CofC’s preface (10 of 10)

“The Jewish problem is one of the greatest problems in the world, and no man, be he writer, politician or diplomatist, can be considered mature until he has striven to face it squarely on its merits.”

—Henry Wickham Steed

The Culture of Critique’s Conclusion

CofC is really an attempt to understand the 20th century as a Jewish century—a century in which Jews and Jewish organizations were deeply involved in all the pivotal events. From the Jewish viewpoint it has been a period of great progress, though punctuated by one of its darkest tragedies. In the late 19th century the great bulk of the Jewish population lived in Eastern Europe, with many Jews mired in poverty and all surrounded by hostile populations and unsympathetic governments. A century later, Israel is firmly established in the Middle East, and Jews have become the wealthiest and most powerful group in the United States and have achieved elite status in other Western countries. The critical Jewish role in radical leftism has been sanitized, while Jewish victimization by the Nazis has achieved the status of a moral touchstone and is a prime weapon in the push for large-scale non-European immigration, multi-culturalism and advancing other Jewish causes. Opponents have been relegated to the fringe of intellectual and political discourse and there are powerful movements afoot that would silence them entirely.

The profound idealization, the missionary zeal, and the moral fervor that surround the veneration of figures like Celan, Kafka, Adorno, and Freud characterize all of the Jewish intellectual movements discussed in CofC (see Ch. 6 for a summary). That these figures are now avidly embraced by the vast majority of non-Jewish intellectuals as well shows that the Western intellectual world has become Judaized—that Jewish attitudes and interests, Jewish likes and dislikes, now constitute the culture of the West, internalized by Jews and non-Jews alike. The Judaization of the West is nowhere more obvious than in the veneration of the Holocaust as the central moral icon of the entire civilization. These developments constitute a profound transformation from the tradition of critical and scientific individualism that had formed the Western tradition since the Enlightenment. More importantly, because of the deep-seated Jewish hostility toward traditional Western culture, the Judaization of the West means that the peoples who created the culture and traditions of the West have been made to feel deeply ashamed of their own history—surely the prelude to their demise as a culture and as a people.

The present Judaized cultural imperium in the West is maintained by a pervasive thought control propagated by the mass media and extending to self-censorship by academics, politicians, and others well aware of the dire personal and professional consequences of crossing the boundaries of acceptable thought and speech about Jews and Jewish issues. It is maintained by zealously promulgated, self-serving, and essentially false theories of the nature and history of Judaism and the nature and causes of anti-Semitism.

None of this should be surprising. Jewish populations have always had enormous effects on the societies where they reside because of two qualities that are central to Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy: High intelligence (including the usefulness of intelligence in attaining wealth) and the ability to cooperate in highly organized, cohesive groups (MacDonald 1994). This has led repeatedly to Jews becoming an elite and powerful group in societies where they reside in sufficient numbers—as much in the 20th-century United States and the Soviet Union as in 15th-century Spain or Alexandria in the ancient world. History often repeats itself after all. Indeed, recent data indicate that Jewish per capita income in the United States is almost double that of non-Jews, a bigger difference than the black-white income gap. Although Jews make up less than 3 percent of the population, they constitute more than a quarter of the people on the Forbes magazine list of the richest four hundred Americans. A remarkable 87 percent of college-age Jews are currently enrolled in institutions of higher education, as compared with 40 percent for the population as a whole (Thernstrom & Thernstrom 1997). Jews are indeed an elite group in American society (see also Chapter 8).

My perception is that the Jewish community in the U.S. is moving aggressively ahead, ignoring the huge disruptions Jewish organizations have caused in the West (now mainly via successful advocacy of massive non-European immigration) and in the Islamic world (via the treatment of Palestinians by Israel). Whatever the justification for such beliefs, U.S. support for Israel is by all accounts an emotionally compelling issue in the Arab world. A true test of Jewish power in the United States will be whether support for Israel is maintained even in the face of the enormous costs that have already been paid by the U.S. in terms of loss of life, economic disruption, hatred and distrust throughout the Muslim world, and loss of civil liberties at home. As of this writing, while Jewish organizations are bracing for a backlash against Jews in the U.S. and while there is considerable concern among Jews about the Bush Administration’s pressure on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians in order to placate the Muslim world (e.g., Rosenblatt 2001), all signs point to no basic changes in the political culture of the United States vis-à-vis Israel as a result of the events of 9-11-01.


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