Why Totalitarians Hate Jews

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This review is reprinted from the Winter 2011 issue of Midstream.

United in Hate: The Left’s Romance With Tyranny and Terror.  By Jamie Glazov.  Los Angeles: WND Books, 2009.  xxxii + 264 pp.

Jamie Glazov was born in the USSR in 1966.  His parents were both dissidents, who felt they had to flee.  They left the USSR in 1972 and settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1975.  Glazov grew up in a family that knew about the horrors of totalitarianism.  He eventually earned a Ph.D. in history and is now the managing editor of Frontpage Magazine, an online political journal that fights totalitarian tendencies in leftist thinking.  To a certain extent, Glazov is continuing a fight against totalitarianism and anti-Semitism that was begun by Hannah Arendt.

In 1951, Arendt wrote a book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, which has since become a classic, exploring the 20th-century phenomenon of totalitarianism.  One-fourth of this work is devoted to the question of anti-Semitism.[1] Arendt wrote the book shortly after World War II, but her decision to link an ancient prejudice to a modern political ideology is as valid today as it was then.  Glazov, in his book, provides us with a quotation to illustrate this connection.  Ulrike Meinhof, one of the founders of the terrorist Baader-Meinhof Gang, said, “Auschwitz meant that six million Jews were killed … for what they were: money Jews. … Anti-Semitism is really a hatred of capitalism.”[2] Meinhof was proud of her anti-Semitism.

Meinhof, to be sure, was a terrorist.  Unfortunately, many leftists who have never committed acts of violence take positions approaching hers.  Noam Chomsky, for example, would never describe himself as an anti-Semite and became famous for his writings on linguistics before he had published anything about politics.  Chomsky visited Hezbollah in 2006[3] despite the fact that its leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, had said about Jews, “If they all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”[4] Chomsky showed by his visit that he had chosen not to understand that Nasrallah was calling for genocide.

Glazov feels that there are two basic reasons that the left has joined Muslim terrorists to oppose Jews and Israel. “First … leftism, like Islamism, detests modernity, individual freedom, and any value placed on individual human life. … In addition, Jews are seen as being synonymous with the oppressive structures of corporate capitalism and globalization.”[5] Oddly, nowhere in the book are Israel’s kibbutzim ever mentioned.  Before Israel became an independent state, its cultivated land consisted of either kibbutzim (communal farms) or moshavim (cooperative farms).  A kibbutz was unambiguously a socialist enterprise; a moshav was partly private and partly communal.  Since farms take up much more space than cities and towns do, most of the land owned by Jews during the days of the British Mandate was either entirely or partially the property of socialist communities.  Corporate capitalism indeed!  Leftist opponents of Israel have chosen not to know this fact, and Glazov has not reminded them or us about this piece of history.

Glazov’s book is divided into four sections: (1) The Believer, (2) Romance with Tyranny, (3) The Death Cult Cousin: Islamism, and (4) Romance with Terror.  The first part sets the tone for the whole book.  Believers don’t question.  They have faith.  Marxism is not a religion, but it does demand belief—blind belief—in the doctrines it teaches.  Leftists today may ignore Marx’s writings about economics, but they support and have always supported regimes that suppress free thought.  As we saw above, Glazov says that rejecting modernity and individuality is what links leftism to Islamism..

Some readers may disagree with Glazov’s allegation that leftism detests modernity, individual freedom, and the value of individual human life.  At this point, we should remember that a liberal is not a leftist   For example, Nadine Gordimer, responding to an interviewer who described her as a white liberal, said, “I happen to be white, but I’m not a liberal, my dear. I’m a leftist.”[6] Glazov writes of many leftists who certainly are not liberals but rather supporters of totalitarianism, the various systems of thought control that Arendt talked about in her 1951 book.

Hannah Arendt’s good friend, Mary McCarthy, praised North Vietnamese society because she felt it had controlled thought and recreated human nature.  McCarthy wrote, “The phenomena of existential  agony, of alienation, don’t appear among the Vietnamese—probably in part because they lack our kind of ‘ego,’ and our endowment of free-floating guilt.”[7] It is amazing that a novelist as informed and sensitive as McCarthy could actually believe that North Vietnam had ended ego and free-floating guilt; it is even more amazing that she could believe this was a good thing.  McCarthy certainly was not alone.  Shirley MacLaine, who visited China in 1972, wrote that she had never seen a quarrel in China and went on to say that “it slowly dawned on me that perhaps human beings could really be taught anything, that we were simply blank pages upon which our characters are written by parents, schools, churches, and the society itself.”[8] MacLaine is unambiguously cheering the idea of thought control and the desirability of erasing human differences.  I should add a personal note here:  I lived in China twice, during the spring semesters of 1984 and 1989, and I saw and heard lots of quarrels.  MacLaine, of course, is echoing Marx and Engels, who said that after the final stage of communism was achieved, people would no longer have any disagreements and the state would wither away.

Glazov, as we saw above, said that the left had joined with Islamism to oppose Jews since Jews were linked to globalism and capitalism.  But there is a more profound factor in the hostility that totalitarians feel toward Jews: Jews argue.  They think dangerous thoughts.  Marxist regimes reject thinkers and intellectuals.  Chairman Mao exiled teachers and writers to the countryside to learn from the peasants.  Pol Pot simply killed them.  Mao and Pol Pot didn’t attack Jews because there weren’t any in China and Cambodia (the Jews of Kaifeng, China, had assimilated and become invisible long before Mao ruled the country).  Hitler, to be sure, never explained why he had to kill people who were Jews or descended from Jews.  Perhaps he felt that the genetic flaw he had to eradicate was the argument gene.

Since Jews argue, a variety of beliefs may be found among them.  There have certainly been Jews who were Communists; there are even Jews today who are sympathetic to Islamism.  All the same, it is logical that argument and free thought are a problem for totalitarians.  Totalitarians hate Jews.  Hitler’s decision to try to eradicate Jews from the world was nevertheless irrational.  Germany was a country that always respected scholars and intellectuals, and Hitler did not eliminate scholars the way Mao and Pol Pot did.  Jews were heavily represented among Germany’s academics and scientists.  Hitler knew he needed scientists because he wanted Germany to be able to produce atomic weapons, but anti-Semitism took priority over this need.  Einstein fled Germany; Edward Teller and Szilard fled Germany’s ally, Hungary.  Enrico Fermi, who was not Jewish but was married to a Jew, fled Europe when Mussolini extended Hitler’s racial laws to Italy.  Hitler, for reasons that will never be fully understood, felt that killing Jews was virtuous and that virtue took precedence over his country’s military needs.

Hitler was a music lover who admired the music of Anton Bruckner, Richard Wagner, and Richard Strauss.  He almost certainly would have adored the music of Gustav Mahler, but anti-Semitism came first.  Mahler had been born a Jew, and so his music was banned, as was the music of Mendelssohn, another composer of Jewish descent.  Jewish musicians fled, if they were lucky and able to do so.  Those who didn’t escape were murdered.

Today, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is echoing the irrationality that Hitler put into effect 70 years ago.  Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons has led many nations to impose sanctions against it.  Israel may decide that it has to launch a pre-emptive attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities.  Ahmadinejad has no practical need for these weapons, which are threatening his country’s security rather than protecting it.  But he is amassing atomic bombs as part of a policy announced by moderate President Ali Akhbar Rafsanjani, who has in effect suggested that Iran should turn itself into a suicide bomb.  In the annual Al-Quds (Jerusalem) sermon given on December 14, 2001, Rafsanjani said that if one day the world of Islam comes to possess nuclear weapons, Israel could be destroyed.  He went on to say that the use of a nuclear bomb against Israel would leave nothing standing, but that retaliation, no matter how severe, would merely do damage to the world of Islam.[9]

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  • joel

    The commies and enlightenment intellectuals hate the Jews because the latter believe in God, who sprung them from slavery in Egypt and guided them to a land flowing with milk and honey. And the commie/intellectual fools side with the islamists because they both hate the Jews. Somewhere in the Proverbs(Old Testament)it says that if a conversation talks about everything but God,it is just blowing hot air.

    • trickyblain

      I don't think a lack of belief in god is what fosters anit-semitism. Muslims believe in god. Right wing new-Nazis are Christians, for the most part.____The notion that "the Jews killed Jesus" is perhaps the biggest stoker of the flames of anit-semitism, at least in the western world.

      • ziontruth

        "The notion that 'the Jews killed Jesus' is perhaps the biggest stoker of the flames of anit-semitism, at least in the western world."

        That's the thing about Progressives, they see the world as it was a century ago instead of as it is now.

        The deicide accusation, like Nazi racial theory, has been pushed to the fringes since something like five decades ago. Where the Jew-haters today wave their cause publicly and in polite society, you will find neither the Christ-killer myth nor the Untermensch idea, but anti-Zionism. Today's form of Jew-hatred fit for public and refined consumption is the form of anti-Zionism.

      • QSuzy

        I agree with you. And the fact that Jesus was a Jewish rabbi with a Jewish mother and father means also that anti-Semites hate Jesus.

  • jacob

    What General CLAPPER has still has to learn about ISLAM and the Brotherhood,
    I have already forgotten…But what really cracks me up iare Sheik al-Qaradawi's
    words, reminding me that__it is not that the horse is so emaciated you can play
    harp on his ribs…. It is the fat inside pushing the ribs outwards ! ! , when he says
    he has nothing against Jews but only against ISRAEL, at the time his holy KORAN
    says it is their duty to kill them all , to the extent that even rocks and trees will tell
    the faithful to come kill the Jew hiding behind them….____Of course, such crock is swallowed whole only by those "illustrated" enough to believe in MOHAMMED's
    flying horse or that all the whites are demons, as preached by EIIJAH MOHAMMED, MESSENGER OF ALLAH, whose"Minister" FARRAKHAN__is to somebody no less
    than our President, a GREAT MAN…
    And by the way, was the pimp of the IRANIAN nuclearization, El Baradei, now presidential candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood ever awarded a Nobel Prize
    and if so , for what ??
    Just because if so, here is another nail in NOBEL prizes prestige coffin…

  • Elder Zion

    If the Jews like to "argue" and totalitarians dislike that, then tell me – why did 80% of American Jews vote for Obama? That doesn't sound like people who use their brain very much.

    • Edward

      Perhaps it's related to Survivor Guilt, as most Jews in America barely escaped the Holocaust and most had family and friends killed by the NZ. In a nutshell, perhaps the Jews voted for Obama out of a subconscious wish to suffer and be marginalized because of the Survivor Guilt they have. After all, most people know in America the Left is the home of Antisemitism. Just a thought.

    • QSuzy

      Two million Jews voted for Obama for the same reason that 100 million Christians voted for him—he was a more interesting candidate than McCain. Both parties are more alike than not alike and both of them are corrupt so it's a no-brainer that the majority of voters will vote for the most interesting candidate, period.

    • http://hecatr.livejournal.com/ Joseph Dooley

      Answer: they are not really Jews, they are Leftists.

  • USMCSniper

    Anti Semitism = jealousy.

    People think that the success of individual Jews must be due to a conspiracy or secret brotherhoo­d or something. Nope. It's called dedication to education, training in music, math, and science, hard work, and quick wit. Being highly qualified and passionate about the job, whatever it is. There are lots of Jews in the media, but also in medicine, all sciences, law. You're mad because they're good at these? Stop whining and get to work!

    • http://www.okcteaparty.org Dan

      Agree! Plus other cultural factors. Has anyone ever heard of any studies that have isolated the American Jewish population with respect to divorce, out of wedlock births, etc. etc.? I'll bet the figures show that family breakdown maladies are a lot less when compared to other ethnic segments. Also, don't know what goes on now, but I heard several years ago that Jewish family emphasis for many generations on learning music and playing an instrument was quite ubiquitous. Such learning would give young Jews advantages in social situations. I also heard recently that kids learning music is good for brain development and helps the aptitude for quantitative subjects.

  • Zena

    Yea, I don't get the Jews for Obama thing either. I'm a Jew, and it was certainly obvious to me that Obama was neither qualified nor honest, but apparently most Jews were brainwashed along with everyone else. Obama used textbook brainwashing techniques. His voice modulation, the repetition of slogans, etc. Humans are so gullible and easily manipulated. It helps with marketing to be sure but if science ever finds a way to eliminate self delusion, people may need more anti depressants, but at least Pinocchio will finally get to be a human.

    • bob maram

      dear zena, regarding president obama's lack of honesty and lack of consideration for jews and israel i suggest that we should not use broad brush thinking here and realize that democrats are not the only party guilty of these offenses. republicans such b as richard nixon was certainly as dishonest as a yellow kid weiland james baker the secretary under george h w bush makes obama look like a member of b'nai brith when we talk about anti israel positions. bob maram ps. i mean baker, the secretary of state.

    • Edward

      Excellent point re Obama brainwashing techniques. Plus his blatant appeal to the "youth", his "Hope and Change" mantra in which people could see anything they wanted to. I bet for years the Left has been waiting to implement their extraordinarily well thought out cliches and propaganda plan.

  • Malcom

    FYI. The Jews did not kill Jesus. It was the Italians (Romans). Have a nice day.

    • trickyblain


      I'm just saying that the notion — very popular for a very long time in the west — was that the Joooos were responsible.

      There's no doubt that this (false) notion was a huge contributor to western antisemetism.

    • Edward

      Antisemitism shifted from a religious context (killed Jesus) promulgated by the Western Church for many centuries to the NZ/Hitler emphasis on a racial context (Jews are contaminating Aryan blood). This was the dominant overriding delusion of Hitler. In fact, he foolishly attacked Russia in 1942 when he could have easily waited and consolidated NZ complete control all the way to India because he equated Bolshevism with Jews and could not relax his monomaniacal war on the Jews. BTW, most Germans, shattered by WW I and the Depression, did not want Germany armies on the march and rarely turned out to celebrate victories when the troops returned home for RR ("Modern Times" by Paul Johnson).

    • Paul of Alexandria

      At the instigation of the Pharisees, who controlled the Sanhedrin. Essentially, Pilot was afraid of a riot (at a time when he was already in trouble with the emperor) and was being politically expedient. (Interestingly enough, legend has it that Pilot and his wife became Christian).

      Of course Christians do not hold the Jews to blame, since they were acting on the behalf of the rest of humanity.

  • geoplaten

    I understand why totalitarians hate Jews and it makes me both sick and angry.

    I don't understand why most American Jews seem to support totalitarians and totalitarianism in general. I have yet to read a satisfactory explanation of that, so if anyone could enlighten me, I'd appreciate it.

    • trickyblain

      For example….

    • Montreal guy

      Do you have any evidence to back up your claim that most American Jews support totalitarians/totalitarianism? Many Jews do in fact support the Democratic Party. But, many also support the Republicans. Why do you think that Neo-Con, which is code-word for Jew, is so often thrown at Republicans?

    • DaveR

      Try “America’s Real War” by Conservative Rabbi Daniel Lapin, who is also politically conservative. Best explanation I have read.

    • Edward

      Perhaps it's related to Survivor Guilt, as most Jews in America barely escaped the Holocaust and most had family and friends killed by the NZ. In a nutshell, perhaps the Jews accept totalitarianism out of a subconscious wish to suffer and be marginalized because of the Survivor Guilt they have. After all, most people know in America the Left is the home of Antisemitism. Just a thought.

    • Ecco

      If you look at the breakdown of Jewish voters you will note the devout religious Jews predominantly vote conservative. The massive Jewish vote for Obama comes largely – as Dennis Prager puts it – from Jews whose religion is no longer Judaism, but secular humanism. Having identified with their Jewish heritage culturally, but feeling uncomfortable with study of the Bible, Torah, and other ancient traditional religious texts, they are prone to the utopianism that runs through all the communitarian/Marxist/etc. intellectual fads of the Left. Judaism introduced a progressive concept of history to the world (vs for example a cyclical concept often seen in Eastern religions), and the ethical imperative and requirement to work to contribute to improving the world. Unmoored from actual Biblically based worldviews, this makes the secular Jews vulnerable to utopian ideals. They then toss around a few Hebrew words like "tikkun olam" (repairing the world) and call their utopian secular humanism "Judaism". Add in the historical persecution of Jews in the global diaspora for centuries and there is a potent attraction in schemes that claim to usher in a better world. If more Jews were actually grounded in the religion they would be less likely to vote the marxist ticket. Of course, being marxist AND educated AND black, Obama was simply catnip for these non-faith-based secular humanist ethnic-identity Jews without mooring or grounding.

  • Montreal guy

    Jews have lived in many countries, often as significant minorities, so they have been a convenient target for bigotry. Totalitarians exploit pre-existing anti-semitic traditions, as tools of distraction and scapegoating. Democracies are certainly not immune from anti-semitism. Christianity and Islam resent the fact that Jews have rejected their supersessionist claims. Secular anti-semites often resent the moral and ethical standards promoted by Judaism. Or, they simply feel jealousy for those whom they consider foreigners.

  • http://www.therepublicrevealed.com/ Victor Laslow

    In times with RADICAL ISLAM and their denial of the Holocaust on the rise,
    it is more important now than ever.
    This message asks you to do one small act to remember ON 5/2/11 the
    Six Million (6,000,000) Jewish lives
    and the
    Five Million (5,000,000) Christian lives taken by hate http://www.therepublicrevealed.com/for ums/index.php?topic=1309.msg1434

  • BRL…

    The writer never answers the question posed in the headline, merely repeats it.

  • anon

    Ulrike Meinhof, one of the founders of the terrorist Baader-Meinhof Gang, said, “Auschwitz meant that six million Jews were killed … for what they were: money Jews. … Anti-Semitism is really a hatred of capitalism.”

    The NAZIs have documentation of the same motivation…

    Nearly all national economists agree that the Jews owe their role as merchants not to chance, but to their excellent abilities as merchants. As W. Sombart wrote: "The Jewish race is by nature the incarnation of the capitalism-mercantile spirit." (Der moderne Kapitalismus, Vol. 2, p. 349. Leipzig, 1902). Many others agree. The source: E. H. Schulz and R. Frercks, Warum Arierpargraph? Ein Beitrag zur Judenfrage (Berlin: Verlag Neues Volk, 1934). The "Aryan Law" was a piece of legislation the Nazis implemented early in Hitler's rule to drive Jews out of the professions. This 54-page pamphlet summarizes the law and argues for its beneficial effects.

    • Paul of Alexandria

      There is also the factor that quite often they were forbidden most trades, except for the lending of money (which was frowned upon by the church at the time as morally questionable). So, naturally they became good at it, and were persecuted because they were good at it. Viscous cycle.

  • Glen

    Maybe the Jews stay with the left for the same reason that the safest way to pet a wolf is to hold onto his ears. Tightly.

  • Barbara

    I wish the author of the article would explain to me, a Jew by heritage and a conservative by choice, why it is that most American Jews support the left? They are putting Israel in great danger through this support. Why, why, why?

    • Ecco

      Barbara: please see the explanation I offer above in response to Geoplaten and see if you find it satisfactory.

  • qsome

    i have always thought the jewish people believed in indivdual freedom and at the same time collectively worked together for that belief. i think that is why those who think they can control the existance of man will never except the jewish people. once you understand the unalienable rights endowed by our creator there is no going backwards. i think the American Jews have read and been taught the same garbage as many other Americans.

  • tanstaafl

    A hypocritical Jew looks like an ass carrying books. Those who deny the revelations of Allah are ugly. 62:5
    Allah turns Jews into apes! 7:166
    Allah will punish the disbelieving Jews until the Day of Resurrection. 7:167
    Those who deny Muhammad's revelations are like dogs. 7:176
    Those who deny Muhammad's revelation are evil. 7:177
    The Jews rejected and killed Allah's prophets, since "they were willfully blind and deaf." 5:70-71

    Gosh! And we wonder why Muslims are Jew-Haters!

  • mah29001

    I wonder where this puts David Duke…he can't be a right-wing extremist when he supports Ahmadinejad and agrees with the far left in supporting Iran…likewise with his other fellow white supremacist buddies.

  • K.Ross

    It seems as if people are always trying to figure out why this group or that group hates Jews. It has gotten to the point where I have to question if all of the identified people do. Does disagreeing with a Jewish person or view constitute hate. I have no beefs with Jewish people but I would be reluctant to disagree with them.

  • jesse b

    Sorry but one thing I strongly disagree with is the idea is leftism hating modernity. Leftism with its ideaology of great leap forwards and new Soviet man and progress and secularism seems pretty modernistic as opposed to reactionary. As was much of cinstructivist USSR architecture during the first decades of the USSR.