This is a cross post of an article by Professor Steven Plaut originally published in Front Page Magazine on Feb 16, 2010
Jewish anti-Semitism. It sounds like a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron or a Jackie Mason joke. If only this were the case.
Jewish anti-Semitism is all around us, part of the political air we breathe, a modern disease. In the twenty-first century the world is experiencing an explosion of it, a virtual plague. Among the most malicious and venomous of all bigots, the Jewish anti-Semites are at the forefront of every smear campaign against Israel and every attempt to cow Jews of America and the West into guilty support for those in the Middle East who would like to annihilate them. Jews today are leaders in the campaigns to boycott and “divest from” Israel, and in the leadership of the “Solidarity with Terrorists” groups. They make pilgrimage to the camps of Hamas and the Hezb’Allah, cheering on terrorists and their atrocities against Jews. They pioneered the smear campaigns to paint Israel as an apartheid regime and to stigmatize it as the moral equivalent to Nazi Germany.
Western campuses are crawling with Jewish anti-Semites. Some even hold leadership positions in Hillel houses. Many others are tenured professors. An anti-Semitic Jewish judge (Richard Goldstone) chaired a UN commission demonizing Israel. A Jewish member of Britain’s Parliament (Gerald Kaufman) compared Hamas terrorists to Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto and denounced Israel as a Nazi entity. Nor is this only an American phenomenon: a shockingly large number of Jewish anti-Semites are Israelis or ex-Israelis.
Most Jews dismiss such people as “self-hating,” but this term is misleading at best. These rogues do not hate themselves. Indeed they are narcissistic to the core. They hate other Jews and wish them harm. Nor are these Jewish anti-Semites simply assimilationists of Jewish descent who have lost interest in their heritage, become indifferent towards the history of their people and therefore casually alienated from Israel and its travails. On the contrary, anti-Semitic Jews are intensely involved in their “roots” and use them adroitly as protective coloration from which they advance their treasonous notions. In some extreme cases they collaborate with Neo-Nazis, Islamist terrorists, and even Holocaust Deniers.
Jewish anti-Semitism was once considered a bizarre irrelevance. It was touched upon gingerly in the ground breaking 1947 film, “Gentleman’s Agreement,” but long ignored as a marginal psychological disorder by the organized Jewish community. Modern Zionists expected that the very creation of Israel would put an end to any neurotic self-hatred that afflicted Diaspora communities. It was expected to end not only Jewish physical insecurity but also spiritual pathology. A strong and proud Israel, in other words, would shield Jews from a sense of vulnerability and empower them to throw off self denial. Alas, history had a surprise up its sleeve: the growth of a powerful and determined Israel committed to never again allowing Jews to become victims has also enabled some of the very worst Jewish anti-Semites on the planet, all of whom shelter in the radical fringes of the Israeli Left, its academic institutions and its “intelligentsia,” thriving under the protective umbrella of the Israeli Defense Force.
Among the most open Israeli promoters of anti-Semitic mythology today is Professor Shlomo Sand, a hardcore communist on the history faculty of Tel Aviv University. Sand last year published a book with a far-left anti-Israel publisher claiming to prove that Jews are not and never have been a “people.” Recycling myths popularized by Neo-Nazi web sites, Sand’s entire book is a sort of Protocols of the Elders of Anti-Zion, a pseudo-analysis that claims that most Jews today are frauds, converts from the Khazar Turkic tribe, impersonators of Jews. All real Jews, according to the learned professor, became Palestinian Arabs centuries ago. Hence Israeli “Jews” are not Jews at all, certainly none that have a right to their own state.
Sand travels the globe with Tel Aviv University funding to tout his book and advocate the extermination of Israel. He is surpassed in his anti-Semitism only by one other Israeli professor, now retired, named Ariel Toaff, who claimed to have evidence that Jews use gentile blood in religious ritual. Blood libel: one of the foundations of traditional anti Semitism now embraced by Jewish anti Semites. The concept of irony is not spacious enough to encompass such a development. (Other anti-Semitic Israeli academics are cataloged on the web site Isracampus.org.il.)
Just what makes Jewish anti-Semites tick is hard to explain. One of the few people to take a serious stab at doing so is Kenneth Levin, a psychiatrist at Harvard and an occasional contributor to these pages. He thinks of Jewish anti-Semitism in part as an attempt by some Jews to gain social acceptance in an environment that is hostile towards Jews. He also understands it as an infantile attempt to rectify a menacing situation by self-blame, a response seen in small children who have been abused. And he also considers it a kissing cousin to the notorious “Stockholm Syndrome,” whereby victims adopt the outlook and agenda of their victimizers.
Anti-Semitism is today the main common denominator that unites the far-Left with the Neo-Nazi Right in the United States and in Europe. Jewish anti-Semites thrive in the shadowy areas found at both ends of the political spectrum. In the American ultra-Left many serve as columnists for the extremist “Counterpunch” web magazine, published by the ex-Brits Alexander and Andrew Cockburn, sons perpetuating the work of their Stalinist father (and George Orwell enemy) Claud Cockburn. Counterpunch is so openly anti-Semitic these days that it goes well beyond merely calling for Israel’s extermination. It endorses anti-Semitic conspiracy “theories” (such as the morally imbecilic idea that Jews were behind the 9-11 attacks!) and increasingly publishes Holocaust Denier columnists. Some of its columnists moonlight as writers for Neo-Nazi web sites and organizations. Almost every literate Jewish anti-Semite writes for this publication.
On the cyber-pages of Counterpunch, Jewish anti-Semites cheer on the jihad and endorse anti-Jewish terrorism. It would be difficult to find Jewish writers in Counterpunch who are not making the de rigueur comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany. The University of Wisconsin’s Jennifer Loewenstein, for instance, published “Gaza Holocaust,” in which she writes: “Israel and its US Master have long since resided in the lowest circle of Hell for betraying the name of humanity.” She adds that Israel treats Palestinians as subhuman “Untermenschen,” reminiscent of German treatment of Jews in the Holocaust. Then, in a quote that could easily have been printed by the Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer in the 1930s, she adds: “The Neo-Jewish Masters and their allies in the United States… have no intention of making a just peace with the lower forms of life in their midst.” In Loewenstein’s take on reality, Israel can engage in state terror because it operates a sinister cabal that enslaves the American government and dictates its policies. A new postmodern take on the old racist stereotype of Jews as cagey intriguers.
Another Counterpunch anti-Semite is Richard Falk, a retired professor from Princeton best known for serving on the UN commission that condemned Israel for “genocidal war crimes” even before it began its investigation of Israel’s Gaza operations. Falk is not only one of the worst collaborators in the academics warring against the Jews, he is also America’s leading practitioner of the Orwellian inversion of reality in which Israel is a terrorist aggressor, while the Arab terrorist aggressors are innocent victims and peace-loving progressives. For him, Israel is a Nazi-like country seeking genocide, while the Islamofascists of the Hamas and their backers are merely protesters against social inequality inside Israel. For him, terrorist aggression against Jews is really the pursuit of peace, while self-defense by Israel is genocide.
In 2007 Falk published, “Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust,” in which he wrote that it was not an “irresponsible overstatement to associate [Israel’s] treatment of Palestinians” with the Nazi extermination of Jews:
“The recent developments in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy.”
One of the regular contributors to Counterpunch is an ex-Israeli named Gilad Atzmon. He is a saxophone player living in the UK and closely associated with Neo-Nazi groups in Europe. While active in pro-terror organizations, Atzmon is so openly anti-Semitic that some of these anti-Israel groups shun and refuse to have anything to do with him. The well-known British writer Oliver Kamm has denounced Atzmon as an open Holocaust Denier. Atzmon has called not only for Israel to be annihilated but also for synagogues to be burned down. He heads a small clique of Neo-Nazi followers, mainly in Italy, for whom he serves as cult leader. Atzmon has repeatedly asserted that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a historically accurate documentation of the crimes by the Jewish people.
Paul Eisen, another anti-Israel Jewish extremist in the UK, is also an open Holocaust Denier. He has distributed an essay endorsing Holocaust Denial entitled “Holocaust Wars,” which claims – among other things – that the gas chambers of Auschwitz could not possibly have worked to the degree that they did. Among its “sources” are David Irving and the Neo-Nazi crank Ernst Zundel, deported by Canada and now in prison in Germany.
Several Jewish anti-Semites engaged in a bizarre form of Holocaust Denial on the anti-Semitic “ALEF” chat list that operates under the auspices of the University of Haifa in Israel. Members of that list debated at length whether Hitler was actually guilty of anything, concluding that he was probably not. Shraga Elam, a Swiss-based ex-Israeli and a member of the same “ALEF” list, published a sycophantic letter praising Holocaust Denier David Irving as a “brilliant researcher.”
The most venomous Jewish-born Holocaust Denier of all is Israel Shamir. An émigré from the Soviet Union, “Shamir” moved to Israel and later left for Sweden, where he changed his name to Adam Ermash and reportedly converted to Christianity. A vulgar Jewbaiter, he regularly attends Holocaust Denial conferences. As just one example of his poison, in an interview with the Islamist Mohamed Omar in August 2009, Shamir said:
“I think it is the duty of every Muslim and Christian to deny the Holocaust, to reject this belief, just like Abraham and Moses rejected idolatry. Every person who profess [sic] their [sic] faith to God should deny the Holocaust. I think it’s much more serious that people deny God, isn’t it?”
Within Israel, one of the most openly anti-Semitic Jews was the late Professor Israel Shahak, who taught chemistry for decades at the Hebrew University. He insisted that Judaism teaches Jews to worship Satan, to connive against non-Jews and to murder them. He stopped just millimeters short of saying that Jews use gentile blood for ritual purposes. He claimed that the Talmud is filled with calls to murder gentiles, and that Jews regard gentiles as subhuman. He collaborated with Neo-Nazis all over the world. Naturally he wanted Israel to be speedily destroyed, and he was one of the first Israelis to openly collaborate with Palestinian terrorism, long before the Oslo “process” commenced and produced so many others who have emulated him.
In an analysis of Shahak, the British writer Paul Bogdanor notes: “According to Shahak, the Jews think of nothing but making money for the benefit of the Jewish state … According to Shahak, the Jews plan to dominate much of the world through an Israeli empire …“extending [in Shahak’s words] from ‘Algeria or Morocco’ from the west to China in the east, and from Kenya or even South Africa in the south to the USSR in the north… According to Shahak, the Jews facilitate the spread of vice in order to enslave the masses (“Part of the motivation” must be “encouraging drug addiction and thus promoting political apathy”)….”
In other cases prominent Jews endorse Holocaust Deniers while carefully tiptoeing around explicitly endorsing Holocaust Denial itself. The best known of these is Noam Chomsky, an extremist anti-American and anti-Israel professor of linguistics at MIT.
Son of a Hebrew teacher at Gratz College in Philadelphia, Chomsky despises Israel almost as deeply as he hates America. He considers both countries worse than Nazi Germany. Chomsky has campaigned on behalf of the French Holocaust Denier Robert Faurisson and other European Neo-Nazis. He has said in his own defense that he only wants this hate to be protected under laws guaranteeing freedom of speech, but as Professor Werner Cohn has proven, Chomsky also endorses the contents of their speech: “But in fact we saw that [in addition to justifying] …Faurisson’s Holocaust-denial, we found Chomsky publishing his own books with neo-Nazi publishers, we saw him writing for a neo-Nazi journal, we saw that the neo-Nazis promote Chomsky’s books and tapes together with the works of Joseph Goebbels. It is this complex of anti-Semitic activities and neo-Nazi associations, not his professed ideas alone, that constitutes the Chomsky phenomenon.”
Only marginally less openly anti-Semitic is Norman Finkelstein, who had been on the faculty of DePaul University until he was fired three years back (and has been unemployed ever since). Finkelstein has built an entire career out of smearing Holocaust survivors as frauds and liars, and cheering on Islamofascist terrorism against Jews. His personal web site is a vulgar gutter of juvenile anti-Semitic catcalls. He claims that Zionists exaggerate the dimensions of the Shoah to steal money and invent Holocaust survivors to exploit Germany. He has made pilgrimage to the Hezb’Allah terrorists and was denied entry into Israel on grounds that he is a terrorist agent. Finkelstein’s book “The Holocaust Industry” has become a basic text used by all Neo-Nazis and Holocaust Deniers. He has praised Holocaust Denier David Irving as a great and reliable historian. (Irving, in turn, claims the entire Holocaust is a Zionist hoax and that no Jews were murdered in Auschwitz.)
While Finkelstein is a pseudo-academic and a fraud, dismissed as a crackpot by all serious historians, he is nevertheless celebrated by all other Jewish Anti-Semites. One Israeli academic in particular, Neve Gordon, an Israel-hating extremist who teaches political science at Ben Gurion University, has devoted much of his career to celebrating Finkelstein and his “ideas.” When he is not denouncing Israel as a fascist apartheid terrorist regime that needs to be eliminated, Gordon has even compared Finkelstein to the Prophets of the Bible.
The psychosis of Jewish anti-Semitism has no comparable analogue among the nations, making the Jews a therapist’s sui generis. The disease of Jewish anti-Semitism not only illustrates the absence of “normality” among 21st century Jewry, it threatens the very survival of Israel and of Jewish communities around the world. It is a growth industry and it puts a perverse stamp of approval on every genocidal plan conceived by every terrorist sect contemplating the glory that awaits those who murder Jews.