A frequent misunderstanding is that Jews cannot be anti-Semites. Yet it can easily be explained why this is erroneous. Any text can be analyzed as to whether it is anti-Semitic or not according to the FRA definition of anti-Semitism. If it is, it becomes irrelevant what the religion or nationality of the writer is. If that author is Jewish, he is an anti-Semitic Jew. The same goes for the anti-Semitic element of anti-Israelism, as that is included in this definition. Anti-Semitic Jews often offer some indication of their Jewish background, such as they had a bar mitzvah, visited Israel, and the like.1
In an essay in 2006, American academic Alvin Rosenfeld exposed various Jewish inciters against Israel in the English-speaking world such as Jacqueline Rose, Michael Neumann, and Daniel Boyarin. About the historian Tony Judt, he noted that he has published a series of increasingly bitter articles over the past three years in The Nation, the New York Review of Books, and Ha’aretz, in which he has called Israel everything from arrogant, aggressive, anachronistic, and infantile to dysfunctional, immoral, and a primary cause of present-day anti-Semitism. “Israel today,” Judt avers, “is bad for the Jews,” and it would do them and everyone else a service by going out of business. “The time has come to think the unthinkable,” he writes, and that is to replace the Jewish state with “a single, integrated bi-national state of Jews and Arabs.”2
Far from being new, this is an old idea and, by now, a properly discredited and discarded one; everyone knows that such an entity, were it ever to come into being, would before long be an Arab-dominated state in which a residual Jewish presence would, at best, be a tolerated minority. In promoting such an obsolescent scheme, which would spell an end to a territorially-based Jewish national existence, Judt, as Benjamin Balint persuasively argues, unwittingly aligns himself with older forms of Christian opposition to Jewish particularism: “Israel is merely the new ground upon which the old battle over Jewish distinctiveness is being waged.”3 Nevertheless, Judt has his followers, and talk of dissolving the Jewish state and replacing it with a binational state is once again in the air in certain intellectual circles.4
Another Jewish inciter against Israel is Judith Butler, an American academic. Historian Landes and journalist Benjamin Weinthal write:
Participating in an “Anti-War Teach-In” at Berkeley in 2006, Ms. Butler answered a question about Hamas’s and Hizbullah’s place “in the global left.” These are two of the most belligerent movements within the warmongering, anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynistic world of Islamist jihad. Yet while criticizing violence and “certain dimensions of both movements,” Ms. Butler told the students that “understanding Hamas [and] Hizbullah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the left, that are part of a global left, is extremely important.”
For Ms. Butler, anything that opposes Western power can be defended. It does not seem to concern her that in so doing, she betrays every constituency she claims to celebrate—lesbians, gays, women, Jews and other diasporic minorities. Their problems, it seems, are always the fault of oppressive “colonial” powers.5
In 2007, Dutch law professor and poet Afshin Ellian attacked the national anti-Israeli Jewish organization Een Ander Joods Geluid (Another Jewish Sound). He said:
For me, this is a movement that falsifies history with the aim to minimalize Nazism. If one gives to the behavior of Israel in Jenin the same weight as what the Nazis had done in Warsaw, then one trivializes historical reality. Jenin continues to exist. It’s a busy town. The ghetto of Warsaw has been totally destroyed. These anti-Jewish propagandists want to create the impression that everything the Nazis wrought is now being done by Israel. They are the same falsifiers of the heritage of the Holocaust as regular Holocaust deniers.6
Leon de Winter, a bestselling Jewish Dutch novelist, offered another perspec- tive on the same group:
They constantly proclaim: “We Jews have experienced the Shoah and should apply the highest morals.” They present the Shoah as an educational institute for Jews to teach Jews morals. In other words, the Nazis held courses in the concentration camps to imbue Jews with humanity. These are Jews who pervert the memory of the Shoah. It is a noisy group that gets much media attention because they proclaim a message that many non-Jews like to hear.7
One small group of Jewish anti-Israeli inciters had a success in the Netherlands when in autumn 2013 then-Israeli President Shimon Peres visited as a guest of King Willem Alexander. The king gave a dinner in honor of Peres, and several Jews were invited. Among them was the head of the small organization Another Jewish Sound. However, the head of the Jewish umbrella group CJO, and those of the two largest Jewish communities, the Ashkenazi Orthodox NIK and the liberal LJG, were not invited.
Jewish self-hate and anti-Semitism are ancient phenomena. Converted Jews were among the most fanatic inciters against Judaism in the Middle Ages. One example among many was Paulus de Santa Maria, who in 1405 became bishop of Cartagena in Spain.8
Postwar Austrian Jewish Chancellor Bruno Kreisky was a typical example of a part-time anti-Semite. Wistrich describes him as “the one Jew who could grant gentile Austrians full exculpation from a latent sense of guilt over their prominent role in the Holocaust. Kreisky was destined to become the ‘Ent- lastungsjude.’ This might be translated as, ‘The Jew who frees from guilt’—in other words, freeing Austrians of the burdens of complicity in the German mass murder.”9
Kreisky came out in favor of former Nazis who were ministers in his cabinet.10 He called Simon Wiesenthal a “Jewish fascist.”11 Wistrich quotes an interview in which the Socialist Kreisky made a racist remark: “The most- hated diplomats are the Israelis . . . They are as bad as the Africans who are also intolerable people.”12
Jewish self-hate has been studied by various scholars. American historian Sander L. Gilman wrote:
Self-hatred results from outsiders’ acceptance of the mirage of themselves gener- ated by their reference group—that group in society which they see as defining them—as a reality . . . “Jewish self-hatred” (a term interchangeable with “Jewish anti-Judaism” or “Jewish anti-Semitism”) is valid as a label for a specific mode of self-abnegation that has existed among Jews throughout their history.13
In his book The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People under Siege,14 psychologist Kenneth Levin explains the attitude of Israeli self-haters:
This phenomenon reveals great similarity at the level of human psychology to the response of children subjected to chronic abuse. Such children tend to blame themselves for their suffering. In their helpless condition, they have two alternatives: they can either acknowledge they are being unfairly victimized and reconcile themselves to being powerless, or they can blame themselves for their predicament. The attraction of the latter—“I suffer because I am bad”—is that it serves the desire of being in control, fantasies that becoming “good” will elicit a more benign response from their tormentors. Both children and adults invariably seek to avoid hopelessness.15
In Post-Zionism, Post-Holocaust: Three Essays on Denial, Forgetting, and the Delegitimization of Israel, philosopher Elhanan Yakira elaborates on the role of Jewish and Israeli self-haters:
It seems as if Israel’s main ideological adversaries outside the Arab and Muslim world are Israelis and Jews abroad. These people are much appreciated by Israel’s non-Jewish enemies. The self-appointed Israeli true left takes positions that are commonly referred to as post-Zionist. In fact, they are anti-Zionist. This ideology refuses to grant the Jewish people the right of self-determination and thus Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish state . . . Leading intellectuals, both Jewish and non-Jewish, play a major role in this new mutation of anti-Semitism.16
Contemporary anti-Semites find a Kreisky-type Jew quite useful in absolving themselves of criticism, as they can point to Jews who share their opinions. Yakira addresses a related issue. Post-Zionist Jews—in fact, anti-Zionist Jews —demonize Israel. In this way they become members of “an intellectual community of similar-minded distorters.” Yakira adds, “The best way to advance internationally in academic circles is to be part of a system. One is then fre- quently invited abroad and gets published, even if one’s work has no significant substance.”17 The ways of anti-Israeli perpetrators are indeed multiple and only some examples can be given.
The Finkelstein Case
A different issue is that when Jews defend their interests, in almost every field there are some Jews who help their enemies by assigning major blame to the Jewish side. One example is Norman Finkelstein, who published a book about “the Holocaust industry.”18
Israeli historian Ronald W. Zweig wrote in a review of Finkelstein’s book:
Finkelstein argues that the contemporary use of the Holocaust has created an entire “industry” which, in the best manner of exploitative capitalism, is not only politically useful but also financially rewarding. Himself Jewish and the son of Holocaust survivors, Finkelstein could allow himself to articulate what many people believe but do not dare say in public. This is especially true in Britain, where socialist circles are anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian de rigeur but struggle to avoid being tarred with the brush of anti-Semitism.
The core of Finkelstein’s argument is that a cabal of Jewish leaders conspired to extort money from European governments, under the pretext of claiming material compensation for the losses of the Holocaust and for the benefit of the survivors. Once their claims were successful, these organizations then kept the money to themselves and paid the survivors only a pittance. Summarized in this form, the accusation is so unbelievably and totally without foundation that I looked once again at the third chapter of The Holocaust Industry to ensure that I had not parodied Finkelstein’s argument. But the summary fairly represents what he wrote.19
During the Protective Edge campaign a group of 359 people claiming to be Holocaust survivors gained much publicity in the West. They condemned Is- rael’s actions in a paid ad in The New York Times and The Guardian and asked for a full boycott of Israel, as a response to Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel in support of Israel. In The New York Times they stated that they belonged to the International Jewish Solidarity Network (IJSN) and in The Guardian they called themselves the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN).20
Rosenfeld criticized the ad:
What makes the IJSN statement noteworthy . . . is not the litany of emotionally- charged accusations against Israel but the identities of those making these accusations. They present themselves as “Survivors,” “Children of survivors,” “Grandchildren of survivors,” “Great-grandchildren of survivors,” and “Other relatives of survivors” . . . their endorsement of the most reckless charges against Israel—e.g., Israelis are like Nazis and are carrying out a genocide against Palestinians—by members of a people who themselves were victims of the twentieth century’s most determined attempt at genocide is unprecedented and can be hugely harmful unless it is seen for what it is: an unseemly exercise in the spread of propagandistic lies.
Additionally, in Rosenfeld’s words, “Sanctioning such propaganda by stamping it with the moral authority that supposedly belongs to Holocaust survivors does not turn these lies into truth. What it does instead is expose as fraudulent the claims of certain Holocaust survivors and their kin to possessing an enlarged moral and political consciousness.”21
An Alibi Jew
Much insight into how Jewish self-haters are used by Israel’s enemies can be gleaned from an interview that Belgian ex-Trotskyist Nathan Weinstock gave to Haaretz writer Adi Schwartz in 2014. He said that he was an anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian. In 1967, shortly before the Six Day War, he went to speak before the Palestinian Students Association in Paris. Weinstock remarks that he was convinced that the Palestinians would embrace his pacifist message.
In retrospect, he admits that he was a “useful idiot” and adds, “They had better things to do: they listened to Cairo radio in ecstasy, savoring every word and absorbing the messages, bragging about Arab armies soon throwing the Jews into the sea.”
In 1969, Weinstock published a book in French, Zionism—False Messiah. He then received many invitations because people wanted to hear him condemn Israel. He found that there was “total support of the public actions of the worst of the Palestinian terrorists and boundless hatred of Israelis, no matter who they were.”
It took a long time until Weinstock understood that the attacks on Israel had an anti-Semitic nature: “Initially they denounced the ‘Zionists,’ then the ‘Zionist takeover of the media’ and finally the ‘Zionist control of the banks.’ . . . When I was quoted the least criticism I had of the Palestinians was always omitted . . . I was for them an anti-Jewish ‘alibi Jew.’”22
One particularly active alibi Jew is Max Blumenthal. His book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel includes chapters titled, “The Concentration Camp,” “The Night of Broken Glass,” “This Belongs to the White Man,” and “How to Kill Goyim and Influence People.”23 In autumn 2014 the Left Party in Germany canceled a meeting where Blumenthal and another speaker were to feature, under the auspices of party parliamentarians. It caused substantial discontent within the party.24
Jewish Voice for Peace
According to their mission statement, the American group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East . . . We are among the many American Jews who say to the U.S. and Israeli governments: “Not in our names!”
Yet, while claiming to oppose anti-Jewish bigotry, the organization overlooks the genocidal statements of Hamas. For instance, after Netanyahu’s speech to the UN General Assembly in September 2014, they published a blog post asserting, “In equating Hamas, ISIS, Iran and the Nazis, Netanyahu attempted to paint a black and white picture of global evil in order to clear Israel of responsibility for human rights violations and war crimes.” JVP claimed in this post that Operation Protective Edge was not just, because “Hamas has responded with vastly less ineffective [sic] weaponry.”25
JVP also went to the 2014 Presbyterian General Assembly in Detroit where they urged divestment from three companies that “profit from operations in occupied Palestinian territory, Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett Packard.”26
Jonathan S. Tobin, the senior online editor of Commentary, wrote about the newspaper Haaretz on Commentary’s website. According to Tobin:
The fact that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz is a major source of incitement and often misinformation about the Jewish state and the Middle East is not news.
Some of its columnists are fervent anti-Zionists . . . and provide a steady source of material for Israel-bashers. Israel is a free country and if a formerly Zionist newspaper wants to play this role that is its right. But sometimes, even Haaretz goes too far and not only feeds the anti-Israel propaganda machine but steps over the line into material that aids and abets anti-Semitism.
Tobin wrote this in October 2014 when Haaretz published a cartoon by Amos Biderman that showed an Israeli plane piloted by Netanyahu on the verge of crashing into the World Trade Center. It thus compared Netanyahu’s policies to the murderous behavior of the September 11 terrorists and Bin Laden. There was much criticism but Biderman and Haaretz refused to apologize.27
Jewish anti-Semites fulfill a special role in the war of a million cuts because non-Jewish anti-Israelis use them as a fig leaf for their delegitimization campaigns against Israel. The same is true of articles in Israeli papers that have a distinct anti-Semitic character of the anti-Israeli type.
- Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Jews against Israel,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 30, March 1, 2005.
- Tony Judt, “Israel: The Alternative,” New York Review of Books, October 23, 2003.
- Benjamin Balint, “Future Imperfect: Tony Judt Blushes for the Jewish State,” in
The Jewish Divide over Israel, 65-75, as quoted in Rosenfeld (see next endnote).
- Alvin Rosenfeld, “Progressive” Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism
(New York: American Jewish Committee, 2006).
- Richard Landes and Benjamin Weinthal, “The Post-Self-Destructivism of Judith Butler,” The Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2012.
- Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Afshin Ellian, “Het Midden-Oosten, islam en joden,” in Het Verval, Joden in een stuurloos Nederland (Amsterdam: Van Praag, 2010), 132. (Dutch)
- Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Leon de Winter, “Het joodse aan mij is dat ik me met Israel identificeer,” in Het Verval, Joden in een stuurloos Nederland (Amsterdam: Van Praag, 2010), 138, (Dutch)
- See the item “Paulus de Santa Maria” in Jüdisches Lexikon, V 4, 842.
- Robert Wistrich, From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews, and Israel
(Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2012), 479.
- Ibid., 488.
- Ibid., 489.
- Robert Wistrich, “The Strange Case of Bruno Kreisky,” Encounter, May 1979.
- Sander Gilman, Jewish Self-Hatred: Anti-Semitism and the Hidden Language of the Jews (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990), 1-2.
- Kenneth Levin, The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People under Siege (Hanover, NH: Smith & Kraus Global, 2005).
- Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Kenneth Levin, “The Psychology of Jews Who Embrace their Enemies,” in Demonizing Israel and the Jews (New York: RVP Press, 2013), 79-80.
- Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Elhanan Yakira, “The Communalities of Holocaust Deniers and Anti-Zionists,” in Demonizing Israel and the Jews (New York: RVP Press, 2013), 82.
- Ibid., 82-84.
- Norman Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (London: Verso, 2000).
- Ronald Zweig, “The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering,” Journal of Israeli History 20, 2-3 (Summer/Autumn 2001): 208-216.
- “More than 350 Survivors and Descendants of Survivors and Victims of the Nazi Genocide Condemn Israel’s Assault on Gaza,” International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, August 23, 2014.
- Alvin Rosenfeld, “The True Face Behind a New York Times Ad,” Jewish Daily Forward, August 28, 2014.
- “Weinstock’s ground-breaker, out in Hebrew,” English translation of original interview in Hebrew at http://jewishrblogspot.co.il/2014/05/weinstocks- ground-breaker-out-in-hebrew.html, original article at: http://www.haaretz.co.il/ magazine/.premium-1.2315763.
- Max Blumenthal, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (New York: Nation Books, 2014).
- Ben Cohen, “German Opposition Party Cancels Event Featuring American Anti- Semite Max Blumenthal,” The Algemeiner, November 6, 2014.
- Naomi Dann, “Netanyahu plays the blame game at the UN to avoid responsibility for Israeli human rights violations,” Jewish Voice for Peace, September 29, 2014.
- “Presbyterian Divestment,” Jewish Voice for Peace.
- Jonathan Tobin, “Haaretz’s 9/11 Truther Gift to Anti-Semites,” Commentary, October 30, 2014.