The Causes of Hostility Towards Jews: A Historical Overview, Pt. 3
The origin of the chauvinist Jewish worldview, which will surface many times in this volume, is, again, the traditional Jewish notion of themselves as the "Chosen People" of God.
This idea, wrote J. O. Hertzler, is "literally and vividly maintained ... in a very decided Judeocentric view of history and the world." [HERTZLER, p. 70]
It is often referred to as "chosenness," or "election," as if there had been a divine vote cast somewhere to confirm their self-perceived specialness. "The Jews may stand astride time and eternity," wrote Arthur A. Cohen, "... This is unavoidably an aristocratic mission." [EISENSTEIN, I. p. 275]
"Alas," says Ze'ev Levy, "the concept of chosenness entails ethnocentrism, for the better (in the past) or the worse (today). Chosenness does not go with otherness, that is, with unconditional respect of others." [LEVY, p. 104]
This is an understatement.
"The concept of an eternal selection," says Moshe Greenberg, "eventually merges with a doctrine of spiritual-racial superiority, rooted, it seems, in the biblical term 'holy seed' ... [According to the Old Testament/Torah, Ezra 9:2] holiness inheres in the seed and is hereditary." [GREENBERG, p. 31]
"The word 'chosen' [per 'Chosen People']," notes Arnold Eisen, "is used sparingly in the Bible, to convey the passion of choosing. Its antonym is not 'considered impartially' or 'ignored,' but 'despised.'" [EISEN, p. RHETORIC, p. 66]
"The Jewish religion," wrote Arthur Koestler, "unlike any other, is racially discriminating, nationally segregative, and socially tension-creating." [LINDEMANN, p. 20]
The continuing debate about this within the Jewish community by liberal and secular thinkers is generally framed euphemistically in the contrasting terms of "particularism and universalism."
While most Jews tend to be apologetic for this term, particularism actually refers to the purely self-concern, self-aggrandizement, racism, and ethnocentrism of traditional Jewish thinking (to the systemic detriment of non-Jews) throughout the centuries. This was consistently manifest by a Jewish segregated lifestyle, tight knit community, different Jewish moral standards for behavior towards Jews and non-Jews, racial and hereditary obsessions, and condescending views of all non-Jews around them.
Universalism, on the other hand, refers to a shift in Jewish moral thinking (like everyone else) beginning with the Enlightenment, exemplified in a liberalizing Germany with the universalizing ideas of philosophers like Immanuel Kant.
Universalism embodies the notion that Jewish particularism (or any other) is morally incorrect and obsolete and that spiritual and secular laws should be the same for everyone, all-inclusive.
(As Israel Shahak notes, the Jews of Europe did not fight for freedom and liberation from their own stagnant ghetto ideology of particularism; emancipation was a gift of universalistic benevolence from the surrounding non-Jewish community which opened the doors for Jews to leave their distinctive ideological ghetto.) [SHAHAK, p. 17] [...]
Eventually recognizing that complete acceptance of a universalistic ethic towards their fellow human beings could only mean serious endangerment of the "particularist" Jewish identity, liberalizing elements of world Jewry over past decades have moved to proclaim two antithetical ideas as essential parts of Jewish identity: both an allegiance to "Chosen People" Judeo-centrism and pan-human universalism. This is managed by the enduring Judeo-centric notion that distinctly Jewish hands must cling to the steering wheel of humanity itself as some form of a Jewish leadership "mission": in the pseudo-religious sphere, this is generally expressed as some version of "We Jews are fated to lead all of humanity to its destiny."
In this new Chosen People construct, Jews can thereby still take satisfaction in their presumed exceptionality, but it is now (supposedly) morally adjusted to do some good for others in their wake.
"In the very emphasis upon the particular," says Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin, "this singular family [Jews] reflected the noblest form of universalism." [DONIN, p. 8]
"We Jews are a narrow, nationalist, self-centered people, " observes Samuel Dresner, "There is no point in denying it ... [Yet] in all of Judaism ... particularism and universalism go hand in hand ... Particularism and universalism, both are essentials of Judaism." [DRESNER, p. 50-51]
"Jewish pride, Jewish chauvinism, Jewish particularism," says Roger Kamenetz, "-- the idea that we are a special chosen people -- seems to contradict the very universalistic prophetic messages Judaism also teaches." [KAMENETZ, R., 1994, p. 150] [...]
"Why did God choose Israel?" asks Alfred Jospe, "Because all other nations refused to accept Torah. Originally, God had offered it to all nations of the world. But the children of Esau [non-Jews] rejected it because they could not reconcile themselves to the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill.' The Moabites declined the offer because they felt they could not accept the commandment 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' The Ishamaelites [traditional ancestors of today's Arabs] refused it because they could not square their habits with the commandment, 'Thou shalt not steal.'" [JOSPE, p. 14]
This is of course yet another manifestation of classical Jewish ethnocentrism, often arrogance, and even today sometimes racism, false-fronted by an illusionary claim of Jewish service to humanity, a service conceived to be more special than any other. Jewish scholar Norman Cantor states the true essence of traditional Jewish identity succinctly:
"The covenant idea is the polar opposite of democracy, multiculturalism, and ethnic equality." [CANTOR, p. 21]
"Jewish values," adds Charles Liebman, "... are folk-oriented rather than universalist, ethnocentric rather than cosmopolitan, and at least one major strand in Jewish tradition expresses indifference, fear, and even hostility to the non-Jew." [LIEBMAN, C., p. 10]
"In Borough Park's language," says Yossi Klein Halevi, referring to the Orthodox community where he was raised, "'universalist' was a synonym for traitor ... Other people might take their humanity for granted; but Jews, at least in Borough Park, felt certain only of their Jewishness." [HALEVI, p. 75]
"Maintaining the bonds one Jew must feel with another Jew," notes Susan Schneider, "is part of Judaism, along with the idea that being Jewish may require maintaining the purity and/or unity of the Jewish people." [SCHNEIDER, p. 323]
In an American context, Arnold Eisen notes the modern Jewish liberals' resultant quandary in reframing the Jewish worldview for Gentile consumption: "The notion of the Jewish [special] mission to [other peoples] was problematic, because it presumed that one people had the truth, and all others could but wait patiently to receive it. Such hierarchical ideas did not seem to fit in a society which espoused egalitarianism; if all men were created equal, why did other people need the Jews in order to attain true knowledge of God? The search for ways of reconciling pluralism and election became a pressing task of Jewish apologetic." [EISEN, p. 21]
One of the ways convoluted apologetic seeks to distance itself from racism and inevitable Gentile hostility is to rhapsodize about special Jewish destiny, as does Reuven Bulka, who in this case also obfuscates it: "The notion of chosenness is ... misleading and fraught with danger, as if to imply some inherent genetic or biological virtue that is merely an accident of fate. Being chosen is the end result of choosingness, much the same way that the bride's choice to agree to the request of a groom to marry her is predicated on the presumption that she has already been chosen, an assumption inherent in the groom's question-request entreaty." [BULKA, p. 17]
But as Jewish author Monford Harris notes about such notions of Jewry as a "choosing" people: "The idea of the Jews as 'chosen people' has been eclipsed. Yet it is so central to classical Jewish thought it could not be wholly surrendered. It was, consequently, reinterpreted ...
[One] way of reinterpreting the idea of the chosen people is to say that the Jews are the 'choosing people.'
Since the day of the Nazi idea of the master race it has been said that the idea of the 'chosen' people is ethically untenable, and that it is better to understand the Jews as the choosing people; i.e., the Jews were the only people in antiquity to recognize the true God.
Precisely that which it tries to avoid is what this notion falls prey to.
To say the Jews are the choosing people is to assert a position of such arrogance as to violate the canons of good manners, let alone ethical considerations. To assert that only our ancestors were wise enough, good enough, to make the right choice and that all other nations lacked either the wisdom or the sincerity to do so is on a par with Nazi racism." [HARRIS, M., 1965, p. 89]
In the apologetic realm, it is interesting to note the noble moral currency afforded modern Judaism in popular American culture by the presentation of the pan-human, universalistic excerpt from Jewish religious sources that supposedly says: "Whoever saves a single life, saves the world entire." (This is the stated theme, for example, during a candle-lighting scene to begin the fabulously popular Stephen Spielberg movie about Jews under Nazi occupation, Schindler's List). [...]
In the talmudic Mishna, Sanhedrin 4:5, the original really says this: "Whoever destroys a single Jewish life, Scripture accounts it to him as though he had destroyed a whole world." It is quite particularist in its scope, i.e., it only cares about Jews, self-survival or not.
Nonetheless, this literal fact does not hinder many Jewish non-Orthodox apologists from universalizing this chauvinist quote anyway. "Most Jews whose study of the Mishna," says Jacob Petuchowski, "is confined to the standard edition continue to invest this statement with a particularist limitation, while the few scholars who deal with textual criticism are aware of the greater universalistic breath of the original statement." [PETUCHOWKI, p. 8] When dropping the adverb "Jewish" from the seminal source, insists the likes of Petuchowski, one arrives at the "correct reading." [...]
This kind of modern revisionism has set the stage for a bitter -- and intensifying -- struggle in international Jewry for the heart, and meaning, of Judaism between Orthodox followers of traditional belief and liberalizing revisionists, who largely suppress the historical facts of their own religious history.
In recent years a number of Orthodox groups have even declared that their ideological rivals -- those Jews who at least pay lip service to universalistic ideals -- are not even Jewish.
"In debates within the Jewish community," says Gordon Lafar, "both universalists and chauvinists claim to be speaking in the name of traditional Jewish values." [LAFAR, p. 180] [...]
In Israel, a society for Jews and controlled by Jews, there is no need for universalizing apologetics over the essence of traditional Judaism. Charles Liebman and Steven Cohen note that "Many leftist secularists see Judaism as so inimical to liberal values that they have severed their own ties with it. Whereas their predecessors held that one could be a humanist socialist and be Jewishly committed at the same time, intellectuals in this new circle are in effect walking away from the battle over the political meaning of Judaism. They view Judaism as so thoroughly conservative, nationalistic and particularistic that it cannot be reformed. In this view the only hope for the Israeli liberal is the disestablishment of Judaism." [LIEBMAN/COHEN, p. 118]
In 1996 American-born Israeli Ze'ev Chafets noted how troubled he was at what he discovered to be powerful expressions of traditional Judaism in the Jewish state:
"Rabbi Meir Kahane began preaching that Arabs are dogs and the penalty for a Muslim man marrying a Jewish woman should be death,"
Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz "said a schoolbus full of kids was hit by a train because God was angry that the movie theatre in their town was open on Friday nights,"
the Lubavitcher Rebbe [rabbi] "allowed his followers to declare him the Messiah,"
Rabbi Yitzhak Kadouri, "the world's greatest kabbalist ... put a hex on a Jerusalem office building that blocked his view,"
Rabbi Dov Lior "declared it kosher to kill gentile women and children in wartime,"
Rabbi Nahum Rabinovich "advocated scattering land mines to prevent Israeli soldiers from carrying out orders in the West Bank,"
"20,000 yeshivah boys gathered to stone and threaten Israeli archeologists,"
Rabbi Moshe Maya "arose in the Knesset and said that the halakhic penalty for homosexuality is death,"
Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, "universally considered one of the great Torah sages of the age, was quoted as ruling that the faithful should refuse transfusions from gentiles and nonobservant Jews because they have dangerously treif blood which might cause all manner of un-Jewish behavior,"
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu believes that "Jewish blood is inherently pure and therefore incapable of defiling Jewish recipients." [CHAFETS, Z., 1996, p. 18]
"Real Torah Judaism," concludes Chafets, with sarcasm for the Orthodox, "is a scientifically based doctrine of racial purity. Jews have one, superior, kind of blood, the rest of humanity has another ... [My rabbi in Michigan] was probably ashamed to tell the truth." [CHAFETS, Z., 1996, p. 18]
The origin of this divide between "particularist" and "universalist" Jews is to be found in the 19th century, in the wake of the Enlightenment and the emergence of European Jews from their isolationist ghettos.
"Rationalism, modernism, and emancipation," notes R. J. Zwi Wroblowsky, "made the notion of a chosen people increasingly problematical." [WERBLOWSKY, p. 158]
Religious reformers in Germany sought to "redefine Judaism to fit Protestant categories." This new Reform Judaism, says Charles Silberman, "expurgated ... aspects of Judaism ... to make worship in the synagogue resemble Protestant services as much as possible." [SILBERMAN, p. 38]
"In general, [Reform Judaism] gave Jewish religion a distinctly gentile tinge." [PATAI, R., 1971, p. 304]
"Orthodox Jews naturally expressed their horror at the progressive Christianization of the synagogue," says Walter Laqueur, "for this, not to mince words, is what it amounted to." [LAQUEUR, p. 17]
In 1884, Orthodox Jews even sued a Reform temple in Charleston, South Carolina, for introducing an organ into the synagogue, "a desecration of the Jewish ritual." [GOLDEN, H., 1973, p. 6]
Theology shifted in "Reform Judaism" too. In 1869, for example, a Philadelphia conference of Reform-minded rabbis formally de-emphasized the more literal aspects of the old chosen people concept, refocusing on "the unity of all rational creatures." [LIPSET/RAAB, p. 59] [...]
But, as Jack Wertheimer noted in 1993, "Few Orthodox spokesmen any longer articulate the undergirding assumptions of Modern Orthodoxy, namely, that a synthesis of traditional Judaism and modern Western culture is not only feasible but desirable. The thought of the leading ideologue of modern Orthodoxy in the nineteenth century, Rabbi Samson Hirsch, is now reinterpreted by his disciples as having urged Torah im Derekh Eretz, a synthesis of traditional Judaism and Western culture, as merely a temporary solution to the pressing needs of the day; now, it is argued, such a goal is no longer desirable ...[WERTHEIMER, J., 1993, p. 127]
Virtually all contemporary gedolim (recognized rabbinical authorities within the Orthodox world) identify with right-wing Orthodoxy, and their views are rarely challenged." [WERTHEIMER, J., 1993, p. 128] [...]
With the Reform movement came Jewish efforts to distance enlightened, modern Jewry from their rabbinically archaic and cloistered pasts. Also came the appropriation of the universalistic themes of Christian-based culture to make them "Jewish."
"Some commentators," worry particularist Jewish scholars Seymour Lipset and Earl Raab, "want to believe that an intrinsic aspect of Jewish life consists of such universally benevolent 'Jewish social values' as equality, social justice, and world peace' ... By taking on a public orientation similar to Christian denominations, Judaism runs the danger of appearing more Americanized and less particularistic." [LIPSET/RAAB, p. 54]
One of the most influential propagators of the notion of a universalistic Judaism (the basis for the popular western strain of Judaism called Reform) was Abraham Geiger. Geiger, an early nineteenth century theologian, claimed that "Judaism has proved itself a force outliving its peculiar nationality, and therefore may lay claim to special consideration." This "special consideration" is ultimately understood to be Jewish exceptionality in pan-human affairs, especially in -- but not limited to -- matters of morality and spirituality.
But as modern scholar Joseph Blau observes about Geiger's above proclamation, "let us reflect for a moment on the paradoxical quality of this assertion. Geiger was saying that because Judaism had eliminated its own claim to a special character, it was entitled to a special character. Because particularism had been excised from Jewish religion, Judaism had a right to special status. He seems to be on the verge of replacing particularist Jewish nationalism by particularist Jewish religion." [BLAU, p. 49]
In other words, Geiger, Reformed Judaism, and many of today's Jews (especially in America where Reform is so popular) have been shamed by the democratic, egalitarian, and universalistic impact of the Enlightenment and pan-human ideals of Christianity to exchange Jewish chauvinism for ... Jewish chauvinism!
Modern Jewry simply lifts Christian universalistic tenets and incongruously tacks them onto Jewish particularism, the particularism that early Christians (rebelling Jews) left in the first place.
"It is curious to sit in a Reform or so-called Conservative American [Jewish] congregation," says Norman Cantor, "and listen to the rabbi sermonize about the equality between Jew and Christian, black and white. This is actually the universalizing message not of the talmudic rabbi, but of Rabbi Saul [St. Paul of New Testament fame] who was beaten up and driven from the diaspora synagogues when he preached this leveling message." [CANTOR, p. 106]
George L. Mosse notes the way particularist Judaism was contorted to be somehow universalized in turn-of-the-century Germany: "In 1910, Rabbi Cossman Werner of Munich castigated Jews who had been baptized into Christianity for committing a crime not merely against Judaism but above all against humanity itself. Such Jews opposed equal rights and hindered others in fighting for justice, for 'to be a Jew means to be human,' a statement which was greeted with thunderous applause. The argument against baptism was based not on Judaism as a revealed religion but on the religion of humanity." [MOSSE, G., 1985, p. 19]
This curious universalistic message, heralded today in some form by so many modern Jews, is rendered transparently hollow and fundamentally incongruous in a Jewish context.
As Eric Kahler phrases it, in Orwellian double-think: "The substance of [Judaism's] particularism is universality." [KAHLER, E., 1967, p. 11]
"True universalism, according to [one Jewish] school of thought," wrote Lothar Kahn, "can't occur without each human family contributing its individuality to the whole race of men. The Jew can best become a Frenchman or German -- a citizen of the world -- by perfecting the Jewishness in him." [KAHN, L., 1961, p. 30]
Or take Will Herberg's typical Jewish view of it all: "Jewish particularism, because it transcends every national and cultural boundary, becomes, strangely enough a vehicle and witness to universalism. [HERBERG, p. 276]
In other words, at root here, Herberg simply asserts that because Jews extend their allegiance to each other wherever they are in the world, this is "universalism."
E.L. Goldstein notes the Jewish reluctance to relinquish the racial foundation of Jewish identity, even in the invention of a "universalistic" Reform Judaism in the 19th century: "It was not uncommon for a rabbi to make bold pronouncements about his desire for a universalistic society and then, in moments of frustration or doubt, revert to a racial understanding of the Jews ...
While willing to stretch the definition of Judaism to its limits, it was clear that most Reformers were not willing to break the historical continuity of the Jewish 'race.' Even Solomon Schindler ... one of the most radical of Reform rabbis, felt compelled to acknowledge the racial aspect of Jewish identity. Despite the high universal task of Judaism, wrote Schindler, 'it remains a fact that we spring from a different branch of humanity, that different blood flows in our veins, that our temperament, our tastes, our humor is different from yours; that, in a word, we differ in our views and in our modes of thinking in many cases as much as we differ in our features.'" [MACDONALD, 1998, p. 157]
"The tension between the universal and particular in Jewish life," observes Charles Liebman and Steven Cohen about much Jewish commentary today, "is a favorite theme of Jewish commentators, both scholarly and popular ... They in effect lead their audiences in cheering the uniqueness of American Jewry, portraying it as the one American religious or ethnic group that combines a passionate concern for itself with an almost equally passionate concern for others." [LIEBMAN/COHEN, p. 28] [...]
This implicit contradiction in a "universalist"-"particularist" Judaism is not lost to some young Jews who see through such illusory thinking. In a book about Jewish identity, one Jewish interviewee notes that "Judaism is very insular, it doesn't happily bring people in, so if you're supposed to be setting an example yet you keep everyone out, that's contradictory." [KLEIN, E. p. 191]
And this thinly disguised attitude of enduring Jewish superiority always leaves the ideological door ajar for Jews to easily turn back to Jewish Orthodoxy and its seminal "particularism" of religious antiquity, or simply convert it in secular terms to modern Zionism.
By the end of the twentieth century, with the modern state of Israel, we are seeing this happening. Most of those who call themselves Jews have a significant degree of loyalty to Israel. And Jewish Orthodoxy is in fact growing in America and often entwining with its secular Chosen People offshoot, Zionism.
The idea of being divinely endowed is a powerful attraction.
One study notes that about a quarter of all Orthodox Jews in America today were new (i.e., "returned") to Orthodoxy. The current growth in Orthodox adherents is the first since the eighteenth century Enlightenment.
"The Haredim [ultra-orthodox]," says Robert Wistrich, "are the fastest growing segment in contemporary Jewry." [WISTRICH, TERMS, p. 5]
"Institutionally and demographically," noted Jonathan Sacks in 1993, "the strongest and most rapidly growing group in the contemporary Jewish world is Orthodox Jewry." [SACKS, J., p. 138] [...]
Across time and culture, even in the context of the supposed multiculturalist and egalitarian American New Left movement of the 1960's, Jews collectively tended to perceive themselves with special distinction. As Arthur Liebman noted: "[Gentile intellectuals] really are not totally accepted into even the secularist humanist liberal company of their quondam Jewish friends. Jews continue to insist in indirect and often inexplicable ways on their own uniqueness. Jewish universalism in relations between Jews and non-Jews has an empty ring ...
Still, we have the anomaly of Jewish secularists and atheists writing their own prayer books. We find Jewish political reformers ... ostensibly pressing for universalist political goals -- while organizing their own political clubs which are so Jewish in style and manner that non-Jews often feel unwelcome." [LIEBMAN, in MACDONALD, p. 158] [...]
Jews have a long history of leftist political advocacy, agitation against any status quo of Christian empowerment, and profoundly disproportionate percentages of leadership roles in groups that ostensibly espouse pan-human, universalist themes.
"In America and Europe," says Barry Rubin, "the left was so heavily Jewish as to be virtually a communal activity in itself, especially in the 1930's ... Marxist intellectuals in those years were heavily Jewish in composition and profoundly Jewish in their thinking ... [Its pre-eminent leaders] were all born into highly assimilated, wealthy families..." [RUBIN, B., p. 147] [...]
"The popular association of Jews with Communism," notes Peter Novick, "dated from the Bolshevik Revolution. Most of the 'alien agitators' deported from the United States during the Red Scare after World War I had been Jews." [NOVICK, P., 1999, p. 92]
Major American twentieth century court trials included those of Charles Schenck, general secretary of the Socialist Party, who was arrested for sedition in 1919: "The case marked the first time the Supreme Court ruled on the extent to which the U.S. government may limit speech." [KNAPPMAN, E., 1995, p. 61, 60]
Likewise, in 1927 the Supreme Court "upheld the conviction of Socialist Benjamin Gitlow under a New York state law for advocating criminal anarchy." [KNAPPMAN, E., 1995, p. 63] [...]
Peter Pulzer once noted that, in the German socialist ranks of the early 20th century, "Their [Jews'] disproportionately bourgeois origins and their tendency to derive their views from first principles rather than empirical experience, led them into a dominating position [in] the party's debates." [WEISBERGER, A., 1997, p. 93]
Arthur Liebman notes the background to the Morris Hillquit's election to the American Socialist party chairmanship in 1932: "Hilquit, in turn, brought the unmentionable to the center stage in an emotional speech, declaring, 'I apologize for having been born abroad, for being a Jew, and living in New York City.' Hilquit's oblique reference to anti-Semitism assured him of victory. As Thomas [Hilquit's opponent for the chairmanship] later commented, 'Once the anti- Semitic issue was raised, even though unjustly, I was inclined to think it best that Hillquit won.' The Socialist party did not want to risk being labeled anti-Semitic." [LIEBMAN, A., 1986, p. 341]
Some estimates suggest that 60% of the leadership for the 60s-era radical SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) were Jews (well-known radicals included Kathy Boudin, Bettina Aptheker, among many others). [PRAGER, p. 61] From 1960 to 1970, five of the nine changing presidents of the organization were Jewish males (Al Haber, Todd Gitlin, and the last three for the decade: Mike Spiegel, Mike Klonsky, and Mark Rudd). [SALE, K., 1973, p. 663]
"Perhaps fully 50 percent of the revolutionary Students for a Democratic Society," says Milton Plesur, "and as many as 50 to 75 percent of those in campus radical activities in the late 1960s were Jewish." [PLESUR, M., 1982, p. 137] [...]
Susan Stern was among those to turn to the violent Weatherman underground organization. Ted Gold, another Weatherman member, died when a bomb he was making exploded in his hands. [ROTHMAN/LICHTER, 1982, p. 61]
In an iconic 1970 incident, three of the four students shot and killed by National Guardsmen at a famous Kent State University demonstration were Jewish. [BYARD, K., 5-5-00] [...]
A study by Joseph Adelson at the University of Michigan, one of the American hotbeds of 1960s-era activism, suggested that 90% of those defined as politically "radical students" at that school were Jews. [PRAGER, p. 61, 66]
And, "when, for instance, the Queens College SDS held a sit-in at an induction center several years ago," wrote Gabriel Ende, "they chose to sing Christmas carols to dramatize their activity, although the chairman and almost all of the members were Jewish." [ENDE, G., 1971, p. 61] [...]
Ronald Radosh notes that "In elite institutions like the University of Chicago, a large 63 percent of student radicals were Jewish; Tom Hayden may have been the most famous name in the University of Michigan SDS, but '90 percent of the student left [in that school] came from jewish backgrounds;' and nationally, 60 percent of SDS members were Jewish. As my once-friend Paul Breines wrote about my own alma mater the University of Wisconsin, 'the real yeast in the whole scene had been the New York Jewish students in Wisconsin' ... As late as 1946, one-third of America's Jews held a favorable view of the Soviet Union." [RADOSH, R., 6-5-01] [...]
In communist organizations that supposedly idealized a classless society for all people, it inevitably grated with enduring Jewish self-perception: Jews often tended to configure as a special caste of controllers of -- not a religious, but now -- a secular messianism.
As Jeff Schatz notes about pre-World War II Poland: "Despite the fact that [communist] party authorities consciously strove to promote classically proletarian and ethnically Polish members to the cadres of leaders and functionaries, Jewish communists formed 54 percent of the field leadership of the KPP [Polish Communist Party] in 1935. Moreover, Jews constituted a total of 75 percent of the party's technica, the apparatus for production and distribution of propaganda material. Finally, communists of Jewish origin occupied most of the seats of the Central Committee of the of the KPPP [Communists Workers Party of Poland] and the KPP." [SCHATZ, p. 97]
Jews were at this time 10% of the Polish population. [...]
In Russia, notes Shmuel Ettinger, "when the Russian Social Democratic Party split into two factions -- Bolsheviks and Mensheviks -- both factions had many Jews in their leaderships (such as Boris Axelrod, Yuly Martov, Lev Trotsky, Grigory Zinoviev, and Lev Kamenov) and among their most active party members. Many Jews also played a part in the foundations and leadership of the party ... For example, Mikhail Gots was one of the party's main thereoticians and Grigory Gershuni was the leader of its fighting organization, which carried out terrorist acts against the Tsarist regime." [ETTINGER, p. 9] [...]
Also, notes Albert Lindemann, "it seems beyond serious debate that in the first twenty years of the Bolshevik Party the top ten to twenty leaders included close to a majority of Jews. Of the seven 'major figures' listed in The Makers of the Russian Revolution, four are of Jewish origin." [LINDEMANN, p. 429-430]
Among the most important Jewish communists were the aforementioned Trotsky (originally Lev Davidovich Bronstein) and Grigori Yevseyevich Zinoviev ("Lenin's closest associate in the war years"). Lev Borisovich Kamenev (Rosenfeld) headed the party newspaper, Pravda. Adolf Yoffe was head of the Revolutionary Military Committee of the Petrograd Bolshevik Party in 1917-18. Moisei Solomonovich, head of the secret police in Petrograd, was known by some as the epitome of "Jewish terror against the Russian people." [LINDEMANN, p. 431] [...]
In Hungary, notes Jewish scholar Howard Sachar, "for 135 days [in 1919], Hungary was ruled by a Communist dictatorship. Its party boss, Bela Kun, was a Jew. So were 31 of the 49 commissars in Kun's regime." [SACHAR, H., 1985, p. 339]
During that time, note Jewish scholars Stanley Rothman and S. Robert Lichter, Jews also represented "most managers of the forty-eight People's Commissars in his revolutionary government.
Most managers of the new state farms were Jewish, as were the bureau chiefs of the Central Administration and the leading olice officers.
Overall, of 202 high officials in the Kun government, 161 were Jewish. Jews remained active in the Communist party during the Horthy regime of 1920-44, dominating its leadership. Again, most were from established, midle-class (or, at worst, lower-middle- class) backgrounds. Hardly any were proletarians or peasants.
Most of the Hungarian Jewish community was massacred during World War II ... Nonetheless, the leading cadres of the Communist party in the postwar period were Jews, who completely dominated the regime until 1952-53 ...
The wags of Budapest explained the presence of a lone gentile in the party leadership on the grounds that a 'goy' was needed to turn on the lights on Saturday." [ROTHMAN/LICHTER, 1982, p. 89]
"In Lithuania," add Rothman and Lichter, "about 54 percent of the [Communist] party cadres were Jewish. Salonika Jewry played a major role in the foundation of Greek Communist party and remained prominent until the early 1940s.
Similar patterns prevailed in Rumania and Czechoslovakia. Jews played quite prominent roles in the top and second echelon leadership of the communist regimes in all of these countries in the immediate postwar period. They were often associated with Stalinist policies and were strongly represented in the secret police. In Poland, for example, three of the five members of the original Politburo were Jewish. A fourth, Wladyslaw Gomulka, was married to a woman of Jewish background. In both Rumania and Czechoslovakia, at least two of the four key figures in the Communist party were of Jewish background." [ROTHMAN/LICHTER, 1982, p. 90]
In Canada, in the 1940s, the Jewish head of the Communist Party in Montreal, Harry Binder, estimated that 70% of the Communist Party membership in his city were Jewish. In Toronto, from a Jewish population of 50,000, about 30% of the formal members of the local Communist community were believed to be Jews, not including those who had looser ties to the organization. [PARIS, E., 1980, p. 145] [...]
"Jews of Polish background played an important role in the founding of the Cuban communist party," note Rothman and Lichter, "and there are scattered indications of their significance in left-wing parties and groups in other Latin American countries. Jews were also prominent in the formation of Communist parties in various North African countries." [ROTHMAN/LICHTER, 1982, p. 90-91]
Even in 1930's pre-Nazi Germany, the Communist Party's top two leaders -- Rosa Luxemberg and Paul Levi -- were Jewish. (Hannah Arendt notes that Luxemberg was a member of a "Polish-Jewish 'peer group,'" which was a "carefully hidden attachment to the Polish party which sprang from it.") [ARENDT, 1968, p. 40]
Earlier, in the wake of World War I, another Jewish radical, Kurt Eisner, proclaimed a socialist republic in Bavaria. Upon his assassination, Eisner's government was replaced by another socialist one -- that of president Ernst Toller (also Jewish). Erich Muehsam and Gustav Landauer were other Jews in high positions in the government. [PAYNE, p. 124-125]
Next came a Communist coup to oust the socialist regime. As John Cornwell describes it, "After a week or two of outlandish misrule, on April 12  a reign of terror ensued under the red revolutionary trio of Max Levien, Eugen Levine, and Tonja Axelrod [also all Jewish] to hasten the dictatorship of the proletariat. The new regime kidnapped 'middle-class' hostages, throwing them into Stadeheim Prison. They shut down schools, imposed censorship, and requisitioned peoples' homes and possessions." [CORNWELL, p. 74]
In Austria, in 1920, repeating the theme, "the socialist government was led by Friedrich Adler, Otto Bauer, Karl Seitz, Julius Deutsch and Hugo Breitner." [GROLLMAN, E., 1965, p. 117]
"The Austrian Social Democrat party was founded by Victor Adler, a deracinated Jew from a well-known Prague Jewish family, and the party paper was edited by Friedrich Austerlitz, a Moravian Jew. Other prominent Jews in the party leadership included Wilhelm Ellenbogen, Otto Bauer, Robert Dannenberg, and Max Adler." [ROTHMAN/LICHTER, 1982, p. 88]
'The list of leading socialists [in Germany] of Jewish origin is long and illustrious," adds Adam Weisberger, "-- Eduard Bernstein, Rosa Luxemberg, Gustav Landauer, Kurt Eisner, Paul Singer, Hugo Haase -- to mention some of the most prominent among them." [WEISBERG, A., 1997, p. 2]
As George Mosse notes: "Jews were highly visible in many of the postwar [World War I] revolutions, not only in Bolshevik Russia but also in Budapest, Munich, and Berlin. During the postwar crisis, belief in Jewish conspiracies and subversive activity was not just a curious notion held by professed haters of Jews; in 1918, even Winston Churchill associated Jews with the Bolshevik conspiracy." [MOSSE, G., 1985, p. 68-69]
For those who even know about such a past, Jewish historiography these days tends to assert that communist and socialist Jews, in Russia and everywhere else, did not have any interest in a Jewish identity. This position asserts that such Jewish communist involvement was an investment in a secular universalism that leaves behind the traditional Jewish collectivist identity.
In explaining away why so many Jews were secret police terrorists under the communist regime in Eastern Europe, Jewish author Michael Checinski writes that "They were, for better or worse, considered less susceptible to the lures of 'Polish nationalism,' to which even impeccable Polish Communists were not thought immune. It should be remembered that these Jews were of a particular type: there were few veteran Communists among them, as their victims would be former KPP members and other left-wingers, and Moscow was taking no chances with sentimental ties of comradeship cramping their style as guardians of political 'purity.' Many of them had not only sadistic inclinations but also various grudges against their future victims, both Polish and Jewish. Indeed, it is significant that there were no traces of 'Jewish solidarity' among the staff of the Tenth Department. On the contrary, they represented a distorted conception of 'internationalism,' which could be described as 'Jewish anti-Semitism.'" [CHECINSKI, M., 1982, p. 71-72]
This is a common Jewish apologetic tact today, to explain away the Jewish identities of so many communist terrorists by proclaiming that they had no connective identity with others in their work circles.
Even here, Jewish consensus proclaims, even as Jews murdered others, Jews remain victims of anti-Semitism.
But as Kevin MacDonald suggests, "surface declarations of a lack of Jewish identity may be highly misleading ... There is good evidence for widespread self-deception about Jewish identity among Jewish radicals ... [Bolshevism] was a government that aggressively attempted to destroy all vestiges of Christianity as a socially unifying force within the Soviet Union while at the same time it established a secular Jewish subculture." [MACDONALD, 1998, p. 60] [...]
As Jewish author John Sack notes about the many officials of Jewish origin in Poland after World War II who headed the repressive communist secret police system: "I'd interviewed twenty-three Jews who'd been in the Office [of State Security], and one, just one, had considered himself a communist in 1945. He and the others had gone to Jewish schools, studied the Torah, had been bar-mitzvahed, sometimes wore payes ... By whose definition weren't they Jews? Not by the Talmud's, certainly not by the government of Israel's or the government of Nazi Germany's." [PIOTROWSKI, p. 63] [...]
Jewish communist Sam Carr was released from a Canadian prison in 1951 for spying for Russia. "Ironically," notes Erna Paris, "given the fact that he 'wasn't much of a Jew,' he did become the leader of the Unified Jewish People's Order after 1960." [PARIS, E., p. 176]
In Argentina, Jewish publisher Jacobo Timerman was imprisoned by the ruling military junta in 1977. It was pointed out to him by his right-wing interrogators that he was a member of a "registered affiliate organization of the Communist Party" in his youth. Timerman denied that he joined it because of any interest in communism, but, rather, for how it could serve his other ideological interests: "I belonged to it as an anti-Fascist, a Jew, and a Zionist." [TIMERMAN, J., 1981, p. 116] [...]
Jewish messianic elitism in leftist "universalist" circles endures to this day. In 1992, Michael Lerner, prominent editor of the left-wing Jewish journal Tikkun, suggested remedies for curing anti-Semitism in leftist organizations. The cure? "Put[ting] self-affirming Jews in positions of leadership in your organizations" [LERNER, Socialism, p. 115] and indoctrination sessions to sensitize non-Jews to Jewish needs (Lerner's term is: "internal education programs.") [...]
As Adam Weisberger notes this Jewish identity root in the profound historical influence of Jews in revolutionary communist and socialist movements that aimed to destroy the existing social order: "A messianic idea, derived from traditional Judaism, persisted through the process of secularization and entered into the groundwork of socialism ...
Jewish socialists, even when they were estranged from Judaism and possessed little or no formal Jewish education, remained an essential part of the mission of those Jews who believed they had broken with tradition." [WEISBERGER, A., 1997, p. 112] [...]
"After being nurtured by a culture that saw itself superior by virtue of its special relationship with God," note Jewish authors Stanley Rothman and S. Robert Lichter, "many Jews must have experienced their contact with modern Europe [with the birth of the Enlightenment] as traumatic. It was difficult to think Jewish life superior to the achievements of European civilization once the protective mantle of the shtetl was no longer present. What better way to reestablish claims to superiority than by adopting the most 'advanced' social position of the larger society and viewing this adoption as a reflection of Jewish heritage? Thus many radical Jewish intellectuals were able to continue to assert Jewish superiority, even as they denied their Jewishness." [ROTHMAN/ LICHTER, 1982, p. 121] [...]
Arnold Eisen, in a discussion of Leslie Fiedler (who started out as a socialist) and other well-known Jewish American "intellectuals," notes the transformative essence of Jewish identity from traditional Judaism to modern political movements: "Here the entire language of chosenness -- suffering, witness, mission, reciprocity, exclusivity, covenant, and even repudiation of Christianity and idol worship! -- has been appropriated and hollowed out in order to endow the Jewish intellectual with the role of prophet to his own community and the world." [EISEN, p. 136] [...]
Even the founder of Hadassah (the women's Zionist organization), Henrietta Szold, once wrote that "the world has not progressed beyond the need of Jewish instruction, but the Jew can be witness and a missionary only if he is permitted to interpret the lessons of Judaism as his peculiar nature and his peculiar discipline enable him to interpret them." [GAL, A., 1986, p. 371]
How Zionism, the modern secular expression of traditional Jewish ethnocentrism, is supposed to "instruct the world that has not progressed beyond the need of Jewish instruction" is never explained. [...]
With the erosion of the New Left in America in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and Israel's 1967 victory in its war with surrounding Arab states, distinctly Judeo-centric political configurations arose out of the Jewish universalistic left-wing community that, as Mordecai Chertoff notes, "affirm[ed] Zionism ... and Judaism ... as socialists and radicals." [CHERTOFF, p. 192] [...]
Traditional Jewish tendency to cluster and control is likewise evidenced in the opposite political field -- American conservatism.
Pat Buchanan -- the outspoken conservative newspaper columnist and former candidate for the President of the United States (widely despised in Jewish circles as an "anti-Semite") -- has attacked the 'neo-conservative' movement of Irving Kristol and others (many Jewish), who Buchanon likens to "fleas who conclude they are steering the dog, their relationship to the [conservative] movement has always been parasitical." [SHAPIRO, Pat, p. 226]
In more recent history, reflecting another popular angle of Jewish chauvinism under the guise of universalism (in a theme to be discussed at length later), Eli Weisel, the well-known semi-official spokesman for Jewish suffering in the Holocaust, wrote a formal report to the President of the United States about what the proposed $168 million United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC would be.
While up to six million Jews were killed in the Nazi extermination programs (and over three times that number of non-Jews may have been killed, [MILLER, p. 253] depending upon how one defines "Holocaust," Weisel, true to Jewish particularist/univeralist form, noted that the museum would focus mainly on Jewish victims: "The Holocaust was the systematic bureaucratic extermination of six million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators as a central act of state during the Second World War; as night descended, millions of other peoples were swept into this net of death ... The event is essentially Jewish, yet its interpretation is universal. The universality of the Holocaust lies in its [Jewish] uniqueness." [MILLER, p. 255] [...]
A poignant -- and current -- example of this worldview is the aforementioned Michael Lerner, a man who has been provided precious moments in the national spotlight by an influential admirer, Hillary Clinton.
Incredibly, Lerner frames American universalistic ideals themselves as oppressors of American Jewry.
"Jews have been forced," complains Lerner," to choose between a loyalty to their own people and a loyalty to universal ideals." [LERNER, p. 5]
What moral person of any faith or ethnicity is not "forced to choose" -- by his or her own conscience -- between what Lerner cannot openly state: selfish, exclusionist self-interest club interests versus sacrifice for the common good?
That Lerner imagines only Jews have faced such a dilemma in the American -- or any -- context is but evidence of the blind depth of Judeo-centrism. Lerner is enraptured, overwhelmed, by his own sense of Jewishness. True to form, "it is [a] hidden vulnerability," insists Lerner, "that constitutes the uniqueness of Jewish oppression." [LERNER, p. 65]
Leftist, rightist, Orthodox, atheist, or anything else, the origins of Jewish incessant, undying obsession with their "uniqueness," "exceptionality," "difference," "messianism," et al is to be found in the Judaic religious record.
As Adam Garfinkle sees it: "The mission of Israel, as the Prophets defined it, is to spread monotheism and the moral code that flows from it around the world, but not to make everyone part of a great Israelite tribe. ....
The Jews do not merge with the nations or convert them. They are, said Balaam, in Numbers 23:9, a people destined to live alone.
Although Jewish ideas are universalistic, [?] traditional Jews see themselves in exclusionist terms, a self-perception that has caused endless confusion and resentment among non-Jews. Jewish apologists like to emphasize the special burdens of this role and point to the costs it has extracted on the Jewish people in history -- no doubt all true. But that does not change the basic fact, as even a casual reading of central Jewish texts show, that Jews have believed themselves special, closer to the Divine than other people." [GARFINKLE, p. 10]
The maxim that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it applies to those Jews who refuse to come to terms with the Jewish past: they have become its slaves and are repeating it in Zionist and Israeli policies. The State of Israel now fulfills towards the oppressed peasants of many countries - not only in the Middle East but also far beyond it - a role not unlike that of the Jews in pre-1795 Poland: that of a bailiff to the imperial oppressor.
The only possible answer to all this, first of all by Jews, must be that given by all true advocates of freedom and humanity in all countries, all peoples and all great philosophies- limited though they sometimes are, as the human condition itself is limited. We must confront the Jewish past and those aspects of the present which are based simultaneously on lying about that past and worshiping it. The prerequisites for this are, first, total honesty about the facts and, secondly, the belief (leading to action, whenever possible) in universalist human principles of ethics and politics. [...] how far removed from this are the precepts with which the Jewish religion in its classical and talmudic form is poisoning minds and hearts.
The road to a genuine revolution in Judaism - to making it humane, allowing Jews to understand their own past, thereby re-educating themselves out of its tyranny - lies through an unrelenting critique of the Jewish religion. Without fear or favor, we must speak out against what belongs to our own past as Voltaire did against his: …crasez l'inf‚me! [SHAHAK]
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