A friend emailed me “A List of Jewish People That Help Control the World,” from the May 9th Pakistan Daily. They’ve got 83 names on their list, which is badly out of date (Ari Fleischer, “Dubya’s press secretary” is there, but Rahm Emanuel isn’t, for example, William Safire is still described as a NY Times columnist, and Ted Koppel is still running “Nightline”). Depending on whether you think Rupert Murdoch is American or Australian, all are Americans, and almost all are in the news business or entertainment. I am described as the editor of National Review. In short, it isn’t very scholarly. And a reader complains that “it leaves out the puppet masters – the Rothschild/Rockefeller/Warburg – et al – these are the synagogues of Satan…this interlocked family network has set up the international fiat banking scam that gives them control of between 1/3 to ½ the monetary wealth of the world.”
This publication isn’t at all Islamist. There’s an ad on the front page for “Pakistani women,” and the photo wouldn’t pass muster at any sharia censor’s office. The “List” is just old-fashioned antisemitism, all about how the Jews run the world, and what a terrible thing it is.
It got me to thinking about Europe, which is often described as crashing pell-mell toward a new Eurabia, dominated by Islamists. And there is certainly good reason to be pessimistic about Western Europe, from Great Britain to Austria, with its surging Muslim birth rates and plenty of Muslim immigration. I don’t know what Europe’s going to be like in another generation or two, even though plenty of smart people think they’ve seen its dhimmi future. They may well be right. But I have a somewhat different reason for pessimism, and it unfortunately has a good deal to do with America’s future as well. It seems to me that Europeans are suffering the consequences of embracing Jew-hatred, and their shocking tolerance of radical Muslims is just one symptom of a deeper disease.
When the Europeans killed and expelled the Jews during the Holocaust, it marked a watershed in their history, from which they never recovered, just as the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 marked the beginning of the end of that great Empire. For the Jews, with their remarkable wit, energy and creativity, had truly transformed the old continent. As Yuri Slezkine writes in his great book, The Jewish Century, the creation of modern banking, to take just one example among many, was largely a Jewish enterprise.
In the early nineteenth century, thirty of the fifty-two private banks in Berlin were owned by Jewish families; a hundred years later, many of these banks became shareholding companies with Jewish managers…In fin de siecle Vienna, 40 percent of the directors of public banks were Jews or of Jewish descent, and all banks but one were administered by Jews (some of them members of old banking clans)…Between 1873 and 1910, at the height of political liberalism, the Jewish share of the Vienna stock exchange council remained steady at about 70 percent, and in 1921 Budapest, 87.8 percent of the members of the stock exchange and 91 percent of the currency brokers association were Jews…
Ditto for education, where the Jews inverted the normal sequence (get educated, then make money, whereas the Jews made money first, then sent their kids to school), and of course science, medicine, fashion (did you know that the pushup bra is a Jewish invention?) and…war.
After the Second World War, some of the old families–the Rothschilds are the most celebrated case–remained in Europe, and have continued to flourish. But the two countries in which Jewish genius has made its greatest post-Holocaust contribution are not in Europe. They are Israel and the United States. It is accordingly no accident that so many of the world’s Jew-haters focus their bile on those two countries (the Iranian rulers call them “the great Satan” and “the little Satan”).
For at least a generation after the war, public expression of Jew-hatred was taboo, and this taboo extended to Israel as well. No doubt Jew-hatred continued to play a role in private life, but it rarely crept into public discourse; members of the war generation saw their own complicity with the Holocaust clearly enough to maintain a prudent silence. Those days are long gone, and the Europeans’ willingness to tolerate and encourage the worst of Islamic Jew-hatred is one part of the relapse into a broader intolerance of things Jewish, and of the Jews themselves. The results are what you’d expect: French and British Jews are leaving in significant numbers, and their departure signals a brain drain of some importance. Anyone who looks at the spectacularly high numbers of Nobel prizes awarded to Jews in science and literature can easily establish that.
If you get rid of the Jews, you’re going to pay a big price, both because of the restlessly inquiring nature of Jewish religious culture, and because the Jews are what Slezkine calls the West’s quintessential “Mercurians,” outsiders who take the risks necessary to advance the human enterprise, while the more secure and comfortable others live off accumulated capital and find comfort in established tradition. And there may be a genetic component, although the taboo against saying such things remains firmly in place.
I think that there’s considerable confusion about the relationship between European Jew-hatred and appeasement of radical islam. It is certainly not the case that all European antisemites are tolerant of Muslims, let alone of jihadism. A few months ago, some Austrian right-wing extremists defaced the wall around the Matthausen concentration camp.
The graffiti read “The progeny of Muslims are for us what the Jews were to our fathers. Be on your guard. A third world war – an eighth crusade.” For these angry people, the Muslims and the Jews are lumped together as enemies, which prompted a commenter to note that the Austrians are probably surprised at the alternative to the Jews. They killed and expelled their Jews, and they got the Muslims in their stead. The graffiti writers aren’t happy about it.
Here and there one sees some Europeans losing patience with the Muslims. Geert Wilders, an outspoken Dutch critic of the Islamists, now heads the most popular political party in the Netherlands, even though he lives in a bunker, surrounded by security guards. The Italian Government is applying some surprisingly tough standards to would-be immigrants, most of whom are Muslims. This comes after years of a politically correct open door policy to new arrivals, actively supported by at least some elements of the Catholic Church. And a couple of years ago I was in Krakow, Poland, and several of the town leaders said they were looking for a way to convince Jews to return. They had seen and understood the consequences of the destruction of the Jews.
I wonder if we Americans do. One has to be struck by the remarkable animus toward Israel demonstrated by some of the leaders of this administration, as by various pundits and politicians. It is quite astonishing to see the Obama White House dispatch waves of diplomats to make nice to Iranians–at the very moment that Tehran is stepping up the violence against Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan–while sternly warning Israel not to “surprise” us by taking action against the fanatical ayatollahs who have vowed to destroy the Jewish state. Why would anyone be surprised if a sovereign state defended itself against an outspoken and vicious enemy? And why would the United States want to prevent it from doing so? It reminds one of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s fine line about the Carter Administration: “Unable to distinguish between their friends and their enemies, they have ended by adopting their enemies’ view of the world.”
There are those who like to say that the Jews are the canaries in the global mine shaft–an alarm of impending danger–but I think that misses the central point. When societies turn against the Jews, they seal their own doom, by depriving themselves of the creative energy that Jews have so often provided to Western civilization.
The evil of Jew-hatred is right in front of our noses–it’s what Roger Simon experienced so viscerally when he was in Geneva–and as so often in the past, we prefer not to see it (it is the central theme of my forthcoming book Accomplice to Evil). Even most Jews deliberately blind themselves to it, as they did before and during the Holocaust, and so often before that. I do not think that the Jews will ever be destroyed; far more powerful forces than those arrayed against us today have tried and failed. But I do fear that far too many of our leaders are falling prey to the ancient evil. The Europeans fell for it in the last century, and are passing from the stage of world history. Let us fight against it here and now.
UPDATE: The Ledeens are now en route to Naples, for rigorous research on the origins of pizza (do YOU know where the buffaloes came from that produce the milk that makes the cheese that goes on the pizza?). So I will be a bit slow managing comments for the next coupla days.