Jewish Ethnocentrism

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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Philip Weiss: "The American Jewish revolution is over"

Philip Weiss is a unique American Jewish voice — a Jew without all the usual rationalizations and blind spots–at least most of them. A recent piece of his, titled “This is how the world now sees Jews,” consisted simply of this photo, with a note that it probably depicted Israeli settlers:

How the world now sees Jews

Below is a Palestinian woman whose house in East Jerusalem has been occupied by settlers. She is arguing with nationalist Jews.

Making the case for seizing Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem

The photo is from Weiss’s article, “Making the case for Zionism,” which quotes Peter Beinart in the NY Review of Books:

In the American Jewish establishment today, the language of liberal Zionism—with its idioms of human rights, equal citizenship, and territorial compromise—has been drained of meaning.

Weiss comments: “Why? Because the territorialist-nationalists have won, and from Deir Yassin to Al-Atatra to Sheikh Jarrah, they have uprooted and humiliated Palestinian women.”

The point is that Israelis are  thugs with machine guns and ethnic cleansers. More importantly, all Jews, including the organized American Jewish community which supports Israel to the hilt, have lost the moral high ground.

This is familiar territory for Weiss, but his article “Lame Specter, Blumenthal, and Kagan show — the American Jewish revolution is over” extends his critique of Jews to their role in the contemporary American elite.  The basic message is that Jews in America started out as morally aggrieved outsiders who have ultimately morphed into symbols of the worn out establishment (Arlen Specter), liars (Richard Blumenthal), and calculating achievers and hacks (Elena Kagan).

Although I am far less romantic about the Jewish left and its moral imperative of revolution against the traditional people and culture of America than Weiss is, he certainly does understand that the new Jewish elite is fundamentally corrupt. This Jewish elite consists of people like Adam Kirsch “who steps into the New Yorker and all the other magazines with an air of entitlement, and who can blame him, Jews run the important magazines, with all the passion of printing a train timetable.”

Notice that Kirsch “steps into” his job at the New Yorker — his position as the editor of an elite publication simply handed to him as part of his Jewish entitlement. No need for struggle or for particularly great qualifications. Jews have arrived.

Kagan too “stepped into” her position as Supreme Court nominee. Her only qualifications are being Jewish and knowing the right people. The entire passage bears quoting:

Kagan is the ultimate sign that our brand is finished. She is the best of breed, as they say at Westminster. According to this Times profile, she comes out of the same hothouse I came out of, in her case the Upper West Side. Achievement, liberalism, and no partying. Arguing at the dinner table. Presumably no physical life. [Interesting comment on what it means to be Jewish. On the other hand, there’s that famous photo in the WSJ of her playing softball.]

Kagan’s world is the Jewish success world, she stepped into it like Kirsch did. She loved the hothouse. She emulated Felix Frankfurter, who didn’t stand for much either, and is pals with Sarah Walzer,daughter of Michael Walzer, the political theorist and Jewish parochialist. She went to Jeffrey Toobin’s wedding, she was picked by Larry Summers at Harvard around the time he was saying that divestment was anti-semitic. Eliot Spitzer, Ted Weiss and Elizabeth Holtzman were among her backers. She clerked for Abner Mikva, a Chicago macher who backed Obama.

It’s a Jewish world — a world where being in the right circles counts far more than genuine talent. Kagan, the Harriet Miers of the Obama Administration, simply “steps into” her position in the top court in the land.

This reminds me of Jews as an elite in the Soviet Union, where a nascent Jewish elite motivated by moral fervor  and hatred unleashed by their exclusion under the Czar morphed easily into a corrupt, nepotistic elite that was hostile to the traditional people and culture of Russia. A report to the Soviet Central Committee reminds me of Kagan’s route to success: “They gather around themselves people of the same nationality, impose the habit of praising one another (while making others erroneously believe that they are indispensable), and force their protégés through to high posts” (see here, p. 78). Another report, from 1942, noted that elite cultural institutions “turned out to be filled by non-Russian people (mainly by Jews)” (see here , p. 51, ff). For example, of the ten top executives of the Bolshoi Theater—the most prestigious Soviet cultural institution—there were eight Jews and one Russian. Similar disproportions were reported in prestigious musical conservatories, the Soviet Academy of Science Institute of Literature, and among art and music reviewers in elite publications. Ethnic nepotism, not IQ, is the only way to explain these disproportions.

So now we are looking at a Supreme Court that is one-third Jewish–another disproportion that can’t be explained by Jewish IQ but reeks of ethnic nepotism. The ADL will of course attempt to squelch anyone who talks about the new Jewish elite publicly. But as time goes on, it’s going to be more and more apparent who runs the US.

Fundamentally, White Americans have to wrap their minds around the fact that this new elite is corrupted by nepotism,that it supports policies like massive non-White immigration aimed at the racial dispossession of Whites, and that it has no moral standing, most obviously because of the gap between its moral posturings in the US versus the reality Israel as a an aggressive, ethnonationalist state.

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Philip Weiss on Philosemitism and Ethnocentrism

Philip Weiss has yet another meditation on being a Jew married to a non-Jew (“Philosemitism’s threat to Zionism”). He and his wife live in a social world made up of mixed couples., and his wife prefers it that way.  I’d love to hear exactly what his wife means when she says that she prefers to socialize with mixed couples because some all-Jewish couples are too “strong” for her. Are we talking about the old stereotype of psychological aggressiveness, or is that an indelicate topic? Maybe it’s like the Jewtopia skit where a non-Jewish character says he loves Jewish girls because Jewish girls make all the decisions when they go out–where to eat, what friends to have, what to wear, etc., so that he doesn’t have to think any more. (Be sure to continue listening to see what happens when a Jew orders food at a restaurant; it’s the same psychological profile.) Maybe these Jews see life as a whole lot more peaceful with a non-Jewish spouse.

Weiss is the sort of Jew that most Americans think about when they think of Jews.  He is wonderfully liberal and open-minded, gushing at a marriage between a Jew and a Hindu. He does not have a sense of historical injustice, at least when he thinks of his own experience in America. As he acknowledges, in this regard, he is quite unlike most American Jews and certainly unlike the activists who staff the organized Jewish community — the Jews like Abe Foxman who use their sense of persecution as a badge and sword. Weiss notes that the Israel Lobby  “cannot trust [non-Jews] to act wisely without being politically coerced and bribed. The lobby has returned the incredible trust that Jews have been granted in the U.S. with suspicion.”

Indeed, he feels suffused by philosemitism, but then there’s the guilt at abandoning the tribe:

The objects of philo-semitism, myself included, feel some guilt about it. We know, or ought to, that we’re participating in an assimilatory process. We are hurting the tribe’s future as a tribe. And so for those who care about tribe, Israel gains a new significance: it is the bulwark of Jewishness, the place where Jews marry Jews.

Israel is indeed the bulwark of tribalistic Judaism. Weiss claims that the motive for Zionism was anti-Semitism in Europe. But in fact, a very large motive, especially for the racial Zionists, was retaining racial purity, and in that they have succeeded. Racial Zionists were part of the trend toward racial nationalism in Europe, and their descendants — the followers of Jabotinsky — are now in charge of Israeli politics. Here’s Arthur Ruppin, a prominent racial Zionist writing in the early 20th century:

Intermarriage marks the end of Judaism. Mixed marriage is regarded as destructive of Judaism even where the non-Jewish side adopts the Jewish religion, for it is understood, be it merely subconsciously, that Judaism is something more than a religion—a common descent and a common fate. Were it only a religious communion, assimilated Jews would actually have to welcome a mixed marriage which gains a proselyte for Judaism, but even among them this view is conspicuously absent. (Quoted in Separation and Its Discontents.)

An interesting recent example of Israeli racialism is Baruch Marzel, a former member of the Kach Party who would presumably still be a member except that Kach has been outlawed for its racist views. According to Haaretz, a Marzel has voiced his opposition to Leonardo DiCaprio marrying Bar Rafaeli, an Israeli model, because “it would dilute the Jewish race.”

Marzel is doubtless on the fringe of Jewish thinking — at least overtly. But the reality is that deep concerns about racial purity are always just below the surface in mainstream Israeli society. As reported in the Forward, a recent Knesset bill shows the continuing power of the Orthodox over conversion. The immediate concern was that foreign workers in Israel might convert to Judaism and therefore become eligible to be Israeli citizens via the Law of Return. As the bill moves forward, the trick is to write the legislation so that foreign workers would not be able to convert to Judaism while leaving intact the validity of conversions done by Reform and Conservative congregations in the Diaspora. The concern of Diaspora Jews is that ultimately the Orthodox will nullify all conversions except those performed by the Orthodox. Since the Orthodox already control marriage within Israel (so that Israelis who wish to marry people who can’t establish their Jewish ancestry must marry outside Israel), this would ensure the triumph of racialist Judaism in Israel.

Weiss understands that liberal forms of Judaism that exist in the Diaspora are dead ends. And he understands that therefore he will have “little influence over the body of Jewish life in the U.S. so long as I can’t imagine a corporate future.” So the tribe will endure without people like Weiss and his belief that “ethnocentric arrogance is unsustainable in a globalized environment.”

The problem that I have with this is that the racialists in Israel are firmly in charge and they have the overwhelming support of the organized Jewish community in the Diaspora. This isn’t going to change. Moreover, given the historical trends within Israel, Israeli racialism may well get even more extreme. People like Weiss and organizations like J Street function to give Judaism a softer veneer that is consistent with post-racial, multicultural America without having any effective influence on the “ethnocentric arrogance” at the heart of Judaism or even lessening the support of the Israel Lobby for Israel as an apartheid, racialist state. Intermarriage has many benefits for Diaspora Judaism as long as the racial core is not threatened, and the existence of Israel ensures that Jewish tribalism will remain long into the future.

Yet liberal Jews with many of the same beliefs as Weiss are the main bulwark of the left in America that has so successfully pathologized any sense of ethnocentrism by Whites — and only Whites. Pardon me if I refuse to disavow White ethnocentrism as I am sure Weiss advocates. I think we are going to need a very healthy dose of White ethnocentrism if Whites are to survive in a world that remains governed by the ethnocentric arrogance of others.

And pardon me if I predict that as Weiss gets older he will return to his Jewish ethnic roots. This is one of my working hypotheses about Jews and probably people in general. I discussed several examples in my books on Judaism, such as Heinrich Heine. Other examples (and counterexamples) are needed to make a good case, but the idea is that as we get older, our ethnocentrism tugs at us. We worry about the future of our people –what the world will be like in a hundred years, not just for our children and grandchildren, but for the wider group of people like ourselves. And right now, for people like me, it doesn’t look good.

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Kevin MacDonald: Israel again illustrates the true nature of Judaism

Kevin MacDonald: Any doubt about the real attitudes within Israel toward peace have been removed with the announcement of housing starts in East Jerusalem timed to coincide with Vice-President Joe Biden’s visit. For that, we should be thankful to Eli Yishai, the Israeli Minister of Internal Affairs, who, by most accounts is responsible for the timing of the announcement. As Gideon Levy noted in Haaretz, “the timing, which everyone is complaining about, was brilliant. It was exactly the time to call a spade a spade. As always, we need Yishai (and occasionally [Foreign Minister] Avigdor Lieberman) to expose our true face, without the mask and lies, and play the enfant terrible who shouts that the emperor has no clothes.”

Rather than the 1600 units that were announced originally, now we learn that there are 50,000 housing units planned for Jerusalem in various stages of the approval and construction process. And the “settlement freeze” turns out to be at best a slowing down. Even the settlers aren’t complaining about the policy any more because they are basically getting what they want.

So Yishai’s announcement saves everyone lots of time. The “proximity talks” will now be called off — a blessing because otherwise there would have been another charade of talking while construction continues. We would have had to hear endless hyping of the talks in the media and from governments. In the end, they would collapse anyway, and the US media would treat us to nuanced and articulate op-eds by Israel’s fifth column.

Because the problem is that the Israelis want the land — all of it. They want all of Jerusalem and they want the West Bank (for starters), and there is nothing to stop the slow motion, grinding process by which they are getting it. As a result, there really is nothing to negotiate. Negotiations are simply ways to entertain people who read newspapers and watch television and make them think something is really happening. Or might possibly be happening way off  in the future.

The Obama Administration is doubtless rather unhappy with what happened, but its acolytes in Congress will certainly not allow settlements and construction to stand in the way of total support for Israel. As noted here, perhaps the only potentially serious consequence is that the Obama Administration will be more reluctant to take the initiative in promoting Israel’s project of destroying Iran. That’s all to the good, but it won’t change the US’s bedrock fealty to Israel.

Nevertheless, like the horrific Gaza invasion, there will also be effects on perceptions of Israel. Despite increasingly desperate attempts at image management, it becomes even less possible (if that is conceivable) to argue that the Palestinians are the main impediment to peace. Slowly but surely people are getting the message that Israel is an aggressive, expansionist ethnostate committed to apartheid and fewer rights for Israeli Arabs, with a long term goal of ethnic cleansing. It is able to be all this while maintaining US fealty even as it sticks yet another finger in its eye.

Ultimately the behavior of Israel will also affect perceptions of Jews in the US and other Western countries. How long can the various positive narratives about Jews that have been so common in the West, especially since World War II, survive? The narratives of Jews as passive victims suffering at the hands of brutal and irrational enemies throughout history, of Judaism as representing a unique moral vision for all of humanity, of Judaism as a light unto the nations. People are increasingly realizing that there is a complete disconnect between these images and the actual behavior of Jews when they have power. The image of Israelis carrying out ethnic cleansing will be seen as far more congruent with the image of Jewish Bolsheviks engaged in political oppression and mass murder than with the self-images that Jews have managed establish for themselves throughout the West.

So the good news from all of this is that Israel is gradually revealing itself for what it really is — a very telling commentary on the real nature of Jews and Judaism that is supported to the hilt by the organized Jewish community throughout the Diaspora. The sooner people get that message, the sooner there will be real change away from the transformational public policy changes that have been so successfully advocated by Jewish activist organizations in the last 50 years in the West. All of these changes relied on a moral vision — the moral imperative of mass immigration, the moral superiority of multiculturalism, and especially the moral illegitimacy of White identity and interests. The Jewish community has been the most powerful voice preaching this vision, but it has no moral standing at all. Truly, the emperor truly has no clothes.

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Tim Wise on Zionism

Someone sent me this quote from an article by Tim Wise,Anti-Semitism, Real and Imagined: Judaism, Zionism and the Struggle for Palestine.”

Zionism’s problem is not that it is Jewish nationalism, per se, but rather a form of ethnic supremacy. And more than that: a form of European supremacy to boot. After all, there were Jews who had remained in and around Palestine for millennia, without substantial conflict withtheir Arab and Muslim neighbors. Likewise, many Jews lived under Muslim rule in the Ottoman Empire, where they received a generally warm or at least neutral reception–far better indeed than at the hands of Christian Europe, which expelled them from one place after another.

These Jews, unlike the European Jews who sought to displace said Arabs from their land, lived there peacefully and sought no grand designs for “Greater Israel.” They did not create Zionism, nor lead the charge for the development of a Jewish state. For that, it took a decidedly Western, European and frankly white Jewish community. The Jews who were most indigenous to the land of Israel, or those of Africa, or the rest of Asia Minor — in short those who were most directly Semitic language group peoples — were never the problem. Nor indeed was their faith. A decidedly colonial mentality, itself an outgrowth of European thought and culture from the late 1800s forward, was the fuel for the Zionist fire. Zionism’s problem is that it is a form of white supremacy and Western domination.

In short, Zionism as just another form of White evil. This certainly establishes Wise’s bona fides as an anti-Zionist Jew, but I am still suspicious that his attitudes are just another form of anti-White strategizing among Diaspora Jews. Self-deception?

It is certainly true that Zionism was the creation of European Jews and that at its beginnings it was closely tied intellectually to European racial nationalism. As I noted in Ch. 5 of Separation and Its Discontents:

Important Jewish intellectuals [in the late 19th century and well into the 20th century] developed Volkischeideologies as well as racialist, exclusivist views, which, like those of their adversaries, were no longer phrased in religious terms but rather in [the] … language of evolutionary biology. These intellectuals had a very clear conception of themselves as racially distinct and as a superior race (intellectually and especially morally), one that had a redemptive mission to the German people and other gentiles. As expected by social identity theory, while the Germans tended to emphasize negative traits of the Jewish outgroup, the Jewish intellectuals often conceptualized their continued separatism in moral and altruistic terms.

The result was that anti-Semites and zealous Jews, including Zionists, often had very similar racialist, nationalist views of Judaism toward the end of the 19th century and thereafter (Katz 1986b, 144). Zionism and anti-Semitism were mirror-images: “in the course of their histories up to the present day it has looked as if they might not only be reacting to one another but be capable of evolving identical objectives and even cooperating in their realization” (Katz 1979, 51). Nicosia (1985) provides a long list of German intellectuals and anti-Semitic leaders from the early 19th century through the Weimar period who accepted Zionism as a possible solution to the Jewish question in Germany, including Johann Gottleib Fichte, Konstantin Frantz, Wilhelm Marr, Adolf Stoecker. All conceptualized Judaism as a nation apart and as a separate “race.”

What had changed for Jews was not the reality that they were a closed racial and national group. The charge that Jews were a state within a state was common among Enlightenment intellectuals. What had changed was that the (temporary) triumph of Darwinism had changed the language of racial separatism so that Jews were no longer seen as a religious state within a state but as a racially exclusive strategizing group often in competition with the ethnic majority. Zionism then became a logical solution to the problem of chronic conflict between Jews and non-Jews. Jews would simply leave Europe. Indeed, Zionists cooperated with the National Socialist government in the 1930s to get Jews out of Germany to Palestine.

This strand of racial Zionism continues as a prominent ideology within Israel, particularly with the intellectual descendants of Vladimir Jabotinsky. And, as Geoffrey Wheatcroft has pointed out, at the present time Israel “is governed by [Jabotinsky’s] conscious heirs.”

The problem isn’t ethnic nationalism, and ethnic nationalism is certainly not restricted to White people. Ethnic conflict is apparent as well throughout the developing world, and will likely lead to more partitioning and nation-creation. As Jerry Z. Mullerhas noted, ethnostates are the norm, and “In areas where that separation has not yet occurred, politics is apt to remain ugly.” Ethnostates have a number of advantages besides the lack of chronic ethnically based conflict over everything from political power to affirmative action. As noted by Frank Salter, because of closer ties of kinship and culture, ethnically homogeneous societies are more likely to be open to redistributive policies such as social welfare and health care.  Sociologists such as Robert Putnam have also shown that ethnic homogeneity is associated with greater trust of others and greater political participation.

The problem is that Western societies have embarked on a public policy project in which the ethnonationalism of White people is officially proscribed as an unadulterated evil.  Everyone else’s ethnonationalism is just fine. And at the risk of repeating myself, the organized Jewish community has adopted a strategy of rationalizing and promoting even extreme forms of racial Zionism in Israel while being a pillar of multiculturalism and massive non-White immigration in the West. What’s good for the Jews and all that.

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Trudie Pert on Birthright Israel

Trudie Pert’s current TOO article “Birthright Israel: A Model Ethnic Charity” shows once again that, despite being pillars of multicultural righteousness, the laws of political correctness do not apply to the organized Jewish community. As noted in the article, Charles Bronfman, one of the largest funders of Birthright, obviously has a deep attachment to Jewish DNA. Birthright has successfully raised the percentage of Jews who marry Jews to 72%. Given that the program will reach one third of young Jews and given that a lot of Jews who don’t go are from the more conservative wings of Judaism who are not in need of a program like this or have already been to Israel, it suggests a major effect on retaining the ethnic basis of Judaism in the Diaspora. It reminds us that for the early Zionists, the main reason for establishing Israel was to preserve Jewish DNA:

[These] Jewish racial Zionists, such as Arthur Ruppin … were motivated by the fear that Diaspora Judaism would lose its biological uniqueness as a result of pressures for intermarriage and assimilation.

Among the Zionists, the racialists won the day. Ruppin’s ideas on the necessity of preserving Jewish racial purity have had a prominent place in the Jabotinsky wing of Zionism, including especially the Likud party in Israel and its leaders—people like Ariel Sharon, Menachem Begin, and Yitzhak Shamir. (Here’s a photo of Sharon speaking to a Likud Party convention in 2004 under a looming photo of Jabotinsky.) Jabotinsky believed that Jews were shaped by their long history as a desert people and that the establishment of Israel as a Jewish state would allow the natural genius of the Jewish race to flourish, stating, for example: “These natural and fundamental distinctions embedded in the race are impossible to eradicate, and are continually being nurtured by the differences in soil and climate.”  As Geoffrey Wheatcroft recently pointed out, at the present time Israel “is governed by [Jabotinsky’s] conscious heirs.”

Israel is obviously living up to its intended function of preserving Jewish DNA — not only in Israel, but via Birthright, in the Diaspora as well.

The other important point about Pert’s article is the complete lack of this sort of thinking by wealthy White philanthropists. Bill Gates gives billions to non-Whites and actually excludes Whites — even poor Whites — from applying for his aid programs. Gates and other wealthy Whites are behaving according to conventional attitudes of multicultural America, reaping the public acclaim in the media and doubtless feeling morally righteous. (Again, George Gilder’s sense of moral righteousness comes to mind.) We have to change all that.

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The Persian Jewish Community in Beverly Hills

Ashkenazi Jews are the dominant group of Jews in the US and Europe, but I think it’s worthwhile to discuss other Jewish groups, particularly those from the Middle East because Middle Eastern Jewish groups  illustrate Judaism in its purest forms. Middle Eastern Jewish groups are quite similar to Ashkenazi groups as they existed in traditional Europe. Among contemporary Ashkenazim, they resemble the more Orthodox and fundamentalist segments of the community.

A good example are the Syrian Jews that were the subject of a previous blog. Despite living in the US for over 100 years, they remain hermetically sealed off from the rest of America, including other Jews. They aggressively police group boundaries, particularly intermarriage. Their business relationships are with other Syrian Jews, particularly family members. Recently, the Syrian Jewish community has been implicated in scandals involving money laundering, drug and organ trafficking, and tax evasion (See here and here). Reflecting practices in traditional Jewish communities, a community member who ratted out other Syrian Jews to the police was renounced by his own father.

A recent article, “The Persian Conquest” describes  a more recently arrived group of Oriental Jews who emigrated from Iran since the fall of the Shah and mostly settled in Southern California, particularly Beverly Hills. This is an elite group:

Although dispossessed, the thousands of Iranian Jews who flocked to Beverly Hills … had assets most immigrants lack: advanced education, business experience and, in the majority of cases, some cash in overseas accounts.

The following paragraph gets at the insular, clannish nature of these Jews.

A complaint sounded by Beverly Hills old-timers was that the Persians could be clannish, self-segregating and indifferent to the established norms of the community they were entering. … Thanks to their wealth and numbers, Persians didn’t need to adapt. Instead, they developed a self-sufficient Farsi-speaking enclave, complete with grocery stores, restaurants and even taxi services. And rather than courting the local social establishment, rich Persians stuck to their own social world, which revolved around lavish 1,000-person bar mitzvahs and weddings. “My mother really doesn’t need to speak English, although she does,” says Nazarian.

The comment on lack of concern for established norms recalls the behavior of Lubavitcher Jews in Postville, Iowa: No concern for even trivial things like mowing lawns or shoveling sidewalks.  More importantly, it reminds one of the lack of respect for Christian traditions that has been so characteristic of the mainstream Jewish community in the US, as recounted, for example, by Edmund Connelly (see here, here and here).

An informant goes on to say, “Cultural preservation is one part of the experience of being displaced, and as with any immigrant community, we naturally want to associate with one another. Middle Eastern countries also tend to be very tribal.”

This comment on the tribal nature of Middle Eastern societies is right on the mark — a critical difference between Jewish and Western cultural traditions. It’s no surprise then that marriage with another Persian Jew is the norm. In the following quote, notice that marriage is at least as much about fitting into the other person’s family as it is about finding someone who satisfies your psychological needs as an individual — a clear marker of the collectivist mindset:

Likewise, a majority in the younger generation choose to marry fellow Persians—much to their parents’ relief. “They don’t have to marry Persian,” says Jasmine Yadegar, in a tone suggesting that she hopes her two twentysomething daughters—both of whom still live at home—eventually will. “All I want for them is to be happy and find people with the same background.”

“For me,” says daughter Sabrina, an aspiring fashion designer, “I think it’s a lot easier to fall in love with someone who has the same ideas and experiences.”

“I need to love their family, and they need to love mine,” adds older sister Jessica, a documentary filmmaker. “Some of my American friends have told me that you’re not dating the parents. They say you don’t need to meet the parents on the first, second or third date. That’s not my view. I think the longer you postpone the introduction to the family, the longer it takes you to get to know if this is someone you want to spend the rest of your life with.”

If you married an outsider, you would be completely cut off from the intense social life of the community.

It will be interesting to see if this group is as able as the Syrian Jews to remain separate in the American context.

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