Category Archives: Yiddishkeit

Reductio ad Iudaeoram, Pt. IV

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Comes in handy

(Part I here, Part II here, Part III here)

One upshot to the profusion of online Hitler sympathy this past decade is that it shows how brittle American liberal indoctrination really is, despite its insidiousness. Of course, it also shows that older habits tend to die harder.

To wit: every now and again some earnest little yid blogger pokes his head up on an alt-right podcast and tries to explain that we’re not all that bad—while agreeing that indeed, we are all that bad. It’s a bit like playing dead: contrition itself is supposed to be a point in the Jews’ defense.

Now, if your experience tells you that Jews are often oily, pushy, loud, verbose, solipsistic, dissembling and cheap, well…. Join the club: so does mine (although only the first five apply to me). Perhaps you live in a community somewhere back east where the ethnic fault lines are long standing, and over the decades each of the local constituencies has made a certain impression on its neighbors. Well and good. If it’s a matter of navigating daily life and real relationships, stereotype away, for all I care. But when we refer here to anti-semitism, what we mean is the kind that’s mediated through propaganda, i.e., the full-retard pamphleteering variety:

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Again: if experience recommends wariness of a given human group, then be wary—end of story. Self-defense, after all, is a dish best served cold, and sparingly. But for the full-retard anti-ZOG pamphleteer, there’s no adrenaline in that, no hard-on, no quasi-mystical shivers. For them, the case is so open-and-shut they can never shut up about it.

Henry Kissinger once said that a people that’s been persecuted for 2,000 years is doing something wrong. A certain Luke would beg to differ that being persecuted necessarily means you’re in the wrong, but he didn’t much like Jews, either. In any case, a people that beats those kinds of odds has also got to be doing something right.

All the same, you might think it would be worthwhile for the Jews’ own sake to at least engage with our worst critics and try to learn something from them; that conceding part of their argument signals transparency and introspection that might be reciprocated, therby mitigating anti-semitism. In certain isolated cases that may be correct. But such nuanced public hesitance to fully recognize a self-proclaimed enemy as an enemy can only play as sycophancy and, as Jabotinsky once noted, a man who’s ever-willing to turn out his pockets and consent to a search is only liable to elicit suspicion and scorn. Indeed, when you reach out to full-retard anti-semites (lots of those abroad in the world nowadays) what you’re almost invariably going to find is that the burden of proof falls exclusively upon the semite. Your every overture is taken both as subterfuge and servility. Your every word short of utter self-abnegation amounts to proof of incorrigibility, no matter what you’ve conceded—and so does self-abnegation. There is literally nothing that can be proved to these types. You may share alt-right or far-left concerns about the complicity of Jews in systems of power you oppose, but that’s never how anti-semites see you, and the only effective way to deal with execration is to be stoic, or mocking—to disregard it, or hand it right back, reheated. Because full-retard anti-semitism (right or left) is not about opposing systems of power per se; rather, it is the vocation of finding fault with yidden. It’s a manichaean template that confers total absolution from shame, and earnestness is poison when you’re dealing with a shameless interlocutor. As soon as you give him the time of day, you’re taking on all the shame in the equation.

Take, for example, the following aside (~29:00-30:00) from alt-right agitator Mike Enoch on that episode of The Daily Shoah podcast I hyperlinked above (the one with the yiddle-diddle blogger guest interviewee.) Here Enoch’s talking about the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm:

We had this conversation today where we were talking about Larry David, that fucking stupid show where he runs around being Jewish…. and someone [some fellow anti-semite] was like, ‘Oh no, but it’s hilarious because he’s so Jewish [that] he’s fucking over even other Jews.‘ And I’m like, yeah, but at some point I just want to be done with this Jewish psychological shit, I don’t want to be sucked into this world of the Jewish fucking inner turmoil, I just want to be done with it.

Um…. excuse me? You guys are the ones with a three-times weekly podcast called The Daily Shoah (“shoah”=Hebrew for Holocaust) that’s going on its 200th episode at 2+ hours apiece, and in every single one, you discuss Jews at length. No schtick fatigue? I get that plutocrats and media mandarins are disproportionately Jewish, that such power ought to be accessible to satire, and I can at least respect the alt-right for its irreverence, but…. You “want to be done“? The fuck outta here. What would you even do with yourselves at that point?

Someone who claims to have caught a whiff of sulfuric old Beelzebub is liable to be reminded that whoever smelt it dealt it. Yet the self-flagellating little yid blogger guest on the podcast ends up agreeing with Enoch about yiddishkeit in showbiz: “Right, this is 2% of the population, why is this the thing that’s being constantly put in front of us?” I don’t know, why are there so goddamned many steers in Texas? In the words of the great Marshall McLuhan: if you’re seeing it, it’s for you. Someone got you straightjacketed to a theater seat? Lots of options what to watch nowadays. Last I checked, HBO is premium cable. So I’ve heard a lot of anti-semitic tropes in my day, but as these things go, “wanting to be done with the Jewish inner turmoil” that’s “sucking me in” is revealingly bizarre. Whether it’s only tortured logic, or also tortured, sub-rosa yiddishkeit, what it reveals about anti-semitism is the same. Veyizmir.

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 far-fetched desire to believe in divine election—you know, the suspicion that there must be some truth to the stereotype about Jewish brains. 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 disproportionately 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?”

Privilege has always been precarious, and no clever person facing long odds is going eschew the opportunity to steel himself. Relative to the proportion of Jews who, historically, weren’t able to do so, yiddishkeit is probably an overall liability. But it’s true that a relatively high proportion of elites nowadays are Jews. Still, what evolutionary biology considers success can be very dangerous from an Epicurean standpoint. Either way, I don’t buy my friend’s supposition that Jews are exceptionally criminal, or liable for one another’s crimes.

But would you believe who might? I mean, other than the alt-right? Larry David. Here’s how David treated the Weinstein/#MeToo scandal in the opening monologue of a recent episode of Saturday Night Live he hosted (executive summary here):

What’s awkward about this performance? It isn’t the references to sex, or to genocide. It isn’t the uncouthness, or even David’s openness to discomfort. No, what’s awkward about this performance is its sincerity. It’s a public service announcement concealed behind only the most implausible veneer of comedy, because Larry David means exactly what he says: he reflexively feels that allegations against a handful of fellow Jews reflect on him, fundamentally. But what’s ironic about the tenebrous self-awareness he exemplifies is that it produces more christlike behavior than anything anti-semites exhibit.

Mihail Sebastian was a Romanian-Jewish linguist and novelist who kept a diary of life in Romania between 1935 and 1944. The manuscript was smuggled to Israel by his brother in 1961 and eventually published as a book after the Cold War. What’s interesting about it is that many fellow Romanian intellectuals whom the author maintained friendships with were vehemently pro-Nazi. According to a 2001 book review in The Irish Times, Sebastian had a remarkable tendency to make excuses for them:

Sebastian’s friend, the charismatic philosopher and teacher Nae Ionescu, who enthusiastically supported the Iron Guard, agreed to write a preface to one of Sebastian’s novels, but when he did, it turned out to be vigorously anti-Semitic.

Ionescu warned the younger man against imagining that he could become assimilated into the gentile community, asking of him “Are you . . . a human being from Braila on the Danube? No, you are a Jew from Braila on the Danube.” Sebastian, in typical fashion, continued to look upon his friend and mentor with fondness, regarding him indulgently merely as a rogue and an opportunist whose heart nevertheless was in the right place; when Ionescu died prematurely in 1940, Sebastian wept in sorrow.

He even found excuses for his friend the novelist, and fascist, Camil Petrescu. When the private houses of Jews were confiscated by order of the government, Petrescu complained to Sebastian that he would probably not be given one; Sebastian said that surely, under the circumstances, his friend would not accept a house even if it were offered to him, at which Petrescu stared at him in surprise and asked: “Why not?”

What diaspora Jew has not occasionally found himself countenancing insults in this manner and ad-libbing some conciliatory self-deprecation so as not to offend his assailants? Even Henry Kissinger (“at once an excellency and an untouchable,” in Sartre’s memorable formulation) is noted as a practitioner of this dance.

When you sell out your own kind in this manner, you mean to say, “Don’t hate me. I’m not so much like them!” but what it sounds like instead is, “I’m exactly like them, and it’s okay to hate me. I forgive you.” Kafka’s Trial is a tedious, flagellating read, but the book’s prime conceit—an inexplicable vulnerability, an affliction of inchoate guilt that can never be lived down—is the perfect encapsulation of the tortured relationship of yiddishkeit to the non-Jewish world. There has always been an uneasiness about being exposed as a Jew and, for the time being, the degrees of difference between Mihail Sebastian’s Romania and Larry David’s America can mitigate, but never extirpate it.

 

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Dear Father X

Uncouth reflections

Dear Father X,

I feel that in matters of the heart, of which faith surely is one, we must be unfailingly honest. Yet I’m afraid there is nothing I could say to you with perfect honesty, because to do so would be to malign your faith, and faith of any kind is sacred, and what is sacred must be honored, even if it is only sacred to others.

But the truth is, I believe you affect a superiority to me in matters you know nothing about. No, I’m not referring to the nature of the divine. In that, each of us knows as much or as little as the other. This, perhaps, is why we are bound by simple decency to honor the other man’s faith.

Does Christianity prescribe respect for other faiths? On the contrary. To the extent this renders frankness only on my part uncouth and fruitless, I regard you quite warily. Yet to the extent your life’s enterprise involves the promulgation of beauty and compassion in this world, I consider you a kindred spirit.

My wife would like you to baptize our son. She cannot comprehend what this means for a Jew, and our common scriptures forbid me from putting a stumbling block in front of the blind. (Leviticus 19:14) Then there is the matter of the Golden Rule: how can I deny a sacrament to a believer, even if it’s a sacrilege for me? I suppose you don’t need me to tell you that ethics sometimes trump faith, and love sometimes trumps law. Christianity talks a big game on both counts. Yet I wouldn’t expect a Christian to take my feelings seriously in this matter, and my only consolation is to remind myself that in any case, no man can know the mind of God.

So it isn’t that I regard my particular faith as realer than yours or anyone’s. I’ve heard tales of miracles from adherents of every faith tradition, and it would be as easy for a man of no faith to dismiss them utterly as it is difficult for a man of true faith to dismiss any of them. If I were to remark about the uncanny reality inherent in myth, I surely wouldn’t be the first. So although each religion dismisses the other’s claims, when the simple and true believer of any tradition recounts a transcendent experience, I tend to believe it. For what if (say) God is as the Jews describe Him, yet sends miraculous signs to worthy Christians or Muslims that accord with their beliefs, out of infinite love of their devotion, regardless of its errors? Or (conversely), what if God is as the Christians or Muslims say, but sends signs to worthy Jews out of respect for their persistence, however misguided? What if we all err in roughly equal proportion, and need one other to make up the difference?

When I was a child, the Hebrew Bible seemed to speak to me directly, in secret, idiosyncratic communion. Every Saturday in shul on my grandfather’s knee; in solitude, late at night, perusing his bookshelf. Perhaps it was some antediluvian spirit that chose me to thrust itself upon: Jacob and the Angel, Joseph in Egypt, Moses and the Burning Bush, Joshua at Jericho, Samuel’s visit to Jesse, David’s flight from Saul, Solomon asking for wisdom, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, Ezekiel in the Valley of the Dry Bones. These legends seemed to contain a lost key, an inkling of eternity.

So I’m not concerned here with historicity, nor to pit revelation against revelation. Rather, my concern is to salvage something from the death of god. In this, I do not deny but rather affirm that the Christian dispensation has its place. Yet you ask me, essentially, to forsake my fathers, to compromise my most fundamental integrity at the spearhead of their accumulated wisdom and experience, and exchange the flickering entrée to eternity they handed down to me for a mere sense of relief. Even if Christian theology is correct in every respect and Judaism is entirely in error—can it be possible to respect someone who asks such things of others? Even if it does not violate the letter of the First Commandment, it violates its spirit, and strikes me as perfectly analogous to Ivan Karamazov’s suggestion that the edifice of human happiness be build upon the foundation of the torture and unrequited tears of a single, innocent creature. So what Judaism forbids, above all, is flexibility of conscience.

Your scriptures claim there is neither Jew nor Greek, for we are all one in Christ. (Galatians 3:28) But if not for the distinction of family and tribe, where would we derive the very experience of solidarity that might then be applied to the stranger? (Rabbi Hillel had a pretty neat resolution for that little paradox.) And while we agree that universal reason precedes matter, (in my view, John 1:1 is the single point where Christianity really exceeds and innovates upon Judaism, even if it was cribbed from the Stoics) it seems to me unlikely such an entity could ever be satisfactorily comprehended—certainly not on another man’s terms of assurance, nor such that its constituent parts might be enumerated with the specificity that Christian theologians have always brought to the task. But again, supposing I’m in error somehow, so what? Who isn’t? The journey is more important than the destination, and Jewish dialectic tension and intellectual agonizing cannot be salved but only extinguished by Christian grace.

There have long been many who believe this would be for the best, but they’re rarely forthright about this conviction—they euphemize, they prevaricate, and they always seem to drag a vaguely afflicted conscience around behind their intellectual levity. Perhaps it’s better to extinguish a candle than curse the darkness. But desecration is the essence of crime, and crime is not a matter of degrees, but of intent. So please don’t pretend that I’m missing something, or presume to suggest how easy it would be for me to overlook various Christian teachings, or rely on elided interpretations of them. What kind of belief would that be, anyhow? It’s unprincipled.

But enough of ontology. Regrettably, the politics here simply cannot be avoided. When has Christianity not been implicated in politics, in the most sordid affairs of this world? The pharisees of Gospel fame are classic figments of Freudian projection. And while the Tanakh does hold that “By Me kings reign, and rulers decree justice,” (Proverbs 8:15) it also says He removes them (Daniel 2:21), presumably not by airbrushing. So it doesn’t follow that “consequently, the one who resists authority is opposing what God has set in place.” (Romans 13:2)

Incidentally, when Jesus tells Pilate that “the one who handed me over to you is guilty of the greater sin,” (John 19:11) it is curiously sycophantic. Love thine enemy, turn the other cheek, render unto Caesar. This isn’t morality, it’s a civics lesson.

Is it any wonder that for eighteen centuries this creed of yours unified and palliated in precisely the same proportion as it endeared coachman to duke, reduced the slave before his driver, and blessed the condemned with his executioner in the same breath? Because originally, the message of the Gospels’ Jesus to the Jews is, in large part, to cease resisting Rome. Certainly this is the only way that Luke 19 can be given a coherent reading.

But what good is it to wrestle with spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12) if only Jesus is not required to ask nicely? (Titus 3:1) And yet, no Christian people smarting under an infidel yoke has or ever will be condemned from any pulpit as graspers and sensualists simply for taking up arms in defense of their freedom to worship. Christianity has never enjoined anyone but the Jews to lay down their arms in such a predicament. Back when Christians wanted to vanquish Muslims, at least they accepted the necessity of fighting them.

Growing up Jewish, they beat you over the head so much with tales of persecution that in modern times, it all takes on an allegorical quality, or that of a horror story. Until I was an adult, anti-semitism—vehement, full-hilt anti-semitism—was something I understood only dryly. But once I’d encountered enough of it, I had to wonder what it would mean if such sentiments were pervasive, and when I asked myself that question I realized, viscerally, all of a sudden, what sheer intransigent execration—its precipitous depth—my ancestors endured, in spite of how easy it would have been for them to break and be done with it as you now enjoin me to do.

Though he was more of a christian—that is to say, a railing perfectionist—than he supposed, Nietzsche had a better rejoinder when he wrote that

Every Jew possesses in the history of his fathers and grandfathers a great fund of examples of the coldest self-possession and endurance in fearful situations, of the subtlest outwitting and exploitation of chance and misfortune; their courage beneath the cloak of miserable submission, their heroism in spernere si sperni surpasses the virtues of all the saints…. and the virtues which pertain to all who suffer have likewise never ceased to adorn them. (Dawn of Day, 205)

The irony of this—that it is the Jew in history who most conforms to the Christ archetype—ought to produce a wincing mortification in any introspective Christian. You say you wish to see the Jews perfected, but isn’t it you who seek to be perfected through us?

Can it be a coincidence that the Church has seen its sharpest decline in public prestige and moral legitimacy only since the emancipation of the Jews? So thoroughly is Christianity predicated on the negation of Judaism that any Jew’s conversion represents its ultimate legitimation. No penitent drunk or gap-toothed Papuan’s baptism could ever serve to vindicate Christianity like the chastened, exhausted collapse of a Hebrew before the smug mercy of his ancestors’ tormentors. Yet without recourse to project inner foreboding upon we recalcitrants—as if into a spittoon—St. Augustine’s advice to “seek not abroad” had finally to be taken, and we don’t much like when the abyss gazes back into us now, do we? Anyone can see how few self-supposed Christians are keen to really take up the Great Commission now that it threatens to cost them just a fraction of what it once did at Rome. More of the redeemed gave up their lives in those days than are willing to give up Instagram and a matching 401(k) in ours.

But you are someone who has taken it up—I have nothing but the deepest respect for your faith and works—and if I thought I could tell you any of what I’m writing down now, I have no doubt we would relate to one another preternaturally, you as spurned priest and I as execrated Jew, locked in antagonistic yet mutual, ascetical love and fear of the Almighty. My ultimate enemy, like yours, is Mammon and his priests, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and my own corollary impulses. Of course, a true friend will be the enemy of our enemy. So I’m not holding out for your blessing, but I wouldn’t refuse it, either.

Sincerely,

O

Reductio ad Iudaeoram, Pt. III

We are all Palestinians

(Part I here, Part II here; Part IV here)

Almost all Palestinians who fink on other Palestinians to the Israeli security services do so in a limited manner under some form of duress. At worst, they do it for money. Mosab Hassan Yousef, on the other hand, is the only Palestinian to have betrayed his people wholesale, and voluntarily. This is typical: most peoples can count their historic traitors on one hand. After all, betraying us won’t make you one of them. It only nullifies you.

Essential human qualities—those that come from before—are intractable. Others define them for us. The best we can do is to live out the verdict with dignity. Do Jews tend to manage this very well? I’d laugh, but there’s a stabbing pain in my ribcage (both sides.)

In our previous installment, we were introduced to one Henry Makow, a Jew who, though he isn’t exactly an apostate, feels anything but warm and fuzzy about his heritage. Mr. Makow runs a conspiracy webzine where he alleges that, because (1) prominent Jews and Jewish interests are complicit in a global Satanic bankers’ conspiracy, (2) conspicuous Jewish opposition to that conspiracy would conciliate anti-semitism. Leaving aside certain glaring matters of detail, for the sake of argument I’ll readily concede the first of his two contentions. What about the second one?

Well, we know for a fact that there is indeed conspicuous Jewish opposition to the planetary managerial class. There are Jewish journalists, activists and academics who denounce the powers that be, in part or in whole. There are mainstream Jewish authors and historians whose research provides excellent fodder for those on the fringes who are willing to draw bolder conclusions. There are Jewish conspiracy theorists of Makow’s ilk. There are even Jews who beat their breasts denouncing Zionism wholesale and condemning Jewishness and Judaism in all its forms but the most prophetical, pusillanimous and pacifistic.

Does any of this ameliorate anti-semitism? Of course not. Anti-semitism is the conviction that Jewishness itself is immutable and fundamentally odious. (Short of that, antipathy toward Jews is just harmless, garden-variety xenophobia.) From that perspective, Jewish opposition to any or all of the powers that be, and even to Zionism, is taken as strategic retreat, controlled opposition or ethnic obfuscation. For full-hilt anti-Semites (not a few of those abroad in the world nowadays) a Jew’s every word short of utter self-abnegation equals dissembling, or proof of incorrigibility—for chrissakes, that’s Internet 101.

In my lifetime, I’ve experienced anti-semitism mostly as a subdued curiosity, lurking in the form of the incorrigible ease with which Jewish culpability can be accepted in various quarters as sufficient explanation for complex and sundry events. But as I grew older and my own material for observation increased, I slowly began to realize that where Jews are disdained it is a continuation, a renewal, a habit, something latent, never a fresh perspective or a novel analysis of events. Granted, I’ve habituated to taking accusations of anti-semitism with a grain of salt, because the ancient prejudice appears to have been so throughly routed of late, and because many Jews can be quite oversensitive. But over the past decade and a half of palpable civilizational decline, the attendant profusion of anti-semitic sentiment has given me an inkling of what it must have been like for my people to weather this execration in overt form, day by day, generation after generation.

It had been many years since I read Sartre’s Anti-Semite and Jew when I saw it quoted recently in an article about the alt-right:

Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past. It is not that they are afraid of being convinced. … If then, as we have been able to observe, the anti-Semite is impervious to reason and to experience, it is not because his conviction is strong. Rather his conviction is strong because he has chosen first of all to be impervious.

For a good illustration of this behavior, I’ve dug up an article from an alt-right blog called Aryan Skynet, entitled “Global Rat-Perch: Jewish Misdirection in the Work of Michel Chossudovsky.”

Chossudovsky is an academic and the editor of an anti-war, anti-neoliberal web journal called Global Research. The authors of the article first commend Chossudovsky for his anti-war reporting, but they take him to task for his analysis of Israeli culpability in Western imperialism, which they feel is overly lax toward Israel:

Chossudovsky acknowledges the existence of Israel’s nuclear arsenal and its collusion with the U.S.; but, for him, “Tel Aviv is not a prime mover” for intervention against Iran and “does not have a separate and distinct military agenda” from that of the Pentagon. Israel, for Chossudovsky, is only “part of a military alliance” – practically a pawn – that might “be used by Washington to justify, in the eyes of world opinion, a military intervention of the U.S. and NATO with a view to ‘defending Israel’, rather than attacking Iran.”

“Israel cannot launch a war against Iran without Washington’s consent. Hence the importance,” Chossudovsky avers, “of the so-called ‘Green Light’ legislation in the U.S. Congress sponsored by the Republican party under House Resolution 1553, which explicitly supports an Israeli attack on Iran.”

“In practice,” he continues, “the proposed legislation was a ‘green light’ to the White House and the Pentagon rather than to Israel” and “constitutes a rubber stamp to a U.S.-sponsored war on Iran which uses Israel as a…. pretext.”

Of course, if events ever prove this surmise correct, the gentlemen at Aryan Skynet will immediately cease scoffing and promptly develop amnesia. Of course it’s perfectly plausible that the US inner-elite has long term plans involving the removal of the present Iranian regime, that their reasons are different from Israel’s, and that Israel is the junior—and more malleable—party to the partnership. If so, then it’s obvious that Iranian aggression toward Israel will be the most likely pretext for US action. But that’s not what Chossudovsky is alleging.

The authors are correct that Chossudovsky ignores manifest Israeli interests when it comes to Iran—that’s because he doesn’t even credit the Israelis with having their own interests. When a leftist yid doesn’t recognize Jewish power, it’s because he’s not terribly interested in Jewish power. Rather, he’s mired in moralism and victimology:

The real culprits, Chossudovsky alleges, are the “Anglo-American oil giants.”

“The U.S.-led war in the broader Middle East Central Asian region consists in gaining control over more than sixty percent of the world’s reserves of oil and natural gas.” The best the professor can produce in the way of evidence for his claim is a Clinton-era National Security Statement citing the strategic interest of the U.S. in ensuring the security of Middle East oil reserves.

Well, that’s not bad evidence, and if it’s all Chossudovsky cites, it doesn’t mean there’s no additional evidence of long-term US geostrategic designs on the Eurasian landmass and its natural resources, designs to which Israeli concerns would obviously be subordinate. But if the authors of this critique (of Chossudovsky) can’t recognize Gentile powers and the interests of those parties, it’s because they, too are mired in moralism and victimology:

Dr. James Petras and Muhammad Idrees Ahmad have already lain this lamestream liberal canard to rest. “Through its all-out campaign in the U.S. Congress and Administration,” Petras observes in his book The Power of Israel in the United States, “the U.S.-Jewish-Israeli lobby has created a warlike climate which now goes counter to the interests of all the world’s major oil companies including BP, the UK-based gas company, SASOL (South Africa), Royal Dutch Shell, Total of France, and others.” Chossudovsky is not unaware of the work of Dr. Petras; he is simply engaging in racial and ideological obfuscation.

The oil companies—victims of ethnic obfuscation! I guess that’s one industry not controlled by yids.

Clearly, the authors mistake the mere existence of a counter-argument for a refutation. But if they can detect a dearth of evidence behind Chossudovsky’s claims, why can’t they extend the same incredulity to Petras? Anti-semitism is a deeply cultural legacy. Is a scholar of Catholic background less subject to such biases than a Jew like Chossudovsky?

His blood be upon us and upon our children…. 

As for the putatively authoritative role of the U.S. Congress that Chossudovsky cites as evidence of Israel’s lack of agency in America’s foreign policy agenda, that is only a sickening joke in consideration of the fact that those in the know have for decades acknowledged that Israel’s U.S. lobby, AIPAC, grips the House and Senate.

Lemme get this straight: a whore can’t have more than one regular customer? But Chossudovsky doesn’t say Congress is authoritative, he says they gave a rubber stamp.

In any case, Israel’s total GDP was $318.7 billion last year; ExxonMobile’s net worth is $486.4 billion. If the latter’s exertions in lobbying Congress (or those of the aerospace defense industry, or any of the myriad interests behind American imperialism) are less conspicuous than Israel’s, maybe it’s because there’s no ancient, international subculture of intrepid crackpots specializing in publishing salacious broadsides characterizing them as the one sinister key to understanding global politics. But speaking of “lack of agency,” if the US enjoys effective veto power over Israel’s most sensitive defense priorities, and Congress is not authoritative, then Israeli lobbying efforts in Congress indicate a rather desperate negotiating position, and the difference between US leverage over Israel (on the one hand) and Israeli influence on the US (on the other) is the difference between a nutsack and a pubic hair.

Like all hopeless ideologues, the authors of Aryan Skynet are chafing under some inchoate sense of life’s unfairness they were never fully equipped to cope with as children. But if you get your education on YouTube and are readily reeled in by morality tales and faux-esoterica, then the party misdirecting you is not the obscure likes of a Michel Chossudovsky, nor even the Atlantic or the Washington Post—it is you. Reductio ad Iudaeoram is autonomic obscurantism. If you think the JQ is the rug that really ties the room together, you’re easily impressed. And yet, as we have seen, Jews themselves are taken in by this in a remarkably replicable manner. How can yiddishkeit be untangled from its relationship of dread—from any relationship—with this sub-species of vindictive mediocrity?

Reductio ad Iudaeoram, Pt. II

Gaydar hyperdrive

(Part I here, Part III here, Part IV here)

I would like to be wealthy, and in better shape. I certainly wouldn’t want to be homeless, or obese.

There are many things that I would like to be, and many things that I would not like to be, but to the extent that there’s anything essential in a human being, something that precedes him, what I want more than anything is to be exactly what I am.

But in the meantime I want to acquaint you, if you aren’t already familiar, with one Henry Makow, the proprietor of a ranty-ravey webzine concerned with exposing the Illuminati conspiracy, particularly its Jewish elements (Mr. Makow is a deeply conflicted Jew). Here is Mr. Makow’s take on anti-semitism:

Well, you cannot be a Christian if you’re involved in a Satanic conspiracy, but we know what Makow means by “Christian”: he means Gentiles. WASPs, to be precise, and probably also some descendants of traditionally Catholic ethnic groups. Once involved in a Satanic conspiracy, these people lose their essential (or vestigial) Christianity. The same cannot be said of Jewishness, of course, because Jews are a race. But if no one accuses Makow of being anti-WASP when he condemns the Rockefellers, it’s because Makow doesn’t conclude that the prominence of WASPs in this conspiracy implicates all WASPs—nor does he seem to view anyone but Jews as having a need to redeem their national reputation by opposing this conspiracy, even though he has said that the vast majority of Jews aren’t involved in it. Is Makow at least correct in assuming that opposition to it on the part of Jews would mitigate anti-semitism? Of course he isn’t.

Perhaps another exhibit will illustrate why not.

Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of a high-level Hamas operative—a high-level Hamas operative who spent decades in Israeli prisons. He spent decades in Israeli prisons because his son ratted him out. You see, Mosab Hassan Yousef is best known for defecting to Israel as an informant, and later immigrating to the United States, converting to Christianity, and authoring a tell-all about his experience, which he has promoted on various television shows.

To give you a very precise idea of where Mr. Yousef stands when it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict, here he is speaking before the UN Human Rights Council as they deliberate about one of their monthly or weekly resolutions condemning Israel:

Now, to the extent that I am a Zionist, I badly want to relish what Mr. Yousef is telling the committee—but I can’t.

It isn’t that what he says is not true—most of it is, and the part that is true constitutes a neglected message that needs to be heard loud and clear: the PLO is indeed a retrograde kleptocracy, thuggish even in comparison with Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. But it is not “the greatest enemy of the Palestinian people,” that’s ridiculous. The greatest enemy of the Palestinian people is Israel, and Mosab Hassan Yousef may be right in every single one of his criticisms of Islam, the Arabs, and the various Palestinian factions. But when all is said and done, this is a man who betrayed his people, his family, his faith, and helped their mortal national adversaries imprison his own father. And now he lets himself be used as a marionette, because there’s no other kind of existence left for him but that of a stool pigeon.

As a Zionist, am I pleased that Yousef helped the Israeli authorities prevent attacks on Jews? Of course I am. I am very pleased by it, I’m even grateful to him. Yet when I look at Mosab Hassan Yousef, I can only feel total revulsion, because what I see is a faggot—and not just because of his textbook gayface. The simple fact is, Mosab Hassan Yousef is a worm, a complete betrayer, the type for whom Dante reserved the lowest circle of hell. We’re not talking about simple political betrayal, either—he’s not a North Korean who defected to the South. This guy betrayed his own blood, not just his family or his people but himself, his heritage, and everything that’s essential about him. To the extent that I identify with Israel, I can absolutely relate to a Palestinian irredentist who’s willing to bleed me bleach-white in the name of his worthy God and his lost homeland. I can respect that, even if I can’t tolerate it. But as much as I want to like him, a Mosab Hassan Yousef is intolerable to my soul. As is a guy like Henry Makow, who is so disproportionately mortified by any misdeed committed by a fellow Jew (as if he’s such a fine specimen himself) that, with the best of intentions and no sense of irony whatsoever, he can bring himself to pen an article entitled, “Anti Semitism is Legitimate Self Defense.” Of course, the whole history of anti-Semitism is one of massacre of disarmed, enfeebled people. Would Makow like somebody to murder him, or what? Yet perspectives like his really aren’t uncommon among Jews. What could possibly explain this extraordinary masochism? Can it be cured? On to Part III….

Reductio ad Iudaeoram, Pt. I

Valerie Plame

veyizmir

(Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here)

“What have the Jews not done to prove that they do not stick together?” (Menachem Begin)

This week witnessed media coverage of author and (perhaps, former) CIA agent Valerie Plame, who provoked some controversy when she tweeted an article from Unz Review titled, “America’s Jews are Driving America’s Wars.” Plame subsequently apologized and resigned in disgrace from a spook-tank called Ploughshares Fund.

Uncouth though she may have been, what’s interesting about this little kerfuffle is that Plame did nothing more than express the establishment position. Of course it can be a matter of degrees, but to assert in a major publication or on a university campus that Israel and her US supporters exercise critical, undue influence on US mideast policy has been uncontroversial for quite some time. I even recall an episode of The Simpsons making a joke to this effect as long ago as the late 1990s. (If I ever find the clip, I’ll hyperlink it.)

If, on the other hand, you really want to know what the US is up to in the mideast, it isn’t all that hard to find out. So this idea that, due to Jewish pressure, an otherwise cohesive and sober American elite (or an inept, naïve one) is sticking its neck out for Zionism with no corresponding ROI is pedestrian wisdom masquerading as radical, taboo and esoteric. And the notion that the global power elite is comprised of just so many portfolios being managed out of Tel Aviv by means of seamy Polaroid floppies and Monopoly money may never lose its mystique for the great plurality of intellectual minutemen. But Israeli meddling in US domestic politics, at least, can be explained with simple common sense: i.e., in order to mitigate overbearing US meddling in their affairs, the Israelis are leveraging the labyrinthine inertia of the American system just like other foreign actors—they just require more brainpower, man-hours and connections to accomplish what others can get done less conspicuously. For instance: the US puts personnel in actual harm’s way by the tens of thousands to defend Poland, Saudia and South Korea. Yet no one ever thinks to inquire about these arrangements as if they’re particularly fishy, ulterior, or inexplicable.

In any case, US aid to Israel accounts for about 0.7% of the overall US defense budget ($5 billion versus $640 billion annually). Zionism has far less to do with America’s wars than Lutheranism. (The hyperlink is there for a reason.) The question is, why would that be so counter-intuitive for so well-informed an insider as Valerie Plame? She may only be a lackey, but she’s got to know a thing or two about how the system works.

According to her Twitter profile, “Valerie is a wife, mother of twins, author, anti-nuclear activist, and a former covert CIA ops officer.” In other words, she’s a legally blond soccer mom in the big city. But while nothing a CIA agent (former or otherwise) says can be taken at face value, it does seem as though Plame was very deliberate in tweeting the article. For one thing, she didn’t have to, and there was, apparently, personal cost involved. In tweeting her subsequent mea culpa she pled ignorance of the article’s contents:

I skimmed this piece, zeroed in on the neocon criticism, and shared it without seeing and considering the rest. I missed gross undercurrents to this article & didn’t do my homework on the platform this piece came from.

This is not only implausible, but irrelevant. I mean, “undercurrents”? The headline reads “America’s Jews are Driving America’s Wars.” In the same Twitter thread, Plame tweeted that, “in the past, I have also carelessly retweeted articles from this same site”—clearly she’s well aware of “the platform this piece came from.” Clearly, Plame wants (or wants others) to believe that America’s Jews are behind America’s wars. The question is, why?

Certainly Plame is no innocent lamb when it comes to America’s toxic impact in the world. You don’t even have to be a covert intel operative to know that Congress just proposed a $640 billion defense budget for 2018, a $37 billion increase over the Trump administration’s $603 billion request for the same year and a $57.3 billion increase over the Obama administration’s $582.7 billion defense budget for the prior year. America’s Jews are driving this?

If so, it hardly makes sense that Valerie Plame would condemn them for it, because she can hardly regard the US as anything but a force for good in spite of its all worts. To consider other possibilities would be to confess venality. Ms. Plame, after all, is a product and lifelong servant of the system, and it’s axiomatic that machiavellianism tends to fly under cover of sanctimony. Much more convenient—and well-precedented—to blame the Jews wholesale. But Valerie Plame—neé Plamevotski—is kinda, sorta…. Jewish (not to mention Lutheran.)

What makes so many Jews and partial-Jews denounce their own kind like this? The Christian critique of Jewish moral turpitude has long been aped by Jews, as a way to distance themselves from their execrated identity. Certainly that doesn’t make every criticism false, and it is nowhere clear that Valerie Plame is invested with enough Jewishness to make this true in her case. The question remains, however: what makes anyone settle on clandestine Jewish machinations to explain so comprehensively such diverse and multifarious phenomena? The great, torpid ease with which this is so often done ought to offend the meagrest intelligence. (A famous maxim about old habits comes to mind.) Is there nevertheless something about Jewishness that provokes or exacerbates it, and is there a way for Jews to mitigate it, without stentorian public self-flagellation over the Palestine question, or who controls Hollywood? If not, then how should persons of Jewish provenance orient themselves to it?

Stay tuned for our next installment…..

 

 

 

Crypto-fascist, Crypto-Jew

zionism-equals-nazism

Bro I wish

Part II of a series in progress….. Part I here, Part III forthcoming

I.

When I was eighteen, I beat up a white power skinhead. My late-adolescent self-seeking had taken a schlocky, Daniel Deronda kind of turn, so any opportunity to defend Jewish honor I felt I had to take, no matter how contrived. I guess I fancied myself a little like the Jewboy Schwartz in Porky’s. 

Anyway, as I was standing with a gaggle of crust punks one weekday afternoon on a downtown corner across from the bus station, a sinewy little guy with a shorn pate and narrow mustache strolled up in boots, braces, beater and bomber, drew one of my punker compadres aside and transacted a drug deal inconspicuously. Then he started back on his way—that is, until I shoved him, hard, from behind. On that day I decided I would simply refuse to accept that neo-Nazis should make themselves visible.

He turned around to face me, breathing through his open mouth, his incisors streaked a scummy, bacterial yellow. He had grimy pores and crusted-over scabs, his fingers were nicotine stained and filthy under the nails. There were little SS lighting bolt runes tattooed on one side of his neck, an iron cross on the other.

I stepped forward and poked him in the chest. Fear flashed momentarily across his eyes but he steadied his gaze, grinning as he reached into his beater and flipped out a brass swastika on a long, thin chain around his neck. That was when I hauled off.

I managed to land a solid several thumps upside his noggin as he flailed, until suddenly he surged into me at chest level, Hail Mary-like—head down, forearms up blocking. He managed to back me up a few steps, grabbing me by the shirt collar as he poked his little radish head up to bite me, square on the nose. The shock of this lent him the further momentum to bare down and take me tumbling to the pavement, back first. I almost rolled him but he bore down hard again, straddling my chest as he tried to strangle me. He overplayed his hand, though: as he wound back to clock me point blank, I availed myself of the empty space between my sternum and his groin, gripped him square in the nether region with one hand and up under an armpit with the other, then pulled him sideways into my chest and flipped him square on his back.

I mounted, I grounded, I pounded. Quite often the toughness of recidivist scumbags has more to do with the capacity to absorb a beating than to mete one out. He struggled, quivering with desperate futility, like a live fish held down for gutting.

Then suddenly I heard a crisp “snap!” I thought the sound was his nose breaking, which it was. Although I didn’t feel the pain immediately, it would also turn out to be the distal metacarpals on my mean right shattering in several places each. The pain settled in a second later, as I looked down and noticed that my opponent, though conscious, had given up, and was bleeding profusely from his nose and mouth.

Just then, someone yelled “cops!”

I looked up to see two peace officers, a man and a woman, sprinting towards us down the sidewalk some fifty yards off. I hopped up, bolted and rounded the nearest corner. Within two blocks I’d completely lost my pursuers and cut through the parking lot of a gated condo complex to a corner hamburger shack on the other side that had a pay phone booth in its back parking lot, out of view of the street. My dad was just getting off work and I called him for a ride.

II.

Awhile after that, once my broken hand had mended, I saw a member of the same local clique of white power skinheads strolling past me on the same downtown block. He was wearing a trucker hat on which he’d stenciled an iconic punk-rock anti-fascist symbol….

keepctryt

Only $12.99 on Angry, Young & Poor LMFAO

….only in his rendition, the stick figure was trashing a Star of David, not a swastika. I was so shocked by this meager display of literacy that I doubted what I had seen until he was well out of sight, but twenty minutes later he came back in the opposite direction with a slice of pizza in one hand.

As he passed by I snorted, ‘Nice hat.’ He turned to see who’d paid him the compliment and I mean-mugged him like I intended to do him harm. He froze, gazing back indecisively, whereupon I decked him in the face with my skateboard, an act I hadn’t planned nor even anticipated from myself. His pizza slice went flying as he dropped, hard, straight back. As soon as he hit the pavement he began seizing violently. I found out later that I had actually cracked his eye socket.

If you go out of your way to seriously insult strangers, you should probably be better prepared for a backlash than this guy was. But then, if you set out to harm everyone who says stuff you don’t like, you’d better know your limits a little better than I knew mine. I’d been reading a lot about the Irgun and Murder, Inc., but imitating them didn’t feel so good. I had beaten people with fists before, but this was the first time I used a weapon. In an instant I had become a more brutal creature than I realized I was, or ever had been. Frozen in shock, staring down at my victim, I experienced the disembodying sensation of a strong compassionate impulse concurrent with the realization that I had now forfeited my right to feel it. When I reemerged into linear time I heard shouting, and glanced up just soon enough to outrun bus station security.

I was less than six months out of high school then, and while I was heavily into pot and earning C grades at the local community college on my Jew-doctor daddy’s dime, my best friend Max (a goy, if you must know, and a profoundly goyische one, at that) was getting heavily into meth. He used to flop at a mutual friend’s apartment, where a female roommate was dating one of the skinheads, who also happened to be meth retailers. They would party there too, and crash on weekend nights. Word got back to me from Max that the White Power crew was looking for me and that their leader, a hardened ex-con by the nom de guerre of ‘Panther,’ had vowed to handle me personally. I didn’t know what Panther looked like, but he sounded fearsome.

III.

At that time I was also running a moderately lucrative sideline in pot (re-upping weekly by the quarter-pound), and one of my occasional customers was a six-and-a-half foot homeless high-yellow, also an ex-con, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Lawrence Fishburne—pockmarks and all—and went by a nom de guerre of his own, ‘The Reverend.’

In some visceral, sub-conscious nether region I understood perfectly well how predatory blacks can be, but at that age the psychic patina of racial pathos and Pavlovian guilt-inculcation at the hands nearly two decades’ worth of Hollywood movies and civics lessons prevented me from metabolizing this information to the full benefit of my survival instincts. If defending Jewish honor was a legacy passion project, evasion of actual danger was a work in progress.

Perhaps intentionally, The Reverend dressed a lot like Morpheus from The Matrix, in a ratty trench coat over an unwashed hoodie, with greasy cargo pants and army boots. His hustle was fortune telling for racially solicitous post-pinko granolas at a card table he used to set up in front of a health food store on the downtown strip, with a purple velvet table cloth where he’d lay out crystals for sale. Obsequious in characteristically downtrodden-black fashion, with that opportunistic malice lurking plainly underneath, The Reverend used to call me ‘Young Buck,’ and I showed my appreciation for his backhanded flattery by over-weighing his twomp sacks by a half-gram. Sometimes I’d smoke a joint with him just to be friendly. I was listening to a lot of rap music at that age.

One day as I was making my rounds on the downtown strip, I passed by The Reverend’s tarot table when he hailed me. I was carrying a bag of fruits and vegetables I’d just purchased from the health food store. He asked if I had any bud for sale, and slid a twenty spot onto the table. I snapped up the bill, slid my backpack down one arm and fished out a half-eighth (about half a gram more than I normally charged twenty for). But The Reverend gave a pensive, dissatisfied grimace and deadpanned, ‘Now why you tryin’ ta short me, homie?’ My balls dropped a bit as it dawned on me exactly what The Reverend took me for—ironically, this Morpheus-lookalike kind of redpilled me that day. As I returned the weed to my backpack and tossed his twenty-spot back onto the table I told him, “Go fuck your mother you shitty fuckin’ nigger.” It was the first (and second to last) time in my life I availed myself of that epithet in the second person.

Well that must not’ve made The Reverend’s day, because no sooner had I made my way half a block up from where he sat than I heard someone murmur, “The fuck you say to me?” and when I looked back over my shoulder, there was The Reverend in hot pursuit. I turned, snarling to face him and he stopped about three feet shy of me.

The Reverend was fairly big. He probably could have fucked me up; he probably could have fucked me. A crowd gathered ’round as we stared each other down, but this didn’t register immediately. All that was going through my head was that fight-or-flight electric slow-mo, and while (relative to his size) I might not have had the ablest fight in me, there was no flight. On that day—in spite of the stifling, kumbaya college-town atmosphere and the gaping hipsters and granolas gathered ’round to spectate—I simply refused to accept that I owed a predatory hustler anything but flagrant contempt.

The Reverend looked around at the assembled throng and decided to go for a half-measure: kicking around the back of my shins in big circular motions, trying to trip me. I jumped, took a step back, and grabbed an apple out of the grocery bag I had dangling from my wrist. My side-hand curve went ‘thwap!’ upside The Reverend’s head and dropped to the sidewalk broken open, dripping juice; then I hurled another, and another, each one landing with a ‘thwap!’ as we danced around in circles like a folk jig, him still trying to trip me, until I was out of apples.

Realizing, I suppose, that this spectacle was liable to cost him business, after a minute or so The Reverend stopped, hung his head sullenly, and skulked back to his tarot table to pack up his things. As I moved on up the strip, the atmosphere around me seemed to inflate with a laden tingling of shame. Had anyone heard me say nigger? Would word get around? Would I now be labelled a racist?

In just a few short months, The Reverend had made himself such a figure in town that at one point, about a month prior, he officiated a well-attended, interactive ‘white privilege’ self-flagellation demo organized by some intrepid sociology students at the university campus. It even got written up in the local weekly. But after our confrontation I never saw him in town again.

But the day of our confrontation, as I tender-hoofed my way up the strip and away from the scene, the strangest thing happened. A lousy, shirtless, sunburned little man with a shorn pate, wearing blue jeans, combat boots and braces came straggling along behind me. When he caught up he blurted out, breathless, ‘Are you having trouble with that nigger?’ Unsure of his intentions and leery of being judged by any proximate third-parties who might’ve seen what just happened, I replied ‘Hey man, that’s some pretty strong language right there.’ But when I glanced over I noticed that he was covered from torso to neck in Nazi tattoos. This dude intended to lend me moral support on the grounds of white solidarity. ‘Man, I hate that fuckin’ nigger. Just out here preyin’ on dumb fucks in this town. You don’t have to take that shit.’

‘I don’t know if you wanna take my part, bro. I’m Jewish.’

‘Well…..’ He paused. ‘I don’t have anything against Jews. I just have a problem with certain Zionists.’ I was taken aback, not at the note of acceptance but at the vocabulary, and not because it was impressive, but because it existed at all.

‘Name’s Panther.’ He extended a hand and we shook. Panther was small enough I could’ve picked him up and tossed him in a trash compactor. ‘Stay out of trouble, brother. Just look at me’—he was pretty haggard—‘it ain’t worth it.’ And off he went into the evening.

The Examined Life: Robin Williams Edition

brooks_was_here__by_joeruff-d59h1ju

Quit bein’ so goddamned serious

“You’re just depressed.” But am I wrong?

“You’re overthinking things.” Really? Where’s the limit and who sets it?

“That’s just the way things are, you’re gonna have to get used to it.” am used to it. Is that not a reason to discern, to describe, to investigate? How long are we to maintain one opinion, or none? 

Don’t worry. We’re all here; we all care. We’re all… watching. You’ll get things right, no doubt. After all, there’s just one fix.

You have to be assertive, self-assured, domineering (more spur, more riding crop, more moxy!)

See?

more tactful, sensitive, empathetic (more courteous, more caring, more moral). Nowadays the other man’s sensitivities can be myriad, you know, and you’ve got to anticipate everything.

So while you may not realize it, it isn’t questions you have, it’s a health issue. It’s not your fault. Lots of others have been where you are and come through productive, and carefree. I myself get paid to make these pronouncements.

So productivity is the end-goal of health? Of existence? Productive of what, exactly? And if it doesn’t matter, then why do my feelings? Wherefore uniformity in the things one ought or ought not to care about? Who decides? Do they have a mailing address? IS ANYBODY LISTENING?!?

One God, no Masters

04arouchlarge

Don’t ever stop throwing punches

But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. (Luke 19:27)

But the rest of the world they confront with a contempt reserved for enemies.                                   (Tacitus, Histories 5:2-5)

‘Tis the season of Mars retrograde reactionary chic. I have only one horse in this manger and he most assuredly is not the messiah.

The Jewish sojourn lo these past couple millennia is ironic in that it mirrors the Gospel themes of stripes, stigmata, and resurrection. But while many an archetype has been cast in legend or approximated by a given personage in history—and while every nation has its spirits, gods and peculiarities—it’s rare for a literary archetype to be embodied in an entire people.

The alleged inimicality of Judaism or the Semitic spirit, on the one hand, and the Aryan or aristocratic spirit on the other, is a long-established cliché. Nietzsche called it master versus slave morality; Spengler described the Western as opposed to the Magian cultures. Conservative Catholic apologists still ascribe the insurrectionary personality of Barabbas to the Jewish people as a whole—instead prescribing Christ-like meekness (or torture, as necessary—and they’re right. I myself would indubitably have preferred Barabbas). Evola juxtaposed the emphasis on penitence and mortification inherent in primitive Semitic and Babylonian traditions with the crucible of knighthood he identified as embodying their Indo-Aryan counterpart.

But just how far are Judaism and yiddishkeit removed from the “world of Tradition” as Evola conceived it? Are the Jews merely the bearers of a fossilized culture, as Arnold Toynbee suggested? Or are we vectors of dissolutive modernity, its materialism and revolutionary ferment? If it’s the latter, this would be a sort of revenge of the nerds: the intelligentsia are the villains in any good critique of modernity. In The Cherry Tree, Chekhov even gave his ruined old nobles a sendoff by a “Jewish orchestra.”

Well, no one will deny that the Jews are a clever bunch, given to smarting disdainfully under every kind of regime—behavior that can’t be all that incidental to the biblical narrative of slave revolt. And I’ll buy the theory that yiddishkeit has a lot to do with contrarianism (“a stiff-necked people”). But envy, rebellion and cyclical decay of the social order are deeply human universals, so how specifically do the Jews factor into the erosion of the “world of tradition” and the onset of vapid, discombobulated modernity?

According to Nietzsche,

the Jews achieved that miracle of inversion of values thanks to which life on earth has for a couple millennia acquired a new and dangerous fascination—their prophets fused ‘rich’, ‘godless’, ‘evil’, ‘violent’, ‘sensual’ into one and were the first to coin the word ‘world’ as a term of infamy. It is this inversion of values (with which is involved the employment of the word for ‘poor’ as a synonym for ‘holy’ and ‘friend’) that the significance of the Jewish people resides: with them there begins the slave revolt in morals.

But which Jews are these? The Essenes, or the zealots? Of course we know which of these the Romans co-opted, and which they repressed.

When reading Nietzsche it provides crucial context to recall that he contracted his syphilis from a boy hireling. So did the Jews despise hellenistic bacchanalia because they hated life, or because they wanted to live? Did turn-of-the-millennium Jews despise wealth for it’s own sake? Of course not: they were being taxed to starvation by quislings—the Parable of the Ten Minas is not a nod to the poor, the humble or the meek, either it’s a public service reminder to pay your taxes and keep your fucking mouth shut, or it’s incomprehensible garbage.

So there was quite a bit of ressentiment of Judea on the part of Rome, was there not? “It belongs to human nature to hate those whom we have injured,” to quote the noble Roman. Somehow, slave driving just isn’t the portrait of well-being Nietzsche takes it for, and something in his cosmology smacks of reverse victimology. You got taken by slaves? I wouldn’t complain too loud about that if I was you.

As Voltaire said, a sucker plays himself:

We hold the Jews in horror, and we insist that all which has been written by them, and collected by us, bears the stamp of Divinity. There never was so palpable a contradiction.

Indeed. But how is that Harold Abraham’s problem? That I wrote the tune you imbibe to makes me neither an alcoholic nor a barkeep. If your religion of kindness is based around critiquing the moral turpitude of a far-off people fighting yesteryear for its life against debauched aristocrats—a habit Voltaire, in spite of his apostasy, couldn’t resist falling into—then I don’t know what to tell you. Next time, get your own damn fables.

In any case, the Jews inflicted more damage on the Roman military than the efforts of any subjugant people, and they managed this well after the bulk of the defeats that Nietzsche credits with providing the impetus for their supposed inversion of values. When the Jews decided “to be at any cost”, they made one helluva downpayment. How many times does your empire have to be shaken by Judean resistance before you realize the problem is you? What Nietzsche remains insufficient to explain is how so heady a brew of values-inversion as the Hebrew scriptures could have been adopted by such bloodthirsty fishers of men.

 

Fatherland Über Alles

Say goodnight to the bad guy

Say goodnight to the bad guy

“Military cemeteries in every corner of the world are silent testimony to the failure of national leaders to sanctify human life.” (Yitzhak Rabin)

The light in his heart blinded his sight; the longing for peace deafened his ears. And there’s something depressingly totalitarian in the notion that the sanctification of human life is the responsibility of the men in charge (=”national leaders”). A business like that could get real selective.

But since everywhere it already is and always has been, when it comes to Number One the only explanations for laxity are hubris, subterfuge or infirmity. And when it comes to the country Rabin led, you’re either for it, against it, or indifferent. There’s no moderate position that means anything.

To wit,

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….

and

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.

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.

And so today, a lower-grade, more intractable intifada is upon us, the latest stage in an unresolved 1948 real estate dispute turned bitterly personal. Though Big Brother’s take on the matter rings unmistakably millenarian, machiavellian dispassion is still the best approach to it.

The standard premises run as follows: (1) The Jews are the aggressors whose bad behavior (“the occupation”) provokes these recurrent flare-ups. Redress this bad behavior and the problem solves itself. (2) The Arabs are the aggressors whose bad behavior (“terrorism”) provokes these recurrent flare-ups. Redress this bad behavior and the problem solves itself. (3) Each side has fair claims and unreasonable demands. Empower the reasonable people on each side (“civil society”), disempower the recalcitrants (the electorates), and the problem solves itself.

But all three run into each other, because nobody who has any real power is willing to endorse either of the first two (otherwise the matter would be settled), and the third can be modified to suit the purposes of any of the myriad stakeholders who appear to have real power.

A recent example, this one dressed up in IDF fatigues, appears this month in the Atlantic from the pen of one Jeffery Goldberg—like me, an American of Hebrewish provenance who as a youth served in the Israeli army only to return to the US with his tail between his legs.

Over the years, most of Goldberg’s journalistic efforts have been exerted (with preciously thin impartiality) on behalf of der judenstaat. But as a DC correspondent, a credentialed establishment man, he is innately straight-jacketed by the millenarian paradigm.

Because today this consensus so heavily emphasizes The Occupation and the Despair(TM), Goldberg wants the morally immaculate Atlantic demographic informed that in addition to its anti-colonial aspect, Palestinian nationalism is replete with dehumanization of The Other, based on decades of misapprehending (because Israel was conceived in peace and dedicated to the proposition that peace peace peace) but nonetheless egregiously insensitive sectarian chauvinism that handily predates the Jewish state in all its inadvertent excesses.

Shocking, no? Now that Goldberg has blown this thing open, will the Palestinians’ blood-curdling judenhaas cost them any street-cred? Of course not: the Jews are Franco to Orwell’s Catalonia here, haven’t you read the playbill? Only NPR granolas still think they see Israel anywhere near the progressive fold, and only glorified bloggers like the Atlantic house neocon believe that a death threat is exactly that, when The International Community(TM) is adamant it’s just a cry for help.

The Serbs were laboring under the same unwary naïveté when they went out to battle the unrepentant sons of ustashi and the traveling remnants of Charlie Wilson’s jihad, only to have The Rule of Law(TM) rain bombs on their children and old people. The slightly more sophisticated Goldberg understands that the Frantz Fannon approach to Levantine affairs is sold out, he just hasn’t figured out that there’s no return policy. Ever the sectarian partisan, ever the lamenting liberal, if he wants to keep selling himself as a moderate and conceiving of himself one of the good guys, then neither of his two conflicted faces may blurt out what they’d like, even when they’ve just said it. So he wraps up with this:

There will not be peace between Israelis and Palestinians so long as parties on both sides of the conflict continue to deny the national and religious rights of the other.

Aw, truly. And horses will not fly until they sprout wings. “Parties on both sides of the conflict”=the other guy. What we have here is The People’s Court, Uncle Sam presiding.

Thus the real hangup—of Arab, Jew and Earnest Liberal alike—reveals itself, and it isn’t tribe or talisman. For when we deploy the debate-stopping language of Rights, we whitewash our innate imperatives as creatures, not only to train up a tree in the way it should grow, but to fuck, suck, eat and shit.

Clearly, the Palestine Arabs were there first, minding their own business. They say they have the right to Palestine, to be its sole proprietors and never have this status challenged by covetous interlopers (their leaders sing different, but it’s a show tune). As rights go, this one is self-evident, devolving to the Palestinians in accordance with the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.

The only problem is that God doesn’t seem to give a shit. Neither does He seem too terribly anxious to hear we Zionists’ case regarding our putative right to pluck a fig and dig a latrine free from the capricious imperium of crescent and cross, because every time we set to digging, something explodes, and the Supreme Judge of the World admonishes us to exercise restraint. Perhaps it’s God’s silent stinkers alighting this tinderbox year after year, ha-Shem’s way of weeping over our rights and their apparent illusoriness. Though I’m disinclined to blame human foibles on the Creator, I don’t know. I’m not a theologian.

What I can declare self-evident is that the promulgation of sacred liberties, of rights, never seems to involve their simple extension, but their usurpation. It’s the greatest pretext ever devised, not for ceding power but for seizing it.

Al Pacino said it best as Tony Montana, but he may as well have been speaking for Israel:

What you lookin’ at? You all a bunch of fuckin’ assholes. You know why? You don’t have the guts to be what you wanna be. You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin’ fingers and say, “That’s the bad guy.” So… what that make you? Good? You’re not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie….

In the moral lexicon of the Milennium, Israel is a sectarian anachronism, rooted in ethnic cleansing; a gangster state that espouses no principle higher than self-interest, its own and no one else’s.

Not bad for the most neurotic people on the planet!

A year or two back I saw an illustrative exchange on Meet the Press between Andrea Mitchell and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer. Mitchell played a clip of Israeli border guards kicking the crap out of a supine Arab youth, then primly asked the ambassador, “What do you say to those who cherish Israel, but who see it as potentially losing its soul?” Its soul? You’re looking at it, lady. Were they not beating the kid hard enough?

Zionism is anachronistic because Judaism itself it anachronistic. “Progress” always requires conformity. The tyrants of this world and their hapless minions have always taken it hard that the Jews maintain their insistence on special dispensation from kneeling and groveling before its idols, but at this late stage of the game neither can most Jews stomach the fact that these principles entail risk, and self-preservation requires violence. Hard choices will have to be made, but most diaspora Jews (and many in Israel) will choose not to choose—such that, in fifty years’ time, there will be no more Judaism outside Israel. The distinctive Jewish intellectualism that thrived under the pressure of interstitial cultural spaces will deteriorate in relative isolation. Meanwhile, open discussion of Israel’s dire penchant for indecision is monopolized by messianic nutjobs, while open discussion of the community’s actual responsibility for the historic situation it finds itself in is monopolized by androgynous hipsters and ivory tower moralizers. Benny Morris is the only member of that latter milieu who has faced this dilemma honestly: sometimes you have to steal a loaf of bread to feed your family. It shouldn’t be agonized over, but neither should it be denied.

Israel’s detractors accuse it of being the tip of the Western spear in the Third World’s hide, while Israel-apologists imagine it’s a forward outpost of democracy in Kipling’s orient. But the tide of democracy tends to wash over such outposts (Algeria, Rhodesia), and the whole “Who’s got your six?” gag rings tinny when Uncle Sam’s already got the Confederacy pullin’ fireguard for Pride. The difference between Israel and the West whose back it thinks it has is the difference between Futurism and Flashbacks; between New Soviet Man and 90s Man. Between cowboy morality and midnight cowboy morality, the Milennium and the God of the Copybook Headings.

Look, I’m as tormented by hypertrophied self-awareness as Franz Kafka, as sexually maladjusted as Alan Ginsburg, as gullible as Vassily Grossman, as conflicted in my affinities as Hannah Arendt. And White City Bauhaus is just the bee’s knees. But Israel without reaction (Josef Trumeldor), fascism (Vladimir Jabotinsky), pugilism (Imi Lichtenfeld) and gangsterism (Bugsy Siegel) is no Israel at all.

Of course there’s something deeply romantic about all these shades of grey, but there comes a time to put aside childish things. And the Jewish deficiencies Israel was intended to exorcise—the clannish solipsism, the conniving, the ruthless mercantilism, the sniveling refusal to bear calamity without castigating fortune—though counterbalanced by a robust militarism, these tendencies are rife among Israelis, and after five decades of police action frozen on autopilot, that now bureaucratized militarism has overtaken the gangster volatility and iconoclasm of early 20th century Zionism, until nearly all that’s left is conformity, and spite, and the swaggering, tactless lack of Talmudic scruples typified by Netanyahu. Rabin’s sin couldn’t have been greater: in essence, he acceded to a precipitous valuation of Jewish life. But at least he conducted himself with modesty, and played his cards close to his chest.

An analogous degeneration is taking place among the Arabs, who’ve gone from devout tribes of incorrigible bandits to effete, mealy-mouthed holy-rollers, hogging the airwaves with their tiresome identity crises and felching oversees lucre for their hair-trigger bloodfeuding.

Yet despite our smug superiority, throughout the past century of Arab-Jewish reprisals, from time to time a visceral disconcertion tends to arise among Jews over everything the backward old Levant (our patrimony, which will only and forever be defined by the Arabs no matter how long we persist there, just as their religion will forever be defined by us, no matter how mad our impudence drives them) has to recommend it that Christendom never did and modernity never will. There’s an odd familiarity to the Arabs that transcends the present enmity. If we’re being honest with ourselves, old habits die hard. Even at the cost of an occasional school bus making the acquaintance of an RPG, Bedouin blood feuding’s right up our alley.

So I don’t disparage the Palestinians as terrorists or any other empty epithet. Obviously their more conspicuous tactics (indiscriminate stabbings, shootings and bombings of civilian targets) are rather chickenshit, and my hypothesis would be that this has as much to do with inchoate rage of irrelevant etiology as it does with any tactical desperation born of power asymmetry. But it is also provoked, not by Israel’s putative brutality but by the acrid scent of that congenital Jewish tendency, at this late date unvanquished by Zionist instruction, to panic and duck for shelter. This is what a Rabin embodied and a Netanyahu intrinsically lacks the empathic wiles to compensate for with bravado.

But as far as any possible moral dimension to how an adversary plays the field (“terrorism”) in a zero-sum contest, it isn’t worth my time and isn’t mine to look into. As for the many US Jews who couldn’t care less about Judaism and the welfare of Israel except as an opportunity to virtue signal: that’s their prerogative. They’re no more useless to Israel than my sentiments are, and they don’t owe allegiance to their co-ethnics if they don’t feel any. A true blue Jewish state, with traffic jams and lawsuits and punk kids, kind of takes the piss out of tribal comradery anyway, and to the extent I hew to the ancient faith I do so for personal reasons, as a source of strength, and a form of oriental ancestor worship. If that strikes you as arcane or narrow-minded, well, there’s no accounting for taste. But lean forward too far and you might end up taking a dick (like this poor, dumb bastard—in the words of Milan Kundera, “He wanted the Kingdom of Heaven”). The only reason to sacrifice a thousand-odd women and children on the rancid alter of pretend International Norms(TM) every decade is to avoid the Serbia treatment. Which either tells you who isn’t really running things, or is a piss-poor commentary on the value of intra-ethnic solidarity in the aftermath of the 20th century.

Maimonides is purported to’ve said, “The messiah will come, though he may tarry.” Well, let that sanctimonious cocksucker drag his feet. It’s still more interesting down here without him.

Acute Jew

sic semper tyrannis

sic semper tyrannis

I.

May I recommend the Israeli author Etgar Keret? His work has been widely translated from the Hebrew and he writes occasional columns in the New Yorker and the Guardian. He stands accused by certain reviewers of solipsism and misogyny, but the first is outweighed by likability and the second is guilt-ridden enough to temper its vulgarity. With punk succinctness (the bulk of his oeuvre is novellas) he lays down an incredulous exasperation, twinkling through lurking shades of methodical mental illness and characteristically verbally abusive Jewish impudence. We see these same psychic fistulae in other artists whose work cannot be fully understood without reference to yiddishkeit—Babel, Kafka, Seinfeld. The Jews have the same relationship with senile dementia as the Catholics have with epilepsy. Half Jews like Vladimir Visotsky and JD Salinger belong in a slightly different category—the mold is broken, the hybrid vigor overwhelming. “Justice, justice you shall pursue”….. this contemptuous inflexibility of conscience is everywhere from the Book of Daniel to Lenny Bruce. It’s easy to see why these people are difficult to live with; we can barely live with ourselves. Borderline Personality Disorder might just as accurately be labelled Acute Jew.

What is interesting to observe about Keret, though, isn’t this characteristic Jewishness, but that it seems to subsist without much reference to Gentile influence. To understand Kafka, you have to understand pre-war mitteleuropa; to understand Babel, you need some sense of the Russian arch. You cannot appreciate Seinfeld without first appreciating late-modern America. Keret, on the other hand, presents entirely as a product of Jewish civilization—Yitzhak Ben-Tzvi would be proud, if uncomprehending. He plays entirely on effects that went indissoluble in exile, reemerging in the Levant one fine day to resume their invidious solipsism as if the intervening centuries were nothing but an aberration.

This is an awkward thing to behold. You meet bourgeois, well-travelled Israelis, and oftentimes the most they can tell you about modern Europe is its political orientation toward Jews and Israel, or the skiing, or the prices (especially the prices). The most they can tell you about Americans is that we tend to overpay unreflectively, that we haven’t any good, fresh bread, that we act friendly but we’re just pretending. The most they can tell you about Babel or Kafka or Einstein is that they were Yidden. They smart at any notion that breaches the nationalist programing they received in primary school. It isn’t that they disagree; they can’t fathom such things. They’re in step with the most liberal current ideas about sexuality, abreast of the very latest technology. They insist that their country is on the front line of the West and of modernity in a benighted corner of the globe with a rich, Western heritage that only they, through hard luck and gumption, are suited to defend. Yet with the exception of a handful of times and places in the Western experience where Jews were heavily involved, their upbringing has utterly de-emphasized nearly every benchmark that otherwise lends commonality to the identities and intellectual traditions of the West across dozens of other cultures and languages.

Of course, Keret is of above-average worldliness, which is why I referenced him. The hucksters and harpies who populate his pages make the mundane maddening to an extent no other Israeli writer has achieved. His fiction bears traces of Chekhov’s influence, and it entirely lacks the deadening mimicry of America that one so often finds along the bourgeois cutting edge of other highly modern, marginally Western societies. But the overwhelming sense one gets from his work is the reemergence of an ancient cast of misanthropes who’ve nothing but flagrant disregard for all the rich commotion that has been taking place, aboveground, without them.

And yet, what makes this separatism remarkable is not so much its longevity, but the packing of bags it entailed. Where communism, progressivism and Christianity propose to alter the world for the benefit of various handicapped classes, where other romantic nationalisms proposed to redraw the lines around various peoples, Zionism proposed to redraw the Jew himself.

Anyone who has had their brush with Israeli culture knows this effort has been hit-or-miss. Of course, through Israel, Jews have demonstrated martial prowess, but perhaps all this proves is that the cobwebs needed brushing aside. Animals and men go mad in cages; a long enough litany of military setbacks will turn even a Yule Brenner into a Peter Lorre. Where various empires furnished the bars, the Sages made up the gilding. Modernity did away with both, but it couldn’t digest man’s tendency for tribalism. And while early 20th-century Zionism fixated on altering the Jew, under inescapable American tutelage Zionism today makes its most stringent and irrational demands of the Arab; not only does it invade his home, it demands his acceptance. This is pure insanity—the manic optimism and febrile entitlement of Democratic Man, held up by airport security off somewhere in literal East Jesus.

II.

Contrast this schizoid opportunism with Catholicism and Islam, religions that share a strong emphasis on man’s intrinsic capacity for reason, which each claims to satisfy perfectly and to the exclusion of all other ideas. Though I doubt these claims, I agree that a person’s full, healthy development depends on the opportunity to discern reason from faith, and weigh the two against one another.

A sweet, dim-witted old Adventist once told me something I liked. She told me, “You are the priest of your family.” In Judaism, the nearest approximation of this and other dissenter sects of Christianity is Karaism, whose practitioners are required to draw their own conclusions from scripture (within specified guidelines), rather than defer to experts.

Though an orthodox Rabbinic (i.e., not a Karaite) Jew, my grandfather conducted himself as though he was the priest of our family. He taught my brother, cousin and I (paternal half-breeds, all, and therefore not Jewish under Rabbinic law) basic Hebrew liturgy and scripture, as well as a smattering of Mishnah, and started officiating his own holy day services at home with a small circle of friends and family when he came into political conflict with the local rabbi. He was our last direct link in an unbroken chain of tradition.

Now I am married to an Orthodox Christian. To our marriage she brought along a sweet, gregarious and fair-minded little boy, the product of a previous marriage to a fellow Russian. Our son’s natural father was disdainful of religiosity and my wife, a non-practicing believer, opted not to have him baptized. But I understand it as my duty to furnish my children with faith against which to weigh reason—a method for counting the stars, so-to-speak.

Judaism is nothing if not the self-styling of a racial caste, and to transmit it to my unmistakeably Slavic older son would be to paint over a zebra’s stripes and mark him as a permanent outsider. So with his and my wife’s agreement I had him baptized by the nearest Russian Orthodox priest.

Though the humble little church and the manner of worship conducted within it was beautiful and uplifting, the process of getting our son baptized was somewhat uncomfortable—as a matter of course our family’s religious backgrounds were inquired about beforehand, and although I was welcomed in (which I wouldn’t have been in Russia), there was a palpable discomfort at my presence from the deacon and the arthritic old pater, who made it plain he didn’t want me around once he ascertained that I myself was not interested in converting. At one Sunday service we attended, the elderly deacon, Hungarian-born as it happens, informed me that as a child in the 1930s his parents worked in the Rome office of some German company or other, and that along with a handful of SS-officer embassy attachés, they used to host a Jewish business contact and his wife. He said this just goes to show that my background is a trifling thing because, as Christ teaches, people aren’t so different.

Well that just doesn’t make things very interesting, and of course I beg to differ. I recently bought two children’s bibles for my sons, one Christian (The Golden Book Children’s Bible) the other Jewish (The Book of Adam to Moses). The Christian one leaves out almost all the jealous, avaricious intrigues of the Old Testament. Its Queen of Sheeba is a chaste diplomat (and white!). It omits the Song of Songs (always a source of adolescent wood in the shul pews), and its Proverbs has nothing to say about the advisability of joining a gang, of committing a robbery, or of going whoring. Its illustrations are bright and cheery. In contrast, though it uses ambiguous language, its Jewish counterpart omits none of the original’s salacious and morally disturbing details. Its illustrations are black, white, a bit abstract and dissonant.

Dissonance, for most people, is exasperating, and Judaism is as exasperating as the Jews. The first in a trifecta of characteristically Western theodicies that sacralize mankind’s aspirations against nature’s starkness, it fails to follow through and build upon those ideals, neither with the kind of comfort food Christianity holds out, nor the unambiguous finality of Islam. It contains laws, and hidden meanings, but no ready logic, and no real bedtime stories.

The Coen brothers deal with this omission in their updated Book of Job, A Serious Man. In this film, a decent family-man is hamstrung by egregious, unearned misfortune. At the end of his rope, he consults with a series of feckless, indifferent rabbis, only to be told kitschy allegories and peppered with unactionable platitudes. A meticulously fair (read: neurotic) man who expects the world to at least be fair at bottom, he seeks solace from his faith as his misfortunes multiply unabated.

As it happens, there’s an astute review of this film at the pseudo-highbrow white supremacist web journal, Counter-Currents, whose editors are big into Savitra Devi and the Hidden Hitler (or something). Its design gives the feel of a Rothschild coven; one gets the sense they aren’t big fans of Orwell. Most of the pieces they publish are written in the style and at the level of a college admissions essay, but they’ve also got a good many editorial gems and some excellent crib notes on modern European heavyweights like Heidegger. Among the gems is this Serious Man review, by one Trevor Lynch. Check it out; it’s brisk reading, I promise.

Anyhow, the reviewer concludes from A Serious Man that the Coen Brothers are confirming his revulsion of Jews, by breaking their congenital mold to lambast Judaism’s hollow, compulsivity. It apparently never occurs to him that this is not apostasy so much as self-criticism, and though he pinpoints Judaism’s stultifying verbosity and solipsism, he cannot concede that so thorough and ineluctable a capacity for self-criticism is a virtue, nor that it’s indicative of how large a measure of the insights that Jews like the Coens bring to modern storytelling arises from their grappling with the conceits and deficiencies of character peculiar to our kind. But if Judaism, as the reviewer maintains the Coens are saying, offers “no meat and no marrow for the serious man”, perhaps protagonist Larry Gopnik’s mistake is that he takes Judaism, along with everything else, so goddamned seriously. The goy’s teeth (you’ll have to see the film) represent absurdity, which the rabbi and the dentist greet with apprehension but ultimately wave off with a characteristically Jewish shrug, while Larry Gopnik allows himself to nearly be driven insane by it. Not-so-subtleties like these are as lost on the hapless Professor Gopnik as they are on vindictive and equally serious ideologues like Trevor Lynch.

But far from exemplifying a strictly Jewish penchant for platitude, Job is just the Jewish take on a universal theme. The Coens aren’t recapitulating it, as our Aryan brother presumes. They’re augmenting it out of a peculiarly Jewish inventory. This is the yiddishkeit that’s so despised over at Counter Currents, and it will always elude their steely knives. But no religion, no philosophy, no manner of thought or line of inquiry is going to be more or less adequate than any other when it comes to the really big mysteries. Or, its relative adequacy is going to depend in turn upon the deductions of the source and each recipient’s own proclivities, rather than the peculiar merits of the milieu it emerges from. True, relative to other faiths Judaism tends to exacerbate the tensions the great mysteries provoke, rather than ameliorating them. But for Job and A Serious Man, the message (the reviewer’s “meat and marrow”) is real straightforward: suck it up, and lighten up, respectively. If the good Saxons at Counter Currents prefer Marcus Aurelius, that’s up to them, but don’t go barking up my boabab if the message doesn’t tickle your pickle. Like Rabbi Marshak, I’m thinking. That Judaism is replete with nonsense like any religion goes without saying, but Job isn’t it.

Christianity and Islam may not offer entirely satisfying answers either, but in attempting to, they stop the proverbial buck. In contrast, by positing a chosen caste, Judaism demands a measure of self-confidence that Christianity eschews, and Islam overdoes. And while the Hebrew God’s anthrocentricity innervates millennial Western theodicy, in His capriciousness He remains an Eastern God of Nature, the nature of the political animal in the anthropocine epoch. Western politics have their genesis as much along the colonnades of Athens as they do in the tent camps of recriminating Bedouins. In a democracy, we’re all elders of Chelm. Not even by putting words into God’s mouth have the Christians and the Muslims succeeded in stemming man’s internecine cat-scratching, not within families and not between nations. Not for wont of ventriloquy, the Jews have long been rending and gnashing at His silence. Neurotic? Hell yes. But don’t count it out. Buck-stopping imperial religions can run from this dissonance, but they can’t hide.