Jewish Writing on Anti-Semitism

A Review of “The Devil That Never Dies” by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Part 1

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen is best known for his 1996 book Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. Despite its flawed historiography, this polemical work attracted enormous media attention and established his reputation as a putative authority on “anti-Semitism” and the “Holocaust.” He was soon given a regular platform to peddle his extreme brand of Jewish apologetics in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the New Republic, and other Jewish-controlled media organs around the world.

A former associate professor of political science and social studies at Harvard University, Goldhagen has since produced further books that morally indict Europeans for their inveterate “anti-Semitism” and supposedly enthusiastic participation in the “Holocaust.” These include A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair (2002), and Worse than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity (2009). His latest offering is his 2013 book The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise of Global Antisemitism, published by a major commercial publisher and touted as “a groundbreaking — and terrifying — examination of the widespread resurgence of antisemitism in the twenty-first century.”

Goldhagen favors using the term “antisemitism” over the hyphenated “anti-Semitism” — doubtless because the latter implies the existence of a “Semitism” which could (and indeed does) provide the dialectical basis for “anti-Semitism.” Goldhagen, in this way, signals his rejection of the reality that hostility to Jews stems from conflicts of interest between Jews and non-Jews in a Darwinian world. The assertion by Jews of their ethnic interests (Semitism) inevitably leads to resentment from those whose interests are compromised as a result (so-called anti-Semitism). To admit this basic truth is to admit that non-Jews (including Europeans) have interests that are legitimate, and that the desire to resist those opposed to our interests is eminently rational.

For Goldhagen, however, Jewish behavior is irrelevant for understanding the hostility to Jews that has existed across nations and cultures for over two millennia. He observes that: “Antisemitism has moved people, societies, indeed civilizations for two thousand years, and has done so despite the other vast changes in the world and in these civilizations and societies — economic, scientific, technological, political, social, and cultural.”[1] Despite the persistent, and often intense, antagonism between Jews and non-Jews throughout much of recorded history, Goldhagen argues that “attributing antisemitism to a reasonable (if sometimes exaggerated) reaction against the Jews’ own conduct” is an example of “faulty thinking.”[2]  Read more

On History, Religion, and Anti-Semitism: The Disgraceful Legacy of Gavin Langmuir

 A nation can survive its fools, even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within….for the traitor appears not to be a traitor…he rots the soul of a nation…he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist.

One of the major themes explored at TOO is that the onslaught on Whites and their culture is massively incentivized. In particular, Kevin MacDonald has pointed out that the multicultural left has created a context “in which many Whites benefit financially from the process of White displacement.” One example is that of White businessmen who are handsomely rewarded in the short-term by immigration because it lowers labor costs. But in the longer-term, these same businessmen are cooperating directly in their own eventual displacement, and helping create a future world in which their genetic descendants will occupy a vulnerable, and probably horrific, role as a victimized minority. MacDonald also pointed to the role played by Whites at colleges and universities, where:

professors who want to move into lucrative positions in administration must be warriors on behalf of non-Whites.  A noteworthy example is Mary Sue Coleman, who earns north of $900,000/year as the president of the University of Michigan and has been a leader in attempting to preserve racial preferences and in promoting the educational benefits of diversity. … At a lower level on the academic food chain, one of the most important criteria for professors is whether they can obtain government grants which then pay them extra salary and pay the university for the costs of administering the grant — a major source of funding for the university and a major factor in tenure decisions. Right now there is a lot of money in grants aimed at improving the educational prospects of Blacks and Latinos and no shortage of White professors eager to get their hands on that money.

The fact that taking part in the diminishment of White demographics, culture and political power is incentivized really can’t be stressed enough. It’s also important to note that it takes place on many levels of society, and on smaller scales. Rewards can be promotions, job opportunities, or even just increased esteem within one’s social or professional circle. To illustrate these more subtle examples, in this essay I want to offer a brief survey of the life and work of a White academic who enjoyed good, but unspectacular, success in his career until he styled himself an historian of “Jewish-Christian relations.” After a number of articles and influential books essentially exonerating Jews of any wrong-doing in their history, and mercilessly pathologizing Whites and Western culture, this academic found himself the darling of the Jewish academic establishment, lavished with plaudits, prizes and esteem. It’s the quintessential story of how taking part in the war on Whites can bring with it an abundance of temporary rewards. Read more

A review of Jewcentricity by Adam Garfinkle, Part 4 of 4: Islam

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In Jewcentricity Garfinkle claims that “Muslim societies today are the site of the most virulent and widespread anti-Semitism on the planet.” He traces the source of this anti-Jewish sentiment back to the origins of the religion itself, and notes how it “inheres in the sacred narrative of Islam.” The reasons for this sentiment in Islam are akin to the reasons for it in Christianity — the desire to separate the religion from its foundational rootstock of Judaism. He notes that “just as Christianity had to find some way to separate, distinguish, and distance itself from its foundation in order to justify its claims of superiority, so did Islam.”[1]

Muslims accept a differing account of the stories from the Bible that describes the binding of Isaac on Mount Moriah, the future Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and Isaac inheriting Abraham’s covenant with God. According to the Quran, and as Muslims have always understood it, “it is not Isaac but Ismail who is bound (and of course saved), and the place is the Valley of Arafat, in Arabia, not Mount Moriah in the Land of Israel.” So while agreeing with much that is related in the Hebrew Bible, in-the-tradition Muslims argue that, with regard to the events just described, Jews have distorted the record and that “the Hebrew Bible’s account of this critical event, the “binding” of Abraham’s son, is a post-Mohammedan fabrication.”[2] Read more

A review of Jewcentricity by Adam Garfinkle, Part 3 of 4: The Israel Lobby

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It angers Garfinkle (doubtless due in large part to his role as speechwriter for Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice) that the influence exerted by the Israel Lobby over the foreign policy of the United States, and other Western nations, provides yet another focal point for “negative Jewcentricity.” Garfinkle’s discussion of this issue centers on the publication and reception of Mearsheimer and Walt’s The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy in 2007. He notes how:

In recent years, this debate has revolved around the writings of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, notably a paper and then a book they wrote called The Israel Lobby. The authors argue in essence that U.S. foreign policy has been distorted, particularly in the Middle East but really on a global scale, by the exertions of Jews in the United States who have managed to bend the American national interest to that of Israel. The authors believe that the Israel Lobby — they always use a capital L for that word — has made U.S. foreign policy too interventionist, notably in causing the Iraq war, and that U.S. support for Israel is a main source of Islamic terrorism directed against the United States.[1]

Garfinkle freely engages in ad hominem attacks on Mearsheimer and Walt, implying that they wrote their book mainly out of desire for financial gain, rather than from a deeply felt conviction about the misdirection of American foreign policy under the influence of the Lobby. He claims “the authors parlayed the ruckus [over the influence of AIPAC] into the book, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2007, for which the two reportedly received an advance of $750,000 to split between them.”[2] He likewise notes the furor over the book soon died down “despite the authors’ efforts to keep the buzz buzzing, the better to sell more books and promote their views.”[3]

As well as writing their book for mercenary reasons, Mearsheimer and Walt were also, Garfinkle contends, unqualified to offer their thoughts on American foreign policy because they are not “Middle East experts” and do not speak any Middle Eastern language. He writes:

Like many other Israel lobby critics before them, Mearsheimer and Walt are not themselves Middle East experts. Before their Israel Lobby essay and book, neither had written much on the region and anything at all for scholarly, expert audiences. They have never claimed to be regional experts, and rightly so, for neither seems to have studied, let alone mastered, any Middle Eastern language. The many factual errors they make illustrate their lack of familiarity with the basic literature on the subject. … [S]erious scholars are supposed to respect certain standards of logic and rules of evidence, and tenured faculty at prestigious institutions are presumed to be among those professionals.”[4]

Having engaged in some initial character assassination, Garfinkle finally addresses Mearsheimer and Walt’s thesis that American foreign policy has been unduly influenced by an Israel Lobby which has pushed the American government into wars not in the American national interest. Garfinkle claims this assumption is based on a “vast exaggeration” and claims The Israel Lobby is marred by a “fundamental illogic,” despite himself having, as previously noted, acknowledged in other parts of Jewcentricity the existence of a plethora of powerful and well-funded activist organizations “serving parochial Jewish ethnic interests that are simultaneously distinct from broader American interest but not related directly to religion.”[5] Read more

A Review of Jewcentricity by Adam Garfinkle — Part 2 of 4: Hollywood

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In his book Garfinkle laments the fact that “negative Jewcentricity” has often resulted from “exaggerated” claims that “Jews run Hollywood” and have subverted the traditional morality and social practices of the United States (and the broader West). He notes that:

The best way to get at the subject is perhaps to briefly review some irrefutable facts about the entertainment-business culture in the United States. The first of those facts is, as already suggested, that this culture has been and remains disproportionately, overwhelmingly, even astonishingly Jewish. This does not mean that Jews “run” Hollywood. No one runs Hollywood, and besides, “the Jews” are not a monolithic group that gathers secretly somewhere just off Santa Monica Boulevard to plot the moral downfall of America. “The Jews run Hollywood,” whether spoken by a Jew or a gentile, either in pride or anger, is a Jewcentric statement. It is a bald exaggeration.

But Jewish prominence in Hollywood is a fact that impresses even when it is not exaggerated. The heads of nearly every major Hollywood production studio from the beginning were Jewish, as were many of the directors and not a small number of the cinematographers and actors. Jews have been only slightly less prominent in the New York theater business for nearly a century, and in many aspects of popular music, as well.[1]  

So, according to Garfinkle, it is wrong to say that “Jews run Hollywood” despite the fact that Hollywood is “disproportionately, overwhelmingly, even astonishingly Jewish.” This is an argument that hinges on a semantic distinction of no persuasive power whatever.

When one finds arguments that are so ridiculous that even a child could see through them and finds them in a book published by an elite academic press,  it can only mean one thing: Garfinkle has plugged into a dominant religion-like mindset in which the causes of anti-Jewish attitudes are entirely beyond rational discussion.

Jews totally run Hollywood. If Jews did not control Hollywood, and, as leftists assert, it was run by corporations solely fixated on profits, we would see occasional unsympathetic portrayals of Jews and Judaism alongside the relentlessly unsympathetic portrayals of Whites (especially White men) and Christianity; we wouldn’t see blacklisting of overt Christians. The absence of such portrayals is definitive proof that Jews exercise editorial and creative control over Hollywood productions, and the consequences of this control have been incredibly damaging to the interests of the White people (and other groups). Read more

A Review of Jewcentricity by Adam Garfinkle — Part 1 of 4

Adam Garfinkle is the founding editor of The American Interest, a bimonthly magazine focused on politics, culture, and international affairs. He served as speechwriter for secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice and has taught at John Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, and Tel Aviv University. Garfinkle’s 2009 book, Jewcentricity: Why the Jews are praised, blamed, and used to explain just about everything is touted as an examination of “the various roles Jews are imagined to play on the world stage that they do not, in fact, actually play.”[1] It was published by Wiley, an elite, academic publisher. It is an excellent example of how books with little or no intellectual or scholarly merit are published by elite publishers if they contain positive portrayals of Jews.

Garfinkle’s basic thesis is that the ideas people have about Jews — both pro-Jewish and anti-Jewish — tend to be wildly exaggerated and often stray outside the bounds of rational thought. Jewcentricity is the author’s attempt to offer a reasoned corrective to this phenomenon and to set the record straight.

Jewcentricity has a four part structure. Garfinkle identifies and analyses the positive and negative “Jewcentricity” he sees manifested among Jews and non-Jews, highlighting, along the way, the various exaggerations that supposedly distort the truth about Jews and their interactions with others. These various exaggerations are said to bounce off and reinforce each other, with the author claiming that the “four forms of Jewcentricity across our two-by-two matrix need and feed one another.”[2]  While Jewcentricity is offered as a dispassionate survey of the interactions between Jews and non-Jews, it is, not surprisingly (given that Garfinkle is himself Jewish), centrally preoccupied with the evils of “anti-Semitism.” Read more

How to Criticize Israel without being Anti-Semitic: The Unofficial Guide

The news media have once again been ablaze with reports of Israel’s military attack on Gaza. The historic Israeli-Palestinian conflict has, consequently, returned as a subject of discussion at cafés, salons, and dinner tables.

The discussion, however, is not an easy one to have—unless, of course, you are foursquare behind Israel. Criticism of Israel very quickly lands the critic into trouble; accusations of anti-Semitism are fired back as if from an Uzi. What is more, these accusations can sometimes come accompanied by raised voices, red faces, bared teeth, waved fists, and even rude expletives. Sometimes, not even Jews can avoid them. So it is understandable that non-Jews desiring to avoid drama think it best to keep mum.

Noticing the problem, and apparently in the interest of free and open debate, a concerned Jewish blogger has recently made waves posting a 19-point guide on how to criticize Israel without being anti-Semitic. The Tumblr blog post has, at the time of writing, attracted 8485 notes. And the BBC deemed it so useful that they even reported it on their news website.

As TOO was created for purposes of free and open debate, including Jews and Israel, it seems pertinent that we examine the 19 points. Perhaps we will find in them the Philosopher’s Stone in our efforts to discuss important matters involving Jews without being accused of ignorance and moral turpitude. The points are meant to be considered in no particular order.

1. Don’t use the terms “bloodthirsty,” “lust for Palestinian blood,” or similar. Historically, Jews have been massacred in the belief that we use the blood of non-Jews (particularly of children) in our religious rituals. This belief still persists in large portions of the Arab world (largely because White Europeans deliberately spread the belief among Arabs) and even in parts of the Western world. Murderous, inhumane, cruel, vicious—fine. But blood…just don’t go there. Depicting Israel/Israelis/Israeli leaders eating children is also a no-no, for the same reason.

While one can understand the desire to avoid rehashings of the ancient blood libel, this seems a little paranoid in the case of “bloodthirsty”. Read more