Anti-Semitism

Jewish Reactions to Black anti-Semitism

“Jews often become convenient stand-ins as the purveyors of the structures of systemic racism that continue to plague Black America.”
Tema Smith, The Forward, 2019

As remarked in “Aspects of Black anti-Semitism,” it’s clear that visible and occasionally violent Black hostility towards Jews presents the latter with an objective problem in terms of their (publicly expressed) self-concept as a people and the received wisdom regarding the nature of anti-Semitism (now given quasi-legal standing in many countries via the IHRA definition). In general terms, Jews have tended to avoid any sense of responsibility for anti-Semitism by creating and promoting narratives in which they are passive victims of a phenomenon that is the result of fundamentally irrational bigotry. This is often accompanied by the insistence that anti-Semitism has its origins in what are seen as pathological elements in European Christianity and that anti-Semitism is little more than a set of ideas that act as a viral psychosis among Whites.

Since the early twentieth century, this understanding has been augmented with a variety of modifications, many derived from Marxism and psychoanalysis, but the essential argument that anti-Semitism is a White pathology has survived, and has been very widely disseminated in Western cultural, political, and educational spheres. In fact, it has been challenged in significant terms only by the rise of anti-Jewish hostility in the Middle East, but even in that instance it has been characterized by Jewish historians like Bernard Lewis as being influenced by Europeans. Within the West, and omitting anti-Semitism among Muslim immigrants, the periodic spike in anti-Jewish hostility among American Blacks represents perhaps the only persistent Western challenge to the received wisdom that anti-Semitism is a White problem, rather than a problem that originates with Jewish behavior. Black anti-Semitism also problematizes notions that Jews have been selfless and valuable allies to Blacks and other minorities, something that has been a key aspect of Jewish propaganda campaigns for pluralism in Western nations. As such, Jewish rhetorical and legal responses to Black anti-Semitism are of interest to White advocates, and to all peoples concerned with Jewish/Zionist group influence and behavior.

Victims of White Systems

One of the most prominent Jewish strategies when discussing Black anti-Semitism is the attempt to preserve both Jewish and Black senses of victimhood, and thus preserve the idea of an alliance against an allegedly oppressive White society. On the most basic level, this strategy involves denying any specificity to Black complaints against Jews and essentially involves an entrenchment of the idea that anti-Semitism is a White pathology. Black socio-economic grievances are radically downplayed or even ignored entirely in this framework, and the locus of all discussion tends to be on vague, putative historical contexts of Jewish victimhood (e.g. “This is another sorry chapter in the history of the Longest Hatred”), rather than on serious thinking about perpetrator motivation.

An excellent example in this regard is Tema Smith’s Forward article “How to talk about Black anti-Semitism.” Smith attempts to preserve both Jewish and Black senses of victimhood by arguing that “Jews often become convenient stand-ins as the purveyors of the structures of systemic racism that continue to plague Black America.” This is really a fascinating statement given that it comes in the aftermath of Black attacks on Jews involving everything from “fists and stones to machetes, automatic weapons, and explosive devices.” Despite very clear dynamics of targeted hostility, the victimhood of both peoples is preserved and asserted since the putatively passive Jews are merely “convenient stand-ins,” and Blacks are themselves “plagued” by “the structures of systemic racism.” In other words, antagonistic Jewish behaviors are either non-existent or ultimately irrelevant, while Blacks can’t be fully condemned for their attitudes and behavior because they’ve essentially been fooled by an exploitative racist system. Thus, in a context in which a disproportionately vast numbers of Hasidic Jews exploit their tenants and accumulate hundreds of building violations through sheer greed and disdain for those living in their properties, and in the process making life hell for many Blacks, the real villain of the story is somehow the White man — a figure, curiously enough, that is almost totally absent from all “Worst Landlord” lists.

In this reaction, therefore, Jews and their behaviors dissolve into the abstraction of imagined social systems—specifically “racist” systems that are part of a putative White power structure. Smith continues:

What is remarkable, though, is that a single factor underlies every attempt to diagnose a unique form of Black anti-Semitism: systemic racism. In analysis after analysis, antisemitism in the Black community is shown to be the symptom of the structures of racism in the United States—housing insecurity, lack of access to quality education, food deserts, access to political capital, discriminatory policing, and on and on. Ultimately, the conversation about Black anti-Semitism is not actually about Blacks and Jews. [emphasis added]

This is a capable use of persuasive language, but what is truly remarkable is that Smith fails to identify the true “single factor” underlying attempts to diagnose Black anti-Semitism — the stunning avoidance of any significant confrontation with the worst aspects of Jewish behavior in Black districts. Whether or not housing insecurity, lack of access to quality education, food deserts, access to political capital, or discriminatory policing have anything to do with the specific issue of Black anti-Semitism is up for debate, but what is clearly contributing to Black anti-Semitism is the decades-old prevalence of Jews as the very worst of ghetto slumlords, pawn brokers, loan merchants, and political hypocrites. Smith doesn’t provide a single reference or footnote to any of the examples of “analysis after analysis” allegedly proving a thesis that conveniently absolves Jews of provoking Black aggression because these analyses are almost non-existent outside the ridiculous offerings of the Jewish power structure’s own self-defense bodies. In fact, when serious unbiased scholarly studies are made of Black anti-Semitism they tend to overwhelmingly conclude, in the words of Ronald Tsukashima and Darrel Montero, that “economic mistreatment [by Jews] is strongly related to heightened antipathy toward Jews.”[1]

One study that concedes economic mistreatment of Blacks by Jews, but insists that Whites and their “racist system” are still responsible for the situation, is the ADL-sponsored Anti-Semitism in America (1979) by Harold Quinley and Charles Glock. In the fourth chapter of this text, “Anti-Semitism Among Black Americans,” the authors concede their findings “are consistent with a theory that black anti-Semitism is economically based,” and that having business contacts with Jews “was associated with a sharp rise in anti-Semitic responses.”[2] In particular, it was found that Jewish credit practices were one of the “principle areas in which blacks are exploited. They often end up paying exorbitant prices for inferior goods.”[3] Remarkably, however, in summarising their conclusions the authors move away radically from the specificities of Black-Jewish interactions, instead abstracting into discussion of systems of racism. In essence, they replicate the process of Jews dissolving into Whiteness. For example, they assert that “it is largely as members of the oppressive white majority that blacks seem to react to Jews.”[4] This is followed by what amounts to absolution of both Blacks and Jews, and a condemnation of Whites:

Prejudice should be deplored wherever it exists and for whatever reason. At the same time, prejudice toward the oppressor is not to be equated with prejudice toward the oppressed. The prejudice of blacks is in part a response to circumstances which white-dominated culture has imposed on them. The opposite does not apply with respect to the prejudice of whites.

The rhetorical pattern is thus replicated that negative Jewish behavior is either non-existent or irrelevant, that, in a sense, Black violence is excusable, and that the real enemy of both is White people and their culture.

The Judeo-Bolshevik Inflection

Part of the “system’s” apologetic, but worthy of analysis in its own right, is the Jewish-Marxist treatment of Black anti-Semitism. A good example of this approach was published last month at Jacobin, in the form of Aaron Freedman’s article “To Defeat Antisemitism, We Must Defeat Capitalism.” It’s long been my opinion that a significant element of historical Jewish support for Marxism is that Marxism is itself a kind of “escape into systems.” Jews have for centuries been noted as particularly negative forces within capitalism, and it would appear that Jews have much to gain by advancing the idea that it is the system of capitalism, rather than Judaism and Jewish approaches to capitalism, that is inherently bad. It is indeed a curio of history and contemporary economics that Jews have heavily accumulated, and often dominated, in those economic areas widely seen as exemplifying the worst of capitalism: usury/high interest loans, including the modern payday loan; sub-prime mortgages; tax farming; vulture funds; monopoly; fraud; Ponzi schemes; slumlordism; tax avoidance; internet gambling; and malicious bankruptcy. I’ve tackled the Marxist critique of anti-Semitism in great detail in relation to the ideas of Slavoj Zizek (who later referenced the “true anti-Semitism” of my essay at RT but—rather tellingly—offered no rebuttal, refusing even to answer the question he quotes). But here I want to discuss it specifically with reference to the issue of Black anti-Semitism.

Aaron Freedman, who lives in Brooklyn and should therefore know better, is quite unabashed in asserting that “Antisemitism endures because capitalist oppression needs a scapegoat,” which is really no more than a rephrasing of Tema Smith’s claim that Jews are merely “convenient stand-ins” for the real problem — the racist structure of White society. Freedman admits that there has been a sudden increase in Black attacks on Jews, but his first attempt at explanation can only be described as nothing less than remarkable: “A surge in white-nationalist activity since Donald Trump’s election is surely the main part of the story.”

Inserting “surely” into a sentence is a nice effort at persuasive writing, but the logical gap is so great in this instance that it resembles the rhetorical equivalent of putting a band-aid on the hull of a sinking ship. Freedman qualifies his astonishing claim only by adding “But Trump’s victory alone does not explain the spate of incidents in New York, committed in many cases by black individuals in both planned assaults and apparently random street encounters.” The confusion unfortunately escalates from there, with Freedman commenting “The Right obviously does not have an answer.” The problem here is that we obviously do have an answer for the causes of Black anti-Semitism, and like all great theses it can be summed up in a single, short sentence: “Jews have been behaving badly again.” Freedman dodges any hint at such an explanation, moving into his own breakdown of why Blacks have been attacking Jews: Capitalism.

Like all Marxist interpretations of anti-Semitism, Freedman asserts that “Its roots in the United States, by way of Europe, come from Christian discrimination against “Christ killers,” dating as far back as the 2nd century CE.”  This is, quite frankly, a nonsensical oversimplification, and the dating of the origins of anti-Semitism from medieval Christendom, rather than the ancient world, is an depressingly common feature of Jewish apologetics, a tactic that typically owes much of its development to the convenience of placing the blame for anti-Semitism on early Christianity. Most significantly, it is based on the theories of Gavin Langmuir, a philosemitic scholar who by his own admission dated his discussion of the origins of anti-Semitism to the medieval period because, “I am respectably knowledgeable only about the history of the West since the fall of the Roman Empire and am most at home in the Middle Ages.” Compounding Freedman’s gross errors, the Jacobin journalist states with brazen duplicity that Jewish financial activities in the Middle Ages were “far less oppressive” than that of other peoples (again, see my commentary on the ideas of Slavoj Zizek for historical sources contradicting such assertions), and that they were only quaintly engaged in “petty bourgeois profit-seeking.” No mention of Jewish elite status. No discussion of Jewish tax-farming. No inclusion of peasant revolts against the unusually oppressive nature of Jewish finance. Jews appear in Freedman’s narrative only as “a religious other,” picked on because they were “also very vulnerable.” So vulnerable they typically had royal protection? So vulnerable that most of the oldest residential houses in England were built for Jews, their thick stone standing the test of centuries and countless reactions from the goyim?

If by now, like me, you’re wondering what Freedman has to say specifically on the matter of Black anti-Semitism, then also, like me, you’ll be frustrated with the fact he finishes the piece without mentioning anything at all about Black anti-Jewish hostility in Brooklyn. In a grand piece of diversionary nonsense, he merely recounts the standard Judeo-Bolshevik narrative of anti-Semitism, declaring Black anti-Semitism to be inconsequential to the greater story: “the specific threat of white-nationalist organizations remains the paramount one,” and “in any society in which the few rule over the many, racist and antisemitic victim-blaming will thrive.” The message is therefore more or less identical to that offered by Tema Smith — when Blacks attack Jews it has nothing to do with either Blacks or Jews, and everything to do with Whites. The situation thus presents itself that Jewish slumlords abuse and exploit their Black tenants, Blacks react by assaulting Jews, and Whites are encouraged to chastise themselves for causing it all through their evil desire for private property.

Pleading Ignorance

In “Aspects of Black anti-Semitism,” I noted that,

A fascinating feature of coverage of the Winter 2019/2020 attacks on Jews by Blacks in New York has been the total absence of media enquiry into why the assaults took place. Like so much historiography on European anti-Semitism, there is simply no room for the question Why? As in Kiev, or Odessa, or the Rhine Valley, or Lincoln, or Aragon, or Galicia, the assaults on Jews in Brooklyn apparently emerged from the ether, motivated by some miasmic combination of insanity and demonic aggression. NBC New York reported bluntly on a “spree of hate,” but had nothing in the way of analysis of context other than a condemnation of “possible hate-based attacks” — one of the most remarkably opaque pieces of analytical nomenclature I’ve ever come across.

Mirroring media neglect of context, some Jewish reactions have consisted of feigned ignorance and bafflement at what might have caused Black anti-Semitism. In a December 2019 article for the Daily Beast, Brooklyn-based Jay Michaelson attempts to explain “What’s Behind the New Wave of Anti-Semitic Hate?” What his article in facts consists of is a series of mystifications of what is really a fairly straightforward story. For Michaelson, “speaking as a Jewish parent who lives in Brooklyn, I can tell you that it’s terrifying. It is also confusing. [emphasis added]” The only thing Michaelson seems sure of is that “hate” is involved, but he courageously probes deeper by asking: “Hate, yes, but what kind of hate?” His conclusion? “The answer is not simple.” Michaelson does concede that some of the anti-Jewish actions of recent decades contain “glimmers of ideology” — “the Crown Heights riot of 1991 was in part about city resources, housing, gentrification, policing and political power”—but he follows this by insisting that “These attacks say nothing about African-Americans or anti-Semitism in black communities. … To eradicate anti-Semitism, we must understand it—and right now, when it comes to this devastating new wave of attacks, we don’t.”

Other than blank confusion, then, does Michaelson suggest that anyone at all is blameworthy for the recent outbreaks of Black anti-Semitism? After much confusion, the fog settles and the real perpetrator comes into Michaelson’s view: Donald Trump. Michaelson unveils the villain of the story as follows:

While conspiracy-mongering exists on the left and the right, there is no left-wing or African-American equivalent of President Trump, who has freely traded in anti-Semitic stereotypes, sometimes in a joking way. … Indeed, Trump’s contribution to our conspiracy-fevered culture is broader than specifically anti-Semitic conspiracies. For example, regarding the 2016 election alone, Trump has claimed, baselessly, that it was rigged (even though he won anyway), that millions of people voted illegally in it, that Ukraine (not Russia) interfered with it, and that there are still important email servers floating around out there that we have to get our hands on. When you play with fire like this, vulnerable populations get burned. Especially Jews.

The real reason for Black attacks on Jews is thus unveiled with crystal clarity. According to Michaelson, it all began when Donald Trump made some jokes that some Jews perceived to refer to “canards” about Jews and money. The situation was compounded further when Trump complained about Hillary Clinton keeping state business on a private email server. Unable to control themselves in light of Trump’s jokes, and rendered paranoid by talk of Ukrainian meddling and the security protocols of email servers, the Blacks of Brooklyn rose up in violence against the “vulnerable population” in their midst—the entirely innocent, passive and wealthy Hasidic landlords who owned their slums and debts. Right.

Some things never change: Covers of Commentary from 1963 and 2018.

The Material Reaction

It often pays to observe what Jews do rather than what they say. Steven Gold, writing on the Jewish response to growing Black anti-Semitism in 1940s Harlem, comments:

Being well organized, Jewish communal associations took note when Jewish merchants were accused of inappropriate behavior. When African-American journalists or activists complained about the exploitative behavior of ghetto merchants, Jewish spokesmen often resisted accepting responsibility and instead labeled accusers as anti-Semites for referring to the merchants’ religion. Contending that Jewish merchants treated Blacks no worse than other Whites did, they objected to being singled out.[5]

Resisting accepting responsibility for exploitative and inappropriate behavior has long been the favored option of Jews, even when confronted with quite extreme and violent manifestations of anti-Semitism. In fact, one of the obvious themes of Jewish history is the persistence of negative behaviors amidst ever-intensifying efforts to entrench within the host society, often via radically increased security and associated privileges (e.g. restricted freedoms for non-Jews, harsh penalties for anti-Semitism). A constant of Jewish history is that in general Jews do not change behavior that is seen negatively by non-Jews; rather, they find ways to continue to engage in the behavior but avoid the consequences—a facet of aggression as a background trait of Jewish behavior (p. 26ff). As such, one would expect that Black anti-Semitism will not significantly change patterns of Jewish behavior in Black areas, and that we will instead witness Jewish communities enjoying very high levels of police protection and the promotion of the idea that Jews are a vulnerable, passive, and special people entirely deserving of special treatment. Additionally, despite Jewish rhetoric blaming Black anti-Semitism on Whites, one would expect a high level of suspicion of Blacks among Jews, and subtle attempts by Jews to punish Blacks for their aggressions.

Security for Jews has already vastly increased since December 2019, with the Guardian reporting that police have stepped up patrols in “Borough Park, Midwood, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Williamsburg, as well as establishing community-based neighborhood safety coalitions overseen by the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes. In addition, the city announced an increased NYPD presence at houses of worship and during local events. Six new surveillance towers and additional security cameras will be installed throughout the neighborhoods.” As well as increasing security on the ground, Jewish leaders last week successfully lobbied Attorney General William Barr to announce a “zero tolerance” policy for anti-Semitism at federal level. The new, harsher approach to crimes against Jews will get its first trial in the case of Tiffany Harris, a Brooklyn-based Black woman of dubious mental health who slapped three Jewish women and now, on the orders of Barr, will face federal hate crime charges which carry a maximum of 30 years in prison.

The issue of Jewish security has also called into question the putatively selfless Jewish interest in “social justice.” Having previously backed New York’s “no bail” criminal justice reforms, ostensibly intended to stop the injustice of those in poverty (mainly Blacks) spending more time in jail than those with the funds to bail their way out (mainly Whites), Jews are now rapidly turning on the policy change and demanding that “hate crime” exemptions be considered. In other words, Jews want subtle protections and subtle punishments. The Forward reports:

People are panicking, people feel frightened,” said Chaim Deutsch, a New York City councilman who represents a Brooklyn district with a large Hasidic population. “When they see someone like Tiffany Harris is released on bail, and got released only to go assault someone again, it sends the wrong message.” Deutsch is circulating an open letter to Cuomo criticizing the new criminal justice reforms. Simcha Eichenstein, a state assemblyman who also represents a Brooklyn district, plans to introduce legislation that would remove all hate crime charges from the list of crimes that judges cannot set bail for. Deutsch told the Forward he supports Eichenstein’s legislation. Concern for the repercussions of the bail reforms is growing among politicians. Cuomo has said he wants to reconsider the rules. Even progressives like Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the New York State Senate majority leader, has signaled her willingness to look at the rules again.

A policy change that has been the cause célèbre of liberal multiculturalists for years is thus forced into sharp revision solely because it has been deemed to negatively impact Jewish security.

This is the true Jewish reaction to Black anti-Semitism, devoid of rhetorical smoke and mirrors, and steeped in centuries of tradition: Deny Responsibility; Entrench in the Society; Continue and Intensify Existing Behaviors; Increase Privileges and Protections; Punish Opponents.

What a vicious and endless circle.


[1] Ronald Tadao Tsukashima, Darrel Montero, “The Contact Hypothesis: Social and Economic Contact and Generational Changes in the Study of Black Anti-Semitism,” Social Forces, Volume 55, Issue 1, September 1976, 149–165. Although more ambiguous in their representation of findings, see also, Gary T. Marx, Protest  and Prejudice: A Study of Belief in the Black Community (New York: Harper and Row, 1967) and Harold Quinley and Charles Glock, Antisemitism in America (New York: Free Press, 1979).

[2] Harold Quinley and Charles Glock, Antisemitism in America (New York: Free Press, 1979), 57.

[3] Ibid., 66.

[4] Ibid., 72.

[5] S. Gold, The Store in the Hood: A Century of Ethnic Business and Conflict (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), 75.

Slavoj Žižek’s “Pervert’s Guide” to anti-Semitism

“ [Kevin] MacDonald’s theory is a new chapter in the long process of the destruction of Reason.”
Slavoj Zizek

“Žižek is, at his best, a posturing charlatan.”
Thomas Moller-Nielsen, Current Affairs, Oct. 18 2019.

 

This is an essay on anti-Semitism, but because it’s also about Slavoj Žižek we’re going to have to start with the subject of extra-marital affairs. Very early in my academic career, I was asked to take part in a cross-faculty seminar, where PhD students could present small talks on the development of their research. It was hoped that, as a newly-minted PhD, I’d ask presenting students some tough but helpful questions, and thus somehow contribute to a team atmosphere in my department. I was provided with a list of proposed talks and immediately felt an overwhelming sense of apathy at the litany of feminist tripe and quasi-Marxist navel-gazing, none of which was in any way related to my own fields of research. I was eager to please in my new role, however, and so I fell dutifully into line. I’ll never forget the first presentation because it was so remarkably surreal, being an effeminate young African-American who quite literally gave a performance poem titled “Black Skin” about, well, you get the idea. But the more memorable event of the day came later, when a young woman gave a presentation on gender in the media, or something to that effect. Something about her manner irritated me considerably, so I gave her a hard time during the Q & A. This was picked up on by a senior figure in the department, a soft meek-looking and much-gossiped-about English historian, who, after the seminar had finished, invited me to his office for a discussion on gender and sex politics.

I’ve been politically aware since I was a teenager. I’d read deeply about Marxism since the age of seventeen, and was familiar with its cultish elements. None of this prepared me for my adventure in this otherwise unremarkable Englishman’s office, the walls of which were festooned with small red flags and quasi-religious images of Lenin and Trotsky. So, I thought, here was a Red in the flesh. I was in the presence of a dedicated Marxist, and that right there in front of me stood a solitary tangible example of the long march through the institutions. He made tea, and we sat down. He began to talk, I listened. During his initial monologue, my host started speaking from a personal perspective, explaining that even in his private life he aimed to live in accordance with his “socialist beliefs.” Before he got married, he explained, he and his fiancée agreed that they wouldn’t take traditional vows, agreeing they wouldn’t be so possessive as to make an oath of exclusivity to one another. They might “expect” exclusivity, but they wouldn’t demand it. They believed in “freedom,” he said, and ultimately this was what social progressivism and modern gender and sex politics was all about. It wasn’t anything to get upset over, he implied, or laugh about.

Except that it was. The faculty gossip I’d heard was that the wife of this “free love” advocate had been on a short-term teaching stint in Norway and had just recently decided to permanently settle there with a Norwegian lover she’d been having an affair with for some time. She had the marital couple’s two children with her in Norway, and was making it extremely difficult for the meek, permissive, Lenin-loving Englishman to see them. The family home had also been declared off-limits, and my Marxist colleague was apparently reduced to staying in a local bed and breakfast. Tragic? Quite possibly. Hilarious? Most definitely. All of this flooded my mind as the cuckolded Leninite sat opposite me recounting his lukewarm marriage vows, tea in hand, eyes glistening with — tears? Steam from the tea he said, wiping them casually and glancing at the window. My face was stone. The time passed, and my host gradually fell silent. I thanked him most disingenuously, and made a hasty retreat, taking a deep breath as I emerged from the building. I never set foot in that office again.

What does any of this have to do with anti-Semitism? If you’re the superstar Marxist intellectual Slavoj Žižek, it has everything to do with anti-Semitism, since as we will find out, infidelity and anti-Semitism are irrefutably linked. I say “irrefutably” quite deliberately, because his arguments are irrefutable — and they are irrefutable because they are nonsensical. Read more

“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