Thursday, August 09, 2007


by J. R. Nyquist

“You may succeed in silencing me,” Alexander Litvinenko explained on his deathbed, “but that silence comes at a price.” He was addressing his murderer, Russian President Vladimir Putin. “You have shown yourself to be as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have claimed. You have shown yourself to have no respect for life, liberty or any civilized value. You have shown yourself to be unworthy of your office, to be unworthy of the trust of civilized men and women.” Stalin said that one death was a tragedy while one million was a mere statistic. The slaughter of the Chechen people failed to arouse the West. But Litvinenko’s death was a tragedy that caught the world’s attention, underscoring the evil that has emerged in Moscow. British authorities have privately conceded that the Kremlin dispatched the assassins who poisoned Litvinenko with radioactive Pollonium-210 in November 2006. I bring this story up, once more, because of the indecency of President Bush, who regards Putin as his “friend.” If meeting with Putin, if praising Putin’s “frankness” is some kind of strategy, then it is doubly shameful. Embracing a treacherous partner is not a strategy. To call such a thing “political realism” is shortsighted and even suicidal. America has been down this road before, when FDR trusted Stalin, when Nixon and Carter embraced Brezhnev, when Reagan hugged Gorbachev. Only now the situation is worse. The structures used to contain Russia have collapsed on the assumption that Russia is an emerging democracy. And now, as the Russian dictator breaks out of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, NATO is unable to properly respond. President Putin will now have a stick as well as a carrot (i.e., energy) with which to bring Europe into obedience.

The political realist, if he were truly realistic, would know that the KGB regime in Russia faces a difficult transition within the coming months. Putin must step down and new elections must be held. But how can this be? If the history of Julius Caesar has taught us anything, it is that a powerful criminal cannot give up power without exposing himself to prosecution. He must cling to power as a matter of personal survival. This is the case with Putin and the thugs who serve him. More and more, the blood on Putin’s hands is visible to everyone, including the Russian people. His crimes are coming into focus at home and abroad. The apartment bombings that triggered the Second Chechen War are almost certainly his work. The assassination of journalist Anna Politkovskaya is rather obvious, like the death of Alexander Litvinenko. “You may succeed in silencing one man,” stated Litvinenko. “But a howl of protest from around the world will reverberate….”

One killing leads to another. You blow up apartments in Moscow and blame it on terrorists in order to establish your regime. And then, when investigators start digging into certain suspicious details, you assassinate the investigators – like legislator Sergei Yushenkov, Anna Politkovskaya and Alexander Litvinenko. You send assassins to kill the exiled Russian tycoon, Boris Berezovsky, who continues to finance these investigations. As noted above, one murder leads to another; one massacre leads to another; one war leads to another. The modus operandi takes over. If your house is built on a lie, if someone questions the lie, then your last line of defense is murder. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn once pointed out, the Communist regime in Russia survived “not because there has not been any struggle against it from the inside, not because people docilely surrendered to it, but because it is inhumanely strong, in a way unimaginable in the West.” And so, the Kremlin will not regurgitate Politkovskaya’s murderer. Putin will not hand over Litvinenko’s assassins. They are instrumental to the maintenance of his regime. If they are handed over the regime is doomed. This is the ABCs of the situation.

Just as an economic crisis is coming to America, a political crisis is coming to Russia. The two crises are interlinked. The assassination of Anna Politkovskaya and the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko foreshadow a necessary train of events in Russia – just as Stalin’s purges foreshadowed World War II. The Kremlin knows what is coming, what cannot now be avoided. The dictatorship in Russia is on a set path, firm in the understanding that Western-style freedom is the enemy. Therefore, the Kremlin must (1) exploit America’s growing strategic weakness, and (2) avoid political destabilization as the legitimacy of a criminal regime is called into question. Even if the Russian public remains sleepy and compliant, it will only be on account of carefully engineered events. And the logic of events should be obvious to everyone. As a matter of internal policy, the Kremlin must demonize the United States, naming America as its “main enemy.” It must elevate international tensions. It must divert attention from its own criminality by accusing the United States of worse criminality. The accusations over the NATO missile shield in Poland are only the beginning. Further accusations will follow. The alliance that Russia has been building with China, Venezuela, Iran, etc., will eventually come into play.

The Western experts think Russia can be gradually brought back into the democratic fold. They imagine that Russia can be turned into a solid, compliant partner by small steps. But this is not in the cards. History is a great teacher and history shows that the KGB has been here before: with Stalin at the end of the Soviet economic liberalization of the 1920s; at the end of World War II, when Moscow promised democracy to Eastern Europe; after Khrushchev denounced Stalin and announced a policy of peaceful coexistence; after the appearance of “Communism with a human face” in Czechoslovakia in 1968. The promises are always deceptive and always broken. What little is given, is used as a lure. Under whichever dictator, the Kremlin has its method: to reverse the economic liberalization of the 1920s with episodes like the Ukraine famine and Stalin’s purges; to introduce democracy to Eastern Europe through the establishment of several Communist dictatorships; to denounce Stalin and announce peaceful coexistence only to raise the Berlin Wall, arm the North Vietnamese and put offensive missiles into Cuba; to crush the Czech liberalization beneath armored columns.

Vladimir Putin has canceled the CFE Treaty because the Russian armed forces are reviving. They have new weapons, higher pay and better morale. Meanwhile, NATO is not ready. The United States is not psychologically prepared. Putin’s withdrawal from the CFE Treaty is thought to be a dramatic gesture, indicating his disapproval of NATO’s projected plans for missile defense. It is more than a gesture, however. It is the first step in a longer sequence. With further accusations, with further complaints of treachery, the Russian leader can start moving tank and motorized rifle divisions Westward. He can apply direct military pressure to supplement his economic pressure. He can tighten the screws on Europe. He can move into Serbia, bringing the Serbs into the Russian Federation itself. He can reassert the former “Soviet sphere of influence.” He can employ a subtle kind of blackmail as he assassinates his critics throughout Europe.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Holocaust Inversion: The Portraying of Israel and Jews as Nazis II

Israel Worse than the Nazis
Sometimes cartoons even present Israelis as worse than Nazis. Kotek says: "A 1993 cartoon in the Syrian daily Teshreen shows one soldier with a Star of David on his helmet and another with a swastika on his helmet. The caption reads: ‘The Security Council has studied the case of genocide of the Palestinians.' The long list is of Israeli crimes; the small list of Nazi crimes."22

The claim that Israel is worse than the Nazis also appeared in the Hamashahri competition. The Moroccan cartoonist Naji Benaji was awarded a special prize for his drawing of two bottles. One, on which "Holocaust" is written, contains a few skulls; the second carries the Palestinian flag and is filled with skulls.

The number of cartoon variations on the core motif of Holocaust inversion is virtually unlimited. Kotek cites the Brazilian Carlos Latuff as a well-known anti-Semitic caricaturist who has been producing such works for many years.23 He won a shared second prize in the Tehran competition for a cartoon showing an Arab as a concentration-camp inmate.

A 2002 cartoon in the Greek daily Ethnos, close to the then-ruling Pasok socialist party, has become a classic of twenty-first-century anti-Semitism. It shows two Jewish soldiers dressed as Nazis, with Stars of David on their helmets, thrusting knives into Arabs. Its caption reads: "Do not feel yourself guilty, my brother. We were not in Auschwitz and Dachau to suffer, but to learn."24

These were preceded in 1988 by the Kuwaiti paper Al Rai-Al Aam, which published a caricature of a soldier with a gun, kippa, and long nose shoving a child into a furnace. The image alluded to both the Shoah and the ancient anti-Semitic blood libel that Jews use children to bake matzo.25

Toynbee, European Communists
The same anti-Semitic motifs also occur in written and verbal form. They go back to the immediate postwar period, though today they are much more frequent. The well-known British historian Arnold Toynbee, a notorious anti-Semite, claimed in his major work A Study of History that the Israeli treatment of Arabs during the 1948 war was morally comparable to the Nazi treatment of the Jews. He repeated this accusation in a 1961 debate with the then Israeli ambassador to Canada, Jacob Herzog, who asserted that the Nazi murder of six million Jews was incomparable to the unfortunate uprooting of Arab communities.26

Soviet propaganda was one of the important roots of Holocaust inversion. Israeli anti-Semitism scholar Simcha Epstein relates how in 1953, French communist intellectuals organized a solidarity rally in Paris to support the official Soviet claim that mainly Jewish doctors had assassinated communist leaders. He notes that at the meeting many speakers, including Jews, "explained that it was normal to suspect doctors of poisoning people: one only had to look at Mengele's role in Auschwitz. If he was capable of what he did, why should other physicians not use poison?"27

Although this example concerned Jews, presenting Israelis as Nazis was also widespread in the communist world. In 1968, Simon Wiesenthal stated that East Germany's news service was far more anti-Israeli than that of other communist countries. This was because of the former Nazi propagandists it employed. "On 14 July 1967, for example, a cartoon appeared in the Berliner Zeitung, depicting a flying Moshe Dayan, with his hands stretched out toward Gaza and Jerusalem. Next to him stood Adolf Hitler in an advanced state of decomposition. He encouraged Dayan with the words: ‘Carry on, colleague Dayan!'"28

In a famous 1968 open letter, British philosopher Bertrand Russell accosted Polish prime minister Wladyslaw Gomulka: "By some twisted logic, all Jews are now Zionists, Zionists are fascists, fascists are Nazis and Jews therefore are to be identified with the very criminals who only recently sought to eliminate Polish Jewry."29

The West European Mainstream
The Holocaust-inversion theme has already appeared in the West European mainstream for several decades. Leading European politicians such as the late Swedish socialist prime minister Olof Palme and the late Greek socialist prime minister Andreas Papandreou have accused Israel of using Nazi methods.30 31

In recent years such charges have become more widespread. American congressman and Holocaust-survivor Tom Lantos described the distortions of the Holocaust at the Durban conference. He also notes that at a preparatory emergency conference in Geneva in June 2001, the UN high commissioner for human rights and former Irish president, Mary Robinson, "refused to reject the twisted notion that the wrong done to the Jews in the Holocaust was equivalent to the pain suffered by the Palestinian in the Middle East. Instead she discussed ‘the historical wounds of anti-Semitism and of the Holocaust on the one hand, and the accumulated wounds of displacement and military occupation on the other.'"32

Senior members of the Greek Socialist Party often use Holocaust rhetoric to describe Israeli military actions.33 In March 2002, parliamentary speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis referred to the "genocide" of the Palestinians. He was backed by the government spokesman, Christos Protopapas, who said that Kaklamanis spoke "with sensitivity and responsibility, expressing the sentiments of the Parliament and Greek people."34

One only has to read the recent judgment of the International Court of Justice on the Srebrenica mass murder to understand what genocide is and how perverse the genocide accusations against Israel are.35

In April 2002, Franco Cavalli spoke at a demonstration of the Swiss-Palestinian Society in Bern. He was then parliamentary leader of the Social Democratic Party (SP), which is part of the Swiss governing coalition. He claimed that Israel "very purposefully massacres an entire people" and undertakes "the systematic extermination of the Palestinians." At the rally Israeli flags were torched.36 That same year British poet and Oxford academic Tom Paulin told an Egyptian newspaper that Jewish settlers in the West Bank are "Nazis and racists [who] should be shot dead."37

Using Nazi genocidal language for Israel's actions is another tool of Holocaust inversion. The most effective way to sanitize Germany's immense crimes is to accuse Israel of acting similarly. In 2002 Norbert Blüm, a former German Christian Democrat minister of labor, charged that the Jewish state was conducting a "Vernichtungskrieg" against the Palestinians-the Nazi expression for a war of extermination.38 The Christian Democrat Party expelled parliamentarian Martin Hohmann many months after he had called Israelis in 2003 a nation of criminals, using the expression "Taetervolk," commonly reserved for Nazi Germany.39

Holocaust inversion has made major inroads in the Western world, as shown, for example, by German survey data. The major GMF poll in 2004 interviewed 2,656 representatively selected German-speaking people in the country.40 Sixty-eight percent agreed that: "Israel undertakes a war of destruction against the Palestinians." Fifty-one percent agreed that: "What the state of Israel does today to the Palestinians, is in principle not different from what the Nazis did in the Third Reich to the Jews."41

On 26 January 2007-one day before the United Nations' International Day of Commemoration for the victims of the Holocaust-the 192-member UN General Assembly approved a resolution by consensus, introduced by the United States. It condemned "without any reservation any denial of the Holocaust." It did not mention any country. Iran reacted by stating that the Holocaust should be examined to determine its scope. Mario Palavicini, the delegate from Venezuela, supported the resolution but also inverted the Holocaust by saying that Israel's "excesses under the pretext of legitimate defense has led to a new holocaust against the Palestinian people."42

In Spain in 2006, there was even an attempt to invert the day of official Holocaust remembrance. Susana Leon Gordillo, a member of Prime Minister Zapatero's ruling Socialist Party (PSOE) and mayor of the Madrid suburb Ciempozuelos, decided to commemorate in his town the "genocide of the Palestinian people." At the request of the Spanish Foreign Ministry, "Palestine Genocide Day" was canceled. References to the affair were taken from the Ciempozuelos municipality website.43

The Anti-Defamation League condemned the mayor's Holocaust-inversion attempt and addressed him a letter saying:

Your attempt to equate the industrialized mass murder of six million Jewish women, men and children, as well as millions of others, with the situation of the Palestinian people is shameful. It reflects an extremely disturbing tendency, which is particularly visible in Europe to dishonor the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and de-legitimize the State of Israel by seeking to eradicate the clear moral difference between the Holocaust and the loss of Palestinian lives as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict.44

There are some Jewish Holocaust inverters as well. One is Sara Roy, a senior research scholar at the Harvard University Center for Middle Eastern Studies. A child of Holocaust survivors herself, she used a Holocaust Memorial Lecture to suggest that Israelis are Nazis, saying: "Within the Jewish community it has always been considered a form of heresy to compare Israeli actions or policies with those of the Nazis and certainly one must be very careful in doing so." She then insinuated that they are comparable, quoting as proof-a figment of Palestinian propaganda-that "Israeli soldiers openly admit to shooting Palestinian children for sport."45

Fishman, in an essay on the Cold War origins of contemporary anti-Semitic terminology, lists a variety of Israelis, academics and others, who have made Holocaust-inverting remarks.46

Inversion of Symbols
Many Holocaust symbols have also been inverted. In Amsterdam in February 2007, graffiti appeared showing Anne Frank with a keffiya. One regularly finds cartoons or pictures comparing Arab cities and towns to the Warsaw Ghetto,47 and attempts to compare the killing of the Palestinian child Mohammed al-Dura-who probably died from a Palestinian bullet-to the iconic Jewish child raising his hands in the Warsaw Ghetto.48

Attorney Khaled Mahamid, an Israeli Arab from Nazareth, has founded a Holocaust museum. The Anti-Defamation League, while praising the existence of an Arab museum in Israel commemorating the Holocaust, expressed its deep concern that its approach undid much of the benefit it could have achieved.

The ADL statement continued that the museum was based

on the false premise that the Palestinian people are paying the price for European guilt over the Holocaust by having what they believe is an illegitimate Jewish state in the heart of the Arab world. By placing the PLO flag at the museum as well as posters of Palestinian refugees and photos of Palestinian victims of violence juxtaposed next to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, Mr. Mahamid also seeks to create a totally inappropriate connection between the plight of the Palestinians and the Jewish Holocaust victims.49

The Arab World
Holocaust denial and Holocaust inversion are frequently found together in the Arab world. This is seemingly strange yet reflects the perpetrators' aim of maximum demonization of Israel. Nordbruch points out that "articles denouncing Zionism as Nazism often include Holocaust denial as well."50

The Hamas Charter is one of a large number of Arab sources that commit Holocaust inversion. Its article 20 states: "The Nazism of the Jews does not skip women and children, it scares everyone. They make war against people's livelihood, plunder their moneys and threaten their honor. In their horrible actions they mistreat people like the more horrendous war criminals."

The charter is repetitive; its article 31 says: "The Nazi Zionist practices against our people will not last the lifetime of their invasion, for ‘states built upon oppression last only one hour, states based upon justice will last until the hour of Resurrection.'"51

Comparing Palestinians to Shoah Victims
Another manifestation of Holocaust inversion is comparing the situation of the Palestinians to that of the Jews in concentration camps. It is found in many cartoons as well as elsewhere.

Portuguese Nobel Prize-winning author José Saramago, a communist, compared the blockaded Palestinian city of Ramallah to Auschwitz.52 While visiting Brazil he declared that the Jewish people no longer deserve sympathy for the suffering they endured during the Holocaust.53

Wistrich notes that the Anglican Church Times chose to mark Britain's Holocaust Memorial Day with a particularly malevolent article by the Rev. Richard Spencer, who described events in Ramallah as a "suffering and deprivation that I could only imagine in Auschwitz."54

Durst observes: "When one calls everything Auschwitz, you deny the Holocaust. As everything becomes terrible, there is no absolute evil anymore. This is a great relief for the heirs of guilt."55
The Muslim World and the Nazis
Even superficial analysis shows that the main ideological similarity to Nazi thought and behavior is nowadays found in parts of the Muslim world. The influence of neo-Nazi movements in the Western world is small compared to the prominence of Nazi-like thought among Muslim societies.

The dominant example is Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His genocidal threats and incitement against Israel have deep roots both in fundamentalist Iran and among radical Muslim figures in other countries.56 He also has called the Holocaust a myth.57

The Hamas Charter is another document calling for genocide. Its Article 7 lays the groundwork for its ideology of murder: "the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah's promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!"

Palestinian Extremists and "Moderates"
The Palestinian incitement calling for genocide of the Jews goes back well before World War II. The abovementioned Haj Amin el-Husseini, the prewar mufti of Jerusalem, was the leader of the Palestinian Arab extremists before the War of Independence and supported Hitler's actions against the Jews. In the late 1930s, he was financially and militarily assisted by Hitler's Germany. As Matthias Küntzel put it: "a biography of the Mufti published in 1943 clarified the closeness in world view between National Socialism and Islamism from a German perspective."58

For a long time the leader of the Palestinian Arab "moderates" was Ragheb bey el-Nashashibi, the mayor of Jerusalem, who also came out in favor of the mass murder of Jews. After the 1929 riots in Mandatory Palestine, the non-Jewish French writer Albert Londres asked him why the Arabs had murdered the old, pious Jews in Hebron and Safed, with whom they had no quarrel.

The mayor answered: "In a way you behave like in a war. You don't kill what you want. You kill what you find. Next time they will all be killed, young and old." Later on, Londres spoke again to the mayor and tested him ironically by saying: "You cannot kill all the Jews. There are 150,000 of them." Nashashibi answered "in a soft voice, ‘Oh no, it'll take two days.'"59

This reflected a much broader Arab mindset. It was most succinctly put by Azzam Pasha, secretary of the Arab League, who announced during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war: "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades."60

Arab Countries a Haven for Nazis
Many Nazis who escaped from defeated Germany found a new home in Arab countries. Alois Brunner, an Austrian Nazi war criminal and assistant to Adolf Eichmann, fled to Syria in the mid-1950s and acted there as a government adviser.

Egypt in particular became a haven for Nazis. There, they continued their anti-Semitic activities. Among them was Johannes von Leers, a Goebbels collaborator, who was brought to Egypt by Haj Amin el-Husseini after World War II. He converted to Islam, changed his name to Omar Amin, and became a political adviser to the Information Bureau of the Egyptian government.61

When in 1953 there was a rumor that Hitler was still alive, Anwar as-Sadat, later president of Egypt, wrote in deference to him: "I congratulate you wholeheartedly.... You can be proud of it that you will be the immortal Führer of Germany. We will not be surprised when we see you rise again or when after you a new Hitler emerges."62

Fishman shows the important role of Nazi propagandists in transplanting their propaganda themes into the Middle East and particularly into the media war against Israel. He concludes: "If today's Arab anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish propaganda strongly resembles that of the Third Reich, there is a good reason."63

Holocaust inversion attempts to delegitimize Israel by associating it with the epitome of evil and criminal behavior, Nazi Germany. It attacks and humiliates the Jewish people by equating them with the perpetrators of the brutal genocide that nearly succeeded in exterminating the Jews completely. It also serves to sanitize Germany's immense crimes and those of other European countries by accusing Israel of acting similarly.

Yet the world's major contemporary propagators of Nazi ideology live outside Europe. The most powerful ones can be found mainly in the Muslim world. Palestinian, often genocidal, anti-Semitic incitement is part of a broader picture of a widespread, partly theocratic, Muslim totalitarianism.

Fighting Holocaust inversion and other manipulations of the Holocaust requires first exposing the perpetrators. Thereafter the accusers must be turned into the accused.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is an international business strategist who has been a consultant to governments, international agencies, and boards of some of the world's largest corporations. Among the ten books he has authored are Europe's Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today's Anti-Semitism (JCPA, Yad Vashem, World Jewish Congress, 2003) and European-Israeli Relations: Between Confusion and Change? (JCPA, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, 2006).

1. The author expresses his gratitude to Dr. Joel Fishman for his many valuable comments, as well as to several other members of the Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism staff meetings. He is also grateful to JCPA interns Yonit Golub, Elise Wiedre, and Romy Grace for their assistance in researching this paper.
2. Nathan Sharansky, "Foreword," Jewish Political Studies Review, Vol. 16, Nos. 3-4 (Fall 2004): 5-8.
4. "Manifestations of Antisemitism in the EU 2002-2003," European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, Vienna. For background on the process, see Michael Whine, "International Organizations: Combating Antisemitism in Europe," Jewish Political Studies Review, Vol. 16, Nos. 3-4 (Fall 2004).
5. Michael Whine, "The Berlin Declaration and the EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism: Progress in the Struggle in Europe," Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 41, 1 February 2006.
6. Ibid.
7. Robert Wistrich, "Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism," Jewish Political Studies Review, Vol. 16, Nos. 3-4 (Fall 2004): 29.
8. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Georges-Elia Sarfati, "Language as a Tool against Jews and Israel," Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 17, 1 February 2004.
9. Joel Fishman, "The Big Lie and the Media War against Israel: From Inversion of the Truth to Inversion of Reality," Jewish Political Studies Review, Spring 2007, forthcoming.
10. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Deborah Lipstadt, "Denial of the Holocaust and Immoral Equivalence," in Manfred Gerstenfeld, Europe's Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today's Anti-Semitism (Jerusalem: JCPA, Yad Vashem, World Jewish Congress, 2003), 121.
11. Anne Barnard, "Conference in Iran on Holocaust Begins," Boston Globe, 12 December 2006.
12. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Nathan Durst, "Europe: From Guilt Feelings to Repackaging Anti-Semitism," in Europe's Crumbling Myths, 135.
13. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Jeffrey Gedmin, "Experiencing European Anti-Americanism and Anti-Israelism," in Manfred Gerstenfeld, Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss? (Jerusalem: JCPA, Adenauer Foundation, 2005), 149-50.
14. Gerard Rabinovitch, "Petit lexique du prêt à penser," Observatoire du Monde Juif, 2 March 2002. [French] 15. Fighting Anti-Semitism (Jerusalem: Minister for Diaspora and Jerusalem Affairs, Coordinating Forum for Countering Antisemitism, JCPA, 2004).
16. Tom Lantos, The Durban Debacle: An Insider's View of the UN World Conference against Racism (Jerusalem: Institute of the World Jewish Congress, 2002), 17.
17. Fighting Anti-Semitism.
18. Al Goumhouriya, 24 April 1996, cited in Joël et Dan Kotek, Au nom de l'antisionisme: L'image des Juifs et d'Israël dans la caricature depuis la seconde Intifada (Brussels: Éditions Complexe, 2003), 62. [French]
19. Al Akhbar, 3 October 2000; Kotek, ibid., 60.
20. Teshreen, 15 April 1993, Kotek, ibid., 63.
21. Cartoon by Finn Graff, Dagbladet, 10 July 2006, cited in Erez Uriely, "Jew Hatred in Contemporary Norwegian Caricatures," Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 50, 1 November 2006.
22. Kotek, Au nom de l'antisionisme, 63.
23. Kotek, ibid 161.
24. Ethnos, 7 April 2002. [Greek]
25. Kotek, Au nom de l'antisionisme, 83.
26. "Moral v. Numerical," Time, 10 February 1961.
27. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Simon Epstein, "Fifty Years of French Intellectual Bias against Israel," Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, No. 4, 1 January 2003.
28. J. H. Brinks, "Political Anti-Fascism in the German Democratic Republic," Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 32, No. 2 (1997): 207-17.
29. For sources, see Joel S. Fishman, "The Cold War Origins of Contemporary Anti-Semitic Terminology," Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 517, 1-16 May 2005, fn. 1.
30. Moses Altsech (Daniel Perdurant, pseud.), "Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Greek Society," Analysis of Current Trends in Anti-Semitism, 7 (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1995), 10.
31. Per Ahlmark, "Palme's Legacy 15 Years On," Project Syndicate, February 2001.
32. Lantos, Durban Debacle, 17.
33. Simon Wiesenthal Center, "Twenty Months of Antisemitic Invective in Greece: March 2002-October 2003," 14 October 2003.
34. Antisemitism Worldwide, 2002-3, Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University.
36. "Israel-Kritik oder Antisemitismus?" Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 26 April 2002. [German]
37. Giles Foden and John Mullan, "When Authors Take Sides," The Guardian, 27 April 2002.
38. "Der Vorwurf des Antisemitismus wird auch als Knuppel benutzt," Stern, 18 June 2002. [German]
39. "Hohmann vor Parteigericht der CDU," Die Welt, 21 April 2004. [German]
40. Aribert Heyder, Julia Iser, and Peter Schmidt, "Israelkritik oder Antisemitismus? Meinungsbildung zwischen Öffentlichkeit, Medien und Tabus," in Wilhelm Heitmeyer, ed., Deutsche Zustände 3 (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2005), 144ff. [German]. GMF stands for Gruppenbezogene Menschenfeindlichkeit (Group-Targeted Misanthropy).
41. Ibid., 151.
42. Alexandra Olson, "U.N. Adopts Holocaust Denial Resolution," The Guardian, 27 January 2007.
43. Itamar Eichner, "‘Palestinian Genocide Day,' instead of Holocaust Day,", 31 January 2007.
44. ADL Press Release, "Spanish Mayor's Decision to Commemorate ‘Palestinian Genocide" on Palestinian Holocaust Memorial Day ‘Shameful,'" 26 January 2007.
45 Sara Roy, Second Annual Holocaust Remembrance Lecture, Baylor University, 8 April 2002.
46 Joel S. Fishman, "The Cold War Origins of Contemporary Anti-Semitic Terminology."
47. Kotek, Au nom de l'antisionisme, 114.
48. Ibid., 115.
49. "Tehran Rejects Israeli-Arab Seeking to Prove Shoah,", 11 December 2006.
50. Goetz Nordbruch, "The Socio-Historical Background of Holocaust Denial in Arab Countries," Analysis of Current Trends in Anti-Semitism, 17 (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 2001), 9.
52. Associated Press, "Author Compares Palestinian City to Nazi Death Camp," Miami Herald Tribune, 27 March 2002.
53. ADL Press Release, "Portuguese Nobel Laureate's Remarks on Jews and the Holocaust Are ‘Incendiary and Offensive,'" 15 October 2003.
54. The Church Times, 24 January 2003, quoted in Robert S. Wistrich, "European Anti-Semitism Reinvents Itself," American Jewish Committee, 2005.
55. Gerstenfeld, interview with Durst, 135.
56. Manfred Gerstenfeld, "Ahmadinejad Calls for Israel's Elimination and Declares War on the West: A Case Study of Incitement to Genocide," Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 536, 1 November 2005.
57. Manfred Gerstenfeld, "Ahmadinejad, Iran, and Holocaust Manipulation: Methods, Aims and Reactions," Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 551, 1 February 2007.
58. Matthias Küntzel, Djihad und Judenhass (Freiburg: ça ira, 2003), 35-46. [German]
59. Albert Londres, Le Juif Errant Est Arrivé (Paris: Arléa, 1997), 209. [French]
60. Howard M. Sachar, A History of Israel (New York: Knopf, 1979), 333.
61. Küntzel, Djihad und Judenhass, 50.
62 Ibid., quoting Robert Wistrich.
63 Fishman, "The Big Lie."

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Holocaust Inversion: The Portraying of Israel and Jews as Nazis

  • The false accusation of Holocaust inversion-the portraying of Israel, Israelis, and Jews as Nazis-is a major distortion of history. This anti-Semitic concept claims that Israel behaves against the Palestinians as Germany did to the Jews in World War II. "The victims have become perpetrators," is one major slogan of the inverters. By shifting the moral responsibility for genocide, Holocaust inversion also contains elements of Holocaust denial.
    Holocaust inverters come from many circles. A large number are Arabs or other Muslims. Others come from the extreme Left in the West. A variety of Western mainstream public figures have made Holocaust-inversion statements, including politicians, academics, authors, as well as the occasional Jew or Israeli.
  • The portrayal of Israelis and Jews as Nazis occurs in speech, writing, and the visual media, also including cartoons, graffiti, and placards. It employs sinister characterizations, Nazi symbols, and sometimes takes the form of genocidal terminology to describe Israel's actions.
  • The motivations of the Holocaust inverters are manifold. Some aim at the destruction of Israel and seek to lay the infrastructure for its moral delegitimization through demonization. Some are extreme pro-Arabs, others anti-Semites. Yet others know little about the Holocaust, the Nazis, and contemporary Israel. For Europeans it is also an effective way to cover up for Holocaust crimes of their countries and expunge guilt by claiming that what was done by the Nazi perpetrators and their many collaborators is a common phenomenon and by now is practiced by Israelis and Jews.
  • Contemporary followers and admirers of Nazi methods can mainly be found in the Muslim world, but are also present in Europe and elsewhere. Prewar Palestinian Arab actors had links to Nazi Germany. Examples are the Muslim Brotherhood and the Jerusalem mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini. After World War II, many Nazis fled to Egypt and served in its propaganda apparatus. In particular, current Egyptian but also Palestinian propaganda dates back to this era.

In recent years the attempts to manipulate the history and memory of the Holocaust have greatly increased. For several decades there has been much focus on Holocaust denial. Misrepresentations regarding the Holocaust, however, involve many other aspects as well. The number of these false mutations of Holocaust history is expanding. Related to these is the promotion of a second Holocaust through the destruction of Israel. Mutations include Holocaust universalization and banalization, that is, comparing real or supposed misbehavior in contemporary society to what happened in the Holocaust.

The focus here will be on another major distortion of the Shoah, namely, Holocaust inversion, or portraying Israelis and Jews as Nazis. This anti-Semitic concept claims that Israel behaves toward the Palestinians as Germany did to the Jews in World War II. "The victims have become perpetrators," is one major slogan of the inverters.

Holocaust inverters come from many circles. A large number are Arabs or other Muslims. Many others come from the extreme Left in the West. A variety of Western mainstream public figures have made Holocaust-inversion statements, including politicians, academics, authors, as well as the occasional Jew or Israeli.

Definitions of Anti-Semitism
Natan Sharansky, when he was the Israeli minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora affairs, developed a simple formula that he called the "3D test" to help distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism: demonization, double standards, and delegitimization.

Sharansky included the portrayal of Israel as a Nazi state within his definition of "demonization": "When the Jewish state is being demonized; when Israel's actions are blown out of all sensible proportion; when comparisons are made between Israelis and Nazis and between Palestinian refugee camps and Auschwitz-this is antisemitism, not legitimate criticism of Israel."2

By 2001 Prof. Irwin Cotler, who later became Canada's justice minister, explicitly identified the anti-Semitic character of Holocaust inversion. He pointed to several relatively new aspects of anti-Semitism such as calls for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people, the portrayal of Israel as a Nazi state, and the discriminatory treatment of Israel through denial of equality before the law.3

The EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism
In its 2004 report on anti-Semitism, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) noted the lack of a common characterization of anti-Semitism. This led to the EUMC working definition, which has subsequently been widely accepted.4 It states: "Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.... In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity."

The document that contains this working definition also offers examples of contemporary anti-Semitism. One of these is: "Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust."5

This text also states that "criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic." It lists examples of how anti-Semitism can manifest itself toward Israel:

*Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
*Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
*Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel . . . .
*Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
*Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.6

The core motif of classic anti-Semitism was that Jews embody the most extreme malevolence. During the postwar era, the Nazi regime has become the paradigm for absolute evil. Comparing Israel's conduct to its actions is a new mutation of this ancient theme.

As anti-Semitism historian Robert Wistrich put it:

"anti-Zionists" who insist on comparing Zionism and the Jews with Hitler and the Third Reich appear unmistakably to be de facto anti-Semites, even if they vehemently deny the fact! This is largely because they knowingly exploit the reality that Nazism in the postwar world has become the defining metaphor of absolute evil. For if Zionists are "Nazis" and if Sharon really is Hitler, then it becomes a moral obligation to wage war against Israel. That is the bottom line of much contemporary anti-Zionism. In practice, this has become the most potent form of contemporary anti-Semitism. 7

French linguist Georges-Elia Sarfati points out that the term anti-Zionism was pioneered by the Soviet Union's Information Ministry after the Six Day War. Researching the matter, he found that the word did not appear in dictionaries until the 1970s. He observes that "a number of key equations dominate the anti-Zionist discourse. The master one-which transversally commands all others-is ‘Zionism equals Nazism.'... the anti-Zionist propaganda conveys that you have only to be against, for instance against Nazism-and who is not?-to be an anti-Zionist."8

Historian Joel Fishman asserts that "inversion of reality" constitutes the basic principle of current anti-Israeli propaganda, noting:

One of its most frequent expressions has been the accusation that the Jewish people, victims of the Nazis, have now become the new Nazis, aggressors and oppressors of the Palestinian Arabs. Contemporary observers have identified this method and described it as an "inversion of reality," an "intellectual confidence trick," "reversing moral responsibility," or "twisted logic." Because Israel's enemies have, for nearly half a century, repeated such libels without being challenged, they have gradually gained credence. 9

American historian Deborah Lipstadt has also pointed out this method of establishing a fraudulent proposition as a historical truth. She says about the historical writer and Holocaust-denier David Irving: "Irving realized that a pre-condition for Nazism's resurrection was to strip and wash it of its worst elements. The first important tool to accomplish this was the creation of immoral equivalencies, essentially a balance of bad behavior."10

Manifestation and Motivation
Holocaust inversion manifests itself in many ways. It is expressed in speech, writing, and visual media, also including cartoons, graffiti, and placards. It employs sinister characterizations of Israel and Israelis, Nazi symbols, and sometimes takes the form of Nazi genocidal terminology to describe Israel's actions.

The perpetrators of the most severe Holocaust distortions have manifold motivations. The most extreme aim at the destruction of Israel. This was expressed by Holocaust-denying Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki at the International Conference on Review of the Holocaust Global Vision held in Tehran in December 2006. At this assembly of Holocaust deniers and minimizers, Mottaki stated: "if the official version of the Holocaust is thrown into doubt, then the identity and nature of Israel will be thrown into doubt."11

*More specifically, the most extreme Holocaust inverters seek to lay the infrastructure for Israel's moral delegitimization by first demonizing it.
*Many Western Holocaust inverters also aim to bolster the Arab and Palestinian cause by demonizing Israel.
*Other Westerners seem to act out of anti-Semitic motivations. They show little or no interest in the frequent murdering of Palestinians by other Palestinians nor in the plight of Palestinians killed and persecuted elsewhere-for instance, in Iraq. This also pertains, of course, to the murdering of Israelis by Palestinians.
*Yet others know little about the Holocaust, the Nazis, and contemporary Israel. They are influenced by members of the media and other societal elites who are Holocaust inverters.
*Absolving one's ancestors of guilt is another motif of many Holocaust inverters. The Holocaust was not exclusively the work of Germany-which incorporated Austria-as well as several nations allied with it. Large numbers of Europeans collaborated with the German occupiers. The most effective way to neutralize this is to shift the moral responsibility to Israel by claiming that what was done by the perpetrators is widespread and now practiced primarily by Israelis and Jews.

This malicious identification of Israelis as Nazis is intended to free Europeans of their remorse and shame for their centuries-long history of lethal anti-Semitism. Above all, it liberates Europeans from any residual guilt they might have experienced in the wake of the Shoah. If the Israelis-who are, after all, mostly Jews-can be depicted as Nazis, then not having helped them during World War II might not have been misbehavior.

Israeli Holocaust-psychologist Nathan Durst related European expressions with anti-Semitic undertones to guilt toward the Holocaust. "If the guilty person is bad, the Jewish victim becomes good. The moment it can be shown the latter is bad too, the ‘other'-that is, the European-is relieved of his guilt feelings. To claim that Israelis behave like Nazis reduces the sin of the grandparents. Then the children of the victims can no longer be the accusers. This equalizes everybody."12

Jeffrey Gedmin, the new American president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, observes: "It is very helpful for a certain ideology in European political culture to see the Palestinians as helpless underdogs being repressed by the Israelis. This thesis enables many Europeans to relativize, or even balance, Europe's guilt."

He adds:

This reflects further European hypocrisy...since there is no passion in either Germany or Europe for independent Kurdish or Basque states. There is no concern for Tibetan underdogs. One can only conclude that the reasons Europeans consider the Palestinian cause for independence central are their cultural bias, burdens of the past and anti-Semitic feelings. It would be much more logical to see the Israelis as underdogs, a small democracy in a large, hostile Arab environment.13

Visual Forms of Holocaust Inversion
An effective way to grasp the main modes of Holocaust inversion is by analyzing placards and cartoons. These rely on familiar and immediately perceived core stereotypes of hatred, of which the number is limited. This iconography must appeal to ideas with which the public at large is familiar. This particularly pertains to Arab societies where so many people are illiterate.

In many anti-Israeli demonstrations, banners are carried that show the Star of David as equivalent to the swastika. The phenomenon is international. At such a demonstration in the Place de la République in Paris on 7 October 2000, a placard was inscribed "Stop the Jewish Hitlerian terrorism!" Below the words a Star of David was drawn as equaling a swastika.14

That same year a placard in French at a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Brussels read: "The years change, the executioners change."15 Under it was a Star of David, an equal sign, and the SS symbol. At the September 2001 UN World Conference against Racism in Durban (hereinafter Durban conference), Arab-looking women carried a banner saying "1940s Hitler 2000s Sharon."16

Another example among many occurred at a 2002 demonstration in Washington where a young Arab-looking woman held a placard designed as the Israeli flag, reading "Hitler & Sharon are the same." A swastika appeared on the flag instead of the Star of David.17

Also in cartoons this equation is a frequently recurring theme. At the Hamashahri Holocaust-cartoon exhibition in Tehran, a drawing by the Algerian Choukri Bellahadi showed an Israeli flag turning into one with a swastika.

Israeli Leaders as Resembling Hitler
A regularly recurring motif is that Israeli leaders are like Hitler or Nazis. Comparisons between Israelis and Nazis, and of swastikas and the Star of David, are especially commonplace in the Arab world. In his standard work on Arab anti-Semitic cartoons, the Belgian political scientist Jöel Kotek devotes a section to Holocaust inversion. In 1996, the major Egyptian daily Al Goumhouriya published a cartoon showing Hitler saying to Shimon Peres: "I made a mistake by not apprising the importance of Arab support."18
A cartoon in the Egyptian daily Al Akhbar in 2000 shows Israel's then prime minister Ehud Barak dressed as a Nazi with a Hitler mustache.19

Ariel Sharon was perhaps the Israeli prime minister most often depicted as a Nazi. The well-known Lebanese cartoonist Jabra Stavro, in Lebanon's Daily Star in 2002, transformed in four pictures Sharon with his white hair into Hitler with a mustache and black hair. A Star of David on Sharon's collar is also transformed into a swastika.20 The Tehran exhibition included a caricature by Bahraini Mohammed Amano showing Sharon in Nazi uniform wearing a skullcap.

These phenomena are far from limited to the Arab world. In Norway anti-Semitic cartoons appear regularly in several of the major papers. In July 2006 the Dagbladet daily, Norway's third largest paper, carried a drawing by Finn Graff of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as a Nazi.21

Monday, August 06, 2007


Marx & Friends in their own words

(The article below is from Encounter of July 1975, pages 18-23. The authors, W. O. Henderson and W. H. Chaloner, translated and edited a 1971 edition of Engels' The Condition of the Working Class in England. The article below was part of a "Men and Ideas" series. You can see a photocopy of the original article here. The quotations given are fairly fully footnoted except for the initial selection, which mostly come from Zur Judenfrage. Zur Judenfrage is available in German here and in English here. Online links for most of the quotes can be found via Google once allowance for differences in translation are made. The translations below are generally very elegant. Where Google does not satisfy, most works by Marx and Engels can be found online in order of date at the Marx/Engels library)

Marx/Engels and Racism

By W. H. Chaloner & W. O. Henderson

WHILE Scholars on the Continent have long been aware of the fact that Karl Marx held anti-Semitic views, the same cannot generally be said of their colleagues in England and America.

Marx was a Jew; and when he was growing up in Trier the Jews, though not persecuted, were treated as second-class citizens and excluded from certain professions. No Jew could hold a commission in the Prussian army or practise as a lawyer at the bar. To continue as a member of the legal profession Marx's father became a Christian and was baptised by a Lutheran army chaplain.

As a boy Marx realised that he was different from his fellows. He had been baptised, but he was "a Jew by race" and suffered from the anti-Semitism prevalent in Germany in his day. His reaction to the situation was an extraordinary one. He ranged himself with the anti-Semites and denounced his own people in a most violent fashion. [1]

His attitude towards the Jews was made clear in two articles which he wrote in 1843 at the age of 25. They were reviews of a book and an article by Bruno Bauer on the Jewish question, and they appeared in the Deutsch-Franzoesische Jahrbuecher (published in Paris in 1844) [2]. Marx regarded capitalism, as operated by the middle classes, as inherently evil; and he argued that Jewish money-making activities lay at the very heart of the obnoxious capitalist system. The following extracts from Marx's articles indicate his point of view of the Jewish question in his day.

"What is the worldly raison d'etre of Jewry [Judaism]? The practical necessity of Jewry is self-interest."

"What is the worldly religion of the Jews? It is the petty haggling of the hawker."

"What is his worldly God?" "It is money."

"So in Jewry we recognise a contemporary universal anti-social phenomenon, which has reached its present pitch through a process of, historical development in which the Jews have zealously co-operated. And this evil anti-social aspect of Jewry has grown to a stage at which: it must necessarily collapse."

"The Jews have emancipated themselves in a Jewish fashion. Not only have they mastered the; power of money but - with or without the Jews - money has become a world power. The Jews have emancipated themselves by turning Christians into Jews:"

"Money is the most zealous God of Israel and no other God can compete with him. Money debases all human Gods and turns them into goods. Money is the universal value of everything."

"The God of the Jews has become secularised and bas become a World God. The bill of exchange is the real God of the Jews."

"Jewry reaches its climax in the consummation of bourgeois society - and bourgeois society has reached its highest point in the Christian world."

In 1845, in The Holy Family, Marx claimed that in his articles in the Deutsch-Franzoesische Jahrbuecher he had "proved that the task of abolishing the essence of Jewry is in truth the task of abolishing Jewry in civil society, abolishing the inhumanity of today's practice of life, the summit of which is the money system." [3]

In 1849 an article in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (of which Marx was the editor) criticised the notion that Jews living in Prussia's Polish provinces should be regarded as Germans. The article declared that these Jews were "the filthiest of all races." "Neither by speech nor by descent - but only by their greed for profit - can they be looked upon as relatives of the Germans in Frankfurt."

One of Marx's critical biographers has remarked: "this solution of the Jewish question was not very different from Adolf Hitler's, for it involved the liquidation of Judaism.." [4]

THERE ARE NUMEROUS uncomplimentary references to Jews in Karl Marx's letters to his close friend Friedrich Engels in the 1850s and 1860s. At that time Marx was living in London and his earnings as a free-lance journalist - he was a regular contributor to the New York Daily Tribune - were quite insufficient for his needs. Engels, then employed as a clerk by the firm of Ermen & Engels in Manchester, sent him small remittances whenever he could. Even so Marx failed to make ends meet and - when there was nothing more to pledge at the pawnbrokers - he borrowed money from anyone who would lend it.

He had many dealings with Jewish financial agents in the City of London. The Bambergers (father and son) [5], as well as Stiefel and Spielmann, were German Jews whose names frequently crop up in the Marx-Engels correspondence. Marx made use of the Jews to raise small loans and, to discount bills of exchange received from Charles A. Dana (editor of the New York Tribune) in advance payment of articles which Marx had agreed to write. Marx complained bitterly that the Jews would not discount his bills until confirmation from Dana had been received; [6] and he was furious when they pressed him to honour debts due-for repayment. Marx showed his contempt by always referring to them as "Jew [or "little Jew"] Bamberger" and "Jew Spielmann", or by imitating the nasal twang characteristic of the way in which some Jews from Eastern Europe spoke German. [7]

Yet Marx had cause to regret the day when the Bambergers were not in business in London any more and were no longer available to discount his bills of exchange. In 1859 he wrote to Engels: "it is the devil of a nuisance that I have no Bamberger in London any more.." [8]

MARX'S ANTI-SEMITISM may be illustrated by examining his attitude towards Ferdinand Lassalle, who was a Jew from Breslau in Silesia. As. a young man Lassalle had led the workers of Duesseldorf during the revolution of 1848. But he had never been a member of the Communist League, since his application to join the Cologne branch had been turned down: and he had taken no part in the risings in Germany in 1849 in support of the Frankfurt constitution, since he had been in jail at that time.

Consequently in the 1850s, while nearly all the former supporters of the revolution were either in prison or in exile, Lassalle was able to live in Duesseldorf, without being unduly molested by the authorities. It was to Marx's advantage to keep in touch with Lassalle, who gave him news of the underground workers' movement "in the Rhineland. And through his aristocratic connections - he was a close friend of the Countess of Hatzfeld - he was sometimes able to provide Marx with useful political information which he could use in articles contributed to the New York Tribune and Die Presse. But while Marx regarded himself as the head or a great politica1 movement who should be obeyed by his followers, Lassalle declined to be a mere disciple and was determined to be a leader of the German workers in his own right.

The correspondence between Marx and Lassalle [9] suggests that the two men were colleagues who - despite certain differences of opinion - were collaborating to achieve a common aim. But the letters exchanged between Marx and Engels tell a very different story. Here Marx showed his contempt for the Jew who presumed to have opinions and ambitions of his own. When Lassalle was Marx's guest in London in 1862 Marx wrote to Engels:

"It is now perfectly clear to me that, as the shape of his head and the growth of his hair indicate, he is descended from the negroes who joined in the flight of Moses from Egypt (unless his mother or grandmother on the father's side was crossed with a nigger). Now this union of Jewishness to Germanness on a negro basis was bound to produce an extraordinary hybrid. The importunity of the fellow is also niggerlike." [10]

Marx referred to his guest as a "Jewish nigger" who was "completely deranged." He frequently used derogatory epithets when writing about Lassalle, such as "Itzig" (Ikey), "Ephraim Gescheit" and "Judel Braun." And Marx's wife, in a letter to Engels, called Lassalle "the little Berlin Jew."

AFTER LASSALLE'S DEATH in 1864 there are fewer uncomplimentary remarks about Jews in the Marx-Engels correspondence than before. In that year Engels became a partner in the firm of Ermen & Engels, and from 1867 onwards he paid Marx an annual allowance of 350 pounds. So, although Marx's financial problems were by no means solved, he had less need than formerly to try to borrow money from Jews - such as Ignaz Horn [12] and Leo Frankel [13].

He wrote to Engel's in 1875 that he had got into conversation with "a sly looking Yid" on a journey from London to Rotterdam. He was clearly delighted to be able to report that his loquacious Jewish travelling companion had been the victim of some sharp practice in a business deal [14]. And in his old age when on holiday in Ramsgate, Marx declared that there were "many Jews and fleas" at the resort [15].

IT WAS NOT ONLY in private letters to his closest friend that Marx indulged in anti-Semitic outbursts. In an article in the New York Tribune (4 January 1856), in which he discussed an international loan to be raised by the Russian government to finance the war in the Crimea, Marx savagely attacked the Jewish financiers who co-operated to place the loan [16]. Marx wrote:

"This loan is brought out under the auspices of the house of Stieglitz at St Petersburg. Stieglitz is to Alexander what Rothschild is to Francis Joseph, what Fould is to Louis Napoleon. The late Czar Nicholas made Stieglitz a Russian baron, as the late Kaiser Franz made old Rothschild an Austrian baron, while Louis Napoleon has made a cabinet minister of Fould, with a free ticket to the Tuileries for the females of his family. Thus we find every tyrant backed by a Jew. as is every Pope by a Jesuit. In truth, the cravings of oppressors would be hopeless, and the practicability of war out of the question, if there were not an army of Jesuits to smother thought and a handful of Jews to ransack pockets."

Hope & Co. of Amsterdam played an important role in placing the Russian loan. This was not a Jewish firm, but Marx declared that

"the Hopes lend only the prestige of their name; the real work is done by Jews, and can only be done by them as they monopolise the machinery of the loan-mongering mysteries by concentrating their energies upon the barter-trade in securities, and the changing of money and negotiating of bills in a great measure arising there from."

Take Amsterdam for instance, a city harbouring many of the worst descendants of the Jews whom Ferdinand and Isabella drove out of Spain, and who, after lingering a while in Portugal, were driven thence also, and eventually found a safe place of retreat in Holland. In Amsterdam alone they number not less: than 35,000, many of whom are engaged in this gambling and jobbing of securities... Their business is to watch the monies available for investment and keenly observe where they lie. Here and there and everywhere that a little capital courts investment there is ever one of these little Jews ready to make a little suggestion or place a little bit of a loan. The smartest highwayman in the Abruzzi is not better posted about the locale of the hard cash in a traveller's valise or pocket, than those Jews about any loose capital in the hands of a trader."

Marx went on to attack the Jewish finance houses of Koenigswarter, Raphael, Stem, Bischoffsheim, Rothschild, Mendelssohn, Bleichroeder, Fould and many others. He declared that many of these families were linked by marriage and he observed that

"the loan mongering Jews derive much of their strength from these family relations, as these, in addition to their lucre affinities, give a compactness and unity to their operations which ensure their success."

Marx concluded his article as follows:

"This Eastern war is destined at all events to throw some light upon this system of loan-mongering as well as other systems. Meanwhile the Czar will get his fifty millions and let the English journals say what they please, if he wants five fifties more, the Jews will dig them up. Let us not be thought too severe upon these loan-mongering gentry. The fact that 1855 years ago Christ drove the Jewish money-changers out of the temple, and that the money-changers of our age enlisted on the side of tyranny happen again chiefly to be Jews, is perhaps no more than a historical coincidence.

The loan-mongering Jews of Europe do only on a larger and more obnoxious scale what many others do on one smaller and less significant. But it is only because the Jews are so strong that it is timely and expedient to expose and stigmatise their organisation."

There was a kind of bitter justice in the fact that Marx, who detested his own race, should have suffered from the anti-Semitic views of others. There were those who attacked Marx because he was a Jew and who branded the political movement that he led as a Jewish conspiracy. [16a]

ENGELS' ATTITUDE towards the Jews was quite different from that of Marx. [17] He had never denounced the Jews as a race of petty traders and money-lenders and as Marx had done in his youthful article in the Deutsch-Franzoesische Jahrbuecher [18]. Indeed he later declared that anti-Semitism was the mark of a backward culture and was confined to Russia, Austria and Prussia [19].

In 1881 Eduard Bernstein sent Engels some examples of anti-Semitic propaganda in Germany. Engels replied that he had never seen anything so stupid or childish. He praised the Sozial-Demokrat - the leading socialist paper in Germany at the time of Bismarck's Anti-Socialist Law - for coming out firmly against anti-Semitism. Engels quoted with approval a passage from a letter which he had recently received from a Jewish correspondent (Carl Hirsch), who had just been to Berlin. Hirsch had written that "the official press which prints anti-Semitic articles has few readers."

"While it is true that the Germans have a natural antipathy towards the Jews, it is also a fact that the working class, the radical petty bourgeoisie, and the middle-class philistines hate the government far more than they hate the Jews."

Bernstein, however disagreed with "Hirsch and claimed that anti-Semitic propaganda was falling upon fertile soil in Germany as far as civil servants, teachers, craftsmen, and peasants were concerned.

Ten years later Engels wrote to August Bebel that he was glad to learn that new Jewish recruits were joining the German Social Democrat Party. But he warned Bebel that socialists would have to keep a watchful eye on these Jewish colleagues because they were cleverer than the average bourgeois socialist and were - owing to centuries of oppression - in the habit of pushing themselves forward! [20]

ALTHOUGH ENGELS DISAPPROVED of anti-Semitism and welcomed Jews like Karl Kautsky and Alfred Adler as party colleagues, he did criticise particular Jews and groups of Jews. For example, in a comment on English politics in 1852 he contemptuously dismissed Disraeli as a "Jewish swindler." A few years later when he wished to express his disapproval of Lassalle's conduct, he referred to him as "a real Jew from the Slav frontier" and as "a greasy Jew disguised under brilliantine and flashy jewels." [22] In 1862, in a letter to Carl Siebel, he attacked the Jewish members of a German club (the Schiller Anstalt) in Manchester. He declared that he seldom visited this veritable "Jerusalem Club" any more because the noisy behaviour of the Jews inconvenienced other members.

"What has happened is what always happens when Jews are about. At first they thank God that they had a Schiller Anstalt, but hardly had they got inside than they declared that it was not good enough for them and that they wanted to build a bigger club house - a true temple of Moses - to which the Schiller Anstalt could be moved. This would indeed be the quickest road to bankruptcy . Look out! In a year or two you will get a circular reading like this: 'In view of the bankruptcy of the late Schiller Anstalt'" [23]

A few years later, however, when he was President of the Schiller Anstalt, Engels played a leading part in securing the larger premises that the Jewish members desired.

In 1864, during the crisis in the Lancashire cotton industry at the time of the American Civil War, Engels complained of the vexations that he had to endure in the office of Ermen & Engels because of "Jewish chicaneries." [24] In October 1867 and again in May 1868, Engels complained that his time was being wasted by visits from "that damned old Jew" Leibel Choras, who was a refugee from Moldavia where the Jews were being persecuted [25]. Engels obviously had little sympathy for Leibel Choras. And in 1870 Engels dismissed Leo Frankel as "a real little Yid" [26]

In 1892 in a letter to the French socialist leader Paul Lafargue - Marx's son-in-law - Engels even expressed a certain sympathy for the anti-Jewish movement in France. He wrote:

"I begin to understand French anti-Semitism when I see how many Jews of Polish origin with German names intrude themselves everywhere to the point of arousing public opinion in the ville lumiere, of which the Parisian philistine is so proud and which he believes to be the supreme power in the universe." [27]

Engels also expressed his contempt for the Polish Jews who were, in his view, "caricatures of Jews" [27]. He wrote to Laura Lafargue:

Business principle of the Polish Jew to ask much so as to be able to rebate, as for instance: "How much is a yard of this cloth?" "15 groschen." "He says 15, he means 12.5, he would take 10, and the cloth is worth 7.5. I am prepared to pay 5 so I will offer him 2.5 groschen." [29]

JUST AS ENGELS RARELY SHOWED any antipathy towards the Jews, so he had no prejudices against coloured peoples. He rejected the view commonly expressed by explorers and missionaries in his day that native peoples were "heathen savages" who were obviously inferior to white races. Indeed he argued that primitive peoples were superior to modern Europeans because they did not recognise private property or capitalism, or the state. In 1884 in his book on The Origin of the Family - based upon the researches of the American anthropologist L. H. Morgan - Engels gave a lyrical account of the "wonderful child-like simplicity" of the way of life in the Iroquois Indian tribes.

"Everything runs smoothly without soldiers, gendarmes, or police; without nobles, kings, governors, prefects, or judges, without prisons, without trials. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole body of those concerned. The household is run in common and communistically by a number of families, the land is tribal property, only the small gardens being temporarily assigned to the households. Not a bit of our extensive and complicated machinery of administration is required. There can be no poor or needy - the communistic household and the gens know their obligations towards the aged, the sick, and those disabled in war. All are free and equal - including the women. There is, as yet, no room for slaves nor, as a rule, for the subjugation of alien tribes." [30]

As an admirer of primitive races, Engels (like Marx) was strongly opposed to the exploitation of native peoples by white colonists. He denounced the expansion of the empires of European states in India, Java, Algiers and elsewhere. For Marx and Engels the rising in India in 1857 was no mere mutiny of Sepoy troops but a national revolt against the English oppressors. In a series of articles in the New York Tribune they analysed the causes and events of the Mutiny, which they regarded as an illustration of the "general disaffection exhibited against English supremacy on the part of the great Asiatic nations." [31]

In view of Engels's attitude towards the Jews, the Iroquois, and the natives in colonial territories, his attitude towards some of the Slavs is difficult to understand. When a Pan-Slav movement developed with Russian support in central and eastern Europe during the revolution of 1848 Engels rejected the demands of the Czechs, Serbs, Croats, and Ruthenians for independence from Habsburg or Turkish rule. Early in 1849 (in two articles in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung [32]) he argued that these peoples had no natura1 capacity for self-government and were for ever doomed to be ruled by more advanced nations. They were "peoples without any history."

Engels asserted that these peoples would always be subject races and would "never achieve national independence." "They are peoples who were either already under foreign rule when they entered into the first primitive phase of civilisation or who were actually forced into earliest phase of civilisation by their foreign masters." In the true spirit of Pan-Germanism, Marx and Engels considered the Czechoslovakian peoples and the South Slavs to be "ethnic trash."

TWO THINGS EMERGE from this study. The first is the extent to which Marx's anti-Semitism has been played down, or even ignored, in some popular socialist accounts of Marx's career and doctrines published in the West and intended for radical and socialist consumption. Thus, readers of Franz Mehring's Karl Marx (first published in English translation in 1936) will find little to enlighten them on Marx's anti-Semitism.

There may not be exactly a conspiracy of silence but attention may be drawn to the fact that there is a difference between telling the truth and telling the whole truth. Deception by omission is still deception. Western commentators, too, with a few honourable exceptions, have tended to dodge the issue or to gloss over unwelcome facts. Scholars unfamiliar with the German language, who rely only upon English translations of the writings of Marx and Engels, may be led astray if they use selections compiled by Marxists who are prepared to suppress evidence which might display their hero in a somewhat unfavourable light.

The second point is the striking contrast between Marx's benevolent desire to liberate the toiling masses from the tyranny of their capitalist exploiters and his ferocious attacks upon those; who appeared to stand in the way of his messianic hopes - the "idiotic" peasants and the "rapacious" Jews for example. Long after Marx's death his followers in Soviet Russia were acting quite in accordance with their master's views when they eliminated the Kulaks and persecuted the Jews.


1. Arnold Kuenzii has examined the psychological roots of Marx's anti-Semitism in Karl Marx: eine Psychographie (Vienna, 1966), esp. pp. 33-169, 195-226, 289-93. See also Camillo Berneri, Le Juif anti-Semite (Paris, 1935).

Yet even in West Germany an attempt is apparently being made to counter this realist view. There has recently been published in Hamburg a selection of Marxist pronouncements on the Jewish question (but omitting Marx's "Zur Judenfrage" of 1844 on the grounds that it is "easily available" elsewhere) - see: Marxisten gegen Antisemitismus (Hoffmann & Campe, 1974), with heavily pro-Marxist introductions by Iring Fetscher and Ilse Yago-Jung. One wonders whether a more appropriate title for this volume might not have been Marxisten gegen Judentum und Zionismus.

2. Karl Marx, "Zur Judenfrage" in Deutsch-Franzoesische Jahrbuecher (Paris, 1844), reprinted in Karl Marx/Friedrich 'Engels, Werke, Vol. 1 (1964), pp. 347-377; A World without Jews (tr. D.D. Runes, 1959). The first article reviewed Bruno Bauer, Die Judenfrage (1843), the second Bruno Bauer's article on "Die Fahigheit der heutigen Juden und Christen frei zu werden" in Einundzwanzig Bogen aus der Schweiz (ed. Georg Herwegh, 1843, pp.56-71). A reprint of the D-.F. Jahrbuecher has recently been issued in Leipzig, Verlag Reclam (1973); Marx's article appears on pp. 295-333.

The most recent discussion of Marx's views is R. S. Wistrich, "Karl Marx and the Jewish Question", Soviet-Jewish Affairs, vol. IV, No. 1 (Spring 1974), pp. 53-60, which contains copious documentation. See, especially, Arthur Prinz., "New Perspectives on Marx as a Jew" Leo Baeck Year Book (1970), pp. 107-25; it includes the revealing text of a letter by Heinrich Graetz, the Jewish historian and a friend of Marx.

3. Marx/Engels, The Holy Family (1845; Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1956), p.148.

4. Neue Rheinische Zeitung (No. 285 Sunday 29 April 1849), p. 1, col. 1. Marx was probably the author of the article. The Unknown Karl Marx; Documents concerning Karl Marx (ed. R. Payee. 1972), pp.14-15.

5. A small colony of Bambergers can be traced in the City of London during the mid-1850s, based on King Street, Snowhill. Zacharias Bamberger (of 19 King Street, ship and commission agents) was a partner in the firm of Prager & Bamberger, 84 Lower Thomas Street, while Louis Bamberger and Co., merchants, and Abraham Bamberger & Co., wholesale boot manufacturers, both operated from 20 King Street., Snowhill. See: Kelly & Co., Post Office London Directory (1855), p. 813. Of these Zacharias Bamberger seems most likely to have been Marx's money-lender.

6. See Marx to Engels, 31 July 1851, in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe , Part iii, Vol. I, p. 224; and 21 January 1852, p. 444.

7. For example: "Spielmann always sends one away with the nasal Jewish remark 'Kaine Nootiz da' [i.e. Keine Notiz da]": Marx to Engels, 18 August 1853 in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe , Part iii, Vol. 1. p.˜492. The word Yiddish, used to describe this form of speech, is noted as first appearing in print in English in the mid-1880s (Oxford English Dictionary).

8. Marx to Engels, 21 September 1859, in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe , Part iii, Vol. 2, p. 416.

9. Gustav Mayer, Der Briefwechsel zwischen Lassalle und Marx, Vol. 3 of Ferdinand Lassalle: Nachgelassene Briefe und Schriften (first edition 1922; new edition issued by the Historical Commission of the Bavarian Academy of Science, 1967).

10. Marx to Engels, 30 July 1862, in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe , Part iii. Vol. 3, pp. 82-84. On Marx as "at once a racialist himself and the cause of racialism in others", see George Watson, The English Ideology (1973), p. 211.

11. Jenny Marx to Engels, 9 April 1858, in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe , Part iii. Vol. 2, p. 314. See also the malicious and anti-Semitic gossip about Moses and Sybille Hess, in Marx to Engels, 22 September 1856, Part iii, Vol. 2, p. 147.

12. Marx to Engels, 10 February 1865 ("Jud Horn") and 14 November 1868 ("Rabbi A Einhorn generally known by the name of A. E. Horn") in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe , Part iii, Vol. 3, p.232; and Vol. 4, p. 124.

13. Marx to Engels, 14 April and 8 July 1870 ("little Jew Leo Frankel") in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe , Part iii, Vol. 4, pp. 302, 338.

14. Marx to Engels, 21 August 1875, in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe , Part iii, Vol. 4, pp. 428-9.

15. Marx to Engels, 25 August 1879 in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe , Part iii, Vol. 4, p.490.

16. Reprinted in Karl Marx, The Eastern Question (ed. by Eleanor Marx & Edward Aveling, 1897: new ed. 1969). pp. 600-606.

16a. See, for example, Edward von Mueller-Tellering, Vorgeschmack in die kuenftige deutsche Diktatur von Marx und Engels (1850).

17. For the attitude of socialists to the Jews, see E. Silberner, Sozialisten zur Judenfrage (1962) and George Lichtheim, "Socialism and the Jews" in Dissent (New York), July-August 1968.

18. Karl Marx, "Zur Judenfrage", in the Deutsch Franzoesische Jahrbuecher (1844), reprinted in Marx/Engels, Werke, Vol. 1 (1964), pp, 347-77. See also, Marx/Engels, The Holy Family (Moscow, 1965), pp.149-150.

19. Engels to a correspondent in Vienna, 19 April 1890, in Marx/Engels, Werke, Vol. XXII, p. 49. See, however, Engels' 1892 preface to the London edition of his Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), where he refers to "the pettifogging business tricks of the Polish Jew, the representative: in Europe of commerce at its lowest stage" (p. 360 in 1971 edition by Henderson & Chaloner).

20. Engels to Bernstein, 17 August 1881, in Eduard Bernsteins Briefwechsel mit Friedrich Engels (ed. Hirsch, 1970), pp. 28-29. Bernstein to Engels, 9 September 1881: Briefwechsel, p. 37. Engels to Bebel. 1 December 1891, in August Bebels Briefwechsel mit Friedrich Engels (ed. Blumenberg, 1965), p. 487.

21. Engels to Marx, 24 September 1852, in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe , Part iii. Vol. 1, p. 405.

22. Engels to Marx, 7 March 1856 in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe , Part iii, Vol. 2, p. 122. English translation: Engels: Selected Writings (ed. Henderson. Penguin, 1967), pp. 129-30.

23. Engels to Carl Siebel, 4 June 1862, in Friedrich Engels Profile (ed. Hirsch, 1970) p. 250.

24. Engels to Marx, 2 November 1864, in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe , Part iii, Vol. 3, p. 192.

25. Engels to Marx, 11 October 1867 and 6 May 1868, in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe , Part iii, Vol. 3. p. 432 and Vo1. 4, p. 52. It has not proved possible to identify Choras further.

26. Engels to Marx, 15 April 1870, in Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe , Part iii, Vol. 4, p. 305.

27. Engels to Paul Lafargue, 22 July 1892, in F.Engels - Paul and Laura Lafargue: Correspondence (Moscow). Vol. iii, 1891-95, p.˜184.

28. Engels to Pau1 Ernst, 5 June 1890, in Engels Profile, p. 190.

29. Engels to Laura Lafargue, 27 October 1893, in Engels-Lafargue: Correspondence, Vol iii, 1891?95, p.307.

30. Engels, Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigentums und des Staates (1884: new ed., 1962), p.96. English translation: Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (Moscow), p. 159. Engels' book was based upon Lewis Henry Morgan, Ancient Society, or Researches in the Line of Human Progress from Savagery through Barbarism to Civilisation (1877). Engels also made use of the notes which Karl Marx had made (probably in the winter of 1880-1) on Morgan's book, The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx (ed. Lawrence Krader, 1972).

31. For selections of articles and letters written by Marx and Engels on colonisation, see Marx/Engels, On Colonisation (Moscow) and The First Indian War of Independence, 1857-1859 (Moscow; London, 1960).

32. Engels, "Der magyarische Kampf" and "Der demokratische Panslavismus", in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, 13 January and 15 February 1849; reprinted in Karl Marx/Engels Werke, Vol. VI p. 165 ff. P. W. Blackstock and B. F. Hoselitz have translated and edited a useful anthology of these in Marx/Engels, The Russian Menace to Europe (1952). Pages 56-9, and 241 are important for "peoples without a history."

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Harry Potter, Zionist plotter

Thomas Lifson

When it comes to lunatic conspiracy theorists, the Middle East dominates the world's supply as thoroughly as it does our oil reserves. The latest discovery is the extent of Zionist chicanery concerns Harry Potter. Nissan Ratzlav-Katz of Aruzt Sheva reports:

Kayhahn, an Iranian publication closely affiliated with the ruling mullahs and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called the Harry Potter series "a billion-dollar Zionist project." The Potter books were designed by Zionist plotters, according to the Kayhahn editorial, to "disrupt young minds."
Khamenei had criticized Iran's Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry for approving the distribution of the latest book in the Harry Potter series, which was released last weekend with much fanfare.

So the young minds of Iran are being poisoned by Harry and his wizards. Who knew?

It also turns out it is the Zionists who are responsible for the Arab genocide against black Africans in Darfur:

Sudan's Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohammad Hussein blamed Jews for the
ongoing violence and ethnic cleansing in southern Sudan. According to Hussein, the Jews are wielding their control of the international media and financial markets on behalf of "rebel elements" inside Darfur, including by direct financial and political support. He made the comments during an interview this week with the Saudi Arabian Okaz daily.

"Yes, [Jews] provide political and material support through their control over the media and across American and British circles," Hussein charged. "The Darfur issue is being fueled by 24 Jewish organizations, who are making the largest amount of noise over the issue, and using the Holocaust in their campaigning," he said.

Consider yourself warned.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Chasm (part 2)

There are many words commonly used today to describe political attitudes. We are told that there are conservatives, liberals, libertarians, right-wingers, left-wingers, socialists, communists, Trotskyites, Maoists, Fascists, Nazis; and if that isn’t confusing enough, now we have neo conservatives, neo Nazis, and neo everything else. When we are asked what our political orientation is, we are expected to choose from one of these words. If we don’t have a political opinion or if we’re afraid of making a bad choice, then we play it safe and say we are moderates – adding yet one more word to the list. Yet, not one person in a thousand can clearly define the ideology that any of these words represent. They are used, primarily, as labels to impart an aura of either goodness or badness, depending on who uses the words and what emotions they trigger in their minds.

For example, what is a realistic definition of a conservative? A common response would be that a conservative it a person who wants to conserve the status quo and is opposed to change. But, most people who call themselves conservatives are not in favor of conserving the present system of high taxes, deficit spending, expanding welfare, leniency to criminals, foreign aid, growth of government, or any of the other hallmarks of the present order. These are the jealously guarded bastions of what we call liberalism. Yesterday’s liberals are the conservatives of today, and the people who call themselves conservatives are really radicals, because they want a radical change from the status quo. It’s no wonder that most political debates sound like they originate at the tower of Babel. Everyone is speaking a different language. The words may sound familiar, but speakers and listeners each have their own private definitions.

It has been my experience that, once the definitions are commonly understood, most of the disagreements come to an end. To the amazement of those who thought they were bitter ideological opponents, they often find they are actually in basic agreement. So, to deal with this word, collectivism, our first order of business is to throw out the garbage. If we are to make sense of the political agendas that dominate our planet today, we must not allow our thinking to be contaminated by the emotional load of the old vocabulary.

It may surprise you to learn that most of the great political debates of our time – at least in the Western world – can be divided into just two viewpoints. All of the rest is fluff. Typically, they focus on whether or not a particular action should be taken; but the real conflict is not about the merits of the action; it is about the principles, the ethical code that justifies or forbids that action. It is a contest between the ethics of collectivism on the one hand and individualism on the other. Those are words that have meaning, and they describe a chasm of morality that divides the entire Western world.

The one thing that is common to both collectivists and individualists is that the vast majority of them are well intentioned. They want the best life possible for their families, for their countrymen, and for mankind. They want prosperity and justice for their fellow man. Where they disagree is how to bring those things about.

I have studied collectivist literature for over forty years; and, after a while, I realized there were certain recurring themes. I was able to identify what I consider to be the six pillars of collectivism. If these pillars are turned upside down, they also are the six pillars of individualism. In other words, there are six major concepts of social and political relationships; and, within each of them, collectivists and individualists have opposite viewpoints.

The first of these has to do with the nature of human rights. Collectivists and individualists both agree that human rights are important, but they differ over how important and especially over what is presumed to be the origin of those rights. There are only two possibilities in this debate. Either man’s rights are intrinsic to his being, or they are extrinsic, meaning that either he possesses them at birth or they are given to him afterward. In other words, they are either hardware or software. Individualists believe they are hardware. Collectivists believe they are software.

If rights are given to the individual after birth, then who has the power to do that? Collectivists believe that is a function of government. Individualists are nervous about that assumption because, if the state has the power to grant rights, it also has the power to take them away, and that concept is incompatible with personal liberty.

The view of individualism was expressed clearly in the United States Declaration of Independence, which said:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men….

Nothing could be more clear than that. “Unalienable Rights” means they are the natural possession of each of us upon birth, not granted by the state. The purpose of government is, not to grant rights, but to secure them and protect them.

By contrast, all collectivist political systems embrace the opposite view that rights are granted by the state. That includes the Nazis, Fascists, and Communists. It is also a tenet of the United Nations. Article Four of the UN Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights says:

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize that, in the enjoyment of those rights provided by the State … the State may subject such rights only to such limitations as are determined by law.

I repeat: If we accept that the state has the power to grant rights, then we must also agree it has the power to take them away. Notice the wording of the UN Covenant. After proclaiming that rights are provided by the state, it then says that those rights may be subject to limitations “as are determined by law.” In other words, the collectivists at the UN presume to grant us our rights and, when they are ready to take them away, all they have to do is pass a law authorizing it.

Compare that with the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution. It says Congress shall pass no law restricting the rights of freedom of speech, or religion, peaceful assembly, the right to bear arms, and so forth – not except as determined by law, but no law. The Constitution embodies the ethic of individualism. The UN embodies the ethic of collectivism, and what a difference that makes.

The second concept that divides collectivism from individualism has to do with the origin of state power. Individualists believe that a just government derives its power, not from conquest and subjugation of its citizens, but from the free consent of the governed. That means the state cannot have any legitimate powers unless they are given to it by its citizens. Another way of putting it is that governments may do only those things that their citizens also have a right to do. If individuals don’t have the right to perform a certain act, then they can’t grant that power to their elected representatives. They can’t delegate what they don’t have.

Let us use an extreme example. Let us assume that a ship has been sunk in a storm, and three exhausted men are struggling for survival in the sea. Suddenly, they come upon a life-buoy ring. The ring is designed only to keep one person afloat; but, with careful cooperation between them, it can keep two of them afloat. But, when the third man grasps the ring, it becomes useless, and all three, once again, are at the mercy of the sea. They try taking turns: one treading water while two hold on to the ring; but after a few hours, none of them have enough strength to continue. The grim truth gradually becomes clear: unless one of them is cut loose from the group, all three will drown. What, then, should these men do?

Most people would say that two of the men would be justified in overpowering the third and casting him off. The right of self-survival is paramount. Taking the life of another, terrible as such an act would be, is morally justified if it is necessary to save your own life. That certainly is true for individual action, but what about collective action? Where do two men get the right to gang up on one man?

The collectivist answers that two men have a greater right to life because they outnumber the third one. It’s a question of mathematics: The greatest good for the greatest number. That makes the group more important than the individual and it justifies two men forcing one man away from the ring. There is a certain logical appeal to this argument but, if we further simplify the example, we will see that, although the action may be correct, it is justified by the wrong reasoning.

Let us assume, now, that there are only two survivors – so we eliminate the concept of the group – and let us also assume that the ring will support only one swimmer, not two. Under these conditions, it would be similar to facing an enemy in battle. You must kill or be killed. Only one can survive. We are dealing now with the competing right of self-survival for each individual, and there is no mythological group to confuse the issue. Under this extreme condition, it is clear that each person would have the right to do whatever he can to preserve his own life, even if it leads to the death of another. Some may argue that it would be better to sacrifice one’s life for a stranger, but few would argue that not to do so would be wrong. So, when the conditions are simplified to their barest essentials, we see that the right to deny life to others comes from the individual’s right to protect his own life. It does not need the so-called group to ordain it.

In the original case of three survivors, the justification for denying life to one of them does not come from a majority vote but from their individual and separate right of selfsurvival. In other words, either of them, acting alone, would be justified in this action. They are not empowered by the group. When we hire police to protect our community, we are merely asking them to do what we, ourselves, have a right to do. Using physical force to protect our lives, liberty, and property is a legitimate function of government, because that power is derived from the people as individuals. It does not arise from the group.

Here’s one more example – a lot less extreme but far more typical of what actually goes on every day in legislative bodies. If government officials decide one day that no one should work on Sunday, and even assuming the community generally supports their decision, where would they get the authority to use the police power of the state to enforce such a decree? Individual citizens don’t have the right to compel their neighbors not to work, so they can’t delegate that right to their government. Where, then, would the state get the authority? The answer is that it would come from itself; it would be self-generated. It would be similar to the divine right of ancient monarchies in which it was assumed that governments represent the power and the will of God – as interpreted by their earthly leaders, of course. In more modern times, most governments don’t even pretend to have God as their authority, they just rely on swat teams and armies, and anyone who objects is eliminated. As that well-known collectivist, Mao Tse-Tung, phrased it: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

When governments claim to derive their authority from any source other than the governed, it always leads to the destruction of liberty. Preventing men from working on Sunday would not seem to be a great threat to freedom, but once the principle is established, it opens the door for more edicts, and more, and more until freedom is gone. If we accept that the state or any group has the right to do things that individuals alone do not have the right to do, then we have unwittingly endorsed the concept that rights are not intrinsic to the individual and that they, in fact, do originate with the state. Once we accept that, we are well on the road to tyranny.

Collectivists are not concerned over such picky issues. They believe that governments do, in fact, have powers that are greater than those of their citizens, and the source of those powers, they say, is, not the individuals within society, but society itself, the group to which individuals belong.

This is the third concept that divides collectivism from individualism. Collectivism is based on the belief that the group is more important than the individual. According to this view, the group is an entity of its own and it has rights of its own. Furthermore, those rights are more important than individual rights. Therefore, it is acceptable to sacrifice individuals if necessary for “the greater good of the greater number.” How many times have we heard that? Who can object to the loss of liberty if it is justified as necessary for the greater good of society? The ultimate group, of course, is the state. Therefore, the state is more important than individual citizens, and it is acceptable to sacrifice individuals, if necessary, for the benefit of the state. This concept is at the heart of all modern totalitarian systems built on the model of collectivism.

Individualists on the other hand say, “Wait a minute. Group? What is group? That’s just a word. You can’t touch a group. You can’t see a group. All you can touch and see are individuals. The word group is an abstraction and doesn’t exist as a tangible reality. It’s like the abstraction called forest. Forest doesn’t exist. Only trees exist. Forest is the concept of many trees. Likewise, the word group merely describes the abstract concept of many individuals. Only individuals are real and, therefore, there is no such thing as group rights. Only individuals have rights.

Just because there are many individuals in one group and only a few in another does not give a higher priority to the individuals in the larger group – even if you call it the state. A majority of voters do not have more rights than the minority. Rights are not derived from the power of numbers. They do not come from the group. They are intrinsic with each human being.

When someone argues that individuals must be sacrificed for the greater good of society, what they are really saying is that some individuals are to be sacrificed for the greater good of other individuals. The morality of collectivism is based on numbers. Anything may be done so long as the number of people benefiting supposedly is greater than the number of people being sacrificed. I say supposedly, because, in the real world, those who decide who is to be sacrificed don’t count fairly. Dictators always claim they represent the greater good of the greater number but, in reality, they and their support organizations comprise less than one percent of the population. The theory is that someone has to speak for the masses and represent their best interest, because they are too dumb to figure it out for themselves. So collectivist leaders, wise and virtuous as they are, make the decisions for them. It is possible to explain any atrocity or injustice as a necessary measure for the greater good of society. Totalitarians always parade as humanitarians.

Because individualists do not accept group supremacy, collectivists often portray them as being selfish and insensitive to the needs of others. That theme is common in schools today. If a child is not willing to go along with the group, he is criticized as being socially disruptive and not being a good “team player” or a good citizen. Those nice folks at the tax-exempt foundations had a lot to do with that. But individualism is not based on ego. It is based on principle. If you accept the premise that individuals may be sacrificed for the group, you have made a huge mistake on two counts. First, individuals are the essence of the group, which means the group is being sacrificed anyway, piece by piece. Secondly, the underlying principle is deadly. Today, the individual being sacrificed may be unknown to you or even someone you dislike. Tomorrow, it could be you.

We are dealing here with one of the reasons people make a distinction between republics and democracies. In recent years, we have been taught to believe that a democracy is the ideal form of government. Supposedly, that is what was created by the American Constitution. But, if you read the documents and the speech transcripts of the men who wrote the Constitution, you find that they spoke very poorly of democracy. They said in plain words that a democracy was one of the worst possible forms of government. And so they created what they called a republic. That is why the word democracy doesn’t appear anywhere in the Constitution; and, when Americans pledge allegiance to the flag, it’s to the republic for which it stands, not the democracy. When Colonel Davy Crockett joined the Texas Revolution prior to the famous Battle of the Alamo, he refused to sign the oath of allegiance to the future government of Texas until the wording was changed to the future republican government of Texas.3 The reason this is important is that the difference between a democracy and a republic is the difference between collectivism and individualism.

In a pure democracy, the majority rules; end of discussion. You might say, “What’s wrong with that?” Well, there could be plenty wrong with that. What about a lynch mob? There is only one person with a dissenting vote, and he is the guy at the end of the rope. That’s pure democracy in action.

“Ah, wait a minute,” you say. “The majority should rule. Yes, but not to the extent of denying the rights of the minority,” and, of course, you would be correct. That is precisely what a republic accomplishes. A republic is a limited democracy – a government based on the principle of limited majority rule so that the minority – even a minority of one – will be protected from the whims and passions of the majority. Republics are often characterized by written constitutions that spell out the rules to make that possible. That was the function of the American Bill of Rights, which is nothing more than a list of things the government may not do. It says that Congress, even though it represents the majority, shall pass no law denying the minority their rights to free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, the right to bear arms, and other “unalienable” rights.

These limitations on majority rule are the essence of a republic, and they also are at the core of the ideology called individualism. And so here is another major difference between these two concepts: collectivism on the one hand, supporting any government action so long as it can be said to be for the greater good of the greater number; and individualism on the other hand, defending the rights of the minority against the passions and greed of the majority.

The fourth concept that divides collectivism from individualism has to do with responsibilities and freedom of choice. We have spoken about the origin of rights, but there is a similar issue involving the origin of responsibilities. Rights and responsibilities go together. If you value the right to live your own life without others telling you what to do, then you must assume the responsibility to be independent, to provide for yourself without expecting others to take care of you. Rights and responsibilities are merely different sides of the same coin.

If only individuals have rights, then it follows that only individuals have responsibilities. If groups have rights, then groups also have responsibilities; and, therein, lies one of the greatest ideological challenges of our modern age.

Individualists are champions of individual rights. Therefore, they accept the principle of individual responsibility rather than group responsibility. They believe that everyone has a personal and direct obligation to provide, first for himself and his family, and then for others who may be in need. That does not mean they don’t believe in helping each other. Just because I am an individualists does not mean I have to move my piano alone. It just means that I believe that moving it is my responsibility, not someone else’s, and it’s up to me to organize the voluntary assistance of others.

The collectivist, on the other hand, declares that individuals are not personally responsible for charity, for raising their own children, providing for aging parents, or even providing for themselves, for that matter. These are group obligations of the state. The individualist expects to do it himself; the collectivist wants the government to do it for him: to provide employment and health care, a minimum wage, food, education, and a decent place to live. Collectivists are enamored by government. They worship government. They have a fixation on government as the ultimate group mechanism to solve all problems.

Individualists do not share that faith. They see government as the creator of more problems than it solves. They believe that freedom of choice will lead to the best solution of social and economic problems. Millions of ideas and efforts, each subject to trial and error and competition – in which the best solution becomes obvious by comparing its results to all others – that process will produce results that are far superior to what can be achieved by a group of politicians or a committee of so-called wise men.

By contrast, collectivists do not trust freedom. They are afraid of freedom. They are convinced that freedom may be all right in small matters such as what color socks you want to wear, but when it come to the important issues such as the money supply, banking practices, investments, insurance programs, health care, education, and so on, freedom will not work. These things, they say, simply must be controlled by the government. Otherwise there would be chaos.

There are two reasons for the popularity of that concept. One is that most of us have been educated in government schools, and that’s what we were taught. The other reason is that government is the one group that can legally force everyone to participate. It has the power of taxation, backed by jails and force of arms to compel everyone to fall in line, and that is a very appealing concept to the intellectual who pictures himself as a social engineer.

Collectivists say, “We must force people to do what we think they should do, because they are too dumb to do it on their own. We, on the other hand, have been to school. We’ve read books. We are informed. We are smarter than those people out there. If we leave it to them, they are going to make terrible mistakes. So, it is up to us, the enlightened ones. We shall decide on behalf of society and we shall enforce our decisions by law so no one has any choice. That we should rule in this fashion is our obligation to mankind.”

By contrast, individualists say, “We also think we are right and that the masses seldom do what we think they should do, but we don’t believe in forcing anyone to comply with our will because, if we grant that principle, then others, representing larger groups than our own, could compel us to act as they decree, and that would be the end of our freedom.”

One of the quickest ways to spot a collectivist is to see how he reacts to public problems. No matter what bothers him in his daily routine – whether it’s littering the highway, smoking in public, dressing indecently, sending out junk mail – you name it, his immediate response is; “There ought to be a law!” And, of course, the professionals in government who make a living from such laws are more than happy to cooperate. The consequence of this mindset is that government just keeps growing and growing. It’s a oneway street. Every year there are more and more laws and less and less freedom. Each law by itself seems relatively benign, justified by some convenience or for the greater good of the greater number, but the process continues forever until government is total and freedom is dead. Bit-by-bit, the people, themselves, become the solicitor of their own enslavement.

A good example of this collectivist mindset is the use of government to perform acts of charity. Most people believe that we all have a responsibility to help others in need if we can, but what about those who disagree, those who couldn’t care less about the needs of others? Should they be allowed to be selfish while we are so generous? The collectivist sees people like that as justification for the use of coercion, because the cause is so worthy. He sees himself as a modern Robin Hood, stealing from the rich but giving to the poor. Of course, not all of it gets to the poor. After all, Robin and his men have to eat and drink and be merry, and that doesn’t come cheap. It takes a giant bureaucracy to administer a public charity, and the Robbing Hoods in government have become accustomed to a huge share of the loot, while the peasants – well, they’re grateful for whatever they get. They don’t care how much is consumed along the way. It was all stolen from someone else anyway.

The so-called charity of collectivism is a perversion of the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan who stopped along the highway to help a stranger who had been robbed and beaten. He even takes the victim to an inn and pays for his stay there until he recovers. Everyone approves of such acts of compassion and charity, but what would we think if the Samaritan had pointed his sword at the next traveler and threatened to kill him if he didn’t also help? If that had happened, I doubt if the story would have made it into the Bible; because, at that point, the Samaritan would be no different than the original robber – who also might have had a virtuous motive. For all we know, he could have claimed that he was merely providing for his family and feeding his children. Most crimes are rationalized in this fashion, but they are crimes nevertheless. When coercion enters, charity leaves.5

Individualists refuse to play this game. We expect everyone to be charitable, but we also believe that a person should be free not to be charitable if he doesn’t want to. If he prefers to give to a different charity than the one we urge on him, if he prefers to give a smaller amount that what we think he should, or if he prefers not to give at all, we believe that we have no right to force him to our will. We may try to persuade him to do so; we may appeal to his conscience; and especially we may show the way by our own good example; but we reject any attempt to gang up on him, either by physically restraining him while we remove the money from his pockets or by using the ballot box to pass laws that will take his money through taxation. In either case, the principle is the same. It’s called stealing.

Collectivists would have you believe that individualism is merely another word for selfishness, because individualists oppose welfare and other forms of coercive redistribution of wealth, but just the opposite is true. Individualists advocate true charity, which is the voluntary giving of their own money, while collectivists advocate the coercive giving of other people’s money; which, of course, is why it is so popular.

One more example: The collectivist will say, “I think everyone should wear seatbelts. That just makes sense. People can be hurt if they don’t wear seatbelts. So, let’s pass a law and require everyone to wear them. If they don’t, we’ll put those dummies in jail.” The individualist says, “I think everyone should wear seatbelts. People can be hurt in accidents if they don’t wear them, but I don’t believe in forcing anyone to do so. I believe in convincing them with logic and persuasion and good example, if I can, but I also believe in freedom of choice.”

One of the most popular slogans of Marxism is: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” That’s the cornerstone of theoretical socialism, and it is a very appealing concept. A person hearing that slogan for the first time might say: “What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that the essence of charity and compassion toward those in need? What could possibly be wrong with giving according to your ability to others according to their need?” And the answer is, nothing is wrong with it – as far as it goes, but it is an incomplete concept. The unanswered question is how is this to be accomplished? Shall it be in freedom or through coercion? I mentioned earlier that collectivists and individualists usually agree on objectives but disagree over means, and this is a classic example. The collectivist says, take it by force of law. The individualist says, give it through free will. The collectivist says, not enough people will respond unless they are forced. The individualist says, enough people will respond to achieve the task. Besides, the preservation of freedom is also important. The collectivist advocates legalized plunder in the name of a worthy cause, believing that the end justifies the means. The individualist advocates free will and true charity, believing that the worthy objective does not justify committing theft and surrendering freedom.

There is a story of a Bolshevik revolutionary who was standing on a soapbox speaking to a small crowd in Times Square. After describing the glories of socialism and communism, he said: “Come the revolution and everyone will eat peaches and cream.” A little old man at the back of the crown yelled out: “I don’t like peaches and cream.” The Bolshevik thought about that for a moment and then replied: “Come the revolution, comrade, you will like peaches and cream.”

This, then, is the fourth difference between collectivism and individualism, and it is perhaps the most fundamental of them all: collectivists believe in coercion; individualists believe in freedom.

The fifth concept that divides collectivism from individualism has to do with the way people are treated under the law. Individualists believe that no two people are exactly alike, and each one is superior or inferior to others in many ways but, under law, they should all be treated equally. Collectivists believe that the law should treat people unequally in order to bring about desirable changes in society. They view the world as tragically imperfect. They see poverty and suffering and injustice and they conclude that something must be done to alter the forces that have produced these effects. They think of themselves as social engineers who have the wisdom to restructure society to a more humane and logical order. To do this, they must intervene in the affairs of men at all levels and redirect their activities according to a master plan. That means they must redistribute wealth and use the police power of the state to enforce prescribed behavior.

The consequence of this mindset can be seen everywhere in society today. Almost every country in the world has a tax system designed to treat people unequally depending on their income, their marital status, the number of children they have, their age, and the type of investments they may have. The purpose of this arrangement is to redistribute wealth, which means to favor some classes over others. In some cases, there are bizarre loopholes written into the tax laws just to favor one corporation or one politically influential group. Other laws provide tax-exemption and subsidies to favored groups or corporations. Inequality is the whole purpose of these laws.

In the realm of social relationships, there are laws to establish racial quotas, gender quotas, affirmative-action initiatives, and to prohibit expressions of opinion that may be objectionable to some group or to the master planners. In all of these measures, there is an unequal application of the law based on what group or class you happen to be in or on what opinion you hold. We are told that all of this is necessary to accomplish a desirable change in society. Yet, after more than a hundred years of social engineering, there is not one place on the globe where collectivists can point with pride and show where their master plan has actually worked as they predicted. There have been many books written about the collectivist utopia, but they never happened. The real-world results wherever collectivism has been applied are more poverty than before, more suffering than before, and certainly more injustice than before.

There is a better way. Individualism is based on the premise that all citizens should be equal under law, regardless of their national origin, race, religion, gender, education, economic status, life style, or political opinion. No class should be given preferential treatment, regardless of the merit or popularity of its cause. To favor one class over another is not equality under law.

When all of these factors are considered together, we come to the sixth ideological division between collectivism and individualism. Collectivists believe that the proper role of government should be positive, that the state should take the initiative in all aspects of the affairs of men, that it should be aggressive, lead, and provide. It should be the great organizer of society.

Individualists believe that the proper function of government is negative and defensive. It is to protect, not to provide; for if the state is granted the power to provide for some, it must also be able to take from others, and once that power is granted, there are those who will seek it for their advantage. It always leads to legalized plunder and loss of freedom. If government is powerful enough to give us everything we want, it is also powerful enough to take from us everything we have. Therefore, the proper function of government is to protect the lives, liberty, and property of its citizens; nothing more.6

We hear a lot today about right-wingers versus left-wingers, but what do those terms really mean? For example, we are told that communists and socialists are at the extreme left, and the Nazis and Fascists are on the extreme right. Here we have the image of two powerful ideological adversaries pitted against each other, and the impression is that, somehow, they are opposites. But, what is the difference? They are not opposites at all. They are the same. The insignias may be different, but when you analyze communism and Nazism, they both embody the principles of socialism. Communists make no bones about socialism being their ideal, and the Nazi movement in Germany was actually called the National Socialist Party. Communists believe in international socialism, whereas Nazis advocate national socialism. Communists promote class hatred and class conflict to motivate the loyalty and blind obedience of their followers, whereas the Nazis use race conflict and race hatred to accomplish the same objective. Other than that, there is no difference between communism and Nazism. They are both the epitome of collectivism, and yet we are told they are, supposedly, at opposite ends of the spectrum!

There’s only one thing that makes sense in constructing a political spectrum and that is to put zero government at one end of the line and 100% at the other. Now we have something we can comprehend. Those who believe in zero government are the anarchists, and those who believe in total government are the totalitarians. With that definition, we find that communism and Nazism are together at the same end. They are both totalitarian. Why? Because they are both based on the model of collectivism. Communism, Nazism, Fascism and socialism all gravitate toward bigger and bigger government, because that is the logical extension of their common ideology. Under collectivism, all problems are the responsibility of the state and must be solved by the state. The more problems there are, the more powerful the state must become. Once you get on that slippery slope, there is no place to stop until you reach all the way to the end of the scale, which is total government. Regardless of what name you give it, regardless of how you re-label it to make it seem new or different, collectivism is totalitarianism.

Actually, the straight-line concept of a political spectrum is somewhat misleading. It is really a circle. You can take that straight line with 100% government at one end and zero at the other, bend it around, and touch the ends at the top. Now it’s a circle because, under anarchy, where there is no government, you have absolute rule by those with the biggest fists and the most powerful weapons. So, you jump from zero government to totalitarianism in a flash. They meet at the top. We are really dealing with a circle, and the only logical place for us to be is somewhere in the middle of the extremes. We need government, of course, but, it must be built on individualism, an ideology that pushes always toward that part of the spectrum that involves the least government necessary to make things work instead of collectivism, which always pushes toward the other end of the spectrum for the most amount of government to make things work. That government is best which governs least.

Now, we are finally ready to re-activate our time machine. The last images still linger before us. We still see the directors of the great tax-exempt foundations applying their vast financial resources to alter the attitudes of the American people so they will accept the merger of their nation with totalitarian regimes; and we still hear their words proclaiming that “the future of this country belongs to collectivism, administered with characteristic American efficiency.” It’s amazing, isn’t it, how much is contained in that one little word: collectivism.