulate and characterize the Jewish modus operandi, as well as the hatred that organized Jewry has for our people and our way of life. In the case of cretins like Abraham Foxman and the aesthetically repulsive Hebrews of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the existence of such people is obvious. In other cases, similarly hateful Jews are acting with equal violence against our people and culture, but are doing so in a less obvious manner. Examples are countless, but I’m thinking in particular of individuals like Jonathan Freedland, Anthony Julius, Robert Wistrich, Norman Lebrecht and the academics behind the ‘Whiteness Studies’ hate genre. I have to confess that as much as I have an abiding feeling of enmity toward all of these individuals and their insidious works, I possess a singular ferocity of loathing for Columbia University’s Simon Schama. Schama, as I will presently discuss, is a walking, talking, mincing, gesticulating caricature who, in thought and deed, may as well have crawled from the lurid pages of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. What follows is a case study in Jewish political, academic, and cultural activism.

Schama was born in Marylebone, London. His mother, Gertie (née Steinberg), was from a Lithuanian Ashkenazi Jewish family, and his father, Arthur Schama, was of Sephardi Jewish background. Arthur was a textile merchant who, like many of his co-ethnics, favored risky business practices and flirted with bankruptcy on more than one occasion. In the mid-1940s, following one such bankruptcy, the family moved to Southend-on-Sea in Essex before moving back to the heavily-Jewish area of Golders Green in London. There the young Simon rubbed shoulders with the Saatchi brothers, the future mega-promoters of a vast array of degenerate art — a passion that Schama himself would later indulge in.

By his own admission, Schama had three youthful preoccupations: Marxism, history, and Jewishness. As a teenager he attended what he describes as after-school classes for “Left-Wing Zionists.” Asked about his connection to Judaism, Schama reveals that he is a synagogue-attending Zionist who believes that being Jewish “means to be the inheritor of an immense and gifted, as well as burdened, history. It’s about the richest and most extreme history you could possibly imagine. You also inherit an extraordinary bundle of ethical precepts in the Torah.” Ignoring Schama’s familiar Jewish cultural conceit, I would agree that the ethical precepts of the Torah and the Talmud are extraordinary — but not perhaps in the manner in which Schama is hinting at.

In 1956, the young Simon Schama, who undeniably possesses a very high verbal IQ, won a scholarship to the independent Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School in Cricklewood. He then went to a kibbutz in Israel before reading history at Christ’s College, Cambridge, graduating in 1966. He worked for a short period as a lecturer in history at Cambridge where, even though he would never complete a Ph.D., he became a Fellow and Director of Studies in History. He inexplicably enjoyed a similar ascendancy at Oxford, where he was made a Fellow of Brasenose College in 1976, specializing in the French Revolution. During the 1970s and 1980s Schama published sporadically, his work provoking a range of responses. At this time, Schama wrote his first book, Patriots and Liberators. The book was originally intended as a study of the French Revolution, but as published in 1977, it focused on the effect of the Patriot revolution in the Netherlands, and its aftermath. His second book, Two Rothschilds and the Land of Israel (1978), was a sympathetic study of the Zionist aims of Edmond James de Rothschild and James Armand de Rothschild.

Even in his earliest works, Schama’s approach to writing and interpreting history bore the hallmarks of his later activism. Reviewing his Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (1989), the pre-eminent English historian of the French Revolution Norman Hampson remarked that “Schama’s argument is always intelligent and often persuasive but his facts are not always reliable.” The remark brings to mind similar reactions to other verbose Jewish historians, such as Jonathan Israel and his work on Spinoza. Schama today is, ostensibly, an historian specializing in art history, Dutch history, and French history. He is currently a Professor of History and Art History at New York’s Columbia University. As part of my research for this essay, I consulted Columbia student reviews of Schama’s teaching via and was unsurprised to discover that his overall rating was very low with many of his racial and character flaws coming to the fore. Reviews of his teaching closely mirror that of his research. One reviewer remarked that Schama “talks at you, not directly to you. He’s haughty and boastful — use of gratuitous vocabulary and not into teaching at all.” This incisive review of Schama’s teaching is equally applicable to the sphere of influence that has done most to bring him to prominence — television.

To date, Schama has worked on a dozen historical and political documentaries, the vast majority for the BBC. The topics covered in these documentaries are impressive in their range and variety — everything from Shakespeare, art, and the history of Britain, to the Obama Presidency and speculations about America’s future. However, much like Schama’s inexplicable rise to top positions at Cambridge and Oxford, he has been given the green light to produce and present these documentaries without being an acknowledged expert in any of them apart from art (and this is disputable). What does seem to have propelled much of Schama’s career and influence is his exceptional demonstration of the Jewish talent for dazzling gullible non-Jews with a deluge of mere verbiage. As one Guardian journalist put it: “Some people think Simon Schama — garlanded academic and presenter of such fabulous series as A History of Britain and Rough Crossings — is full of crap. There have been grumblings that he dumbs down and simplifies his history shows, taking a sweeping view of history designed more for the verbal flourish than historical accuracy.”

Schama’s television productions, and the books that accompanied them, can certainly be dismissed on these grounds. However, Schama’s story is much more than the age-old story of the verbally dazzling Jewish guru, promoted by his co-ethnics and worshipped by the gullible. There is also a clear thread of Jewish activism in his productions. For example, in his 2006 series The Power of Art, Schama does his part to promote the trashy productions of his fellow Jew, Mark Rothko. As the camera pans over Rothko’s ludicrous canvases, Schama feverishly narrates. It’s a great example of how the verbal flourishes emanating entirely from the imagination of the critic can make the gullible think they are in the presence of genius:

Everything that Rothko did to these paintings — the column-like forms suggested rather than drawn, the loose stainings, were all meant to make the surface ambiguous, porous, perhaps softly penetrable: a space that might be where we came from or where we will end up. They’re meant not to keep us out, but to embrace, from an artist whose highest compliment was to call you a human being. Can anything be less cool than this room in the heart of the Tate Modern? Further away from the razzle-dazzle of contemporary art, the frantic hustle of now? This isn’t about now. This is about forever. This is a place where you come to sit in the low light and feel the eons rolling by, to be taken towards the gates that open onto the thresholds of eternity, to feel the poignancy of our comings and our goings, our entrances and our exits, our births and our deaths: womb, tomb, and everything in between. Can art ever be more complete, more powerful? I don’t think so.

Rothko’s Degenerate Art: ‘Can art ever be more complete, more powerful?’

Rothko’s Degenerate Art: “Can art ever be more complete, more powerful?”

As a racially-conscious man of above-average intelligence, what strikes me most about Schama’s literary and visual productions is the inescapably non-European, and utterly alien, manner in which he communicates. Schama’s type of verbosity has for centuries been taken as a Jewish hallmark. The most famous attack on Jewish verbosity, of course, came from Richard Wagner who heavily critiqued his Jewish musical contemporaries for their preoccupation with speech “for the sake of speaking, rather than with the object that first makes speaking worthwhile.”  Amos Oz writes in Jews and Words (Yale University Press, 2012) of a “peculiar talkativeness,” and “a nervous and alert verbosity” that is typical of Jews. Jarrod Tanny writes in City of Rogues and Schnorrers: Russia’s Jews and the Myth of Old Odessa (2011; 72) that verbosity and gesticulations of the type evidenced by Schama were long considered valid Jewish stereotypes by both Jews and non-Jews: “Verbosity accompanied by rapid gesticulations are considered to be common Jewish traits, and such stereotypes figure prominently in representations of Jews, both in derogatory images with anti-Semitic overtones, and in self-portrayals often found in Jewish literature and anecdotes.”

This verbosity is due not only to a high Jewish verbal IQ, but also, as Wagner indicated, the incapacity of Jews to express themselves in a language and culture that is not their own. The resulting impression is like that of a homeless man who finds himself suddenly dressed in a fine suit — he appears ill at ease, his self-consciousness barely concealed under exaggerated movements and an air of nervousness. The Harvard Jewish philosopher Stanley Cavell once reminisced about his “father’s unease in any language.”[1] This unease then translates into one of two outcomes — the imposter gives up and descends into crudity and vulgarity, or he attempts to rise to the challenge and instead affects a strange and flamboyant air of superiority. In the former case he becomes the Jewish gutter comedian, and in the latter he becomes that familiar cultural trope — the German who strives to be more German than the Germans, or, like Schama, an obnoxious, enunciating and chattering Jewish marionette. In both cases, the common thread is that of endless verbosity — the salesman’s desire to overwhelm his subject’s capacity for thought and reflective silence with jargon and enthusiasm. The Jewish novelist Philip Roth once rather astutely commented that what made a book distinctively Jewish was “the nervousness, the excitability, the arguing, the dramatizing, the indignation, the obsessiveness … above all, the talking. The talking and the shouting. … It isn’t what it’s talking about that makes a book Jewish — it’s that the book won’t shut up.”[2]

Like the Jewish books Roth describes, Schama’s presentation style is full of the nervousness, excitability and endless, meaningless verbiage that one would expect from such an exceptional example of this chattering race. And, like many Jewish writers and promoters, Schama is successful because he won’t shut up. He is, moreover, far from alone. In his In Search of American Jewish Culture (2001), Stephen Whitfield writes that “even if Roth is wrong about Jewish verbosity, Jewish test-takers have ranked above the norm in verbal ability itself. They have also tended to earn lower scores than others when attributes such as visual ability and reasoning, as well as the conceptualization of space, are measured …. To be sure, writing about art demands acute visual powers. But Jews may nevertheless be more important in writing about American painting and sculpture than in creating it.”[3] Whitfield correctly observes the limits of Jewish ‘talent,’ but makes an error in asserting that one needs acute visual powers to write about art (‘art criticism’) and misses a crucial point by omitting Jewish interests in lowering the common artistic denominator. He also neglects to take into account the fact that art criticism is itself a facet of Modernism and thus a symptom of modern art’s degeneracy rather than part of a healthy artistic process. Most pertinently, Whitfield misses the point that a verbal wizard is perfectly capable of persuading and convincing others that he possesses acute visual powers, even if he does not.

As has been noted by those immune to his Pied Piper routine, Schama has contributed nothing new to knowledge and created nothing new in the field of art. His sole “talent” lies in parcelling his bankrupt observations in the most nauseatingly florid language. As a Jew, Schama’s visual powers, and thus his ability to effectively appreciate and critique art can be reasonably surmised to be sub-par. His 1994 ascendancy to the position of art critic at the New Yorker and later the BBC is based solely on his above-mentioned talent for pouring his verbal honey and prolific imagination into the ears of the easily-impressed. And, unfortunately, the numbers of the easily-impressed will always outnumber saner minds. The result has been an appalling triumph of style over substance, and in the case of Schama’s ‘art criticism’ of Rothko, the triumph of lies over truth; degeneracy over health. The Guardian’s Ben Dowell describes him as “easily Britain’s best arts presenter.” The Independent, meanwhile, has praised the Hebrew’s “smooth, velvety presenting style.”

The rewards have been copious. Schama is, by a considerable margin, Britain’s highest-paid TV historian. His salary comes from the BBC, which is in turn funded by UK taxpayers. So in an era where the British health system is stretched to the limit because of immigration, and cancer drugs are scarce due to lack of funds, somehow this same Government can still deem it affordable to pay Simon Schama in the region of $5 million per series, in order that it’s increasingly despairing population be informed of such life-saving facts as the cosmically excellent work of Mark Rothko. It gets worse. In 2010, Schama was made a consultant to the British government on the teaching of history in schools. This position has allowed Schama to wax lyrical to huge and captive audiences on an ever increasing number of social issues, including multiculturalism and the “refugee” crisis. And Schama’s positions on these themes are precisely what one would expect of a Jewish intellectual. Schama claims that simply by teaching all children a common history, “a classroom of pupils whose grandparents may have been born in Mumbai or Kingston will grasp what it means to be British today, just as easily as a girl whose grandparents hail from Exeter or Aberdeen.”

One of the truly astonishing things about Schama’s rise is that is has continued for so long. For all his affected eloquence, the man is a poor debater and a mere repeater of flattery and clichés. Just a few weeks ago, during a debate on the BBC’s Question Time show on the “refugee” crisis, Schama was eviscerated by journalist Rod Liddle. During one exchange, Liddle noted that British society has changed and become more ‘emotional’ since the death of Princess Diana and chastised commenters for the “Dianafication” of the refugee crisis. In particular, Liddle gave the audience the option of siding with Schama’s “non-sequitur, emotional incontinence” and his “bizarre view of the world,” or instead adopting a more practical approach to dealing with the migrant flood. As Liddle read out UN statistics proving that most of the migrants were not refugees, Schama grinned and minced like a well-fed reptile — an apt description given that his emotions are nothing more than crocodile tears. We won’t see him shedding tears for the effects of migration on White Britain, nor will we see him demanding that his beloved Israel be overrun with “refugees” from neighboring Syria. Eventually, though, the frame gave way and Schama interjected, describing Liddle as “contemptible” for accusing him of “whipping up” the British public on the issue, and for “saying emotion should have no part in how we respond.”

“I’m interested in outcomes, not in your emotion,” shot back Liddle, his eyes fixed on Schama. “I’m interested in what is good for those people [migrants] and what is good for this country, not in how you feel about yourself.” Schama, was at this point totally flustered, and utterly incapable of an articulate response. I actually burst into laughter when I first saw a YouTube clip of the debate showing that at this point Schama started mumbling “Ask not for whom the bell tolls…” before realizing the quote lacked all relevancy given the facts outlined by Liddle, and pausing before trying again. When he did make another attempt at answering Liddle, he merely ignored the factual evidence that the migrants weren’t refugees, chattering that “There’s nothing to be ashamed about having an emotional response to the suffering of four million Syrian refugees…”

Liddle, at this point visibly enjoying taking the celebrated Hebrew to task, retorted: “Then decide what to do about it.” Schama then merely escalates the theatrics, gesticulating as he admonishes Liddle: “Do not presume to lecture me about the inadequacy of an emotional response to mass human suffering.” As Liddle reminds Schama that he is yet again employing non sequiturs, Schama attempts to cover up his inadequacy with florid personal insults: “Go back to your journalistic hackery and talk about outcomes, and turn your suburban face away from the plight of the miserable.”

Schama’s employment of “suburban” as a slur against the conservative English middle class will be familiar in spirit to all readers of TOO. We are well aware of the Jewish hatred for the great bulk of normal, heterosexual, traditionally-minded Whites. In England, too, the slur did not go un-noticed, although it was interpreted as part of a broader hatred of Middle England nurtured by “the Left.” The suburbs, where 80% of the British population live, are still mainly White and still cling to tradition. They are home to people who want to raise children in low-crime areas with access to the countryside. In the aftermath of the Schama-Liddle debate, the Daily Mail correctly remarked upon Schama’s “sneering contempt” for this way of life. The article described Schama as “the very acme of cosmopolitan sophistication,” and stated that in Schama’s outburst

We were given a glimpse of the snobbery that underpins so much of the metropolitan elite’s world view. According to this high priest of the liberal intelligentsia, Liddle didn’t deserve to be taken seriously because he was a resident of that lower middle-class hinterland that people like Schama only ever see from the business-class cabin of a Boeing 747 as it soars away from Heathrow. Liddle was suburban and, as such, he was narrow-minded and mean-spirited — quite unlike the large-hearted citizen of the world at the other end of the panel.

Liddle’s post-mortem of Schama’s position was even more searing. He remarked that Schama lacked any argument and instead

got very angry and his hands started waving all over the place. Someone on a social media site said he looked like a Thunder-birds puppet controlled by a person with Parkinson’s disease. … Talking about the ‘refugee’ crisis, the art historian divested himself of a stream of emotionally incontinent non-sequiturs — and it was when I pointed this out that he became incandescent with pique …. The problem, as I saw it, was that Simon had simply not made any sense at all. It seemed to be sufficient to say that these people — the migrants — were ‘human beings’ and that feeling kindly disposed towards them was sufficient, in itself, to solve what many fear is the gravest crisis we have faced since the second world war. … What I realised after that edition of Question Time is that the facts, the practicalities, the realities of the situation, do not matter one jot. There is a small minority of British opinion — the polls suggest that the overwhelming majority of the population, suburban scum that they are, do not wish to see more migrants entering the country — which is absolutely impervious to the facts which show that letting more people in the country will make things worse both for them and for us. And clearly anyone who doesn’t agree is unaware that the migrants are ‘human beings’ and is thus a borderline psychopath, as well as being suburban.

Liddle blames Europe’s current crisis on the fact the public are being led by a “clamorous minority” who are spouting “ectoplasmic rubbish” in order to convinced the public that they can “feel better about themselves” by engaging in altruistic action. An impressive and succinct diagnosis. Schama has “ectoplasmic rubbish” down to a fine art. He is the very epitome of the showy, noisy, gesticulating, over-hyped Jew. A key task of our movement will be to discover the means of drowning out this noise with our own, and restoring reason and logic before these Pied Pipers lead our people, our children, and our future into the abyss.

[1] S. Whitfield, In Search of American Jewish Culture (Brandeis University Press, 1999), p.23.

[2] Ibid, p.24.

[3] Ibid.

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