I find this comment by DH to be so striking that I have made it a post. There will be complaints about a lack of paragraphing. If DH wants to revise it I will re-post it. pl
I had not looked back at this thread, so had missed your response.
There will, I think, be better occasions to take up the issues you raise, which are very important ones.
For now, a few remarks.
In the interests of clarity, I should perhaps say that insofar as I am ill at ease with the ‘Hobbits’ of Tolkien’s ‘Shire’, it is because of forefathers who were ‘dwarves’ in the coalfields and smelters of South Wales.
My possessing the name of an Old Testament prophet betokens Calvinist origins, not Jewish. But then, radical Protestants have commonly been philo-Semitic.
There is a figure called Kevin Macdonald, whose writings on Jews as an ‘hostile élite’ you may well know.
As it happens, I do not much like him. His reference to ‘the Germans, from Wagner to von Treitschke to Chamberlain and Hitler’, disliking the irony of Heine, seems to me to demonstrate an inability to grasp that groups, be they Germans, Jews, Muslims, or whoever, are rarely monolithic wholes.
That said, an important part of the background to his writing – as of the piece by Lawrence Auster to which you link, which seems to me far superior to Macdonald’s writing – is that very many of the most influential American Jews seem to be queuing up for starring roles in versions of the ‘hostile élite’ drama.
Quite a few of them appear to be doing their level best to persuade people who place any value on the traditional ‘Anglo’ culture of the American Republic that they are something close to an ‘existential threat’ to it. (editor bolding)
In Britain, also, ‘tribal’ Jews – ‘ghetto Jews’ sometimes seems to me an appropriate term – have claimed the right to speak for some kind of coherent ‘Jewish people.’
So, for example, concluding his May 2015 article ‘We never forget Jerusalem’, our former Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, wrote:
‘We have had the privilege to be born in a generation that has seen Jerusalem reunited and rebuilt. We have seen the Jewish people come home. ‘
Today God is calling on us all to be Guardians of Zion. Never has this been more important. We must all stand up for the one home our people has ever known and the one city our people has loved more than any other. We are all shagrirey medinat Yisrael (ambassadors for the State of Israel) and we must all make Israel’s case in a world that sometimes fails to see the beauty we know is here. Let us all take on that task. With Hashem’s help, we will succeed and we pray may the world make its peace with Israel so that Israel and Israel’s God can bring peace to the world.’
As it happens, I think this is an ‘open-and-shut’ case of ‘incitement to anti-Semitism.’
That there are some Jews who have their ‘home’ in this country – and are more than temporary residents – seems to be beyond our former Chief Rabbi’s capacity to imagine.
That he cannot see the possible implications of implicitly defining all Jews as ‘resident aliens’ is, I think, indicative of extraordinary stupidity and recklessness.
It also completely obscures the fact that, for many Jews here, their history is one of lost homes, and the equally important fact that very many of them had long abandoned the Jewish religion.
I mentioned Peter Ganz, for whom ‘home’ had clearly been Mainz: clearly not a Jew, in Rabbi Sachs’s definition.
What then can I say about Peter Stern, who likewise made it over here just before the outbreak of war, leaving relatives who died? He also ended up as a professor of German, having been a sergeant in His Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Again, the comparison with Maxwell is interesting, in that like him Stern came from Czechoslovakia – he served in No 311 Squadron, the Czech bomber squadron in the RAF, hunting U-boats over the Atlantic.
I well remember two fingers clawed around a pipe, a relic of one of the ultimate lucky escapes, when the Wellington bomber in which he served as ‘tail gun Charlie’ was shot down by Ju-88s, and the survivors were picked up, by pure fluke, after fourteen hours in the water.
While Peter Ganz was an agnostic brought up as a Lutheran, Peter Stern was brought up a Catholic, and remained a kind of ‘Jewish Christian’ to the end of his life.
Like so refugees from ‘assimilationist’ families, both completely failed to maintain the concern for group survival which Macdonald appears to think a Jewish characteristic, marrying out.
And then, what can I say of a lifelong friend of my mother’s from schooldays, the daughter of a secular Jewish lawyer, who herself ended up as a pillar of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Kensington?
I vividly remember their house, with the walls covered in prints of the St. Petersburg which the father had left in the Civil War, leaving his coat on the door, before finally making it over here through Crimea.
My ‘few remarks’ have got longer than I intended.
What is important is that the kind of ‘tribalism’ which Macdonald sees as a general Jewish characteristic is found among some Jews, but not others.
An obvious fact is that ‘assimilationist’ Jews tend over time to disappear.
However, a situation where the ‘tribal’ Jews who do not want to ‘assimilate’ attempt to shape the fate of non-Jewish polities is, quite patently, fraught with potential for disaster.
That however, does not provide good reason for accepting the simplicities either of Sacks or Macdonald – who agree on a ‘totalitarian’ vision of all true Jews as essentially the same, but simply differ on whether the largely mythical identity in which they believe should be given a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ sign. DH