Jew vs. Jew II
The role played by Jews (and even Israelis) in the defamation of Israel through propaganda programs such as BDS has been in the news lately.
Some stories talk about the visible role played by group such as Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) in various church-related divestment votes, although the big story last week featured someone entering the stiff competition of who can say the most atrocious thing about the Jewish people under the guise of enlightenment.
In this case, an article in Tablet took off on the idea that the Holocaust killed off many of the best minds and souls of European Jewry to propagate the notion that those left behind were a bunch of immoral gangsters.
Others have written to express the level of disgust such a piece deserves. And, having been in this game for a while, I can provide a bit of historic perspective regarding past contenders to the crown of world’s most Jew-hating Jew.
Back when I first got into this game, the top of this particular dung-heap was held by Israel Shahak, an Israel professor of chemistry who came up with the novel theory that it was not Zionism that made Jews such dangerous beings, but the Talmud. (I say “novel” only in that Shahak was the first person I know of since post Medieval Europe/WWII to make a career out of Talmud defamation.)
While Norman Finkelstein was ranking high for a while (especially after he too decided that dissing the Holocaust would earn him a shock-jock ranking among the Israel-hating crowd), in recent years, it’s been the Israel-born, but now UK-dwelling Gilad Atzmon who has probed the historic and theological origins of Jewish depravity based on the vast historic and religious knowledge he has developed as a professional saxophone player.
Interestingly, both Finkelstein and Atzmon were recently crossed off the list of courageous-and-truly-enlightened-Jews by the powers that be at the BDS “movement,” Finkelstein because he broke with the “movement” (condemning it as a cult on his way out), and Atzmon because his Jew hatred was so apparent that even the BDSers had to finally distance themselves from him (if only to demonstrate that there actually existed some line demarcating Israel-hatred from Jew-hatred that didn’t involve wearing a black shirt and arm band).
Actually, I thought this piece brought up the most interesting ideas with regard to the latest example of anti-Jewish lunacy published at Tablet. While not choosing the specific words I would use to describe the issue, the author essentially sets forth how these Jew-hating-Jews (a category which increasingly overlaps the simple, garden-variety Israel-hating ones) are essentially inhabiting a fantasy world, one in which they are not just bravely standing up to a wall-to-wall Jewish consensus (which also exists just in their fantasy world), but are the very first Jews to have ever done so.
I am not the first person to observe that the term “self-hating Jew” is a misnomer, given that the people who inhabit this space are absolutely in love with themselves. But it is a jealous love, and a twisted one as well, depending as it does on the existence of other Jews who conform to all of the ugly stereotypes that the self-loving Jew defines him or herself against. And if those stereotypes are ugly, bigoted and informed by ignorance (as all stereotypes are), no matter. For the people being slurred by the fantasists self-positioning are not real people at all, but yet another set of props for the drama going on in the self-loving Jews own head.
The degree of pathological self-centeredness needed to turn bigotry into a virtue also helps explain the behavior of less extreme Jewish defamers of Israel.
Take for example our old friends at Jewish Voice for Peace who were omnipresent at virtually all of the big BDS votes that took place earlier this year.
If you read their writing, you’ll see that these guys are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. And given that they have spearheaded many of the most embarrassing disasters for the BDS “movement,” their ability as political operators is, at best, questionable.
But the strengths they bring to their cause derive from the very fantasy-based selfishness, bordering on sociopathy, we’ve been talking which understands that they – and only they – possess the virtues needed to be an enlightened Jew (if not a human being).
How else could they continue to bring their squalid little divestment resolutions before institutions like the Presbyterian Church when anyone with eyes can see that this issue is causing needless division within an organization facing extraordinarily difficult challenges? But what does the JVP/BDSer care about such details since, to them, the Presbyterians don’t exist (or, more accurately, they exist only to pass divestment resolutions that the boycotters can brag about to their friends).
This pathological self-involvement explains the shrill, indignant, outrage that accompanies any challenge to JVP’s claims to represent anything other than virtue, courage and all things good. And while this detachment from reality makes them vulnerable when making political decisions that require some sort of connection to the world outside their own heads, it also provides them the power to persevere, to endlessly push and push and push regardless of the number of times they lose, never mind the weakness of their arguments and the immorality of their cause.