My soul is prepared
(Part I here, Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here)
“Were it not for Hitler’s anti-Semitism, we would not oppose his ideology. Hitler saved Germany.” —Zvi Eliyahu Cohen, 1932
I was waiting on the perfect prompt for the concluding post in this series, and Ilhan Omar’s detractors have provided a pretty clean one. Omar is the shmata-clad Somali-American congresswoman from Minneapolis who is being called an anti-semite by some of Israel’s more prominent American supporters, whom she publicly alleged are putting Israel’s interests ahead of America’s, and using dirty money to do it.
As somewhat of a revisionist Zionist myself, I have no problem with Omar’s remarks. In fact, the backlash against them is totally inimical to Zionism. At this point, even “Zionism” is inimical to Zionism.
Zionism calls for Jewish political and military control over part of the Levant. It does not call for Jewish influence over public discourse in the United States. On the contrary, it is intended to offset any need we might have to concern ourselves with the public discourse in any country but our own. Needless to say, today’s Zionism has become a completely different animal.
Now, just like the idea of eradicating provincial, tribal and chauvinistic ideologies of any kind is inherently progressive, so is the idea of combating a prejudice like anti-semitism. So it is strange to see the American supporters of Zionism, which is basically a tribal and chauvinistic movement, denouncing Ilhan Omar for progressive anti-semitism.
Zionism is emphatically not a progressive, internationalist or social justice movement. Those tendencies were and always are baked into Zionism—there are many reasons for this—but Zionism’s fundamental premises are inimical or at least unrelated to the assumptions that progressivism makes about the nature of man, society, and the universe. Jews who want to have their cake and eat it, too, are serving two masters and will eventually have to choose one.
But beyond left and right, we have to ask ourselves fundamental questions of right and wrong. Of course the Arabs view Zionism as evil, and they have every reason to. But they view it as evil in effect, not in essence, because its essence is assabiyah, a concept they know all about. Thus, the question that needs asking is not whether Zionism is good or bad by universal standards, but whether Zionism and, in a deeper sense, Jewish identity itself, are good for us, as men, for our souls—which is the ultimate universal standard, because it requires us to be honest with ourselves. What does it really mean to be a Hebrew? And when we consider ourselves Jews, or Zionists, are we being true to our inmost selves? Are we living up to something, or are we giving ourselves a pass?
An historical example may serve to illustrate this largely unaddressed dilemma. Who was the first casualty of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid empire in 166 BC?
From 1 Maccabees 2:
Then Mattathias answered and spake with a loud voice,
‘Though all the nations that are under the king’s dominion obey him, and fall away every one from the religion of their fathers, and give consent to his commandments:
Yet will I and my sons and my brethren walk in the covenant of our fathers. God forbid that we should forsake the law and the ordinances. We will not hearken to the king’s words, to go from our religion, either on the right hand, or the left.’
Now when he had left speaking these words, there came one of the Jews in the sight of all to sacrifice on the altar which was at Modi’in, according to the king’s commandment.
Which thing when Mattathias saw, he was inflamed with zeal, and his reins trembled, neither could he forbear to shew his anger according to judgment: wherefore he ran, and slew him upon the altar.
A Muslim sermon I recently heard on YouTube channel The Vigilant One put it aptly: in every religion there is the party of God, and the party of Satan. Because, from a social standpoint, a decent religion is primarily a defense against external bad influences, it can only be destroyed from within. The party of Satan within each religion is the real force that threatens its destruction.
So if the Jews really believe in God, there is no outside force that can destroy them. But if the Jews do not believe in God, or believe in evil ideas that they mistake for God, then no iron wall, no iron dome, no defensive shield or preemptive strike or increased birthrate can possibly save them in the long run.
Now, say whatever else you will about the Jews, but the story of the establishment of the State of Israel is an epic scarcely paralleled in modern times. It belongs in the same category as the wars of the Old Testament, the Iliad, the Islamic Golden Age and the Spanish conquest of Mexico. The summoning of repressed strength it represents stands in defiant contrast to the dissolution so characteristic of the 20th century.
Or does it?
When we talk about dissolution, we mean the alienation of man from his own soul. I believe that there is a soul to Hebrew religion, that it is best expressed in the Hebrew Bible, and that it is rooted in the following tenets: (1) the omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence of God as author and overseer of all things, who is loving and just, and with whom man must abide in truth; (2) that to abide with God in truth means to eschew the worship of intermediary objects, to orient ourselves to what is sacred and segregate the sacred from the profane; (3) that faith in God, defined as fear and love of Him, is the prerequisite and starting point of abiding with God in truth.
In contrast with Judaism, Zionism is merely a vehicle, a means to an end, and when applying means, we should have some cognizance of ends. Is Zionism directed toward a transcendent purpose that expresses the soul of the Hebrew people, namely, its unique faith? On the contrary. Like fascism, Zionist assabiyah is ultimately liberal-democratic in that it is devoted to the mass-managerial preservation of a certain type of citizen as a numeric unit in a collective hive. Because his racial and religious heritage is taken heed of by the government, and because military service is mandatory for Jews and a small number of amicable minorities, the Israeli citizen is admittedly not quite as formless or duty-less as the consumer/employee of modern France, America or the UK. But ultimately, the Israeli state exists only to secure the egocentric “rights” of a superficially defined type to exist, to keep eating, and to imagine himself in a certain way. The ongoing tensions with the Muslims only add some maudlin zeal to this basically blasé pursuit, and the diminishing returns on that investment can be seen in the way that the Holy Land went from the center of the world stage circa 2002-2006 to a set of stale clichés ten years later about “Jewish influence” and “anti-semitism” after the umpteenth inconclusive Gaza campaign.
The uncomfortable fact is that Israel’s every impasse, in war and in peace, is an impasse in meaning, and what they reveal to those who can see it is that consanguinity is of mere infinitesimal importance beside a transcendent, metaphysical sense of purpose. In this regard, as we have seen in prior installments, Judaism has become vulgarly political.
The Arabs, in contrast, at least deserve to be commended for viewing our shared political reality in viscerally metaphysical terms. Among Israelis, those sentiments are limited to settler fanatics, whose ultimate aims predicate their religious fervor on profane, superstitious and, ultimately, material factors, e.g., the occupation of certain geographic sites, the collection of archaeological evidence, or the construction of a third Temple on Mt. Moriah. In fact, our national-religious metaphysicians betray a great deal of cupidity and dissociation, and this is obvious to anyone who has ever seen them give interviews on foreign television. When they aggress against defenseless Arabs, they are bold as lions. When they are aggressed against by Arab terrorists, they are meek, uncomprehending lambs. As much as I abhor the concept of land for peace, it must be admitted that there is a pathology among the settlers, and it is deep, and crimson, and repulsive. One should at least be able to expect consistency from a supposed goy kadosh u’mamlekhet kohanim.
the ideology of a cancer cell
But putting aside Zionism alone, does Judaism today in any of its forms teach anything like what I have described in my three-pronged creed, above? In fact, in many ways it teaches quite the opposite:
(1) The lesson of the Holocaust, whether viewed from a Zionist or a progressive perspective, is that the universe is fundamentally incomprehensible, and that man must make his own justice. From an ultra-orthodox perspective the conclusion drawn is hardly better: that the victims had it coming on account of collective guilt. Not even the Christian churches teach this about the Holocaust.
(2) As we have seen, religious Zionism teaches that, rather than something internal to the human soul, the fulfillment of God’s prerogatives for man consist in the attainment of externalized, intermediate objects imbued with talismanic power, e.g., the third Temple, etc. This is pure idolatry.
(3) Orthodox Judaism teaches that the way to God is by rote performance of prescribed mitzvot, which are so onerous and convoluted that most Jews only perform them selectively and infrequently. As for morality, as far as orthodox rabbis are concerned it doesn’t matter if you’re a bookie, a drug smuggler, a pig farmer, or a child rapist, as long as your money’s green and you’ve got a Jewish mother, you’re supposedly helping bring the moshiah one step closer every time you lay phylacteries.
(4) Secular humanism in Judaism and liberal democracy in Zionism are supposed to distinguish Judaism from Christian dogma, and Zionism from Islamic backwardness. But even the Islamic suicide bomber consecrates himself to a higher purpose than mere national or human rights; even the simplest Christian basically comprehends the humility and sacred mission of our father Abraham. Modern humanist Judaism, on the other hand, is an asinine, naval-gazing third-tier publishing industry that helps rationalize a majority of diaspora Jews’ and a plurality of Jewish Israelis’ support for godless practices and ideologies (e.g., abortion, so-called “LGBT” insanity) that are inimical to biblical values.
I could gas this one myself
Now, if you’re Jewish, and you’ve read this far, you probably think I suffer from a horrific lack of ahavas yisroel, like the protagonist in The Believer. Nothing could be further from the truth. Frankly, I’m sick and goddamned tired of the whole cottage industry of finding fault with Jews on the internet. But I’m more concerned with truth than I am with Judaism. So where criticisms are valid, I don’t care where they emanate from and in what spirit—I intend to benefit from them in any case, not with the goal in mind of casting aspersions on my fellow Jews necessarily, but in order to trim away the dead leaves, and (in Marx’s memorable phrasing) “cull the living flower.”
In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche said that, “In the Jewish ‘Old Testament,’ the book of divine justice, there are men, things, and speeches of such impressive style that the world of Greek and Indian literature has nothing to place beside them.” Elsewhere he wrote that, in the Hebrew scriptures, “I find great human beings, an heroic landscape, and something that is rarest in the world, the incomparable naïveté of the strong heart. And what is more, I find a people.” (Genealogy of Morals)
I see the same things in the Hebrew Bible. But when I look at the Jewish people today, in contrast, I see decrepitude. I see the misplaced moral arrogance of libertines and wheeler-dealers. I see the conniving of old men who ought to know better. I see Lena Dunham and Chuck Schumer. I see that punk slumlord, Jared Kushner, slithering inexplicably around the White House, and the snide, insufferable self-regard of Jon Stewart or Sacha Baron Cohen, while they disparage and mock average people. I look at what the people of the Bible have become and can no longer say I resent anti-semites for seeing it too, only that I disagree with them on certain particulars. A malign and inordinate Jewish influence on politics is not some stupid meme or clandestine conspiracy theory. It is life imitating farce, and it’s right out in the open. How can that possibly be “good for the Jews,” unless the Jews are a bunch of assholes?
The fact is, there is a party of Satan dominating Israel and Judaism. Jewish billionaires, politicians, loan sharks, shady political operatives and ideological enforcers in the press and academia are rife. As a single example, official Israel and diaspora Jewry (universities, charities, hospitals, NGOs, publications) have shown no compunction about accepting massive donations from the Sackler pharmaceutical family, who are arguably guilty of genocide. Of course, this is all a bit less visible than the effusive pledges of fealty to Israel coming constantly out of official Washington, but if any foreign country were as sacred a cow as Israel apparently is for every US official of any standing whatsoever, it would be equally suspect and galling.
So I’m sorry, but the resurgence in anti-semitism over the last several years is symptomatic of a perfectly valid Jew-fatigue. The alt-right is absolutely correct when it points out that diaspora Jewish support both for Israel’s border security measures and unchecked mass migration into the US and Europe is more than just a matter of personal opinion. It’s bald-faced hypocrisy that has policy consequences. And whether or not she’s right to be reflexively hostile to Israel, Ilhan Omar is right to publicly question why an American congresswoman ought to reflexively support that country. To respond to a demonstrably true statement with name-calling, as Bill Maher and CNN and the ADL (and the entire fucking US Congress) have done, is scurrilous, crocodile victimology that vindicates Ilhan’s assertions. Simply put, official Jewry cannot handle the truth. If the ADL had existed in ancient Israel, the prophet Samuel would probably have been on a hate-speech watch list.
A couple years ago I went to a “conservative” shul for Yom Kippur, only to discover that the “rabbi” was a lesbian, and the cantor was a transgender “man.” A choir of yentas performed kol nidre to the tune of a ginormous circus organ. This is what has become of the people whose forefathers invented jihad.
Yet the modern state of Israel only expresses a different form of the same basic misanthropy, playing a zero-sum game according to which the Jews simply have no choice but to occupy an outsized and domineering role in world affairs. Jews operate at the highest levels of the neoliberal world order and its cybernetic tech-surveillance panopticon. They are taking advanced measures to stifle the most basic civil liberties around the world. Where the Jewish zealots of yore defended their religion at the cost of their lives, Zionism today is determined to preserve the Jews’ lives at any cost, no matter how sordid. As I have tried to show, this tendency did not arise yesterday. The defiant panache and vigorous faith of the scriptures that so impressed Nietzsche gave way centuries before his time to a petrified tangle of narcissism, victimology, and inferiority complex.
So what am I driving at? I’m afraid I don’t have a conclusion I can neatly wrap this up with. All I know is that the truth shall set you free.