Anti-Semitism

“The Necessity of Anti-Semitism”

“There has always been an abyss between Europeans and Semites, since the time when Tacitus complained about the odium generis humani.”
Heinrich von Treitschke, Ein Wort über unser Judenthum, 1879.

In 1989, the Jewish screenwriter and journalist Frederic Raphael was invited to deliver the 25th Anniversary Lecture at the University of Southampton’s Parkes Institute for the study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations. Founded by Rev Dr James Parkes (1896–1981), a neurotic Church of England minister who made a career out of the promotion of philo-Semitism in Christianity and the promotion of guilt narratives among Christians (in 1935 he was both celebrated by Jews and targeted for assassination by National Socialists), the Institute quickly became a hub for the production of scholarly-appearing pro-Jewish propaganda. Rather than offering objective analyses of Jewish/non-Jewish relations, the Institute furthered the familiar narrative that Jews were the blameless and catastrophic victims of an entirely irrational European hatred. Raphael, given the honor of addressing the 25th anniversary of this project, opted on the appointed evening to be a witty gadfly, choosing “The Necessity of Anti-Semitism” as the title of his address. It could be the title of a book, said Raphael, one that could sit in the Parkes Institute library but for the fact it had never been written, and did not exist.

In the meandering speech that followed, Raphael explored the putative contents of this imaginary book, suggesting its potential arguments, and what they might say about the author and about European culture. Confirming the opinions of everyone present, Raphael offered the assurance that although this ghostly and ghastly book did not exist, such a haunting product would not be out of place on a continent where anti-Semitism is “a constant and essential working part of Europe’s somber and unreformed logic.”[1] For Raphael and his smug audience, “The Necessity of Anti-Semitism” lay only in its utility in salving the pathological European mind. Anti-Semitism was in fact extremely illogical and, in a moral sense, completely unnecessary.

Since reading Raphael’s speech several years ago, The Necessity of Anti-Semitism has, in a sense, haunted me too. As a single book, of course, it does not exist. But it perhaps has existed, after a fashion, in the thousands of tracts, pamphlets and books on the Jewish Question that have been written by Europeans over many centuries. In this collected body of anti-Semitic apologetics, one finds The Necessity of Anti-Semitism inflected in varying religious, political, and social hues. But what would the book look like if it was in fact written today? How could any author distill the various aspects of the Jewish Question into a single volume? In the essay that follows, part literary experiment, part historiography, I want us to join Raphael in imagining that this spectral book exists, even if our approach is rather different.

I imagine our author to introduce his volume with the broad case for The Necessity of Anti-Semitism, namely the presence of Jews and their influence in the four primary cultures of White decline: the Culture of Critique, the Culture of Tolerance, the Culture of Sterility, and the Culture of Usury. Read more

Crypto-Jews, German Guilt, and the Wittenberg Jew-Pig

“Here on our church in Wittenberg a sow is sculpted in stone. Young pigs and Jews lie suckling under her. Behind the sow a rabbi is bent over the sow, lifting up her right leg, holding her tail high and looking intensely under her tail and into her Talmud, as though he were reading something acute or extraordinary, which is certainly where they get their Shemhamphoras [hidden name of God in Kabbalah].
Martin Luther, 1543 

During my early years researching the Jewish Question I was particularly struck by the strident and flamboyant nature of medieval and early modern anti-Jewish folklore and related art. I recall being fascinated at the strangeness and creativity of tales like the 16th-century Jewish woman said to have given birth to twin piglets,[1] the common 15th-century belief that Jewish males menstruate,[2] and speculation that Jews buried their dead with small rocks to throw at Christ in the afterlife. As with much of Jewish history and the historiography of anti-Semitism, the subject of anti-Jewish folklore has been dominated by Jewish scholars. My first introduction to the topic was thus The Blood Libel Legend: A Casebook in Anti-Semitic Folklore (1991) by the Jewish UC-Berkeley folklorist Alan Dundes (1934–2005), widely regarded as the field’s pre-eminent, and perhaps only, expert. In the book, as one might well expect, Dundes strips anti-Jewish folklore of context and presents instead a collection of “evil” and “dangerous” fantasies lacking any logical or rational basis.

Aside from the work of Dundes, direct scholarly engagement with the subject of medieval anti-Jewish folklore has been relatively rare, with most Jewish scholars preferring to probe medieval artistic linkages between Jews and the Devil (see, for example, the work of Robert Bonfil, Marvin Perry, and Frederick Schweitzer) rather than some of the more outlandish or colorful “memes” that then circulated. Almost all of these scholarly accounts utilize medieval anti-Jewish folklore as a means of denigrating and indicting medieval Christianity as irrational and prejudiced, and ultimately as the fons et origo of an equally irrational and prejudiced modern anti-Semitism. An explanatory account of medieval and early modern anti-Jewish folklore informed by historical context remains to be written, despite admirable and broadminded texts like The Singular Beast: Jews, Christians, and the Pig (1997) by Claudine Fabre-Vassas. This is a project I am giving serious consideration to undertaking. As luck would have it, it’s also becoming somewhat relevant again.

Of all the artistic manifestations of anti-Jewish folklore, few are more acute, vehement, and scatological than the imagery of the Judensau, or ‘Jew-Pig.’ In brief, the image, depicted in woodcuts or in stone (often on churches) between the 13th and 15th centuries, is an allegorical reference to Jews drawing sustenance from the Talmud, with Jews shown suckling from a sow and/or examining or eating its feces. The association of Jews with pigs in medieval Christian folklore was longstanding, owing something to the known aversion of the Jews to pork, and produced an array of stories and imagery that flagrantly ignored the ancient dietary commands in Leviticus. In one legend, for example, the aversion to pork dated from the time of Christ, when a sneering Jew challenged Christ to guess the contents of a barrel that the Jew knew to contain a slaughtered pig. Unknown to the Jew, the pig had been removed and his own children were hiding in the barrel. When Jesus answered that the man’s children were in the barrel, he was mocked and told there was a pig inside. “Let them be pigs then,” replied Jesus, and the children were transformed into piglets. From that day onward, so goes the tale, Jews avoided eating pork because for them that would be cannibalism. One suspects that seriousness was never a primary concern in the development of such folk tales — they served as entertaining and memorial “memes” to impart the message that Jews were different and were to be avoided. Read more

Thoughts on the Protected Race

Know that we have taken into our hand, custody, and protection Leo the Jew our goldsmith and all his affairs. And therefore we command that you keep ward and defend the said Leo and all his affairs, doing no hurt or injury to him.”
Proclamation of King John of England, 10 Nov. 1199

My office was created by law and designed to protect the Jewish people throughout the world. Think about that. The worlds greatest power is focused, by law and design, on protecting the Jews.”
Elan Carr, U.S. State Department Envoy on Anti-Semitism, February 2019

By almost every metric, Jews are the most protected ethnic group on earth. At the frontline of this protection, Jewish institutional security is heavily subsidised by taxpayers throughout the West. In Germany, the government provides an annual stipend of $15 million to the Central Council of Jews. In the UK, the government spends around $20 million annually on both security for Jewish institutions and “Holocaust education” designed to combat “anti-Semitic ideas.” This is in addition to the UK pledging almost $70 million for a new Holocaust memorial designed to achieve the same ends. Hungary has promised $3.4 million to “fight anti-Semitism in Europe,” and Sweden has handed over 2 million kronor for increasing security at Jewish institutions. France has invested $107 million in “fighting anti-Semitism” since 2015. This brings us to a grand total of over $215 million in “protecting Jews” and “fighting anti-Semitism,” and doesn’t even take into account spending in the United States (somewhere between $20 million and $50 million annually for frontline security at Jewish institutions), or the spending of Jews on their own defense (the ADL’s annual budget alone is in the region of $58 million). One gets the distinct and remarkable impression that, globally, diaspora Judaism probably requires something approaching $1 billion simply in order to feel safe.

Jews are protected in other ways. Since mid-2018, resolutions and other legal measures against anti-Semitism have been gathering in pace and increasing in spread. In May 2018, South Carolina became the first US state to pass the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which effectively shuts down speech against Israel on college campuses by requiring  South Carolinas public institutions of higher education to take into consideration the [State Departments] definition of anti-Semitism for purposes of determining whether the alleged practice was motivated by anti-Semitic intentwhen investigating, or deciding whether there has been a violation of a college or university policy prohibiting discriminatory practices on the basis of religion. In February 2019, President Macron of France announced a “crackdown on anti-Semitism” that would involve dissolving three pro-White organizations, defining anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism, and introducing new laws against “hate speech” targeting Jews on social media. Just a few weeks ago, Florida passed legislation defining anti-Semitism and making it illegal under state law. Tennessee has attempted to pass an Anti-Semitism Awareness Bill, and recently passed a resolution “fighting anti-Semitism” by declaring unequivocal support for Israel. This, of course, follows hot on the heels of the House resolution “condemning anti-Semitism” in the aftermath of Ilhan Omar’s now notorious remarks on the Israel lobby.

There simply isn’t another ethnic group elsewhere on earth that enjoys the same level of financial and legal protections enjoyed by Jews. Of course, the uninformed, when confronted with such a fact, might reply that this level of support is both needed and deserved. According to the received narrative, recent history suggests that Jews are the West’s most vulnerable and victimised group. All of these laws, and all of this funding, is therefore merely a response to an acute need. But recent history has nothing to do with Jewish protection, and nor are these measures responsive to any real immediate threat. In order to gain a full appreciation for what exactly is going on, we need to go much further back in time. Read more

Pittsburgh

In the wake of the Pittsburgh Synagogue shootings, the long-running hysteria about Donald Trump promoting anti-Semitism, racism, and “White supremacy” has been intensified. It’s at the point now that it is morphing into an obvious attempt to shut down or at least pathologize public discussion of critical issues.

Particularly important are globalism and nationalism, and the role of the establishment—particularly the media—in shaping attitudes on these issues. The election of Donald Trump and the clear rise of nationalist politics and anti-immigration sentiment in Europe are causing extreme anxiety in establishment circles. And yet, these issues are central to the interests of all the citizens of Western countries.

An honest discussion is therefore imperative, but all too often, as in much of the EU, honest discussion is vilified and even threatened with legal sanctions (e.g., here, here, and here). What we have is a corrupt establishment desperately fighting to remain in power—an establishment that is out of touch with the interests and concerns of its native populations. We in the United States are threatened with a similar situation if present trends continue.

For starters. Trump’s recent statement that “I am a nationalist” was greeted with a deluge of comments that such a statement is racist and dog whistled White Supremacism,” and Nazism (here, here, here, here). Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) stated:

“We should stop giving him the benefit of the doubt, that he doesn’t understand what he means when he refers to nationalists or any of these other terms. These are not just dog whistles, but it’s bullhorns. It’s racism, it’s basically for many people it’s anti-semitic [sic], it’s white supremacy. He knows very well what he’s talking about even though he professes otherwise.”

This is amazing given that Trump was quite clear in stating that he meant that America’s interests should come first, as in this statement contrasting nationalism with globalism that immediately followied his claim that he is a nationalist: “A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly not caring about our country so much.” This is nothing more than a garden-variety restatement of civic nationalism that has been a bedrock conservative idea for decades.

The problem is that in the present context of hyper-polarized political debate, such a statement is reflexively associated in the media with the Alt Right—the threatening menace of White racial nationalism. This is more a testament to the lurking influence of the Alt Right. The establishment sees any mention of nationalism in this context as at best a slippery slope toward racial nationalism. Read more

Reply to Jordan Peterson on the Jewish Question — From His Heroes Part Four: Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

Go to Part 1: Solzhenitsyn
Go to Part 2: Dostoevsky
Go to Part 3: Jung

A Reply from Nietzsche.

Like these other figures, whose thought is sanitized and claimed by Peterson, Nietzsche possessed views of Jews quite at odds with Peterson’s own hasty conclusions. Robert Holub’s 2015 Nietzsche’s Jewish Problem: Between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Judaism (Princeton University Press) convincingly demonstrates that, at best, Nietzsche could be described as ambivalent towards the Jewish Question. Nietzsche was undeniably in tune with Wagner when it came to animosity towards those aspects of modernity most closely linked with the rise of the Jews in Germany: the hegemony of journalists, the press, newspapers, new ‘trends’ in art, and the stock market. He was a critic of both Berthold Auerbach and Felix Mendelssohn, whom he argued produced works typified by foreignness, jargon, mawkishness and internationalism. At Basel, one of Nietzsche’s closest colleagues was the historian Jacob Burckhardt, described in one dedication as “my honored friend.” Burckhardt was unequivocally opposed to Jewish emancipation and believed that everything of worth in European culture was due to its Greek and Roman heritage rather than the Jewish tradition. He would have balked at the idea of Europe as a ‘Judeo-Christian’ cultural entity—a favorite piece of Jordan Peterson’s nomenclature—and he was firmly convinced that Jews were responsible for the worst manifestations of modernity. Early in his career Burckhardt wrote to a friend that the presence of Jews in a theater would be sufficient to entirely destroy his enjoyment of the event.

Like the others reviewed here, Peterson references Friedrich Nietzsche in almost every interview, talk, or text he delivers. In 12 Rules for Life (p.59), Peterson describes Nietzsche as both “great” and “brilliant,” and calls him (p.85) “perhaps the most astute critic ever to confront Christianity.” In much the same way as he cites Solzhenitsyn, Dostoevsky, and Jung as his ideological forerunners, Peterson holds up Nietzsche as a prescient and thoughtful thinker whose work was characterized (p.37) by its “brilliance.” Read more

Reply to Jordan Peterson on the Jewish Question — From His Heroes: Part Three: Jung

C. G. Jung

Go to Part 1: Solzhenitsyn.
Go to Part 2: Dostoevsky

A Reply to Jung.

Jordan Peterson references Carl Jung in almost every interview, talk, or text he delivers, and these references are especially frequent in his lecture series on the Biblical stories. In 12 Rules for Life (p.131), Peterson describes Jung as both a “great psychiatrist” and a “psychoanalyst extraordinaire.” Jung’s ideas about the subconscious and archetypes form the backbone of much of Peterson’s self-concept and public work. One therefore wonders what Jung would have made of Jordan Peterson’s “On the So-Called Jewish Question.”

To begin with, Jung would almost certainly object to Peterson’s implicit assumption that Jews are easily integrated parts in the machinery of Western civilization, equal or even superior in suitability to all others. Jung believed that Jews, like all peoples, have a characteristic personality, and he would have stressed the need to take this personality into account. Even in his own sphere of expertise, Jung warned that “Freud and Adler’s psychologies were specifically Jewish, and therefore not legitimate for Aryans.”[1] A formative factor in the Jewish personality was the rootlessness of the Jews and the persistence of the Diaspora. Jung argued that Jews lacked a “chthontic quality,” meaning “The Jew … is badly at a loss for that quality in man which roots him to the earth and draws new strength from below.”[2] Jung penned these words in 1918, but they retain significance even after the founding of the State of Israel. Even today, vastly more Jews live outside Israel than within it. Jews remain a Diaspora people, and many continue to see their Diaspora status as a strength. Because they are scattered and rootless, however, Jung argued that Jews developed methods of getting on in the world that are built on exploiting weakness in others rather than expressing explicit strength. In Jung’s phrasing, “The Jews have this particularity in common with women; being physically weaker, they have to aim at the chinks in the armour of their adversary.”[3] Read more

Reply to Jordan Peterson on the Jewish Question — From His Heroes Part One: Solzhenitsyn

“The Aryan subconscious has a higher potential than the Jewish.”
G. Jung

Overture

I recently took some time to devote serious attention to the work of Jordan Peterson. Until a few months ago, my familiarity with Peterson had been limited to his very weak and ill-advised intervention in the Nathan Cofnas affair. At that time, I toyed with the idea of providing a series of historical examples (there are many) that would contradict every one of Peterson’s assertions regarding the Jewish Question, but, in the end, his intervention was dealt with so conclusively by Kevin MacDonald (see here), that I saw no reason to discuss it further and abandoned that essay at the “skeleton” stage.  Peterson is, however, hard to ignore. As MacDonald put it, Peterson is indeed a “celebrity intellectual,” and one who, despite an occasionally overt philo-Semitism, has engaged in spirited defenses against some manifestations of cultural Marxism. This is admirable, and he is generally pleasing and interesting to watch his TV appearances. Watching and listening to these appearances with any frequency, it’s hard to escape Peterson’s key influences. The Canadian academic is both vocal and (remarkably) repetitive in naming them: summaries, quotes, and interpretations of Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Solzhenitsyn, and Jung all feature very prominently in Peterson’s content.[1] It’s clear that all four men act as his foremost intellectual and personal heroes. But they share something else in common – they have all confronted the Jewish Question in a manner that quite clearly contradicts the view put forth by Peterson. This is not to say that everyone must follow all the ideas of their heroes, but it does call into question how carefully Peterson has both understood these writers and considered his own position on the Jews. The following essay is intended to tease out some problems and contradictions.

I’ve spent the last couple of months listening to Peterson’s lecture series on the Biblical stories, reading his 12 Rules for Life, and examining (and re-examining) his essay “On the So-Called Jewish Question.” I have to confess to finding his lecture series extremely strange. Listening to the audience question and answer sessions at the end of each lecture, it’s clear that Peterson has a sizeable Jewish following and that his lectures are, if not geared toward Jews, certainly holding great appeal for them. Part of this may be the fact that, for an ostensibly Christian apologist, thus far only one of Peterson’s sixteen lectures have concerned the New Testament. What I find particularly interesting about Peterson’s interpretation of these stories is that he extracts, in abstract psychoanalytic fashion, a series of self-help non-sequiturs without looking at how and why the stories were formulated in the first place, and how they have been understood by Jews during the many centuries since they were written. This is an especially ironic development because Peterson’s approach to these particular texts is rather like that of Jacques Derrida, the Jewish Marxist postmodernist he rebukes in 12 Rules for Life, who argued “there is nothing outside the text.” And it is quite unlike the suggestion of his hero Carl Jung, who, as Peterson notes in 12 Rules for Life, suggested that “if you cannot understand why someone did something, look at the consequences — and infer the motivation.”

Peterson doesn’t seem remotely interested in the psychological needs and motivations of the Jewish authors and readers of the stories, and, by his own admission (in the question and answer session following his discussion of the tale of Jacob and Esau) Peterson has never examined the Talmud to see how Jews have interacted with them. Read more