It sounds like a contradiction in terms. An oxymoron. If only it were.
Jewish anti-Semitism is a modern disease. The world is experiencing an explosion of it. Among the most malicious and venomous of all bigots, Jewish anti-Semites are at the forefront of just about every smear campaign against Israel and other Jews.
Such Jews are leaders in the campaigns to boycott and divest from Israel. A number of them make pilgrimages to the terrorist camps of Hamas and Hizbullah, with some even rationalizing or justifying terrorist atrocities against Jews. Such Jews pioneered the smear campaign painting Israel as an apartheid regime. Denouncing Israel as equivalent to Nazi Germany is their favorite pastime.
Western campuses are crawling with them. A Jewish judge chaired the UN commission that demonized Israel over Operation Cast Lead. A Jewish member of Britain’s Parliament compared Hamas terrorists to Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto and denounced Israel as a Nazi entity.
Israelis and ex-Israelis comprise a shockingly large number of this group.
Most Jews dismiss such people as “self-hating,” but that term is misleading. These rogues do not hate themselves. Indeed, they are masters of narcissism. They hate other Jews and wish them harm.
These are not assimilationists of Jewish descent who have simply lost interest in their Jewish heritage or are indifferent to Jewish history and Israel. No, these Jews often make a point out of waving their own Jewish “roots” as artillery support for their extremist positions.
In some extreme cases they collaborate with neo-Nazis, Islamist terrorists, and even Holocaust deniers. No, that is not a misprint; there are today in the world Jews who are Holocaust deniers or who ally themselves with Holocaust deniers.
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Jewish anti-Semitism was once considered a bizarre irrelevance. Touched upon gingerly in the 1947 film “Gentleman’s Agreement,” the subject was long ignored by the organized Jewish community. Modern Zionists expected that the very creation of Israel would put an end to any neurotic self-hatred afflicting Diaspora communities.
The new sovereign Jewish state was expected to end not only Jewish physical insecurity but also spiritual pathology. Alas, history had a surprise up its sleeves: many of the worst examples of Jews with an anti-Jewish and/or anti-Israel agenda have emerged from the more radical fringes of the Israeli left, its academic institutions and its intelligentsia.
Take Professor Shlomo Sand, a hard-core leftist on the history faculty of Tel Aviv University. Sand last year published a book claiming to prove Jews are not and never have been a “people.” Recycling myths popularized by neo-Nazi websites, Sand’s book is a pseudo-analysis that claims most Jews today are frauds, converts from the Khazar Turkic tribe, impersonators of Jews.
All real Jews, according to the learned professor, became Palestinian Arabs centuries ago. Hence Israeli “Jews” are not Jews at all, and certainly have no right to their own state.
Sand is actually surpassed in his extremism by another Israeli professor, the now retired Ariel Toaff, who claimed to have evidence Jews use gentile blood in religious ritual.
(Other Israeli academics with anti-Jewish agendas are cataloged on the website Isracampus.org.il.)
Just what it is that makes such Jews tick is hard to explain. One of the few people to take a serious stab at doing so is Kenneth Levin, a psychiatrist at Harvard and an occasional op-ed contributor to The Jewish Press. He attributes Jewish anti-Semitism in part to attempts by some Jews to gain social acceptance in an environment that is hostile toward Jews.
He also says some of it can be compared with infantile attempts at self-blame resembling those common among abused small children. And he considers it a cousin to the notorious Stockholm Syndrome, whereby victims adopt the outlook and agenda of their victimizers.
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Anti-Semitism is today the main common denominator that unites the far left with the neo-Nazi ultra-right in the United States and Europe. There are Jews to be found in both those wings on the political spectrum. Many serve as columnists for the extremist Counterpunch web magazine.
It would be difficult to find Jewish writers for Counterpunch who do not make the de rigueur comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany. For example, the University of Wisconsin’s Jennifer Loewenstein published there a screed titled “Gaza Holocaust” in which she wrote: “Israel and its U.S. Master have long since resided in the lowest circle of Hell for betraying the name of humanity.”
She added that Israel treats Palestinians as subhuman “Untermenschen,” a term bringing to mind German treatment of Jews during the Holocaust. In a quote that could easily have been published by the Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer in the 1930s, she added: “The Neo-Jewish Masters and their allies in the United States … have no intention of making a just peace with the lower forms of life in their midst.”
In Loewenstein’s take on reality, Israel engages in state terror while operating a cabal that enslaves the American government and dictates its policies. Even Yom Kippur for her is nothing more than a day to be exploited to help the terrorists and demonize the Jews.
Another Counterpunch regular is Richard Falk, a retired Princeton professor best known for serving on the UN commission that condemned Israel for genocidal war crimes even before it began its investigation of Israel’s Gaza operations.
Falk is not only one of the worst collaborators in the academic wars against Israel, he is also America’s leading practitioner of the Orwellian inversion.
For Falk, Israel is a terrorist aggressor while the Arab terrorist aggressors are innocent victims and peace-loving progressives. For him, Israel is a country essentially seeking to perpetrate genocide while the Islamofascists of Hamas and their backers are merely protesters against social inequality inside Israel; terrorist aggression against Jews is really the pursuit of peace, while self-defense by Israel is criminal, terrorist aggression and worse.
In 2007 Falk published “Slouching Toward a Palestinian Holocaust,” in which he wrote it was not an “irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians [by Israel]” with the “criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity.”
In it, he accuses Israel of mistreating Palestinians on a scale comparable to the Nazi extermination of Jews:
Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not. The recent developments in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy.
One of the regular contributors to Counterpunch is an ex-Israeli named Gilad Atzmon. A saxophone player living in the UK, Atzmon is so openly extreme that even some staunchly anti-Israel groups refuse to have anything to do with him. The British writer Oliver Kamm has denounced Atzmon as a Holocaust denier.
Atzmon has not only called for Israel to be annihilated but has stated, “I’m not going to say whether it is right or not to burn down a synagogue, I can see that it is a rational act.”
He heads a small clique of followers, mainly in Italy, for whom he serves as something of a cult leader. Atzmon has asserted that the Protocols of the Elders of Zionis an accurate reflection of the state of modern-day America.
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Paul Eisen, another Jewish extremist in the UK, has distributed an essay titled “Holocaust Wars” which claims, among other things, that the claim of gas chambers in Auschwitz is fraudulent and that they could not possibly have worked. Among the essay’s “sources” are the disgraced historian David Irving and the neo-Nazi crank Ernst Zundel, deported by Canada and now in prison in Germany.
Perhaps the most venomous Jewish-born Jew-baiter of all is one “Israel Shamir.” An ?migr? from the Soviet Union, “Shamir” moved to Israel and later left for Sweden, where he changed his name to Adam Ermash and reportedly converted to Christianity.
As just one example of his poison, in an interview with the Islamist Mohamed Omar in August 2009, Shamir said:
“I think it is the duty of every Muslim and Christian to deny the Holocaust, to reject this belief, just like Abraham and Moses rejected idolatry.
“Every person who profess [sic] their [sic] faith to God should deny the Holocaust. I think it’s much more serious that people deny God, isn’t it?”
In other cases prominent Jews endorse Holocaust deniers while carefully tiptoeing around explicitly endorsing Holocaust denial itself. The best known of these is Noam Chomsky, an extremist anti-U.S. and anti-Israel professor of linguistics at MIT.
A long-term apologist for the Khmer Rouge, Chomsky seems to despise Israel almost as deeply as he hates America. He speaks of “points of similarity” between Nazi Germany and Israel and has campaigned on behalf of the French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and other European neo-Nazis. He not only demands that this hate be protected under freedom of speech but as Professor Werner Cohn has noted, Chomsky also endorses the contents of their speech:
“But in fact we saw that Chomsky justified Faurisson’s Holocaust-denial, we found Chomsky publishing his own books with neo-Nazi publishers, we saw him writing for a neo-Nazi journal, we saw that the neo-Nazis promote Chomsky’s books and tapes together with the works of Joseph Goebbels. It is this complex of anti-Semitic activities and neo-Nazi associations, not his professed ideas alone, that constitutes the Chomsky phenomenon.”
Within Israel, one of the most openly anti-Semitic Jews was the late Professor Israel Shahak, who taught chemistry for decades at Hebrew University. He specialized in endorsing medieval anti-Jewish blood libels. He insisted that Judaism teaches Jews to worship Satan, to connive against non-Jews and to murder them. He stopped just millimeters short of saying Jews use gentile blood for ritual purposes.
Shahak claimed the Talmud is filled with calls to murder gentiles, and that Jews regard gentiles as subhuman. He collaborated with neo-Nazis all over the planet.
In an analysis of Shahak, the British writer Paul Bognador wrote:
“According to Shahak, the Jews think of nothing but making money for the benefit of the Jewish state (‘The force of Jewish devotion in assembling money is thought to be infinite’).
“According to Shahak, the Jews plan to dominate much of the world through an Israeli empire…. According to Shahak, the Jews facilitate the spread of vice in order to enslave the masses . Shahak also found excuses for the near-genocidal Chmielnicki pogroms, which he classified as a ‘revolt of the oppressed.’ ”
And then there’s Norman Finkelstein, who had been on the faculty of DePaul University until he was fired three years back (and has been unemployed ever since).
Finkelstein has built an entire career out of smearing Holocaust survivors as frauds and liars, and cheering on Islamofascist terrorism against Jews.
His personal website is a vulgar gutter of juvenile anti-Semitic catcalls. He claims Zionists exaggerate the dimensions of the Shoah to steal money and invent Holocaust survivors to exploit Germany. He has visited with Hizbullah terrorists and was denied entry into Israel on grounds that he associates with terrorists.
Finkelstein wrote a book titled The Holocaust Industry that fast became a favorite with neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers. He considers David Irving a reliable historian.
While Finkelstein is dismissed by serious historians, he is nevertheless celebrated by Jews with an anti-Jewish and/or an anti-Israel agenda.
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The creation of Israel was supposed to turn Jews into a “normal” people. But the psychosis of Jewish anti-Semitism has no comparable analogue among the nations, making the Jews a therapist’s sui generis.
The disease of Jewish anti-Semitism not only illustrates the absence of normality among 21st century Jewry, it threatens the very survival of Israel and of Jewish communities around the world.
Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. His book “The Scout” is available at amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.