Background Traits for Jewish Activism
Jewish populations have always had enormous effects on the societies in which they reside because of several qualities that are central to Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy: First and foremost, Jews are ethnocentric and able to cooperate in highly organized, cohesive, and effective groups. Also important is high intelligence, including the usefulness of intelligence in attaining wealth, prominence in the media, and eminence in the academic world and the legal profession. I will also discuss two other qualities that have received less attention: psychological intensity and aggressiveness.
The four background traits of ethnocentrism, intelligence, psychological intensity, and aggressiveness result in Jews being able to produce formidable, effective groups—groups able to have powerful, transformative effects on the peoples they live among. In the modern world, these traits influence the academic world and the world of mainstream and elite media, thus amplifying Jewish effectiveness compared with traditional societies. However, Jews have repeatedly become an elite and powerful group in societies in which they reside in sufficient numbers. It is remarkable that Jews, usually as a tiny minority, have been central to a long list of historical events. Jews were much on the mind of the Church Fathers in the fourth century during the formative years of Christian dominance in the West. Indeed, I have proposed that the powerful anti-Jewish attitudes and legislation of the fourth-century Church must be understood as a defensive reaction against Jewish economic power and enslavement of non-Jews. Jews who had nominally converted to Christianity but maintained their ethnic ties in marriage and commerce were the focus of the 250-year Inquisition in Spain, Portugal, and the Spanish colonies in the New World. Fundamentally, the Inquisition should be seen as a defensive reaction to the economic and political domination of these “New Christians.”
Jews have also been central to all the important events of the twentieth century. Jews were a necessary component of the Bolshevik revolution that created the Soviet Union, and they remained an elite group in the Soviet Union until at least the post-World War II era. They were an important focus of National Socialism in Germany, and they have been prime movers of the post-1965 cultural and ethnic revolution in the United States, including the encouragement of massive non-white immigration to countries of European origins. In the contemporary world, organized American Jewish lobbying groups and deeply committed Jews in the Bush administration and the media are behind the pro-Israel U.S. foreign policy that is leading to war against virtually the entire Arab world.
How can such a tiny minority have such huge effects on the history of the West? This article is the first of a three-part series on Jewish influence which seeks to answer that question. This first paper in the series provides an introduction to Jewish ethnocentrism and other background traits that influence Jewish success. The second article discusses Zionism as the quintessential example of twentieth-century Jewish ethnocentrism and as an example of a highly influential Jewish intellectualpolitical movement. A broader aim will be to discuss a generalization about Jewish history: that in the long run the more extreme elements of the Jewish community win out and determine the direction of the entire group. As Jonathan Sacks points out, it is the committed core—made up now especially of highly influential and vigorous Jewish activist organizations in the United States and hypernationalist elements in Israel—that determines the future direction of the community. The third and final article will discuss neoconservatism as a Jewish intellectual and political movement. Although I touched on neoconservatism in my trilogy on Jews, the present influence of this movement on U.S. foreign policy necessitates a much fuller treatment.
The four background traits—discussed in more detail below—are ethnocentrism, intelligence, psychological intensity, and aggressiveness. These traits are seen as underlying Jewish success in producing focused, effective groups able to influence the political process and the wider culture. In the modern world, Jewish influence on politics and culture is channeled through the media and through elite academic institutions into an almost bewildering array of areas—far too many to consider here.
I. Jews Are Hyperethnocentric
Elsewhere I have argued that Jewish hyperethnocentrism can be traced back to their Middle Eastern origins. Traditional Jewish culture has a number of features identifying Jews with the ancestral cultures of the area. The most important of these is that Jews and other Middle Eastern cultures evolved under circumstances that favored large groups dominated by males. These groups were basically extended families with high levels of endogamy (i.e., marriage within the kinship group) and consanguineous marriage (i.e., marriage to blood relatives), including the uncle-niece marriage sanctioned in the Old Testament. These features are exactly the opposite of Western European tendencies (see Table 1).
Whereas Western societies tend toward individualism, the basic Jewish cultural form is collectivism, in which there is a strong sense of group identity and group boundaries. Middle Eastern societies are characterized by anthropologists as “segmentary societies” organized into relatively impermeable, kinship-based groups.
Contrasts Between European and Jewish Cultural Forms
|European Cultural Origins||Jewish Cultural Origins|
|Evolutionary History||Northern Hunter-Gatherers||Middle Old World Pastoralists (Herders)|
|Kinship System||Bilateral; Weakly Patricentric||Unilineal; Strongly Patricentric|
|Family System||Simple Household||Extended Family;Joint Household|
|Marriage Practices||Exogamous; Monogamous||Endogamous; Consanguineous; Polygynous|
|Marriage Psychology||Companionate; Based on Mutual Consent and Affection||Utilitarian; Based onFamily Strategizing and Control of Kinship Group|
|Position of Women||Relatively High||Relatively Low|
|Social Structure||Individualistic; Republican; Democratic;||Collectivistic;Authoritarian;Charismatic Leaders|
|Ethnocentrism||Relatively Low||Relatively High; “Hyper-ethnocentrism”|
|Xenophobia||Relatively Low||Relatively High; “Hyper-xenophobia”|
|Socialization||Stresses Independence, Self-Reliance||Stresses IngroupIdentification, Obligations to Kinship Group|
|Intellectual Stance||Reason; Science||Dogmatism; Submission toIngroup Authority and Charismatic Leaders|
|Moral Stance||Moral Universalism: Morality Is Independent of Group Affiliation||Moral Particularism; Ingroup/Outgroup Morality; “Good is what is good for the Jews”|
Group boundaries are often reinforced through external markers such as hair style or clothing, as Jews have often done throughout their history. Different groups settle in different areas where they retain their homogeneity alongside other homogeneous groups, as illustrated by the following account from Carleton Coon:
There the ideal was to emphasize not the uniformity of the citizens of a country as a whole but a uniformity within each special segment, and the greatest possible contrast between segments. The members of each ethnic unit feel the need to identify themselves by some configuration of symbols. If by virtue of their history they possess some racial peculiarity, this they will enhance by special haircuts and the like; in any case they will wear distinctive garments and behave in a distinctive fashion.
These societies are by no means blissful paradises of multiculturalism. Between-group conflict often lurks just beneath the surface. For example, in nineteenth-century Turkey, Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived in a sort of superficial harmony, and even inhabited the same areas, “but the slightest spark sufficed to ignite the fuse.”
Jews are at the extreme of this Middle Eastern tendency toward hypercollectivism and hyperethnocentrism. I give many examples of Jewish hyperethnocentrism in my trilogy on Judaism and have suggested in several places that Jewish hyperethnocentrism is biologically based. Middle Eastern ethnocentrism and fanaticism has struck a good many people as extreme, including William Hamilton, perhaps the most important evolutionary biologist of the twentieth century. Hamilton writes:
I am sure I am not the first to have wondered what it is about that part of the world that feeds such diverse and intense senses of rectitude as has created three of the worlds’ most persuasive and yet most divisive and mutually incompatible religions. It is hard to discern the root in the place where I usually look for roots of our strong emotions, the part deepest in us, our biology and evolution.
Referring to my first two books on Judaism, Hamilton then notes that “even a recent treatise on this subject, much as I agree with its general theme, seems to me hardly to reach to this point of the discussion.” If I failed to go far enough in describing or analyzing Jewish ethnocentrism, it is perhaps because the subject seems almost mind-bogglingly deep, with psychological ramifications everywhere. As a pan-humanist, Hamilton was acutely aware of the ramifications of human ethnocentrism and especially of the Jewish variety. Likening Judaism to the creation of a new human species, Hamilton noted that:
from a humanist point of view, were those “species” the Martian thought to see in the towns and villages a millennium or so ago a good thing? Should we have let their crystals grow; do we retrospectively approve them? As by growth in numbers by land annexation, by the heroizing of a recent mass murderer of Arabs [i.e., Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 29 Arabs, including children, at the Patriarch’s Cave in Hebron in 1994], and by the honorific burial accorded to a publishing magnate (Robert Maxwell), who had enriched Israel partly by his swindling of his employees, most of them certainly not Jews, some Israelis seem to favour a “racewise” and unrestrained competi-tion, just as did the ancient Israelites and Nazi Germans. In proportion to the size of the country and the degree to which the eyes of the world are watching, the acts themselves that betray this trend of reversion from panhumanism may seem small as yet, but the spirit behind them, to this observer, seems virtually identical to trends that have long predated them both in humans and animals.
A good start for thinking about Jewish ethnocentrism is the work of Israel Shahak, most notably his co-authored Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel. Present-day fundamentalists attempt to re-create the life of Jewish communities before the Enlightenment (i.e., prior to about 1750). During this period the great majority of Jews believed in Cabbala-Jewish mysticism. Influential Jewish scholars like Gershom Scholem ignored the obvious racialist, exclusivist material in the Cabbala by using words like “men,” “human beings,” and “cosmic” to suggest the Cabbala has a universalist message. The actual text says salvation is only for Jews, while non-Jews have “Satanic souls.”
The ethnocentrism apparent in such statements was not only the norm in traditional Jewish society, but remains a powerful current of contemporary Jewish fundamentalism, with important implications for Israeli politics. For example, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, describing the difference between Jews and non-Jews:
We do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather we have a case of…a totally different species…. The body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world…. The difference of the inner quality [of the body]…is so great that the bodies would be considered as completely different species. This is the reason why the Talmud states that there is an halachic difference in attitude about the bodies of non-Jews [as opposed to the bodies of Jews]: “their bodies are in vain”…. An even greater difference exists in regard to the soul. Two contrary types of soul exist, anon-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness.
This claim of Jewish uniqueness echoes Holocaust activist Elie Wiesel’s claim that “everything about us is different.” Jews are “ontologically” exceptional.
The Gush Emunim and other Jewish fundamentalist sects described by Shahak and Mezvinsky are thus part of a long mainstream Jewish tradition which considers Jews and non-Jews completely different species, with Jews absolutely superior to non-Jews and subject to a radically different moral code. Moral universalism is thus antithetical to the Jewish tradition, in which the survival and interests of the Jewish people are the most important ethical goal:
Many Jews, especially religious Jews today in Israel and their supporters abroad, continue to adhere to traditional Jewish ethics that other Jews would like to ignore or explain away. For example, Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg of Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus/Shechem, after several of his students were remanded on suspicion of murdering a teenage Arab girl: “Jewish blood is not the same as the blood of a goy.” Rabbi Ido Elba: “According to the Torah, we are in a situation of pikuah nefesh (saving a life) in time of war, and in such a situation one may kill any Gentile.” Rabbi Yisrael Ariel writes in 1982 that “Beirut is part of the Land of Israel. [This is a reference to the boundaries of Israel as stated in the Covenant between God and Abraham in Genesis 15: 18-20 and Joshua 1: 3-4] … our leaders should have entered Lebanon and Beirut without hesitation, and killed every single one of them. Not a memory should have remained.” It is usually yeshiva students who chant “Death to the Arabs” on CNN. The stealing and corruption by religious leaders that has recently been documented in trials in Israel and abroad continues to raise the question of the relationship between Judaism and ethics.
Moral particularism in its most aggressive form can be seen among the ultranationalists, such as the Gush Emunim, who hold that:
Jews are not, and cannot be a normal people. The eternal uniqueness of the Jews is the result of the Covenant made between God and the Jewish people at Mount Sinai …. The implication is that the transcendent imperatives for Jews effectively nullify moral laws that bind the behavior of normal nations. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of Gush Emunim’s most prolific ideologues, argues that the divine commandments to the Jewish people “transcend the human notions of national rights.” He explains that while God requires other nations to abide by abstract codes of justice and righteousness, such laws do not apply to Jews.
As argued in the second paper in this series, it is the most extreme elements within the Jewish community that ultimately give direction to the community as a whole. These fundamentalist and ultranationalist groups are not tiny fringe groups, mere relics of traditional Jewish culture. They are widely respected by the Israeli public and by many Jews in the Diaspora. They have a great deal of influence on the Israeli government, especially the Likud governments and the recent government of national unity headed by Ariel Sharon. The members of Gush Emunim constitute a significant percentage of the elite units of the Israeli army, and, as expected on the hypothesis that they are extremely ethnocentric, they are much more willing to treat the Palestinians in a savage and brutal manner than are other Israeli soldiers. All together, the religious parties represent about 25% of the Israeli electorate—a percentage that is sure to increase because of the high fertility of religious Jews and because intensified troubles with the Palestinians tend to make other Israelis more sympathetic to their cause. Given the fractionated state of Israeli politics and the increasing numbers of the religious groups, it is unlikely that future governments can be formed without their participation. Peace in the Middle East therefore appears unlikely absent the complete capitulation or expulsion of the Palestinians.
A good discussion of Jewish moral particularism can be found in a recent article in Tikkun—probably the only remaining liberal Jewish publication. Kim Chernin wonders why so many Jews “have trouble being critical of Israel.” She finds several obstacles to criticism of Israel:
- A conviction that Jews are always in danger, always have been, and therefore are in danger now.
Which leads to:
- The insistence that a criticism is an attack and will lead to our destruction.
Which is rooted in:
- The supposition that any negativity towards Jews (or Israel) is a sign of anti-Semitism and will (again, inevitably) lead to our destruction
- An even more hidden belief that a sufficient amount of suffering confers the right to violence
- The conviction that our beliefs, our ideology (or theology), matter more than the lives of other human beings.
Chernin presents the Jewish psychology of moral particularism:
We keep a watchful eye out, we read the signs, we detect innuendo, we summon evidence, we become, as we imagine it, the ever-vigilant guardians of our people’s survival. Endangered as we imagine ourselves to be; endangered as we insist we are, any negativity, criticism, or reproach, even from one of our own, takes on exaggerated dimensions; we come to perceive such criticism as a life-threatening attack.
The path to fear is clear. But our proclivity for this perception is itself one of our unrecognized dangers. Bit by bit, as we gather evidence to establish our perilous position in the world, we are brought to a selective perception of that world. With our attention focused on ourselves as the endangered species, it seems to follow that we ourselves can do no harm… .
When I lived in Israel I practiced selective perception. I was elated by our little kibbutz on the Lebanese border until I recognized that we were living on land that had belonged to our Arab neighbors. When I didn’t ask how we had come to acquire that land, I practiced blindness… .
The profound depths of Jewish ethnocentrism are intimately tied up with a sense of historical persecution. Jewish memory is a memory of persecution and impending doom, a memory that justifies any response because ultimately it is Jewish survival that is at stake:
The fixed certainty of impending Jewish destruction. Wherever we look, we see nothing but its confirmation…. I was walking across the beautiful square in Nuremburg [sic] a couple of years ago and stopped to read a public sign. It told this story: During the Middle Ages, the town governing body, wishing to clear space for a square, burned out, burned down, and burned up the Jews who had formerly filled up the space. End of story. After that, I felt very uneasy walking through the square and I eventually stopped doing it.
I felt endangered, of course, a woman going about through Germany wearing a star of David. But more than that, I experienced a conspicuous and dreadful self-reproach at being so alive, so happily on vacation, now that I had come to think about the murder of my people hundreds of years before. After reading that plaque I stopped enjoying myself and began to look for other signs and traces of the mistreatment of the former Jewish community. If I had stayed longer in Nuremburg [sic], if I had gone further in this direction, I might soon have come to believe that I, personally, and my people, currently, were threatened by the contemporary Germans eating ice cream in an outdoor cafe in the square. How much more potent this tendency for alarm must be in the Middle East, in the middle of a war zone!
Notice the powerful sense of history here. Jews have a very long historical memory. Events that happened centuries ago color their current perceptions.
This powerful sense of group endangerment and historical grievance is associated with a hyperbolic style of Jewish thought that runs repeatedly through Jewish rhetoric. Chernin’s comment that “any negativity, criticism, or reproach, even from one of our own, takes on exaggerated dimensions” is particularly important. In the Jewish mind, all criticism must be suppressed because not to do so would be to risk another Holocaust: “There is no such thing as overreaction to an anti-Semitic incident, no such thing as exaggerating the omnipresent danger. Anyone who scoffed at the idea that there were dangerous portents in American society hadn’t learned ‘the lesson of the Holocaust.’” Norman Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, a premier neoconservative journal published by the American Jewish Committee, provides an example:
[M]y own view is that what had befallen the Jews of Europe inculcated a subliminal lesson…. The lesson was that anti-Semitism, even the relatively harmless genteel variety that enforced quotas against Jewish students or kept their parents from joining fashionable clubs or getting jobs in prestigious Wall Street law firms, could end in mass murder.
This is a “slippery slope” argument with a vengeance. The schema is as follows: Criticism of Jews indicates dislike of Jews; this leads to hostility toward Jews, which leads to Hitler and eventually to mass murder. Therefore all criticism of Jews must be suppressed. With this sort of logic, it is easy to dismiss arguments about Palestinian rights on the West Bank and Gaza because “the survival of Israel” is at stake. Consider, for example, the following advertisement distributed by neoconservative publicist David Horowitz:
The Middle East struggle is not about right versus right. It is about a fifty-year effort by the Arabs to destroy the Jewish state, and the refusal of the Arab states in general and the Palestinian Arabs in particular to accept Israel’s existence…. The Middle East conflict is not about Israel’s occupation of the territories; it is about the refusal of the Arabs to make peace with Israel, which is an expression of their desire to destroy the Jewish state.
“Survival of Israel” arguments thus trump concerns about allocation of scarce resources like water, the seizure of Palestinian land, collective punishment, torture, and the complete degradation of Palestinian communities into isolated, military-occupied, Bantustan-type enclaves. The logic implies that critics of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza also favor the destruction of Israel and hence the mass murder of millions of Jews.
Similarly, during the debate over selling military hardware to Saudi Arabia in the Carter administration, “the Israeli lobby pulled out all the stops,” including circulating books to Congress based on the TV series The Holocaust. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the main Jewish lobbying group in Congress, included a note stating, “This chilling account of the extermination of six million Jews underscores Israel’s concerns during the current negotiations for security without reliance on outside guarantees.” In other words, selling AWACS reconnaissance planes to Saudi Arabia, a backward kingdom with little military capability, is tantamount to collusion in the extermination of millions of Jews.
Jewish thinking about immigration into the U.S. shows the same logic. Lawrence Aus-ter, a Jewish conservative, describes the logic as follows:
The liberal notion that “all bigotry is indivisible” [advocated by Norman Podhoretz] implies that all manifestations of ingroup/outgroup feeling are essentially the same— and equally wrong. It denies the obvious fact that some outgroups are more different from the ingroup, and hence less assimilable, and hence more legitimately excluded, than other outgroups. It means, for example, that wanting to exclude Muslim immigrants from America is as blameworthy as wanting to exclude Catholics or Jews.
Now when Jews put together the idea that “all social prejudice and exclusion leads potentially to Auschwitz” with the idea that “all bigotry is indivisible,” they must reach the conclusion that any exclusion of any group, no matter how alien it may be to the host society, is a potential Auschwitz.
So there it is. We have identified the core Jewish conviction that makes Jews keep pushing relentlessly for mass immigration, even the mass immigration of their deadliest enemies. In the thought-process of Jews, to keep Jew-hating Muslims out of America would be tantamount to preparing the way to another Jewish Holocaust.
The idea that any sort of exclusionary thinking on the part of Americans—and especially European Americans as a majority group—leads inexorably to a Holocaust for Jews is not the only reason why Jewish organizations still favor mass immigration. I have identified two others as well: The belief that greater diversity makes Jews safer and an intense sense of historical grievance against the traditional peoples and culture of the United States and Europe. These two sentiments also illustrate Jewish moral particularism because they fail to consider the ethnic interests of other peoples in thinking about immigration policy. Recently the “diversity-as-safety” argument was made by Leonard S. Glickman, president and CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a Jewish group that has advocated open immigration to the United States for over a century. Glickman stated, “The more diverse American society is the safer [Jews] are.” At the present time, the HIAS is deeply involved in recruiting refugees from Africa to emigrate to the U.S.
The diversity as safety argument and its linkage to historical grievances against European civilization is implicit in a recent statement of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) in response to former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing’s argument that Muslim Turkey has no place in the European Union:
Ironically, in the fifteenth century, when European monarchs expelled the Jews, it was Moslem Turkey that provided them a welcome…. During the Holocaust, when Europe was slaughtering its Jews, it was Turkish consuls who extended protection to fugitives from Vichy France and other Nazi allies…. Today’s European neo-Nazis and skinheads focus upon Turkish victims while, Mr. President, you are reported to be considering the Pope’s plea that your Convention emphasize Europe’s Christian heritage. [The Center suggested that Giscard’s new Constitution] underline the pluralism of a multi-faith and multi-ethnic Europe, in which the participation of Moslem Turkey might bolster the continent’s Moslem communities—and, indeed, Turkey itself—against the menaces of extremism, hate and fundamentalism. A European Turkey can only be beneficial for stability in Europe and the Middle East.
Here we see Jewish moral particularism combined with a profound sense of historical grievance—hatred by any other name—against European civilization and a desire for the end of Europe as a Christian civilization with its traditional ethnic base. According to the SWC, the menaces of “extremism, hate and fundamentalism”—prototypically against Jews—can only be repaired by jettisoning the traditional cultural and ethnic basis of European civilization. Events that happened five hundred years ago are still fresh in the minds of Jewish activists—a phenomenon that should give pause to everyone in an age when Israel has control of nuclear weapons and long-range delivery systems.
Indeed, a recent article on Assyrians in the U.S. shows that many Jews have not forgiven or forgotten events of 2,700 years ago, when the Northern Israelite kingdom was forcibly relocated to the Assyrian capital of Nineveh: “Some Assyrians say Jews are one group of people who seem to be more familiar with them. But because the Hebrew Bible describes Assyrians as cruel and ruthless conquerors, people such as the Rev. William Nissan say he is invariably challenged by Jewish rabbis and scholars about the misdeeds of his ancestors.”
The SWC inveighs against hate but fails to confront the issue of hatred as a normative aspect of Judaism. Jewish hatred toward non-Jews emerges as a consistent theme throughout the ages, beginning in the ancient world. The Roman historian Tacitus noted that “Among themselves they are inflexibly honest and ever ready to show compassion, though they regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies.” The eighteenth-century English historian Edward Gibbon was struck by the fanatical hatred of Jews in the ancient world:
From the reign of Nero to that of Antoninus Pius, the Jews discovered a fierce impatience of the dominion of Rome, which repeatedly broke out in the most furious massacres and insurrections. Humanity is shocked at the recital of the horrid cruelties which they committed in the cities of Egypt, of Cyprus, and of Cyrene, where they dwelt in treacherous friendship with the unsuspecting natives; and we are tempted to applaud the severe retaliation which was exercised by the arms of the legions against a race of fanatics, whose dire and credulous superstition seemed to render them the implacable enemies not only of the Roman government, but of human kind.
The nineteenth-century Spanish historian José Amador de los Rios wrote of the Spanish Jews who assisted the Muslim conquest of Spain that “without any love for the soil where they lived, without any of those affections that ennoble a people, and finally without sentiments of generosity, they aspired only to feed their avarice and to accomplish the ruin of the Goths; taking the opportunity to manifest their rancor, and boasting of the hatreds that they had hoarded up so many centuries.” In 1913, economist Werner Sombart, in his classic Jews and Modern Capitalism, summarized Judaism as “a group by themselves and therefore separate and apart—this from the earliest antiquity. All nations were struck by their hatred of others.”
A recent article by Meir Y. Soloveichik, aptly titled “The virtue of hate,” amplifies this theme of normative Jewish fanatical hatred. “Judaism believes that while forgiveness is often a virtue, hate can be virtuous when one is dealing with the frightfully wicked. Rather than forgive, we can wish ill; rather than hope for repentance, we can instead hope that our enemies experience the wrath of God.” Soloveichik notes that the Old Testament is replete with descriptions of horribly violent deaths inflicted on the enemies of the Israelites—the desire not only for revenge but for revenge in the bloodiest, most degrading manner imaginable: “The Hebrew prophets not only hated their enemies, but rather reveled in their suffering, finding in it a fitting justice.” In the Book of Esther, after the Jews kill the ten sons of Haman, their persecutor, Esther asks that they be hanged on a gallows.
This normative fanatical hatred in Judaism can be seen by the common use among Orthodox Jews of the phrase yemach shemo, meaning, may his name be erased. This phrase is used “whenever a great enemy of the Jewish nation, of the past or present, is mentioned. For instance, one might very well say casually, in the course of conversation, ‘Thank God, my grandparents left Germany before Hitler, yemach shemo, came to power.’ Or: ‘My parents were murdered by the Nazis, yemach shemam.’” Again we see that the powerful consciousness of past suffering leads to present-day intense hatred:
Another danger inherent in hate is that we may misdirect our odium at institutions in the present because of their past misdeeds. For instance, some of my coreligionists reserve special abhorrence for anything German, even though Germany is currently one of the most pro-Israel countries in Europe. Similarly, after centuries of suffering, many Jews have, in my own experience, continued to despise religious Christians, even though it is secularists and Islamists who threaten them today, and Christians should really be seen as their natural allies. Many Jewish intellectuals and others of influence still take every assertion of the truth of Christianity as an anti-Semitic attack. After the Catholic Church beatified Edith Stein, a Jewish convert to Christianity, some prominent Jews asserted that the Church was attempting to cover up its role in causing the Holocaust. And then there is the historian Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, who essentially has asserted that any attempt by the Catholic Church to maintain that Christianity is the one true faith marks a continuation of the crimes of the Church in the past. Burning hatred, once kindled, is difficult to extinguish.
Soloveichik could also have included Jewish hatred toward the traditional peoples and culture of the United States. This hatred stems from Jewish memory of the immigration law of 1924, which is seen as having resulted in a greater number of Jews dying in the Holocaust because it restricted Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe during the 1920s and 1930s. Jews are also acutely aware of widespread anti-Jewish attitudes in the U.S. prior to World War II. The hatred continues despite the virtual disappearance of anti-Jewish attitudes in the U.S. after World War II and despite the powerful ties between the United States and Israel.
Given the transparently faulty logic and obvious self-interest involved in arguments made by Jewish activists, it is not unreasonable to suppose that Jews are often engaged in self-deception. In fact, self-deception is a very important component of Jewish moral particularism. I wrote an entire chapter on Jewish self-deception in Separation and Its Discontents, but it was nowhere near enough. Again, Kim Chernin:
Our sense of victimization as a people works in a dangerous and seditious way against our capacity to know, to recognize, to name and to remember. Since we have adopted ourselves as victims we cannot correctly read our own history let alone our present circumstances. Even where the story of our violence is set down in a sacred text that we pore over again and again, we cannot see it. Our self-election as the people most likely to be victimized obscures rather than clarifies our own tradition.
I can’t count the number of times I read the story of Joshua as a tale of our people coming into their rightful possession of their promised land without stopping to say to myself, “but this is a history of rape, plunder, slaughter, invasion and destruction of other peoples.” As such, it bears an uncomfortably close resemblance to the behavior of Israeli settlers and the Israeli army of today, a behavior we also cannot see for what it is.
We are tracing the serpentine path of our own psychology. We find it organized around a persuasion of victimization, which leads to a sense of entitlement to enact violence, which brings about an inevitable distortion in the way we perceive both our Jewish identity and the world, and involves us finally in a tricky relationship to language.
Political columnist Joe Sobran—who has suffered professionally for expressing his opinions about Israel—exposes the moral particularism of Norman Podhoretz, one of the chorus of influential Jewish voices who advocate restructuring the entire Middle East in the interests of Israel:
Podhoretz has unconsciously exposed the Manichaean fantasy world of so many of those who are now calling for war with Iraq. The United States and Israel are “good”; the Arab-Muslim states are “evil”; and those opposed to this war represent “moral relativism,” ostensibly neutral but virtually on the side of “evil.”
This is simply deranged. The ability to see evil only in one’s enemies isn’t “moral clarity.” It’s the essence of fanaticism. We are now being counseled to fight one kind of fanaticism with another. [My emphasis]
As Sobran notes, the moral particularism is unconscious—an example of self-deception. The world is cut up into two parts, the good and the evil—ingroup-outgroup—as it has been, for Jews, for well over two thousand years. Recently Jared Taylor and David Horowitz got into a discussion which touched on Jewish issues. Taylor writes:
Mr. Horowitz deplores the idea that “we are all prisoners of identity politics,” implying that race and ethnicity are trivial matters we must work to overcome. But if that is so, why does the home page of FrontPageMag carry a perpetual appeal for contributions to “David’s Defense of Israel Campaign”? Why Israel rather than, say, Kurdistan or Tibet or Euskadi or Chechnya? Because Mr. Horowitz is Jewish. His commitment to Israelis an expression of precisely the kind of particularist identity he would deny to me and to other racially-conscious whites. He passionately supports a self-consciously Jewish state but calls it “surrendering to the multicultural miasma” when I work to return to a self-consciously white America. He supports an explicitly ethnic identity for Israel but says American must not be allowed to have one….
If he supports a Jewish Israel, he should support a white America.
Taylor is suggesting that Horowitz is self-deceived or inconsistent. It is interesting that Horowitz was acutely aware of his own parents’ self-deception. Horowitz’s description of his parents shows the strong ethnocentrism that lurked beneath the noisy universalism of Jewish communists in mid-twentieth century America. In his book, Radical Son, Horowitz describes the world of his parents who had joined a “shul” (i.e., a synagogue) run by the Communist Party in which Jewish holidays were given a political interpretation. Psychologically these people might as well have been in eighteenth-century Poland, but they were completely unaware of any Jewish identity. Horowitz writes:
What my parents had done in joining the Communist Party and moving to Sunnyside was to return to the ghetto. There was the same shared private language, the same hermetically sealed universe, the same dual posturing revealing one face to the outer world and another to the tribe. More importantly, there was the same conviction of being marked for persecution and specially ordained, the sense of moral superiority toward the stronger and more numerous goyim outside. And there was the same fear of expulsion for heretical thoughts, which was the fear that riveted the chosen to the faith.
Jews recreate Jewish social structure wherever they are, even when they are completely unaware they are doing so. When asked about their Jewish commitments, these communists denied having any. Nor were they consciously aware of having chosen ethnically Jewish spouses, although they all married other Jews. This denial has been useful for Jewish organizations and Jewish intellectual apologists attempting to de-emphasize the role of Jews on the radical left in the twentieth century. For example, a common tactic of the ADL beginning in the Red Scare era of the 1920s right up through the Cold War era was to claim that Jewish radicals were no longer Jews because they had no Jewish religious commitments.
Non-Jews run the risk of failing to truly understand how powerful these Jewish traits of moral particularism and self-deception really are. When confronted with his own rabid support for Israel, Horowitz simply denies that ethnicity has much to do with it; he supports Israel as a matter of principle—his commitment to universalist moral principles—and he highlights the relationship between Israel and the West: “Israel is under attack by the same enemy that has attacked the United States. Israel is the point of origin for the culture of the West.” This ignores the reality that, as noted by the 9/11 Commission Report, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is a major part of the reason why the United States was attacked and is hated throughout the Arab world (see p. 125, endnote 241). It also ignores the fact that Western culture and its strong strain of individualism are the antithesis of Judaism, and that Israel’s Western veneer overlays the deep structure of Israel as an apartheid, ethnically based state.
It’s difficult to argue with people who cannot see or at least won’t acknowledge the depths of their own ethnic commitments and continue to act in ways that compromise the ethnic interests of others. People like Horowitz (and his parents) can’t see their ethnic commitments even when they are obvious to everyone else. One could perhaps say the same of Charles Krauthammer, William Safire, William Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, and the legion of prominent Jews who collectively dominate the perception of Israel presented by the U.S. media. Not surprisingly, Horowitz pictures the U.S. as a set of universal principles, with no ethnic content. This idea originated with Jewish intellectuals, particularly Horace Kallen, almost a century ago at a time when there was a strong conception that the United States was a European civilization whose characteristics were racially/ethnically based. As we all know, this world and its intellectual infrastructure have vanished, and I have tried to show that the prime force opposing a European racial/ethnic conception of the U.S. was a set of Jewish intellectual and political movements that collectively pathologized any sense of European ethnicity or European ethnic interests.
Given that extreme ethnocentrism continues to pervade all segments of the organized Jewish community, the advocacy of the de-ethnicization of Europeans—a common sentiment in the movements I discuss in Culture of Critique (CofC)—is best seen as a strategic move against peoples regarded as historical enemies. In Chapter 8 of CofC, I call attention to a long list of similar double standards, especially with regard to the policies pursued by Israel versus the policies Jewish organizations have pursued in the U.S. These policies include church-state separation, attitudes toward multiculturalism, and immigration policies favoring the dominant ethnic group. This double standard is fairly pervasive. As noted throughout CofC, Jewish advocates addressing Western audiences have promoted policies that satisfy Jewish (particularist) interests in terms of the morally universalist language that is a central feature of Western moral and intellectual discourse; obviously David Horowitz’s rationalization of his commitment to Israel is a prime example of this.
A principal theme of CofC is that Jewish organizations played a decisive role in opposing the idea that the United States ought to be a European nation. Nevertheless, these organizations have been strong supporters of Israel as a nation of the Jewish people. Consider, for example, a press release of May 28, 1999, by the ADL:
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today lauded the passage of sweeping changes in Germany’s immigration law, saying the easing of the nation’s once rigorous naturalization requirements “will provide a climate for diversity and acceptance. It is encouraging to see pluralism taking root in a society that, despite its strong democracy, had for decades maintained an unyielding policy of citizenship by blood or descent only,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “The easing of immigration requirements is especially significant in light of Germany’s history of the Holocaust and persecution of Jews and other minority groups. The new law will provide a climate for diversity and acceptance in a nation with an onerous legacy of xenophobia, where the concept of ‘us versus them’ will be replaced by a principle of citizenship for all.”
There is no mention of analogous laws in place in Israel restricting immigration to Jews, or of the long-standing policy of rejecting the possibility of repatriation for Palestinian refugees wishing to return to Israel or the occupied territories. The prospective change in the “us versus them” attitude alleged to be characteristic of Germany is applauded, while the “us versus them” attitude characteristic of Israel and Jewish culture throughout history is unmentioned. Recently, the Israeli Ministry of Interior ruled that new immigrants who have converted to Judaism will no longer be able to bring non-Jewish family members into the country. The decision is expected to cut by half the number of eligible immigrants to Israel. Nevertheless, Jewish organizations continue to be strong proponents of multiethnic immigration to the United States while maintaining unquestioning support for Israel. This pervasive double standard was noticed by writer Vincent Sheean in his observations of Zionists in Palestine in 1930: “how idealism goes hand in hand with the most terrific cynicism; … how they are Fascists in their own affairs, with regard to Palestine, and internationalists in everything else.” The right hand does not know what the left is doing—self-deception writ large.
Jewish ethnocentrism is well founded in the sense that scientific studies supporting the genetic cohesiveness of Jewish groups continue to appear. Most notable of the recent studies is that of Michael Hammer and colleagues. Based on Y-chromosome data, Hammer et al. conclude that 1 in 200 matings within Jewish communities were with non-Jews over a 2000-year period.
Because of their intense ethnocentrism, Jews tend to have great rapport with each oth-er—an important ingredient in producing effective groups. One way to understand this powerful attraction for fellow ethnic group members is J. Philippe Rushton’s Genetic Similarity Theory. According to GST, people are attracted to others who are genetically similar to themselves. One of the basic ideas of evolutionary biology is that people are expected to help relatives because they share similar genes. When a father helps a child or an uncle helps a nephew, he is really also helping himself because of their close genetic relationship. (Parents share half their genes with their children; uncles share one-fourth of their genes with nieces and nephews.) GST extends this concept to non-relatives by arguing that people benefit when they favor others who are genetically similar to them even if they are not relatives.
GST has some important implications for understanding cooperation and cohesiveness among Jews. It predicts that people will be friendlier to other people who are genetically more similar to themselves. In the case of Jews and non-Jews, it predicts that Jews would be more likely to make friends and alliances with other Jews, and that there would be high levels of rapport and psychological satisfaction within these relationships.
GST explains the extraordinary rapport and cohesiveness among Jews. Since the vast majority of Jews are closely related genetically, GST predicts that they will be very attracted to other Jews and may even be able to recognize them in the absence of distinctive clothing and hair styles. There is anecdotal evidence for this statement. Theologian Eugene Borowitz writes that Jews seek each other out in social situations and feel “far more at home” after they have discovered who is Jewish. “Most Jews claim to be equipped with an interpersonal friend-or-foe sensing device that enables them to detect the presence of another Jew, despite heavy camouflage.” Another Jewish writer comments on the incredible sense of oneness he has with other Jews and his ability to recognize other Jews in public places, a talent some Jews call “J-dar.” While dining with his non-Jewish fiancée, he is immediately recognized as Jewish by some other Jews, and there is an immediate “bond of brotherhood” between them that excludes his non-Jewish companion.
Robert Reich, Clinton administration Secretary of Labor, wrote that in his first face-to-face meeting with Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan:
We have never met before, but I instantly know him. One look, one phrase, and I know where he grew up, how he grew up, where he got his drive and his sense of humor. He is New York. He is Jewish. He looks like my uncle Louis, his voice is my uncle Sam. I feel we’ve been together at countless weddings, bar mitzvahs, and funerals. I know his genetic structure. I’m certain that within the last five hundred years—perhaps even more recently—we shared the same ancestor.
Reich is almost certainly correct: He and Greenspan do indeed have a recent common ancestor, and this genetic affinity causes them to have an almost supernatural attraction to each other. Or consider Sigmund Freud, who wrote that he found “the attraction of Judaism and of Jews so irresistible, many dark emotional powers, all the mightier the less they let themselves be grasped in words, as well as the clear consciousness of inner identity, the secrecy of the same mental construction.”
Any discussion of Judaism has to start and probably end with this incredibly strong bond that Jews have among each other—a bond that is created by their close genetic relationship and by the intensification of the psychological mechanisms underlying group cohesion. This powerful rapport among Jews translates into a heightened ability to cooperate in highly focused groups.
To conclude this section: In general, the contemporary organized Jewish community is characterized by high levels of Jewish identification and ethnocentrism. Jewish activist organizations like the ADL, the American Jewish Committee, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and the neoconservative think tanks are not creations of the fundamentalist and Orthodox, but represent the broad Jewish community, including non-religious Jews and Reform Jews. In general, the more actively people are involved in the Jewish community, the more committed they are to preventing intermarriage and retaining Jewish ethnic cohesion. And despite a considerable level of intermarriage among less committed Jews, the leadership of the Jewish community in the U.S. is at present not made up of the offspring of intermarried people to any significant extent.
Jewish ethnocentrism is ultimately simple traditional human ethnocentrism, although it is certainly among the more extreme varieties. But what is so fascinating is the cloak of intellectual support for Jewish ethnocentrism, the complexity and intellectual sophistication of the rationalizations for it—some of which are reviewed in Separation and Its Discontents and the rather awesome hypocrisy (or cold-blooded deception) of it, given Jewish opposition to ethnocentrism among Europeans.
II. Jews Are Intelligent (and Wealthy)
The vast majority of U.S. Jews are Ashkenazi Jews. This is a very intelligent group, with an average IQ of approximately 115 and verbal IQ considerably higher. Since verbal IQ is the best predictor of occupational success and upward mobility in contemporary societies, it is not surprising that Jews are an elite group in the United States. Frank Salter has showed that on issues of concern to the Jewish community (Israel, immigration, ethnic policy in general), Jewish groups have four times the influence of European Americans despite representing approximately 2.5% of the population. Recent data indicate that Jewish per capita income in the U.S. is almost double that of non-Jews, a bigger difference than the black-white income gap. Although Jews make up less than 3% of the population, they constitute more than a quarter of the people on the Forbes list of the richest four hundred Americans. Jews constitute 45% of the top forty of the Forbes 400 richest Americans. Fully one-third of all American multimillionaires are Jewish. The percentage of Jewish households with income greater than $50,000 is double that of non-Jews; on the other hand, the percentage of Jewish households with income less than $20,000 is half that of non-Jews. Twenty percent of professors at leading universities are Jewish, and 40% of partners in leading New York and Washington, D.C., law firms are Jewish.
In 1996, there were approximately 300 national Jewish organizations in the United States, with a combined budget estimated in the range of $6 billion—a sum greater than the gross national product of half the members of the United Nations. For example, in 2001 the ADL claimed an annual budget of over $50,000,000. There is also a critical mass of very wealthy Jews who are actively involved in funding Jewish causes. Irving Moskowitz funds the settler movement in Israel and pro-Israeli, neoconservative think tanks in Washington, D.C., while Charles Bronfman, Ronald Lauder, and the notorious Marc Rich fund Birthright Israel, a program that aims to increase ethnic consciousness among Jews by bringing 20,000 young Jews to Israel every year. George Soros finances liberal immigration policy throughout the Western world and also funds Noel Ignatiev and his “Race Traitor” website dedicated to the abolition of the white race. So far as I know, there are no major sources of funding aimed at increasing ethnic consciousness among Europeans or at promoting European ethnic interests. Certainly the major sources of conservative funding in the U.S., such as the Bradley and Olin Foundations, are not aimed at this sort of thing. Indeed, the Bradley Foundation has been a major source of funding for the largely Jewish neoconservative movement and for pro-Israel think tanks such as the Center for Security Policy.
Paul Findley provides numerous examples of Jews using their financial clout to support political candidates with positions that are to the liking of AIPAC and other pro-Israel activist groups in the U.S. This very large financial support for pro-Israel candidates continues into the present—the most recent examples being the campaigns to unseat Cynthia McKinney and Earl Hilliard from Congress in 2002. Because of their predominantly Jewish funding base, Democratic candidates are particularly vulnerable, but all candidates experience this pressure because Jewish support will be funneled to their opponents if there is any hint of disagreement with the pro-Israel lobby.
Intelligence is also important in providing access to the entire range of influential positions, from the academic world, to the media, to business, politics, and the legal profession. In CofC I describe several influential Jewish intellectual movements developed by networks of Jews who were motivated to advance Jewish causes and interests. These movements were the backbone of the intellectual left in the twentieth century, and their influence continues into the present. Collectively, they call into question the fundamental moral, political, and economic foundations of Western society. These movements have been advocated with great intellectual passion and moral fervor and with a very high level of theoretical sophistication. As with the neoconservative movement, discussed in the third article in this series, all of these movements had ready access to prestigious mainstream media sources, at least partly because of the high representation of Jews as owners and producers of mainstream media. All of these movements were strongly represented at prestigious universities, and their work was published by prestigious mainstream academic and commercial publishers.
Intelligence is also evident in Jewish activism. Jewish activism is like a full court press in basketball: intense pressure from every possible angle. But in addition to the intensity, Jewish efforts are very well organized, well funded, and backed up by sophisticated, scholarly intellectual defenses. A good example is the long and ultimately successful attempt to alter U.S. immigration policy. The main Jewish activist organization influencing immigration policy, the American Jewish Committee, was characterized by “strong leadership, internal cohesion, well-funded programs, sophisticated lobbying techniques, well-chosen non-Jewish allies, and good timing.” The most visible Jewish activists, such as Louis Marshall, were intellectually brilliant and enormously energetic and resourceful in their crusades on behalf of immigration and other Jewish causes. When restrictionist arguments appeared in the media, the American Jewish Committee made sophisticated replies based on at least the appearance of scholarly data, and typically couched in universalist terms as benefiting the whole society. Articles favorable to immigration were published in national magazines, and letters to the editor were published in newspapers. Talented lawyers initiated legal proceedings aimed at preventing the deportation of aliens.
The pro-immigration lobby was also very well organized. Immigration opponents, such as Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, and organizations like the Immigration Restriction League were kept under close scrutiny and pressured by lobbyists. Lobbyists in Washington also kept a daily scorecard of voting tendencies as immigration bills wended their way through Congress, and they engaged in intense and successful efforts to convince Presidents Taft and Wilson to veto restrictive immigration legislation. Catholic prelates were recruited to protest the effects of restrictionist legislation on immigration from Italy and Hungary. There were well-organized efforts to minimize the negative perceptions of immigration by distributing Jewish immigrants around the country and by getting Jewish aliens off public support. Highly visible and noisy mass protest meetings were organized.
Intelligence and organization are also apparent in contemporary Jewish lobbying on behalf of Israel. Les Janka, a U.S. Defense Department official, noted that, “On all kinds of foreign policy issues the American people just don’t make their voices heard. Jewish groups are the exceptions. They are prepared, superbly briefed. They have their act together. It is hard for bureaucrats not to respond.”
Morton A. Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), is typical of the highly intelligent, competent, and dedicated Jewish activist. The ZOA website states that Klein had a distinguished career as a biostatistician in academe and in government service in the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations. He has received accolades as one of the leading Jewish activists in the U.S., especially by media that are closely associated with Likud policies in Israel. For example, the Wall Street Journal called the ZOA “heroic and the most credible advocate for Israel on the American Jewish scene today” and added that we should “snap a salute to those who were right about Oslo and Arafat all along, …including Morton Klein who was wise, brave and unflinchingly honest…. [W]hen the history of the American Jewish struggle in these years is written, Mr. Klein will emerge as an outsized figure.” The website boasts of Klein’s success “against anti-Israel bias in textbooks, travel guides, universities, churches, and the media, as well as his work on Capitol Hill.” Klein has led successful efforts to block the appointment of Joe Zogby, an Arab American, to the State Department and the appointment of Strobe Talbott, Clinton nominee for Deputy Secretary of State. Klein’s pro-Israel articles have appeared in a wide range of mainstream and Jewish media: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New Republic, New Yorker, Commentary, Near East Report, Reform Judaism, Moment, Forward, Jerusalem Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Ha’aretz (Jerusalem), Maariv (Jerusalem), and the Israeli-Russian paper Vesti.
Klein’s activism highlights the importance of access to the major media enjoyed by Jewish activists and organizations—a phenomenon that is traceable ultimately to Jewish intelligence. Jews have a very large presence in the media as owners, writers, producers, and editors—far larger than any other identifiable group. In the contemporary world, this presence is especially important with respect to perceptions of Israel. Media coverage of Israel in the U.S. is dominated by a pro-Israel bias, whereas in most of the world the predominant view is that the Palestinians are a dispossessed people under siege. A critical source of support for Israel is the army of professional pundits “who can be counted upon to support Israel reflexively and without qualification.” Perhaps the most egregious example of pro-Israel bias resulting from Jewish media control is the Asper family, owners of CanWest, a company that controls over 33% of the English-language newspapers in Canada. CanWest inaugurated an editorial policy in which all editorials had to be approved by the main office. As the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression notes, “the Asper family staunchly supports Israel in its conflicts with Palestinians, and coverage of the Middle East appears to be a particularly sensitive area.” CanWest has exercised control over the content of articles related to Israel by editing and spiking articles with pro-Palestinian or anti-Israeli views. Journalists who have failed to adopt CanWest positions have been reprimanded or dismissed.
III. Jews Are Psychologically Intense
I have compared Jewish activism to a full court press—relentlessly intense and covering every possible angle. There is considerable evidence that Jews are higher than average on emotional intensity. Emotionally intense people are prone to intense emotional experience of both positive and negative emotions. Emotionality may be thought of as a behavioral intensifier—an energizer. Individuals high on affect intensity have more complex social networks and more complex lives, including multiple and even conflicting goals. Their goals are intensely sought after.
In the case of Jews, this affects the tone and intensity of their efforts at activism. Among Jews there is a critical mass that is intensely committed to Jewish causes—a sort of 24/7, “pull out all the stops” commitment that produces instant, massive responses on Jewish issues. Jewish activism has a relentless, never-say-die quality. This intensity goes hand in hand with the “slippery slope” style of arguing described above: Jewish activism is an intense response because even the most trivial manifestation of anti-Jewish attitudes or behavior is seen as inevitably leading to mass murder of Jews if allowed to continue.
Besides its ability to direct Jewish money to its preferred candidates, a large part of AIPAC’s effectiveness lies in its ability to rapidly mobilize its 60,000 members. “In virtually every congressional district…AIPAC has a group of prominent citizens it can mobilize if an individual senator or representative needs stroking.” When Senator Charles Percy suggested that Israel negotiate with the PLO and be willing to trade land for peace, he was inundated with 2,200 telegrams and 4,000 letters, 95% against, and mainly from the Jewish community in Chicago. The other side is seldom able to muster a response that competes with the intensity of the Jewish response. When President Eisenhower—the last president to stand up to the pro-Israel lobby—pressured Israel into withdrawing from the Sinai in 1957, almost all the mail opposed his decision. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles complained, “It is impossible to hold the line because we get no support from the Protestant elements in the country. All we get is a battering from the Jews.” This pales in comparison to the avalanche of 150,000 letters to President Johnson urging support for Israel when Egypt closed the Strait of Tiran in May 1967. This was just prior to the “Six-Day War,” during which the U.S. provided a great deal of military assistance and actively cooperated in the cover-up of the assault on the USS Liberty. Jews had learned from their defeat at the hands of Eisenhower and had redoubled their lobbying efforts, creating by all accounts the most effective lobby in Washington.
Pressure on officials in the State and Defense departments is relentless and intense. In the words of one official, “One has to keep in mind the constant character of this pressure. The public affairs staff of the Near East Bureau in the State Department figures it will spend about 75 percent of its time dealing with Jewish groups. Hundreds of such groups get appointments in the executive branch each year.”
Psychological intensity is also typical of Israelis. For example, the Israelis are remarkably persistent in their attempts to obtain U.S. military hardware. The following comment illustrates not only the relentless, intense pressure, but also the aggressiveness of Jewish pursuit of their interests: “They would never take no for an answer. They never gave up. These emissaries of a foreign government always had a shopping list of wanted military items, some of them high technology that no other nation possessed, some of it secret devices that gave the United States an edge over any adversary.” Even though they are small in number, their effect is enormous. “They never seem to sleep, guarding Israel’s interests around the clock.” Henry Kissinger made the following comment on Israeli negotiating tactics: “In the combination of single-minded persistence and convoluted tactics the Israelis preserve in the interlocutor only those last vestiges of sanity and coherence needed to sign the final document.”
IV. Jews Are Aggressive
Being aggressive and “pushy” is part of the stereotype of Jews in Western societies. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of scientific studies on this aspect of Jewish personality. Hans Eysenck, renowned for his research on personality, claims that Jews are indeed rated more aggressive by people who know them well.
Jews have always behaved aggressively toward those they have lived among, and they have been perceived as aggressive by their critics. What strikes the reader of Henry Ford’s The International Jew (TIJ), written in the early 1920s, is its portrayal of Jewish intensity and aggressiveness in asserting their interests. As TIJ notes, from Biblical times Jews have endeavored to enslave and dominate other peoples, even in disobedience of divine command, quoting the Old Testament, “And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.” In the Old Testament the relationship between Israel and foreigners is one of domination: For example, “They shall go after thee, in chains they shall come over; And they shall fall down unto thee. They shall make supplication unto thee” (Isa. 45:14); “They shall bow down to thee with their face to the earth, And lick the dust of thy feet” (49:23). Similar sentiments appear in Trito-Isaiah (60:14, 61:5-6), Ezekiel (e.g., 39:10), and Ecclesiasticus (36:9). The apotheosis of Jewish attitudes of conquest can be seen in the Book of Jubilees, where world domination and great reproductive success are promised to the seed of Abraham:
I am the God who created heaven and earth. I shall increase you, and multiply you exceedingly; and kings shall come from you and shall rule wherever the foot of the sons of man has trodden. I shall give to your seed all the earth which is under heaven, and they shall rule over all the nations according to their desire; and afterwards they shall draw the whole earth to themselves and shall inherit it for ever (Jub. 32:18-19).
Elsewhere I have noted that a major theme of anti-Jewish attitudes throughout the ages has been Jewish economic domination. The following petition from the citizens of the German town of Hirschau opposed allowing Jews to live there because Jews were seen as aggressive competitors who ultimately dominate the people they live among:
If only a few Jewish families settle here, all small shops, tanneries, hardware stores, and so on, which, as things stand, provide their proprietors with nothing but the scantiest of livelihoods, will in no time at all be superseded and completely crushed by these [Jews] such that at least twelve local families will be reduced to beggary, and our poor relief fund, already in utter extremity, will be fully exhausted within one year. The Jews come into possession in the shortest possible time of all cash money by getting involved in every business; they rapidly become the only possessors of money, and their Christian neighbors become their debtors.
Late nineteenth-century Zionists such as Theodor Herzl were quite aware that a prime source of modern anti-Jewish attitudes was that emancipation had brought Jews into direct economic competition with the non-Jewish middle classes, a competition that Jews typically won. Herzl “insisted that one could not expect a majority to ‘let themselves be subjugated’ by formerly scorned outsiders whom they had just released from the ghetto.” The theme of economic domination has often been combined with the view that Jews are personally aggressive. In the Middle Ages Jews were seen as “pitiless creditors.” The philosopher Immanuel Kant stated that Jews were “a nation of usurers …outwitting the people amongst whom they find shelter…. They make the slogan ‘let the buyer beware’ their highest principle in dealing with us.”
In early twentieth-century America, the sociologist Edward A. Ross commented on a greater tendency among Jewish immigrants to maximize their advantage in all transactions, ranging from Jewish students badgering teachers for higher grades to Jewish poor attempting to get more than the usual charitable allotment. “No other immigrants are so noisy, pushing and disdainful of the rights of others as the Hebrews.”
The authorities complain that the East European Hebrews feel no reverence for law as such and are willing to break any ordinance they find in their way…. The insurance companies scan a Jewish fire risk more closely than any other. Credit men say the Jewish merchant is often “slippery” and will “fail” in order to get rid of his debts. For lying the immigrant has a very bad reputation. In the North End of Boston “the readiness of the Jews to commit perjury has passed into a proverb.”
These characteristics have at times been noted by Jews themselves. In a survey commissioned by the American Jewish Committee’s study of the Jews of Baltimore in 1962, “two-thirds of the respondents admitted to believing that other Jews are pushy, hostile, vulgar, materialistic, and the cause of anti-Semitism. And those were only the ones who were willing to admit it.”
Jews were unique as an American immigrant group in their hostility toward American Christian culture and in their energetic, aggressive efforts to change that culture. From the perspective of Ford’s TIJ, the United States had imported around 3,500,000 mainly Yiddish-speaking, intensely Jewish immigrants over the previous forty years. In that very short period, Jews had had enormous effect on American society, particularly in their attempts to remove expressions of Christianity from public life beginning with an attempt in 1899-1900 to remove the word “Christian” from the Virginia Bill of Rights: “The Jews’ determination to wipe out of public life every sign of the predominant Christian character of the U.S. is the only active form of religious intolerance in the country today.”
A prototypical example of Jewish aggressiveness toward American culture has been Jewish advocacy of liberal immigration policies which have had a transformative effect on the U.S.:
In undertaking to sway immigration policy in a liberal direction, Jewish spokespersons and organizations demonstrated a degree of energy unsurpassed by any other interested pressure group. Immigration had constituted a prime object of concern for practically every major Jewish defense and community relations organization. Over the years, their spokespersons had assiduously attended congressional hearings, and the Jewish effort was of the utmost importance in establishing and financing such non-sectarian groups as the National Liberal Immigration League and the Citizens Committee for Displaced Persons.
Jewish aggressiveness and their role in the media, in the creation of culture and information in the social sciences and humanities, and in the political process in the United States contrasts with the role of Overseas Chinese. The Chinese have not formed a hostile cultural elite in Southeast Asian countries motivated by historical grievances against the people and culture of their hosts. For example, despite their economic dominance, the Chinese have not been concerned with restrictions on their citizenship rights, which have been common in Southeast Asia. Whereas the Chinese have reacted rather passively to such restrictions, Jews have reacted to any manifestation of anti-Jewish attitudes or behavior with an all-out effort at eradication. Indeed, we have seen that the mainstream Jewish attitude is that even trivial manifestations of anti-Jewish attitudes and behavior must not be ignored because they can and will lead to mass murder. Not only have the Chinese not attempted to remove public displays of symbols of Indonesian nationalism and religion, they have not seriously attempted to change laws in place since the 1960s mandating that there be no public displays of Chinese culture.
Besides the normal sorts of lobbying typical of the political process in the U.S., perhaps the clearest examples of Jewish aggressiveness are the many examples of intimidation of their opponents—loss of job, death threats, constant harassment, economic losses such as loss of advertising revenue for media businesses, and charges of anti-Semitism—the last being perhaps the greatest sin against the post-World War II political order that can be imagined. When Adlai Stevenson III was running for governor of Illinois, his record in opposition to Israeli settlement policy and his statement that the PLO was a legitimate voice of the Palestinian people resulted in a whisper campaign that he was an anti-Semite. Stevenson commented:
There is an intimidating, activist minority of American Jews that supports the decisions of the Israeli government, right or wrong. They do so very vocally and very aggressively in ways that intimidate others so that it’s their voice—even though it is a minority— that is heard in American politics. But it still is much louder in the United States than in Israel. In other words, you have a much stronger, more vocal dissent in Israel than within the Jewish community in the United States. The prime minister of Israel has far more influence over American foreign policy in the Middle East than over the policies of his own government generally.
A common tactic has been to charge that critics of Israel are anti-Semites. Indeed, George Ball, a perceptive critic of Israel and its U.S. constituency, maintains that the charge of anti-Semitism and guilt over the Holocaust is the Israeli lobby’s most effective weapon—outstripping its financial clout. The utility of these psychological weapons in turn derives from the very large Jewish influence on the U.S. media. Historian Peter Novick notes regarding the importance of the Holocaust in contemporary American life:
We [i.e., Jews] are not just “the people of the book,” but the people of the Hollywood film and the television miniseries, of the magazine article and the newspaper column, of the comic book and the academic symposium. When a high level of concern with the Holocaust became widespread in American Jewry, it was, given the important role that Jews play in American media and opinion-making elites, not only natural, but virtually inevitable that it would spread throughout the culture at large.
And, of course, the appeal to the Holocaust is especially compelling for American Jews. When the Mossad wants to recruit U.S. Jews for help in its espionage work, in the words of a CIA agent “the appeal is a simple one: ‘When the call went out and no one heeded it, the Holocaust resulted.’”
Charges of anti-Semitism and guilt over the Holocaust are not the only instruments of Jewish aggressiveness on Israeli issues. Jewish groups intimidate their enemies by a variety of means. People who oppose policies on Israel advocated by Jewish activist organizations have been fired from their jobs, harassed with letters, subjected to intrusive surveillance, and threatened with death. Although there is a great deal of self-censorship in the media on Israel as a result of the major role of Jews in the ownership and production of the media, gaps in this armor are aggressively closed. There are “threats to editors and advertising departments, orchestrated boycotts, slanders, campaigns of character assassination, and personal vendettas.” Other examples recounted by Findley include pressure on the Federal Communications Commission to stop broadcast licenses, demands for submission to an oversight committee prior to publication, and the stationing of a Jewish activist in the newsroom of the Washington Post in order to monitor the process.
The result of all this intense, well-organized aggression is that:
Those who criticize Israeli policy in any sustained way invite painful and relentless retaliation, and even loss of their livelihood by pressure from one or more parts of Israel’s lobby. Presidents fear it. Congress does its bidding. Prestigious universities shun academic programs and buckle under its pressure. Instead of having their arguments and opinions judged on merit, critics of Israel suddenly find their motivations, their integrity, and basic moral values called into question. No matter how moderate their criticism, they may be characterized as pawns of the oil lobby, apologists for Arabs, or even anti-Semitic.
The following quote from Henry Kissinger sums up the aggressive Israeli attitudes toward U.S. aid:
Yitzak [Rabin] had many extraordinary qualities, but the gift of human relations was not one of them. If he had been handed the entire “United States Strategic Air Command” as a free gift he would have (a) affected the attitude that at last Israel was getting its due, and (b) found some technical shortcoming in the airplanes that made his accepting them a reluctant concession to us.
But of course by far the most important examples of Israeli aggressiveness have been toward their neighbors in the Middle East. This aggression has been there from the beginning, as Israel has consistently put pressure on border areas with incursions, including the Kibya massacre of 1953 led by Ariel Sharon. The personal aggressiveness of Israeli society has long been a topic of commentators. Israel is known for its arrogance, insolence (chutzpah), coldness, roughness, rudeness, and lack of civility. For example, B. Z. Sobel, an Israeli sociologist at the University of Haifa, found that among the motivations for emigrating from Israel was that “there is indeed an edginess [in Israeli society]; tempers flare, and verbal violence is rampant”
The current situation in the United States is the result of an awesome deployment of Jewish power and influence. One must contemplate the fact that American Jews have managed to maintain unquestioned support for Israel over the last thirty-five years despite Israel’s seizing land and engaging in a brutal occupation of the Palestinians in the occupied territories—an occupation that will most likely end with expulsion or complete subjugation, degradation, and apartheid. During this same period Jewish organizations in America have been a principal force—in my view the main force—for erecting a state dedicated to suppressing ethnic identification among Europeans, for encouraging massive multi-ethnic immigration into the U.S., and for erecting a legal system and cultural ideology that is obsessively sensitive to the complaints and interests of ethnic minorities: the culture of the Holocaust.
American Judaism is well organized and lavishly funded. It has achieved a great deal of power, and it has been successful in achieving its interests. One of the great myths often promulgated by Jewish apologists is that Jews have no consensus and therefore cannot wield any real power. Yet there is in fact a great deal of consensus on broad Jewish issues, particularly in the areas of Israel and the welfare of other foreign Jewries, immigration and refugee policy, church-state separation, abortion rights, and civil liberties. Massive changes in public policy on these issues, beginning with the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960s, coincide with the period of increasing Jewish power and influence in the United States. Indeed, one is hard-pressed to find any significant area where public policy conflicts with the attitudes of mainstream Jewish organizations.
- MacDonald 1998a/2004, Ch. 3. ↩
- Ibid., Ch. 4. ↩
- MacDonald 1998b/2002. ↩
- Sacks 1993, ix-x. ↩
- MacDonald 1998b/2002, passim. ↩
- MacDonald 1994/2002, Ch. 8; 1998b/2002, Preface. ↩
- Burton et al. 1996. ↩
- See MacDonald 1994/2002, Chs. 3 and 8 for a discussion of Jewish tendencies toward polygyny, endogamy, and consanguineous marriage. ↩
- E.g., Coon 1958, 153; Eickelman 1981,157-174. ↩
- Coon 1958, 153. ↩
- Dumont 1982, 222. ↩
- MacDonald 1994/2002, Ch. 8; MacDonald 1998a2004, Ch. 1. ↩
- Hamilton 2001, 273. Hamilton likens Judaism to a speciation event in which there is a role for cultural practices such as food preparation: “the main (but moderate) differences from biological situations being that Judaism had come to use a cultural element of inheritance to replace what genes once had been doing more slowly” (p. 271). He also notes that, “In the world of animals, ants perhaps provide Homo’s nearest equivalent for typical broadness of niche. If an unspecialized ant species had a Bible, I’d expect to find in it extremely similar injunctions about food, ant genocide, and so forth, as I find in the actual Bible, and I would have no difficulty to suppose these as serving each ant colony well in its struggle for existence.” 271. ↩
- Hamilton 2001, 271-272. ↩
- Shahak and Mezvinsky 1999. ↩
- Ibid., p. 58. ↩
- Ibid., 59-60. ↩
- Wiesel 1985, 153. ↩
- Adelman 1999. ↩
- Lustick 1987, 123-124. ↩
- Shahak and Mezvinsky 1999, 8. ↩
- K. Chernin, Tikkun, Sept./Oct. 2002. http://www.tikkun.org/article.php/sep2002_chernin. ↩
- Novick 1999, 178. ↩
- Podhoretz 2000, 148. ↩
- Cannot find this anywhere – see my notes on Google Drive ↩
- In Findley 1989, 102. ↩
- L. Auster, The View from the Right, December 9, 2002. http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001041.html ↩
- See MacDonald 1998/2002, Preface and Ch. 7. ↩
- Forward, November 29, 2002. ↩
- The quote has been buried, but is also quoted here: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/320/1/MPRA_paper_320.pdf ↩
- Interview with Dutch-Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld, January 30, 2003: “We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force…. Our armed forces … are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen, before Israel goes under.” https://web.archive.org/web/20030201120417/http://www.de.indymedia.org/2003/01/39170.shtml ↩
- Assyrians hope for U.S. protection, Los Angeles Times (Orange County Edition), February 17, 2003, p. B8. ↩
- MacDonald 1998a, Ch. 2. ↩
- Tacitus 1942, p. 659. ↩
- Gibbon 1909, Ch. 16, 78. ↩
- In Walsh 1930, 196. ↩
- Sombart 1913, 240. ↩
- Soloveichik 2003. http://www.firstthings.com/article/2003/02/the-virtue-of-hate. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- See MacDonald 1998/2002, Preface. ↩
- MacDonald 1998a/2004. ↩
- K. Chernin, Tikkun, Sept./Oct. 2002. http://www.tikkun.org/article.php/sep2002_chernin. ↩
- Sobran, J. 2002. A Call for World War IV. Sobran’s, September 12. http://www.sobran.com/columns/2002/020912.shtml. ↩
- Taylor, J. 2002. David Horowitz Critiques AR. American Renaissance, September. http://www.amren.com/ar/2002/09/index.html#article2. ↩
- Horowitz 1997, 42. ↩
- See MacDonald 1998b/2002, Chap. 3. ↩
- MacDonald 1998a/2004, Ch. 6; 1998b/2002, Preface. ↩
- Horowitz 2002. ↩
- MacDonald 1998b/2002. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- www.adl.org/presrele/dirab%5F41/3396%5F41.asp. ↩
- Boyle 2001. ↩
- Hammer et al. 2000. ↩
- See Rushton 1989; 1999. ↩
- This refers to genes identical because they are inherited from a common ancestor. Uncles and nieces share one-fourth their genes only on average. Because the relationship is mediated though a sibling relationship, the actual percentage can vary. Siblings may be more or less like one another depending on random processes, but on average they share half their genes. ↩
- Borowitz 1973, 136. ↩
- Toronto Globe and Mail, May 11, 1993. ↩
- Reich 1997, 79. ↩
- In Gay 1988, 601. ↩
- MacDonald 1998a, Chs. 6-8. ↩
- MacDonald 1994/2002, Ch. 7. ↩
- Lynn 1992. ↩
- Salter 2002a. ↩
- Thernstrom and Thernstrom, 1997. ↩
- Silbiger 2000. ↩
- Goldberg 1996, 38-39. ↩
- http://www.adl.org. ↩
- Salter 2002a. ↩
- Vest 2002. ↩
- Findley 1989. ↩
- Lipset and Raab, 1995. ↩
- MacDonald 1998b/2002. ↩
- Ibid., Ch. 7. ↩
- Goldstein 1990, 333. ↩
- Neuringer 1971. ↩
- Findley 1989, 164. ↩
- http://zoa.org/about/morton-a-klien/. ↩
- http://www.southamptonjewishcenter.com/templates/articlecco_cdo/aid/163445/jewish/Morton-Klein.htm. ↩
- MacDonald1998b/2002, Preface. ↩
- Alterman 2002. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Not in the newsroom: CanWest, Global, and freedom of expression in Canada. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression: https://web.archive.org/web/20020916130826/http://www.cjfe.org/specials/canwest/canw2.html; April 2002. ↩
- MacDonald 1994/2002, Ch. 7. ↩
- See Larsen and Diener 1987. ↩
- Massing 2002. ↩
- Findley 1989. ↩
- Ibid., 119. ↩
- Ibid., 164. ↩
- Ibid., 164. ↩
- Ibid., 328. ↩
- In Ball and Ball 1992, 70. ↩
- Eysenck 1962, 262. ↩
- See MacDonald 2002, Review of The International Jew. The Occidental Quarterly, 2(3):69, 2(4): 53. http://www.toqonline.com/archives/v2n3/TOQv2n3MacDonald.pdf. ↩
- MacDonald 1998a/2004, Ch. 2. ↩
- In Harris 1994, 254. ↩
- Kornberg 1993, 183; inner quote from Herzl’s diary. ↩
- Luchaire 1912, 195. ↩
- In Rose 1992, 7; italics in text. ↩
- Ross 1914, 150. ↩
- Ibid., 150. ↩
- Yaffe 1968, 73. Yaffe embeds this comment in a discussion of self-hating Jews-implying that Jews are simply accepting stereotypes that are the fantasies of bigoted non-Jews. ↩
- See also MacDonald 1994/2002. ↩
- The International Jew, 3/21/1920. ↩
- Neuringer 1971, 392-393. ↩
- MacDonald 1998b/2002. ↩
- Coughlin 1960, 169. ↩
- See MacDonald 1994/2002, Preface to the First Paperback Edition. ↩
- In Findley 1989, 92. ↩
- Findley 1989, 127. ↩
- Novick 1999, 12. ↩
- Newsweek 9/3/1979. ↩
- Findley 1989, 296. ↩
- Ibid., 315. ↩
- In Ball and Ball 1992, 70. ↩
- Ibid., 44 and passim. ↩
- Sobel 1986, 153. ↩
- See MacDonald 1998b/2002, Preface. ↩
- Goldberg 1996. ↩
- Ibid., 5. ↩
9 thoughts on “Background Traits for Jewish Activism”
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