Anti-Jewish Writing

Benzion Netanyahu: Jewish Activist and Intellectual Apologist

Benzion Netanyahu, father of the current Israeli PM, has died at the age of 102. Uri Avnery, an Israeli peace activist, describes Netanyahu  fils  as “a Holocaust-obsessed fantasist, out of contact with reality, distrusting all Goyim, trying to follow in the footsteps of a rigid and extremist father – altogether a dangerous person to lead a nation in a real crisis.” Like father, like son.

Benzion Netanyahu was a prototypical Jewish activist, switching easily from his work as secretary for racial Zionist Vladimir Jabotinsky, to successfully lobbying for a pro-Zionist platform for the Republican Party in 1944 (which caused the Democrats to adopt a similar platform), to his work as a Jewish academic historian advancing Jewish interests in academia. His best-known book, The Origins of the Inquisition in 15th-Century Spain, was published in 1995 by Random House.

A commentary by Yossi Halevi Klein claims that the goal of Netanyahu’s scholarship was to

dissect the consequences of Jewish naivete. Benzion’s fascination with medieval Spain wasn’t based only on the behavior of the victimizers but of the victims. He not only drew a line connecting what he defined as the racial anti-Semitism of the Inquisition with Nazism, but implicitly drew a line between the Jews who saw medieval Spain as their golden land and the Jews who saw modern Germany as their new Zion. It is precisely that dread of Jewish self-deception that has defined the politics of Benzion’s son.

Similarly Jonathan S. Tobin, writing in Commentary,  claims that Netanyahu’s “understood that hatred and intolerance lay at the roots of the difficulties of the Jews then as now. As his son noted at his funeral …, the challenge is to “face reality head on” and “draw the necessary conclusions.” Read more

Valentin Rasputin’s Crusade

Valentin Rasputin

With the passing of the great Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008), the no less great, though in a different genre, Valentin Rasputin (b. 1937), assumed the mantle of doyen of the Russian literary scene. Whereas Solzhenitsyn wrote monumental tomes about festering political issues in Russia (Gulag, Revolution, Jews) and gained international fame thereby, Rasputin, a son and guardian of Siberia, gained his initial recognition mostly from his finely executed, almost precious novellas about life in his homeland and the ruin the Communist government was inflicting on it.

While the differences in style and subject matter between Solzhenitsyn and Rasputin are obvious, the bonds of similarity that immediately identify them as Russian writers are less so. Russian literary figures have religiously followed the tradition of earlier Russian literary figures like Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Bunin in seeing the role of the writer not as an entertainer or propagandist but as a kind of culture-bearer, a teacher, a conscience, and always a patriot — not in the sense of a chauvinist but rather as one who loves his country and its people. Such literary giants therefore help forge “a spiritual commonality” with their readers and give them “moral direction.” To fail to do this would be considered a betrayal of a sacred trust.[1]

The principles of Orthodox Christianity are most evident in the lives of both Solzhenitsyn and Rasputin. Rasputin, for example, was baptized by an Orthodox priest in 1980, when the Communist government was still in power. Both the writings of Solzhenitsyn and Rasputin are suffused with not only a sense of civic responsibility but with an overriding moral concern as well. Just as the Orthodox Church keeps alive and treasures everything in its past history, both Solzhenitsyn and Rasputin reach into older Russian writings to retrieve and reuse words and expressions that might have fallen into disuse. Both writers also studied ancient Russian folklore. Both were literary crusaders. Read more

Evil Genius: Constructing Wagner as Moral Pariah, Part 2


Part 2: Jewish Responses to Wagner’s Ideas

Basically ignoring whether Wagner’s views on Jewish influence on German art and culture had any validity, a long line of Jewish music writers and intellectuals have furiously attacked the composer for having expressed them. In his essay “Know Thyself” Wagner writes of the fierce backlash that followed his drawing “notice to the Jews’ inaptitude for taking a productive share in our Art,” which was “met by the utmost indignation of Jews and Germans alike; it became quite dangerous to breathe the word ‘Jew’ with a doubtful accent.” Wagner’s critique of Jewish influence on German art and culture could not be dismissed as the ravings of an unintelligent and ignorant fool. Richard Wagner was, by common consent, one of the most brilliant human beings to have ever lived, and his views on the Jewish Question were cogent and rational. Accordingly, Jewish critics soon settled on the response of ascribing psychiatric disorders to Wagner, and this has been a stock approach ever since. As early as 1872 the German Jewish psychiatrist Theodor Puschmann, offered a psychological assessment of Wagner which was widely reported in the German press. He claimed that Wagner was suffering from “chronic megalomania, paranoia… and moral derangement.”

The long-time music critic for the New York Times, Harold Schonberg (who was a Jew), described Wagner in his Lives of the Great Composers (1997) as “amoral, hedonistic, selfish, virulently racist, arrogant, filled with gospels of the superman … and the superiority of the German race, he stands for all that is unpleasant in human character.” In 1968 the Jewish writer Robert Gutman published a biography of Wagner (Richard Wagner: the Man, his Mind and his Music) in which he portrayed his subject as a racist, psychopathic, proto-Nazi monster. Gutman’s scholarship was questioned at the time, but this did not prevent his book from becoming a best-seller, and as one source notes: “An entire generation of students has been encouraged to accept Gutman’s caricature of Richard Wagner. Even intelligent people, who have either never read Wagner’s writings or tried to penetrate them and failed … have read Gutman’s book and accepted his opinions as facts.” Read more

Evil Genius: Constructing Wagner as Moral Pariah, Part 1


In the 2010 feature-length documentary Wagner and Me the British celebrity Stephen Fry explored his love affair with the music of Richard Wagner. Fry, who is Jewish, homosexual, and bipolar, enjoys a multi-pronged “victim” status that has made his identity politics credentials the aesthetic equivalent of a nuclear warhead. The inevitable consequence of this (and his Leftist politics) is his constant presence in the British media. Indeed, Stephen Fry is possibly the most overrated and overexposed individual in the history of British entertainment, and has benefited enormously from the intellectual elite’s construction of Jewish genius to the point where he is routinely hailed in sections of this fawning media as a “genius” and a “national treasure.”

As well as providing another celebrity vehicle for the overrated Stephen Fry, Wagner and Me offered another platform for exploring the life, work and thinking of one of the world’s most famous “anti-Semites.” While acknowledging Wagner’s undoubted genius, Fry reminds us in portentous tones that “a shadow falls across the sublime music. It’s not only the fact that it was later appropriated by Hitler which makes some people think of Wagner’s art as tainted. It’s also because Wagner himself was outspokenly anti-Semitic.” Read more