A window into Jewish guilt

Jewish guilt
Gilad Atzmon writes:

It has become an institutional Jewish habit to examine how much Jews are hated by their host nations and how fearful Jews are of their neighbours. Jewish press outlets reported on 27 October that “9 out of 10 US Jews worry about anti-Semitism”.

I, for one, can’t think of another people who invest so much energy in measuring their unpopularity. Despite the scale of Islamophobia and anti-Black racism, we are not subjected to a constant barrage of “statistics” to “warn us” of how hated Blacks are or how unsafe Muslims feel.

The American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) statistics suggest that “most Jews think that the situation is getting worse”. I find its statistics questionable but I guess any mathematically inclined person would agree that if 9 out of 10 are fearful, then the situation can’t get much “worse” as 10 out of 10 would constitute only a minor increase (11 per cent).

Assume for a moment that the AJC’s statistics reflect reality and that the  overwhelming majority (90 per cent) of 1,200 Jewish respondents, from all political and religious persuasions, regard Jew-hatred as a serious problem with potentially disastrous consequences.

We might wonder is are the “naughty” one out of ten Jews who, unlike his / her brethren, is not scared of his / her American neighbours. I suspect these are the so-called “self-haters”, that infamous bunch of horrid humanist Jews who support Palestine and are disgusted by the manifold of recent Jewish #MeToo scandals and paedophilia/organised crime networks. This small minority (10 per cent ) of disobedient Jews might be disturbed by the opioid scandal that left 400.000 Americans dead, they probably know who were the prime actors in this saga of class genocide. They are likely troubled by a range of  financial crimes from Madoff to Israeli banks evading US taxes, to the Israeli binary options companies that defraud American citizens. These universalist Jewish outcasts are often vocal critics of their people, their culture and their politics. They may denounce AIPAC (AMerican Israel Public Affairs Committee) and the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), George Soros and even JVP (Jewish Voices for Peace) for acting as the controlled opposition. The AJC’s “statistics” point to the possible existence of a comic scenario in which nine out of 10 Jews are intimidated by the one out of 10 Jews who speak out.

There is a less humorous, more serious interpretation of the AJC’s “findings”. It is possible that the large number of Jews who worry about anti-Semitism indicates that Jews at large are aware of the worrying traits associated with their politics, culture, identity, lobbying and Israeli criminality.

Jews may feel that they are stained as a group by problematic characters such as Weinstein, Epstein and Maxwell. They may feel polluted by Israeli politics and the intensive Zionist lobbying that plunders billions of American taxpayers’ dollars every year. As the White House seems to turn its back on the neocons’ immoral interventionism, some Jews may be discomfited by the fact that the neocon war mongering doctrine has been largely a Jewish project. As Haartez writer Ari Shavit wrote back in 2003: “The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish…” Maybe some Jews now understand that the Zionist shift from a “promised land” to the neocon “promised planet” doesn’t reflect well on the Jews as a group.

I am trying to point out the possibility that the overwhelming fear of “anti-Semitism”, documented however poorly by the AJC, might well be the  expression of  guilt. American Jews may feel communal guilt over the disastrous politics and culture of some sections of their corrupted elite. They might even feel guilty as Americans about the brutal sacrifice of one of America’s prime values, that of  freedom of speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment, on the altar of “anti-Semitsm“.

Obviously, I would welcome AJC’s further investigation of this. It would be interesting to learn about the correlation between the Jewish fear of anti-Semitism and Jewish guilt. It would also be fascinating to find out how Jewish anxiety translates into self-reflection. In that regard, I suggest that instead of blaming the American people, Jews try introspection. US Jews may want to follow the early Zionists, such as Theodor Herzl, who turned guilt into self-examination. Herzl was deeply disturbed by anti Semitism but this didn’t stop him from digging into its causes. “The wealthy Jews control the world, in their hands lies the fate of governments and nations,” Herzl wrote. He continued: “They set governments one against the other. When the wealthy Jews play, the nations and the rulers dance. One way or the other, they get rich.” 

Herzl, like other early Zionists, believed that Jews could be emancipated from their conditions and even be loved globally by means of a cultural, ideological and spiritual metamorphosis with the aspiration of “homecoming”. Herzl and his fellow early Zionists were clearly wrong in their proposed remedy for the Jewish question, but were absolutely spot on in their adherence to self-reflection and harsh self-criticism.

American Jews have much to learn from Herzl and other early Zionists. They should ask themselves how their American “Golden Medina”, their Jewish land of opportunities, has turned into a “threatening” realm. What happened, what has changed in the last few years? Was it the constant cries over anti-Semitism and the desperate and institutional attempts to silence critics that turned their Golden Medina into a daunting space?

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