The Jewish Establishment
By Joseph Sobran
IN THE EARLY 1930s, Walter Duranty of the New
York Times was in Moscow, covering Joe Stalin the way Joe Stalin wanted
to be covered. To maintain favor and access, he expressly denied that there
was famine in the Ukraine even while millions of Ukrainian Christians were
being starved into submission. For his work Duranty won the Pulitzer Prize
for journalism. To this day, the Times remains the most magisterial and
respectable of American newspapers.
Now imagine that a major newspaper had had a correspondent
in Berlin during roughly the same period who hobnobbed with Hitler, portrayed
him in a flattering light, and denied that Jews were being mistreated -
thereby not only concealing, but materially assisting the regime's persecution.
Would that paper's respectability have been unimpaired several decades later?
There you have an epitome of what is lamely called "media
bias." The Western supporters of Stalin haven't just been excused;
they have received the halo of victim hood for the campaign, in what liberals
call the "McCarthy era," to get them out of the government, the
education system, and respectable society itself.
Not only persecution of Jews but any critical mention
of Jewish power in the media and politics is roundly condemned as "anti-semitism."
But there isn't even a term of opprobrium for participation in the mass
murder of Christians. Liberals still don't censure the Communist attempt
to extirpate Christianity from Soviet Russia and its empire, and for good
reason - liberals themselves, particularly Jewish liberals, are still trying
to uproot Christianity from America.
It's permissible to discuss the power of every other
group, from the Black Muslims to the Christian Right, but the much greater
power of the Jewish Establishment is off-limits. That, in fact, is the chief
measure of its power: its ability to impose its own taboos while tearing
down the taboos of others - you might almost say its prerogative of offending.
You can read articles in Jewish-controlled publications from the Times to
Commentary blaming Christianity for the Holocaust or accusing Pope Pius
XII of indifference to it, but don't look for articles in any major publication
that wants to stay in business examining the Jewish role in Communism and
liberalism, however temperately.
Power openly acquired, openly exercised, and openly
discussed is one thing. You may think organized labor or the Social Security
lobby abuses its power, but you don't jeopardize your career by saying so.
But a kind of power that forbids its own public mention, like the Holy Name
in the Old Testament, is another matter entirely.
There is an important anomaly here. The word "Jewish,"
in this context, doesn't include Orthodox or otherwise religious Jews. The
Jews who still maintain the Hebraic tradition of millennia are marginal,
if they are included at all, in the Jewish establishment that wields journalistic,
political, and cultural power. Morally and culturally, the Orthodox might
be classed as virtual Christians, much like the descendants of Christians
who still uphold the basic morality, if not the faith, of their ancestors.
Many of these Jews are friendly to Christians and eager to make common cause
against the moral decadence they see promoted by their apostate cousins.
Above all, the Orthodox understand, better than almost anyone else in America
today, the virtues - the necessity - of tribalism, patriarchal authority,
the moral bonds of kinship.
The Jewish establishment, it hardly needs saying, is
predominantly secularist and systematically anti-Christian. In fact, it
is unified far more by its hostility to Christianity than by its support
of Israel, on which it is somewhat divided. The more left-wing Jews are
faintly critical of Israel, though never questioning its "right to
exist" - that is, its right to exist on terms forbidden to any Christian
country; that is, its right to deny rights to non-Jews. A state that treated
Jews as Israel treats gentiles would be condemned outright as Nazi-like.
But Israel is called "democratic," even "pluralistic."
Explicitly "Jewish" organizations like the
American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League enforce a dual
standard. What is permitted to Israel is forbidden to America. This is not
just thoughtless inconsistency. These organizations consciously support
one set of principles here - equal rights for all, ethnic neutrality, separation
of church and state - and their precise opposites in Israel, where Jewish
ancestry and religion enjoy privilege. They "pass" as Jeffersonians
when it serves their purpose, espousing rules that win the assent of most
Americans. At the same time, they are bent on sacrificing the national interest
of the United States to the interests of Israel, under the pretense that
both countries' interests are identical. (There is, of course, no countervailing
American lobby in Israel.)
The single most powerful Jewish lobbying group is the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which, as its former director
Thomas Dine openly boasted, controls Congress. At a time when even Medicare
may face budget cuts, aid to Israel remains untouchable. If the Israelis
were to begin "ethnic cleansing" against Arabs in Israel and the
occupied lands, it is inconceivable that any American political figure would
demand the kind of military strike now being urged against the Serbs in
Jewish-owned publications like The Wall Street Journal,
The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, U.S. News & World Report, the
New York Post, and New York's Daily News emit relentless pro-Israel propaganda;
so do such pundits as William Safire, A.M. Rosenthal, Charles Krauthammer,
Jeane Kirkpatrick, and George Will, to name a few. That Israel's journalistic
partisans include so many gentiles - lapsed goyim, you might say - is one
more sign of the Jewish establishment's power. So is the fact that this
fact isn't mentioned in public (though it is hardly unnoticed in private.)
So is the fear of being called "anti-Semitic."
Nobody worries about being called "anti-Italian" or "anti-French"
or "anti-Christian"; these aren't words that launch avalanches
of vituperation and make people afraid to do business with you.
It's pointless to ask what "anti-Semitic"
means. It means trouble. It's an attack signal. The practical function of
the word is not to define or distinguish things, but to conflate them indiscriminately
- to equate the soberest criticism of Israel or Jewish power with the murderous
hatred of Jews. And it works. Oh, how it works.
When Joe McCarthy accused people of being Communists,
the charge was relatively precise. You knew what he meant. The accusation
could be falsified. In fact the burden of proof was on the accuser: when
McCarthy couldn't make his loose charges stick, he was ruined. (Of course,
McCarthy was hated less for his "loose" charges than for his accurate
ones. His real offense was stigmatizing the Left.)
The opposite applies to charges of "anti-Semitism."
The word has no precise definition. An "anti-Semite" may or may
not hate Jews. But he is certainly hated by Jews. There is no penalty for
making the charge loosely; the accused has no way of falsifying the charge,
since it isn't defined.
A famous example. When Abe Rosenthal accused Pat Buchanan
of "anti-Semitism," everyone on both sides understood the ground
rules. There was a chance that Buchanan would be ruined, even if the charge
was baseless. And there was no chance that Rosenthal would be ruined - even
if the charge was baseless. Such are the rules. I violate them, in a way,
even by spelling them out.
"Anti-Semitism" is therefore less a charge
than a curse, an imprecation that must be uttered formulaically. Being a
"bogus predicate," to use Gilbert Ryle's phrase, it has no real
content, no functional equivalent in plain nouns and verbs. Its power comes
from the knowledge of its potential targets, the gentiles, that powerful
people are willing to back it up with material penalties.
In other words, journalists are as afraid of Jewish
power as politicians are. This means that public discussion is cramped and
warped by unspoken fear - a fear journalists won't acknowledge, because
it embarrasses their pretense of being fearless critics of power. When there
are incentives to accuse but no penalties for slander, the result is predictable.
What is true of "anti-Semitism" is also true
to a lesser degree of other bogus predicates like "racism," "sexism,"
and "homophobia." Other minorities have seen and adopted the successful
model of the Jewish establishment. And so our public tongue has become not
only Jewish-oriented but more generally minority-oriented in its inhibitions.
The illusion that we enjoy free speech has been fostered
by the breaking of Christian taboos, which has become not only safe but
profitable. To violate minority taboos is "offensive" and "insensitive";
to violate Christian taboos - many of them shared by religious Jews - is
to be "daring" and "irreverent." ("Irreverence,"
of course, has become good.)
Jewry, like Gaul, may be divided into three parts, each
defined by its borders vis-a-vis the gentile world. There are the Orthodox,
who not only insist on borders but wear them. They often dress in attire
that sets them apart; they are even willing to look outlandish to gentiles
in order to affirm their identity and their distinctive way of life. At
the other extreme are Jews who have no borders, who may (or may not) assimilate
and intermarry, whose politics may range from left to right, but who in
any case accept the same set of rules for everyone. I respect both types.
But the third type presents problems. These are the
Jews who maintain their borders furtively and deal disingenuously with gentiles.
Raymond Chandler once observed of them that they want to be Jews among themselves
but resent being seen as Jews by gentiles. They want to pursue their own
distinct interests while pretending that they have not such interests, using
the charge of "anti-Semitism" as sword and shield. As Chandler
put it, they are like a man who refuses to give his real name and address
but insists on being invited to all the best parties. Unfortunately, it's
this third type that wields most of the power and skews the rules for gentiles.
The columnist Richard Cohen cites an old maxim: "Dress British, think
Americans ought to be free to discuss Jewish power and
Jewish interests frankly, without being accused of denying the rights of
Jews. That should go without saying. The truth is both otherwise and unmentionable.
Joseph Sobran is a nationally syndicated columnist who now maintains a Website at http://www.sobran.com.