The European Anti-Semitism Sweepstakes

Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender.” His book "The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind" is just out from Broadside / Harper Collins.


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When Nobel Prize-winning German author and world-class left-wing crank Günter Grass sunk to a new low a few weeks back with an anti-Semitic poem that would have warmed the heart of Joseph Goebbels, I observed that “in a continent swarming with self-seeking literary intellectuals who ooze self-righteous anti-Semitism, Grass has resumed his place at the head of the whole unseemly pack.”

Well, if the latest screed by Norwegian “peace professor” Johan Galtung is any evidence, Grass’s poem has inspired other leading members of the pack to aim for their own new lows.  For Galtung has now served up his own grotesque entry in the Jew-hatred sweepstakes.

Granted, it’s no surprise to see Galtung, the “father of peace studies” and founder (more than half a century ago) of the International Peace Research Institute, diving into these foul waters.  Poisonous anti-semitism fits right in with Galtung’s charming history as a booster of Communist dictatorship and a savage critic of Western democratic capitalism – and, especially, a propagandist against America, which for him is the epitome, and the headquarters, of everything despicable and dangerous about the contemporary world.  This is a guy who thinks that war is caused not by tyrannical bullies but by free countries that refuse to be bullied – a  guy for whom responding to aggression is at least as evil as aggression itself.  (In fact, even more evil – for if you don’t resist aggression, there’s no war, right?)

What’s most lamentable is that this unspeakable crackpot has fans.  Years ago, at the University of Oslo, I experienced the revolting spectacle of Galtung receiving a prolonged ovation for a “lecture” that was little more than a pastiche of anti-American invective and absurd conspiracy theories.  Last September 30, he gave another lecture entitled “Ten Theses about July 22” – that being the date on which Anders Behring Breivik massacred 77 people in and near Oslo.  The lecture, according to NRK, the Norwegian national broadcasting company, “was greeted with a standing ovation by some, while others chose to leave the auditorium.”  Good for them.  In Dagbladet on October 7, John Færseth neatly summed up the lecture’s message as follows: “Galtung comes dangerously close to the idea that the world is really controlled by Jews and Freemasons.”  After Galtung replied to Færseth, the latter followed up by reprinting his Dagbladet article in the Humanist along with a reply to Galtung’s reply.  Galtung’s reply to the reply to his reply – are you still with me? – appeared in a later issue of the Humanist, and both items from the Humanist were made available online on April 23.

Galtung’s last contribution to this exchange, entitled “On Clear Lines and Ambivalence,” is an instant classic of its genre – namely, lowdown anti-Semitism originating from the very summit of European intellectual celebrity (or, at least, much too close to that summit for comfort).  To be sure, Galtung makes an exceedingly feeble effort to shield himself from charges of anti-Semitism – (1) by suggesting, absurdly, that he is himself a stalwart soldier in the fight against that most stubborn of European prejudices (“anti-Semitism has mostly disappeared from American debate.  And that’s a good thing.  I made my contribution when I worked for the Anti-Defamation Le[a]gue”), and (2) by making the magnificently disingenuous argument that not to allow criticism of Jews and of Israel is to keep the lid on a potentially explosive brew.

Get that?  Avoid questions about Jews and Israel, Galtung warns, “and anti-Semitism will come like a tidal wave.”  He claims that “Jewish friends” of his in the U.S., “a country frustrated down to its bone marrow,” fear precisely this kind of tidal wave.  (I would be fascinated, by the way, to know which Jews in the U.S. are this man’s friends.  If you’re one of them, please drop me a line and explain.)  To sum up: we’ve got to criticize Jews and Israel as vigorously as possible – not to contribute to anti-Semitism, but to prevent it.

(While you’re scratching your chin over that one, let me just interject that, when it comes to Galtung’s work for the Anti-Defamation League, all I’ve been able to discover is that the ADL published – in 1961 – a book in which he surveyed high-school students’ knowledge of and attitudes toward Jews and Nazism. Again, if you  can tell me anything more about Galtung’s involvement in the ADL’s fight against anti-Semitism, do let me know.)

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  • Jethro Tall

    Quisling was not the ONLY Norwegian Nazi!!

  • Larry

    Galtung was probably a member of the Norwegian branch of the Hitler Jugend, but unfortunately the Nazis in Norway had enough time to destroy all their incriminating documents at the end of the War.

    • JvB

      Just think of the next group of "Boikott Israel" sign carriers waiting in the wings…..

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    Another Eurotrash socialist who is upset that his side LOST WW2.

  • Silver Scumbag

    I am really enjoying watching Europe suffer in this latest debt crisis over there. I hope it ends very very bad for them, in all due respect for the few europeans who are not in love with leftist scatterbrain ideology. Now that France is marching to the left it will really get bad for them.

    This euro-wackjob Zizek ( from the interview with David Horowitz; the world tomorrow) also spoke of his Jewish friends. Even Kirk Douglas has spoken of his muslim friends.

    I do not want any muslims as friends. I do not want any leftists as friends.

    Tragedy was that Breivik was caught and can no longer kill leftists, their families nor muslims. Call me cold blooded but the camp in at Utøya island, was the site of a Labour Party ( ie, left wing pro palestinian anti Israel bordrline national socialist ) youth camp.

    Those sweet kids would have one day be joining flotillas or flytillas against Israel and march in Oslo with their muslim travellers calls to boycott Israel ( even joined by Israeli intellectuals!). Perhaps even becoming violent one day and attacking pro-zionists or doing something that will influence Israel resulting in putting its soldiers or civilians in harms way.

    Horowitz said it best: Leftists had no morals. Especially their parents who indoctrinate their kids.

    • rachaelamb

      When you say this you realize you sound no better than the Arabs and Muslims,and far leftists who say all Israeli children are legitimate targets because they don't like where their families live. You can never justify gunning down people in coldblood,who poise no immediate threat to you, no matter how reprehensible and despicable their political beliefs maybe. I agree though the far leftists have no morals. And if God forbid a second holocaust happens would probably blame the victims, and say they were oppressing their murderers,and got what they deserved,

      • Silver Scumbag

        "gunning down people in coldblood,who poise no immediate threat to you"

        Madame, you are correct in that they pose no immediate threat but the leftists and muslims do pose a threat to us all.

        In Quebec, Canada, where I live, the socialists have ruined this place. We pay the highest taxes in the world and Quebec is on course to be the poorest province in Canada. Our governments are stealing from us.

        We have a growing muslim population that votes for the left and are becoming politicians.

        You are free to hate what i wrote but so be it.

  • Hank Rearden

    Galtung hates America. I guess we didn't get rid of the Nazis fast enough for him. I don't think it should be overlooked that all this gulag-loving anti-Americanism fills a pretty nice ricebowl. My suspicion is that this old whore figured out an easy way to make a buck in his youth and has been walking that street ever since. However, I concede that that does not account for why he has an audience. Woe betide Norway should Washington ever lie in ruins. To paraphrase Thomas More "…does he think he could stand in the wind that would then blow?"

  • clarespark

    It would be nice if the Europeans and Americans had a broader understanding of antisemitism. International finance capitalists, it was alleged by J. A. Hobson (1903) that these were the source of war. I wrote about that and other more subtle antisemitisms here: http://clarespark.com/2010/11/14/the-abcs-of-anti….

  • Marty

    Just one more obscene example of how totalitarian thugs of the right and left have so much in common. It's not really useful to try to distinguish between them. Each is anti-semitic, anti-America, anti-democracy, and each is willing to prostituting itself by aligning with islamism and is enthusiastic about the prospect. galtung and grass are despicable creatures who are thoroughly infected with one of the more virulent strains of anti-semitism trying to save Jews from themselves by destroying Israel. They can't help themselves. If they don't really know what they are doing, they are fools. If they do know, they are enemies of the human race and similar to the muslims they protect and admire.

  • Schlomotion

    I urge readers to find these original articles that Mr. Bawer tears apart. I followed the only link he provided to one of the actual articles and read it in Google translation and it does not have the tone that he suggests.

    Here is the translated link to the article Bawer is ripping:
    http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=no&t

    • ProudIslamophobe

      Urge all you want, scum.

    • Ray Olson

      The awkward translation makes the article to which you direct attention opaque sometimes, but I must disagree. It does convey the impression that Galtung thinks the Protocols have some wisdom in them. As well, his citation of the piece promulgated by National Vanguard is also very suspicious-making.

  • Ghostwriter

    Why am I not surprised that Shlobrain is sticking up for another Jew hater? I guess I shouldn't be surprised. He's never liked Jewish people anyway.

  • dougjmiller

    Anti-Semitism is the poison that killed Europe. What is left of Europe is a rotting corpse that is still spewing Jew hatred, even as the vultures devour it's organs. I wish I could give a decent eulogy for what once was the crowning achievement of mankind's journey on earth. All that comes to mind is, "See you, wouldn't want to be you."

  • yossi

    Ever heard of the Guardian? The whole media in the UK and Europe is anti Israel. Where does it say anywhere that Israel is hit by missiles on a daily basis? It's just not news. But when Israel retaliates, everybody knows every little story of the poor victims on the Palestinians side. By saying that jewish people control the media, you just show how ignorant you really are.
    The media can say anything it wants about Israel and Jewish people (eg. your words) but to publish caricatures of Muhammad is crossing a red line. Wake up and smell the flowers. Europe is soon to be painted in red and fire by the Muslims (see what is happening around you. Just search youtube) and you are busy in finding a scapegoat. I pitty you.

  • JvB

    Mr. Bruce Bawer…..I applaud your insight, your wit and your exceptional writing. Bravo! and best wishes for your continued success with clear thought well presented.