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Naming Neocons

“It is anything but an anti-Semitic canard to label neoconservatism a largely Jewish phenomenon. Neoconservatism is ‘ineluctably Jewish.’” Jacob Heilbrunn, quoted in Evan R. Goldstein, “Fight Makes Right,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 18, 2008

Just last week, in my first TOO column, I wrote that we were never going to hear about the Jewish nature of the neoconservative movement from a heavily Jewish paper like the New York Times.  I cited a December book review on central neocon operative Richard Perle that had utterly failed to notice he or others were Jewish.

Noting the long list of names like Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith, Michael Ledeen and David Frum mentioned in the review, I argued that no one at the Times was going to mention their ethnic identity or that of editor Andy Rosenthal, who had just appointed neocon superstar William Kristol to the Times’ op-ed page.

Well, now I’m confounded in that claim because here, a month later, the very same Times Book Review has reviewed Jacob Heilbrunn’s They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neoconsanother book on neocons written by a Jewish author. But this time, the reviewer, Timothy Noah, could not be more blunt about the Jewish nature of the movement: “There’s no doubt denying it: neocons tend to be Jewish.”

For a decade now we’ve been witnessing a kind of schizophrenia within the Jewish community regarding the wisdom of admitting that the most powerful and active purveyors of neoconservatism have in fact been Jewish.

Initially, many prominent Jews and publications that are considered to be heavily Jewish were quite proud of the above fact and were not shy about sharing this information publicly.  As the “cakewalk” in Iraq turned sour, however, there was a concomitant turn toward silence about this fact.  When respected sources such as former President Jimmy Carter or elite scholars Mearsheimer and Walt came out with books that uncomfortably pointed to Zionist power in America, one could witness a circling of the wagons in many venues.

Such comfortable homes to neoconservatism as The Public Interest, The National Interest, and Commentary (published by The American Jewish Committee) began to ignore any connection between Jews and neoconservatism. For example, the Winter 2004 issue of The Public Interest has an essay titled “Conservatives and Neoconservatives.” Yet author Adam Wolfson offers not even an oblique reference to Jews. Never mind that journal co-founder Irving Kristol is considered by many to be the father of neoconservatism, or that the other three editors over the forty-year life of the magazine have also been Jews.

Over at its more foreign-policy oriented sister publication, The National Interest, Francis Fukuyama, in “The Neoconservative Moment” (Summer 2004) also fails to mention this connection. And in the October 2005 issue of Commentary, Joshua Muravchik does likewise in his article “Iraq and the Conservatives.”

This phenomenon is also now visible at The American Conservative, which was created to resist a major neocon initiative—the war in Iraq.  Pat Buchanan and Taki in particular verged on bellicosity in their comments on Jewish power.  Last year, however, Taki left the magazine and Jewish businessman Ron Unz took over as publisher.

This change gives one pause when reading a cover article on Rudy Giuliani that appeared in Jan. 14 issue.  Author Michael Desch duly notes that “Team Rudy is all neocon all the time” but fails to say more than that when referring to Giuliani advisors Norman Podhoretz, Martin Kramer, Stephen Rosen, Daniel Pipes and Peter Berkowitz.

To be sure, Desch notes that Giuliani’s platform is favorable to Israel and in turn is appreciated by Israelis.  Giuliani, Desch notes, tried to close the PLO’s New York office and had Arafat thrown out of a Lincoln Center concert.  Further, at the 2004 Republican National Convention, Giuliani is quoted as saying “Israel’s war is our war.”  But throughout, Desch ascribes this only to ties to neoconservatism, never referring to the strong ties between neoconservatism, pro-Israel activism, and the organized Jewish community.

Which brings us back to the Times.  Noah’s review of Jacob Heilbrunn’s They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons returns to the unapologetic practice of tying Jews to the rise of neoconservatism, noting, for instance how “neoconservatism’s priorities, which range from strong support for Israel to vehement opposition to affirmative action, are heavily influenced by the values, interests and collective historical memory of the Jewish people.”   Heilbrunn even divides his book into sections with Old Testament names such as “Exodus,” “Wilderness,” “Redemption” and “Return to Exile.”

This month, another mainstream forum, The Chronicle of Higher Education, also has a forthright review of Heilbrunn’s neocon book.  Reviewer Evan Goldstein quotes Heilbrunn as saying neoconservatism is “ineluctably Jewish.”  Therefore — again quoting Heilbrunn — “It is anything but an anti-Semitic canard to label neoconservatism a largely Jewish phenomenon.”

Perhaps this brings us full circle back to 2004, when Kevin MacDonald wrote that “neoconservatism is indeed a Jewish intellectual and political movement.”  “The current situation in the United States is really an awesome display of Jewish power and influence.”

And the future of this movement?  Some have claimed that the quagmire in Iraq has seriously discredited the neocons, but Evan Goldstein, in summing up his views on Heilbrunn’s book, feels otherwise:

They are in it for the long haul; they have been at this for decades. None of these people are going away. They remain energized. This is not a movement that is on its heels. And though the professionalization of the neoconservative movement was in part its undoing as a vibrant intellectual force in American life, the very fact that it has been so institutionalized in Washington guarantees that it will remain an influential force well beyond Iraq.

Edmund Connelly is a freelance writer, academic, and expert on the cinema arts. He has previously written for The Occidental Quarterly.

For Whom the Gaza Bell Tolls

“The Israelis can kill whomever they want whenever they want.”

Paul Craig Roberts

I sometimes think that it’s pointless for Americans to talk much about recent events in Gaza because we know how it will play out — America will do absolutely nothing to interfere with the ongoing massacre.

British journalist Robert Fisk reminds us of the drill:

So once again, Israel has opened the gates of hell to the Palestinians. Forty civilian refugees dead in a United Nations school, three more in another. Not bad for a night’s work in Gaza by the army that believes in “purity of arms.” But why should we be surprised?

Have we forgotten the 17,500 dead — almost all civilians, most of them children and women — in Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon; the 1,700 Palestinian civilian dead in the Sabra-Chatila massacre; the 1996 Qana massacre of 106 Lebanese civilian refugees, more than half of them children, at a UN base; the massacre of the Marwahin refugees who were ordered from their homes by the Israelis in 2006 then slaughtered by an Israeli helicopter crew; the 1,000 dead of that same 2006 bombardment and Lebanese invasion, almost all of them civilians?

This time around, Israel shows not the slightest compunction about brazenly massacring an imprisoned population in front of the world. But why should they? They know no real opposition will arise from power centers anywhere on earth. And they continue to have America — Republicans, Democrats, Christian Zionists and almost everybody else — in their thrall. In large part, this is due to what Israel Shamir wrote with respect to Jewish financial mischief: ”The rich Jews buy media so it will cover up their (and their brethren’s) misdeeds.”

James Petras also weighed in on Israel’s ongoing war against the Palestinians, writing, “Israel’s sustained and comprehensive bombing campaign of every aspect of governance, civic institutions and society is directed toward destroying civilized life in Gaza.” Echoing Shamir, Petras noted that Israel’s attempt to “purge Palestine of its Arab population” continues without apology because “The Israeli totalitarian leaders knew with confidence that they could act and they could kill with impunity, locally and before the entire world, because of the influence of the US Zionist Power Configuration in and over the US White House and Congress.”

Another voice that showed exasperation with Israel’s actions was that of Taki Theodoracopulos, who wrote, “Israel can now safely be called the Bernie Madoff of countries, as it has lied to the world about its intentions, stolen Palestinian lands continuously since 1948, and managed to do all this with American tax payer’s money.”

Perhaps no one, however, is more morally outraged than former Reagan administration official Paul Craig Roberts, who wrote on VDARE:

Caterpillar Tractor makes a special bulldozer for Israel that is designed to knock down Palestinian homes and to uproot their orchards. In 2003 an American protester, Rachel Corrie, stood in front of one of these Caterpillars and was run over and crushed.

Nothing happened. The Israelis can kill whomever they want whenever they want.

They have been doing so for 60 years, and they show no sign of stopping.

Roberts continued, “While the rest of the world condemns Israel’s inhumanity, the US Congress — I should say the US Knesset — rushed to endorse the Israeli slaughter of the Palestinians in Gaza.” How pervasive was this endorsement? “The US Senate endorsed Israel’s massacre of Palestinians with a vote of 100-0. The US House of Representatives voted 430-5 to endorse Israel’s massacre of Palestinians. . . .” (See here for further details.)

Readers who have followed Roberts in the post-9-11 period know that he has been a persistent critic of Israel’s influence over President Bush and the Congress. He has not changed his position with respect to Gaza either: “The US Congress was proud to show that it is Israel’s puppet even when it comes to murdering women and children. The President of the United States was proud to block effective action by the UN Security Council by ordering the Secretary of State to abstain.”

Two days later, Roberts added to his critique, displaying how fully Bush is a puppet to an Israeli master:

“Early Friday morning the secretary of state was considering bringing the cease-fire resolution to a UN [Security Council] vote and we didn’t want her to vote for it,” Olmert said.  “I said ‘get President Bush on the phone.’ They tried and told me he was in the middle of a lecture in Philadelphia. I said ‘I’m not interested, I need to speak to him now.’ He got down from the podium, went out and took the phone call.” [PM: Rice left embarrassed in UN vote, By Yaakov Lappin , Jerusalem Post, January 12, 2009].

Roberts then turned to a friend’s comments to summarize this exchange:

“Let me see if I understand this,” wrote a friend in response to news reports that Israeli Prime Minister Olmert ordered President Bush from the podium where he was giving a speech to receive Israel’s instructions about how the United States had to vote on the UN resolution. “On September 11th, President Bush is interrupted while reading a story to school children and told the World Trade Center had been hit — and he went on reading. Now, Olmert calls about a UN resolution when Bush is giving a speech and Bush leaves the stage to take the call. There exists no greater example of a master-servant relationship.”

Aptly, Roberts concluded, “In his final press conference, President Bush, deluded to the very end, said that the whole world respects America. In fact, when the world looks at America, what it sees is an Israeli colony.”

And the behavior of America’s master is none too pleasant, as retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski recently made clear:

One needs only to look at the death toll (one-sided), the difference in military capacities between Israel and Gaza (shocking) and the kind of arsenals employed by both sides to determine what is happening. We’ve seen it on the elementary school playground, but this version is played out with incredible destructive force, no supervision, no brave friends, and no justice.

Not only is incredible destructive force in view for the whole world, a bizarre Israeli response to the slaughter has surfaced: It is the “ultimate spectator sport,” in the words of a London Times reporter.

As a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal also described, from hilltops overlooking Gaza, Israelis would come with lawn chairs and picnics lunches to watch the one-sided death circus that is Gaza. Israelis “have made the trek, they say, to witness firsthand a military operation—so far, widely popular inside Israel—against Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip. Over the weekend, four teenagers sat on a hill near Mr. Danino’s, oohing and aahing at the airstrikes. Nadav Zebari, who studies Torah in Jerusalem, was eating a cheese sandwich and sipping a Diet Coke.”

Levinson took quotes from observers: “I’ve never watched a war before,” one said. Meanwhile, a group of Israeli police officers took turns snapping pictures of one another with smoking Gaza as a backdrop. “I want to feel a part of the war,” was one comment.

“On another hilltop overlooking Gaza,” Levinson continued, “Sandra Koubi, a 43-year-old philosophy student, says seeing the violence up close ‘is a kind of catharsis for me, to get rid of all the anxiety we have inside us after years of rocket fire’ from Hamas.”

Perhaps most pointedly comes the testimony of one Jocelyn Znaty, “a stout 60-year-old nurse for Magen David Adom, the Israeli counterpart of the Red Cross,” who could “hardly contain her glee at the site of exploding mortars below in Gaza.” “Look at that,” she shouts, clapping her hands as four artillery rounds pound the territory in quick succession. “Bravo! Bravo!” . . .  I am sorry, but I am happy.”

Pavel Wolberg/European Pressphoto Agency

Orthodox Jews watched smoke rise over the northern Gaza Strip Tuesday.

Roberts, like Taki and others, put much of the blame for such a spectacle clearly on the shoulders of the American public. “What is happening to the Palestinians herded into the Gaza Ghetto is happening because of American money and weapons. It is just as much an attack by the United States as an attack by Israel. The US government is complicit in the war crimes.”

Repeating charges he has made consistently for years, Roberts laments the fact that “’Our’ president was a puppet for a cabal led by Dick Cheney and a handful of Jewish neoconservatives, who took control of the Pentagon, the State Department, the National Security Council, the CIA, and ‘Homeland Security.’ From these power positions, the neocon cabal used lies and deception to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, pointless wars that have cost Americans $3 trillion, while millions of Americans lose their jobs, their pensions, and their access to health care.”

While Roberts et al. may be right that each and every American taxpayer bears some responsibility for the carnage in Gaza, the fact is that most Americans are tired of violence in the far-away Middle East. Besides, the economy is in the tank, the NFL playoffs are in progress, and the kids have to go back to school. Everyday life takes priority for most Americans.

Unfortunately, such short-sightedness will not do, for the pitiful denizens of Gaza are not the last targets of the Israeli army or the worldwide network of Diaspora Jews. The dispossession of the Palestinians since 1948 is but a dress rehearsal for more ambitious dispossessions of non-Jews throughout the world.

Do I exaggerate? I believe that we have to take Israel Shamir seriously when he writes in Cabbala of Power. “Palestine is not the ultimate goal of the Jews; the world is. Palestine is just the place for the world state headquarters.”

Shamir has made a fascinating study of the two thousand-year struggle between Jews and non-Jews, particularly Christians.  His arguments are far too subtle to summarize here, so interested parties should consult the above-mentioned book as well as his more recent work, Masters of Discourse. I will simply cherry pick some of his more striking ideas.

Shamir — an immigrant from Russia to Israel — holds a low opinion of his fellow Jews in the Holy Land.  “Israelis are the riffraff of World Jewry, sent to conquer the land for the NWO HQ.” This process is revealed in a parable of the “Messiah’s Donkey” often used by religious Jews. This is a story in which disposable secular Jews (the donkey) are used by religious Jews to attain religious, messianic goals. “In plain words, spirit always wins over matter; the way of the Messiah of Spirit is to use the Donkey of Matter.”

“The Jews” — Shamir makes a distinction between organized Jewry and individual Jews — “intend to turn Jerusalem into the supreme capital of the world, and its rebuilt temple into the focal point of the Spirit on Earth.” Should they succeed, unspeakable despair will follow. “Christianity will die, the spirit will depart from the nations in our part of the world, and our present dubious democracy will be supplanted by a vast theocratic state. . . . De-spiritualized and uprooted, homeless and lonely, yesterday’s Masters of the World [non-Jews] will become slaves in all but name.”

Shamir sees a two-pronged approach to this quest for world domination, Zionism and Mammonite Liberalism. “While Zionism establishes the basis for the NWO HQ, the Mammonite Liberalism establishes the world-wide slavery. Jabotinsky and Soros are doing different tasks for one system; the Iron Wall and the Open Society are just different names for the same thing.”

Shamir’s analysis is eerily close to the Dispossessed Majority thesis of Wilmot Robertson, albeit cloaked in theological garb. Robertson described how in the 1960s and 70s white American Christians “had become a people of little or no account in their own country.” This was not an accident.

In my next column, I will expand on this argument.

Move Along, Folks. Just Another Conservative Here at the New York Times

Likely we’re all aware of issues on which all sides of the “debate” happen to be covered by members of a certain media-dominant group.  How often have we seen this with respect to Middle East issues, gun control, etc.?

Bill Kristol has been appointed as a columnist for the New York Times. For those who might not know, Kristol is the son of neocon godfather Irving Kristol and prominent Jewish writer Gertrude Himmelfarb.  Kristol the Younger and Robert Kagan (also Jewish) co-founded the (infamous) “Project for the New American Century” in 1997, which some have seen as a blueprint for our post-9/11 world.  In any case, anyone even half awake for these last six years should know of his Jewish identity and neoconservative activism.

So far, the only controversy resulting from the appointment has been that Kristol is a “conservative.” In fact, the Times has long preferred its “conservative” columnists kosher. For years, William Safire was the in-house “conservative,” while more recently David Brooks has taken over. (And would someone please remind me what was ever conservative about him in the first place?)

Overseeing the editorial page is Andrew Rosenthal, son of the Times’ former Executive Editor, A.M. Rosenthal who is described by Mearsheimer and Walt as a “passionate defender of Israel.” (A. M. Rosenthal’s other credits include breaking up a WASP fiefdom in the Times’ Washington Bureau and writing that there should be a ticker tape parade for illegal immigrants on Broadway. Andrew’s mother is not Jewish, but still . . . .)

But noting Jewish identities and interests in all of this is pretty much verboten, even among the best of publications. For example, Marcus Epstein’s article is a nice commentary on Kristol’s typically neoconnish support for open immigration. And it correctly notes the absence of authentically conservative voices at the Times.

But there is far more to it than that. Massive non-white immigration has been a goal of organized Jewish groups for nearly a century. Indeed, support for liberal immigration policy spans the Jewish political spectrum, from the far left to the neoconservative right. And the main motive for this massive prolonged effort has had far more to do with ethnic competition than with economics or lofty moral ideals of multiculturalism: Jewish groups felt it advantageous to dilute the power of native white Christians. Given the long history of anti-Semitism in white Christian lands, this sentiment is understandable from a Jewish perspective.

Yet we are never going to hear reference to this ethnic nexus from a heavily Jewish paper like the Times.  As they demonstrate here, the Jewish identities and interests of their “conservatives” are never topics of discussion.

Such a tactic of omission is of a piece with the growing trend in the mainstream media to forgo linking Jewish activism to the rise of neoconservatism.  Here again Kristol, the Times, and neoconservatism are clearly operating as a Jewish movement, but it’s all quite invisible.

Our nation’s “paper of record” exhibits its usual chutzpah of omission when it features a review of a new book about neocon hawk Richard Perle, written by Alan Weisman, “a world-traveled journalist and the son of Ukrainian Jews.”

We read the usual names: Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith, Michael Ledeen, David Frum.  And we get not a word about their Jewish identity.  Not even a nod in that direction.  Is it any surprise, then, that Andy Rosenthal installs “conservative” William Kristol, and everyone pretends not to notice that he is a member of the same ethnic group?

So here at the beginning of 2008 we have the spectacle of a man who five years ago wrote that the Times was not “a first-rate newspaper of record” being named to the paper’s editorial page. Was Kristol right, then, when he claimed “The Times is irredeemable”?

Actually, it’s a bit puzzling that Kristol would have thought the Times irredeemable given its role in promoting one of Kristol’s favorite wars: the invasion of Iraq. As is well-known now, the Times was complicit in Judith Miller’s dishonest reportage leading up to the war in Iraq. Born to a Jewish father and displaying a powerful affinity to her Jewish identity, Miller played a role in the decision to invade Iraq not dissimilar to Kristol’s role.  After Miller’s claims were discredited, the Times issued a tepid apology for coverage “that was not as rigorous as it should have been.”

With the addition of a central neocon player like Kristol, the Jewish nature of the Times’ coverage of Middle East issues becomes even more obvious.

Edmund Connelly is a freelance writer, academic, and expert on the cinema arts. He has previously written for The Occidental Quarterly.

New York Times Spins Black Murders Into Excuse to Ban Homeschooling

Homeschooling is widely feared by the multicultural establishment because it is seen as a way for “racist” whites to shield their children from liberal indoctrination.  But arguments against it are difficult to make.  With few exceptions, most Americans consider the right to raise children as one sees fit as inviolable.

Meanwhile, never-ending examples of black pathology and criminality are deemed by the same multicultural establishment as mere aberrations, not indicative of any racial pattern worth considering.  If anything, it is some failure of the white “system” to address “underlying needs” that is responsible.

In a recent act of dizzying spin, the New York Times has found a way to advance both these agendas in a single story.

In Washington, D.C., a black mother has been charged with the murder of her four children, whose bodies were found recently in a state of advanced decomposition.  A monstrous act that finds more frequent expression among America’s inner-city black populations?  No, guess again.

An excuse to ban homeschooling.

Nowhere in the story by reporter Jane Gross is there support for the contention that the mother was in fact homeschooling her children.  It remains to be seen how she came to this conclusion.  Did the mother fill out an application for withdrawal from the school system? Appear on homeschooling support lists?  Purchase homeschooling curricula?  Gross does not say.

But assuming even a trace level of credibility to the idea that the woman, Benita M. Jacks, was “homeschooling” her children, rather than simply withdrawing them (or letting them withdraw), the connection between this overwhelming white, suburban or rural practice and the grisly murders in Washington, D.C. is simply fantastic. Ms. Jacks reportedly said she killed her children because they were possessed by demons.

So why not a story about mental illness, then?  No, it’s homeschooling in reporter Gross’s sights.  She lines up an impressive array of “experts” to wax on that “officials” are all of a sudden unable to monitor children in the evil and shadowy practice of homeschooling.  It is rather like a story following the “Twinkie defense” to murder quoting nutritionist after nutritionist warning that unless we ban sugar, murder in America will run rampant.  The reporter’s agenda could not be clearer.

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As a cosmopolitan journalist for the New York Times (and presumably Jewish), Jane Gross has probably never met a homeschooled child or homeschooling family, imagining them all to be cross-burning white Kentuckians in desperate need of “surveillance” by liberal-minded “authorities” who will subject them to presentations on the Holocaust and posters of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez.

The natural result of this episode and its spin by the New York Times is that a practice of whites will become discredited, and the behavior of blacks excused.  It is yet another example of the way in which the dominant media not only ignores the legitimate interests of whites, it actively campaigns against them.

Kind Words of ‘Conservatives’ for Obama

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post tracks what he describes as the “conservative” press singing the praises of Sen. Barack Obama, winner of the Iowa caucuses.

His first example?  A gushing quote from David Brooks, whom Kurtz calls the “conservative New York Times columnist.”  Yet Brooks, who like Kurtz is Jewish, is not, by the record of his writings, remotely conservative.  If anything, he counts as an occasionally thoughtful moderate, which tells you something about the ideological spectrum calibration of the New York Times.

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Meanwhile, the power of Kurtz to boost his co-ethnic Brooks, both of whom in turn boost Obama, illuminates the ability of the Jewish network to steer America’s political ship in its direction by defining the boundaries of “left” and “right”.  Surprise!  Both flanks are covered by Jews.

For additional nausea, scroll through the comments of the others selected by Kurtz, like Bill Bennett declaring that Obama “appeals to the better angels of all our natures.”  In other words, if you’re not getting goose bumps about Obama, you’re a racist.

Christopher Donovan is the pen name of an attorney and former journalist.

Bernie Madoff’s Jewishness

The Bernie Madoff scandal is endlessly fascinating. As the media has emphasized, many of his victims were Jews and Jewish organizations. Madoff’s behavior violated a cardinal rule of Jewish business ethics which is based on trust within the group. Indeed, a New York Times article commenting on effects in the real estate industry noted that

the outsize impact on the industry may have resulted largely because Mr. Madoff … managed his funds much the way that real estate leaders [i.e., Jews]have operated successfully for decades: He provided little information and demanded a lot of trust.

“You have a lot of wealthy people who made a lot of money on handshakes,” said Mark S. Weiss, a commercial real estate broker at Newmark Knight Frank, where several brokers had invested heavily with Mr. Madoff. There was “something about this person, pedigree and reputation that inspired trust,” he said.

And the main thing about Madoff’s pedigree that inspired trust among his fellow Jews was simply that he is Jewish. He  traveled in all the best Jewish circles:  on the board of Yeshiva University, a major donator to Jewish and Israeli charities, hobnobbing at Jewish country clubs, and living in upscale Jewish ghettos on Long Island, Palm Beach, and the upper eastside of Manhattan.

The Madoff scandal is a textbook example of how ethnic networks operate — and their pitfalls.  In traditional Jewish society, like other middlemen groups, business relationships are based on the assumption that one can trust one’s co-ethnic. Indeed, Janet Landa notes that this was one of the reasons for the success of middlemen minority groups, such as the Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia:Close ethnic bonds lower the costs of doing business because there is greater trust within the ethnic group than between ethnic groups. This was certainly true in traditional Jewish society, where a handshake with a co-ethnic was enough to seal the deal, but business with outsiders was undertaken with much less trust.

The Madoff story from the beginning was presented by the media as a Jewish story. This almost certainly is because Madoff got his start among Jewish investors and because some of his victims were Jews. It was not because Madoff was Jewish.

Consider Michael Milken, the notorious 1980s junk bond king, who pled guilty to securities and reporting violations and was sentenced to ten years in prison. (He served less than two years — and is now asking George W. Bush for a pardon.) In that case, the mere mention of Milken and his cronies with all those Jewish names was enough to ignite a major uproar complete with accusations of anti-Semitism. Jewish activist Alan Dershowitz was center stage, even purchasing a full page ad in the New York Times (at a cost of $450,000) and ads in three other newspapers.

To get an idea of  how innocuous the references to Jews were during the Milken scandal, the following is the offending paragraph from a review of James B. Stewart’s Den of Thieves by Michael M. Thomas in the New York Times Book Review:  

James B. Stewart . . . charts the way through a virtual solar system of peculation, past planets large and small, from a metaphorical Mercury representing the penny-ante takings of Dennis B. Levine’s small fry, past the middling ($10 million in inside-trading profits) Mars of Mr. Levine himself, along the multiple rings of Saturn — Ivan F. Boesky, his confederate Martin A. Siegel of Kidder, Peabody, and Mr. Siegel’s confederate Robert Freeman of Goldman, Sachs — and finally back to great Jupiter: Michael R. Milken, the greedy billion-dollar junk-bond kingdom in which some of the nation’s greatest names in industry and finance would find themselves entrapped and corrupted.

Merely a listing of Jewish names was sufficient to bring down the wrath of the Jewish activists.

But Madoff’s Jewishness is front and center in this scandal. So perhaps it’s no coincidence that both the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times ran articles within a day of each other with statements from various Jewish luminaries reaffirming Jewish ethics and recounting the sense of betrayal Jews felt because Jews were among the victims.

However, the Jews-as-victims angle is at least a double edged sword. As in the Milken case, the default  strategy is to proscribe any mention that a person like Madoff, who feeds into all the negative Jewish stereotypes, is Jewish. Indeed, some voices within the Jewish community are bemoaning the fact that Madoff’s Jewishness is so central to the media coverage. For example, in a letter to theNew York Times, David A. Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee wrote, “Yes, he is Jewish. We get it. But was this relevant to his being arrested for cheating investors, or so key to his evolution as a businessman that it needed to be hammered home again and again?”

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I strongly suspect that the answer to Harris’s question is ‘yes’. For one thing, Madoff seems to have personified the sort of guru I wrote about in The Culture of Critique:  Someone with a great deal of personal charisma and a following that can only be described as adulatory. Madoff “was a legend in his social and financial circles, a giant; like a rock-star in that world, that financial realm. His clients thought he was a genius. People literally begged him to take their money.”

Like the movements described in The Culture of Critique, Madoff’s scheme began within the Jewish community and then spread like a virus to the surrounding society. The analogy with a Jewish intellectual guru like Freud is striking (including the fact that both may be labeled charlatans). Like all of Madoff’s original investors, all of the original psychoanalysts were Jews. Like Madoff, Freud was idolized by Jews generally. Historian Dennis B. Klein notes that Jews “treated [Freud] as if he were ‘a God-fearing Chief Rabbi,’ or ‘a national hero.’ ” And, as noted above, Madoff was a pillar of the Jewish community. There is more than one way to become a pillar of the Jewish community, but without doubt the main one is to be a major donor to Jewish causes, and Madoff certainly fit that profile.

Madoff got his start as a macher (big shot) within the Jewish community, but he certainly went well beyond that. Just as Freud recruited non-Jews like Ernest Jones to front the psychoanalytic movement, Madoff formed relationships with  non-Jews who operated feeder funds that attracted largely non-Jewish money.  Indeed, the New York Times notes that “if the wealthy Jewish world he occupied was his launch pad, the wealthy promoters he cultivated at Fairfield Greenwich were his booster rocket.”

The Fairfield Sentry fund, headed by Walter Noel (who is not Jewish),  was the largest feeder fund for Madoff, with a total value of $7.5 billion before the collapse — a sum that dwarfs the reported losses from individual Jews and from Jewish charities. 95% of its money was from foreign investors, mostly from Europe. And the bulk of the rest of the major losers were European and Asian banks.

Another large conduit for non-Jewish money from Europe was Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet whose Access International Advisors lost $1.4 billion. Mr. de la Villehuchet committed suicide because of guilt over his role in losing so much of other people’s money:  “If you ruin your friends, your clients, you have to face the consequences,” as his brother framed it. I can’t help quoting the New York Times on Mr. Villehuchet’s death because his suicide seems to be the only shred of nobility in all of this.

Mr. de la Villehuchet’s attitude appears to be rare. So far, the leading players in Mr. Madoff’s case have maintained a stony silence, studiously avoiding apologies or statements of responsibility.

Mr. Madoff’s sons have said nothing about how they could have worked at their father’s firm for decades without noticing that the money he supposedly managed did not exist. The accountants and regulators who were supposed to protect investors have not explained their failure to do so. And the hedge funds that invested tens of billions of dollars with Mr. Madoff despite obvious red flags have said the fraud was his fault, not theirs.

Assigning the precise role of Jewishess in this scandal will take some time. As in all Ponzi schemes, the early investors are the winners, and in this case we know that Jews were the early investors and that at least some of them made money overall(Editorial note, January 27, 2009: Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, originally invested $40 million with Madoff, and claimed that they lost $90 when the fund collapsed. They recently announced that they withdrew $130 million since 1989 from this account. In addition, they also had profits of $50 million from another account with Madoff.) (However, there is legal precedent for the winners being required to forfeit their gains, at least from the last 6 years, so some of these ill-gotten gains may be forfeited.) And we know that the really big money came from non-Jews who invested later in the scheme. (See James Murray’s TOO article.)

We are still unclear on the role of Jewishness in the lax oversight of the fund. We do know that Jonathan Sokobin, whose job was to monitor market risks for the SEC, did not respond to the critique of Madoff made by Harry Marcopolos, a former employee of a firm that competed with Madoff. We also know that Madoff boasted that his niece, who was a compliance officer for Madoff’s firm, had married a former SEC regulator. And we know that in 2006 Madoff sailed through an examination by the SEC based on Markopolos’s allegations, being required only to register with the SEC as an investment advisor.

An adequate account would be based on interviews of all the participants in the oversight process in order to shed light on their motivation. These motivations may range from unconscious biases in favor of Madoff because of ethnic ties to active collusion.

Biases resulting from Madoff’s status as a macher in the Jewish community are a likely possibility. It would be a bit like having a Jewish psychologist in charge of deciding the scientific status of Freud. The psychologist might consciously attempt to be objective, but the status of Freud as a Jewish folk hero might well get in the way of an unbiased appraisal. It is like questioning the truthfulness of God. In the end, that may be what we are dealing with here.

Kevin MacDonald is a professor of psychology at California State University–Long Beach.
KevinMacDonald.net

Bernie Madoff’s Ethno-Nepotistic Ponzi Scheme

Haaretz has run an article claiming that anti-Semites will jump on Madoff’s $56 billion fraud against Jewish investors to besmirch the good name of Jews. Some Jews have proclaimed Madoff’s fraud to be a new Kristallnacht. The Jewish Journal connects Madoff to the perpetrators of the Holocaust. Some Jews eveninsist that “Christmas came early” for anti-Semites because of the collapse of the Madoff scheme, implying that some Jews think that Christmas is a holiday of pure hatred toward Jews. Perhaps.

However, the demographics of the Madoff scheme deserve some ethnic analysis: Was this really a story about how a Jewish turncoat victimizes Jewish-millionaire Holocaust survivors, leading to gloating among anti-Semites at Christmastime? Or … could it be that the dirty little secret of the Madoff scheme that Jews are desperate to conceal is that Jews were not the victims but rather the beneficiaries of the scheme?

First, it is important to realize that Jews lost only a relatively small amount of the money in Madoff’s fraud scheme. As the New York Times shows, those who invested early and withdrew profits — many of them presumably Jews — did not lose a penny but rather profited rather grandly.

Second, a quick glance at the table in the December 17, 2008 Wall Street Journal (reproduced below) makes clear that of the top 30 investors in the fund, only 2 are Jewish, and relatively small investors at that. Granted, the list is incomplete. It omits, for the sake of respect I suppose, the $37 million reportedly lost by Elie Wiesel and his foundation (modestly named after himself). (As an aside, it should be noted that Wiesel, the Holocaust promoter and Jewish moralizer, is absolutely indifferent to the extermination of the Palestinians.)

Although many other versions of this table have appeared (and many major investors who lost will try to keep their identity secret), it is worth noting that the identifiable Jewish share of monies lost through Madoff in this compilation of victims is precisely 2.31%. While this omits the Jewish petty-millionaires who were the mainstay of Madoff’s scheme for decades, even if there are 1000 Jewish petty-millionaires, the Jewish share of the Ponzi scheme is surely less than 5%. And since the best compilation so far argues for only 2.31% of the victims being Jewish, are the crocodile tears of Jewish columnists for the Jewish millionaire-victims really appropriate? One is reminded of the Jewish book on the Katyn Forest Massacre, in which 20,000 Polish Catholics and a few   identified Jews were slaughtered: Of course, that book, written by a Jew, focuses only on the few Jewish victims. The non-Jewish victims are simply meaningless. Then and now.

There are many articles about Jewish petty-millionaries who have lived on their profits from Madoff for years or decades of retirement (10–20% a year in payouts). (See herehere, and here.) These articles make the structure of this Ponzi scheme immediately clear. That there was something wrong was certainly clear to many investors; they just did not know what was wrong. Anecdotally, many Jewish investors thought they were buying into a long-lived insider trading scam. Does the fact that some of Madoff’s early Jewish investors always believed that their “profits” were derived from financial crimes make them more or less sympathetic? 

Madoff is described as having spent decades building a carefully structured Ponzi scheme (which large European investors note was one of the American investments highest rated for return and being risk-free for decades by the SEC and rating services). Yet, Madoff’s scheme was something else and something more: It was, in fact an Ethno-Nepotistic-Ponzi scheme, a Ponzi scheme where most of the payouts were to the investors of the same ethnicity as the conspirators.

And here is how it worked:

In the first period (perhaps two decades), beginning in the 1960s, Madoff ran a carefully structured Ponzi scheme, possibly beginning when he really could not get the returns he thought he could get by legitimate means. But once started, there was no turning back. Madoff’s genius (linked to guaranteed super-safe investment ratings from the rating agencies) was to have the larger investors reinvest a lot of their imaginary “profits”, while using their money to keep the scheme going. Madoff carefully structured his scheme and limited the number of investors. (He was notorious for refusing to accept all potential investors—many relate how they begged him for years before he allowed them to invest; many joined his country clubs just to stalk him. And I suspect he required a high rate of reinvestment). Madoff was therefore able to meet the payouts he promised since so much of the imaginary “profits” were simply reinvested and because bigger non-Jewish investors were brought in to keep the scheme going.

If investors could be held to 1% a month payoffs (and this was a typical rate of payoffs), it would take 8 years, 4 months before a given investor would use up their own money in “profit” payouts. If Madoff could convince an investor to take only 0.5% a month in payouts (or less: many Jewish charities appear to have taken such lower rates of “profit” payouts), Madoff would have 16 years, 8 months before he would have to use someone else’s money to maintain the stream of “profit” payouts. These modest, if impossibly consistent returns, differentiate Madoff from normal Ponzi schemes that pay out big early on but crash and burn within a year or two. Madoff built his scheme to run for decades. These long term horizons — on the order of a decade or so — required that Madoff restructure his scheme periodically.

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The first decade or two saw Madoff operate real money-making securities services and begin to collect his portfolio of million-dollar investors. At the beginning of this period he built an innovative, heavily computerized and successful financial services business. On top of this real and profitable business, he slowly started building a portfolio of unsophisticated Jewish investors, many of whom placed their life savings with him. These are the Jewish petty-millionaire ($1–3 million) investors everyone has been crying about in the newspapers. Many of them drew substantial cash payoffs for decades — payouts that were often multiples of what they invested.

Towards the end of this period, Jewish-Zionist charities and Jewish-segregated schools came into the system, but few were as large as $10 million, and all can be presumed to have profited from Madoff’s fraud. For example, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization, was one charity that came in at this time: Its initial $7 million investment in 1988 would be supplemented by $33 million over the next decade until 1998. By including paper profits, Hadassah would ultimately claim to have lost $90 million with Madoff; that is: 7 + 33 = 90.

It is actually worse than this, since Hadassah may have actually lost nothing at all.A quick and dirty estimate of Hadassah “profits” suggests that if Hadassah had averaged $23.5 million in 1988–1998 and left all its “profits” with Madoff, there should have been about $64 million in their account, not $40 million in 1998 as reported, suggesting that Hadassah could have drawn as much as $24 million in “profits” in the first decade. Similarly, if Hadassah had started 1998 with $40 million as they report, 1% per month would yield $110 million, not $90 million as they report now, suggesting that Hadassah withdrew as much as another $20 million in the second decade with Madoff. Hadassah could have withdrawn as much as $44 million from the $40 million they invested with Madoff, and this would mean that Hadassah’s losses are not the $40 million actually invested, or the $90 million as they now claim, but rather no more than zero.

(Incidentally, some newspapers are so terrified of Jews that they will not even print the word “Zionist” unless it is in the address of a letter to the editor from an imperious Zionist organization: The cringing, terrorized Seattle Post-Intelligencerwill only call Hadassah, which is officially “The Women’s Zionist Organization of America,” “a Jewish women’s charity.”)

Interestingly, Madoff was so immune from regulatory oversight that he would not even be correctly registered as an investment firm until 2006, when SEC investigators were credibly informed that Madoff had committed numerous violations but settled for asking him to please, please, please register his firm in an appropriate manner… after it had been operating outside the law for over 40 years!!!! (Madoff would marry off a daughter, Shana, to one of the investigators in that 2006 inquiry.)

The second decade or so began with the need for investors at least in the $10 million range, since the costs of the scheme kept growing. By the end of the decade he apparently needed investors in the $50 million range. This phase saw the development of the “feeder” system, in which investment companies — often Jewish-controlled — marketed Madoff’s services to larger, non-Jewish investors, worldwide. For example, in the mid-1990s, Jacob Ezra Merkin, from one of the most distinguished rabbinical families in world Judaism, president of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue in New York, head of the investment committee for the UJA-Federation of New York, and manager of Ascot Partners, brought in Elie Wiesel’s Foundation for Humanity. Four of the five largest “losers” in the Madoff scheme are feeder operators who lost essentially nothing of their own: Fairfield Greenwich Advisors, Tremont Capital Management, Ascot Partners, and Access International Advisors brought in other investors and lost their money for them. The end of this period came in 1999–2000: The result was that, as recently as 1999, Madoff rejected an investment by Jeffrey R. Gural, chairman of Newmark Knight Frank because he could not invest at least $20 million. By 1999, $20 million was too trivial a sum to bother with at this point in Madoff’s scheme. Madoff was entering the third and final stage of his scheme, and it required globalization and much, much larger investors.

The last decade saw bigger and bigger investors, like European banks, Arab institutional investors, a Korean pension, maybe a Saudi prince, etc., who put in hundreds of millions or billions and got nothing at all back, or very little. The costs of the scheme kept growing. This period was the heyday of the feeder system: Fairfield Greenwich Advisors, Tremont Capital Management, Ascot Partners, and Access International Advisors were bringing in billions now, and almost none of it was from Jews. The investment by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which placed $400 million with Madoff in 2005, is typical of the third and final period. It was large, it was non-Jewish, it was used to pay early Jewish investors, and was unusual only in the fact that Abu Dhabi Investment Authority got cold feet and pulled out $268 million in redemptions in 2005 and 2006. Bank Medici of Austria became a sub-feeder collecting monies from smaller investors in New York, Vienna, Gibraltar, Zurich and Milan, through its hedge funds in the United States and Luxembourg: Its investors were happy with 7% a year.

And the money still poured into the hands of Jewish “investors”, including the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, and the Jewish retired petty-millionaires of Florida, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Minnesota, etc. Year after year, they received their “profits”, extracted from unknowing, duped investors from Singapore to Dublin, from Spain to South Korea.

So, it is clear that there were at least three categories of investors:

(1) The core Jewish petty-millionaire investors, who made a lot of money for decades, living richly on their “profits” from Madoff’s fund. As the New York Times admits, many made a lot of money.

(2) More recent Jewish charities who agreed to reinvest a lot of their “profits”, like Wiesel’s loot from the Holocaust-trade: These investors got good payoffs but reinvested most of it. These people could have lost a little, but if they were really greedy they were easily suckered into big, consistent reinvestments, accumulating only large imaginary paper “profits.” In this cohort of investors, actual loses are entirely correlated with excessive greed: If they let their “profits” accumulate without payouts, they could have lost everything.

(3) The non-Jews, like Banco Santander, HSBC Holdings PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland, BNP Paribas, etc., who invested large amounts of money recently and who probably got nothing or next to nothing from Madoff. These investors now know that all their money disappeared into the hands of groups (1) and (2) and Madoff and his buddies. (Incidentally, Madoff and his family made a lot of money: One family investment firm alone had $160 million in assets until it was seized last week.)

There never was a group (4) because the market melted down and Madoff could not find people big enough to fund the next generation of the scam. (Although he did reportedly scam a Saudi Prince for $3 billion.) In fact, one finds Jeffrey Tucker, a feeder partner in Fairfield Greenwich Group complaining, in an article in HedgeWorld in November 2007, that Chinese and Thai investors are stupid and unsophisticated because they will not provide money to Madoff. When investors sought $7 billion in redemptions in November 2008, the end was near.

A careful reader will note that there were real winners. We will call them the Jews, since they were Jews, This group would ultimately have large losses of imaginary paper “profits.” And there were big losers. Let’s call them the Goys or the Suckers, since they are non-Jews. Of course, the difference between these groups is their ethnicity. It is worth noting that the Wall Street Journal and theNew York Times, and the mass media in general, see this as a fraud that essentially affected only Jews. As we have seen, this is the exact opposite of the truth. Jews were winners, and non-Jews were losers.

To repeat: in Madoff’s scheme, Jews were winners, and non-Jews were losers. It was not just a Ponzi scheme, it was a Ponzi scheme structured around a massive transfer of wealth to one’s own ethnic group, a kind of previously undescribed Ethno-Nepotistic-Ponzi scheme.

Finally, this suggests that the real reason why Haaretz and Abe Foxman are so hysterical about the Madoff scandal and its possible effect of increasing anti-semitism is not because they fear irrational goyim who are overly eager to paint all Jews with the traits of Bernie Madoff. It is that there simply were very few real Jewish victims and quite a few non-Jewish victims: The so-called Jewish victims actually made money. And they made millions and millions and millions.

James Murray is the pen name of an academic sociologist.

Appendix 1: Wall Street Journal List of Madoff’s Victims.

[There are many omissions from this Wall Street Journal list, like that of Elie Wiesel’s Holocaust profits foundation with $37 million in exposure. And the Lapin foundation that was simply vaporized last week.]

* Indicates Jewish investors.

Table 1: “Madoff’s Victims: A List of Reported Victims and Their Exposure”, in Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2008. p. A14.

(Victims For Whom No Exposure Amount Is Available Are Not Shown.)

Fairfield Greenwich Advisors (investment management firm): $7500 million.

Tremont Capital Management (fund of funds run by Tremont Group Holdings): $3300 million.

Banco Santander SA (Spanish bank): $2870 million.

Ascot Partners (hedge fund frounded by GMAC chief J. Ezra Merkin): $1800 million.

Access International Advisors (New York investment firm): $1400 million.

Fortis Bank Nederland NV (Dutch bank): $1350 million.

Union Bancaire Privee (Swiss bank): $1000 million.

HSBC Holdings PLC (British bank): $1000 million.

Natixis SA (French investment bank): $560 million.

*Carl Shapiro (former chairman Kay Windsor Inc.): $550 million.

Royal Bank of Scotland (British Bank): $492.76 million.

BNP Paribas (French Bank): $431.17 million.

BBVA (Spanish bank): $369,57 million.

Man Group PLC (British hedge fund): $360 million.

Reichmuth & Co. (Swiss private bank): $327 million.

Nomura Holdings Ltd. (Japanese brokerage house): $303 million.

Maxam Capital Management Inc. (fund of funds based in Dairen, Conn.): $280 million.

EIM SA (European investment manager with $11 billion in assets): $230 million.

Aozora Bank Ltd. (Japan bank in which Cerebus Capital owns majority stake): $137 million.

AXA (French insurer): $123 million.

UniCredit SA (Italian bank): $92.39 million.

Nordea Bank AB (Swedish bank): $59.13 million.

Hyposwiss (Swiss private bank owned by St. Galler Kantonalbank): $50 million.

Banque Bendict Hoetsch & Cie SA (Swiss private bank): $48.8 million.

City of Fairfield-Connecticut (town pension fund): $42 million.

Bramdean Alternatives (asset manager): $31.2 million.

*Haredi Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. (Israeli insurer): $14.2 million.

Societe Generale (French bank): $12.32 million.

Groupama SA (French insurer): $12.32 million.

Credit Agricola SA (French bank): $12.32 million.

Richard Spring (individual investor): $11 million.

RAB Capital (hedge fund): $10 million.

Banco Populare (Italian bank): $9.86 million.

Korea Teachers Pension (Korean pension fund): $9.1 million.

*Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (Jewish charity manager): $6.4 million.

Neue Privat Bank (Swiss bank): $5 million.

*Clal Insurance Enterprise Holdings Ltd. (Israeli financial services): $3.1 million.

Mediobanca SpA (via its unit Compagnie Monegasque de Banque): $671000.