Jewish Ethnocentrism

Edward Dutton on The Culture of Critique: The importance of Jewish ethnocentrism

Edward Dutton, who is affiliated with Richard Lynn’s Ulster Institute for Social Research, has written an article supporting the main contention of my book, The Culture of Critique in an academic journal, Evolutionary Psychological Science: “MacDonald’s model is the more plausible hypothesis due to evidence that people tend to act in their ethnic group interest and that group selectedness among Jews is particularly strong, meaning that they are particularly likely to do so.” This is a most welcome development, and I agree with Dutton’s comments. Here I note some elaborations and a possible anomaly.

Dutton defends the multi-level selection model. The argument that group selection applies to Judaism is contained in the first book, A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy (APTSDA). The argument there really has two parts—a cultural group selection model described in Chapter 1, and the idea that Jews are high on ethnocentrism, discussed in Chapter 8. Both aspects are important in thinking about how group selection applies to traditional Jewish groups. Read more

Review: Leaving the Jewish Fold: Conversion and Radical Assimilation in Modern Jewish History by Todd M. Endelman

Leaving the Jewish Fold: Conversion and Radical Assimilation in Modern Jewish History
Todd M. Endelman
Princeton University Press, 2015

“A Jewish question would still exist, even if every Jew were to turn his back on his religion and join one of our major churches.”
Karl Eugen Duehring, 1881

At the heart of the Jewish Question lies an extraordinary level of ethnocentrism. The tremendous capacity of Jews for mutual co-operation and the reinforcement of group identity is one of the behavioral markers that set them apart from most other human populations. This is the case even in comparisons with other populations that, like the Jews, have historically performed roles as ‘middle man minorities.’ Jewish ethnocentrism has thus deservedly been the major focus of attention when scholars or activists have decided to investigate Jewish group behavior. In general these investigations have rested on the obvious expressions of ethnocentrism — clannishness in business, Jewish endogamy, group political strategies, and the manifestation of Jewish group allegiance even in secular cultural contexts (‘Jews without Judaism’).

By contrast, the story of those Jews who ostensibly left both Judaism and their community, apparently cutting all ties with their ethnic group, has been little explored or discussed in explorations of Jewish ethnocentrism. This story is, however, an important one, and it becomes even more important in a contemporary context in which Jewish intermarriage, particularly in the United States, is reaching unprecedented levels.

Key to understanding Jewish ethnocentrism should be an assessment of its strength, not just in terms of its obvious successes and manifestations, but in terms of its failures — when did it fail, how often did it fail, and why? I chose to read Todd Endelman’s Leaving the Jewish Fold as part of my own deeper investigation into this issue — to probe the weaknesses of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy for a future book project on that theme. However, rather than being surprised, I found that it largely confirmed my pre-existing theoretical framework. Endelman merely confirms that Jewish conversions to religions other than Judaism have historically been extremely rare and, despite the title of the book, the author provides very little evidence to suggest that the ‘assimilation’ undertaken by those Jews who ‘left the fold’ was radical, or even genuine. To use Endelman’s terminology, ‘drift and defection’ has always been a small, though passionately resisted phenomenon on the periphery of Jewish populations, serving paradoxically at times, like anti-Semitism, to reinforce group cohesion at the core. But in the overwhelmingly majority of cases an extremely high level of ethnocentrism is a constant feature of Jewish history.

The book is neither entertaining nor intellectually stimulating. Leaving the Jewish Fold is the third book by Endelman that I’ve read, following his Radical Assimilation in English Jewish History, 1656–1945 (1990) and The Jews of Britain, 1656 to 2000 (2002). His histories tend towards the type of overview perspective that can be useful when trying to get to grips with major events and personalities, but which lack insight or real interest even on a potentially oppositional level — his stances and arguments are often so weak (or non-existent) that they are difficult to detect. This makes his work slightly more factually correct than, for example, the work of the late ethnic activist Robert Wistrich, but ultimately less ‘fun’ to engage with or argue against. The fact that Endelman continues to be published by elite academic publishing houses like Princeton University Press should be regarded as a symptom of ongoing Jewish influence in Western academia [discussed further here] rather than being suggestive of the quality of his work. Like earlier examples of his work, Leaving the Jewish Fold is for the most part a collection of anecdotes and statistics, derived almost exclusively from published secondary sources, and often involving very little or no original research. The structure and narrative cohesion in this instance, where the material concerns Jews who ostensibly abandoned Jewish life, is haphazard and often confusing. As just one example, during his weak first chapter on the medieval period Endelman inexplicably plucks anecdotes from the eighteenth century. Read more

Eric Turkheimer: Jewish Ethnic Interests Masquerading as Ethical Concerns

Recently behavior geneticist Eric Turkheimer participated in a commentary on Charles Murray and the issue of race differences in intelligence. Since I am not a behavior geneticist, I won’t argue the point that there is no present methodology to test for group differences in traits like IQ, although the recent method of estimating group IQ on the basis of the frequencies of the all the known genes associated with IQ seems promising. I focus here on Turkheimer’s claims on the ethics of studying race differences.

In previous comments on the science of race differences, Turkheimer noted:

Why Race Science is Objectionable

If I may address my fellow Jews for a moment, consider this. How would you feel about a line of research into the question of whether Jews have a genetic tendency to be more concerned with money than other groups? Nothing anti-semitic, mind you, just a rational investigation of the scientific evidence. It wouldn’t be difficult to measure interest in money and materialism, and it wouldn’t surprise me if as an empirical matter Jews scored a little higher on the resulting test than other groups. As a behavioral geneticist I can assure you without reservation that the trait would be heritable, and, if anyone bothered to take the time to find out, specific genes would have small associations with it. Of course, this research program has already been carried out, at least to the extent the relevant technology was available in 1939. While we are at it we could open a whole scientific institute for the scientific study of racial stereotypes, and finally pull together the evidence on sneaky Japanese, drunken Irish, unintelligent Poles, overemotional women and lazy Italians.

This is a naked appeal to the ethnic interests of his ethnic group — exactly the problem with the “scientists” reviewed in The Culture of Critique. Race realists associated with the Alt Right, on the other hand, have tended to go with the data. They accept the findings that the IQs of Ashkenazi Jews and East Asians are higher than White means. The main issue, after all is White identity and White interests in being able to construct their own societies as other groups around the world have done and continue to do — whatever their talents or deficiencies compared to other groups.

Turkheimer continues:

Hopefully I am beginning to offend you. Why? Why don’t we accept racial stereotypes as reasonable hypotheses, okay to consider until they have been scientifically proven false? They are offensive precisely because they violate our intuition about the balance between innateness and self-determination of the moral and cultural qualities of human beings. No reasonable person would be offended by the observation that African people have curlier hair than the Chinese, notwithstanding the possibility of some future environment in which it is no longer true. But we can recognize a contention that Chinese people are genetically predisposed to be better table tennis players than Africans as silly, and the contention that they are smarter than Africans as ugly, because it is a matter of ethical principle that individual and cultural accomplishment is not tied to the genes in the same way as the appearance of our hair.

The reason we must not delve in to race science thus depends on “intuition.” Unfortunately, we all have different intuitions. Perhaps he is talking about the intuitions of liberal university professors. Or activist Jews. Read more

Torah Study with Richard Spencer

Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute has emerged as the new media villain du jour, replacing the post formerly held by David Duke in the public imagination. Recently I watched an exchange between him and Hillel Rabbi Matt Rosenberg during the Q&A portion of a talk Spencer gave at Texas A&M University.

Rabbi Rosenberg starts by saying “You come here with a message of radical exclusion. My tradition teaches a message of radical inclusion and love, love as embodied by Torah. Will you sit down with me, and study Torah, and learn love?” he continues.

As a thought experiment I’d like to imagine that at this point Spencer said “Yes. I will study Torah with you Rabbi.” The two of them find a quiet corner somewhere on the Aggie campus, and sit down together.

I thought they might begin with a brief discussion of Hebrew relations with the Amalekites, a nomadic people of Israel descended from Esau, whom the Torah instructs Jews to utterly destroy:

It shall be that when the Lord, your God, gives you rest from all your enemies all around, in the Land that the Lord, your God, gives you as an inheritance to possess it, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under the heaven. Do not forget it. (Deuteronomy 25: 19)

Elsewhere: “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox, and sheep, camel and ass” (Samuel I, 15:3).

All of the Amelakites  — men, women, children, babies, and even livestock — are to be slaughtered. Radical, and in its own way, quite inclusive. Read more

America as a Promised Land for Jews: Threatened by Muslims, Israel and White Identity?

Note: This is an edited, linked version of my talk at the NPI conference in Washington, DC, November 19, 2016.

I am going to talk about Jews. It’s not that I relish doing this, but somebody’s got to do it, and it’s definitely a subject that needs to be addressed as best we can, fairly and factually, and with the understanding that we are not talking about all Jews but about activist Jews and the general thrust of the organized Jewish community.

Beginning in the nineteenth century, Jews saw America as a promised land, whose “streets are paved with gold” as they often wrote to their families in Europe. Jews were therefore staunch advocates of unrestricted immigration. Writing in 1914, University of Wisconsin sociologist Edward A. Ross believed that liberal immigration policy was exclusively a Jewish issue and he quoted the prominent author and Zionist pioneer Israel Zangwill who articulated the idea that America is an ideal place to achieve Jewish interests.

America has ample room for all the six million [Russian Jews]; any one of her states could absorb them. And next to being in a country of their own, there could be no better fate for them than to be together in a land of civil and religious liberty, of whose Constitution Christianity forms no part and where their collective votes would practically guarantee them against future persecution. (Israel Zangwill, in Ross 1914, 144)

Zangwill wrote a famous play called The Melting Pot that premiered in 1908 in Washington, DC, the heart of American political culture. What’s interesting is his idea that America was a land where all the old ethnic hatreds would be abolished in a grand symphony of ethnic harmony. Sound familiar? In the play a Jewish immigrant fleeing Russian pogroms comes to America, writes a great symphony and marries a wealthy Christian woman. Audiences were wildly enthusiastic:

There were cries for Zangwill after every scene, and President Roosevelt himself joined in the applause. During the play he sat next to Mrs. Zangwill “and positively raved.” When Zangwill took his bows afterward, “the President shouted across the theater, ‘that’s a great play, Mr. Zangwill.’ “2 … Throughout the drama [the Jewish character] argues that the United States is a land of universal love and brotherhood. He sees it as a place in which the divisions among men will soon disappear. … Within the stirring and seething of the vast cauldron, the “Great Alchemist” was melting Celt and Latin, Slav and Teuton, Greek and Syrian, black and yellow. He was fusing together East and West, North and South, pole and equator, crescent and cross.”[1]

So there you have it. Crescent and Cross. Black, Yellow and White all coming together in blissful harmony — less than 50 years after the Civil War. The reception given the play, and remember this was over a century ago, shows that this optimistic image appealed to many Americans—prominent Americans like President Teddy Roosevelt. Read more

Israeli Minister latest in long line of prominent Jews asserting the inferiority of non-Jews

At TOO we have felt something of a duty to document instances where prominent, mainstream Jewish figures have publicly expressed the traditional Jewish view of a qualitative superiority of Jews to non-Jews. Previous examples include the late Lubavitcher leader, Menachem Schneerson of New York who was honored by President Reagan in 1983 (“The Gentile does not want anything. He waits to be told what the Jew wants!”; we have a case of . . . a totally different species. . . . The body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world).

Another well-known example is Sephardic leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s statement that “Goyim were born only to serve us.” As the previous link shows, such statements are pervasive on the ethno-religious right in Israel, often by very prominent mainstream figures.

Mondoweiss provides another example, this time from Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan. Dahan, who has nine children and has lived in a West Bank settlement, recently stated that “Palestinians have to understand they won’t have a state & Israel will rule over them.”

So much for the farce of peace negotiations. But not too long ago, Dahan showed he is entirely on board with Schneerson, Yosef, et al.:

Ben-Dahan referred to Palestinians as animals in 2013, according to the Times of Israel:

“To me, they are like animals, they aren’t human.”

Ben Dahan told Maariv that homosexual Jews were superior [to] gentiles — gay or straight.

“A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual,” he said.

Read more

Netanyahu’s fanatic supporters

Related to my recent article on the fanatics who support Netanyahu and the Right in Israel, Philip Weiss notes that Labor candidate Yitzhak Herzog did not raise the Palestinian issue in a meaningful way during the election campaign for fear of his life.

Why did Herzog fail? I believe he was afraid of his own people. A week ago I was in Rabin Square for a rally by the Netanyahu forces, and they were terrifying. The people I met in the street said racist and foolish things about Arabs, both Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett made religious statements bordering on lunacy about the Jewish right to the land, and they were preceded on the dais by Daniella Weiss, a settlement leader who has supported “pricetag attacks,” Jewish violence aimed at deterring the Israeli government from uprooting settlers. …

Read more