Back in the mid-aughts I was sitting around one weekend with a friend—also Jewish—smoking something stupid and watching one of the hundreds of conspiracy documentaries then mushrooming on the new-fangled YouTube. Up until that time, my conception of Jewish success was that it vaguely confirmed my belief in divine election. But due to events like 9/11, the NSA spying scandals and the 2007 financial crisis it was starting to become painfully clear that the height of success in America is something profoundly dark, and that one’s ethnic group being extra-specially implicated in it can be a very bad thing.
At one point during the documentary my friend turned to me and asked, “How are we supposed to cope with the fact that we come from a race of deceivers?”
What evolutionary biology considers success can be very dangerous from an Epicurean standpoint—and it’s true that a relatively high proportion of powerful assholes are Jews. I wouldn’t discourage anyone, Jew or Gentile, from shying away from this topic per se. But I don’t buy my friend’s supposition.
If—God forbid—a priest rapes an alter boy, do we say that this reflects on Catholicism fundamentally? On the contrary, we would assume such behavior goes against the tenets of Catholicism. Yet it happens with horrifying frequency. And what about a WASP senator who takes kickbacks from corporate fat-cats? Even the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan would have to concede indubitably that a nigger stick-up artist is not behaving the way his momma taught him to. Yet Jews can’t often manage comparable generosity with ourselves. So how can we expect better from anybody else?
Honor, from a diaspora Jewish perspective, is always a matter of living down yiddishkeit, of disproving some dirty stereotype. But what if it’s the baseline?
I live in a city that has a major crime problem. My neighborhood is full of feckless little cop-callers. No robbery committed here has ever been prevented or solved by the police, yet out of some forty households in the immediate vicinity, only myself and one other neighbor have ever had the gumption to confront people casing houses or breaking into vehicles. I’ve done so five times in the last three years, at tremendous risk to my legal and physical safety. In none of those cases was my household specifically being targeted, thank God.
Most recently I intervened to stop a couple of very large, menacing, tattooed boys from hot-wiring the truck of a neighbor who dislikes me intensely and actually tried to fuck me over badly on a separate occasion (we had an altercation over some noise he was making late at night, he hit me and then pressed charges saying I hit him—luckily a third neighbor witnessed the whole thing and testified in my defense.) In any case, I didn’t think before acting to prevent him being robbed. I ended up firing a warning shot out of split-second calculation that the gun itself was not sufficient deterrence. Not only did I stick my neck out physically, I committed a felony, and it was only by the grace of God that none of the several sets of security cameras various neighbors have invested in caught footage sufficient to positively identify me, because several of them called the cops (who showed up two hours later) to report a gunshot, and at least one provided the police with video footage.
The point is, every bit of what I did to defend my neighborhood was yiddishkeit—I acted 100% out of Judaism. What is Judaism, in this case? I was taught growing up that if you let your fellow be abused, you’re next. That if you accommodate a bully whatsoever, he owns you wholly. That if you cower behind third-party protection, you’re worthless. None of these notions are exclusive to Jewish identity as it was taught to me by male relatives, but all of them are crucial to it, even if many Jews eschew this outlook or oppose it. Yes, their outlook is also a species of Judaism, but no culture or creed is one-dimensional. In fact, at root Judaism is an heroic creed. This is not just apparent in the Bible, but is testified to by the activity of Jews in militaries and dangerous occupations all over the world. I personally have been in the Israeli army and worked in EMS in the states. So why is my attitude and behavior always seen as the exception, by Jew and Gentile alike?
Because a lie repeated enough times becomes self-fulfilling. “The Jews are particularists, Europeans are universalists.” I saw that for the umpteenth time the other day, on a comment thread—a variation of an old meme. Kevin MacDonald is fond of it, as are his many acolytes. But the suggestion that there’s nothing in the way of universal ethics in the Hebrew Bible or the Talmud—or that the regimes and cultures of European antiquity meet this standard as a rule, not an exception—is so willfully sub-literate it’s embarrassing to address. Besides, no one who calls himself a “white nationalist” has grounds to preach universality. No one really has grounds to preach universality. If you’re some great, ostentatious humanitarian, you probably have a trust fund, or are too ugly to mate with. Perhaps that explains why so many ugly people are such great humanitarians.
Take this Harvey Weinstein case, for example. Big progressive, big gun control freak. Control freak, period. So none of these rape allegations are the least bit surprising. Powerful men of every background do much worse than going after adult females without consent, and it goes without saying that not one percent of the commentators who’ve been animated by these revelations all week gave a rat’s ass last week when these were open secrets, because they all know that Hollywood stardom has got to be the most venal pursuit on the planet: play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Yet somehow, the yiddishkeit of the perp did not escape the attention of many who indulged in this cheap schadenfreude. A half-dozen gentile blue-blood dynasties have had the country over a barrel since reconstruction, but a yid striver who came from nothing is what gets the alt-right’s panties in a twist. Of course, who’s fucking who is always a hot topic for the involuntarily celibate, and the alt-right would be as livid about a handsome yid getting consensual pussy as they are about the fishmongeresque Harvey Weinstein taking coercive measures, so you can’t fault them for inconsistency. But as if the usual flock of low IQ/high JQ parakeets wasn’t enough, even the disgusting little leftist naval-gazers over at Tablet Magazine got in on the action—in the finest tradition of Jewish self-abnegation and with the originality of an Oscar Meyer wiener, citing their repulsive, overrated fellow naval-gazer Philip Roth as inspiration to project all their horrible little fetishistic inadequacies onto Judaism itself and the Jewish people as a whole.
Of course, you may assume at this point that I’m defending Harvey Weinstein. But the truth is, I want to submit myself for consideration, here and now, with no ambiguity, as one of Harvey Weinstein’s foremost victims. Not only did Harvey try to fuck me, he lied about it. That’s right: Harvey Weinstein has been trying to disarm me for well nigh a decade. And yet he went on the Howard Stern show a few years back and stated that he’d exec produced Inglorious Basterds because “I like the idea of Jews with guns.”
With landsmen like these, who needs Amalek?
But who is Harvey Weinstein, really? We know that he is amoral, but I would suggest that he is foremost a man who is living in fear.
This may seem counter-intuitive: Harvey Weinstein, living in fear? What fear? The man’s an oligarch. He hobnobbed with world leaders. Until last month he was perhaps the most powerful man in Hollywood. Clearly, he didn’t see his downfall coming, nor did he appreciate its magnitude initially. So what fear could he possibly have been living in?
First of all, as a powerful man, the fear of rivals and fear for his profits. That goes without saying. Second, and most obvious nowadays, the fear of his behavior being uncovered. This was true not just regarding the perversion, but in general, as a filmmaker who tried to put together a Weinstein biopic found out the hard way some years ago. Moreover, as an oligarch—someone who is complicit in the ongoing plunder of the country by the upper crust—he must’ve harbored some trepidation about regular people. That would certainly explain his fixation on the NRA, given that organization’s rank-and-file.
Significantly, in this connection, Weinstein—as a Jew, but also as a wealthy man and a libertine—was deeply fearful of Christianity, certainly (and of course out of all proportion to its reality) as a political force but also, more than likely, as a set of ethical propositions. (Alan Watts once remarked that no religion or ethical system is more fixated on sexual mores than Christianity). After all, Christianity has had a tremendous influence on what Jews feel they have to answer for, particularly in the modern era with regard to questions of citizenship and belonging. But fear of Christianity and fear of God are two different things, especially for a Jew, and if there was one fear that Harvey Weinstein undoubtedly lacked, it was the fear of God Almighty.
As a Hollywood honcho, he wouldn’t be the first: Jewish studio heads in 1930s tinsel town were so venal that they cooperated extensively with the Nazis—going so far as to violate a nationwide boycott organized by American Jews, Catholics and trade unionists—in order to preserve their access to the German movie market. In 2010, Weinstein somewhat continued this tradition by bankrolling and promoting the most unsympathetic portrayal of Israel to ever emerge from a mainstream media organ in the United States, going so far as to screen it at the UN General Assembly (a first for any Hollywood film), telling a reporter that Israelis needed to understand the Palestinian narrative in order that peace might come to the middle east. The missionary hubris of American poobahs accustomed to wielding persons like marionettes (and sexually assaulting them) seems to express itself occasionally in the questing for mideast peace. What is interesting in Weinstein’s case is that so pugilistic, in-your-face a yid could show more forbearant solicitude for his people’s mortal enemies than he ever has for American Christians who’ve never lain a hand on any Jew. What could be behind such self-abnegation?
The simple fact is, a man who doesn’t live in fear and love of the Almighty is going to live in fear and love of many other less worthy things. This is a huge problem for the Jewish people, and Harvey Weinstein’s just the berg of the ice-tip.
The late Edgar Bronfman was a Canadian liquor magnate who devoted his life to pro-Israel lobbying and Jewish philanthropy. His remains the name most strongly associated with Jewish philanthropy in the diaspora. In 2003, a wave of suicide bombings was hitting Israel. Where was Bronfman’s head at?
This is what he told reporters at the time:
If the Palestinian suicide bombers only went to the settlements and told the whole world [the settlers] were wrong, then the whole world would have had a case against Israel, and there would be a two-state solution by now. Instead, they sent [the bombers] into Israel proper, which is ghastly.
Killing Israeli settlers—not ghastly? Maybe I’m missing something. Let’s deconstruct this a bit. A major leader of diaspora Jewry takes it upon himself to advise Israel’s enemies which Jews to kill, because he wants to better enable them to turn the whole world (“making a case”) against Israel, so as to effect the “two-state solution” in the name of which Harvey Weinstein would screen anti-Israel propaganda at the UN a decade later?
Well, what is this two-state solution? Can Bronfman have seriously believed that sacrificing the advance-guard is the way to preserve the rear echelon? Perhaps I’ll let someone better qualified speak to the matter:
If Israel were to relinquish the West Bank, 80 per cent of its population and most of its industry would be within range of light artillery, mortars and even rifles positioned on the high ground of the Samarian and Judean ridges. These ridges cannot be effectively demilitarized or adequately inspected…. Those who claim that modern military technology has made obsolete the need for critical terrain are simply spouting ignorance. As weapons of war become more sophisticated these factors assume a greater and not a lesser importance…
Air defence radar situated on the [West Bank] affords the Israeli Air Force approximately 15 minutes’ warning time in the event of air attack. Without these installations, the IAF would only have about four minutes in which to scramble its fighters. [Furthermore,] no amount of electronic gadgetry could possibly substitute for control of in-place defences against guerrilla forces infiltrating across torturous borders. Between 1949 and 1967 the IDF devoted much of its resources against [such] infiltration. That these efforts were essentially not successful is clearly attested by the large number of Jews killed and wounded and property damage sustained during this period.
As I’ve argued here before: these are the expert analyses of disinterested military professionals, known to US policymakers since 1967. There’s an obvious inference to be made from them: that the moment Israel accepts a two-state solution, its viability, i.e., the lives of its people, becomes wholly dependent on feckless outside brokerage. How well has that worked out for other US collaborators? For the Jews? Consequently, Israel negotiates only in bad faith; it relinquishes territory only under immense outside pressure. As the Christian deity is purported to have told one Nicodemus: does an elder of Israel not know these things? Hello? Anybody? Bronfman? Bronfman? Because…. while clearly this schlub had the best of intentions, he really didn’t know these things—he, a man who devoted his life to Jewish causes. Ain’t that some shit? What could possibly explain it? I’m at a loss.
Perhaps we’ll glean better insight from an additional case study. Exhibit B is Atlantic assistant editor and former Israeli army MP, Jeffery Goldberg, inarguably the most actively, overtly pro-Israel major journalist at any mainstream American news outlet. Goldberg wrote a book about his experience as a young man in the Israeli army, and a friendship he developed there with a Palestinian who came under his supervision as part of his military police duties. It’s called Prisoners: A Muslim and a Jew Across the Middle East Divide. The tone-deafness of the title (equating a gaoler with his charge) is bad enough. But here’s a bit from the NY Times review:
Rafiq Hijazi [is] the Muslim of the book’s title. The story of their unusual and complicated friendship is at the core of Prisoners, weaving its way through the narrative like a serpentine question mark. It begins with their meeting in 1991 at Ketziot, the Israeli prison filled with thousands of Palestinians arrested during the first Intifada. Rafiq (Fatah-affiliated and deeply religious) was Goldberg’s ”favorite” prisoner. ”I wanted to make Rafiq my friend,” he says. ”I liked that he had the dispassion of an analytical academic in a place notable for its absence of thought. He also had an open-mindedness that to me was a clear sign of inner benevolence.” After their first conversation—separated by a fence—Goldberg had ”a feeling of connection. It was a strange and traitorous feeling, but it was also a true feeling, and it was accompanied by a satisfying frisson of danger and dissent.”
He could be describing an illicit love affair. Except, more than once, and increasingly so as their relationship is tested against the backdrop of violent political developments, it appears to be a case of unrequited love—Rafiq does not seem to be in need of their friendship. They continued to meet, over many years, in different places: at Rafiq’s parents’ home in Gaza, in Washington, where they both lived with their wives and where Rafiq was completing a Ph.D. in statistics, later in Abu Dhabi. There were also frequent long breaks between their meetings, especially after Rafiq—who, Goldberg tells us, had become a fundamentalist—announced that he would not demonstrate against suicide bombings or when he said that if he had to kill his friend, ”it wouldn’t be personal.”
Goldberg is invariably the one to make the next approach: ”I was raised to search out the familiar in the stranger, on the theory that we are all alike. I looked for the familiar in Rafiq, and found it.” The almost pathetic one-sidedness of this friendship, the need to be accepted, liked and understood not only by Rafiq but by other, less moderate political enemies (”I was fascinated by them”) would be almost moving if it didn’t point so obviously back to the old trauma of the rejection by the anti-Semitic bullies in that Long Island playground. Beneath the physical pain and the humiliation, there was always the perennial Jewish question: Why don’t they like me?
Of course, Rafiq doesn’t have this problem. Rafiq has a proper fear of God and a respect for his place in the natural order, as an Arab and a Muslim. His “analytic academic’s dispassion” is a tool, not a ball-and-chain.
But when the pillar of one’s identity has been an object of ruthless, near-universal execration for centuries at a stretch, it becomes an inherent shonda that results in an American Jew, who has the pride and the nerve to enlist in the IDF, nevertheless running home to author a faggoty paean to his would-be murderer. He wanted so badly to “become an Israeli”, but all he needed to do was starch his proverbial shirt a little and there’d have been no need to be anybody but who he is, free and clear, and comfortable. The lesson that Goldberg should’ve taken from Rafiq Hijazi is that it’s possible to confront an enemy dispassionately. For when we harbor a proper respect for God’s ultimate discretion, we don’t need to go chasing power like Harvey Weinstein, or acceptance, like Jeffrey Goldberg, or peace, like Edgar Bronfman—because we’ll know that, as much as possible, we already have it.