A thought about “Nazis”

I was heartened yesterday when anti-racist protests took place in several U.S. cities—and there was no violence. One of the tropes of these protests, of course, is the denigration of “Nazis”, now a broad term for all white supremacists, but also including those supremacists who aren’t members of the American Nazi Party but still march under swastika flags, celebrate Hitler’s birthday, and give the “Sieg Heil” arm salute. Of course such people are odious, for Hitler is the byword for “evil.” But when I was thinking about this, something struck me. I offer it up here as a conundrum.

When we think about why Hitler was evil, one thing comes to mind: the Holocaust. Yes, he attacked Russia and western Europe, and his crazy ambition led to the death of about 60 million people (3% of the world’s population, including millions of Germans and Austrians). But the evil that resides in Hitler and the Nazis rests largely in their murderous anti-Semitism (the figure of six million Jews is well known, and that’s out of nine million living in Europe). Yet the total figure in the Holocaust, including homosexuals, criminals, prisoners of war, the infirm and mentally ill, Romanis and others, is close to ten million. But, as is evident from Mein Kampf, the Jews were Hitler’s special scapegoat from the beginning.

So the identification of Hitler with evil rests largely on his treatment of the Jews. Indeed, as I wrote the other day about Ron Rosenbaum’s new introduction to his 1998 book on Hitler,  Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil:

. . . Rosenbaum argues provocatively that the military defeat of Germany, as well as Hitler’s suicide, did not mean he lost the war, for Hitler conceived of the war not as a military exercise against the allies, but primarily as a way to dispose of the Jews, whom he saw as viruses. In that way, says Rosenbaum, Hitler wound up winning, for he exterminated most of Europe’s Jews—and the population has never recovered.

Yet the widespread and proper denigration of Nazis doesn’t comport with the Regressive Left’s demonization of Israel and Jews, which sometimes verges on anti-Semitism. The BDS movement, Students for Justice in Palestine, and many other groups, student or otherwise, not only fault Israel for its oppression of Palestinians, but sometimes call for the dissolution of the state of Israel: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Yet that state was created largely as a refuge for Jews fleeing from Hitler’s Europe and its aftermath, as well as for Jews oppressed everywhere.

Even today in the U.S., the per capita rate of hate crimes against Jews is twice what it is against Muslims. (Any of these crimes, of course, are reprehensible acts of bigotry.) Yet Jews are not seen as an oppressed minority, even as they are directly targeted by some terrorist attacks in Europe and often singled out for disapprobation in American colleges.

So why the hatred of Nazis but the concomitant demonization of Israel and—often—Jews themselves? It doesn’t make sense.

128 Comments

  1. BobTerrace
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    So why the hatred of Nazis but the concomitant demonization of Israel and—often—Jews themselves? It doesn’t make sense.

    Religion.

    Many have been taught to hate, specifically Jews.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      It crops up everywhere, sad to say. During the time I caught on that popular media wave of “profiling” was considered pseudoscience (much of criminology, really), I got hold of a profiling apologetic which was frank, but still held out for eventual evidence. The first chapter described the inglorious history of, you can guess, its roots in religious persecution of Jews.

      And it has been television prime time material. Oy vey!

    • BJ
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think it’s religion in this case, as most of these regressives are not religious. It is a hatred of Jews because any Jew is seen as an “oppressor” (ironic for obvious reasons!).

  2. Martin X
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I think that labels can contain a degree of contamination that is independent of how one feels about the meaning of those labels.

    This came to mind the other day when someone tweeted some research showed that atheists often have a bias against people described as “atheist”.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      If it is the work I am thinking of, it was a bias on morality, accepting the religious strawman of ‘morals-from-god’. If so, I do not think it was a bias against atheists as such. (But I may be mistaken.)

  3. Marc Aresteanu
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Because the ideas spread across the Left are being spread through shaming of taboo counter opinions. Incoherent, but powerful rhetoric has won the day.

    The victim hierarchy reigns supreme and so we end up going along with Muslim/Arab anti-semitism, the same way we’ve gone along with anti-white male propaganda to please the race baiters and feminists.

    White westerners and capitalists, which includes the Jews, are today’s “nazis” in reality. Anything that counters a far-left narrative head on (wealth is good, women and men are different psychologically, freespeech is crucial to a fair society, etc) will be enough to be branded a nazi or nazi sympathizer (as if that’s so different!).

    Luckily I think anti-semitism of this sort isn’t that widespread on the Left. As you’ve pointed out, the hypocrisy is a little too glaring. Most rational sane people see through this. But I think the origins are again the conflation of factors and beliefs and behaviors leading to regressive left echo chambers in certain departments, activist groups and media corporations.

    • Zach
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Because the ideas spread across the Left are being spread through shaming of taboo counter opinions. Incoherent, but powerful rhetoric has won the day.

      The victim hierarchy reigns supreme and so we end up going along with Muslim/Arab anti-semitism…

      This is pretty much spot on.

      That word incoherent is important too. Because while many far-leftists support the Palestinians in comportment with the (very current) victim hierarchy, at the same time they don’t really want the total dissolution of Israel in the way many Palestinians do, when faced with the actual consequences of such. (Although the way some of them talk, I sometimes wonder…)

      They also get squeamish when anyone points out the historical rationale for a Jewish homeland outside Europe and the widespread denial of such a rationale throughout the Middle East. Just tell them to google “memri holocaust,” and stand back as their cognitive dissonance reverberates throughout the room.

      • Posted August 21, 2017 at 1:58 am | Permalink

        yeah

        I’ll put it straight: i think the left basically won, culturally, and as a result started playing on easy mode. Easy mode means the underdog is always the good guy, no matter the circumstances (for the right, it might be the same, but for the over-dog? Not sure.) Before, the Left held a heuristic, that the underdog was usually the good guy, because of certain factors that would turn him into the underdog; in other words, there was a bias, but still a focus on who is right and who is wrong, a focus on what might be called rationality or epistemology or some other word I wish I knew. Now, much of the newer Left believes that the underdog is always the good guy, and in fact his underdog-ness is precisely what makes him the good guy; this is pretty much tautological, and as a result it’s not rational or epistemological or (insert word here). This is a big problem, because this model doesn’t really allow for disagreement; under the first model, you can present convincing evidence that the underdog, the oppressed group, et cetera, is still a bad actor or group of actors, and win the argument. Under the second model, you either have to topple the entire model, or at best you can try and flip the script by portraying the oppressed as the oppressors, but in addition to being a hard sell this isn’t much of a fix to the problem. So now you get into a situation where the underdog, say the Palestinians, are the bad actors, and there’s just not much to do about that.

        By the way, this philosophy is sort of consistent, in the sense of “always support the underdog”. In the US and most Western countries, there’s a hierarchy, something like “Women are oppressed, gays are more oppressed, blacks are more oppressed, transgenders are most oppressed, or maybe Muslims are most oppressed”. By the way, this is another great example of “easy mode”; assuming you believe me that this hierarchy is followed (and it is, I can swear to it), then it’s obvious that here you have a quick cheat-sheet to who is right or wrong on most important issues, without knowing anything about them personally. Sounds like easy mode to me, and it leads to a lot of problems; look at something like University of Missouri’s protests, where the son of a man who makes seven million dollars a year went on hunger strike to fight the supposed oppression he received because he was black. Oh, and by the way, during a school parade, he and a group of activists stopped the school president’s car in protest; just as his fellow activists backed off and the car started to move again, he rushed in front of it, and then later made a big issue of being hit by the school president’s car. (If any of this sounds too fantastical, I can back it up with evidence, so feel free to ask). And even if you factor in class, the reality is that, whatever damage is done via racism, sexism, or so forth, is modulated by many factors. Same goes for any sort of racial privilege. Just assuming these things is easy mode; actually dealing with them is Very Hard Mode, and I won’t deny that for a moment, but until the Left can do that, well, they’ll keep losing. Or they’ll win because Trump really is that bad, but that was the plan last time and look how that worked out.

    • BJ
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      I agree wholeheartedly with you first two paragraphs, but if you think antisemitism isn’t rife on the left, please refer to my comments numbers 26 and 27.

  4. biz
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Exactly. Each side is very good at calling out the -other- side’s antisemites, but usually unable to call out their own.

    Hence the Left’s near complete silence not only on regular calls for the genocidal destruction of Israel, but even for the genocide of Jews generally such as was recently made at the Mosque in Davis, California.

  5. Malgorzata
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    sub

  6. Posted August 20, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I think Hitler’s perfidy needs to be expanded beyond the effort at exterminating Europe’s Jews (as if that were not enough). Consider the war casualties. An estimated 20,000,000 Russians alone died in WW2 from war-related injuries, famine, etc. Hitler’s premise for making war was to create living space but at his apex, he was occupying an area many times larger that the area of Germany at the start, plus Germany was not crowded at the time.

    Hitler’s personal animosity to Jews and Bolsheviks came from his personal lack of ambition and blame seeking. It is fascinating that someone who couldn’t hold a job, wouldn’t settle for anything less than earth’s dictator.

    • JAY
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      It puzzles me that Stalin, who was as corrupt as Hitler and probably killed more people, including Jews does not raise the same level of ire.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted August 20, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        @JAY even more mysterious for me: Napoleon

        My theory re Stalin:

        Because in the West we realise that his uncaring, inefficient, remorseless use of his own people as cannon fodder, in the Great Patriotic War, saved us from doing the same to our own sons & daughters.

        And in the East, despite the deaths of millions in collectivisation, forced industrialisation, purges, famine, gulags & incompetent execution of his war campaigns… “the nation must be grateful to Stalin for the ‘sacred victory’ over Nazi Germany” according to a speaker at a recent conference held by the Russian Orthodox Church, which [ironically?] was persecuted by Stalin’s government. Source of quote: The Week, Keith Wagstaff

        • Simon
          Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

          People tend to forget, if they ever knew, that Russian backed communist fifth columnists played a major role in compromising French forces during the Nazi invasion. Apparently there was widespread sabotage.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted August 21, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

            @Simon Are you referring to the PCF? Do you have a link or reference for me that claims “communist fifth columnists played a major role in compromising French forces during the Nazi invasion.”

            I found a Reddit thread with various misspelled stories of various individuals [Belgian, French] sniping the BEF as they retreated towards the coast – nothing about their allegiances though, except one who seemed to be a Nazi.

      • Mark R.
        Posted August 20, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        I would add that Stalin did much of his malfeasance behind the “Iron Curtain”. Hitler’s atrocities were well documented including photographs, eye-witness by allies and film footage. Not so with Stalin’s atrocities.

      • Bruce Gorton
        Posted August 20, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        Mostly I think it is because Stalin was a whole lot messier.

        Most of Stalin’s death toll was down to incompetence – stuff like screwing up Russia’s agriculture for example, or dismantling Russia’s military command just before WWII.

        Communism on the whole failed because it is a shitty system which doesn’t work. For the most part the people who were killed – it wasn’t like the Bolsheviks were trying to kill them, it just worked out that way.

        Hitler meanwhile is a whole lot neater – when his system killed people it wasn’t a fuck-up, it was because that is exactly what it was designed to do.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted August 20, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

          Yes, well said.

        • Craw
          Posted August 20, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          I think communist apologists little different from nazi apologists. That said, there was a rabid quality to nazism that Stalinism lacked. Ebola vs cancer.

        • BJ
          Posted August 20, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          Exactly. Stalin’s goal wasn’t to wipe an entire group of people off the face of the entire earth, nor to build a globe-spanning empire to do so.

          • somer
            Posted August 20, 2017 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

            Stalin did want Communism to spread world wide though

            • BJ
              Posted August 21, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

              Fair enough!

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 20, 2017 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

          And it was Hitler who attacked Russia, not the other way around. Stalin was on the defensive side.

          So most of the huge number of deaths in the Russian campaign on both sides can be legitimately put down to Hitler.

          cr

        • Simon
          Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

          Stalin and his system were every bit as malicious as Hitler. The communist system just had different criteria for picking victims. The Soviet system was remorseless. There was nothing accidental about the way Stalin went about persecuting the Polish professional classes, or about the way he pulled back his troops to allow the Germans to massacre the resistance in Warsaw. Don’t forget the millions of people prosecuted solely as a means of recruiting slave labour for the state. Read Solzhenitsyn for an understanding of what the Soviet State was all about.

      • Zach
        Posted August 21, 2017 at 3:06 am | Permalink

        It puzzles me that Stalin, who was as corrupt as Hitler and probably killed more people, including Jews does not raise the same level of ire.

        It puzzles me too, especially after reading the above comments.

        Michael Fisher apparently thinks the Great Patriotic War could not have been won without the outrageous domestic death tolls preceding it.

        Mark R. apparently thinks Stalin’s atrocities aren’t “well documented” (pace Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Robert Conquest).

        Bruce Gorton apparently doesn’t think “the Bolsheviks were trying to kill” the millions who died via state-enforced starvation, class warfare, and political internment… “it just worked out that way.”

        Craw apparently doesn’t think Stalin meets the definition of rabid: “having or proceeding from an extreme or fanatical support of or belief in something.”

        BJ apparently doesn’t think Stalin wanted to “wipe an entire group of people off the face of the entire earth [such as the capitalist bourgeoisie], nor to build a globe-spanning empire to do so [contradicting the Comintern which he funded].”

        Really, it is puzzling that the Soviet experiment doesn’t call forth the same level of inexcusable revulsion in our culture the way the Third Reich does. Someone should write a book about it. Martin Amis tried with Koba The Dread: Laughter And The Twenty Million, but he spent more of it quoting Solzhenitsyn and Conquest than psycho-analyzing our culture, and so failed to address what he set out to address: why it’s possible to joke about Soviet Russia, but not Nazi Germany.

        Perhaps he should write a sequel.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted August 21, 2017 at 5:29 am | Permalink

          @Zach “apparently” [= as far as one knows or can see] used five times against five commenters looks like sarcasm overkill to me Zach. Are five commenters so poor at expressing themselves that it’s unclear to you what they each mean? How did you manage to screw up your understanding of my humble contribution?

          WHAT YOU THINK I WROTE:

          “Michael Fisher apparently thinks the Great Patriotic War could not have been won without the outrageous domestic death tolls preceding it”

          WHAT I DID WRITE:

          The view from the West
          ….uncaring, inefficient, remorseless use of his own people as cannon fodder, in the Great Patriotic War…

          The view from the East
          ….despite the deaths of millions in collectivisation, forced industrialisation, purges, famine, gulags & incompetent execution of his war campaigns… “the nation must be grateful to Stalin for the ‘sacred victory’ over Nazi Germany”

          • Zach
            Posted August 21, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

            I was going more for sardonic than sarcastic, but point taken.

            And how is “the Great Patriotic War could not have been won without the outrageous domestic death tolls preceding it” an unfair reformulation of “[Stalin’s] inefficient, remorseless use of his own people as cannon fodder… saved us from doing the same to our own sons & daughters”?

            I did read the past into it, but my point was that Stalin was using his own people inefficiently and remorselessly for years before Hitler broke their non-aggression pact. And when you imply that the Soviet Union could not have won the Eastern front (for which I give it all credit, minus Lend Lease) without such a program… I mean, what am I supposed to think?

            My deeper point was that you and everyone else were qualifying the Soviet experiment in ways that, I don’t think, you would be quite as comfortable qualifying the Nazi one. I didn’t mean to single you out though; everyone in our culture follows that principle. (I did too, until fairly recently). It’s our culture that’s weird on this topic. We should have the same visceral reaction to seeing the hammer & sickle on a protestor’s placard as we do the swastika. But we don’t.

            Frankly, I’m not sure why. We see Russians as more foreign than Germans? The Nazis were racist, while the Soviets weren’t? The soft spot that leftist intellectuals had for communism is still operative on some cultural level? I don’t know.

            • Posted August 21, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

              Zach, Michael’s right: you’ve grossly misrepresnted what he said, and I ask that you apologize to him for that. Being “sardonic” doesn’t excuse that, nor does this kind of distortion fly well on this site.

              Don’t do it again, and apologize.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted August 21, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

            @Zach You are a dishonest, quote-mining interlocutor. I want no further dialogue with you. You are a waste of my bloody time!

            [1] YOU WROTE THIS:
            Michael Fisher apparently thinks the Great Patriotic War could not have been won without the outrageous domestic death tolls preceding it

            [2] I POINT OUT I DIDN’T MAKE THAT OBVIOUSLY ABSURD CLAIM

            [3] YOU REPLY NOW BY ASKING ME THIS:

            How is your reformulation:
            “the Great Patriotic War could not have been won without the outrageous domestic death tolls preceding it”

            An unfair reformulation of “[Stalin’s] inefficient, remorseless use of his own people as cannon fodder… saved us from doing the same to our own sons & daughters”?

            [4] MY REPLY TO YOU IS… You have purposefully cut out from the middle no less – the five words I wrote that show you to be misrepresenting me!

            I have put the five words back in below IN CAPS

            Because in the West we realise that his uncaring, inefficient, remorseless use of his own people as cannon fodder, IN THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR, saved us from doing the same to our own sons & daughters.

            • Zach
              Posted August 21, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

              And I admitted to reading the past into it. Why should I not have? Are you unaware of what went on in Russia and the Ukraine in the 1930s? Do you think what happened in the early 40s justified those events in some way? I’m genuinely curious.

              If I am to understand you point—and believe me, I want to—it goes something like this: “uncaring, inefficient, remorseless use of his own people as cannon fodder” before the war makes Stalin villainous. But doing so in order to win the war makes him less so.

              I suppose I can see that. I can also try to imagine an alternate history wherein the Bolsheviks didn’t win the Russian civil war, and whatever government did fought the Nazis just as well (or possibly even better, since they would have had millions more people and millions more tons of food.)

              The subject at hand—the history and character of the Soviet Union under Stalin—is broader than the The Great Patriotic War. I won’t apologize for making that point.

              • Zach
                Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:38 am | Permalink

                Although I’ll admit, I could have been more tactful about it.

                Eh, that’s still mealy-mouthed.

                No. I apologize. This whole thread got out of hand because I responded to a few commenters’ sentences with just a few snarky sentences of my own—mainly because I didn’t feel like spelling out, in paragraph form, exactly what struck me as “off” about their comments. In other words, I was lazy. And I was hoping a bit of dialogue would open up wherein we could iron out the implied details with which I disagreed. But this blog has a high turnover rate for posts. Discussions in the comments don’t generally span days. This isn’t a criticism, by the way. Just a recognition of the consequences of PCC’s prolific output, which I enjoy. And, in the interest of staying atop the commenting treadmill, I commented slapdashedly. For that, I apologize.

                The point I was trying to drive at still stands though. In case Michael Fisher is still following this thread, I’ll go ahead and distill every paragraph I’ve written above into a single sentence of admonishment, which I don’t think is uncharitable given what he wrote.

                You should not write as if Stalin’s political rule began in 1940.

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted August 22, 2017 at 5:33 am | Permalink

                @Zach An apology was all that was required for misrepresenting my words

                Then a second apology for ‘double downing’ on that by quote mining my words – so as to support your initial misrepresentation

                That was all that was required! But your final words show that all you’re apologising for is tone & not your content!

                You are still misrepresenting me. STOP the condescension & STOP F**kin telling me what you THINK I wrote.

                An apology would be meaningless now. So let’s leave it there.

              • BJ
                Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

                Your continued misrepresentation is astounding. And you owe not just Michael an apology, but all of the commentators (including myself) whom you misrepresented.

        • Michiel
          Posted August 21, 2017 at 6:21 am | Permalink

          It does seem that it’s somehow easier… even tempting to downplay the horrors produced by communism in the 20th century, compared to Nazism.
          In a way it’s understandable. Even though there is certainly enough documentation about it if you look for it, it is certainly true that the average person in the west is not confronted very often with that evidence in mainstream (popular) culture as opposed to the horrors of Nazism and the holocaust. Just think of the many well-known holocaust movies most people will have seen (Schindler’s List, The Pianist, La Vita e Bella etc) as well as all the general WWII movies and documentaries which mostly focus on the fight against the Nazis.
          Combine that with the fact that “our culture” was directly attacked and in many cases occupied by the Nazis, but everything the Russians (and the Chinese) did was happening on the other side of the world (so to speak).
          Japanese atrocities during the war are a bit more well known here in the Netherlands because of them attacking and occupying the Dutch East-Indies, so many people will have known grandparents or great-uncles or aunts who were in Japanese camps.

        • BJ
          Posted August 21, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          I very, very clearly meant an entire ethnic group, and meant that he didn’t wish to control the entire world under his own empire, but rather wanted his political/economic system to spread throughout the world.

          *Apparently*, you like making up sarcastic versions of what people really meant. And it was very *apparent* what people were saying.

      • Posted September 24, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        Stalin won the war.

    • Craw
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Hitler is mostly known for killing Jews because he started with Jews. Had he had time he’d be known for other groups too. His plans for lebensraum explicitly envisioned the death of over 5 million Slavs for example.

      • Posted September 24, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Also, he specifically targeted the Gypsies.

  7. Historian
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I think that anti-Semitism and the demonization of Israel derive from two separate causes. The root of anti-Semitism is the belief many good Christian folk hold that Jews were the Christ killers and that they refuse to accept Jesus as their savior. The Jews also were viewed negatively, starting in the Middle Ages, when because they were denied access to most professions became money lenders with its unsavory reputation. Also, in the modern era, Jews have been viewed as being more successful than other groups. For some, this success is due to the belief that somehow Jews have gamed the system. Finally, Jews are perceived as being “clannish.”

    Those on the left who are anti-Israel would argue that Israel is a case of where the underdog has become the top dog and like most top dogs evolve into oppressor of the underdogs, even though they were underdogs not very long ago. A guiding principle of certain elements of the left is that the oppressed must always be supported and if they should someday become oppressors themselves, well, that is a problem for another day.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      I would just like to add that there is a long and rich history of anti-Semitism among all sorts of left. It definitely didn’t start with successes of Israel.

      • fernando
        Posted August 20, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        The Embassy to Gaius, caused by hatred against the jews living in Alexandria, predates Christianity. So, you may argue that the Gospels derive from anti-semitism.

    • BJ
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      The fact is, Jews are still underdogs. Surrounded on all sides by those who wish to kill every one of them and confined to a strip of land about the size of New Jersey, they still do all they can to minimize casualties when they inevitably must go to war.

      And yet, every time they are forced to protect their country, the entire world media portrays them as one of the greatest villains on the world stage. They get no credit, they are scrutinized unlike any other people or place in the world, and they are constantly fighting for their lives and a place to live.

      They do not sound like top dogs to me, except in their technological success (e.g. computer components and research, science, etc.).

      Regarding your first paragraph, I think you’re right that such factors were at least partly the roots of antisemitism in previous times, but now the roots are conspiracy theories, regressive victim hierarchy, and white supremacy.

      • BJ
        Posted August 20, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        Oh, and Islam, of course, is another root.

      • Historian
        Posted August 20, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        Within the boundaries of the state of Israel and the occupied territories, Jewish Israelis control what happens. I am not going to dispute that Israel is beset my many enemies, nor am I going to debate the extent that Jewish Israelis oppress the Palestinians. I am simply saying that the anti-Israeli left in the U.S. and Europe perceive Israelis as oppressors. And for this segment of the Left, support for the supposed oppressed tops all other concerns.

        • Simon
          Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

          IF I may be so bold, I would suggest that much of the Israel hating in the US and Yerp stems from the fact that Israel is supported by the West. The cafeteria far (and even near) Left are a bunch of spoiled brats resentful at capitalist daddy.

        • BJ
          Posted August 21, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

          Oh, I know. I wasn’t implying that you subscribe to the regressive left’s views on Israel, but merely responding to their arguments that you laid out. Apologies if it seemed otherwise.

        • Sarah
          Posted August 21, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          !Within the boundaries of the state of Israel and the occupied territories, Jewish Israelis control what happens.”
          Palestinians should be so lucky! If Israel had complete control over the disputed territories instead of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, the inhabitants would enjoy the rule of law, functioning infrastructure, and free elections, to say nothing of an education system that didn’t train little children to dream of being martyrs. Under the PA they lack all those things, but Israel can hardly be blamed for the failings of the PA.

  8. fernando
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Because they’re using the wrong words: oppressed, oppressor. What they really see is: strong, weak.

  9. kirbmarc
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    “So why the hatred of Nazis but the concomitant demonization of Israel and—often—Jews themselves? It doesn’t make sense.”

    Because anti-semitism didn’t start with Hitler, and it wasn’t limited to Germany, or to Nazis, for that matter. France was very anti-semitic, Russia even more, and let’s not get started about Poland or the Baltic States.

    Jews have always been a religious minority, and like all religious/ethnic minorities they were exposed to hatred and persecution.

    This wasn’t just limited to Europe: islam is very anti-semitic (there’s plenty of hatred and prescription for violence against Jews in the Qu’ran and the ahadith).

    One thing that isn’t talked about is that a lot of the anti-semitism is and was based, or at least conjoined with, class issues.

    Both Christians and Muslims had rules against money lending with interests, which stemmed from dissatisfaction with the banking/investment system due to class issues in the times and places when Christianity first and Islam later became popular.

    Jews, banned from most jobs within the Christian and Muslim communities, were nonetheless allowed to “sin” and lend money on interest, which was and is a vital role in any form of trade-based economy, but leads to resentment from people who fell massively in debt or (even more frequently) by people who the nobles extorted money from to repay their debts.

    The cultural association of Jews and money-lending was very widespread (see, for example, The Merchant of Venice)and it lead to scapegoating and persecution.

    Kings, emirs, emperors, caliphs and other nobles who had to raise taxes to cover their excessive spending successfully re-routed public anger towards the “Other”, the “money-lending Jews”.

    “Blame the bloodsucking Jews” was the best excuse to get angry mobs to storm synagogues and homes instead of rebelling during times of crisis.

    Even today the stereotype of the “Jewish banker” and the “Jewish plots” to control the world’s economy are very frequent in anti-semitic circles, both right-wing and muslim ones.

    Weirdly enough even though Marx himself was of Jewish ancestry Communism itself flirted with the stereotype of the “Jewish banker” in its condemnation of market economy.

    Nazism was built upon centuries of widespread anti-Jewish feelings. It didn’t rise out of nowhere.

    Even after the Holocaust has made Jewish conspiracy theories unpopular in polite society they still have grown in the seedier underbelly of both right-wing and left-wing movements (especially among conspiracy theorists), while anti-semitism in islam has never been curbed.

    Today anti-semitism in the far-right is widespread and direct, while the anti-semitism of the far-left is vaguer, less easily defined, and more common in groups who are prone to identity politics, especially those which excuse muslim bigotry.

    • Diane G.
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 2:32 am | Permalink

      This expresses my understanding, only a hundred times better than I’d have been capable of. Thanks for such an apt and cogent summary.

  10. Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    The first thought that comes to mind is that Hitler persecuted the Jews simply because they were Jews, whereas the Left’s demonization of Israel is based on something the Jews have done—namely, oppressed the Palestinians—that the Regressives think is wrong. The former is fundamentally racist, while the latter amounts to taking sides on a specific political issue. Forgive me if someone has already said this; I haven’t read all the comments.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      The trouble with anti-Semitism (otherwise known as hatred of Jews) is that it’s supporters always try to find a better reason that just the animosity towards a group of people. So for capitalists they were Communists, and for Communists they were capitalists. For rich they were overpopulating slums and polluting the area, for poor they were rich and exploting the poor. Anti-Semites always find the most noble and popular cause of their era to justify their hatred of Jews. When religion was the most important thing – the reason was that they rejected and killed Jesus or that they rejected and could’ve killed Mohamed. Then science was on pedestal and they “scientifically” justified their hatred. Of course, the antisemitic left justified it with social justice. In our days human right is the most noble idea so it is used to justify hatred of Jews/Israel. Nobody demands dismantling of Pakistan – created more or less at the same time as Israel – because of violation of human right there. But Israel – of course (not to mention the amount of lies and fabricationas about this “persecution of Palestinians”). Here is a link to an interesting article which shows how anti-Semitism evolved on the left: http://fathomjournal.org/the-left-and-the-jews-time-for-a-rethink/

      • nicky
        Posted August 20, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I think that is an astute observation: commies to the right and capitalists to the left (on top of the ‘Jesus killing’). Hitler himself blamed the loss of WWI (he was a corporal in the German Army) on the uprisings (the Kiel mutiny) in 1918, which he attributed to jews (such as Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Marx himself) as communists. It easily explains his hatred of jews as well as Bolsheviks.
        And indeed there was a long tradition of Jew hatred, and not just the RCC: is there a more rabiate and despicable anti-semite than Martin Luther?

      • Posted August 20, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        If, as you suggest, support for human rights issues on the Palestinian question is simply a front to justify hatred of Jews, it would follow that the hate would extend to all Jews, even the growing number of those who themselves fault Israel on the Palestinian question. But this is clearly not the case.

        Your position would be stronger if you could come up with at least one example in which you think criticism of Jews or Israel was justified and not anti-semitic. Short of that, your argument is tautological.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted August 20, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          Nobody wants to be called an antisemite after WWII (at least on the left). Jews, who are hostile towards Israel of all different reasons (from Naturei Karta, because they are waiting for Messiah, through very well assimilated Jews who are afraid that if Israel exists somebody could tell them to go there, to diverse diehard Communists who support internationalism and despise the idea of Jewish nationalism, with plenty of other reasons in between) are godsend to anti-Semites of different hues (from Iranians who adore Naturei Karta to KKK who love to quote Max Blumenthal and his ilk) because they can proudly say: look, I’m not an anti-Semite, my best friend and comrade is a Jew.

          Besides, people who are so fervently supporting human rights of Palestinians when they can say that the opressors are Jews never condemn (or even see) human rights abuses against Palestinians by their own leaders (Palestinian Authority or Hamas) and neither the abuses of Palestinians human rights in other Arab countries (blatant discrimination in Lebanon where Palestinian are denied som basic rights or even wholsale murder in Syria). Only when they can condemn Israel. This is quite telling.

          If you criticize a specific policy of a specific government in Israel – it definitely is not antisemitic. Many people do it with full justification. Some are criticizing the reluctance of consecutive Israeli governments to unilateraly remove Israeli presence from the West Bank, others are criticizing unilateral removal of Israeli presence from Gaza Strip in 2005. But if you criticize Jews as a nation or Israel as a whole country – well, that’s really suspect. Do you criticize any other nation or country as a whole (inclusive people from this nation or country who are living abroad and are not accepted unless they condemn their nation or country)?

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted August 20, 2017 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

            Well I’m really suspect then. Because every time Netanyahu opens his mouth I criticise ‘Israel’. If you demanded specifics then I would come back to the sorts of points you list. But then I criticise e.g. ‘America’ for its murderous blunders in Vietnam and Iraq. Even while I fully realise there are many in Israel (so far as I can tell) and the US who don’t/didn’t agree with their government’s position.

            That makes me anti-Israel on occasion, also anti-American (or more accurately anti-USA). Not all the time and not about ‘everything’.

            Back to the point – I’m aware of the risk of being labelled ‘anti-semitic’ if I criticise Israel and I don’t like it much. I see it as a way to deflect any criticisms.

            cr

            • Sarah
              Posted August 21, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

              Any country’s policies can be criticised, and the citizens of the country can usually do it very much better than outsiders. But Israel is the only country I know of where “criticism of policies” feeds into a genocidal movement to abolish the country itself. There is a kind of bait-and-switch at work here regardless of the hue of the Israeli government; policies can always be legitimately criticised, but that is not the real issue.

        • BJ
          Posted August 20, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

          It does extend to all Jews. Refer to my college experiences in my comment number 27 (and I left out my experiences prior to college).

    • biz
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      @mirandaga: Not really though.

      Hitler and the Nazis had their “reasons” for being against Jews too. Jews were supposedly spreading Bolshevism, American degeneracy, poison chocolates, and other ills.

      In the Middle Ages Jews were supposedly poisoning wells and killing Christian babies in rituals. Plus they killed Christ. They had their “reasons.”

      Nowadys to a large portion of the Left the supposed reason is that Jews are oppressing completely innocent indigenous ™ brown people, both in the form of Israel and supposed foreign policy neocons in America.

      In all cases the reasons are dubious and really just excuses. There is nothing more rational about cotemporary Left wing antisemitism than there was in Hitler’s antisemitism.

    • BJ
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      If you think it’s only about Israel/Palestine, refer to my comments 26 and 27.

      Additionally, the narrative of the regressive left that Israel is somehow the oppressor is an absurdity. Every time Israel reluctantly goes to war (after multiple, increasing terror attacks and daily rocket fire from its Palestinian neighbors), it does more than any other country in history to minimize casualties. Still, all media ignores this and tows the Palestinian terror groups’ line, despite the knowledge that these groups use human shields and hide their weapons in hospitals, schools, and residential neighborhoods to ensure the death of their civilians and create a more sympathetic media narrative.

      Israel is a country beset on all sides by countries of people whose express wishes are to wipe Israel from the map and commit genocide of their citizens, but Israel is expected not to defend itself…

  11. Frank Bath
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    When I was working on a BBC radio programme about Israel/Palestine, written, presented and produced by two jewish colleagues, I asked what they thought of the jews being in Israel. I was taken aback by the reply. With one voice they chorused, ‘They shouldn’t be there!’

  12. Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    “So why the hatred of Nazis but the concomitant demonization of Israel and—often—Jews themselves? ”

    Because there has been a deliberately deceitful propaganda war on Israel for half a century now by Palestinians, Mideast Arab states, and Muslim leaders across the world.

    The U.N. has been an echo chamber for this narrative, as has been every madrassa as well as many Islamic religious leaders.

    Islam has a principle called “al-Taqiyya” which allows the telling of lies to non Muslims in the furtherance of the Muslim nation. And it is used extremely often whenever actions or interactions with Israel or Israelis are involved.

    These false narratives have been embraced by the alt-Left as Gospel.

    I engaged commenters at Alternet the other day, who informed me that Israel was a theocracy, an apartheid state, that had and was committing ethnic cleansing and mass murder on a daily basis. That Israelis were going on knifing raids and committing terrorist bombings in the “occupied” territories. That Israel was “stolen” from the Palestinians through the use of terrorism and national influence that forcibly ejected every Muslim Arab from the country. That Muslim Israeli citizens were second-hand citizens who had no rights.

    I would be surprised if alt-Left publications would even countenance the publication of columns or articles setting things straight. They have their story, and they are sticking to it, much like climate deniers and creationists.

    • biz
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. That has been my experience in viewing other Lefty sites. Their view of Israel could not be more detatched from reality. They believe that Israel is regularly spraying Arabs with chemical weapons and training various animals like dolphins and eagles in stealth ways to kill Arabs. They think that Israel is literally a Nazi state that ethnically cleanses Arabs and has no economy other than US foreign aid and harvesting organs forom Arabs. It is basically Flat Earthism.

  13. Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  14. shoshidge
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    My take on Jerry’s question is that the answer regards the root motivation of political progressives,(SJW’s, whatever you want to call them), which are based on an empathic, emotional reaction to the perception of someone being bullied.
    Analyze a situation, determine who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed and come to the defense of the oppressed, fists,(figuratively), swinging.
    It’s a simple and usually noble impulse, but because it’s fueled by strong emotion,it doesn’t allow for nuance or compromise.

  15. Randy schenck
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I think the difficulty in this question is that you are looking for reason where non exist. Bigotry comes in lots of forms and really, there is no reason. No justification and no way to make any sense of it. I am from the lily white Midwest where there are no African Americans and no Jews. Yet, there are people living there who have a great dislike for both or one. How could that make sense to anyone in a reasonable world. All I can tell you is – it is true. But do not ask why because there is no why. The very best attempt I can make is to say ignorance. There, I have the answer.

    • Posted August 20, 2017 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      From the 1830s or 40s (approximately), my mother’s family migrated from the south to southwestern Missouri. They were poor white farmers who had no slaves. There were blacks, but they lived separately in their own town. There was at least one wealthy Jewish family who lived in town and owned the only major department store. The Jewish family seems to have been accepted in town. Blacks were not.

      Migration continued on across the country, so
      the southern/mid-western attitudes came west. In the west, hispanics, orientals, non-European immigrants, jews, muslims, religionists of any non-Christian sort, etc. increasingly were enrolled in the underclass. In many cases, this hatred was kept hidden, with occasional breakouts of hate speech and violence. With
      the voting in of President Trump by and large by these people, they seemingly feel authorized now to express their hatred verbally and physically. Some of those on the opposite side,
      tired of inequality and mistreatment, seem to think violence is the only way change will come.

      I hate violence. But, I admit there are times when I wish both sides in the violence could be immured in a gigantic stadium and allowed to fight it out in a venue that would not harm relatively innocent bystanders.

  16. Steve Gerrard
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    “So why the hatred of Nazis but the concomitant demonization of Israel and—often—Jews themselves? It doesn’t make sense.”

    Hatred and demonization = amygdala
    Making sense = pre-frontal cortex

    One is emotional, the other is rational. Often one wins out over the other.

    I’m ready Sapolsky’s Behave.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Reading?

      • Steve Gerrard
        Posted August 20, 2017 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I’m reading Sapolsky’s Behave.

        Typos are okay, both sides do it.

  17. nicky
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    “Yet the widespread and proper denigration of Nazis doesn’t comport with the Regressive Left’s demonization of Israel and Jews, which sometimes verges on anti-Semitism.” Sometimes verges on anti-semitism? I think you are very, nay, extremely charitable there.

  18. Posted August 20, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Hitler fixated on the Jews, but as a sociopath, he had no concern for anyone other than himself. In his bunker, to hinder the advance of the Soviets, he ordered the flooding of the Berlin subway tubes, even though thousands of civilians were using them as their bunkers. (The order was ignored.)

    In the brilliant film, DOWNFALL, Hitler is informed that the death of 20,000 young officers a month is unsustainable. He blandly replies: “that’s what they’re there for.”

    When Hitler’s personal quest had failed, he actively sought the destruction of the entire nation and people who’d ‘failed’ him. It was a murder-suicide on an epic scale.

  19. Minroad
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    No violence? The Boston PD were literally tweeting for the protestors to stop throwing Rocks and Urine!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Maybe you should get your facts straight from Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, instead of wingnut websites, because Evans said 99.9% of the anti-racist protesters were perfectly peaceful. Hell, I’ve seen more violence than yesterday’s rally at the old Boston Garden during a Bruins’ game — and that was just on the ice.

      For Chrissake, even the orange asshole who occupies the Oval Office had to wipe the egg off his face by congratulating the peaceful protesters for “speaking out against bigotry and hate” (after earlier stepping on his dick by calling them “anti-police agitators”).

  20. Merilee
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  21. Paul S
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    The comments I’ve seen from the regressive left and SJWs tell me Nazi they no longer equated with anti-Semitism. It’s only their supremacy that matters.

    • Paul S
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      The comments I’ve seen from the regressive left and SJWs tell me they no longer equate Nazi with anti-Semitism.

      Oh, how I long for a pre-post edit button.

  22. Posted August 20, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    A poem I wrote long ago:

    Night Light:
    History on TV

    I

    Jews are firewood
    in Buchenwald tonight,
    stacked in tight formation:
    shorn heads on one side,
    bare feet on the other.
    Flies float in the air
    like sawdust
    above lifeless limbs.

    II

    German civilians
    troop in review
    past this answer
    to the question
    of racial purity.
    “Aryan” husbands
    grip the arms of
    their weak-kneed women.
    All knew “nothing”.

    III

    Americans this evening,
    sit home by hearth fires
    viewing prime time TV;
    the Holocaust film
    has become a night light
    to eat dinner by.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      @Rowena +1

      UNIT 731[from the Wiki]:

      A special project code-named Maruta used human beings for experiments. Test subjects were gathered from the surrounding population and were sometimes referred to euphemistically as “logs” (丸太 maruta), used in such contexts as “How many logs fell?”

      This term originated as a joke on the part of the staff because the official cover story for the facility given to the local authorities was that it was a lumber mill. However, in an account by a man who worked as a junior uniformed civilian employee of the Japanese Army in Unit 731, the project was internally called “Holzklotz”, which is the German word for log.

      In a further parallel, the corpses of “sacrificed” subjects were disposed of by incineration. Researchers in Unit 731 also published some of their results in peer-reviewed journals, writing as though the research had been conducted in non-human primates called “Manchurian monkeys” or “long-tailed monkeys”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731

      • Posted August 21, 2017 at 2:28 am | Permalink

        Thank you for this information about Japanese experimentation during WWII on human beings, who were euphemistically called “logs. (I’m pretty sure I read about this long ago, but didn’t retain as much about it as the German atrocities.) I assume we all know about the “scientific” experiments conducted by the Nazis. In addition to collecting information from Japanese and German experiments, the U.S. has been guilty of conducting “scientific” experiments on black people (e.g. Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments), children, the handicapped, the mentally ill, the uninformed and military members.

        See the following:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unethical_human_experimentation_in_the_United_States

        “Unethical human experimentation in the United States describes numerous experiments performed on human test subjects in the United States that have been considered unethical, and were often performed illegally, without the knowledge, consent, or informed consent of the test subjects. Such tests have occurred throughout American history, but particularly in the 20th century.

        The experiments include: the exposure of people to chemical and biological weapons (including infection of people with deadly or debilitating diseases), human radiation experiments, injection of people with toxic and radioactive chemicals, surgical experiments, interrogation and torture experiments, tests involving mind-altering substances, and a wide variety of others. Many of these tests were performed on children,[1] the sick, and mentally disabled individuals, often under the guise of “medical treatment”. In many of the studies, a large portion of the subjects were poor, racial minorities, or prisoners[citation needed].”

  23. ploubere
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    There are degrees and confusion on the issue. Some evangelical Christians love Israel, because they think it presages the rapture. It of course doesn’t mean they like Jews, but they tolerate and even support them for that reason.

    Among liberals, there is a range of sentiments that are fueled by sympathy for Palestinians, perceived as being victims of Israeli domination. And it would be wrong to absolve Israel of all responsibility for that. Things like expansion of settlements and taking of Palestinian land to build the security wall are worthy of criticism. And there is some documentation of war crimes during military incursions such as the 2006 Lebanon war.

    But the Liberals’ mistake is in seeing only those issues and not the more complex reality of extremist politics in Gaza and the West Bank, or terrorist attacks against Israelis, and all the other complicating factors that make peace in the Mideast so elusive. Unfortunately, people on both sides want simple answers, with good guys and bad guys clearly labeled. In the end, it’s all tribalism.

    • Sarah
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      About “taking of Palestinian land to build the security wall”: most of the security fence runs along the old cease-fire line (the “Green Line”) and some of it is actually inside that line. Until the Palestinians agree to negotiate a border, it is not at all clear what “Palestinian land” actually is. Before the Six-Day War in 1967 it was “Jordanian Land”, at least according to the Jordanians.

  24. Florent
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I have a genuine question here. I often see this :

    “the per capita rate of hate crimes against Jews is twice what it is against Muslims.”

    often cited in many articles, but what exactly does it mean ? Is it proportional ? A statistic that needs context ? I’d really like to know actually.

    Thanks !

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      @Florent

      [a] Hate crime stats are compiled initially in terms of raw number of incidents I believe
      [b] The proportional hate crime stat is then determined per 100,000 of total population for the city/region/country

      BUT obviously you shouldn’t go ahead & assume that the rational definition I’ve given applies in the survey you’re looking at. All good surveys supply definitions & their chosen methodology that you should read.

      But, all sociology stats that cross countries & cultures are dubious, because there is no unity in cultural norms, definitions & recording procedures

      Here is an example to ponder with regard to Swedish rape statistics that has resulted in Sweden being touted as a frenzied nation of rapists: If a spouse reports marital rape occurred once a day for a month, that will be recorded as 30 incidents in Sweden, one incident in Britain & 0 incidents where rape in marriage isn’t recognised. If the marriage is same sex that might not be regarded as rape at all in some places.

      and there’s other definitional irregularities I’m not comfortable describing here

    • Malgorzata
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 1:55 am | Permalink

      There is a yearly Report on Hate Crime by Uniform Crime Reporting Program of FBI. Here are data collected only for Jews and Muslims http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/statistics-on-religious-hate-crimes#archive but there are links to original reports.

      Some data for 2016 (big cities) can be found here: https://csbs.csusb.edu/hate-and-extremism-center/data-reports/original-reports-hate-and-terrorism-center-staff

  25. BJ
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    One thing I’ve noticed about the regressive left is not only do the denigrate Jews and advocate for the demolition of their only homeland — the only place where they can live as Jews without fear of reprisal by at least their fellow citizens within their own country — but that they often propagate the same lies and conspiracy theories one sees from antisemitic groups and individual antisemites all over the world. They are the same conspiracy theories that various people (like Henry Ford, in his abhorrent book The International Jew) have promulgated throughout modern history: Jews control nearly all the world’s economy and media; they plot and execute the worst terror attacks to solidify their stranglehold; the wish to construct a new world order in which there are no countries and they can control everything more easily; they are miserly, nasty, and care only about money, and so on.

    Look in any of the correct corners of the regressive left internet enclaves and you will find these things, just as you will in the proper corners of the alt-right and neo-Naziz. And people say these two groups are different…

    (Side note: I’ve found it especially distressing that these conspiracy theories and antisemitism seem even more prevalent in regressive and extremist online black communities, considering all the Jews have done and continue to do in the US to fight for minorities, and especially the rights of the black community during the Civil Rights Movement and the 60’s and 70’s)

    • Harrison
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      It’s because regressives do not practice good mental grooming and are incautious about where their ideas come from.

      Beating a dead horse but I’ve said this before: When a private organization engages in censorship which a regressive approves of, they suddenly start spouting Libertarian rhetoric about how companies can do whatever they like and it’s only the government that can ever do a bad thing by engaging in censorship. And yet they claim to despise Libertarians and their ideology.

      Everyone needs to have a hard think about where the ideas in their heads originally came from. If you’re intellectually lazy and just reach for whatever will work at the moment, your whole worldview will be rife with hypocrisies, and worst still, genuinely ugly and horrific ideas you’ve deluded yourself into thinking are “progressive.” That’s how regressives are born.

  26. BJ
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, I forgot to note: lest anyone think that the BDS movement, by focusing on the destruction of Israel, is not filled with and run by anti-semites: When I was in college, those against Israel would regularly stop those on campus they new to be Jews and berate them, quiz them to make sure they held the “proper” views on Israel, tear down their posters for Jewish groups that had naught to do with Israel, and even defaced the Hillel meeting place on several occasions.

  27. Posted August 20, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Religion has poisoned that well. I also think many who abhor religion might also abhor the Jewish people for claiming to be the chosen people of a god they can’t stand the thought of.

    For a very long time, and even now with those on the far-right, any disagreement with or criticism of Israel or the Jewish people was seen as sacrilege. I have friends who were furious with President Obama for abstaining from the U.N. vote to reprimand Israel’s land grab on the West Bank. They refuse to even acknowledge that Israel can possibly be wrong about anything.

    The extreme flip side of that is the insistence that Israel is all in the wrong and should be dissolved as a state. It is as ridiculous as the insistence that Palestine not be granted statehood.

    What one person sees as right another sees as wrong depending on what side they’ve chosen. And even if you’ve not chosen a side and can see the faults on both sides you’re accused of being anti-Semitic or Islamiphobic. If you aren’t “for” a side, you’re against it.

  28. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    It’s easy enough to find reasons to object to the state of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians. Building a huge wall, illegal settlements on Palestinian land, yadda yadda. Its army is an occupying force and if you want you can see parallels with other occupying armies including, I dare say, the Wehrmacht.

    So Israel IS the authoritarian Right. Besides, Netanyahu is hardly left-wing.

    And so are Nazis. The ultimate right wing, that is.

    As to why Jews elsewhere are identified with Israel, that’s pretty obvious. Because Israel is the Jewish Homeland and a very large proportion of Jews elsewhere do indeed support or sympathise with Israel. Israel banks on that, also the moral ‘points’ it scores for Jews being victims of the Holocaust in a way that gypsies, Russians and gays (mostly) don’t.

    cr

    • Norbert Francis
      Posted August 20, 2017 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      “Object to the state of Israel”
      and
      “Object to the treatment of Palestinians”
      are two completely different things. These have to be separated in your argument.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 20, 2017 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

        Yes, okay.

        PCC was just asking why the Left condemns both Israel and the Nazis. I was attempting to answer from (what I presume to be) the Left’s** point of view. I would be more careful if I were arguing the point myself.

        I agree that the treatment of Palestinians and (what I guess I implied without meaning to) the state of Israel’s ‘right’ to exist are two separate issues.

        **Well, some of the Left, obviously they’re not all the same.

        cr

        • Norbert Francis
          Posted August 20, 2017 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

          The same separation, I think, applies to your example of opposing policies of the United States. I remember many years ago when all of us, almost, at my high school were active in the anti-Vietnam War movement. None of us were Anti-American for that, even though at time it was hard to make the argument. Then some of us got recruited to one of the Left groups back then, that was anti-American. I came to regret the confusion into which I fell for several years.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted August 21, 2017 at 4:34 am | Permalink

            It often happens when different streams of thought converge.

            A case in point would be the recent unlamented TTPA. There was massive opposition in New Zealand based on the fact that New Zealand laws would have to be changed to comply with the treaty and suspicion that big US corporations and financial interests had been allowed to manipulate the treaty wording to suit their monopolistic interests. The protest marches acquired a strong anti-American flavour as a result.

            (One way to generate huge anti-foreign feeling in New Zealand is to suggest that our laws should be changed – to our detriment – to suit some foreign interests – in this case US).

            The irony of course is that both Hillary and Trump (the one thing Trump’s done right, IMO) vowed to kill the TPPA because many US voters felt the treaty threatened their interests.

            Probably ironically, on any other issue, 90% of our marchers would have said Obama – a big proponent of the TPPA – was a good guy.

            cr

    • BJ
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      You and I often agree and are always civil with each other, so I ask the following questions with complete respect…

      What, exactly, can Israel do to treat the Palestinians better? When they inevitably have to enter Palestine, they employ measures not used by any other country created to minimize civilian casualties. What are they supposed to do when the terrorist organizations in Palestine use their citizenry as human shields? Surely they can’t allow these organizations to keep their enormous weapons that are used daily to launch rockets into Israel, even if these organizations do hide them in hospitals and schools. Before bombing these places, the IDF sounds warnings letting people know where the bombs will be landing so the citizens have ample time to leave.

      Regarding the Gaza: how can they let in a bunch of people who have sworn to commit as many atrocities against Israelis and their state in an attempt to wipe it out? And still, they let many Palestinians from the West Bank cross the border into Israel daily so they can make far more money working in jobs inside the functional state of Israel next door.

      I want you to imagine if your own country was in the position of Israel. Rockets are beings launched into your cities from the country across the border daily, forcing your fellow citizens to flee to bunkers at the sound of regular alarms as a reality of daily life; just a few miles away, across your border, are people who regularly kill your citizens with bombs, guns, knives, and cars; the people across the border continually support terrorist organizations whose sole aim is to kill all your people and destroy your country for good, even electing the leaders of said organizations to government offices; your enemies a few miles away dig tunnels to cross your border so they can better kill and kidnap/torture your citizens.

      How do you think your country would respond? Surely, the response would be far more aggressive and deadly than Israel’s; in fact, your country would likely ensure that its neighbor ceased to exist for good.

      Now, I concede that the expansion of settlements is wrong and I oppose it, but, for all the talk about it, the land “taken” is entirely negligible, the expansions being into uninhabited deserts where they build a handfuls of homes (and I put “taken” in quotes not because the word isn’t accurate, but because these settlement are often created in places that were rightly Israel’s by dint of winning the various wars started by their neighbors — wars they were forced to fight, rather than wars of aggression. Would any other country give back the land it won in a war started by the other side?).

      Anyway, these points are just food for thought, and I would genuinely be interested in your responses to some or all of them. As I said, I respect you as a poster here and that you disagree with me on regarding the issue of Israel. My comment is in no way meant to be aggressive, admonishing, or condescending, but I would be interested in how you would answer these questions, as they seem crucial to a position that Israel is largely in the wrong regarding its treatment of Palestine as a hostile nation.

      (also, I would note that Israel does not treat any of its other hostile neighbors as it does Palestine, clearly because those neighbors don’t launch daily attacks on them and regularly kill and kidnap their citizens)

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 21, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        BJ, with respect, I won’t get drawn into this, partly because I wish to avoid long detailed arguments, partly because, frankly, you sound as if you have significantly more knowledge of the subject than I do and while I don’t necessarily concede you’re right on all points, I don’t have the knowledge to make a good debate.

        Please note that I was listing reasons ‘why the Left (or some of it) could dislike Israel’ – I didn’t say there weren’t counter-arguments. In this conflict there have been plenty of wrongs to point at on both sides.

        But I think Historian in his comment #7 summed it up better – in the hierarchy of oppressed and oppressor, in Palestine Israel definitely has the upper hand militarily and therefore by that definition is the oppressor. (I think that’s a spurious way to categorise it, by the way).

        cr

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 21, 2017 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

          And by the way, I do very much appreciate the polite way you framed your comment. Your points definitely are food for thought. I suspect if I were debating you on a platform, I’d lose.

          cr

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted August 21, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

            @infiniteimprobabilit Nah, don’t underestimate y’self! You’d do fine between Muggle Platforms Nine & Ten

          • BJ
            Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

            I respect your lack of desire not to get drawn into this conversation, and appreciate your admittance to a lack of knowledge on all the issues (and I don’t mean that in a condescending way — none of us have the time or will to read up on all issues we might discuss); additionally, I understand the point of your original comment. I just know you have previously expressed your dislike of Israeli policy (and, believe me, I am no fan of Netanyahu or his conservative/aggressive counterparts, though I understand the impetus of many Israeli politicians and citizens to be aggressive considering their nation’s continued situation from its inception). All I ask is that, if you do have the time and will, that you try and read up on the points I mentioned, and to use neutral sources that provide only the facts, sans editorializing.

            Thanks for your polite response.

            • BJ
              Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

              Oh, and hey, as Michael Fisher said: give yourself some credit. Judging by your previous comments on this site, I imagine you’re just as intelligent as I am!

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted August 22, 2017 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

                You have persuaded me to think, at least. Neutral sources? – that may be difficult to find (or to verify their neutrality), though doubtless, to misquote Orwell, some are more neutral than others.

                I wouldn’t dare try to compare intelligence (I’m not even sure how I’d go about it). I hope I’m intelligent, I think you are. I do know I suffer from a strong tendency to be flippant.

                I think that’s enough on this topic 🙂

                cr

      • Posted September 24, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        “What, exactly, can Israel do to treat the Palestinians better?”

        What a question! Commit suicide, of course ;-).

  29. Posted August 20, 2017 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    They hate Hitler not because he was mean to Jews, but because he was the ultimate white supremacist. They hate the Jews because every fanatic hates the Jews. Jews weren’t white people to Hitler, but they’re the worst white people to the crazy SJWs.

  30. Bell
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    I completely understand it. Yes, Nazi killing of the Jewish people was abhorrent and now the Israeli government (not “the jews”) turns around and does all too similar things to the Palestinian people….they are treated as sub-human, just as Hitler and others considered Jewish people subhuman. There is no inconsistency….let’s just have everyone treated as valuable human beings.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 4:34 am | Permalink

      You are very, very misinformed. Palestinian Arabs in Israel have the same rights as Jews and are definitely not treated like “sub-human”. Fact that they have an equal representation in Israeli parliament (Knesset), that they have equal access to education, health care and job market shows that they are definitely not treated as “sub-humans”. Not to mention that the Israeli Supreme Justice, an Arab, sentenced former Israeli president to jail for sexual harassment, that there are very high ranking officers in Israeli army who are Arabs etc. When it comes to Palestinians living in the terrirtories governed by Palestinian Authority and Hamas they do not have equal right with Israeli citizens but they are not Israeli citizens. So it is in every country in the world that citizens of this country have right which non-citizens do not have. But Israel is definitely not treating them as “sub-humans” either. Israel delivers water (more than stipulated in Oslo Accords), electricity (even if Palestinian Authority is not paying for it and its debt for electricity is now enormous), gives medical care to those who cannot be treated in Arab hospitals etc.
      Of course, there are racists in Israel as they are in any group of humans. But they are in minority and it definitely is not a policy of any Israeli government.
      You bought all the vile propaganda about Israel without a moment of doubt. Why?

    • BJ
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Is this comment sarcastic?

      You know who treats Palestinians as subhuman? Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in their own country. Israel is across the border, only coming in when things escalate every ten to fifteen years. Pretty hard to treat people as subhuman when you’re not even present.

      Try treating people of another nation as your friends when they launch daily rocket attacks into your cities, kill and kidnap your people via tunnels, cars, guns, and knives, and shout about how all your people should be wiped out and your only homeland taken from you. Talk about treating others as subhuman….

  31. Kevin
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    “oppressed minority”. Yes. I view Jews as an oppressed minority. It’s one of humanities biggest flaws to be so bigoted against Jews. It makes no sense to me.

  32. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    the concomitant demonization of Israel

    Because of the actions of the Israeli government, elected by the Israeli people.
    This is a war that is going to continue for another millennium. Or several.

    • Posted September 24, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      These actions are needed to preserve Israel in the face of people committed to annihilate it. In other words, Israel is demonized because of its will to exist.

  33. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    So why the hatred of Nazis but the concomitant demonization of Israel and—often—Jews themselves? It doesn’t make sense.

    I think you are mixing several different phenomena, and not looking at them in sufficient depth.

    “Leftists” who oppose Zionism do so because the idea of making a homeland for Jews in Palestine completely overlooks the fact that someone else was already living there.

    Meanwhile, “Rightists” who may be antisemitic and engage in antisemitic speech and actions may support Zionism not because they give a bleep about Jewish people, but because they actively wish for the fulfillment of Biblical prophesy leading up to the end of the world, which includes the restoration of Israel and the temple in Jerusalem.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      It seems to me that your explanation is a bit too simple. There are many reasons “Leftist” oppose Zionism and one of them is refusal to accept that on the territory of British Palestinian Mandate there were many peoples: Arabs, Jews, Armenians, Druze, Circassians, Germans, (almost) you name it. At the same time there were not many people – the land was underdeveloped and there was plenty of space (as development and density of population in Israel attest to). Moreover for centuries (since the last Jewish state was destroyed) it was never a state but always a backward, neglected province of one or other empire. At the same time Jews, persecuted both in Europe and in Islamic world, desperately needed a place of their own. And they either don’t know or prefer to forget that since first Zionists came and started economic development in 19th century many Arabs from surrounding places came also. During British Mandate the immigration of Arabs to this territory was greater than the immigration of Jews, both from Europe and from Arab countries.

      Your explanation is equally simplistic when it comes to “Rightist”. Undoubtedly there are some fanatics on the right who are motivated by Biblical prophecy. But the majority feels genuine sympathy for Zionism. Like Chloe Valdary, for example here(but she also wrote much about Zionism): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-r5RgssT5w

    • BJ
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      In addition to what Malgorzata said, what is your response to the fact that the Jews were kicked out of Israel first by the Assyrians, then the Babylonians, and then the Romans?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_diaspora

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 21, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        Should we give Manhattan back to the Canarsee tribe if they refund the 24 buck and beads they got from the Dutch?

        I don’t think that’s a good direction to take this argument, BJ; it eventually leads to Yahweh/Allah being the divine real estate broker.

        I’m a staunch supporter of Israel, but based on pragmatic considerations.

        • BJ
          Posted August 21, 2017 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

          I agree that it’s not a good argument, but merely a proper response to this quote from Reginald Selkirk: ““Leftists” who oppose Zionism do so because the idea of making a homeland for Jews in Palestine completely overlooks the fact that someone else was already living there.”

          If the principle laid out in that quote is to be followed, then Israel belongs to Jews. I think it’s a ridiculous principle on which to base policy, as most nations created in the last several thousand centuries contained land taken from others, but it is a proper response if this principle is argued.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted August 21, 2017 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

            I agree with your point there. Talk of Israel’s ‘right to exist’ is a bit meaningless in that very few countries have a ‘right to exist’ other than the simple and overriding fact that they DO exist. Almost all of them were based on land conquered or stolen from somebody at some time.

            Besides, who confers a ‘right’ to exist? The UN? God?

            (I’m uncomfortably aware that this argument could also be used by ISIS, if they hang on long enough. Which heaven forbid.)

            cr

            • BJ
              Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

              The element of argument I always find amusing from regressives is that they always seem to think history started with the European age of empires (AKA white people). Everything before this age since the beginning of human civilization simply doesn’t exist, I guess because all the previous empires (and many empires that existed in conjunction with the European ones, like the Ottoman Empire) were established by non-white people!

              Hell, before Brits arrive in what became the USA, the tribes that existed on the land continuously stole it from one another, regularly warring with each other to do so. I learned from the excellent film Hell Or High Water that Comanche means “enemy,” and it was used by them as a name meaning “enemies forever,” or “enemies of everyone.”

              Here’s the scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_V-5p3fM90s

              The relevant portion starts at 2:25. It’s a phenomenal film, and I highly recommend it!

              I also find it fascinating that neither regressives nor and anyone else ever speaks of the African (and many other) empires built on enslaving and selling their own people, even to the Americans in the transatlantic slave trade. In fact, when Great Britain undertook its great attempt at ending slavery across all the oceans to which it had access, one African king begged their emissaries not to end his slave trade, as his entire empire was built upon it. Even today, there are still countries practicing what amounts to slavery, from China to some Middle East countries.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted August 22, 2017 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

                Well, on the subject of bad things done by pre-Europeans, they do tend to be overlooked. I think there are several factors – they tend to be not so fully documented (most cultures didn’t have written records); it was all a ‘long time ago’; ‘history’ is usually an ethnocentric subject and the predominant culture in the West is white; the Left would rather not draw attention to it because it distracts attention from the wrongdoings going on right now, and the right sees no advantage because ‘they were just as bad’ is a weak argument and implicitly accepts that ‘we’ are bad.

                cr

            • Posted September 24, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

              Of course, if ISIS hangs on long enough, it will be recognized as a state. And it will not be significantly worse than our dear old ally Saudi Arabia.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted September 25, 2017 at 2:16 am | Permalink

                I strongly disagree. ISIS is significantly worse than Saudi Arabia.

                (I think SA is very bad, but it is constrained by the need to appear to be a respectable member of the modern world. ISIS seems to feel no such need.)

                IF elements in ISIS decide that they want to be recognised as a state, they would have to moderate their barbarism drastically. If they did that then they might end up no worse than SA. Which is still worse than almost every other country in the world.

                cr

    • Posted September 24, 2017 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      A very substantial part (I am too lazy to look for the exact number) of Israeli Jews are or are descendants of Mideast Sepharadi Jews expelled by Arab countries. The leftists were not at all indignant that those Jews were deported from countries where they had lived for centuries, and their property was given to other people.
      The leftists also did not mind the ethnic cleansing of East Prussia, the purging of Hindus from Pakistan and many other similar acts on a smaller scale.
      They were very selectively outraged only by the plight of Palestinian Arabs.

  34. Jerod Webster
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    On the flip side of this coin, how can these “Nazis” reconcile their hate for Jews and Israel with this President’s (so far) strong support for Israel?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      Easy. They ignore it. They won’t even try to rationalise it. If pressed, they would probably say that Israel is the right place for Jews, not the USA, and they should all go there.

      Bear in mind the “Nazis” probably dislike ‘Arabs’ as much as Jews so they don’t have to take sides on the Palestinian question.

      (But paradoxes like this arise all the time in politics).

      cr

  35. Steve Pollard
    Posted August 21, 2017 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    This comment may tread on the border of Da Roolz; but Neal Godfrey has posted on Vridar a querulous and patronising piece on this post by PCC(E): http://vridar.org/2017/08/20/two-baffling-conundrums-on-modern-antisemitism/

    I do not know if Godfrey has really been blackballed from WEIT; but this is not the first of his critical comments about Jerry to be aired on his own blog, and maybe they should not go unchallenged. After all, Vridar has a lot of readers (even if not as many as WEIT!)

    • BJ
      Posted August 21, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      I get the feeling that this author wasn’t banned for his opinions (if he was, in fact, banned, and is not saying so simply to bolster his regressive credentials and admonish his opponent), but for being a condescending and pretentious jerk.

  36. Posted September 24, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Someone on some other thread here gave a nice definition of the elusive terms “right” and “left”: the right fear the Other, while the left defend him.

    I’ll add that the left are driven less by real love of the Other than by dislike of the Self in its present form. Hence, the far-right want complete elimination of the Other, while the far-left want the Other to replace the Self. If, however, the Other behaves like the Self, far-leftists will hate them. Examples: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Maajid Nawaz, Caitlyn Jenner.

    Most Jews value intellect and have liberal views. They seem even more Western than the Christian and post-Christian Westerners. So the far-leftists, who want to ruin the West to make place for their utopia, see the Jews as an obstacle to their agenda. So they hate the Jews, be they Israeli or others, like they hate the above cited names.

    (Needless to say, I do not identify moderate leftists with the far-leftists, the same way as I do not identify myself with the swastika-bearers.)


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