January 08, 2009

Responding to Larry Auster

Although my schedule is cluttered with loads of professional and family matters, including a trip to Israel in the very near future, I feel obliged to respond to the surly comments about me posted by Larry Auster and Ron Lewenberg. For starters, I don?t in any way regret my criticism of the Zionist Right during and after World War Two. My assessment of this truly loathsome movement seems entirely justified, and pace Ron Lewenberg, it does not indicate any ?intellectual laziness on my part. Despite the fact that Menachem Begin was in a different faction of the Zionist Revisionist Right from his lifelong friend and later ally in the Herut Party Yitzchak Shamir, both used the same arms to launch the Great Revolt against the British and Palestinian Arabs in 1944. The Irgun Zvai Leumi and Lehi factions of the Zionist Right also joined together in committing terrorist acts against the British and collaborated in the murder of the Swedish mediator Count Folke Bernadotte in 1948. Both were also involved in ethnic cleansing against Arab populations in the north of Israel.

Although I?ve no bone to pick with the current Kadimah coalition leadership, despite the family connections of some of its members to erstwhile terrorists, the uncivil side of the Israeli Right does rear its nasty head every now and then. In a continuing display of anachronistic antifascism, Begin, Shamir and their followers have vented their hate on anything associated with the postwar German government, and they have extended theses hate demonstrations to those delivering lectures in German in Israeli universities and to those performing German operas on Israeli territory. Shamir famously denounced Pope John Paul II as someone who ?sucked in anti-Semitism with his mother?s milk? because of a disagreement with him on a foreign policy issue. And Likudnik deputies walked out or heckled the German Chancellor when she spoke last year before the Knesset, offering a self-mortifying apology for the Holocaust on behalf of her country. Her inexcusable offenses were that she addressed the Israeli parliament in German and was herself of German origin.

It would be no exaggeration to say that Begin, Shamir, and their followers, have often displayed the same bad manners as one might have encountered among Black Panthers or the IRA. It is possible to make this observation without wishing the Jewish state ill. Note that Ze?ev Jabotinsky, the very well-educated and pro-European founder of the Zionist Right, worried deeply about the generation of leaders who would come after him. As the Israeli historian Amos Perlmutter points out, Jabotinsky was ?appalled? by the idea of Begin, whom he considered maudlin, grotesque ?shtetl Jew? ever taking over the leadership of his movement. Jabotinsky was of course proved right.

It is also nonsense to suggest that by failing to support the Israeli assault on Gaza with rapturous enthusiasm, I have allied myself with the Left. Allow me to note two inconvenient facts. One, I am strongly on the Israeli side in the current assault on Hamas military sites, although not in the same bloodthirsty fashion as Lewenberg Auster, and the ranters at the New York Post.  There is no reason to rejoice about shedding human blood, even when it seems necessary for the survival of one?s people or co-ethnics. I would also have supported the war against Hitler, albeit without the terror bombing and demand for unconditional surrender which seem to have been for Churchill and FDR the happiest side of the conflict.

Two, I?ve a revelation for Larry and Ron that they may discover sooner or later even without my help. Zionists and anti-Zionists can both be found outside of Israel largely on the left. My critics may have failed to notice on which side of the political spectrum Jewish Zionist groups have placed themselves in predominantly Christian (or post-Christian) countries. They are on exactly the same side of the political spectrum as Abe Foxman, Rahm Emanuel, Steven Spielberg, Alan Dershowitz, and Elie Wiesel. All of these celebrities and many other ones are intensely pro-Israel and, not surprisingly for me, on the political left. Like Larry, I?m delighted that Nick Griffin and the British National party are (more or less) cheering for the Israeli side, or at least for the anti-Muslim side, in the conflict in Gaza. But the Israelis would have more friends on the right if the Central Committee for Jews in Germany and its counterparts in France and Italy were not so firmly and predictably allied to the social and even pro-immigrationist left. Needless to say, it doesn?t count as a counterargument to what I?ve said that American movement conservatives and GOP officeholders are effusively pro-Israel. We all know from what tainted source their ideas come. Need I remind Larry about who walked in from the left and occupied the conservative movement in the 1980s and then were invited to become the GOP brain-trust? 

Larry would of course predictably respond to all this that most Zionists, including neoconservatives, are faux because they aren?t ?serious? about exterminating Arabs and keeping Muslims out of the Western world. But these ?unserious? Zionist partisans and the ?unserious? Israeli Right are the closest things Larry has to allies. And you can add to this bunch much of the German Left, which since the fall of East Germany have turned their affections to Israel and to American-led human rights crusades. Any politically savvy American who looks at the German leftist website Hagalil or at the German leftist newspaper Tageszeitung gets the impression of deja vu. Both look as if they were written by Victor Davis Hansen and Ralph Peters and then translated into German.

Finally it is ridiculous for Larry to tell me that he was not suggesting that I cut my ties to this website and its patron. His references to both have become so vitriolic that it is hard for me to draw any other conclusion. Several times he has indicated to me that I was consorting with vicious anti-Semites through my association with Taki?s Top Drawer. Larry may have told me in passing that he is not trying to force my hand, but my assumption about his not wanting me to write for this website seems entirely reasonable, given the spleen he has unleashed against it.

But I do wish that Larry would stop referring to those who do not share his opinions as anti-Semites. The neoconservatives and their liberal allies are already playing that game quite nicely on their own, and there?s no way that Larry can break into their monopoly, no matter how hard he tries. Moreover, his stated white nationalist stands do not play well among those who are currently using what Murray Rothbard used to call the ?branding iron of anti-Semitism.? Larry would do better to cease his war against this website and to turn his ammunition against more appropriate targets. What about those European Jewish organizations that combine their Zionism with support for continued Muslim immigration into Europe? These are the anti-Christian lunatics who are helping to bring the Muslim scourge into the heart of Europe, and unlike Taki, these nuisances run around accusing those who don?t agree with their Zionist politics of guess what?

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