In which circle of hell do the anti-Semites reside?

Since I posted my critique of the anti-Semite “Tanstaafl” the other day, I’ve been receiving a steady stream of e-mail from anti-Semites, all of them with suspiciously bland and generic names, giving me the low-down on how the Jews are indeed the source of all evil and must be destroyed. Imagine going through life having that one obsessive thought, and believing that this one thought is the truth, the great truth that explains everything, the great truth that will save the world, the great truth that the world is forever suppressing. Having given over their whole being to the idee fixe that the Jews are the source of all evil, the anti-Semites are souls in hell, and, as in Dante’s Hell, they don’t know that they’re in hell, but keep repeating for eternity the same sin that consigned them to hell.

- end of initial entry -

Mark K. writes:

Like you I am a Jew who became a Christian, not because of any self-loathing but because I saw that this was indeed the way God has prepared eternity for us—through his son Jesus.

Hopefully this stream of anti-Semitic emails will not have the effect of turning Christianity off for you since I have no doubt that in some instances these emailers are using the Scriptures to prop up their lunacy.

LA replies:

I had not intended to post any of the anti-Semitic e-mails but by chance one came in just before Mark K.’s e-mail which exactly fits Mark’s description. So here it is:

From: Bert Raymond
Subject: Anti-Semitism

Just came across this about the role of the Jews,

1 Thessalonians 2:15

“They please not God, and are contrary to all men.”

They are “contrary to all men.” So Paul finds Jews to be anti-human! This explains why the Jewish presence in any society is so destructive ultimately. Two things are said here about them—they don’t please God and they are anti-human. Ann Coulter was darned right about them!!!

Mark K. replies:

There is some humor in this; he is actually quoting from a Jew! Ah, they’ve got him coming and going… Must be a conspiracy.

Ken H. writes:

I enjoy your site immensely. It’s one of the rare ones that I read regularly despite significant disagreement. Even at my age, change might be possible. After all, Mr. Buckley and company changed my mind 30+ years ago, causing me to engage the brain to go with the heart, as the old quote goes. I thought of Buckley, in particular, because his one great truth that he avowed on many occasions was that “I know that my redeemer liveth.”

The irony, that you are too smart to miss, but seem to ignore, is that your comment applies to all true believers everywhere, not merely anti-Semites. Christians and paleocons are described equally well by it as are Islamists, wacky greens, and all the rest. As a rhetorical statement it is fine, but I think it falls in that category (as you accused someone else of recently) of shedding more heat than light.

Permanent skeptic that I am, I wonder what defense you might make other than to say, “yes, but my truth is true.”

LA replies:

I’m glad you like VFR, but I must say that you are missing the point, and to a disastrous degree. I obviously wasn’t speaking of “true believers” generally, I was speaking of anti-Semites. Further, the behavior of anti-Semites is not like that of the “true believers” you mention. Christians and paleocons do not go through life obsessively telling everyone they encounter that one small population group of human beings is the source of all evil in the world and must be eliminated. Nor do Christians and paleocons (leaving aside those Christians and paleocons who are anti-Semites) speak about and to all individuals belonging some small or large group of people as the enemy, as non-human objects.

Either you are not familiar with the specific content and “flavor” of anti-Semitism and thus are underestimating what it is and simply conflating it with other, more benign phenomena, or you do know how bad anti-Semitism is, and you are trying to equate paleoconservatism and Christianity with anti-Semitism. Either way your position is spectacularly wrong.

You need to read the anti-Semite websites, see the way they talk about Jews, get a “feel” for what they are like. It is not like anything else in the world, including the other varieties of ethnic bigotry.

It also seems not to have occurred to you that of the 200 or so nation-states in the world, there is one tiny nation-state which half the world either actively seeks to destroy or morally supports those seeking to destroy it. You seem not to have any sense of the existence and the uniqueness of anti-Israelism and what this phenomenon means.

In addition to the recent discussion about “Tanstaafl,” you could also read some of these VFR entries:

Pro-Nazi website

How is anti-Semitism to be discussed?

Anti-Semite issues me a challenge

The world-bending pathology of the anti-Semites

Figuring out the anti-Semites

The American Renaissance anti-Semite saga continues

Anti-Semites: the evil and stupid party

Do I have a double standard on Jews and blacks?

Ken H. writes:

Yes, I saw it. I am not missing your point at all. I am well aware of the monomania of the anti-Semites and do believe your statement certainly applies to them. While other true believers may not have as large an obsession, neither did your fairly mild statement describe for me the sort of obsessive monomania that you, perhaps, thought it did. I saw many other true believers as falling under the same sort of description that I quoted.

Anti-Semites are certainly outside the pale of normal civil discourse. My only point was that there are others on the obsession continuum that might also be described equally well by your relatively benign statement. Personally, I would put Islamists, Creationists, and Marxists well out on that scale, although I recognize that you would probably not agree with all those.

Perhaps you meant to say “one obsessive evil thought” rather than what you did say. Then your distinctions become clear. Absent the word “evil,” your sentence applies, for example, to Clintonian Liberalism. Come to think of it, it applies even with that word.

Thanks for your reply.

LA replies:

Ok, your point on “evil” is well taken. While I got fired up by what I thought was an attempt by you to relativize anti-Semitism, that apparently is not what you meant.

George R. writes:

Just for the record, I hate anti-Semitism. It is a disease of the mind that causes otherwise intelligent men to embarrass themselves. Furthermore, when it leads to rash suspicion and slanderous accusations, as it usually does, it is a sin.

However, the anti-anti-Semitism position is not without its own dangers. For instance, it tends to gloss over the essential contradiction and incompatibility between Judaism and Christianity. For Christians, Christ is the basis of existence. The Jews deny Christ. Therefore, the Jews, according to Christianity, deny the basis of existence. Therefore, the hostility of Christians toward the Jews is not only engendered by irrational hatred, unless one holds that Christianity itself is irrational.

I’ve mentioned this before, but you reacted as if I were calling for a pogrom.

LA replies:

First, I have never said that Christian hostility toward Jews is motivated solely by irrational hatred. I have repeatedly pointed to the real problems involved in Jewish-Christian relations, the challenge presented by a minority that does not share the majority religion and is also very energetic and talented. For you not to know that about my position means that you haven’t read or taken in any of my many articles on this subject, and that seriously annoys me.

Second, George, when you put it the way you are putting it:

“For Christians, Christ is the basis of existence. The Jews deny Christ. Therefore, the Jews, according to Christianity, deny the basis of existence.”

then yes, that is tantamount to calling the Jews your mortal enemies and is very close to the attitude that justifies pogroms.

LA replies:

When I see a statements such as George’s, my heart sinks. One of my major concerns is that Jews must drop their historic hostility to and suspicion of the majority Western culture and become loyal defenders of it, instead of, like Bernard Lewis and so many other Jews, taking the side of Islam against the Christian West on the basis that historic Islam was supposedly more benevolent to the Jews than the Christians. This attitude permanently alienates Jews from the Western majority culture and blinds them to the real threat the Islam presents. In response, I urge Jews to drop this irrational and destructive animus against Christianity. But then come along Christians such as George who tell the Jews that, yes, indeed, the Christians will always hate the Jews as the enemies of Christ. And this persuades the Jews that they can never really be safe among Christians, and that the Jews must therefore look out for themselves and never really support Christian society against the Muslims and other external threats.

So there is this deadly and suicidal division within the West. I believe it can be solved, but it requires that many Christians and Jews rise above their current attitudes.

To boil down the elements of this Christian-Jewish entente to the simplest terms: Christians must accept Jews as the minority, and Jews must accept Christians as the majority.

Dimitri K. writes:

Someone once said that the persistence of atheists proves the existence of God. Similarly, the persistence of anti-Semites proves that God did make a covenant with the Jews, and that anti-Semites believe that such a covenant exists. Otherwise, how else could you explain the fixation on a tiny nation?

Paul T. writes:

At the risk of getting way out of my depth:

George wrote: “For Christians, Christ is the basis of existence. The Jews deny Christ. Therefore, the Jews, according to Christianity, deny the basis of existence.”

Hmm. I thought that for Christians, God was the basis of existence, and Christ one of the three persons of God. For (believing) Jews God is also the basis of existence, though they only recognize the entity that Christians term God the Father. So the worst that could be said about Jews, from the Christian point of view, is that their view of God is incomplete, not that Jews deny “the basis of existence.” (A statement that would be true of atheists only). Make sense?

LA replies:



Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 28, 2007 02:26 PM | Send

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