Categories of antisemitism

One of the things that I hate most about the Left is that they identify their enemies by their alleged feelings rather than their stated beliefs.  For example, a “racist” is supposed to have certain feelings–negative ones–toward non-white wedge minorities.  One amusing consequence of this is that one can make any statement one wants about a designated group so long as it is formulated in an approving way.  For example, it was a commonplace observation in books I had read about Islam that Muslim thinkers tend toward occasionalism and divine command ethics.  When the Pope said this, though, he got labeled an ignorant bigot, because he seemed to disapprove of these positions.  One person can praise third-world tribal peoples to the skies, saying that “their thinking isn’t constricted by Western standards of rationality, but is more holistic and intuitive”.  If I say “third-world tribalists don’t think logically”, that would make me a horrible racist; I’ve said basically the same thing, but I’ve implied disapproval rather than approval.

Lots of Leftist have written about antisemitism.  It’s one of their favorite topics.  All their writings are worthless, however, because they weren’t interested in understanding their subject.  They had not the slightest interest in studying what antisemites believe, what reasons they give for their beliefs, and how their beliefs tie together.  Antisemitism is defined as a feeling.  As it is rejected out of hand that anyone might have reasons–even fallacious ones–for disapproval of Jews, the study of antisemitism has long been the province of psychology.  What is wrong with these people that they should hate the Jews for no reason?  Did their mothers drop them as babies or something?

Let me start a chart of ideological space–always a useful exercise, I find.  Let’s list the types of anti-Jewish beliefs one might hold.

  1. Moderate antisemitism:  The moderate antisemite does not think that Jews are any worse than any other people.  He may even admire some aspects of their culture.  He believes, though, that Jewish and Gentile communities cannot both coexist and thrive.  Some kind of semi-voluntary separation is necessary.
  2. Robust antisemitism:  This type believes that Jews are a strong and pernicious influence on Gentile culture.  The rights of individual Jews must be respected, but their nefarious deeds should be exposed, and Gentiles should countermobilize against Jewish influence.
  3. Extreme antisemitism:  Like the robust antisemite, the extreme antisemite believes in strong, pernicious Jewish influence, but he thinks drastic measures will have to be taken to curtail it, going as far as restricting the rights of Jews to participate in wider society in various ways.

By this classification system, I am a moderate antisemite.  I like and admire the Jewish community, but I have concluded with sadness that their ardent hatred of Christianity makes it impossible for us to live together without one or the other culture having to mutilate itself.  (One might say that a moderate antisemite is someone who knows that he’s hated by Jews.)  Maybe a little more separation will make each of us better able to see the good in the other.  Kevin MacDonald would be a robust antisemite, if I read him correctly.  Extreme antisemitism is almost unheard of outside the ADL’s imagination.

Turn the nouns around, from antisemitism to anti-Christianism, and we see that many Leftists are robust anti-Christians.  They believe Christianity is an evil force in the world and that it must be counteracted, while grudgingly admiting that the rights of individual Christians must be respected.  Most of the rest of the Left belong to the extreme anti-Christian tendency, in that they feel that Christians’ civil and social rights should be restricted to promote the agenda of sexual libertinism.  For example, most of them agree that serious Christians, because they will not be party to abortions, should be effectively expelled from the medical professions.

Of course, what we mostly find in the Christian world is philosemitism.  Here again, there are degrees:

  1. The moderate philosemite doesn’t think that Jews deserve any special treatment, but he admires them for their disproportionate contribution to the wider culture.
  2. The robust philosemite believes that in every conflict between Jews and any other group throughout history, the Jews have been absolutely right and blameless.  No other group has ever had any legitimate grievance against the Jews.  On the contrary, every other people bears an indelible mark of shame for their past antisemitism.
  3. The extreme philosemite demands that every particularist community on Earth be smashed because they might make Jews feel excluded.

I am also a moderate philosemite.  Moderate antisemitism and moderate philosemitism are compatible.  Robust philosemitism seems to be ubiquitous in evangelical and neoconservative Catholic circles.  Their historical claim sounds absurd when you spell it out, but that is what they’re asking us to believe.  Jody Bottom, ex-editor of First Things, is an extreme philosemite.  He used to make an ass of himself on Postmodern Conservative blog discussions; when someone would praise local community as an important part of the good life, he would chime in with “What about the Jews?!  What about the Jews?!”

13 Responses

  1. I’ve read numerous books and articles on antisemitism and they are all alike. They all ignore the idea of their targets. There’s a few generalities and slogans, which are outweighed by regular Holocaust references. It is as the writers all think they are spies writing for an intelligence service, detailing the actions of the enemies.

  2. Interesting breakdown. I’m always amazed to find people who aren’t Jewish that are extreme philosemites.

  3. Particularly amongst “Christian” evangelicals. Why they are not anti- antiChrists is beyond me.

  4. As a Christian I am not a philo-semite. Jews are just as lost as anyone. I see a strong anti-Christian forces in modern Judaism. The anti-God strain is strong among the Jews, going way back. See Acts 7 for a quick rundown. “Which of the prophets did you not persecute?” And they killed God’s son. A fine history for God’s chosen people.

    Jews in their anti-Christianity need to be suppressed. A whiff of second-class citizenry would do them good.

  5. These are your readers, bonald. Enjoy!

  6. These categories seem kind of slushy to me. What are the distinctions between “semi-involuntary separation” and “restricting the rights of Jews to participate?” Also, positive and normative are all mixed together. What about someone who thinks “Jews are awesome because they are utterly destructive of Gentile culture?”

    If I were interested in studying anti-semitism, I think I would split anti-semitic beliefs into three groups. First, beliefs about the differences, if any, between (Ashkenazi?) Jews and Europeans. Second, beliefs about the consequences of those differences under various policy regimes. Third, beliefs about what policy regimes should prevail (conditional on answers to 1 and 2).

  7. Okay, so it’s not entirely the ADL’s imagination.

  8. I find it interesting that our concern with anti-semitism far outweighs our concern with anti-Christianism. Hmmm, why would that be?

  9. From Mangan’s blogspot:

    Ricardo, a Jew, states “This society is no more yours than mine. There is no official American religion – the founders made a point of there not being one. And my ancestors have contributed at least as much as yours. And besides, Woody Guthrie said it was my land too. ”

    Porter responds:

    “Says the camel in the tent.

    Rewind a few years…Knock, knock, knock

    Mr. Jew: Hello Mr. Gentile, and what a right chap you are. May I please come in? I’ve travelled so far.

    Mr. Gentile: You’re a fine fellow Mr. Jew, really on par. But I have some concerns and I’ll say what they are.

    I want tranquility, I’m not looking for a fight; and you seem to cause problems wherever you alight.

    Mr. Jew: Oh please. I’ll be not a bother and I’ve no place to go. I’m hungry and meek and upon my beard there is snow.

    My reputation is a lie; it’s the persecution you see. I swear on my yarmulke it was them and not me.

    Let’s set aside our millennial strife; I’ll love you as a brother, or hell as a wife!

    Mr. Gentile: I’m unsure Mr. Jew; I want no trouble you see. I founded this nation for my own posterity.

    Mr. Jew: You have my word, our relationship will be a cinch; what harm could ever arise from a mensch?

    Mr. Gentile: I suppose you can stay if you swear not to hate. Though I want no subversion and you must assimilate.

    Mr. Jew: Yes, yes wonderful, you won’t regret it a year. I’ll just go about my business; you’ll not even notice I’m here.

    I shall take up occupations I know you’ll approve. I’ll make movies and write columns; your nerves I will soothe.

    Forward to present…

    Mr. Jew: Gentile, you’re a bigot, a racist, and oh a Nazi too. You’re dumb and not kosher. Yes, that best describes you.

    Mr. Gentile: But I thought we were as brothers; your attitude is vexing and newish.

    Mr. Jew: Brothers, Ha! As Mike Wallace said, I’m not white but Jewish.

    Mr. Gentile: I grant you leave to my country and this is how you repay?

    Mr. Jew: This is not “your” country, you dolt. And you don’t have a say.

    This country is for Asians and Africans and Mexicans and Jews. Wipe that look off your face, you act as if this is news.

    Mr. Gentile: But this was founded as our nation for our people; your myth I must dispel.

    Mr. Jew: I have a nation, it’s called Is-rye-ell. You will have nothing, save a spot in Hell.

    Mr. Gentile: You have played me as the fool. Allowing you in was not right.

    Mr. Jew: I gasp at your words! What are you, an anti-semite?!

  10. The implicit assumption here is that without Jewish influence, Christianity would experience another Great Awakening throughout the West, but is there really good reason to believe that? What if Jews were separated yet the Gentile population still remained apathetic or even hostile towards Christianity? The Enlightenment was not a Jewish phenomenon and the secularization of the West was, for the most part, not the work of Jews, even if Jews have an interest in keeping it secular. I think traditionalist Christians grasp at easy explanations for the decline of their religion because it allows them to entertain the illusion that its former glory might be revived when reality says otherwise.

    And if this is not the implicit assumption, and Jews are just one particularly clever branch of infidels, and limiting their influence would do little to alter Christianity’s decline (as I believe), then why bother writing something like this at all?

  11. And, seriously, how would “robust” antisemitism NOT slide into “extreme” antisemitism? If “their nefarious deeds” are exposed, and “Gentiles should countermobilize against Jewish influence”…what exactly is the next step? “Hey guys, knock it off!”?

  12. I would say that the Jews are just a very willing and aggressive wedge minority. Whenever liberals (a group that includes most Jews, but includes many others) decide to smash some bit of the majority’s culture, they need a “victim” to stand up and say they’re “offended” by that bit of majority culture. Thus, the liberal elite can pose as defenders of a minority, rather than (what in truth they are) aggressors against the traditional culture. Jews are not only willing to be perpetually and noisily offended, they set up their own organizations to seek out things that will offend them. To a liberal, this is a dream come true. Of course, without liberalism as a ruling ideology, none of this would do much damage. Jews in a country with a self-confident Gentile culture (Christian or otherwise) would still be unhappy, feeling like second-class citizens. But the only things that would make them happy would make Gentiles (especially Christians) unhappy, as they would feel that their culture was being chased out of the public square and their country taken from them. There’s no way for both groups to be happy in one culture. On the other hand, I don’t see why Christians, other Gentiles, and Jews can’t all get along from a distance.

  13. Bonald, I honestly can’t see how Jews and non-Jews can get along in the long run. Because of their anti-Gentile and anti-Christian attitudes, they always end up being a problem in our societies. They either have to segregate themselves from the rest of us, or if they move in greater society, they usually end up being involved in subversive movements to water down or destroy that community values, because their values (Talmudic, socialistic, communistic, usary etc.) are 180 degrees from ours.

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