Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Anti-Semitic Jews (from Jewish Press)
Jews Who Hate The Jewish State
By: Paul Bogdanor
"If they [Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going
after them worldwide." . Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah commander
"I say this without fear: for those who believe in freedom and dignity, we
are all Hizbullah now." . Norman Finkelstein, Jewish anti-Zionist
That any human being could proclaim his support for a movement whose goal
is to annihilate all the world's Jews must be shocking to the normal
observer. That a Jew could take this position seems all the more
Yet Norman Finkelstein, university professor and best-selling author, is
by no means unique among Jews in his allegiances. His mentor, Noam
Chomsky, has publicly embraced the murderous Sheikh Nasrallah. In fact,
during the recent war, Chomsky was among several Jewish signatories to an
open letter offering "solidarity and support" to the "resistance" in
Lebanon and Palestine . meaning Hizbullah and Hamas. And these pledges of
loyalty to genocidal fanatics have become quite common among Jews who
distinguish themselves by their hatred for Israel.
How is it possible for any Jew to support those who seek the destruction
of his fellow Jews? This is the question that intrigued Edward Alexander
and myself as we compiled our book The Jewish Divide Over Israel.
Our contributors . including Cynthia Ozick, Alvin Rosenfeld, Menachem
Kellner, Jacob Neusner and Efraim Karsh . were all too aware of the tragic
history of Jewish anti-Semitism. We knew, for example, that Martin
Luther's program of terrorizing Jews originated with a Jewish convert,
Johannes Pfefferkorn; and that the myth of the Jewish world-conspiracy,
which culminated in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, was assiduously
promoted by a Russian Jewish author, Jacob Brafmann. We suspected that as
the Pfefferkorns and the Brafmanns departed the stage, the Finkelsteins
and the Chomskys made their entrance.
Today, as in the past, the conduct of Jews who despise their own people
spans the full spectrum of political depravity. There are anti-Zionist
Jews who peddle vicious libels about Israel. There are anti-Zionist Jews
who compare the Jewish state with Nazi Germany. There are anti-Zionist
Jews who support the PLO, Hamas or Hizbullah.
There are anti-Zionist Jews who collaborate with anti-Semites and
Holocaust deniers. There are anti-Zionist Jews who defend suicide
bombings, anti-Zionist Jews who support the destruction of Israel, and .
incredibly . there are even anti-Zionist Jews who advocate measures
against other Jews that could plausibly be described as genocidal.
It is tempting to dismiss these views as a fringe phenomenon. But not all
of our targets identify with the radical left. The liberal Jewish
"critique" of Zionism is exemplified by the historian Tony Judt. According
to Judt's now notorious outburst in The New York Review of Books, Israel's
ruling elite is "fascist" because it once considered killing the terrorist
murderer Yasir Arafat, and its scurity fence (intended to forestall the
entry of terrorists into a free country) bears comparison with the Berlin
Wall (designed to prevent the escape of unarmed civilians from a communist
Worse still, Judt maintains, the nefarious Zionists have convinced America
to destabilize the Middle East for the sole benefit of Israel, thus
"alienating" its hitherto devoted allies in Syria and Iran. Such is the
Jewish stranglehold on public opinion, says Judt, that Americans
"censoriously rebuke" anyone who speaks out, shamelessly charging the
dissidents with anti-Semitism. Fortunately for Judt, the international
Zionist conspiracy was unable to prevent the publication of his thoughtful
disquisition on the role of Israeli "fascists" in propelling America to
war against the entire Middle East for the purpose of defending a
Hebrew-speaking version of communist East Germany.
Perhaps the most revealing aspect of Judt's essay was his rationale for
abolishing the freest country in the Middle East. "Today," he wrote,
"non-Israeli Jews feel themselves once again exposed to criticism and
vulnerable to attack for things they didn't do," and so Israel must
Thus the legitimacy of a Jewish state is determined by the attitudes of
anti-Semites: "Israel today is bad for the Jews." Critics were not slow to
point out that the extinction of the Jewish state, along with its army,
might also turn out to be "bad for the Jews," inasmuch as it would
endanger the lives of several million Israelis. To this rather important
objection, Judt gave a two-word response: "Things change."
As this example suggests, one of the salient traits of today's
anti-Zionists . especially the academics among them . is their blatant
intellectual dishonesty. British professor Jacqueline Rose, in her book
explaining why Israel should be wiped off the map, concocts the claim that
Herzl and Hitler were inspired by the same Paris performance of Wagner's
music. Illan Pappe, a communist historian at Haifa University, writes
learned essays documenting a fictitious Israeli massacre at the village of
Tantura in 1948. Norman Finkelstein has revived the old Soviet hoax that
Israel was poised to invade Syria before the 1967 war.
In these and countless other instances, the anti-Zionists are disciples of
Canadian philosopher Michael Neumann, author of The Case Against Israel,
who candidly informed a neo-Nazi website that he is "not interested in the
truth, or justice, or understanding," unless it serves the Palestinian
Contempt for truth certainly characterizes another well-known anti-Zionist
trope, the belief that Israel is the reincarnation of the Third Reich.
Ever since the Israeli theologian Yeshayahu Leibowitz branded his country
"Judeo-Nazi," the equation of the victims and the perpetrators of the
Holocaust has evolved into a malignant orthodoxy in opinion pieces,
editorial cartoons, effete dinner discussions and Jew-baiting websites.
The reason for its appeal . and for the popularity of alienated Jews who
espouse it . is transparent: anyone who convinces himself that the horrors
of Nazism have been reborn in its victims can invoke the fate of the dead
Jews to justify his hatred of living Jews. Anti-Zionists . always quick to
provide an alibi for anti-Semites . are well aware of that fact.
So it is that Noam Chomsky can compare Israel's wars of self-defense with
"Hitler's moves to bunt the Czech dagger pointed at the heart of Germany
Hitler's conceptions have struck a responsive chord in current Zionist
And so it is that Norman Finkelstein can avow that Jewish supporters of
Israel are actually worse than the perpetrators of the Holocaust: "the
Germans," he writes, "could point in extenuation to the severity of
penalties for speaking out against the crimes of state. What excuse do we
Perhaps he aspires to compete with the late Israel Shahak . for years a
fixture on the PLO lecture circuit . who revealed to the world that "there
are Nazi-like tendencies in Judaism."
But even these worthies would find it hard to outdo the London-based Gilad
Atzmon, who recently imparted this insight: "To regard Hitler as the
ultimate evil is nothing but surrendering to the Ziocentric discourse
[Israel's] vulgar biblical barbarism on the verge of cannibalism is
wickedness with no comparison." Atzmon is heavily promoted by radical
leftists on both sides of the Atlantic.
Although they lose no opportunity to equate their fellow Jews with Nazis,
anti-Zionists readily lend a helping hand to actual Nazis. At one time the
ne plus ultra of Jewish collaboration with anti-Semites was the infamous
Alfred Lilienthal, who insisted that the Diary of Anne Frank was a fake.
Then the baton passed to Noam Chomsky, who explicitly praised Holocaust
deniers, allowed them to publish his books and essays, collaborated in
their propaganda campaigns, and defended his performance with the
memorable observation that he saw "no anti-Semitic implications in denial
of the existence of gas chambers."
Nowadays the committed neo-Nazi will find anti-Zionist Jews falling over
themselves to assist him. Paul Eisen, of the PLO front group Deir Yassin
Remembered, has openly defended Ernst Zundel, now on trial in Germany for
his neo-Nazi activities. Neve Gordon, the Israeli professor who sued his
critic Steven Plaut in a blatant attempt to silence him, has not called in
the lawyers to remove his own articles from Zundel's website. And the
anti-Zionist journalist Shraga Elam went to the trouble of writing to
David Irving in order to share his belief that "Hitler was no part of the
One does not need the wisdom of Solomon to detect in the aforementioned
individuals a cer tain lack of charity in the Jewish direction. Even so,
it is astonishing to discover the sheer virulence of their opinions about
their fellow Jews.
Noam Chomsky tells packed audiences that "Jews in the U.S. are the most
privileged and influential part of the population," adding that
"privileged people want to make sure they have total control, not just 98%
In Michael Lerner's journal Tikkun, which advertises itself as the
guardian of the authentic Jewish conscience, we read of Jewish
"conspirators" who run America on behalf of "Jewish interests" . evidence
of the "industrial sized grain of truth" in the Protocols of the Elders of
And even this does not go far enough for Norman Finkelstein, who blames
Holocaust compensation programs on "Jewish leaders carrying on like
caricatures straight from the pages of Der Stuermer." Is it surprising
that Finkelstein's books and essays are reproduced on neo-Nazi websites
all over the Internet, or that Holocaust deniers celebrate him as "the
Jewish David Irving"?
From collaboraton with anti-Semites and propagation of anti-Semitism, it
is only a short step to glorifying the murder of Jews. Many anti-Zionists
are happy to take that step. For Jacqueline Rose, suicide bombing is "an
act of passionate identification" that creates an "unbearable intimacy
shared in their final moments by the suicide bomber and her or his
Safe in her London lecture theater, Rose does not tell us whether the
"intimacy" would be heightened if the jihadists were to succeed in their
periodic attempts to blow up an Israeli skyscraper.
Another left-wing British Jew, Mark Elf, draws a subtle distinction: "To
be rid of an Arab presence is to engage in ethnic cleansing. To be rid of
a Zionist presence is to be rid of those who would engage in, or excuse,
ethnic cleansing." His comrades translate these principles into action:
Jewish members of the International Solidarity Movement travel to Israel
in order to facilitate "the armed struggle" for the "liberation of
Palestine" . a struggle whose realities can be seen in the burning corpses
and severed limbs of their co-religionists.
Occasionally, the bloodlust of Jewish Israel-haters provokes unease: Gilad
Atzmon did raise eyebrows when he suggested that the burning of synagogues
was "a rational act." But the effect is short-lived. I recall no
particular commotion when the prominent Israeli philosopher Adi Ophir
contemplated the bombing of his countrymen by NATO.
It must be noted, with all due caution, that some anti-Zionists appear to
harbor genocidal intentions toward their fellow Jews. Decades ago Arie
Bober, leader of the Israeli communist Matzpen party, boasted of his
support for an "Arab revolution" that would either split the Jewish
workers from Zionism or slaughter three million Israelis in "another
Holocaust." Today we can detect similar ideas in the writings of Norman
Finkelstein, who has invoked the destruction of Japanese cities in World
War II as precedent for holding the Israeli people "accountable for the
crimes of the Israeli state"; he also regards hundreds of thousands of
Israeli settlers, including pregnant women and helpless invalids, as
"legitimate targets for armed resistance."
In conversation with a neo-Nazi website, Michael Neumann was equally
blunt: "If an effective strategy [for fighting Israel] means that some
truths about the Jews don't come to light, I don't care. If an effective
strategy means encouraging reasonable anti-Semitism, or reasonable
hostility to Jews, I also don't care. If it means encouraging vicious,
racist anti-Semitism, or the destruction of the state of Israel, I still
Recall that these are not the ravings of drunken skinheads in Germany or
jihadist preachers in Saudi Arabia, but of salaried professors teaching at
North American universities.
Sometimes the murderous impulses of Jewish radicals are quite independent
of Arab-Israeli disputes, however broadly defined. According to Israel
Shahak, even the proto-Hitlerian Chmielnicki massacres in Eastern Europe
are not beyond the bounds of justification: after all, is it really fair
that "an enslaved peasant is transformed into a racist monster, if Jews
profited from his state of slavery and exploitation"?
Competing in his genocidal frenzy was the Israeli leftist Yigal Tumarkin,
a founder of Peace Now, who disclosed: "When I see the black-coated
haredim with the children they spawn, I can understand the Holocaust."
And if these outpourings seem to be the products of deranged minds, let us
not forget that even the impeccably liberal Tony Judt displays a striking
indifference to the practical consequences of his proposals for the people
of Israel. For Professor Judt, and for other advocates of the "one-state
solution," it is perfectly acceptable to leave millions of Jews helpless
before the armies and suicide bombers of the Middle East ("Things
change"), just so long as faculty dinners and cocktail parties are no
longer spoiled by the latest controversy over Israeli military tactics.
Such re the ideas exposed to the light of day in The Jewish Divide Over
Israel. Our book's contributors . who range from left-wing supporters of
Peace Now to right-wing advocates of peace through strength . are united
around one principle: whatever their views on the future of Israel, they
maintain that the Jewish homeland no more deserves to become a provisional
country whose "right to exist" is the subject of legitimate discussion
than the Jewish people deserve to be a pariah nation whose survival is
conditional on the approval of anti-Semites.
In repudiating the Israel-haters in our ranks, we affirm not only our
solidarity with embattled Israeli Jews, but also our own basic
Paul Bogdanor is co-editor, with Edward Alexander, of "The Jewish Divide
Over Israel: Accusers and Defenders" (Transaction, 2006). Copies can be
ordered, at a 20% discount, from www.transactionpub.com. Visit Mr.
Bogdanor's website at www.paulbogdanor.com.