Jewish Anti-Semitism, Self-Hatred and Adopted Persecution

Pro-Palestinian demonstration to boycott Israel

Let’s begin this discussion with an excerpt from Chloe Valdary’s much larger column on J Street.

By adopted persecution, I mean the tendency both historically and in recent years of certain segments of the Jewish community to internalize the accusations foisted upon them and blame themselves for the evils of the world. What often happens is, in an effort to achieve ostensible peace with one’s adversaries, one essentially agrees with everything the adversary says, and works with the adversary to rid Jewish society of its alleged evils to obtain an idyllic utopian society of brotherhood.

Benzion Netanyahu writes about this manifestation in pre-Zionist days when ideas were being debated in the Jewish community on how to stem the tide of European anti-Semitism. Communism was advanced by some Jews as an alternative to Jewish national pride, what we call Zionism today. One of the premises of this notion of thinking was that since communism proposed the dissolution of all distinctions, whether that be ethnic or national, Jews would no longer be persecuted.

They would not be viewed as a distinct nation but rather apart of the larger brotherhood of the world. So, like the notion that a woman is responsible for being raped, certain Jews sided with those who proclaimed that their very “Jewishness” was what caused anti-Semitism in the first place. Anti-Semitism would necessarily cease with the eradication of this Jewish distinction, both cultural and national. But it is the very eradication of Jewish distinctiveness that is itself a form of anti-Semitism. Indeed, history proved this. Yet, this new variation of Stockholm Syndrome is still advanced as a legitimate position within the Jewish community.

I haven’t heard the term Adopted Persecution used before and it’s apt. I think that there are several manifestations of what is widely referred to as “Jewish Self-Hatred”.

1. Self-Hatred – On the one hand there are a variety of neurotic responses to persecution. There is the personal response. Like the fat kid who begins preemptively making fat jokes, there are neurotic Jewish Anti-Semites who respond to Anti-Semitism by becoming Anti-Semitic.

Some of these are classical mental cases. Others identify with the ‘superior group’ by despising Jews. You can see in the twisted saga of the Soros clan. It may not be accurate to call them neurotic. They’re wannabe Nazis. Soros isn’t crazy. He isn’t notably neurotic. There’s nothing of Norman Finkelstein about him. His sense of superiority is rooted in despising Jews. And he gets that from his parents.

It’s not a unique phenomenon. There was a segment of 19th and 20th century European Jewry that saw itself as superior because of its distaste for the Jews. Their spiritual descendants today boast of having no connection to the Jewish people while ranting about Israel. They’ve simply swapped out aspiring to membership in one elite group for another through Anti-Semitism.

There are also the collective responses to solving the Jewish problem that Chloe references. They have become rare domestically, but you can see that driving impulse to repair the reputation of the Jewish people by solving Israel. You can see that attitude bleeding through Roger Cohen’s pieces, but it’s become rarer these days as the Jewish people are becoming polarized into a secure community and an insecure non-community. The latter is not concerned with the Jewish people as a whole. They’re not interested in Jews as a people in any way.

Those still concerned that Israel is making Jews look bad are generally older.


2. Egocentric Jewish Anti-Semitism – This overlaps somewhat with the Soros brand, but it’s not a response to history of any kind. It’s often personal. Sometimes it comes from a sense of rejection. Their lifestyle clashed with a community. They resent their parents.

Other times it’s as senseless as any other form of hatred. Left-wingers of Jewish descent are indoctrinated to hate their own people. It’s a subset of the white privilege school. Even when they aren’t, their politics lead them to do it anyway. If you have no special feeling for Israel and you take a college course on the Middle East, you’re likely to come out hating Israel and then Jews for being so greedy and provincial. And like Soros, you’ll feel that your Anti-Semitism makes you a better person.

What it isn’t however is self-hatred.

The term self-hatred is often a misnomer especially today. Jewish Anti-Semites of the non-neurotic kind rarely hate themselves. They hate others. They like themselves quite a lot.

This flavor of Jewish Anti-Semitism is becoming more common than the self-hating kind.

  • DogmaelJones1

    As an atheist, the one religion that has always confounded me is Judaism, but most particularly the Jewish self-hatred and Jewish Anti-Semitism phenomena described in this column. It’s a behavior I haven’t observed in Catholics, who might differ on whether Masses should be traditionally held, or if they can be put on with guitars and folk-singing. And the Protestants are divided into so many subdivisions and sects — from Episcopalians to the Methodists to the
    Amish — I can’t keep track of them. I doubt that the Amish or the Mennonites are riven into factions of Amish anti-Amishism or self-hating Mennonites. Also, I don’t regard “Jews” as a race, not by a long shot. I wouldn’t know a person was a Jew unless he was wearing a black hat and a boiled shirt and suit and no tie and had curls drooping over his ears and looked sort of sad. But, is there something in Judaism that causes such rifts as Daniel describes above? Is it a
    psychological cause, a doctrinal cause, or an amalgam of both and other
    external factors? And what really gets under my skin are Jews who call for the destruction of Israel, or going huggy-bears with Muslims who they know damned well want to cut the throats of all Jews, whether or not they live in Israel. Is there a key to grasping the conflicts?

    • TheOrdinaryMan

      I don’t claim to fully understand these conflicts myself; but I would start with how different classes(economic) were affected by the horrific European anti-Semitism of the middle ages, down through the Czarist pogroms of the 19th and 20th centuries. For example, Baron de Rothschild, a Jew whose family became wealthy well before Zionism got started, refused to help his poor co-religionists in the Holy Land.(Much to the disgust of Herzl) Zionism was mostly supported by lower and middle class Jews. On the other hand, America was a different ball game. America had comparative religious freedom, and there were no pogroms here. So Jews became assimilated fairly quickly, and their Judaism became watered-down just as quickly–Reform Judaism was born here in America. For many, not even WWII and the Holocaust revived it. The results of these splits is what you see today. But this is just a starting point.

      • DogmaelJones1

        Thank you for your helpful comments.

    • Elliott

      TheOrdinaryMan states that “Reform Judaism was born here in America”. This is not accurate. Reform Judaism started in Germany! During the late 18th Century and early 19th Century, it might have been a catalyst (but NOT an excuse) for the Europeans (first) and then the NAZIS, to allow their antisemitism to rise to the surface.

      Reform Judaism caused an incredible rift within the Jewish Communities of Central Europe. The Reform Jews were attempting to become Germans who were Jews (and not the “real thing”: Jews who happened to be Germans because they lived in Germany OR Jews who happened to be, say, Dutch because they lived in Holland).
      Many books have been written on this subject – unfortunately, I cannot name one of them (shame on me!).

      • TheOrdinaryMan

        Reform Judaism might not have begun in the USA, but it received a big push from Rabbi Issac Meyer Wise of Cincinnati. But it did begin at a time when class played a large role in people of a particular religion self-identifying.

        • Chavi Beck

          That would be the same ‘rabbi’ who is famous for his refusal to do ANYTHING to possibly save Jews during the Holocaust. Unless that was his son, Rabbi Steven Wise. Nu, whatever. The seltzer doesn’t fall far from the seltzer cart, like Michael Savage says.

    • Judahlevi

      To answer your question one would need to begin with, “Who is a Jew?”. This is a question which has been debated in Jewish circles forever and there is no easy answer.

      The main difference between the ‘religions’ you bring up and Judaism is that Jews are not just a religion, but a people or civilization (as Mordechai Kaplan would say). You are right that it is not a race or ethnicity, but not just a religion either. Anyone can become a Jew.

      Just as America has people who hate it (generally liberals), Jews have Jews who hate being Jews. My personal opinion is that Jews who hate being Jews are not really Jews at all. One can opt out just as one can give up their citizenship to America even if born American.

      • DogmaelJones1

        Thank you for your thoughtful reply. All the responses here to my query are extremely helpful.

      • kertitor

        @Judahalevi. The concept, that a person is not a Jew if he does not follow Judaism or become Christian, or atheist or simply indifferent is only wishful thinking. I am sure, when you meet a person you know the ethnicity ( European, Asian , Middle Eastern or African.) Of course the last 150 years produced a lot of mixed people, including Jews. But genetics can prove that Jews is a race. It does not determinate your way of thinking, or mental capacity, but the physical features are evident. For long centuries, Jews looked like the ultra orthodox or chassids of today. It was scary, and very unhealthy. I mean inbreeding, and as result, there are certain health problems which typically Jewish . The main reason is that cca 2000 years ago they did not accept Christianity. It is not a bad joke, because as Judaism still waiting for the messiah, who can born to any Jewish family, so the sick or crippled or mentally ill stayed in the gene pool. The 19th and 20th centuries accepted Jews as equal to anyone, so they started to assimilate. There were more healthy and good looking babies ,mixed marriages, but that relatively short period could not eliminate the result of 2000 years.

        • Joe The Gentile

          @kertitor:disqus , what is called ‘in-breeding’ means breeding with close relatives. I have not heard of any evidence of in-breeding among Jews. (Breeding within your own group does not in itself make for in-breeding if your group is large enough.) The Jewish health problems may actually be side-effects of intelligence-boosting genes; this is certainly true of torsion dystonia. Recommended: The 10.000 Year Explosion.

          >> The main reason is that cca 2000 years ago they did not accept Christianity.

          From this point on, your writing is very antisemitic.

          • Chavi Beck

            Lots of marrying cousins (not close cousins necessarily) in my (Jewish) family tree. When the only Jews in town are your own clan and one other clan, and you marry the girl from down the block, generation after generation — that’s what happens.

        • Chavi Beck

          My family and most of my friends are hassids or ultra-orthodox. We are neither scary nor very unhealthy. But thanks for caring.

          • kertitor

            Chavi, thanks for not calling me anti Semitic. I am read most of your comments, and I agree most of them. What I’ve written about the ultra orthodox is based on experience. I got so angry when the photos of N Kartists showed that they exchanged kisses and hugs with that Iranian monster, or I’ve seen they marched with Muslim anti Israel protesters. It seems Israel has more Jewish enemies, than Arab. Have you read The Massada S. h . i. t. list? It disappeared from the Internet, but it was very educational. As a true Zionist, I can not comprehend why it is happening. I also appreciate Sultan Knish writings. We need more Jabotinsky, and Moshe Feiglin, and even Irgun than brilliant intellectuels.

          • Chavi Beck

            I upvoted Joe the Gentile’s post and did not see the need to repeat his words. Your writing is indeed anti Semitic in the sense of ignorance plus couldn’t care less about spreading your baseless and offensive beliefs.

            Seeing NK on TV is not called ‘experience,’ sorry. They are an unaffiliated group of wackos as ANY orthodox person (or wikipedia for that matter) will tell you. Their membership is under 100, maybe under 25. I don’t judge your entire community by Westboro, don’t judge my entire community by NK. Simple as that. Yeah I’ve read all kinds of crappy lies online that have since disappeared from the internet, difference is I know how to take them with a pound of salt when warranted and I don’t go slamming people’s religions based on that.

            If it’s your belief that Jews are genetically twisted because of not accepting Jesus, or whatever convoluted reasoning you posted, please be kind enough not to call yourself a true zionist. If you believe the only Jews whose genetic line should continue are stars like Greenfield and Feiglin, ditto. Most orthodox Jews are not intellectual stars, they are simply normal human beings with functional religious and family values. (Whether their communal IQ is higher than the American average should have nothing to do with this discussion.) Unlike your local Islamic center we are not trying to kill you, so hating us for the way we dress (honestly??) is plain old bigotry, nothing more noble than that.

    • Joe The Gentile

      Jewishness may indeed be a religion in some senses but it does also have a considerable aspect of being a race or ethnicity. It fits quite well into the dictionary definition of ethnicity, ‘the fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition’. The race aspect is less clear, but in some sensible definitions it does fit, and quite well. Part of the problem is that there is no single generally accepted definition of race.

      But if we define race/tribe in people in a way analogous to a breed in dogs, meaning a group that has interbred largely only with itself for many generations (with little interbreeding with outside the group), then yes, Ashkenazi Jews are a race/tribe.

      The book the 10,000 Year Explosion goes into some detail about Ashkenazi genetic history and it’s worth a read if it interests you.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      It’s a complicated question. To boil it down into one sentence, it’s a combination of prolonged minority status and persecution, then leavened by the impact of the left, into something toxic.

      It’s not entirely unique. You see plenty of non-Jewish Americans with similar attitudes these days on the left. It just doesn’t go as deep.

      The people crying white privilege have the same basic self-hating attitude.

      And just a final clarifying note, these aren’t factions within Judaism. This is largely the left, which to the extent it is religious, practices a brand of social justice theology without really having a scripture or a deity.

      • DogmaelJones1

        Thank you, Daniel, for your reply here. I feel a little closer to understanding the phenomenon. One of the contributing “external factors” I speculated on is the Left, as you mention here. Still, the notion of “self-hatred” remains alien to me. I can get angry with myself for certain things, such as not proofing my columns closely enough, and call myself unspeakable names for just plain thoughtlessness, but that’s the limit. “Self-hatred” would never be a badge of honor or military decoration for me, as it seems to be for many Jewish people.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          That’s why I think there needs to be a distinction between the more classic type of self-hatred as a response to persecution and a more conventional lefty hatred of their own people, e.g. white privilege, radical reform type stuff

          the latter isn’t actually hatred of the self, it’s a kind of egotism

          • Joe The Gentile

            Yes. This is crucial to understand, DogmaelJones. The self-hating Jew/White/American is PROUD of his hateful attitude towards Jews/Whited/Americans and he NEVER considers his attitude to be hateful. ‘Hate, who me?’ He will say, and proudly denounce his hate-object at every turn. In his head he is earning brownie-points, cleansing himself and making a great moral exhibition whenever he does this.

  • Ban Liberals

    Make the distinction: They are self-hating, self-loathing, LIBERALS!

    A liberal is a liberal, and the mental state of them apparently is deficient no matter the color, religion, origin or ethnicity.

  • Douglas Mayfield

    ‘…in an effort to achieve ostensible peace with one’s adversaries, one essentially agrees with everything the adversary says, and works with the adversary to rid Jewish society of its alleged evils to obtain an idyllic utopian society of brotherhood.’
    In order to negotiate, or even begin to have a discussion, at a minimum, you must have a sense that the person or persons with whom you’re negotiating is/are rational, that is, a sense that even though you disagree, those, with whom you are considering negotiating, will listen to reason.
    Otherwise, you are fooling yourself and that is very dangerous territory when the survival of your country is at stake.
    Those on the Left, whether in the media or in the Whitehouse or in houses of government around the world, all desire one thing, a world wide socialist slave state. So there is no point in trying to negotiate with them. Any concessions you make will only lead to further lies, evasion, and betrayal on their part.
    As a non-Jew, I support Israel because based on the last 60 or more years of history of the Middle East, it is crystal clear that there is only one country in the Middle east in which there is respect for freedom and individual rights. That country is Israel. Every other country in the Middle East is run by some form of savage tyranny, whether religious or secular.
    In summary, you don’t negotiate with people who want to murder or enslave you. They will end up handing you your head after they cut it off.

  • Clare Spark

    Or, you might say that they fear or resent other Jews for being Jewish. Many Reform Jews are like this, out of a fantasy that they will be accepted by the majority upper-class culture if they put down their lower class brethren. See “Leo Steinberg and the Dilemma of the Jewish intellectual.” After all, not everyone owns a printing press, so rational Jews of a certain generation assimilated to “liberalism” and hoped for true acceptance, which of course they failed to achieve.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      I think that kind is largely dying out generationally

  • Bamaguje

    There are basically two kinds of Jewish anti-Semites:

    The first category is a bizarre form of Stockholm syndrome in which the self-hating Jew has been brainwashed and actually believes fallacious Jew hating propaganda.
    The second category are cowards who do not really subscribe to anti-Jewish propaganda, but nonetheless go along with it… in order to avert anti-Semitic attacks and violence.
    With the holocaust still fresh in the minds of Jews, this category of pretend Jew haters just don’t want to be victims anymore. But they are seriously mistaken, the anti-Semitic crocodile will simply eat them last.
    One might add a third category… traitors!!

  • Joe The Gentile

    >>The term self-hatred is often a misnomer especially today. Jewish Anti-Semites of the non-neurotic kind rarely hate themselves. They hate others. They like themselves quite a lot. This flavor of Jewish Anti-Semitism is becoming more common than the self-hating kind.

    Daniel, my understanding of the term ‘self-hating’ when applied in this kind of context, never meant literally hating oneself. A self-hating Jew MEANS BY DEFINITION a Jew who hates Jews; and so a self-hating American, or self-hating White and so on. This does mean that this kind of use of the term self-hating is a bit confusing or misleading in its meaning. It would be good if there were a clearer term.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      I just stick with Jewish anti-Semites

      • UCSPanther

        I would call them “traitors”.

  • Edgar Davidson

    The UK version of J-Street is Yachad, which is so “pro-Israel and pro-peace” that it celebrated
    Israel’s Independence Day last week by hosting the anti-Zionist group ‘Breaking the Silence’. Check out this very important statement from Yachad about it:

  • DB1954

    Soros may not be crazy, but his worldview is. I simply can’t digest what Soros has done.

  • Reuven

    Unfortunately, Jewish anti-Semitism, when it manifests its ugly self, is a particularly virulent strain of the disease.

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