Jewish neocons, Islam, and the West

Howard Sutherland writes:

In the entry, “How the American ‘conservative’ establishment have become shills for hard-line Muslims,” you ask why Bret Stephens and The Wall Street Journal polish the apple of Mohsen Kadivar while despising Geert Wilders.

Mr. Stephens and the WSJ (if I may anthropomorphize a newspaper) are liberals, despite their conservative veneer, just as you say. Specifically, they are neo-conservative. As many have pointed out over the years, neo-conservatism began intellectually as a movement of Jewish liberals who shifted somewhat to the right on economic, foreign policy and law-and-order issues, without abandoning their underlying liberal premises of egalitarianism.

Bret Stephens is Jewish and quite cosmopolitan, having grown up in Mexico City, prepped at Middlesex in Concord, Mass., gone to college at Chicago and on to further study at the LSE. His journalistic career has included stints at the Jerusalem Post—where he became editor at a very young age—and the WSJ. Guessing from her name, he is married to a lady who is some mixture of Brazilian or Portuguese and German. My impression is that Stephens moves in an international milieu and is a post-national fellow himself. It might well be difficult for him to understand and sympathize with the national patriotism—love of one’s people and their soil—that motivates a man like Geert Wilders.

But why the double standard? Why is a Moslem mullah who has preached violent jihad given a pass the minute he becomes a Duke professor (I agree with Diana West—Duke parents and prospective parents, beware!), while a European politician who has never advocated violence is excoriated as the heir to the Nazis? The answer, and saying it is stepping on toes, I’m well aware, lies in Jewish attitudes and perceptions, as one Lawrence Auster discussed when he wrote Why Jews Welcome Muslims at FrontPage Magazine in 2004.

A few snips from Mr. Auster’s article:

The real object of Jewish fears

First of all, as crazy as it may sound, there is something that many American Jews fear in their heart of hearts even more than they fear Moslem anti-Semitism, and that is white Christian anti-Semitism.

Jews’ risible obsession with non-existent evangelical Protestant anti-Semites, combined with their obliviousness to actual mass murdering Islamist anti-Semites (whom, moreover, the Jews’ favored immigration policies have allowed into this country) is an amazing phenomenon that we should not dismiss as simply a bizarre ethnic idiosyncrasy. It expresses, rather, a central preoccupation of a significant number of Jews, namely their corrosive apprehension of what they think the goyim might one day do to them—a fear they entertain despite the fact that, apart from some social exclusions and other ethnic prejudices that existed up to the end of World War II, Jews have never faced serious anti-Semitism from the white Christian majority in this country.

This element of the Jewish psyche is further illumined by Norman Podhoretz in his memoir, My Love Affair with America:

“[M]y own view is that what had befallen the Jews of Europe inculcated a subliminal lesson… . The lesson was that anti-Semitism, even the relatively harmless genteel variety that enforced quotas against Jewish students or kept their parents from joining fashionable clubs or getting jobs in prestigious Wall Street law firms, could end in mass murder.” [Emphasis added.]

Even if they don’t take it to the absurd point of envisioning a Jewish Holocaust or some other anti-Jewish persecution in this country, various Jewish writers and spokesmen have continued to express a deeply suspicious attitude towards white Christian America. In the cover article of the November 1999 issue of Commentary, entitled “California and the End of White America,” Ron Unz predicted that if the current non-European immigrants fail to assimilate, the danger will not be an uprising of unassimilated immigrant cultures, but an eruption of white nationalism. “[W]e face the very real threat of future movements along the lines of Proposition 187, each worse than the last, and on a national scale,” Unz wrote. “There are few forces that could so easily break America as the coming of white nationalism.” [Emphasis added.] Amazing. Multiculturalism and minority group-rights movements are tearing apart America’s once unitary, individual-rights-based polity, as Commentary itself has been lamenting for years, while America’s declining white majority has been reacting with what can only be called pusillanimous passivity in the face of this systematic attack on their country.

But now it turns out that what Commentary most fears is not the minority group-rights movement, but any possible resistance by white Americans to it, a resistance Commentary demonizes as “white nationalism.” In other words, open-borders Jews fear a totally non-existent white defense of America more than they fear the actual realities of mass legal and illegal immigration, multiculturalism, Mexican irredentism, Moslem jihadism, and all the rest of the forces that are threatening our country. For anyone who shares this view, it follows that the quicker America’s white majority is reduced to a minority by continued mass immigration, and the quicker America’s majority culture is pushed aside by immigrant cultures, the better off America will be.

So if Mr. Auster’s analysis five years ago was correct, and I fear it was, I am more frightening to Bret Stephens than are sharia-advocating mullahs. As it happens, I had a telling experience four years ago. At the time, the firm I worked for had an Israeli office, run by a Jewish Londoner who had made aliyah and is married to a Jewish New Yorker who had done the same. He was in the United States on business the day Moslem terrorists set off five bombs in his old home town. He and I were talking about what to do about it—he was outraged, as was I. I said a pretty obvious first step would be to end Moslem immigration to the West. Without missing a beat, he stared at me and said “You’ll be kicking out all the Jews next!” He was entirely serious, believe me.

That attitude, given the wealth and influence of so many who share it, is a serious problem for the West.

- end of initial entry -

Stewart W. writes:

When Mr. Sutherland relates his conversation with his Jewish acquaintance, I was struck by a fundamental assumption underlying this gentleman’s response. When he reflexively stated “You’ll be kicking out all Jews next!”, the correct rejoinder would be “Yes, and then all the Greeks, and the Italians, and Russians, and Poles, Irish, Danes, Swedes, Germans, and finally the English.” When viewed in this light, his assumption seems to be that in fact, Jews are almost as alien to our society as Moslems. Is that really what he believes? Is that what he wants me to think? I realize, of course, that liberalism requires that we pretend that Moslems, Mexicans, Irish, and !Kung are all equally assimilable into our culture, but in reality, almost nobody truly believes the myth. When people play the pogrom card, I don’t think they realize the implications.

LA replies:

Here I’m basically restating what you said.

It is the predominant assumption among liberals and particularly Jews that all discrimination is as bad as all other discrimination, which implies that all group differences are the same as all other group differences and that all groups are equally assimilable. The idea that is being advanced seems to be equality: we’re all essentially the same, so discrimination against any group is as bad as discrimination against any other group. But in practical reality, as you point out, no one really believes this. So the effect of Mr. Sutherland’s Jewish colleague saying that America would just as soon expel Jews as expel (or in this instance stop the immigration of) Muslims is to convey the message that he, the Jew, sees himself, not as being as different from America as all other groups, e.g., Swedes, Italians, Japanese, Mexicans, but as being as different from America as the group that is the most different from America of all groups, i.e., the Muslims. He’s putting himself in the most alien class.

Jews who immediately translate a statement about the need to exclude Muslims into the thought that Jews will be excluded are demonstrating that they do not feel themselves to be part of America. They are saying that they feel as alien to America as Muslims are.

So the discovery is not that Jews are excluded, because, in reality, they’re not excluded. The discovery is that many Jews exclude themselves. It is they who do not feel themselves a part of this country (except of course as a democratic project, a place to be successful and have a nice life and so on), and that is why so many Jews consistently take the side of outsiders against America.

Jews have never been publicly challenged on this wrongful and unacceptable attitude. If they were, it would push them to reevaluate and correct their thinking process. And those who were unable to do so, would inevitably start thinking of moving to a country where they did not feel alien, namely Israel. The ones who feel a part of America would stay; the one who do not, would progressively leave. Last year I read an article by Hillel Halkin in the New York Sun telling how, many years ago, in his early adulthood, he realized that as a Jew he did not feel himself a part of America, and he moved to Israel. That’s the way it ought to be.

June 25

Stewart W. replies:

Yes, you’ve summarized my observation very well. I’d never really given that much thought to it. In many ways, it is the particularly Jewish version of the verbal tic that “progressives” often use, in which they constantly denigrate American culture by saying “we” are a racist country, “we” have a culture of violence, etc. They of course don’t mean themselves, but rather are expressing their contempt for the rest of us, and their profound alienation from American culture. Too bad the main body of the “progressives” don’t have a homeland to which they can move.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 24, 2009 05:09 PM | Send

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