Responding to a charge of anti-Semitism
writes from the Netherlands:
In your article, “Boiling down Pipes on Europe and Eurabia,” you posted this comment:
Children as they grow up usually end up rooting for the home team. Where are you from, Daniel Pipes, that you won’t root for your home team?
Isn’t that anti-Semitism?
Tell me why it’s anti-Semitic.
BTW, if it is anti-Semitic, it’s no more anti-Semitic than my statements in the original entry.
In other words, it seems to me that Gintas is echoing or restating my statement about Pipes, so that if Gintas’s statement is anti-Semitic, then my statement is anti-Semitic, and therefore you should have asked if my statement was anti-Semitic as well as Gintas’s.
Sam H. replies:
Well, words matter and the sentiments and feelings evoke by poetical words matter also.
I did not find your statement anti-Semitic or objectionable at all. Not least because any reader of this blog knows that you are a gentleman and have no sympathy for anti-Semitism and because you statement your case clearly and crisply without innuendo. But the brief comment of the unknown Gintas has a different feel to me. I’ll explain why that’s not just a feeling.
Your statement is objective:
“Based on previous statements by Pipes, it seems to me that the ultimate source of his lack of any expressed loyalty to the civilization of Europe is his loyalty to his Jewishness. He is unable wholeheartedly (or even half heartedly) to support Europe against Islam, because, in his oft-stated view, Europe was historically harsher on the Jews than the Muslims were.
It says precisely what you mean. Namely that Pipes views Europe from the vantage point of his Jewish identity, and judges Europe by the way it treated his ancestors, and that thus he cannot support the “Christian, Western” Europe of which you speak without qualification. It does not mark Jews per se as outside of Western civilization or impugn all Jews with anti-Western, inherently disloyal traits. It looks an individual and his public statements.
“If my remark about the roots of Pipes’s lack of commitment to the survival of Europe is incorrect, let him say so. And let him also state that the home of our civilization is something that must be defended and preserved at all costs—and not in some dreamed-of, half-Islamized form, but in its Christian, Western, liberal form.”
But Gintas suggests something else. “Children as they grow up usually end up rooting for the home team. Where are you from, Daniel Pipes, that you won’t root for your home team?” In the first place, Mr. Pipes is an American. If Pipes should be rooting for a “home team” shouldn’t it be for America. Is there any evidence that Mr. Pipes isn’t rooting for such “team”? Who is he rooting for? Who is trying to bring down? Whose enemy is he? Gintas invokes the ancient prejudice that Jews have no loyalty to the country and civilization in which they live. That they ipso facto do not “belong”, that they are out of place, and really shouldn’t be among us because they are the Other. That they belong elsewhere and serve others’ interests. From there it is but a few quick steps to lots of other prejudices against the Jews.
There may well be a strain within Jewish thinking that leads to tensions with the majority non-Jewish civilization surrounding them in the West. But a civilized conservative understands and recognizes that the Jews are very much a part of our civilization, not apart from it. It is precisely a non-anti-Semitic, civilized conservatism that can call attention to some of the negative features of the thinking of some Jews. It is the anti-Semitic prejudices echoed by Gintas that stands in the way of the mainstream paying any attention to these kinds of thoughts whatsoever.
The difference between you and Gintas is a very large. It is as great as the difference between you and David Duke. I would have thought this difference is the very essence of this site, which is why I was surprised that you posted, and now defended, Gintas’ comment.
I must say I am surprised by the extreme nature of some of Sam H.’s statements.
First, the “home team” in the context of this discussion is not America, but Europe, the historic homeland of the West.
Second, Mr. H. writes:
Is there any evidence that Mr. Pipes isn’t rooting for such “team”? Who is he rooting for? Who is trying to bring down? Whose enemy is he? Gintas invokes the ancient prejudice that Jews have no loyalty to the country and civilization in which they live. That they ipso facto do not “belong”, that they are out of place, and really shouldn’t be among us because they are the Other.
This is baseless and overwrought. The point of my own post, which Mr. H. says is not objectionable, is that Pipes, in his neutral, pundit stance, is not supporting Europe in a confrontation that Pipes himself describes in terms of a struggle to the death, in which either Islam will conquer Europe, or Europe will reject (and presumably drive out) the Muslims. My point is that Pipes is not supporting the home team, at least not actively. And that’s all that Gintas was saying.
It is the sheerest projection on the part of Mr. H. to charge that Gintas is saying that Jews don’t belong in the West or are enemies of the West. His comment that Gintas is the equivalent of David Duke is off the wall, and, frankly, deeply insulting and wrong. Gintas is challenging Pipes, in a perfectly legitimate and civilized way, to tell us where he’s coming from, and whether he is on the side of the West against Islam, or not. Given Pipes’s neutral posture in the zero-sum war that he predicts between Europe and Islam, it’s a fair question.
Wow, the things you get to deal with. I’m sure you get worse than that all the time.
I originally trimmed out these thoughts, just to get to the bare essence (which I sent):
It seems that most Americans and Europeans are at odds with historic Western Civilization, that would make them aliens in their own land, wouldn’t it?
Children as they grow up usually end up rooting for the home team. Where are you from, Barack Obama, that you don’t root for your home team? Where are you from, John McCain, that you don’t root for your home team? Where are you from, Daniel Pipes, that you won’t root for your home team?
Sam H I think is really suggesting you are anti-Semitic, because I am of no account, but you are; I’m just doing the dirty work for you:
Should I be amazed how much Sam H could find in my short statement?
My thought is that you were “dotting the i” on my point. I have had the same thought as you. For example, I’ve sometimes imagined saying to certain Jews: “If you were in Europe in 732 when the Moslems were invading the Frankish lands, which side would you have wanted to win, Charles Martel or the Moslems?”
I think it would be a healthy thing to call Jews on this point, because frankly, they haven’t thought through the ultimate implications of (1) their long-standing, simplistic, favorable comparison of tolerant, culturally rich Islam with oppressive, anti-Jewish Europe, a comparison they keep making today, even while virulently anti-Semitic Muslims are taking over Europe; and (2) their liberalism, which enables them to identify with universal principles of tolerance and avoid the question of where their concrete loyalty would ultimately lie if there were a conflict between liberal tolerance and the salvation of their concrete society. They’ve avoided this conflict by defining America and the West as universal liberal principles. In reality, the Islamic threat to European survival, which Pipes now for the first time fully acknowledges, was brought about by those liberal principles, which said all people are the same and that Muslims should be permitted en masse into Europe. Once the point is made to Jews that the universal liberalism to which they passionately adhere is what has brought on this crisis, and that their lack of identification with the West (meaning the concrete West) is a problem, I think most of them will see these problem and correct it. But that can’t happen unless we bring the problem to their attention and challenge them on it, which was what your rhetorical question to Pipes was all about. For you to say, “Come on, guys, are you on our side, or not?” is not anti-Semitic.
Also, this has been a steady theme of mine, that the only way that our nation and civilization can be saved is for the majority culture to begin acting like the majority again, that is, to be the leader, and thus to set standards for the minorities that they have to adhere to in order to be considered full members of the society. When this was the case, up until the Sixties revolution, American society worked. Once the majority culture was delegitimized (or rather delegitimized itself), minorities were liberated from any majority restraints and began behaving in self-involved and destructive ways, just as individuals in our society, liberated by the Sixties revolution from a common moral ethos, began to behave in self-involved and destructive ways.
To call on certain groups to adhere to certain common standards if they are to be seen as full members of the society may seem discriminatory, but, as has been said at VFR before, without discrimination there can be no assimilation. Assimilation means that people make certain changes in themselves in order to become full members of the society. What happens then to people who decline to make those changes? They are not considered full members of the society. Without some measure of discrimination and exclusion toward those who don’t assimilate, assimilation is a meaningless concept. It’s like believing in the kingdom of heaven without believing in sin.
In any case, while I see how your statement could be seen as possibly anti-Semitic, I don’t think it is.
I think we are quite in agreement, my comment fit well in context. And it’s even a fair question to ask any public figure these days. It’s not a treason hunt, but, as you say, “Come on guys, are you on our side, or not?”
LA wrote to Sam H. (April 17):
You haven’t replied to my replies to you at VFR. Does this mean you’ve written me off as the equivalent of David Duke, since, as you put it, Gintas is the equivalent of Duke, and I defended Gintas’s comment?
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As an offshoot of this discussion, see “A proposal to achieve Jewish-Christian cooperation in defense of the West.”
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 15, 2008 11:45 PM | Send