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The role of Jewish converts to Catholicism in changing traditional Catholic teachings on Jews

In a previous article, “Benzion Netanyahu: Jewish Activist and Intellectual Apologist,” I discussed the activities of New Christian intellectuals in 15th-century Spain in developing an interpretation of Christianity and Judaism in which Judaism was presented very positively:

These intellectuals presented Jews as a genetically separate religious group composed of morally superior individuals and distinguished by a superior genetic heritage. On this basis, the New Christians argued that they were therefore worthy of being the progenitors of Christ who was born a Jew. (This appeals to Christians who naturally want to believe that Jesus came from a superior genetic stock.)  The basic strategy was to realize that Christianity could serve as a perfectly viable ideology in which Christian Jews could retain their ethnic solidarity, but with a Christian religious veneer.

What I didn’t point out was that some of the the main New Christian apologists, such as Alonso de Cartagena (whose writings are discussed in Chapter 7 of Separation and Its Discontents, p. 210ff), were not only converts from Judaism but also held high positions within the Catholic Church—obviously an ideal position from which alter Christian theology about Judaism. They were quite successful, at least temporarily:

As has undoubtedly often been the case in other eras (see, e.g., the discussion of the Dreyfus case in Chapter 6), the [New Christian] apologists were intellectually far more sophisticated than their opponents, and collectively they dominated the literature of the period. … Their arguments, while necessarily departing from orthodox Christian arguments in their defense of the Jews, are presented in a highly literate, scholarly style that undoubtedly commanded respect from an educated audience. They were highly skilled in developing the very intricate, tortured arguments necessary to overcome the existing anti-Jewish bias of Christian theology. The result of all this intellectual activity was a stunning, if temporary, victory over the Toledo rebels of 1449 … . The rebels were soon regarded by the public as moral, religious, and political renegades; they were excommunicated by the pope, and their leaders were imprisoned and executed. (p. 212) Read more

The Art of Guilt by Association

“Never let the facts get in the way of a good story” – Mark Twain 

On the 22nd of July 2011, shortly before Anders Behring Breivik murdered 77 people in Norway, I became one of the ‘fortunate’ four Dutch persons to have unsolicitedly received Breivik’s manifesto. It was his ‘Declaration of Independence’, which he had forwarded to thousands of people; the Dutch media claim there were only 1001 addressees, but there were several thousand).

The following 9 months I was unable to explain why I received this increasingly extremist, aggressively neoconservative manifesto. It is true that, since 1991 I had been writing anti-immigration and pro-Afrikaner articles and essays. But my articles were rather paleoconservative and mainly written in Dutch and Afrikaans. Did Breivik read Dutch? Afrikaans? I had never heard of this person, who also went by the pseudonym Andrew Berwick. Until the moment when Norwegian newspapers started sending me e-mails, I did not realise that the enigmatic Norwegian mass murderer had sent me the e-mail.

Only recently, when I finally felt emotionally capable of paying more attention to his lengthy compendium, did I read in the Preface that I must be a Facebook friend of his, or a friend of a Facebook friend of his, if I received it from himself. The latter must have been the case. Thank you.

At the same time, when on the 27th of July 2011 Breivik’s list of 1003 addressees was going viral, Dutch and Norwegian journalists started writing articles about four Dutch recipients, including me. Most journalists never contacted me. The handful of journalists that had actually gone to the trouble of calling or e-mailing me before they started writing newspaper articles about me, wanted explanations from me: “Why did you receive it?” “Surely you must agree with what he writes.” Although I had told them that I had only been able to read two pages of the manifesto (a section about the Frankfurt School caught my attention), one journalist from a local paper called me on the phone and repeatedly asked me what I thought of the manifesto, and if I agreed with Breivik’s analyses. He sounded irritated when I told him that I had yet not found any particular paragraph that I endorsed. Read more

The Israel Lobby and the Psychology of Influence

[Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on October 14, 2007 on my website, prior to the establishment of TOO. It is a companion piece the current blog on universities as a target of the Israel Lobby.]

Elaine McArdle was lobbied by the Israel Lobby. Of course, this is not exactly unusual, nor is it illegal. Indeed, it is standard practice among lobbyists of all kinds. As she notes, AIPAC provided first-class, all-expenses-paid trips to Israel for 40 US congressmen just last summer. Journalists are eager to participate as well, although it appears that this is viewed as less than ethical by at least some mainstream news organizations.

Still, there are probably very few congressmen of any longevity who haven’t participated, and, as she notes, most journalists have only one question about whether to participate: “Where do I sign up?” Free trips to Israel for US military personnel and politicians are also a standard policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. And Birthright Israel annually organizes trips to Israel for 20,000 young Jews in an effort to deepen their Jewish commitment.

What stands out about McArdle is that she is very self-conscious about the psychological processes involved. She is quite aware that persuasion often works at an unconscious level. Giving someone a gift taps into a reciprocity norm that is doubtless a remnant of our evolved psychology. People who don’t reciprocate did not make good allies or friends, and this happened over a sufficiently long period to result in specialized brain mechanisms designed to detect reciprocators and cheaters. As McArdle notes, this is true the world over. For the non-sociopaths among us, when we receive something from someone else, we feel a need to reciprocate or at least have positive feelings toward that person.

Since I am engaged in trying to understand Jewish influence in general, McArdle’s article gets one thinking of what other psychological processes are involved in various sorts of Jewish influence.  Of course, none of these processes are unique to Jewish influence. It’s just that Jews are a very good at the influence game. The Israel Lobby and its influence on US foreign policy are Exhibit A for this perspective. So it’s reasonable to suppose that one aspect of their success is being better than most at tuning in to people’s psychological tendencies and to use them to further their perceived interests.

At a basic level, going on a trip in a group makes the person a member of an ingroup. Psychologists have found that being a member of an ingroup results in positive attitudes toward other members of the ingroup. Even though there is no explicit quid pro quo going on, the norms of the ingroup are molded by the tour guides and even by the itinerary itself.

In effect, the people on the tour are being inculcated into a Jewish world view—one in which Jews are the quintessential victims. McArdle’s group was shepherded to an Israeli family that had been in the area hit by Hezbollah rockets last summer. There is a palpable sense of fear “Children today, we were told, still wet their beds in fear. … I wondered how long I … could tolerate the omnipresence of danger.”

They are also taken to Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Museum. Similarly, the Birthright Israel trips for Jewish youth start with Holocaust seminars in New York, then proceed to Poland to visit Auschwitz, and then to Israel where participants visit historical sites intended to instill strong Zionist feelings. Especially important are border outposts “where the ongoing threat to Israel’s security is palpable” (Woocher, 1986; p. 150). Among these Jewish visitors, the result is a sense of dread: A participant in Birthright Israel says, “I never felt unsafe [in Poland], but I couldn’t wait to get to Israel where I knew that we would be wanted and accepted.”

Indeed, as I noted in A People That Shall Dwell Alone (see Chapter 7), “a permanent sense of imminent threat appears to be common among Jews. … [F]or Jewish families a ‘sense of persecution (or its imminence) is part of a cultural heritage and is usually assumed with pride. Suffering is even a form of sharing with one’s fellow-Jews. It binds Jews with their heritage—with the suffering of Jews throughout history.’”

There is also a sense of psychological bonding with Israelis at a person-to-person level. McArdle refers to her experience as “an unforgettable and emotionally charged week with warm, likable people — generous hosts and tour guides whom I worried about after returning to the safety of life in Massachusetts.”

She experiences empathy for these Israelis as fellow ingroup members who are living in danger, and she worries about their safety. But she never gets to experience empathy with the Palestinians on the other side of the wall—the ones living in Bantustan-like concentration camps in the apartheid West Bank.

McArdle also mentions that the experience was “emotionally charged.” A great deal of psychological research shows that experiences that have intense emotional overtones are much more likely to be remembered and to have a long term influence.  As McArdle is well aware, people need not be consciously aware of these memories to be influenced by them.

Another psychological aspect of Jewish influence is that Jewish intellectual and political movements are promulgated from highly prestigious sources. An important feature of our evolved psychology is a greater proneness to adopt cultural messages deriving from people with high social status. This was certainly true of all the movements discussed in The Culture of Critique, and there is no doubt that the Israel Lobby is intimately entwinedwith elite media, elite universities, and well-funded think tanks.

And finally, it’s not only journalists like McArdle who have to worry about the possibility of unconscious bias. We all do. Movements such as the Israel Lobby have typically presented themselves not as furthering Jewish interests but as furthering the interests of the society as a whole. Neocons such as Richard Perle typically phrase their policy recommendations as aimed at benefiting the US. He does this despite evidence that he has a strong Jewish identity and despite the fact that he has typical Jewish concerns, such as anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, and the welfare of Israel. Perle poses as an American patriot despite credible charges of spying for Israel, writing reports for Israeli think tanks and op-eds for the Jerusalem Post, and all the while having close personal relationships with Israeli leaders.

This was also true of all the movements I described in The Culture of Critique: The Jewish commitments and motivations of the main players were never a subject of discussion, and the movements themselves were presented as scientifically sound and morally superior to the traditional culture of the West. As a result, non-Jews are invited to see these Jewish activists as disinterested social scientists, or, in the case of the neocons, as patriotic fellow Americans — as “just like themselves.” We are invited to view these Jewish activists as part of our ingroup, with all that that entails psychologically.

In my ideal world, Jonah Goldberg’s op-eds and Paul Wolfowitz’s advice to presidents and defense secretaries should be accompanied by a disclaimer: “You should be cautious in following my advice or even believing what I say about Israel. Deception and manipulation are very common tactics in ethnic conflict, so that my pose as an American patriot should be taken with a grain of salt. And even if I am entirely sincere in what I say, the fact is that I have a deep psychological and ethnic commitment to Israel and Judaism. Psychologists have shown that this sort of deep commitment is likely to bias my perceptions of any policy that could possibly affect Israel even though I am not aware of it.”

As I noted in The Culture of Critique, “many of the Jews involved in the movements reviewed here may sincerely believe that these movements are really divorced from specifically Jewish interests or are in the best interests of other groups as well as Jews. … But, as [evolutionary theorist Robert] Trivers (1985) notes, the best deceivers are those who are self-deceived.”

Dealing with the Holocaust

1. White Nationalists need to deal with the Holocaust just as we need to deal with the Jewish Question in general.

It is futile to focus on White advocacy alone and ignore the Jews. Quite simply, the Jews will not return the favor. You might not pick Jews as the enemy, but they will pick you. You might wish to see Jews as Whites, but Jews see themselves as a distinct people. Thus they see any nationalism but their own as a threat.

2. It is futile for White Nationalists to ignore the Holocaust, for the Holocaust is one of the principal tools by which Jews seek to stigmatize White ethnic pride and self-assertion. As soon as a White person expresses the barest inkling of nationalism or racial consciousness, he will be asked “What about the Holocaust? You’re not defending genocide, are you?”

The Holocaust is specifically a weapon of moral intimidation. It is routinely put forward as the worst thing that has ever happened, the world’s supreme evil. Anybody who would defend it, or anything connected to it, is therefore evil by association. The Holocaust is evoked to cast uppity Whites into the world’s deepest moral pit, from which they will have to extricate themselves before they can say another word. And that word had better be an apology. To borrow a turn of phrase from Jonathan Bowden, the Holocaust is a moral “cloud” over the heads of Whites.

So how can White Nationalists dispel that cloud? We need an answer to the Holocaust question. As a New Rightist, the short answer is simply this: the New Right stands for ethnonationalism for all peoples—what Frank Salter terms “universal nationalism.” We believe that this idea can become hegemonic through the transformation of culture and consciousness. We believe that it can be achieved by peaceful territorial divisions and population transfers. Thus we retain the values, aims, and intellectual framework of the Old Right. Where we differ is that we reject Old Right party politics, totalitarianism, imperialism, and genocide.

The idea of ethnonationalism is true and good, regardless of the real and imagined crimes, mistakes, and misfortunes of the Old Right. Thus we feel no need to “deny,” minimize, or revise the Holocaust, just as the New Left felt no need to tie its projects to “Gulag revisionism.” Read more

The case for Obama: Why four more years may be less disastrous than unrestrained GOP rule

Shortly after Mitt Romney locked up the GOP nomination, tried-and-true political axioms fell right into place. With the state primaries over and the August convention looming, Romney’s presidential campaign moved Left, a common window-dressing tactic intended to appeal to “moderate” and independent voters.

GOP insiders, primarily advocates of the “Big Tent” Republican Party, believe that this superficial move — intended to capture the political “center” — is a successful tactic that will pay off in November. The attempt is to peel off disaffected independent voters, who were a key voting bloc for Obama in 2008.

So where does the Romney campaign focus their attention? Latino activists, the NAACP, and Israel! Three well-organized ethnic lobbies and key constituencies that form the core of the Democrat’s base. As soon as any Republican candidate secures the nomination, one of the first priorities is to visit Tel Aiv or Jerusalem and placate the neoconservatives and organized Zionist groups. Romney is reportedly planning to host a fundraiser and charge “$60,000 or more per plate” in a scheduled visit to Israel later in July. Right on schedule!

Republicans never tire of trying to out democratize the Democrats. The ruling elites in the GOP establishment continue to take for granted their core constituency: Middle American Whites. As a potential voting bloc, White voters could make a substantial difference in this year’s election. However, the Romney campaign, much like other Republican presidential campaigns, assumes that this bloc of conservative White voters will remain loyal to a political party at odds with their own group interests. Read more

“Flight”: Denzel Washington’s New Movie, Part II


Now comes a truly sardonic confirmation that I am right. A good part of my teaching involves showing the changing images of a high-level American vocation that has not changed much racially over the last century: that of the pilot. Few careers have for so long captivated the imaginations of American boys and men. See Joseph Corn’s wonderful book The Winged Gospel: America’s Romance with Aviation or read anything about flying by the peerless Ernest Gann to capture this romance. Gann’s 1953 novel The High and the Mighty became a film featuring that stalwart American actor, John Wayne. Read more

“Flight”: Denzel Washington’s New Movie, Part I

I find myself in a conflicted position. While I enjoy being right as much as the next guy, it hurts to be right about something with negative consequences. Imagine, for example, that you are convinced you have a serious malady, yet your stubborn doctor pooh-pooh’s your concerns. As a result, you conduct a grueling online search and eventually pin down your ailment to an obscure but quite harmful degenerative disease.

You take these results to a more accommodating doctor, who indeed confirms your suspicious. You, then, are left congratulating yourself for outwitting your original doctor — but you have also confirmed that your quality of life is inextricably going to erode. Mixed emotions, right?

I suffer from a parallel syndrome. For well over a decade I’ve been parsing Hollywood films and finding in them a pronounced bias against straight White European-derived males. To be sure, we still have traditional fare with White male stars as the lead — think George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, even Mel Gibson now and again. But we also find so many films in which only the White guy is bad.

What really troubles me is the fact that so much of this imagery is counterfactual. We race realists know that it is White males who have built so much of civilization over the last five centuries and that now it is we who bear the brunt of the anti-White multicultural onslaught. The cultural Marxists have cleverly used women and minorities against White males, and we see this imagery many times a day now. Go to your bank’s website, for instance, and I’ll bet you’ll see a parade of non-White faces and smart White women staring back at you. Try, however, to spot the White males. It’s often not easy. Read more