Jewish Self-deception

Lack of Self-Awareness (Self-Deception?) at The Tablet

Tablet came out with an article relating level of education to attitudes toward Jewish issues. As they note, it’s long been a bedrock belief among Jews that higher levels of education are linked to lower levels of anti-Jewish attitudes—think decades of Jewish-owned media portraying people with anti-Jewish attitudes as illiterate hillbilly types with some missing teeth. But, as the authors note, the problem for doing this kind of research is that educated people are much less likely to agree with classic anti-Jewish statements like “Jews have too much power in international financial markets” or “Jews don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind” (although there’s more than a grain of truth in them).   And this could well be because educated people are more aware that such statements are simply not the sort of thing one says in polite society and if it’s one thing educated people want, it’s to feel that they are good people.

But this study shows or at least suggests that in some areas educated people are more “anti-Semitic” based on asking people with different education levels similar questions but with one set of subjects given questions related to a Jewish example, another set of subjects given questions related to a non-Jewish example. For example, one set of subjects  was asked a question such as “a person’s attachment to another country creates a conflict of interest when advocating in support of certain U.S. foreign policy positions.” One set of subjects got Israel as an example, while the other got Mexico. More subjects thought loyalty created a conflict of interest when Israel was the example than with Mexico.  Their theory was that even though particular individuals will have different opinions on the different questions, on average the responses should be the same for the two groups.

The report only includes three more examples: whether the government should set minimum requirements for what is taught in private schools,” with Orthodox Jewish or Montessori schools given as the illustrating example; whether “the U.S. military should be allowed to forbid the wearing of religious headgear as part of the uniform,” with a Jewish yarmulke or Sikh turban offered as illustrating examples; and whether public gatherings during the pandemic “posed a threat to public health and should have been prevented,” with Orthodox Jewish funerals or Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests offered as illustrating examples.

The Orthodox Jewish/Montessori example showed no difference, but the other three showed differences with the educated responding in a more Jewish-critical way, although, as you might expect given that more educated people trend to the left, more educated people wanted more government control over education.

The question on wearing religious symbols in the military seems clean and suggests a distaste for religious Jews—interesting, but that may not translate to distaste for the many very powerful and influential Jews who don’t wear outward signs of Jewish identity.

The largest effect of education was the Orthodox funeral/BLM item for people with more than a four-year degree (a difference of 36 percentage points). I suspect that more educated people are generally way more enthusiastic about BLM, so that the item doesn’t really get at being critical of Jews. And again it’s Orthodox Jews, so it may not apply to the people who run Hollywood, etc.

Re the loyalty issue, I suspect that more highly educated people are more aware of Jewish influence on U.S. foreign policy, despite such news being confined to the fringes of  political discourse. In other words, they are simply more aware of the reality of U.S. subservience to the Israel Lobby and the incredibly costly wars that has resulted in, not to mention the $3.8 billion/year, and high-profile spying cases like the recently repatriated Jonathan Pollard—not to mention support for Pollard in the Jewish mainstream. Israeli oppression of the Palestinians may also be a factor, even though it’s not directly relevant to the loyalty issue. More educated people then to be more liberal and are likely more aware of the oppression. It’s well known that support for Israel is dwindling on the left. As is often the case, being anti-Jewish is simply about knowing more of what’s going on.

Of this bunch, the loyalty question is by far the most interesting because it gets at a central feature of Jewish activism. And it suggests that more educated people are aware of what should be obvious to the non-braindead—that America has indeed suffered greatly because of the subservience to Israel and that this is entirely due to the activism of American Jews.

But of course, for a very Jewish magazine like the Tablet, any hint that educated people are not completely enthusiastic about Jews is cause of alarm and activism. After all, educated people have more power, and it certainly behooves any community to understand where the real threat lies (same goes for White activism, which is why we stress Jewish issues at TOO). But what really bothers the authors is that “educating” the public may not be the answer. Jews have always relied on their very large influence on the mass media and academic opinion to provide positive images of Jews and completely omit anything that might suggest conflicts of interest between Jews and non-Jews. Since the authors are so confident that there could never be any serious criticism of the Jewish activist community, they suggest that providing facts is not enough to rectify the situation:

Strategies for addressing intolerance in general, and anti-Semitism in particular, tend to revolve around the belief that group-hatred is caused by ignorance, and that the solution is more education. Yet if more-highly educated people are more hostile with respect to Jews, higher educational levels and more courses and training could increase prejudice, rather than diminish it.

This of course leaves out the very strong possibility that more educated Americans are more aware of Jewish power and in particular how Jewish power has been focused on Israeli interests at the expense of American interests. Such information is leaking out despite their best efforts (to date) to shut down negative information about Israel in the mainstream media and even make criticism of Israel illegal, as with the recent spate of anti-BDS laws in several states.

So what to do?

At the very least, it seems that an education that simply provides information about historical events, civil liberties, and other cultural groups is insufficient. Addressing anti-Semitism and prejudice more generally may require the cultivation of virtue. Specifically, it requires the formation of a kind of character that is not only familiar with other outgroups and democratic norms, but also has the integrity to behave in ways that demonstrate consideration of their interests and restraint in the use of political power in the pursuit of personal interests.

This shows an amazing lack of self-awareness, even self-deception. Anyone with the slightest understanding of where the power of the Jewish community has been directed realizes that Jewish power has fundamentally been arrayed against the interests of the traditional White majority.

In fact, the activist Jewish community clearly has not had the integrity to respect the legitimate interests of White Americans, nor have they used restraint in their pursuit of their interests. They have not done unto the White majority as they would like the White majority to do unto them. In their long history of conflict with surrounding peoples, Jews have never been treated better than they have throughout the West, at least since World War II.

In the contemporary U.S., besides the conflict between Israeli and U.S. interests, Jewish activism is strongly focused on curtailing free speech, especially on diversity issues and most especially on assertions of White identity and White interests. And it is strongly focused on supporting replacement-level immigration which is lessening the power of Whites and will ultimately result in Whites being unable to achieve their interests in a democratic manner. And much worse if Whites become a relatively powerless minority.

Immigration is indeed Exhibit A in the Jewish disregard of White interests—the topic of Chapter 7 of The Culture of Critique where I show that the activist Jewish community rejected the ethnic status which was the aim of the 1924 immigration law—a status quo that was obviously in the legitimate interests of White America as the founding population of the country—and that the main Jewish motivation was fear that a relatively homogeneous White America would inevitably turn on the Jews. Some examples:

Svonkin (1997, 8ff) shows that a sense of “uneasiness” and insecurity pervaded American Jewry in the wake of World War II even in the face of evidence that anti-Semitism had declined to the point that it had become a marginal phenomenon. As a direct result, “The primary objective of the Jewish intergroup relations agencies [i.e., the AJCommittee, the AJCongress, and the ADL] after 1945 was . . . to prevent the emergence of an anti-Semitic reactionary mass movement in the United States” (Svonkin 1997, 8).

Writing in the 1970s, Isaacs (1974: 14ff) describes the pervasive insecurity of American Jews and their hypersensitivity to anything that might be deemed anti-Semitic. Interviewing “noted public men” on the subject of anti-Semitism in the early 1970s, Isaacs asked, “Do you think it could happen here?” “Never was it necessary to define ‘it.’ In almost every case, the reply was approximately the same: ‘If you know history at all, you have to presume not that it could happen, but that it probably will,’ or ‘It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.’ ” (p. 15).

The AJCongress, the largest American Jewish organization at the time, testified during the Senate hearings on the 1952 law that the 1924 legislation had succeeded in preserving the ethnic balance of the United States, but it commented that “the objective is valueless. There is nothing sacrosanct about the composition of the population in 1920. It would be foolish to believe that we reached the peak of ethnic perfection in that year.”

Recently I became aware of Otis Graham’s 2004 book Unguarded Gates: A History of America’s Immigration Crisis. Graham notes that, besides being the most effective force of liberalized immigration, the Jewish lobby on immigration “was aimed not just at open doors for Jews, but also for a diversification of the immigration stream sufficient to eliminate the majority status of western European so that a fascist regime in America would be more unlikely” (80).

I firmly believe that if Jews had had respect for the legitimate interests of White Americans rather than consistently engaging in ethnic hardball against the interests of White America (especially in the post-World War II era when anti-Semitism had been completely marginalized), we and the entire West would be in a very different situation.

The authors conclude:

As Harvard professor and Yiddish scholar Ruth Wisse has argued, anti-Semitism has not thrived because of ignorance, but because it “forms part of a political movement and serves a political purpose.” Those political causes making use of anti-Semitism are increasingly favored by the well-educated in this country. Countering the anti-Semitism of the well-educated will be a political and moral struggle, not one that can be addressed by conventional approaches and conceptions of education.

I agree with Wisse. If indeed there is an anti-Jewish movement in America, it will be aimed at a political purpose for the Whites involved: rectifying historic wrongs inflicted on White America.

Alon Confino: Jews as Symbols of Morality

Further evidence, if any were needed, that many Jews are simply incapable of comprehending collective Jewish wrongdoing while at the same time attributing collective guilt to Germans or Christians can be seen in a review of A World Without Jews: the Nazi Imagination From Persecution to Genocide by Alon Confino, an Israeli who is professor of history at the University of Virginia. Confino’s claims that the hostility of Nazis toward Jews was not driven by a sense of ethnic competition or warfare but by hostility because Jews were seen as morally  superior. 

The Nazi struggle “wasn’t about territory, or states, or armies,” Confino emphasized. “It was about identity.” For the Nazis the Jews were “the key to world history,” he writes in A World Without Jews. “It goes back to what the Jews represented: the Bible,” Confino said over the phone. “They weren’t racial enemies. They were the symbols of morality.” Confino knows, of course, that much of the Nazi propaganda about the Jews depicted them as a racial threat, but the far more crucial message, he argues, was that Jews signified the old world of moral law. The Jew had to be destroyed, to be replaced by a pure new vision of the German nation, a people freed from the archaic constraints of doing good. And this ethical revolution required the ultimate realization: mass murder.

Now this is surprising on the face of it. The Talmud has been called many things but I don’t recall it being seen by its critics as depicting a higher morality. During the Middle Ages, Christians burned it because of passages blaspheming Jesus and Christianity. Rather than representing a uniquely higher morality, Jewish religious writings. including the Talmud, are replete with moral particularism (in which an action has very different moral implications depending on how it affects Jews) that is entirely foreign to the Western tradition of moral universalism. Read more

Kishinev: In Jewish History and Jewish Memory

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently attracted some attention for a tweet he penned following the discovery of the bodies of three missing Israeli yeshiva students. The students, Gil-Ad Shaer,16, Eyal Yifrah, 19, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, were kidnapped late at night on Thursday June 12 from a hitchhiking point in Gush Etzion, before being found dead on June 30. At this writing, the facts concerning those behind the slayings remain obscure, though there is a growing consensus that Hamas was behind it. Soon after the discovery of the bodies, Netanyahu tweeted: “Vengeance for the blood of a small child, Satan has not yet created. Neither has vengeance for the blood of 3 pure youths who were on their way to parents who will not see them anymore. Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay. May the memories of the three boys be blessed.”

Although most of the commentary thus far on this tweet has revolved around its inflammatory nature (the cry for ‘vengeance’ rather than ‘justice’) I have been more intrigued by the lesser appreciated literary allusion made by Netanyahu. The first line of the tweet appeals directly to Chaim Nahman Bialik’s poem, “On the Slaughter,” which was composed in the aftermath of the Kishinev ‘pogrom’ in 1903. I believe that Bialik’s role as Israel’s unofficial ‘national poet,’ and Netanyahu’s drawing upon the literary motifs in Bialik’s work, reveal something about the thought processes, self-perceptions, and siege mentality of Jews more generally. In this essay I want to examine two of Bialik’s poems, with particular attention paid to the manner in which Bialik interpreted non-Jews, and the nature of Jewish-Gentile hostilities. I’ll conclude with some remarks on Bialik’s legacy in Israel and Jewish thought.

Chaim Naḥman Bialik (1873–1934), was born in Radi, Volhynia, Ukraine, then a part of the expansive Jewish Pale of Settlement. Born into poverty, Bialik was left fatherless when he was five or six years old and was brought up by his rigid and pious grandfather. After an intensive education in the Jewish classics, he attended for a short time the Jewish academy in Volozhin (now Valozhyn, Belarus). These three influences — his poverty, his being an orphan, and his study of Jewish religious classics — were the inspiration for much of Bialik’s early poetry. In 1891 he went to Odessa, then the center of Jewish modernism, where he struck up a lifelong friendship with the Jewish author Aḥad Haʿam, who encouraged Bialik in his creative writing. Read more

Gary Oldman Becomes a Pariah

You have to wonder what Gary Oldman was smoking during his Playboy interview — the one where he defended Mel Gibson and said that Jews “run” Hollywood.

So they persecute. Mel Gibson is in a town that’s run by Jews and he said the wrong thing because he’s actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him—and doesn’t need to feed him anymore because he’s got enough dough. He’s like an outcast, a leper, you know? But some Jewish guy in his office somewhere hasn’t turned and said, “That fucking kraut” or “Fuck those Germans,” whatever it is? We all hide and try to be so politically correct. That’s what gets me. It’s just the sheer hypocrisy of everyone, that we all stand on this thing going, “Isn’t that shocking?” [smiles wryly] All right. Shall I stop talking now? What else can we discuss?

It seems like every few years a Hollywood celebrity comes out and states the obvious—Marlon Brando, William Cash, Oliver Stone, Rick Sanchez, Mel Gibson, and now Gary Oldman. The list includes not a few Jewish commentators as well, including Joel Stein in the LA Times, Manny Friedman writing  in the  Times of Israel, Ben Stein (see below) and this issue of Moment.
The LA Times, on the other  hand understands how the game is played. Every year around Oscar time they put out editorials and articles bemoaning the “overwhelmingly white male membership of the academy” and that “film, TV diversity doesn’t look like America’s.” Then the next year, they do it all over again because nothing changes.

Some bastions of “White power” are not to be seriously contested. Read more

Reflections on Some Aspects of Jewish Self-Deception: Part 5. Self-Deception in Jewish Participation in Politics

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Part 5: Self-Deception in Jewish Participation in Politics

Like Jewish participation in secular culture, since the Enlightenment Jewish participation in politics has been a prime context for self-deception. Scholar Eleanor Sterling argues that since the Enlightenment the spotlight of the modern state fell on the Jews, demanding their honest assimilation. In response, Jews failed to ‘honestly’ assimilate; instead driving many of Judaism’s outward features, like ethnic solidarity, into an internal, psychological realm. Sterling writes that the key elements of Judaism were never purged from the secular, assimilated Jew, but “became part of the inner life of the individual, a kind of psychological ghetto.”[1]

I would argue that it was this ‘psychological ghetto’ which formed the breeding ground for Jewish self-deception in its modern form, along with developments concurrent with this self-deception such as radical Jewish sub-cultures and intellectual movements. Read more

Reflections on Some Aspects of Jewish Self-Deception: Part 4. Self-Deception in Jewish Participation in Secular Culture

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4. Self-Deception in Jewish Participation in Secular Culture

Germany Jewry was a community invisible to itself.”
David Sorkin[1]

That the mass media and entertainment industry has long been dominated by Jews is a matter of fact and not one of belief. Nor is it empirically debatable that while a host of Jewish productions have critiqued all aspects of gentile society, the same productions have been notable for the marked absence of Jews or Judaism. No less an authority than noted Columbia sociologist Herbert J. Gans has affirmed that “the mass media, like other entertainment industries, continues to be dominated by Jews but … they have generally leaned over backwards to keep Jewish characters and Jewish fare out of their offerings.”[2] The aim here is not to go about arguing the case for these already well-established facts, but to probe deeper into the role of self-deception in Jewish involvement in secular culture, and in Jewish beliefs and assertions about the extent and implications of that involvement.

The first major point argued here is that Jews involved in the media and the entertainment industries have to a marked degree engaged in self-deception about the influence of their Jewish identity on their activities in these fields. For example, David Dresser and Lester Friedman have pointed out that literary critics are often perplexed by the denials of Jewish authors that their works have been influenced by their ethnicity, even when such influences are obvious. Dresser and Friedman note that such flagrant, yet apparently earnest, denials have been attributed by experts to “conscious evasion, a personal blind spot, or a psychological problem.”[3] Read more

Reflections on Some Aspects of Jewish Self-Deception: Part 3. Self-Deception in Jewish Historiography (continued)

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Self-Deception in Jewish Historiography (continued).

As Wistrich turns his attention to the early medieval period, further examples of self-deception become evident. Language euphemisms and lies of omission remain prevalent. For example, Wistrich describes as “humiliating” the canonical restriction on Jews entering Churches without asking himself whether any Jew would in fact have wanted to do such a thing.[1] Similarly, Wistrich agonizes over regulations which prevented Christians from living, eating or engaging in sexual relations with Jews even though the very tenets of Judaism were designed to maintain just such a segregation.[2]

Language euphemism is rife in his description of power relations. These restrictions on Christian-Jewish relations, which simply mirrored those in Judaism, amounted to “ideological warfare waged by the Church against the Synagogue.”[3] Independent, wealthy Jewish capitalists and usurers become mere “economic instruments of the royal power.”[4] According to Wistrich, the Talmud, which in addition to its general anti-Gentile tenor informs Jews that Jesus will be punished in hell by being immersed in boiling excrement and instructs Jews to publicly burn any copy of the New Testament that comes into their hands, merely contains a few “anti-Christian statements.”[5]

Another manifestation of Wistrich’s self-deception is his persistent recourse to ‘images’ and ‘stereotypes’ as a way of explaining anti-Jewish attitudes. This is by no means rare among Jewish historians. In my analysis of historiography concerning the riots in nineteenth-century Russia, I noted that “those historians who have accepted that economic issues have played a role in provoking anti-Semitism fail to engage in actual case studies of economically provoked anti-Jewish actions, preferring instead to probe ‘images’ or stereotypes which allegedly infuse the consciousness of non-Jews.” I argue that this focus on ‘images’ allows Jewish scholars to only superficially acknowledge the economic role, while really lending more weight to their argument that European society has suffered some kind of neurosis. Such arguments deftly offer us a scenario in which Jews and economics play a role in the development of an anti-Semitic “image,” without placing the Jew in anything but a passive role. Read more