Jews Against Jews

Torash and the Star of David

Jews who viciously condemn the Jews—the phenomenon has, lamentably, been with us for hundreds of years. In medieval and later times, famed apostates like Nicholas Donin, Abner of Burgos, Johannes Pfefferkorn, and others would convert to Christianity and then use their “inside” knowledge of Jews and Judaism to attack their former people mercilessly and ostensibly confirm all libels leveled against them.

But the Jewish “apostates” of today, as Edward Alexander points out in Jews Against Themselves, an acerbic critique of Jewish Jew-bashers in our time, typically remain nominally Jewish and flaunt their Jewishness as a badge of moral superiority to the target of their vilification—namely, Israel, that country smack in the Middle East that, seemingly, already has enough enmity to contend with.

Alexander, professor emeritus of English at the University of Washington in Seattle and a distinguished writer on Jewish issues, profiles  in this powerful little book a rogues’ gallery of Jews who have decided, as he puts it, that Israel is “the devil’s own experiment station” and either barely sustains a right to exist or has forfeited it altogether.

The list of these highbrow demented haters is depressingly long and, among other places, encompasses Britain, the U.S., and even Israel itself. Leading the pack in Britain is the professorial husband-wife team Steven and Hilary Rose, who in 2002 launched the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement against Israel. The late Tony Judt, a British historian who eventually moved to the U.S., denounced Israel as a swamp of regressive nationalism and—alone among all countries of the world—called for its demise.

In the U.S., of course, maligning Israel has long been de rigueur in the highbrow world—and Jews are in the forefront. Alexander’s chapter on far-left rabbi, author, and sometime Hillary Clinton-adviser Michael Lerner is a definitive demolition of a prominent American Jew for whom the “mainspring of his career has been the abandonment of his own people when they are under attack….” The celebrated, ubiquitous, unhinged Noam Chomsky’s hatred of Jews—epitomized, of course, by satanic Israel—is so profound that Chomsky did not hesitate to endorse and abet the notorious French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson.