April 02, 2014

The leading historian on pogroms, Steven J. Zipperstein of Stanford, has exposed several myths about the received view. A Harvard Gazette article on Zipperstein’s research notes:

… Kishinev consolidated the immediate belief “€” propagated within days around the world “€” that imperial Russia was waging a brutal campaign against its own Jews. From this came the eventual belief that “€œJewry’s ill-starred collision with tsarism”€ spurred widespread Jewish migration at the turn of the 20th century, said Zipperstein….

Zipperstein admitted at a YIVO Institute lecture in February that some of “€œmy deepest political beliefs are predicated on historical half-truths”€:

…”€œBut most of Russia was untouched by pogroms, especially the northern provinces from which the earliest and heaviest migrations poured. Like any other immigrants, although in far larger numbers, Jews “€˜fled poverty or the military, or the paucity of opportunity,”€™”€ Zipperstein said….

Zipperstein has discovered that the most publicized document stating that the czarist government was behind the 1903 Kishinev pogrom, a letter purportedly from a Czarist minister ordering a soft hand with anti-Semitic rioters to keep them from turning against the government, was much like the subsequent Protocols of the Elders of Zion: a fake. Philip Weiss writes:

… The Plehve letter was a “€œsmoking gun”€ that attained  “€œthe most unassailable”€ and “€œcanonic”€ status in Jewish consciousness, Zipperstein said: it showed that the Russian government was in on the pogrom. And it was “€œall but certainly a forgery,”€ he said….

Still, when the legend becomes fact, print the legend:

… Nonetheless, Jews widely blame the czar for Kishinev. Zipperstein said this was “€œthe most resonant of all lessons to learn from the massacre, namely that the government at the highest level was directly responsible for it all, that it was intent on wreaking havoc, perhaps little less than the annihilation of its Jews.”€ … Zipperstein said the belief in the czar’s role in the massacre became the “€œresilient glue”€ of liberal Jewish identity in the U.S…..

During the 1990s, American economists such as Larry Summers, Stanley Fischer, Andrei Shleifer, and Jeffrey Sachs advised the drunken Russian president Boris Yeltsin on how to have a modern economy. Russia wound up with seven hustlers”€”five or six of them, as Tiger Mother Amy Chua bravely pointed out in 2003, Jewish“€”owning practically everything worth owning.

Today, under the pro-Semitic Putin, Jews make up what’s approaching a fifth of Russia’s billionaires, but that’s less than in the 1990s, so it seems to the American media as if the Cossacks must be riding in like at the end of the first act of Fiddler on the Roof.

In America, where Jews make up one-third of the billionaires, it’s hard to argue that anti-Semitism is much of a problem anymore. Hence, one outlet for anti-anti-Semitic energies has been the gay movement.

Richard Grenier, the longtime movie reviewer for Commentary, was one of the first to call attention to this connection. After going to see Tony Kushner’s Angels in America and other AIDS plays in 1993, Grenier wrote:

… in a recent week of diligent theatergoing in New York, at the more commercially successful homosexual works, I got the impression that the audiences were something like 10 per cent homosexuals and 90 per cent heterosexual Jews”€”to all appearances well-to-do, liberal, husband-and-wife couples. We had some heterosexual Gentiles in the audiences, no doubt, but they appeared to be a distinct minority. During a preview of Angels in America, when one of the characters uttered an expletive in Yiddish, the house positively roared with laughter …

Grenier noted:

Many liberal Jews… have fully accepted the parallel between discrimination based on race or religion and discrimination based on “€œsexual orientation.”€ This parallel is reflected in the AIDS plays”€”indeed, it is more than reflected. To put it plainly, these plays are about Jews and Jewishness almost as much as they are about homosexuality…. The characters talk endlessly about Jews and homosexuality, homosexuality and Jews. The playwrights themselves find a correlation.

Am I not to notice this?

Not noticing is usually the most prudent policy in modern America. Then again, is it worth heedlessly bear-baiting our way into a war with Russia because we”€™re not supposed to notice?


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