Christopher Hitchens’ Jewish Problem


Visit Jewish Ideas Daily.

The fact that Christopher Hitchens has a problem with the Jews has been an open secret for years. No one much likes to talk about it, and for various reasons his journalistic peers have remained silent on the subject. But it is nonetheless the case, and there is little sense in denying it.

The sixty-four-year-old Hitchens, a native of Great Britain and a recently naturalized U.S. citizen, is one of the most widely read and admired columnists in America, as well as a celebrated author who, in the words of the New York Times, “embraces the serious things, the things that matter: social justice, learning, direct language, the free play of mind, loyalty, holding public figures to high standards.”

Hitchens’s career began on the radical Left, with a strong affinity for the legacy of the Communist ideologue Leon Trotsky and his followers. His real gift, however, was not for ideology but for polemic, and his blistering prose quickly made him a literary celebrity, first in the pages of Britain’s New Statesman and then, after he emigrated to America, as a regular columnist at the Nation. Before long, Hitchens’s colorful opinions and even more colorful public image became fixtures of mainstream publications like Vanity Fair and the Atlantic.

For much of his career, Hitchens was known as a ferocious critic of American power and American policy. But in the 1990s, with the war in the Balkans and the long campaign to secure American intervention against the Serbs, he began a slow turnabout that would come to a head on September 11, 2001. Following the 9/11 atrocities, and the conspicuous failure of many of his left-wing comrades to acknowledge the guilt, and the threat, of radical Islam, Hitchens split from the Left for good, becoming one of the most vocal and, in conservative quarters, most prized supporters of the war on terror and American intervention in Iraq.

To continue reading this article, click here.

  • Chezwick_Mac

    I've always found inconsistencies and incongruities in Hitchens' postulations…sometimes in a single sentence. Beyond that, even his writing style is lacking; certainly he's literate, but careful scrutiny of his construction reveals a noticeable absence of fluidity. He jumps from one thought to the next in a single paragraph, without supporting sentences (just read 'Why Orwell Matters').

    The most egregious of Hitchens' many "sins" was in my opinion his devotion to the late Edward Said, that unconscionable charlatan who successfully implanted the most vile racism into our academic ethos, that a Westerner's study of Islam, no matter how scholarly, is innately bigoted ("Orientalism") unless it is validating. After Said's passing, Hitch wrote nothing short of a love letter in eulogy.

    You can tell a lot about a man by whom and what he admires.

    • Jennifer Verner

      If you read Hitch22, you'll know that Hitchens and Said had a falling out over the Iraq War, and they were estranged at the time of Said's death. CH also wrote a highly critical review of "Orientalism" in the Atlantic around that time. You should go look it up.

      • Chezwick_Mac

        It was enough for me to read the eulogy Hitch wrote for Said after the latter's death. It was fawning.

    • guest

      Hitchens has redeemed himseld of late and is a real good guy now as he realized the real and imminent danger of the islamo fascists worldwide. his stance on the war against terror is solidly straight and his writing style is not an issue even if we agree with your bizarre comment. who cares about writing style when the issue at hand is a new world war or the fall of the west and the whole free world.? really now. as for edward said , he is misguided and misguiding and hitchens opposed him on the main issue of late. it takes a great man to see his error and correct it even if it hurts his ego. so i say hitchens when all is considered is actually a "good guy" with the white hat!

  • Clutching

    This article is nonsense. Clutching at straws to label Hitchens an antisemite, when the real object of his critique is Judaism, a religion, or Israel. Surely both can be criticised without the fear of being labelled an antisemite?

    • Chezwick_Mac

      It's the tone and nature of the criticism that is revealing.

      • guest

        go see your shrink bud, since you are hearing "tones" now. leave the man in peace or are you too narcissistic? (DSM5 be damned)

        • Chezwick_Mac

          You're very deep.

    • CanadConserv

      The article, if you actually read it, makes a compelling case proving Hitchen's anti-Semitism.

  • jbtrevor

    I find it interesting that Hitchens who rails against all religion emigrates from a country where God is debased & man's social programs abound (along with the scourge that comes with a Godless society) to a country where God is still somewhat revered…

  • Jennifer Verner

    In the first place, Christopher Hitchens is 61 not 64. This article is filled slanderous half-truths and inaccuracies. Since when does being a harsh critic of Israeli policy and Zionism make one an anti-semite? SHAME ON FRONT PAGE FOR REPRINTING THIS GARBAGE!

    • guest

      agree with you fully jennifer

    • CanadConserv

      I doubt you read the article. If you did, you should reread it, as you missed one salient point after the other.

      • Jennifer Verner

        Here's the last line of Kerstein's tripe (that I read by the way):
        Indeed it does. In the present case, the anti-Semite is under all our noses, and it is well worth the struggle to see him.

        What's not to understand about that?
        The problem is that Hitchens doesn't rubber stamp Kerstein's brand of "jewishness." So what. By Kerstein's reasoning, anyone who has a critique of Judaism's religious beliefs and practices, or the policies of the state of Israel is an anti-semite. Ridiculous. Frontpage should be ashamed for. printing this bigoted, anti-intellectual tripe

        • CanadConserv

          Jennifer, here is an excerpt from the article that is but one of a great many salient proofs of Hitchen's unbridled anti-Semitism:”According to Hitchens, the Jews' genocidal God and His order to drive the Canaanite tribes out of the land of Israel form the basis not only of a “19th-century irredentist claim to Palestine” but of the current debate among Israeli rabbis over “whether the demand to exterminate the Amalekites is a coded commandment to do away with the Palestinians.” Who these rabbis might be, the extent of their influence, and whether anyone listens to them are questions that go mostly unaddressed.”Indeed, who might these rabbis be? Hitchenm's comment is outrageous, suggesting that, if they actually exist, whatever few he found – or grossly misinterpreted, as is his wont – actually speak for any meaningful number of Jews.Truth is, the majority of Jews belong to the left wing, very sympathetic to Palestinians, Reform Movement. The largest congregation is Conservative, which also maintains constant outreach to Palestinians and Muslims in general.

          • Jennifer Verner

            This is from Wiki:
            Palestinians as Amalekites
            Nur Masalha and other scholars describe several associations of modern Palestinians with Amalekites, including recommendations by rabbi Israel Hess to kill Palestinians, which are based on biblical verses such as 1 Samuel 15.[7] Shulamit Aloni, a member of the Israeli Knesset indicated in 2003 that Jewish children in Israel were being taught in religious schools that Palestinians were Amalek, and that therefore total genocide was a religious obligation.[8]

            I have no idea if this is true or not, but it took me about 30 seconds to find. If it's not true, I suggest some interested party go to Wikipedia and correct it.

          • Jennifer Verner

            The passage that Cancon and Kerstein find so offensive can be found on page 106 of God is not Great. Hitchens never claims that ALL Israeli Rabbi's debate whether the Amalakites are Palestinians, or even that most do. He says simply Israeli Rabbis. And Hess was an Israeli Rabbi, was he not? If this is what you're using to proclaim Hitchens an anti-Semite, then you are even more pathetic than I thought. You're not even grasping at straws, you're inventing evidence. I repeat–Frontpage should be ashamed.

          • CanadConserv

            I don't know either. But it's not relevant. The point is that Hitchens is implying there is widespread Jewish support for such a notion when that is outrageously untrue. That he can find a few Jews that say such a thing means nothing. There is no media, academia, government or otherwise political support for such horrid notion amongst Jews or Israelis.Ironically, though, there is widespread Arab support for a genocide of the Jews.

          • Jennifer Verner

            You are taking the quote out of context and projecting your own thoughts into it. Hitchens NEVER implies that. Do you have a copy of GING in front of you? No, I didn't think so. Why don't you get a copy and turn to page 106.

            If you want to take that one little sentence out of a NYT #1best seller/National Book Award finalist work that has sold over one million copies in at least half a dozen languages, and smear the author with the filthy title of anti-semite–,hey go ahead. You look like a fool though.

          • CanadConserv

            I disagree. Were this a rare example, then you might have a point. It is not. It is part of a stream of such Hitchens anti-Semitic smears

  • Jennifer Verner

    And I will just add that this attempt to mark Christopher Hitchens as an anti-Semite reminds me of the campaign by the Southern Poverty Law Center (among others…) to brand David Horowitz as a racist.

  • guest

    Hmmm, so " here Hitchens is criticized for allegedly evoking "the most barbarous and reactionary stereotypes of the Jewish people" Serious charge, serious indeed. I wonder, though, is there another group, perhaps even another religion that is regularly given the same treatment on this very site? On reputable "news" outlets? Is there a religion made up of 10 percent terrorists according to the recent insights of one very popular right wing commentator ? No, must be my imagination. Carry on.

  • Seek

    Hitchens, in all fairness, is "equal opportunity" in his rejection of religious orthodoxy. In that sense, he is no more "anti-Jewish" than he is "anti-Christian," "anti-Hindu" or "anti-Islam." What he opposes is an aggressively closed mind, locked in ritual for ritual's sake and contemptuous of outsiders as though they were enemies of the good.

    Well…I kind of answer to that description as well. I have my areas of disagreement, but in the main, but Hitchens are hardly an enemy. We shoudl stay consistent. If we're going to denounce Islam as a bizarre 7th-century cult (which it is), exactly why should I stay mum in the face of the barbaric excesses committed in the name of Christianity and Judaism? Those excesses, by teh way, are real. One can torture history only so much.

    • guest

      Hitchen style people are needed to balance fanatics especially those who mindlessly follow religious dogma whether inside the group such or towards the rest of the world. for those claiming Hitchens is somehow simply an anti "semite" ,the response is NOT. any decent person has a right to criticize any dogma, religion or creed . that is the law whether moslems or jews like it or not, and while the moslems retaliate via bombs and terrorism the jews retaliate via academia and media boycotting and cognitive terrorism ie mind policing anyone who dares say anything that highly "sensitive" jews perceive somehow to be against them. i am non religious and have witnessed jewish paranoia in academic and medical circles in the US and it is both shameful in making accusations against essentially rational professors discussing some issues. and it is revealing how scared jews are of any criticism or pseudo criticism or simply perceived criticism of some belief or practice of theirs that they turn verbally violent and try to demolish their critics career for sometimes imagined slights or even intellectually valid criticisms.
      of course this is much lighter than moslem beheadings , murders en masse and the whole islamic blood ritual we see now daily globally.
      but the jews need to retain their wits and not play mind police nor holier than thou all over campus or in business or media circles thus alienating whoever is still neutral in what relates to matters of importance to jews.
      if you think this comment is also "anti semetic" then you are surely suffering some form of paranoia bud

      • Chezwick_Mac

        "Jewish paranoia"…"how scared Jews are of any criticism"…no, no, you're not an anti-Semite, not by a long-shot.

      • sebyandrew

        Your moral equivalence spiel is the trojan horse by which the soldiers of totalitarianism will enter the gates. Using your head and off- with- your- head are two completely different approaches are they not? You really believe that on campuses the jews have the ascendancy? In certain circles history is being re-written in order to buttress the muslim case agains jews, so pardon the sensitivity if there is a reaction to this.

  • BS77

    Hitchens is a capable writer…but he is also arrogant, contradictory, puffed up and misanthropic. He can be clever and original but obsessed with his own views and style. I ve read many of his books and columns…..It's difficult to know where he stands on any given day. He tries hard to establish a standard but it's full of holes…..it's a British thing…you know the Brits…..quiet desperation…..

  • mike

    His problem with Judaism is that it begat Christianity and Islam. Ironically one of the same problems Hitler had with Judaism.

  • Chezwick_Mac

    My goodness, the moral equivalizers are out in force…and why not? The mindset that could embrace Chris Hitchens is compelled to do his/her share of intellectual and moral gymnastics.

    For the record, the ethics of Christ and of the Talmud are ever-so-slightly (cough, cough) more conducive to human comity and morality than those promulgated by Muhammad. Whatever "barbaric excesses" were committed in the name of Christianity throughout history, they were done so IN SPITE of the teachings of Christ, not BECAUSE of them. Can the same be said for Islam and Muhammad?

  • Rock of ages

    Hitchens is to intellectualism, what Jeffrey Ross is to comedy – this drunkard buffoon does nothing but debating people 24/7. ( Ross doesn't do real comedy – he has a talent for insults and Hitchens for debating.).

    I remember in one of his millions of debates mentioning Israel Shahak as an authority on Jews. (Shahak – talking about a jewish-nazi); So if that buffoon doesn't want to be labeled as hater, maybe he should find better sources to base his opinions.

    • Jennifer Verner

      well, as a winner of the Ellie, a finialist for the National Book Award, a fellow of the Hoover Institute, writer for Vanity Fair, SLate,and the Atlantic, to name a few, looks like there are quite a few folks out there (including David Horowitz's org, and Front Page Mag) who not only think what Hitchens has to say and write is worthwhile, but pay him a lot of money to do so. Not exactly buffoon materiel if you ask me.

      How about yourself. What are your qualifications to judge Hitchens?

      • sebyandrew

        I haven't read Hitchens, so I have no comment to make on his veracity as a writer. However, does FPM consider his writing worthwhile of consideration or more in terms of rebuttal.? Anyone?

        • Jennifer Verner

          Why don't you check their archives. He has known David Horowitz for decades, and you'll find plenty of his pieces, and an interview or two.

          It's not that I think that C Hitchens is somehow above criticism, it's just that the charge of anti-semitism is so outragous and nasty, I can not believe that this piece is being allowed, especially when considering the inferior quality of the research and writing. As far as I'm concerned, it is marginalizing FPM.

          • sebyandrew

            Fair enough. Thanks for replying JV.

      • USMCSniper

        Christopher Hitchens is a drunk and mentally unstable — but I'll give him this: his ability to yammer about himself as if he's a hero of legend survives intact. He is a legend in his own mind. As for his activist atheism based on his own belief and not a critical examination of the first cause principle, I guess he doesn't mind being all dressed up at his own funeral with no place to go. I am just a old retired physics professor and scientist engineer of the first rank, a decorated combat marine, and an ex CFL defensive halfback, who considers Hitchen just another arrogant drunken buffoon with an inflated opinion of himself.

    • Rock of ages
  • Lillith66

    Hitchens mother is Jewish….BTW…

  • USNCSniper

    Christopher Hitchens is a drunk and mentally unstable — but I'll give him this: his ability to yammer about himself as if he's a hero of legend survives intact. He is a legend in his own mind

  • ROCHELLE OWENS

    CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS = JUDEOPHOBIC ENGLISHMAN OF THE 21st century
    ROCHELLE OWENS, POET PLAYWRIGHT
    "Chomsky Grilling Linguica"

  • SemperCivis

    Athiests don't know authentic history and so many of them turn into nasty drunks. I read that Hitchens is also Jewish, which comes as no surprise. He doesn't have the answers towards who and what the enemy is, and this blinds him.

    WHO ARE THE ARABS AND WHAT IS ISLAM?

    LINEAGE OF ARABS (Descendants of Ham) – Archeological Research garnered from tablet fragments: Hittite, Akkadian and Sumerian:

    1.3000 BCE descendants of Canaan, grandson of Noah via Ham break out of their proscribed region – southern Turkey – immediately north of the Euphrates River – True “Syria”. Some move southward into the Levant. Most rename themselves As-Syrians. They garner iron from the Hittites and invade and destroy Haran, Assur (neighboring cities ) and attack Nineveh.

    2.300-600 years later they have burnt Niniveh to the ground and made Babylon their capitol (Babylon founded by Nimrod I, firstborn of Ham).

    3.Later the Akkadian King, Sargon of Niniveh heritage, recaptures northern Mesopotamia and conquers Babylon, making it his capitol as Niniveh was still in ruins.

    4.From several recorded Sumerian records from Ubaid, Ur and Uruk tell of the children of Nimrod/children of the Assyrians evacuate Babylon and move into the North-Central grass plains of the Arabian Peninsula. THEY ARE THE FIRST ARABS(ARABIANS).

    5.From previous historical records, it is known that the peoples living south of the Euphrates River, down the Euphrates River. East through the Indus region and Persia and the peoples of seacoast of the Arabian Peninsula and Ethiopia are descendants are the first born of Noah (Shem), and they do not intermarry with the descendants of Ham.

    6.Midianites, at their root, are Sumerian sheepherders who later combined with offspring of the House of Abraham (a Sumerian), combined with or intermarried to peoples from the Kingdom of Sheba (Yemen) and Ethiopia.

    7.MOST IMPORTANT CLUE: Every culture had a signature animal symbol. Throughout Mesopotamia and the regions of the second born of Noah (Japeth) – The Caucasus, Turkey, Black Sea (also East and West), it was the bull. You find artifact Bulls in silver, copper, bronze and other materials. The Hamites created a half-man/half-bull symbol which they called Baal. Time of origination dates to circa 3000 BCE in Lebanon at what is now the place known as Baalbek (megalithic platform structure). As for the Arabs from the grassy central plain of Arabia, over time they migrated and founded Medina. They would have been Baal worshippers. Medina was founded near Mecca which was a thriving trade center for agriculture, minerals, frankensense everything coming up from Yemen.

    EMERGENCE OF ISLAM
    Mohammed’s wife (Khadija) inherited the camel train cartage business when her husband died, but could not keep it unless she had a husband for legal ownership purposes. (LIKE IN KORAN) She found an idiot teenager who could not read or write, and that was Mohammed. When she died, the other relatives gave Mohammed money and they took over the business. Mohammed travels with them. Near Ebla, Syria (Modern Syria), the rich idiot Mohammed teams up with Syrian mercenaries. The cult of domination – Submit or Die – Slavery of Women, begins there. They call him their prophet and use him. Between Midian and Syria, along the road east of the Dead Sea/Jordan Valley, that’s where Mohammed has epiphany in a cave. Later they settle in Medina/Mecca.

    SOURCES ON MOHAMMED: University of Chicago, Oriental Institute, Oxford in Britain (Syrian, Egyptian, Coptic, Middle Eastern, Yemeni, Ethiopian articles – English Translations)

    TO STUDY THE ANCIENT CULT-RELIGION OF BAAL EXPLAINS the divergence of Islam from Judaism and the adoption of dominating, killing, lying cheating and other anti-civilization aspects. Throughout the entire ancient world, the bull which was the machine-tractor of the ancient world was depicted and revered but only worshipped by Hamites (Assyrian, Canaanites, Southern Egyptians) Baal is recorded as the God of War/Violence/Storms/Domination. These are the root aspects that were worshipped in Medina, and when Medina conquered Mecca (which worshipped the God of Israel, as all Shemites/Midianites would), they supplanted those things into the new religion – Islam.

    HISTORIC INTERVIEW: artist Marc Rubin explains on Israel National Radio: http://www.marcrubin.com/judean-eve.ivnu

  • pkrsnake

    SemperCivis, finally a rational, proveable and historical point of view on both religions. I commend you. For the recored to everyone else who slagged Chris, yes he is half jewish, yes he is british, yes he likes a drink. But who cares as long as he speaks the truth.