Note: Find the original “Memories of Madison” article here.
By Kevin MacDonald
I received many positive responses to my VDARE.com article “Memories of Madison: My life in the New Left” — quite a few from people who went through similar experiences. I hope that some of these people would write up their experiences. They are very valuable as a firsthand account of history. Another column based on others’ experiences would certainly have quite a bit of interest.
A lot of us are still “getting over” those days, and there can be little doubt that the sensibilities of the 1960s are a major ingredient in our current cultural malaise. The big story of the 20th century in the US is a struggle for influence by the Jewish-dominated left. The Jewish Old Left was contained during the 1950s by the influence of McCarthyism. But the breakthrough of the New Left into the mainstream culture in the 1960s has had a very large influence on current cultural norms, especially on elite attitudes toward immigration and multiculturalism. As I mentioned in the article, the implicit agenda of the Jewish left has been the general displacement of non-Jewish whites.
Two comments bear an extended discussion. Mark A. Mendlovitz asks why I “oppose Zionism. Is not what Israeli Jews are doing analogous to what you and I are seeking to do here in the U.S.?”
I certainly do not oppose the principle that it is legitimate for people to carve out a piece of real estate so that they can develop their own form of ethnic nationalism. Indeed, in a previous VDARE.com article, I emphasized the legitimacy and benefits of universal ethnic nationalism, based on the work of Jerry Z. Muller and Frank Salter.
Mendlovitz writes “Yes, supporting Israel is trouble for the U.S., but as is often the case, doing what is right is troublesome.” As he suggests, the problem is that Jewish ethnic nationalism has resulted in a very large cost to the United States for all the reasons that writers like Mearsheimer and Walt — and I — describe.
Frankly, I do not believe that it is in my ethnic interests nor is in the interests of the United States to antagonize the Arab and Muslim world in the interests of an expansionist, ethno-nationalist Israel. It’s simply not our fight. And now there is a real danger that the Israel Lobby will persuade the US to go to war against Iran. This would be yet another enormously costly effort. There can be no question at all that the hostilities between Iran and the US are centered around US support for Israel.
I completely agree that Arabs and other Muslims should be excluded from Western countries, but I don’t single them out in this regard. As an ethnic nationalist, I would like to see Western countries committed to preserving European peoples and their cultures. Let the Arabs continue to fester in their failed, undemocratic societies, with veiled women, clans, polygamy, and cousin marriage. I certainly do not blame Israel for their failures, any more than I blame the West for Africa’s problems. The neocon dream of converting the Arab nations into democratic, republican states was always nothing more than a bit of utopian propaganda that was aided and abetted by staunchly Zionist academics like Bernard Lewis and his neocon publicists. (Yet the ADL and the SPLC claim that I am the dishonest one who attempts to use his academic position to spread falsities.)
I would be willing to make a quid pro quo with the organized Jewish community: If you support white ethno-nationalism in the US and provide intensive, effective support for ending and reversing the immigration policy of recent decades (i.e., something approaching the support you presently provide Israel), I would be willing to go to the wall to support Jewish ethno-nationalism in Israel, even at substantial cost for the US. The fact that a miniscule number of Jews — none of them part of the main Jewish activist organizations that have been so destructive to white ethno-nationalism — are immigration patriots and see value in America as a European civilization is certainly not a reason for someone like me to support Jewish ethno-nationalism.
As a humorous aside (we can’t always be serious!), Philip Weiss reports that Abe Foxman made the following argument for why just about everyone should support Zionism. It is a reductio ad absurdum of the argument that white ethno-nationalists should support Jewish nationalism:
Can you be anti-Zionist and not be an anti-Semite? Almost never. Unless you can prove to me you’re against nationalism. If you’re one of those unique individuals in this world that’s opposed to American nationalism, French nationalism, Palestinian nationalism, then you can be opposed to Jewish nationalism. Is it racist? You bet it is. Every nationalism is racist. It sets its laws of citizenship, it sets its own capital… It sets its songs, it sets its values. It is, if you will, exclusive, and you can even call it racist. But if the only nationalism in the world that is racist is Jewish nationalism, then you’re an anti-Semite.. I don’t want to make any apologies for it.
Hmmm, racism means excluding anyone from anything? In practice, Jewish nationalism means, among other things, erecting an apartheid society and enacting racialist marriage laws in Israel (see below). On the other hand, mainstream forms of American “proposition-nation” nationalism — led by the ADL — seem resolutely committed to a post-European America. If sing the Star Spangled Banner at a baseball game, I must logically support Jewish nationalism as it exists in Israel? I think not.
As I argued previously, white people must be less principled and more self- interested. This implies that they should support others’ nationalism only when it is in their self-interest.
I must agree with Weiss that Foxman is “a loud man with reality issues.”
I agree with Mendlovitz that “while many Jews still vote largely Democrat and have a soft spot for liberal causes, the number of Jewish ‘radicals’ is vastly less than it once was, partly because of the general affluence of the Jewish population, and partly because of a number of other factors.” The problem is that the Jewish defection from the far left has not really altered the fundamental conflicts of interest between the organized Jewish community and white Americans.
- A major factor easing the defection of Jews from the radical left (in addition to concerns about anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and Soviet support for the Arabs against Israel in the Cold War) was the leftist critique of Zionism. Mark Rudd’s comments, quoted in my article are typical of the leftist critique: Israel is “militarized, racist, religio-nationalist, corporate, riven with so many internal splits and hatreds that only the existence of a perpetual enemy keeps the nation from exploding.” Whereas Rudd remained a leftist, Jews deserted the left in droves when it became impossible to reconcile their leftism with their commitment to Jewish ethno-nationalism and the state of Israel.
- Neocons — really the only significant group of “conservative” Jews — are no help on issues like immigration. Their main concerns are to organize US support for Israel and to keep the conservative wing of American politics safe for Jews. Neocons only adopt conservative social policies as positions of convenience in order to appeal to the Republican base. As Peter Brimelow noted, “[William] Kristol will return to immigration enthusiasm once he has helped persuade Bush to attack Iran.” (Kristol failed to persuade Bush, but he is now hard at work trying to persuade Obama.)
- Even though the organized Jewish community is now best described as liberal rather than radical, it is still deeply committed to a post-European America, and that is really the only important issue. A recent spectacle illustrating this is the “Progress by Pesach” campaign to promote open borders immigration reform. Even Lawrence Auster, whose role as a Jewish activist seems to be to advance the cause of Israel within what he calls the “traditionalist, politically incorrect Right” (see below), sees this as a Jewish problem:
What they are explicitly saying, as a national Jewish coalition, is that as Jews, they are required by their Jewish tradition to seek to undermine American law and sovereignty and allow America to be invaded by a mass immigration of illegal aliens.
I have said before that when Jews declare that as Jews they are required to strive for open borders, when as Jews they demand U.S. national suicide, that allows critics to criticize Jews as Jews, and not just as generic “liberals.” This is the strongest case of that nature I’ve ever seen. [italics in text]
Well, I thought I made a pretty good case for that over a decade ago. Anyway, even the prospect of millions of Muslim immigrants is not enough to diminish the enthusiasm for massive non-white immigration by the organized Jewish community — a sure sign that the decades-old emotional commitment of the organized Jewish community to a post-European America trumps rational considerations altogether.
Mendlovitz’s comments are interesting and reflect fairly widespread Jewish concerns. On the other hand, Lawrence Auster’s comments, posted on his website, are first and foremost an attempt to place me beyond the realm of legitimate discourse. By titling the article “The idiocy of Kevin MacDonald,” Auster is saying, “Don’t go near MacDonald—he is off limits.”
This is the same sort of thing that Jewish activists like Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Chait have tried to do with Mearsheimer and Walt. Dershowitz called The Israel Lobby a “hate-filled screed against Jewish participation in American politics.” Chait chimed in with “Walt and Mearsheimer wrote a book that, even by the account of fair-minded and even ideologically sympathetic critics, is a shoddy, paranoid screed.”
Certainly no respectable person would want to publicly sympathize with screed writers — or idiots.
Auster is clearly living in an alternate universe — a universe in which Israel is a “post-Zionist” state dominated by “soft-hearted liberals.” Whereas everyone else is pondering the horrific brutality of the Israeli invasion of Gaza under a Kadima government and the specter of a Likud government organized by Benjamin Netanyahu with Avigdor Lieberman as Foreign Minister apparently with a secret agreement for expansion of a critical settlement near Jerusalem, in Auster’s world Israel has already ceased to exist as a Zionist state.
The connections between the racialist Jabotinskiist wing of Zionism and the current politics of Israel are straightforward. The Likud party and its leaders — people like Ariel Sharon (who later formed the Kadima Party), Menachem Begin, and Yitzhak Shamir — have been open in their allegiance to Jabotinskyism. (Here’s a photo of Sharon speaking to a Likud Party convention in 2004 under a looming photo of Jabotinsky.) Jabotinsky believed that Jews were shaped by their long history as a desert people and that the establishment of Israel as a Jewish state would allow the natural genius of the Jewish race to flourish, stating, for example: “These natural and fundamental distinctions embedded in the race are impossible to eradicate, and are continually being nurtured by the differences in soil and climate.” As Geoffrey Wheatcroft recently pointed out, at the present time Israel “is governed by [Jabotinsky’s] conscious heirs.”
One knows that racial Zionism has completely won the day in Israel when Kadima — the party of Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni and the Gaza invasion — was described by Benjamin Netanyahu during the recent election campaign as the party of the left. (The LA Times dutifully calls it “centrist” but, as Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery writes, Livni “cries to high heaven against any dialogue with Hamas. She objects to a mutually agreed ceasefire. She tries to compete with Netanyahu and Liberman (sic) with unbridled nationalist messages.”) Indeed, Netanyahu’s only worry during the election was that the openly racist Lieberman — a disciple of the notorious Meir Kehane — would take away too many votes from Likud. Avnery analogizes the election to a joke where a sergeant tells his men: “I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that you are going to change your dirty socks. The bad news is that you are going to exchange them among yourselves.”
Now, if Israeli politics was dominated by people like Avnery, Auster would be quite correct. But Avnery’s Gush Shalom movement has no power in Israel. Even labeling the Labor Party as “soft-hearted liberals” is a huge stretch given that Labor has supported all of Israel’s wars, including the expansionist 1967 war when it held power and the recent Gaza invasion which was implemented by Defense Minister Ehud Barack — leader of the Labor Party.
Labor is dwindling away to nothingness, its only role to provide cover for the far right. Labor won only 13 out of 120 seats in the Knesset in the February election. Parties to its left (including Arab parties) won another 15 seats. Labor has opted to join Netanyahu’s government, or, as Avnery describes it, “Ehud Barak decided that the Labor Party must join the ultra-right government, which includes outright fascists.” This move is seen by many as providing the government with a fig leaf of respectability (see also here) that will appeal to European governments and others who have been critical of Israel’s behavior while nevertheless allowing the government to pursue its ethno-nationalist agenda.
Even excluding Kadima, the right wing nationalist and religious nationalist parties form a majority of the Israeli electorate — a percentage that is sure to increase because of the high fertility of religious and ethno-nationalist Jews and because intensified troubles with the Palestinians tend to make other Israelis more sympathetic to their cause. And if one makes the reasonable conclusion that Kadima is part of the ethno-religious-nationalist right, this faction holds 92 of the 120 seats in the Knesset.
Another phenomenon illustrating the ethno-religious-nationalist bent of current Israeli politics is that some of the rabbis accompanying the Israeli Defense Force during the Gaza invasion lectured soldiers that the purpose of the invasion was to banish non-Jews from the biblical land of Israel. Nationalist rabbis turned the invasion into a religious, messianic — “war against an entire people, not against specific terrorists.” Particularly noteworthy is that religious nationalists have taken over senior positions in elite combat brigades.
In other words, the army has become much more like what Auster wants it to be.
Although (as usual) there are conflicting accounts of the role of the role of religious fundamentalists in the atrocities committed in Gaza, J. J. Goldberg’s account does not dispute the general finding that religiously Orthodox soldiers form a substantial percentage of soldiers in infantry combat brigades and officers training programs. Moreover, ‘some of them appear to be a sub-rosa part of the unfolding story of the ethical standards upheld by the military, which Israelis praise routinely as ‘the most moral army in the world.’” Avnery’s account detailing the atrocity allegations is a must-read.
Over a decade ago Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky noted that Gush Emunim — a religious group that believes that a greater Israel was allotted to Jews in the Book of Deuteronomy — already constituted a significant percentage of the elite units of the Israeli army. (By “Greater Israel” they mean all the land promised to Abraham in Genesis: From the Nile to the Euphrates. Americans who support Israel should prepare themselves for a very long series of wars indeed.) The Gush Emunim are quite willing to treat the Palestinians in a savage and brutal manner. Their ideology is what one might call “theological racism”: A founder of Gush Emunim, Rabbi Abraham Kook taught that “The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews—all of them in all different levels—is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”
Just another soft-hearted liberal fuzzball.
Finally, Avnery also discusses the recently enacted law barring Arab citizens of Israel from marrying someone who lives on the West Bank. The law contains the following remarkable sentence: “The State of Israel is at war with the Palestinian people, people against people, collective against collective.” That means that the State of Israel has declared itself to be at war with all Palestinians, including the ones living in Israel. The purpose is to create a homogeneous Jewish state: “The inherent aim of the Zionist enterprise was and is to turn the country — at least up to the Jordan River — into a homogeneous Jewish state. Throughout the course of Zionist-Israeli history, this aim has not been forsaken for a moment. Every cell of the Israeli organism contains this genetic code and therefore acts accordingly, without the need for a specific directive.”
Whatever else one might say, Israel has definitely not entered into a post-Zionist era.
Rather than condemning me for telling the truth, Auster should be happy that things are going his way in Israel. I wish that a similarly powerful (but not similarly brutal) ethno-nationalist European movement was on the horizon in the US and other countries of the European diaspora.
Letter from Mark A. Mendlovitz, Ph. D.:
Dear Prof. MacDonald:
I am trying to understand your thinking a little better, so I hope you can enlighten me with a response. As a conservative Jewish American who, like you, is opposed to our current mass immigration with every fiber of my being, I can agree with you on lots of things, e.g., our current immigration inflow threatens the country’s long term stability, cohesiveness, etc. Fine.
But what I am trying to understand also is why you oppose Zionism. Is not what Israeli Jews are doing analogous to what you and I are seeking to do here in the U.S.? We want liberty, and so do they. They wish to keep out those whose culture and politics are an anathema to their culture and liberty, and so do we. What is wrong with that?
Yes, supporting Israel is trouble for the U.S., but as is often the case, doing what is right is troublesome. Frankly, there is no case to be made for Arab/ Muslim culture. It is an unmitigated disaster. While some on the Left and Right blame Israel for those failures, the truth is that a tiny country of 6 million with few natural resources (surrounded by 100′s of millions of miserable, hostile people with MANY resources) cannot be responsible for that failure. (One would think that even anti-Semites would support Zionism because it actually seeks to concentrate the Jewish population AWAY from those anti-Semites – in Israel! Where would they prefer the Jews to go?)
I also think that Paleo-Conservatives like you and Pat Buchanan fail to understand that, while many Jews still vote largely Democrat and have a soft spot for liberal causes, the number of Jewish “radicals” is vastly less than it once was, partly because of the general affluence of the Jewish population, and partly because of a number of other factors. While it is still true that many radicals are Jewish, that does NOT mean, of course, that many Jews ARE radicals.
By the way, it may or may not surprise you to know that no one in my large extended Jewish family is by any means a liberal, one cousin excepted, and a majority are actually conservative Republicans (not neo-cons as you define them, except in their support for Israel.) The truth is, many other Jewish Americans appear to be liberal Democrats because of social pressures and public pressures from a small groups of so-called Jewish leaders, but in fact, they vote quite differently. There are much larger percentages who think like Dennis Prager than like, say, Saul Alinsky.
I look forward to hearing your response.
Mark A. Mendlovitz, Ph.D.
By Kevin MacDonald
The first time I became aware of leftist Jews was when, as a reporter for The Daily Cardinal, the student newspaper, at the University of Wisconsin, I was assigned to cover a meeting of the Committee Against the War in Vietnam. This was around 1965, just after the war started heating up. In my short career as a reporter I had also covered a meeting of the Young Republicans, and the contrast couldn’t have been more striking. The Young Republicans were all dressed up—men in suits and ties, women in dresses—and looked like they were attending a business meeting at the country club.
Even though the Young Republicans were all white and most of them came from Wisconsin, I can’t say that I related to them much. But I felt even more alien at the meeting of the antiwar committee. The attendees were dressed in a much more Bohemian style and there was a lot of intense talk about politics. And they were Jewish.
I wasn’t the only one to notice the Jewish flavor of radical politics at Wisconsin. In their academic study of the New Left Roots of Radicalism: Jews, Christians and the Left, Stanley Rothman and S. Robert Lichter quote an observer of the New Left scene at the University of Wisconsin: “I am struck by the lack of Wisconsin-born people and the massive preponderance of New York Jews. The situation at the University of Minnesota is similar.” His correspondent replied: “As you perceived, the Madison left is built on New York Jews.”
Things changed for me when I moved in with two Jewish roommates and suddenly became immersed in the radical Jewish subculture of Madison. Living in an environment where radical politics was an unquestioned assumption, I soon became a radical myself. A social psychologist would probably explain it as conforming to a new set of social norms—when in Rome, do as the Romans do. In some ways I was probably prepared for the plunge into radicalism. I had been politically liberal, a Democrat, and a strong supporter of the Civil Rights Movements. But there was a very large gap between being a liberal and being a radical, especially in those days.
Shortly thereafter, I remember telling someone from my hometown that I had become “alienated” from the culture. And now that I recall that incident, it calls to mind a passage from Chapter 6 of my study of Jewish involvement in 20th Century intellectual and political movements, The Culture of Critique:
“[The New York Intellectuals] conceived themselves as alienated, marginalized figures—a modern version of traditional Jewish separateness and alienation from [non-Jewish] culture. [As Norman Podhoretz described them,] “They did not feel that they belonged to America or that America belonged to them.” … Indeed, Podhoretz … was asked by a New Yorker editor in the 1950s “whether there was a special typewriter key at Partisan Review with the word ‘alienation’ on a single key.”
Without really realizing the ramifications, I had been acculturated into a Jewish intellectual and political milieu of alienation—and antipathy to the small-town Wisconsin milieu (Irish and German, Catholic, lower middle class) in which I grew up. My attitudes toward pretty much everything changed dramatically. I viewed the people and culture that I grew up in with disdain if not hatred.
The University of Wisconsin was a hotbed of the counterculture during the 1960s. Two buildings were bombed, several were occupied, and the Wisconsin National Guard was called in to restore order. There was also a substantial hippie subculture—relatively less political and less Jewish, and more preoccupied with drugs, sex, and rock-n’-roll.
At the center of intellectual life for radicals at Wisconsin were Harvey Goldberg and the History Department. One of the themes of The Culture of Critique is the tendency for Jewish intellectual movements to become centered around highly charismatic Jewish figures. At Wisconsin the student movement idolized historically important Jewish leftists such as Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, and Herbert Marcuse. But there was a special place in their hearts for the charismatic social historian Harvey Goldberg. Goldberg’s lectures presenting his Marxist view of European social history enthralled a very large following on campus. He commanded overflow crowds at the largest lecture hall on campus, Agriculture Hall, which holds 600 students. Going there was a commitment because it was not located near the social science buildings.
Goldberg’s lectures were an unforgettable experience of performance art. Beginning in a low key but intense style, he built up the volume and intensity level gradually to a frenzied climax. The lectures usually ended 5–10 minutes after the class was scheduled to end, but everyone remained glued to their seats. The conclusion typically elicited a rousing standing ovation from the students.
By the end of the lecture, Goldberg, who was rather gaunt and frail looking, was sweating profusely, seemingly drained and exhausted. Throughout the lecture, students would react by laughing at his jokes and applauding his condemnations of the capitalists and other oppressors in European history. Great fun, and doubtless quite influential. As a newspaper article put it, “His lectures, delivered in a voice that seemed to resonate from the depths of his soul, were a transforming experience for generations of students, stirring their minds and consciences.”
Goldberg died in 1989, but his legacy lives on. Quite a few of his lectures were recorded and are available from the Harvey Goldberg Center for Contemporary History at Wisconsin. Besides the Goldberg Center at the University of Wisconsin, he has also been immortalized by a Program for Excellence in Teaching at Ohio State (his first teaching position), and with a classroom at the Brecht Forum, a Marxist cultural center in New York.
Probably because of Goldberg, the History Department achieved pride of place in terms of academic majors for radicals. (Sociology was also fashionable; I was in philosophy, which was also at least moderately acceptable for a radical.) Being accepted as a graduate student by Goldberg was very prestigious even though Goldberg was not particularly productive as a scholar.
Goldberg’s rival for intellectual guruship at Wisconsin was George L. Mosse whose course on European intellectual history was also a magnet for campus radicals. Mosse was the grandson of the founder of the liberal Berlin newspaper Das Berliner Tageblatt—a prototype of Jewish-owned liberal media that drew the special ire of Hitler and his movement. Das Berliner Tageblatt was seized by the government when Hitler came to power, and Mosse and his family were forced to leave Germany.
The radicals I knew viewed Mosse as insufficiently radical. His main sin was that he was an intellectual historian. Serious Marxists view intellectual history as mere superstructure overlaying the economic basis of the class struggle.
I took Mosse’s course and later came to read several of Mosse’s books as background to my chapter on National Socialism [PDF] in Separation and Its Discontents. In his book The Crisis of German Ideology, Mosse stressed that an important ingredient in the rise of Nazism was völkisch ideology—the ideology that Germans had a unique folk spirit as a result of their evolutionary past. Incidentally, although unmentioned by Mosse, such racially charged views found mirror images in the writings of 19th-century Jewish proto-Zionists like Moses Hess [PDF] and became a cornerstone of the racial Zionist movement that dominates the politics of Israel today.
Unlike Goldberg, Mosse’s Jewish interests and identification were quite overt. His lectures, like his books, showed a strong interest in Jewish issues, particularly the Holocaust and the ideologoical basis of Nazism. Like Goldberg, Mosse has left behind a legacy at the UW History Department, endowing it with a bequest made possible by the restoration of his family’s property after World War II. Mosse also taught at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; his Jewish interests can also be seen by perusing the catalog of the book series published by the institute established in his name.
Although Goldberg never discussed Jewish issues in his lectures to my knowledge, the Jewishness of both of these campus gurus was apparent to everyone. Attending the lectures and discussing them with others was an important component of the Jewish-dominated radical subculture of Madison.
I was not alone as a non-Jew adopting the attitudes of the radical Jewish subculture. The anti-war movement spread beyond its predominantly East Coast Jewish origins to a very large swathe of the university and the city of Madison.
A lot of this was brought to mind while viewing the 1979 documentary The War at Home which chronicles the period from around 1964–1970 in Madison. The only people I recognize in the film are Paul Soglin and Evan Stark—two highly visible Jewish antiwar activists during that period. (Soglin parlayed his career as an activist into 6 terms as mayor of Madison, while Stark became a tenured radical at Rutgers University.) But, besides leaders like Soglin and Stark, the protests and demonstrations—some of which I participated in—showed a preponderance of non-Jews. The protest against the war—and to a great extent the values of the radical counterculture as a whole—had become mainstream.
Memories about Madison radicals in the 1960s came up again while reading Mark Rudd’s memoir (Why were there so many Jews in SDS (Or the ordeal of civility). Rudd, who is Jewish, became well known as a student activist at Columbia University during the 1960s. After being expelled from Columbia, he became an SDS organizer and (along with Bill Ayers) was one of the founders of the Weather Underground whose mission was, as quoted by Rudd, “the violent overthrow of the government of the US in solidarity with the struggles of the people of the world.”
Rudd describes the SDS at Columbia during the late 1960s as a “Jewish fraternity.” The Jewish radicals described by Rudd seem more like Harvey Goldberg than George Mosse. Their Jewish identification was never discussed among themselves: “I don’t remember one single conversation in which we discussed the fact that so many of us were Jewish.” Rudd suggests that “by being radicals we thought we could escape our Jewishness.”
The late Paul Lyons [PDF], an academic historian of the American left (Philadelphia Communists 1936-56), makes the interesting comment about the Jewish Old Left that
“…most Jewish Communists wear their Jewishness very casually but experience it deeply. It is not a religious or even an institutional Jewishness for most; nevertheless, it is rooted in a subculture of identity, style, language, and social network. . . . In fact, this second-generation Jewishness was antiethnic and yet the height of ethnicity. The emperor believed that he was clothed in transethnic, American garb, but [non-Jews] saw the nuances and details of his naked ethnicity.”
It was the same with their chidren who became the Jewish New Left. The topic of why there were so many radical Jews was never discussed, at least around me. But the Jewishness of these radicals was obvious to non-Jews like me who were suddently exposed to a very different subculture. The ethnic networking among Jews was obvious, as were the East Coast accents with sprinklings of Yiddish. Their taste in clothing was different, and they liked to talk about movies a lot, especially European movies by directors like Ingmar Bergman and Fran çois Trauffaut—sort of a 1960s intellectual version of Seinfeld. They had a whole set of (Jewish) idols (Trotsky, Marcuse, Luxemburg) that were initially quite foreign to me. Rudd recalls that the frame of reference for Jewish radicals at Columbia was the Holocaust and the need not to be a “good German”. I don’t recall mention of the Holocaust, but it is certainly true that World War II and the evils of Nazism were much on the mind of Jewish radicals at Wisconsin.
Several authors have pointed out that radical Jews saw themselves as participating in a universalist movement to establish a classless society for all people; and because of this universalist veneer, they thought that their Jewishness would be invisible to others, or at least irrelevant. Obviously, it wasn’t invisible, nor was it irrelevant.
The radical Jews I knew seemed to realize that non-Jews saw them as Jews. In fact, one thing that struck me was that they were proud of being Jews and had very negative attitudes toward Christianity. At least around me, they did not condemn Christianity because of anti-Semitism. (The only allusion to historical anti-Semitism that I remember was when my roommate said something to the effect that “Do you realize that at one time or another Jews have been expelled from every country of Europe?” At that time, I did not know that.)
Rather, they were proud of the fact that Judaism represented enlightened views on sexuality, while Chistianity was prudish and sexually repressive. Their theoretical framework for this (there always has to be a theoretical framework!) was, of course, psychoanalysis which by then had become another bedrock ideology among Jewish intellectuals. In line with Freudian thinking, they attributed various forms of psychopathology and even white racial consciousness and capitalism to Christian sexual attitudes—an analysis that stemmed from their reading of Marcuse’s synthesis of Marx and Freud.
Other things about radical Jews at Wisconsin only struck me after becoming more familiar with Judaism 25 years later. The intellectual atmosphere of the movement closely resembled the atmosphere of other Jewish subcultures—intensely verbal discussions in which one’s reputation as a leftist was related to one’s ability in Marxist intellectual analysis and familiarity with Marxist scholarship. All of this required a great deal of study, but it was worth it because being a Marxist scholar, like being a rabbi in traditional Jewish society, carried a great deal of prestige. It was also attractive to the ladies.
There was also a great deal of hostility to Western cultural institutions as politically and sexually oppressive combined with an ever-present sense of danger and imminent destruction by the forces of repression. The overwhelming forces of the fascist capitialist state led by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI were about to round up all the radicals and do away with them. This ingroup bunker mentality—which I document A People That Shall Dwell Alone—I came to realize as a fundamental characteristic of Jewish society.
Incidentally, this is a very useful thing to know about Jews. It explains how the ADL and the SPLC—the $PLC as VDARE.com calls it—makes their money: Create the feeling of imminent destruction by the forces of white racism and bigotry as a way of prodding Jews to donate.
Not surprisingly, there was an attitude of moral and intellectual superiority as well as contempt toward traditional American culture, particularly rural America and most particularly the South. These attitudes are hallmarks of the other intellectual movements reviewed in The Culture of Critique . In Rudd’s case, his ire is directed at the genteel culture of Columbia:
“What outraged me and my comrades so much about Columbia, along with its hypocrisy, was the air of genteel civility. Or should I say gentile? Despite the presence of so many Jews in the faculty and among the students … the place was dripping with goyishness.”
Ah, the stuffy white goyim at Columbia hadn’t abdicated quickly enough and still had the temerity to hang around past their time. We can all breathe a sigh of relief that those days are over. I suppose he would have had the same reaction to the Young Republicans at Wisconsin in 1965.
In my experience at Madison during the 1960s, there was also a strong desire for bloody, apocalyptic revenge against the entire social structure—perceived by them to be the goyish, fascist, capitalist, racist, anti-Semitic social structure. (Harvey Goldberg, whose lectures often celebrated bloody uprisings against the forces of oppression, probably fed into this.) This fits well with the set of interviews with New Left Jewish radicals in Percy Cohen’s Jewish Radicals and Radical Jews: many had destructive fantasies in which the revolution would result in “humiliation, dispossession, imprisonment or execution of the oppressors.” These fantasies of destruction of the social order were combined with a belief in their own omnipotence and their ability to create a non-oppressive social order.
Finally, it was very striking to me that these anti–Vietnam War Jewish radicals were euphoric incongruously about Israel’s victory Six-Day War of 1967. This also struck VDARE.com’s Paul Gottfried as worthy of comment:
“All my Jewish colleagues in graduate school [at Yale], noisy anti-anti-Communists, opposed American capitalist imperialism, but then became enthusiastic warmongers during the Arab-Israeli War in 1967. One Jewish Marxist acquaintance went into a rage that the Israelis did not demand the entire Mideast at the end of that war. Another, though a feminist, lamented that the Israeli soldiers did not rape more Arab women. It would be no exaggeration to say that my graduate school days resounded with Jewish hysterics at an institution where Wasps seemed to count only for decoration.” (Paul Gottfried, On “Being Jewish”, Rothbard-Rockwell Report [April]:9–10, 1996.
I guess the old white genteel elite at Columbia weren’t the only ones capable of hypocrisy.
To his credit, Rudd does better than most Jews in trying to explain Jewish involvement in radicalism, citing John Murray Cuddihy’s classic The Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Levi-Strauss and the Jewish Struggle With Modernity. Here is the central quote from Cuddihy:
“With the advent of Jewish Emancipation, when ghetto walls crumble and the
begin to dissolve, Jewry—like some wide-eyed anthropologist—enters upon a strange world, to explore a strange people observing a strange
They examine this world in dismay, with wonder, anger, and punitive objectivity. This wonder, this anger, and the vindictive objectivity of the marginal nonmember are recidivist; they continue unabated into our own time because Jewish Emancipation continues into our own time.”
“We Jews at Columbia—and I would guess at colleges throughout the country—brought the same outsider view to the campuses we had been allowed into. We were peasant children right out of the shtetls of New Jersey and Queens screaming, ‘You want to know the truth about Columbia University, they’re a bunch of liberal imperialists!’”
Rudd also cites Israel Shahak’s important book Jewish History, Jewish Religion —but Rudd twists Shahak’s thesis to state that
“…as a reaction to being the victims of racism throughout the centuries, we developed a religion which itself enshrined racism toward the other. This is especially true of the rabbinical commentaries developed in Eastern Europe over the almost one thousand years in which we occupied a middle position between the landlords, whom we served, and the peasants who despised us and whom we in turn despised. How could it have been otherwise? In my family, if you wanted to say somebody was stupid you said they had a ‘goyishe kup,’ a goyish head.”
My view is that it’s the other way around: The Jewish concern with racial purity can be seen in the Old Testament and throughout Jewish history.
From time to time, Western societies have attacked or erected defenses against Jewish elites and their non-Jewish allies. Since the 19th century, important anti-Jewish movements have been racialist (National Socialism in Germany), but this racialism was not the basis of Christian anti-Jewish movements (Christianity in the 4th and 5th centuries and during the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal). As Shahak points out (p. 64), the general pattern throughout European history was for popular uprisings against Jews as components of oppressive elites—and for the non-Jewish elements of the elites to come to the aid of Jews.
Rudd sees Israel for what it is: A racialist, militarist, expansionist state:
“Israel is America’s future: militarized, racist, religio-nationalist, corporate, riven with so many internal splits and hatreds that only the existence of a perpetual enemy keeps the nation from exploding. If we don’t organize to stop the current direction in this country, thirty years from now we will be Israel.”
Rudd is probably right that America of the future will be hopelessly “riven with … internal splits and hatreds”. Such are the predictable results of the rise of multiculturalism and massive non-white immigration unleashed by the activism of the organized Jewish community [PDF].
What Rudd doesn’t discuss is that Jewish activism on behalf of non-white immigration can be directly traced back to Jewish activists on the left—people like Rudd. Massive non-white immigration into Western societies has been a project of the Jewish left for pretty much the entire last century. The Jewish left has been the most influential component of the organized Jewish community. And even when a significant number of Jews defected from the left, giving rise to the neoconservative movement, they retained the traditional Jewish attitudes on immigration.
That’s why I think the real explanation of Jewish involvement in the Left includes an additional component. It’s certainly true that, as Cuddihy wrote, Jews emerged from the ghetto with hostility toward the culture around them. This fits with modern psychological data on how people with a strong ingroup identity, like Jews, perceive outgroups. Jewish hostility toward the culture of non-Jews has been
a constant throughout Jewish history
. The difference was that, as Cuddihy notes, they and their preferences suddenly became part of mainstream Western culture, with a great deal of political influence and access to the media and the academic world.
But it was more than that. It’s about displacement and domination. The displacement of the genteel white Protestant culture at Columbia that Rudd hated is part of the general displacement of non-Jewish whites. Rudd doesn’t consider the fate of that other very influential group of leftist Jews—the Jewish radicals who fled the shtetls of Eastern Europe and, instead of going to Ellis Island, became dominant elite in the USSR after the success of the Bolshevik Revolution. These Jewish radicals were able to actually carry out in the USSR the fantasies the New Left Jewish radicals in the US—i.e., the “humiliation, dispossession, imprisonment or execution of the oppressors” mentioned above. Harvey Goldberg’s wet dream.
This group of Jewish radicals became an integral part of the machinery of mass murder and oppression in the USSR. In doing so, they displaced the older non-Jewish elites of Russians and Germans. (Doubtless, they were too genteel and had other faults that warranted their displacement.) At least through the 1950s, political radicalism was popular among American Jews in large part because the Bolshevik Revolution was good for Jews. Jews had risen to the heights in the USSR, and the USSR had crushed fascist Germany.
Even though the New Left rejected Stalinism, there is no doubt it was bent on a similar displacement of white elites. All of its policies led inexorably in that direction. To a considerable extent, the current malaise of whites in the US can be directly traced to the triumph of the attitudes of the New Left—especially non-white immigration, the rise of multiculturalism, and the steady erosion of whites as a percentage of the electorate. (The last Democratic president to get a majority of white votes was Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.
I have a suggestion for Rudd: If you are really interested in stopping racism, become active in opposing Zionism and its influence in the US.
Otherwise, we get the impression that you tacitly approve Jewish ethnic chauvinism in Israel while favoring the displacment of whites in the US.
And if you want to quell the” “internal splits and hatreds” within the US, become active in the cause of reversing the effects of four decades of non-white immigration.
Kevin MacDonald [email him] is professor of psychology at California State University–Long Beach and a frequent contributor to The Occidental Observer. For his website, click here.
Gen. David Petraeus disclosed today that American commanders have requested the deployment of an additional 10,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan next year, but he said the request awaits a final decision by President Obama this fall.
Petraeus acknowledged that the ratio of coalition and Afghan security forces to the population is projected through 2011 to be significantly lower than the 20 troops per 1,000 people prescribed by the Army counterinsurgency manual he helped write.
“It is a concern,” said Petraeus, who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as head of U.S. Central Command. “If you assume there is an insurgency throughout the country . . . you need more forces,” Petraeus said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said the Pentagon has not yet forwarded the request for the additional 10,000 troops to the White House.
Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy, testified that the new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan is based on a plan to concentrate forces in “the insurgency belt in the south and east,” rather than throughout Afghanistan.
Obama “doesn’t have to make a decision until the fall, so the troops would arrive, as planned, in 2010,” she said. The U.S. military currently has 38,000 troops in Afghanistan, and the number is projected to rise to 68,000 with deployments scheduled for this year. If the additional 10,000 troops are approved for next year, the total would rise to 78,000.
Flournoy said that the administration also remains “open” to the idea of further increasing the size of the Afghan National Army and police force, which currently plan to increase their ranks to 134,000 and 82,000, respectively, by 2011. Yesterday, the top U.S. general in charge of training Afghan forces told a Pentagon news conference that an initial proposal — yet to be approved — would double the ranks of the Afghan army and police beyond those numbers.
In sobering testimony, Petraeus warned that “reversing the downward security spiral” in Afghanistan and Pakistan will be possible only with a “sustained, substantial commitment” of military and civilian resources. “There will be nothing easy about the way ahead in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said.
Adm. Eric T. Olson, head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, called the situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region “increasingly dire” as al-Qaeda extremists and “pervasive and brutal” Taliban fighters intimidate the local populations.
Senators repeatedly questioned Pakistan’s willingness to crack down on insurgent safe havens in its western tribal areas.
Petraeus said that while the Pakistani military has stepped up its efforts in some areas, “considerable further work is required” and can be accelerated with U.S. military assistance in the form of training, equipment and intelligence capabilities. Still, he said, the cooperation — particularly in intelligence — must be “done very carefully” because of what he called “troubling events” in the past involving members of the Pakistani military or intelligence service divulging sensitive information to warn insurgents of coming operations.
“Parts of the ISI are certainly a problem to be dealt with,” said Flournoy, referring to Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence. “I don’t see adequate progress at this point” by Pakistan’s government and military in addressing the problem, she said.
Pakistan’s government needs to make “a much more overt demonstration of commitment” to cracking down on extremists, Olson said. However, he said, it should be acknowledged that many Pakistani soldiers “fought hard in the western region.” Small numbers of U.S. Special Operations Forces are training Pakistani forces in counterinsurgency and “are prepared to do more,” he said.