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.” 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.” Read more