What ideology unites Antifa and 4Chan, manosphere he-thots and intersectional harpies, tradcaths and neopagans, wignats and hoteps, Dugin and Zizek, peacenik granolas and international arms dealers?
“Well it’s your own damn fault if you’re so hated!” By those clowns? Really? A man with no enemies is a man with no character, and these enemies are not sending their best. Like the Jersey City shooting earlier this month, last night’s machete attack on an ultra-orthodox Hanukkah party in upstate New York appears to have been carried out by a lumpen African-American under the influence of YouTube Wakanda theology.
Now, I’m half-Jewish, and basically a modern, secular person—I have about as much in common with Hasidic Jews as I do with the Denisovans. So it’s as strange to see people who are so different from me being attacked for what little we have in common, as it is startling to see how different the backgrounds of the perpetrators tend to be.
You may recall, for instance, last year’s events at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. No, not the Purim party. I’m talking about the sabbath service where a lonely old wignat truck driver with an AR mistook the place for a range and did target practice on a dozen or so nursing home inmates in wheel chairs. Update: they didn’t survive. You may also recall the following April, when a homeschooled sperg male nurse took out a Federal Reserve banker at a shul in San Diego, wounding the rabbi in the process, along with an eight-year old girl who runs the porn industry. The perp there seems not to have had any imaginary friends, though he did have the next best thing, i.e., 8Chan anons.
Then there was the 2014 Kansas City JCC shooting, also perpetrated by a wignat, who killed a kid and two adults, all of them gingerbread-baking white Methodists in RealTree camo and ugly Christmas sweaters. At least the 2012 shooter in Toulouse (that’s France, for all you Victor Hugo fans) managed to hit actual members of the tribe, killing three toddlers and wounding five others at a synagogue daycare. Oh, and how about the 2009 DC Holocaust Museum shooting? That one took out a married black father of three, which is not as rare as a unicorn, but should probably require a permit or something. Then there was the Seattle JCC kindergarten shooting in 2006, and the El Al ticket counter shooting in LAX a year or so prior. Oh, and who could forget the 1999 JCC shooting in LA? A real classic, which took the lives of four children, a secretary, and the mailman.
Why do these things keep happening? I’m sure some anthropomorphic little Eric Cartman somewhere would love to fill me in. Yes, the Jews have their fair share of perverts, plutocrats, embezzlers and corrupt politicians. But these pogroms never seem to target those Jews—or any pervs, plutocrats, embezzlers, politicians, etc. So the question is not what the Jews have done to deserve these atrocities. Because if that was the question, they wouldn’t really be atrocities, would they? “Well they’re not, teehee.” Yeah, tell me more about elite pedophile rings there, guy who supports kindergarten shootings.
The reason these things keep happening is because Jews don’t prevent it. And so the real question is, what is to be done to prevent it?
I don’t intend the question as a “silence is violence” callout. Silence can be complicity in the unconscionable, but a lot of unconscionable shit goes on every day, and no one owes it to anyone else to think or feel anything. The solution, then, depends on the Jews. Do we want to live, or don’t we? It’s that simple.
I know that’s sounds trite. I only ask because lots of Jews don’t want to. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying that Hitler or Chemelnitsky is coming. Believe it or not—in spite of all these attacks—that’s not the problem. I’m also not talking about Jews who are estranged from their heritage, either. No. I’m talking about Jews who make fellow traveling with some form of anti-semitism a literal component of Judaism, and of yiddishkeit.
Sound far-fetched? These types are quite vocal, and they’re the tip of a huge psychological iceberg. On the left stand the anti-Zionists, who should be irrelevant—clammy, furtive little figures like Philip Weiss, Norman Finkelstein, Israel Shamir, and Gilad Atzmon, who make entire careers and identities out of shame, discomfort and denunciation of an identity they could easily just walk away from instead. Proof that mainstream liberal Judaism essentially fellow-travels with this pathology is the recent, wholesale renunciation of Zionism by Jewish Voice for Peace—whose board members include Tony Kushner, Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein. (It was 1941 when Jabotinsky declared “all those who regard [peace with the Palestinians] as a condition sine qua non for Zionism may as well say ‘non’ and withdraw from Zionism.” Better 78 years late than never, I suppose.) Liberal Zionists like Jeremy Ben Ami and Peter Beinart are actually worse, because they’re pushing from within for the Zionist movement to reflect JVP’s attitudes. Of the Palestinian factions they imagine they’d like to conciliate, each one, including the internationally recognized PLO, has a completely undisavowed and remarkably recent history of deadly attacks on Israeli women, children and elderly. But then, no one in J-Street has to actually live with those consequences (unless J-Street is working with frummies from Monsey I don’t know about.)
As bad as all this is, there’s something far more patently offensive to the intellect about the left anti-Zionists’ mirror image on the right, among the burgeoning ranks of sycophantic, alt-right adjacent Jews desperately flailing to live down every absurd libel and stereotype as if it applied to them personally. (At least having no pride or self-esteem whatsoever suits leftists.) Tech entrepreneur Ron Unz, for example, runs the largest aggregator of anti-Jewish content on the web, where he publishes his own rambling, scarcely readable essays that reprise familial and childhood resentments at great length before eventually getting around to the ostensible topic, which is always how bad his own people are. Self-help charlatan Mike Cernovich similarly grovels for acceptance from Twitter Nazis. Classics professor Paul Gottfried pathetically fawns all over pseudoscientist Kevin MacDonald (and is shocked, shocked to find that liberal journalists associate him with alt-right leaders he actually associates with.) Eccentric inventor Henry Makow writes gushing blurbs for latter-day clerical fascist E. Michael Jones’s self-published screeds; and blog posts with titles like “Anti-Semitism is Legitimate Self Defense.” Would he like somebody to murder him, or what?
One looks for sanity in this febrile atmosphere of ADHD Twitter discourse, of anomie and atomization and dementia, and sees the Jewish civil society commentariat, the ADL, the Atlantic, etc., exuding precisely the fear and panic that the high school bully mentality of anti-semitism veritably lives to elicit. When has official Jewry in America ever prevented an attack on Jews here? When they aren’t pushing constitutionally dubious legislation that makes us look ugly and stupid, their solution to everything is “education”: more words, factoids, arguments, and admonishments against wrongthink; to explain ourselves for the umpteenth time to a balkanized and stupefied public irremediably leery of smug expertise.
In Russia, in 1911, Jabotinsky had a prescient sense of this:
Now they have raised a rumpus over ritual murder, and once again we have taken on the role of prisoners on trial: we press our hands to our hearts, with quivering fingers we leaf through old stacks of supporting documents that no one is interested in, and we swear right and left that we do not consume this drink, that never has a drop of it passed our lips, may the Lord smite me on the spot. . . How much longer will this go on? Tell me, my friends, are you not tired by now of this rigmarole? Isn’t it high time, in response to all of these accusations, rebukes, suspicions, smears, and denunciations—both present and future—to fold our arms over our chests and loudly, clearly, coldly, and calmly put forth the only argument which this public can understand: why don’t you all go to hell?
Who are we, to make excuses to them; who are they to interrogate us? What is the purpose of this mock trial over an entire people where the verdict is known in advance? Our habit of constantly and zealously answering to any rabble has already done us a lot of harm and will do much more. The situation that has been created as a result tragically confirms a well known saying: ‘Qui s’excuse s’accuse.’ We ourselves have acquainted our neighbors with the thought that for every embezzling Jew it is possible to drag the entire ancient people to answer. . . Every accusation causes among us such a commotion that people unwittingly think, ‘Why are they so afraid of everything? Apparently their conscience is not clear.’ Exactly because we are ready at every minute to stand at attention, there develops among others an inescapable view about us, as of some specific thievish tribe. We think that our constant readiness to undergo a search without hesitation and to turn out our pockets will eventually convince mankind of our nobility; look what gentlemen we are—we do not have anything to hide!
This is a terrible mistake. The real gentlemen are those who will not allow anyone for any reason to search their apartment, their pockets or their soul. Only a person under surveillance is ready for a search at every moment. This is the only one inevitable conclusion from our maniac reaction to every reproach—to accept responsibility as a people for every action of a Jew, and to make excuses in front of everybody including hell knows who. I consider this system to be false to its very root.
Old Jabotinsky could’ve saved Franz Kafka a lot of time and ink. But even the State of Israel cannot help us if this remains our mentality—not over there, where it can scarcely protect its own citizens from this kind of attack, and damn sure not here in America. Its leaders are busy fighting corruption charges, and casting belatedly and superfluously about for 1940s anti-semitism; it sends its condolences, as peremptory as any American politician’s. If the body count approaches a dozen, you may get an Israeli cabinet minister at your memorial service. Mazal tov.
So do you want to live, or don’t you? The state of our solidarity, of our situational awareness, of our rectal fortitude, is as sorry as it was in 1932. But though I may have as little in common with Jersey City frummies as I do with a Denisovan, though these things may happen thousands of miles away, every one of these attacks is an attack on my soul. Zionism is as much about spiritual exigencies as it is about practical ones. For over a thousand years, our ancestors were forbidden to own land, enter an honest trade, testify in court, ride a horse, or carry a weapon for self-defense. We were a “protected” class. A crime against us was a property crime. That is why the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was so important: not because it prevented any great proportion of the crimes committed against us by the Germans, but because it vindicated our dignity as human beings. The Israeli army exists as much to defend Israeli territory, lives, and infrastructure, as it does in order for you to know unequivocally that you are a free and equal human being.
I got into a debate not long ago with a couple of law school friends, about a Texas law requiring public contractors to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel. Though not Jewish, my friends are mainstream, pro-Israel conservatives. They defended the law, on the premise that a government contract is not a right; and I opposed it, on free speech grounds. In the course of our conversation, I ranted a bit about lobbyists, about Jewish pushiness and Israeli arrogance and how some principles (e.g., free speech) are higher than my ethnic affinities. I see now that this was a mistake—not because of the facts, but because of my motives. I wasn’t just defending free speech: I was obliquely defending Jews, by melodramatically trying to demonstrate that my loyalties are not conflicted. But my friends didn’t have any doubts about that.
So it doesn’t matter if this or that Jew is a bad person. Are you? Or are you worthy to hold your head up and live? Because if you aren’t, there’s always alt-right Twitter, or left anti-Zionism, or banging on the office doors of senators and police commissioners demanding indifferent protection. Just know that if you seek to validate and defend yourself in this manner, your work will never be done, because you will have handed all your power over to others, when they didn’t even ask for it. Almost no issue in public discourse needs to be about Jews in any fundamental way—not even, e.g., U.S. military aid to Israel, or the phenomenon of anti-semitic shootings. Rather, you need to fundamentally be about yourself, before you can be for others. And an attack on Jews is an attack on you.
So never denounce your own kind. Never second-guess a friend, or an enemy. Fold your arms over your chest, like Jabotinsky said. Be clear, cold, and calm. Don’t panic. Be stationary, be stoic. Exude utter contempt. That’s number one.
Number two is, be prepared to physically defend yourself, and your loved ones. Over the same weekend as the Monsey attack, a gunman stormed a church in rural Texas, and was immediately shot down by a parishioner before he was able to kill anyone else. QED: if Jews weren’t such soft targets, these attacks wouldn’t be happening.
It’s that simple.