Why the Jews?: The Reason for Antisemitism;The Moral/Cultural Nihilism of Many Influential Jews: Weimar Germany, USA, etc. Implications of Polonophobia,jan peczkis|Sunday, January 15, 2017
This work is a curious mixture of the very astute and the very superficial. I focus on a few major issues.
BLAMING JEWS COLLECTIVELY?
A major theme of Prager’s book is the one about Jews as a whole being unfairly blamed for the actions of a small number of Jews who committed misdeeds (e. g., Jewish Communists). But, unfortunately, that is exactly what Jews commonly do to others. For instance, Jews regularly call on Poles to “face up to the dark chapters of their history”, to “come to terms with the past”, and even to “give up the heroic narrative of Poles fighting the Nazis”---all just because some tiny fraction of 1% of Poles collaborated with the Nazis against Jews. So, if Poles are to be saddled with some form of collective responsibility, or collective accountability, for the misdeeds of a small number of their members, so also should Jews. Either that, or we have a clear double standard.
JEWISH COMMUNISTS WERE INDEED JEWS
Prager rejects those who repeat the exculpation that Jewish Communists [sometimes called the ZYDOKOMUNA] were “not really Jews”. He follows the Jewish Communist Isaac Deutscher, who, in his THE NON-JEWISH JEW [see my review], very much recognized Communist Jews (including himself) as valid Jews. [For details, see the first comment under this review]. Prager defines a non-Jewish Jew as one who is not rooted in anything Jewish, but who was born a Jew, and who therefore remains a Jew by virtue of his not having converted to another religion. (p. 59). [One must add that a large fraction of the world’s Jews today, including many Jewish Nobel Prize winners, qualify as non-Jewish Jews.]
JEWISH RADICALISM IN THE CONTEXT OF THE NIHILISM OF NON-JEWISH JEWS
Author Dennis Prager parts ways with those who suggest that Jewish radicals, and other influential Jews who attack traditional religious and cultural values, are deeply-idealistic people who want to change the world for the better. Although he does not use the word nihilist, he makes it clear that this is exactly what they are. [In doing so, Prager parallels the views of the Endeks of pre-WWII Poland, who complained that increasing Jewish influence in media and entertainment had imparted a pronounced cynical and nihilistic spirit upon them, and had made them tend towards frivolity. Similar complaints arose in other nations, including the "Jews in Hollywood" trope in the USA].
Thus, Prager writes, (quote) Of course, non-Jewish Jews do not base their radical doctrines on the Jewish tradition, indeed they usually denigrate it, but the tradition’s impact could not be avoided, only transformed. Second, and most important, radical non-Jewish Jews are rootless. They do not feel rooted in either the Gentiles’ religion or nation or the Jews’ religion or nation, and they may well have become revolutionaries in many instances precisely in order to overcome this rootlessness or alienation. Since they refuse to become like the non-Jews through their identification with their traditional religious or national values, they seek to have the non-Jews become like them, alienated from traditional religious and national values. Only then will these revolutionaries cease to feel alienated. (unquote). (pp. 60-61).
Prager continues, (quote) As a consequence of their lack of rootedness many non-Jewish Jews have felt it necessary to turn radical and to work to tear down traditional and national values and institutions in the name of “universalism”. Feeling no kinship, and hence no responsibility, to any nation (only to “mankind”) they have not felt concerned with the consequences of such destructiveness. Neither the demoralization of the non-Jewish nation nor the resultant non-Jewish antipathy to Jews concerns these people. They feel part of neither community, only the “community of man”. (unquote)(p. 61).
IMPLICATIONS OF THE NIHILISM OF INFLUENTIAL NON-JEWISH JEWS
The author examines the Weimar Republic, (quote) These Jewish radicals wielded a major influence over the cultural and intellectual life of Weimar Germany, an influence utterly disproportionate to their numbers…the non-Jewish Jews of the Left were, and they stood out, as destroyers of everything German…Of the WELTBUHNE’S sixty-eight writers whose religious origins could be established, forty-two were Jews…They were motivated not by an urge for reform; rather, they were attacking the very IDEA of the German nation itself…According to [Kurt] Tucholsky the only thing in Germany worth loving was the countryside. (unquote).(Emphasis in original). (p. 63, 64).
Now consider the USA. Prager writes, (quote) Since the 1930’s a highly visible percentage of people on what has been perceived by many as the American-hating Left has been Jewish. (unquote). (p. 65). (Quote) In the 1960s and early 1970s THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS could be labeled an American DIE WELTBUHNE. (unquote)(p. 67). Prager also focuses on Herbert Marcuse and the New Left. These Jewish radicals were nihilists par excellence.
Prager’s reasoning should be extended to the issue of Jewish Polonophobia. Poland is well-known for her heroic patriotism and devout Catholicism. No wonder these are such tempting targets of Jewish nihilists—such as Jerzy Urban and Adam Michnik vel Szechter (and his GAZETA WYBORCZA). No wonder that much Holocaust-related anti-Polonism has an undisguised hostility towards Polish patriotic and religious traditions. Unfortunately, however, such attitudes are not limited to non-Jewish Jews, and Prager himself falls into the same trap. (For details, see the end of my review.)
THE ‘CONTRADICTIONS’ OF ANTI-SEMITISM
Oddly enough, Prager does a very superficial and exculpatory analysis of the overall themes of anti-Semitism. He repeats the standard cliché that Jews were simultaneously faulted for being anti-assimilationist and for rushing to assimilate, for being too traditional and too radical, for being too religious and too freethinking, for being capitalists and for being Communists, etc. It all sounds clever, but it does not even begin to deal with the real issues. Let us consider them in turn, especially in the context of Polish-Jewish relations.
“Assimilation” is an amorphous term, and does not necessarily mean full identification with the host nation. Nor does it imply an absence of particularism. Moreover, according to many Jews as well as gentiles, Jews commonly assimilated (and even converted) for strictly opportunistic reasons: To escape from what they considered the outdated and restrictive strictures of the enclave mentality of traditional Judaism, and to advance themselves in gentile society. One can think of the famous German Jew, Heinrich Heine, who quipped that a splash of baptismal water is the key to entry into German society.
In 19th- and 20th-century Poland, most Jews fell into three groups, often diametrically-opposite to each other, yet all excluding themselves from Polishness. The Jewish masses were steeped in medieval-era superstition, Talmudism-rabbinism, and ghetto-centered self-imposed religious and cultural apartheid. Though generally apolitical, they were waiting for the Messiah to come and to put them in their rightful place of pre-eminence over all other peoples. The second group, consisting of modernized Jews, was strongly atheistic and militantly particularistic, and, living in a virtual “new ghetto” of Yiddishism (Bundism), was putting international pressure on Poland to force her to elevate her Jews to a de facto separate nation on Polish soil. The third group, also modernized Jews, was composed of an assortment of commonly-atheistic and commonly-Polonized "assimilated" Jews, variously gravitating towards Zionism, internationalism, Communism, or hedonistic materialism. All three sets of Jews were hostile or indifferent to Polish national aspirations, and were fundamentally at odds with Poland’s Latin Catholic culture. A fourth group—patriotic Polish Jews—existed, but was relatively small.
Now consider Jews as capitalists and Jews as Communists. Apart from conspiracy theories that posit that Jewish capitalists (e. g, the Rothschilds) played a crucial role--through the funding of Jewish Communists--one must realize that both monopoly capitalism and Communism have essentially the same goal: The concentration of more and more wealth in the hands of a few individuals, and the slow or quick elimination of the middle class.
The Nazis saw no contradiction between Jews as capitalists and Jews as Communists. Precisely the opposite was the case. They saw Germany under National Socialism as the “third way”—between the Jewish-controlled Communist east, and the presumably Jewish-controlled plutocratic west.
KARL MARX WAS INDEED JEWISH
Some have argued that Karl Marx was not a Jew because he had converted to Christianity. In actuality, Karl Marx’ conversion to Christianity, at the age of six, was a PRO FORMA conversion done by his father to avoid Prussian anti-Jewish legislation. Marx was an atheist, and had never considered himself a Christian. (p. 204).
JEWS AND HARD DRINKS (INCLUDING PROPINACJA)
Prager notes the Yiddish folk song that bears the title, “A Drunkard is a Non-Jew.” (p. 50). Low rates of Jewish alcoholism stem from religious strictures. Non-religious American Jews are as prone to drunkenness as are non-Jews. (pp. 50-52).
DENNIS PRAGER LAPSES INTO STANDARD POLONOPHOBIC FORMULATIONS
The author repeats a witty-sounding wisecrack about the 1918-era pogroms in Poland (p. 164), even though 99% of them later turned out to be bogus. Incredibly, Prager insinuates that every major Nazi-German death camp located in Poland was “not coincidental”. (p. 165). This anti-Polish canard, of Polish responsibility for the siting of the German death camps, has been soundly repudiated by virtually all Holocaust scholars, and by several prominent Jewish organizations. Prager should know better. [I had been listening to his radio talk show, and had thought better of him.]
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