Jewish Ethnocentrism

Uri Avnery on Religious Jews

Uri Avnery is an insightful observer of the Israeli scene and Judaism in general. In a recent column, he notes that the early Zionists were anti-religious, at least partly because prominent orthodox rabbis were anti-Zionist. But David Ben-Gurion subsidized “a few hundred” Yeshiva students so they could spend their time studying rather than working or joining the military. Now, these “Torah-shielded parasites”  “constitute 13% of the entire yearly crop of those liable to the draft. Moreover, 65% of all Orthodox male citizens do not work at all and live on the public purse.”

Photo from article on U.S. State Dept. Report criticizing Israel for favoring Orthodox sects (see below). Note the very close social bonds and close physical resemblance among these young men. This doubtless reflects their close genetic relatedness, their similarities accentuated by their common dress. It's an excellent one-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words snapshot of traditional Jewish collectivism that has become politically and culturally dominant in Israel.

However, a small group of nationalist religious Jews were also encouraged by Ben Gurion. This group has prospered as well, giving rise to Gush Emunim (“the Bloc of the Faithful’), “the ideological core of the settlement movement. Nowadays this camp is directed by Rabbis whose teachings emit a strong odor of Fascism.” Read more

Rabbi Yosef’s Statement: “Goyim were born only to serve us”

A strong sense of Jewish racial superiority can be seen in some recent statements by Israeli Sephardic leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef as well as quite a bit of other similar material.

The JTA article on the rabbi’s statement includes this disclaimer:

The American Jewish Committee condemned the rabbi’s remarks in a statement issued Monday.

“Rabbi Yosef’s remarks — suggesting outrageously that Jewish scripture asserts non-Jews exist to serve Jews — are abhorrent and an offense to human dignity and human equality,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Judaism first taught the world that all individuals are created in the divine image, which helped form the basis of our moral code. A rabbi should be the first, not the last, to reflect that bedrock teaching of our tradition.”

Which goes to show how easy it is for the Jewish community to project whatever image it desires–no matter what the facts. Americans and other Westerners have been long indoctrinated with the view that Jewish ethics are universalist, so the AJC’s statement will have a ring of truth for most readers, Jews and non-Jews alike. Indeed, the AJC statement implies that Judaism made an irreplaceable contribution to universalist ethics.

The transformation of Jewish ethics to a veneer of universalism was an important project of the 19th-century attempt to present Judaism as on a par with Christianity.  In doing so, it trampled on a great deal of its own history. As John Murray Cuddihy noted, “these Diaspora groups were uninterested in actual history; they were apologists, ideologists, prefabricating a past in order to answer embarrassing questions, to outfit a new identity, and to ground a claim to equal treatment in the modern world” (The Ordeal of Civility, p. 177). Read more

Christopher Donovan on Melvyn Weiss: Being Jewish Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

Jews amass great fortunes by unethical means, can depend on a network of high-powered figures to defend them, and continue their shamelessness even after having been convicted of a crime.  Released from prison, they sit around their Florida homes with deep tans and gold jewelry and want to wax serious about Israelis and Palestinians with a friendly reporter from the Jewish press.

Valid pattern revealed by sustained analysis, or a nasty stereotype?

Before answering, read through this recent story from The Jewish Week about Melvyn Weiss, the class-action fraudster.

The article is almost too juicy to quote any one part — read the whole thing, as Instapundit says.  Weiss comes off like a cartoon caricature of the oleaginous Jew:  vain, self-centered, ethnocentric, excuse-making, ruthlessly unethical, lauded by the Anti-Defamation League — and through it all, completely unapologetic.  His Holocaust legal efforts are a nice comedic touch.  His own prosecution is simply a sign of how the “government is taking our rights away,” though it’s easy to imagine Weiss taking the precise opposite stand on the Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting efforts, hate crimes, or sending federal troops to force school integration.

Should Whites adopt the same aggressive and shameless approach?  Could they, even if they wanted to?

Self-Deception and Guruism among Jews

Life is really easy if you are in the business of refuting “anti-Semites” in the Mainstream Media. There is a ridiculously low standard for arguments and an easy confidence that contrary voices will not be heard.

Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal has a predictably vacuous column on the comments of Karel De Gucht–a topic previously discussed here. Mr. De Gucht stated, “Do not underestimate the Jewish lobby on Capitol Hill.” Stephens says that the comment dispenses with “the usual fine-grained, face-saving distinction about the difference between a ‘Jewish’ and an ‘Israel’ lobby.”

What makes it so easy for Stephens is that he doesn’t have to actually provide any data showing the relationship between Jews and the Israel Lobby. It’s enough to simply say that De Gucht failed to make the distinction to brand him an anti-Semite. Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered if he referred to the Israel Lobby when talking about “the grip [the Lobby] has on American politics—no matter whether it’s Republicans or Democrats.”  That too would doubtless cast him as an anti-Semite. Titling their book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy certainly didn’t prevent John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt from being labeled anti-Semites.

Stephens uses the same tactic in dismissing De Gucht’s statement that “There is indeed a belief—it’s difficult to describe it otherwise—among most Jews that they are right. And it’s not so much whether these are religious Jews or not. Lay Jews also share the same belief that they are right. So it is not easy to have, even with moderate Jews, a rational discussion about what is actually happening in the Middle East.”

Stephens comments:

Here, then, was a case not of “criticism of Israel” or “anti-Zionism,” the usual sheets under which this sort of mentality hides. Mr. De Gucht’s target was Jews, the objects of his opprobrium their malign political influence and crippled mental reflexes. If this isn’t anti-Semitism, the term has no meaning.

Again, Stephens feels no need to actually discuss whether Jews tend to behave this way. The subject is out of bounds—automatically; nothing more than “anti-Semitism.”

Since Mr. De Gucht will not attempt to defend his comments (he has already profusely apologized for his indiscretion—rejected, of course, by Stephens), I’ll give it a try. Part of the issue is self-deception, as per my previous comments on De Gucht. We are all prone to self-serving biases. But in particular, people who are highly ethnocentric are prone to not seeing how their own ethnocentrism blinds them to rational discussion of anything related to their ethnic interests. One of the more laughable mainstays of neoconservative rhetoric is the assertion that, despite their easily-documented strong Jewish identification and their close ties to Israel, they really believe that their policy recommendations are in the interests of the United States—including the disastrous war in Iraq and the impending war with Iran. Anyone who has taken a course in Social Psychology 101 would be aware of how naive that is. But of course, that doesn’t prevent it from being asserted with absolute self-confidence by writers like Jacob Heilbrunn (see here, p. 16).

The title of Heilbrunn’s book is relevant to De Gucht’s comments: They Knew They Were Right. The other part of this syndrome is absolute confidence in their ideas–what one  might term ‘guruism’. Heilbrunn calls attention to the neocons’ penchant for “sweeping assertions and grandiose ideas” (p. 26). There is a towering self-confidence that is doubtless exaggerated by being within an echo chamber of like-minded others. I remember talking to an academic psychiatrist long before psychoanalysis became a chapter in Culture of Critique. As a biologically oriented psychiatrist, he was not a believer in psychoanalysis, but he said what struck him about psychoanalysts in their heyday was their absolute self-confidence and sense of superiority. They were completely immune to empirically-minded naysayers–of which there were plenty, even at the height of their power. Keep in mind that psychoanalysis is perhaps the greatest intellectual fraud of the 20th century–a set of beliefs that explained everything but had only the most tenuous connection to reality and an ideology that empirical research was for bean counters.

The same thought crossed my mind while reading Thirteen Bankers, by Simon Johnson and James Kwak. Near the heart of the financial meltdown was the towering self-confidence of Larry Summers, Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan in opposing any regulation on the derivatives market. Summers seems to be pivotal. When Brooksley Born, head of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, proposed that some thought should be given to regulation,  Summers reportedly said “I have thirteen bankers in my office, and they say if you go forward with this you will cause the worst financial crisis since World War II.” As Johnson and Kwak note (p. 9), we don’t actually know if there were any bankers in Summers’ office; “more likely he came to his own conclusion.” The point is that Summers had an unshakable faith that what he was saying was correct—a faith that was ominously unrelated to empirical reality. Nevertheless, Ms. Born was successfully pushed aside and ultimately a law was enacted  preventing any regulation of the derivatives market. It’s quite analogous to Freud’s total confidence in the Oedipal Complex as a core doctrine of psychoanalysis and expelling anyone who disagrees.

Self-deception is not the entire story here. More likely, it relates to the centrality of charismatic leadership among Jews—a theme of Culture of Critique and very apparent in the Bernie Madoff scandal: The rabbi guru surrounded by worshipful disciples. Madoff was “like a God” People around him regarded Bernie like a messiah. He was spoken of as if godlike.” “He was received like visiting royalty, mysterious and unapproachable(see John Graham and Kevin MacDonald, “Is the Madoff Scandal Paradigmatic?”) He was brilliant; a genius. Because of his financial wisdom, everything turned to gold. Naysayers were ignored, and Jewish naysayers were labeled anti-Semites for not believing in the wisdom of Bernie.

Of course, Madoff exploited this tendency toward hero worship  among Jews to his own advantage and defrauded others in the process. In the case of the imperial wars so confidently trumpeted by the neocons and in the case of the financial meltdown, the victims are the entire country. And the scary thing is that Summers is still running the economy.

Kevin MacDonald: Solzhenitsyn’s Chapter 23 of 200 Years Together

The current TOO article discusses Chapter 23 of Solzhenitsyn’s 200 Years Together. I solicit comments here. The main theme is Jewish self-deception–the inability to see things without ethnic blinders, in particular, the history of the Jews in the USSR. After writing it, another example surfaced—they’re not hard to come by—although, as usual, it’s hard to know if it’s more a matter of aggressive intimidation than self-deception. Yet another government official has gotten in trouble for saying the obvious. This time it’s Karel de Gucht, the EU Trade Commissioner (“EU Trade Commissioner  Apologizes for Jewish Comments”).

The European Jewish Congress, an umbrella group, had demanded a retraction of De Gucht’s remarks in which he maintained that Israel frustrates U.S.-led peace efforts and warned not to “underestimate the Jewish lobby on Capitol Hill.”

“That is the best organized lobby that exists there,” the former Belgian foreign minister said in the interview with the Dutch-speaking VRT radio network.

“Don’t underestimate the opinion … of the average Jew outside of Israel,” he said. “There is, indeed, a belief, I can hardly describe it differently, among most Jews that they are right. So it is not easy to have a rational discussion with a moderate Jew about what is happening in the Middle East. It is a very emotional issue.”

De Gucht was saying (he’s since apologized profusely) that Jews honestly believe what they are saying is true, so it’s pretty much impossible to have a rational discussion–self-deception by any other name. It’s the same with the history of the Jews in the USSR—and a great many other things.

The official Jewish reaction has been to see De Gucht’s comments as an example of “a growing wave of anti-Semitism in Europe,” explicitly said to be on a par with Thilo Sarrazin’s comments on Jewish genetics. Again, there is a blind spot where facts are irrelevant. In a comment that is worthy of Abe Foxman, Moshe Kantor of the European Jewish Congress stated, “It has somehow become acceptable to attack Jews through Israel, even at the highest levels,” said Kantor. “The old anti-Semitic libels of the all-powerful Jewish cabals, the recalcitrant Jew and the irrational Jews only caring for their own, are remade to fit 21st- century hostility to the Jewish State.”

Of course, besides self-deception there is the very real possibility in this case that Kantor knows full well that this is just bluster and intimidation attempting to prevent public discussion of Jewish power and relying for its effectiveness on cowed European elites whose defining characteristic since WWII has been terror at being labeled an anti-Semite. Tough call.

Kevin MacDonald: Alexandr Solzhenitsyn's “The 1920s.” Chapter 18 of 200 Years Together

The English translation of Chapter 18 of 200 Years Together, “The 1920s,” is now available. (See here, and notice the link requesting donations.) It has a very different feel from Chapter 20, on the Gulag. Whereas Solzhenitsyn’s account of the Gulag stresses his own experiences, this chapter relies on a wide range of academic historical writing to paint his picture of the USSR during the critical decade of the 1920s. His account is therefore based on mainstream scholarship and overall is similar to other accounts, such as Yuri Slezkine’s The Jewish Century. However, it goes beyond other accounts in several important ways and provides a great deal of new information for Western audiences. It is a very long chapter (>26000 words). In the current TOO article, I summarize some of the main points and draw analogies to the current situation in the West. I encourage comments on Solzhenitsyn’s chapter and my article here.

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Kevin MacDonald: The Coen brothers' "A Serious Man"

Kevin MacDonald: I happened to see A Serious Man, the Coen brothers’ meditation on Jewishness, at the same time that Peter Beinart’s now  famous article is making us think about the future American Jewish community as more nationalist and ethnocentric. A Serious Man is really about the consequences of the breakdown of the traditional Jewish community in the  Diaspora.

The movie opens with a scene from a traditional Polish shtetl community in which the wife stabs a man that she thinks is a dybbuk — the point being that  these people had strong unquestioned beliefs and were willing to act on them.

But fast forward to 1960s, and things are falling apart. The main character, Larry Gopnik, is undergoing all sorts of crises–his wife’s affair and her desire for a religious divorce so she can marry another Jew; his troubles at his job; his brother’s health and psychiatric problems; financial problems, his own health.

But the three rabbis he goes to for help are completely useless: The young one mixes platitudes with irrelevancies about the parking lot at the synagogue. The middle-aged rabbi tells him a weird, pointless story about a non-Jew with Hebrew lettering on his teeth; the letters don’t make any sense but he translates them into a phone number — of a grocery store. The old rabbi won’t talk to him because he’s “thinking.”

Meanwhile his son and  the rest of the students are completely bored with Hebrew school–blank faces and vacant stares.  The teacher is old and decrepit, as is the school secretary. The son listens to pop music during class on on a 1960s version of an Ipod and smokes pot with his friends. His older sister has no interest in Judaism, hangs out with non-Jews, and seems to be saving money for a nose job (so she won’t look so Jewish). She’ll probably marry a goy.

The movie ends with a tornado bearing down on the school, the rabbi fumbling with the door lock and unable to protect the children, just as he and the other rabbis were unable to help the father. The message seems to be that it’s no use to look to the rabbis for help with life’s problems. The safety and security provided by the powerful traditional communal ties and strong, unquestioning belief (of the kind that motivated killing the dybbuk) are gone.

The ties within the community are fractured: The son thinks about repaying the money he owes to the school bully, but he doesn’t. Why pay him back when he won’t be part of the community in the future? The father learns that his wife’s lover was writing malicious letters to his tenure committee at the university. The Jewish lawyer he hired to deal with a property issue with his (viciously stereotyped non-Jewish) neighbor drops dead, and the Jewish lawyer he hired to defend his brother charges him $3000, prompting him to accept a bribe from a student to raise his grade.

He will have to find some other way out of his difficulties than rely on communal ties. The only help he gets from being Jewish (and this seems odd given the rest of the story) is that the Jewish department head assures him he will get tenure (even though he hasn’t published anything). But right after hearing the news, he receives an ominous phone call from his (Jewish) doctor about his x-rays. Getting tenure isn’t really going to help.

So what, if anything, does this say about the American Jewish community? Probably not a lot. Despite the main thrust of the movie, there’s still a huge benefit to Jews from ethnic networking with other Jews–the story of Elena Kagan shows that Larry Gopnik wasn’t the last Jew to benefit greatly from Jewish ties in the academic world, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

On the other  hand, Beinart’s concerns about young Jews with less commitment to Israel are doubtless reflected in the young people represented in A Serious Man — smoking pot, bored with Hebrew school, getting nose jobs, and dating non-Jews. But these reasons for this lack of Jewish commitment fit more with Steven M. Cohen‘s theory than Beinart’s: It’s not because of the behavior of Israel, but rather assimilation and intermarriage that draw Jews away from Israel. Indeed, one of the remarkable things about the movie was the complete lack of the ADL-type bunker mentality: No obsession with anti-Semitism, no mention of Israel, no gung-ho liberal politics, no mention of what an evil, racist, anti-Semitic place America is. No mention of politics at all.

If all Jews were like Larry Gupnik, the ADL would be out of business and the Israel lobby would grind to a halt. Not a bad outcome at all. But, as Beinart notes,  in the real world, the more conservative branches of Judaism are thriving and are projected to be a large and increasingly dominant segment of the American Jewish community. Quite a few Jewish children are not bored with Hebrew school, and they are the ones who are having the  children.

These are the people who staff the Jewish activist community now and in the future, so it’s very doubtful that there will be any change from its posture of strong and effective support for the dispossession of Whites at home and equally strong and  effective support for ethnonationalist Israel abroad.

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