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Holocaust and Holodomor 'Origins of Anti Semitism'

May 26th, 2009

Nicholas Lyssson


One might think the worst holocaust deniers—at least the only ones who command serious attention—are those who insist the Nazi holocaust, as it involved the Jews only, was without parallel.

Guenter Lewy argues for example in The Nazi Persecution of the Gypsies (Oxford University Press, 2000) that while the Gypsies were gassed, shot and otherwise exterminated in great numbers, right alongside the Jews, they were not true victims of “the” Holocaust (capital “H”) but only of something collateral. Lewy even suggests the Gypsies invited their own destruction with certain cultural traits—in particular, sharply divergent moral standards for dealing among their own and with outsiders.

But pre- or anti-Enlightenment Judaism is hardly a less ethnocentric or hostile moral system. As Edward Gibbon correctly notes in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 1, ch. 15 (1776), “the wise, the humane Maimonides openly teaches [in The Book of Torts, 5:11] that, if an idolator fall into the water, a Jew ought not to save him from instant death.” See also Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai’s remarkable second-century exercise in ejusdem generis: “The best of the heathen merits death; the best of serpents should have its head crushed; and the most pious of women is prone to sorcery” (Yer. Kid. iv. 66c; Massek. Soferim xv. 10; comp. Mek., Beshallah, Wayehi, 1, and Tan., Wayera, 20, all as cited by JewishEncyclopedia.com). For “heathen” some translators simply write “goyim”; for “prone to sorcery” they write “a witch.” Rabbi Simeon is mentioned more than 700 times in the Talmud.

Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, in Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (2d ed. 2004), say (p. 1) “that in the usual English translations of talmudic literature some of the most sensitive passages are usually toned down or falsified,” and indeed (pp. 150-51) that “the great majority of books on Judaism and Israel, published in English especially, falsify their subject matter,” in part by omitting or obscuring such teachings. For a fuller discussion of the point, see Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, esp. ch. 2 (1994), available online. As to Jews, Gypsies or anyone else, of course, ethnocentrism or even outright cultural hostility as a rationale for genocide is obscene.

A particularly relevant parallel to the Nazi holocaust is the Ukrainian holodomor of 1932-33, a state-created famine—not a crop failure—that killed an estimated five million people in the Ukraine, one million in the Caucasus, and one million elsewhere after the Soviet state confiscated the harvest at gunpoint. Throughout the famine, the state continued to export grain to pay for industrialization. See Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow (Oxford University Press, 1987). Norman Davies gives the following description in Europe: A History, p. 965 (Oxford University Press, 1996). His first paragraph assembles quotations from Conquest; the bracketed phrase is his own:

“A quarter of the rural population, men, women and children, lay dead or dying” in “a great stretch of territory with some forty million inhabitants,” “like one vast Belsen.” “The rest, in various stages of debilitation,” “had no strength to bury their families or neighbours.” “[As at Belsen] well-fed squads of police or party officials supervised the victims.”

. . . All food stocks were forcibly requisitioned; a military cordon prevented all supplies from entering; and the people were left to die. The aim was to kill Ukrainian nationhood, and with it the “class enemy.” The death toll reached some 7 million. The world has seen many terrible famines. . . . But a famine organized as a genocidal act of state policy must be considered unique.

See also Oksana Procyk, Leonid Heretz and James E. Mace, Famine in the Soviet Ukraine, 1932-33 (Harvard University Press, 1986); Nicolas Werth, “The Great Famine,” in Stephane Courtois, et al., The Black Book of Communism, pp. 159-68 (Harvard University Press, 1999); Edvard Radzinsky, Stalin, pp. 257-59 (1996); Miron Dolot, Execution by Hunger (1985); Simon Sebag Montefiore, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, pp. 84-85 (2003); and the Commission on the Ukrainian Famine, Report to Congress (1988). That report, at pp. 6-7, cites estimates of the number killed that range as high as 8 million in the Ukraine and 9 million overall.

Piers Brendon, The Dark Valley, pp. 248-49 (2000) gives this description, drawn from still further sources, all cited in his notes:

A population of “walking corpses” . . . even ate horse-manure for the whole grains of seed it contained. . . . Cannibalism became so common-place that. . . local authorities issued hundreds of posters announcing that “EATING DEAD CHILDREN IS BARBARISM.”. . .

They staggered into towns and collapsed in the squares. . . . Haunting the railway stations these “swollen human shadows, full of rubbish, alive with lice,” followed passengers with mute appeals. . . . [They] “dragged themselves along, begging for bread or searching for scraps in garbage heaps, frozen and filthy. Each morning wagons rolled along the streets picking up the remains of the dead.” Some were picked up before they died and buried in pits so extensive that they resembled sand dunes and so shallow that bodies were dug up and devoured by wolves.

Boris Pasternak says “what I saw could not be expressed in words. . . . There was such inhuman, unimaginable misery, such a terrible disaster, that it began to seem almost abstract, it would not fit within the bounds of consciousness.” See Brian Moynahan, The Russian Century, p. 130 (1994). Nikita Khrushchev, in Khrushchev Remembers: The Final Testament, p. 120 (1976), says “I can’t give an exact figure because no one was keeping count. All we knew was that people were dying in enormous numbers.”

According to S. J. Taylor, Stalin’s Apologist: Walter Duranty, The New York Times’s Man in Moscow, p. 202 (Oxford University Press 1990), “. . .Soviet authorities

. . . require[d] that the shades of all windows be pulled down on trains traveling through the North Caucasus, the Ukraine and the Volga basin.” At pp. 239-40, Taylor says this famine “remains the greatest man-made disaster ever recorded, exceeding in scale even the Jewish Holocaust of the next decade.”

In September 1933, Duranty—who cultivated his relationship with Stalin, and is remembered today for his public denials that any such thing was happening—privately told fellow journalists Eugene Lyons (United Press) and Anne O’Hare McCormick (herself from the New York Times) that the death toll was 7 million, but that the dead were “only Russians.” (Sic: mostly Ukrainians; and note the word “only.”) See Lyons, Assignment in Utopia, pp. 579-80 (1937). Duranty’s number is described in Lyons’s book only as “the most startling I had. . . heard,” but is revealed in Lyons’s “Memo for Malcolm Muggeridge” (Dec. 9, 1937), quoted by Marco Carynnyk in “The New York Times and the Great Famine, Part III,” available online.

Several days after giving the 7-million number to Lyons and McCormick, Duranty told the assembled staff at the British chancery in Moscow that the toll for the Soviet Union as a whole might be as high as 10 million. See the report of William Strang, the charge d’affaires (Sept. 26, 1933), quoted by Carynnyk in the text accompanying n. 46. The British government referred publicly to the ongoing situation as an “illegal famine.” Id., n. 46.

Duranty’s 10-million number may have come from Stalin himself. It’s reputedly the same number Stalin gave Winston Churchill a decade later; see, e.g., Eric Margolis, “Remembering Ukraine’s Unknown Holocaust,”Toronto Sun, Dec. 13, 1998 (available online).

According to Arthur Koestler, The Ghost in the Machine, pp. 261-62 (1967):

In 1932-3, the years of the great famine which followed the forced collectivisation of the land, I travelled widely in the Soviet Union, writing a book which was never published. I saw entire villages deserted, railway stations blocked by crowds of begging families, and the proverbial starving infants. . . . [T]hey were quite real, with stick-like arms, puffed up bellies and cadaverous heads. I reacted to the brutal impact of reality on illusion in a manner typical of the true believer. I was surprised and bewildered—but the elastic shock-absorbers of my [Communist] Party training began to operate at once. I had eyes to see, and a mind conditioned to explain away what they saw. This “inner censor” is more reliable and effective than any official censorship. . . .

Some Ukrainian accounts, and that of Muggeridge, who covered the holodomor for the Manchester Guardian, take the trouble to say that this mass starvation was imposed largely by Jews. Lazar M. Kaganovich is often identified as an architect of the policy. A photograph in Montefiore, Red Tsar, above, shows him personally searching a farm for concealed food. In Muggeridge’s novel Winter in Moscow (1934) he appears as Kokoshkin, “a Jew” and “Stalin’s chief lieutenant.”

In 2003 Levko Lukyanenko, the first Ukrainian ambassador to Canada, was said to have made an anti-Semitic embarrassment of himself on this subject. But see Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, p. 363 (2d ed. 1994)(“Jews were . . . disproportionately prominent among the Bolsheviks, notably in their leadership, among their tax- and grain-gathering officials, and especially in the despised and feared. . . secret police [emphasis added]”); Montefiore, Red Tsar, above, p. 305 (as late as 1937, Jews accounted for only 5.7 percent of Soviet party members, but “formed a majority in the government” [emphasis added]); Yuri Slezkine, The Jewish Century, p. 254 (Princeton University Press, 2004)(the secret police was “one of the most Jewish of all Soviet institutions”); and Arno J. Mayer, Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?, p. 60 (1988)(“As of the late twenties . . . [a] disproportionate number of Jews came to hold high posts in the secret police and to serve as political commissars in the armed services. They. . . were. . . appointed to high-level and conspicuous positions which called for unimpeach-able political loyalty. . . ”). Mayer, a professor emeritus of history at Princeton, is himself Jewish, and had to flee the Nazis as a refugee.

The Israeli writer Boas Evron says the leaders of the Soviet revolution were scarcely less Jewish than the Zionists. See his book Jewish State or Israeli Nation?, p. 107 (English tr., Indiana University Press, 1995): “The backgrounds of the two groups were much the same. . . . Only differences of chance and temperament caused the one [individual] to be a Zionist and the other a revolutionary socialist.”

On February 8, 1920, Winston Churchill published an article, “Zionism Versus Bolshevism: A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People,” in the Illustrated Sunday Herald (London), reprinted in Lenni Brenner, ed., 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis, p. 23 (2002). Among other things, Churchill said (pp. 25-26):

There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshe-vism. . . by. . . international and for the most part atheistical Jews. . . . [I]t probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin [who had a Jewish grandfather and by some accounts a Jewish wife], the majority of leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders. . . . And the prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the system of terrorism. . . has been taken by Jews. . . . The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews in the brief period of terror during which Bela Kun ruled in Hungary. The same phenomenon has been presented in Germany (especially in Bavaria), so far as this madness has been allowed to prey on the temporary prostration of the German people.

Churchill’s views, as expressed here, resemble those of the Times of London’s correspondent in Russia, Robert Wilton. See George Gustav Telberg and Robert Wilton, The Last Days of the Romanovs (1920), esp. pp. 222-30, 391 (“[t]aken according to numbers of population, the Jews represented one in ten; among the komisars that rule Bolshevik Russia they are nine in ten—if anything, the proportion of Jews is still higher”), 392-93 and 400. The French version of the book, Les Derniers Jours des Romanofs, also published in 1920, contains a list of 556 top figures in the Bolshevik regime, classified by ethnicity. The Jewish proportion is a bit over eight in ten, including two-thirds of the leadership of the secret police.

The non-Jews are divided among various small categories—Russian, Lett, Armenian, German, Georgian, etc. The list is absent from the slightly later English and American editions, but is available online. See also John F. O’Conor, The Sokolov Investigation (1971)(a translation, with commentary, of sections of Nikolai Sokolov’s Enquête judiciaire sur l'assassinat de la famille impériale Russe), especially for the comments of O’Conor and his sources on Wilton.[i]

Jews among the Bolsheviks who imposed the holodomor of 1932-33 would have relished settling scores after the 40 years of bloody pogroms that followed Czar Alexander II’s assassination in 1881—especially the still-recent massacre of 50,000 to 100,000 Jews, mostly in the Ukraine, during the Russian civil war of 1918-21. (Far greater numbers of gentiles, of course, also perished in that war; estimates run well into the millions.)

Albert S. Lindemann, Esau’s Tears, pp. 442-43 (Cambridge University Press, 1997) says that “[i]n. . . the Ukraine, the Cheka leadership was overwhelmingly Jewish”; that “the high percentage of Jews in the secret police continued well into the 1930s”; and that “[c]omparisons to the secret police in Nazi Germany have tempted many observers.

. . . [T]he extent to which both. . . prided themselves in being. . . willing to carry out the most stomach-turning atrocities in the name of an ideal. . . is striking.” Lindemann adds that:

George Leggett, the most recent and authoritative historian of the Russian secret police, speculates that the use of [non-Slavic ethnic minorities in the secret police] may have been a conscious policy, since such ‘detached elements could be better trusted not to sympathise with the repressed local population’.[ii] Of course, in the Ukrainian case that population had the reputation of being especially anti-Semitic, further diminishing the potential sympathies of Jewish Chekists in dealing with it. [Citing Leggett, The Cheka, Lenin’s Political Police, p. 263 (Oxford University Press, 1981).] . . . . Cheka personnel regarded themselves as a class apart. . . with a power of life or death over lesser mortals. (Emphases added.)

Yuri Slezkine’s The Jewish Century, above, illustrates the attitude of Jewish Bolsheviks toward dying Ukrainians. See Kevin MacDonald’s review of Slezkine, entitled “Stalin’s Willing Executioners?”, www.vdare. com/ misc/051105 /macdonald _stalin.htm (a much fuller version of which appears in the Occidental Quarterly, fall 2005, also available online):

Lev Kopelev, a Jewish writer who witnessed and rationalized the Ukrainian famine in which millions died horrible deaths of starvation and disease as an “historical necessity,” is quoted [on p. 230 as] saying “You mustn’t give in to debilitating pity. We are the agents of historical necessity. We are fulfilling our revolutionary duty.” On the next page, Slezkine describes the life of the largely Jewish elite in Moscow and Leningrad where they attended the theater, sent their children to the best schools, [and] had peasant women (whose families were often the victims of mass murder) for nannies. . . .

Kopelev did not offer his opinions from a distance. In his words, “I saw women and children with distended bellies, turning blue, with vacant, lifeless eyes. And corpses. . . . I saw all this and did not go out of my mind or commit suicide. . . .” Moynahan, The Russian Century, above, p. 149. Moynahan, by the way, gives a high-end estimate of the death toll as “probably. . . 14 million.” Id. at 130.

Kopelev was then in his early 20s. (Koestler was six-and-a-half years older.) Kopelev believed without question that “we were warriors on an invisible front, fighting against kulak sabotage for the grain that was needed by the country, by the five-year plan.” See vol. 1 of his memoirs, The Education of a True Believer, p. 226 (1980). He gave speeches to starving peasants at “several meetings a day,” telling them how much more the state needed their grain than they did themselves. Id. at 229. The peasants most often responded, “chop off my head”; they had nothing left to give. Id. at 231.

Fifteen years later, Kopelev himself was in the Butyrka prison in Moscow, where his fellow inmates, the writers Dmitri Panin[iii] and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, challenged his denial of his own Jewishness, and the Jewishness of the revolution. See vol. 3 of Kopelev’s memoirs, Ease My Sorrows, p. 18 (1983):

When I told Solzhenitsyn the history of the various parties and reached the Socialist Revolutionaries, recalling the leaders, Gorovits, Gershuni, Gots, he interrupted in astonishment, almost in disbelief: how can that be— Jewish surnames, when the SRs were a Russian peasant party?

* * *

Panin reproached me for the sinful rejection of my people—for not wanting to avow myself “first and foremost a Jew. . . . But it’s clearer to an outsider.” . . . Solzhenitsyn seconded him. . . . He could not agree with. . . my self-definition: “A Russian intellectual of Jewish descent.”

Notwithstanding Kopelev’s self-definition, he was incontestably Jewish for purposes of the Israeli Law of Return, which came into effect well within his lifetime.[iv] Moreover, while he became a man of far more humane views as he grew older, there would be some irony in excusing his “true believer” phase as a mere youthful folly. Compare the unsparing treatment recently given Günter Grass, concerning service in the Waffen SS that involved no complicity in atrocities, and ended in his late teens.

The phrase “Stalin’s willing executioners”—with its echo of Daniel Jonah Goldhagen—is Slezkine’s (p. 130). At pp. 183-84, translating from the Russian, Slezkine quotes Ia. A. Bromberg (1931) on what Stalinism brought out in its Jewish servitors:

The convinced and unconditional opponent of the death penalty. . . , who could not, as it were, watch a chicken being killed, has been transformed outwardly into a leather-clad person with a revolver and [has], in fact, lost all human likeness. . . , standing in a Cheka basement doing “bloody but honorable revolutionary work.”


Shahak, in Three Thousand Years, above, ch. 4, traces Jewish “hatred and contempt” for peasants— “a hatred of which I know no parallel in other societies”—back to the great Ukrainian uprising of 1648-54, in which tens of thousands of “the accursed Jews” (to quote the Ukrainian Cossack leader Bohdan Khmelnytsky) were killed. Some say the number is more accurately stated in the hundreds of thousands. Heinrich Graetz says the number “may well be. . . a quarter of a million.” See his History of the Jews, vol. 5, p. 15 (1856-70, English tr., Jewish Publication Society of America ed., 1956).

The Jews at the time of the massacres were serving the Polish szlachta (nobility) and Roman Catholic clergy on their Ukrainian latifundia as arendars—toll-, rent- and tax-farmers, enforcers of corvee obligations, licensees of feudal monopolies (e.g., on banking, milling, storekeeping, and distillation and sale of alcohol), and as anti-Christian scourges who even collected tithes at the doors of the peasants’ Greek Orthodox churches and exacted fees to open those doors for weddings, christenings and funerals. They had life and death powers over the local population (the typical form of execution being impalement), and no law above them to which that population had recourse. See Graetz, vol. 5, pp. 3-6; Subtelny, pp. 123-38; Norman Davies, God’s Playground: A History of Poland, vol. 1, p. 444 (Oxford University Press, 1982); and Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski, Jews in Poland, pp. 68-79, 283 (1993). According to the last three of these sources, the arendars leased estates for terms of only two or three years and had every incentive to wring the peasants mercilessly, without regard to long-term consequences.

As Shahak points out in Three Thousand Years, chs. 3 and 5, a non-Jew, in traditional Judaism, was never “thy neighbor” for purposes of Leviticus 19:18—which was doubtless an advantage in such taxing work as an arendar’s. Shahak has much to say about rabbinical pronouncements, abundant in Israel even now, that gentile souls are closer to the souls of animals than to those of Jews. Those pronouncements are grounded, at least in part, on Ezekiel 23:20 (“[their] flesh [i.e., penises] is as the flesh of asses and [their] issue [i.e., semen] is like the issue of horses”).[v]

Norman Cantor comments in The Sacred Chain, p. 184 (1994) that “perhaps the Jews [of the arenda period] were so moved by racist contempt for the Ukrainian and Polish peasantry as to regard them as subhuman. . . . There is a parallel with the recent attitude of the West Bank Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox toward the Palestinians. Judaism can be in its Halakhic form an extremely restrictive and blinding faith.”

According to Chaim Bermant, The Jews, p. 26 (1977):

. . . [O]ne cannot see the events of [1648-49] as entirely the result of crazed fanaticism or mindless superstition. . . . [I]f the nobility were. . . the ultimate exploiters,the Jews were the visible ones and aroused the most immediate hostility. Rabbis warned that Jews were sowing a terrible harvest of hatred, but while the revenues rolled in the warnings were ignored. Moreover, the rabbis themselves were beneficiaries of the system.

Those rabbinical forebodings are also mentioned in Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance, p. 152 (Oxford University Press, 1961). Graetz (vol. 5, pp. 5-6) says of the Jewish arendars that they had lost “integrity and right-mindedness. . . as completely as simplicity and the sense of truth. They found pleasure and a sort of triumphant delight in deception and cheating.” He adds that they “advised the [Polish noble and ecclesiast-ical] possessors of the Cossack colonies how most completely to humiliate, oppress, torment, and ill-use [those colonies]. . . . No wonder that the enslaved Cossacks hated the Jews. . . . The Jews were not without warning what would be their lot, if these embittered enemies once got the upper hand.”

Graetz (vol. 5, p. 7) also says Khmelnytsky had personal reasons for leading the revolt: “A Jew, Zachariah Sabilenki, had played him a trick, by which he was robbed of his wife and property.” It says everything, of course, that it was possible by trickery to rob a Cossack of his wife.

The best-known contemporaneous account of the revolt is Nathan (Nata) ben Moses Hannover, Yewen Mesulah, which appeared in Venice in 1653. An English translation was published three centuries later as The Abyss of Despair (1950). Hannover was well aware of the peasants’ grievances (see pp. 27-30 of The Abyss). He described the massacres in the grimmest of terms, full of biblical allusions. He then gave the rest of his life to the holy mysteries of Lurianic cabbalism. As Graetz puts it (vol. 5, pp. 21-22), “that book of falsehoods, the Zohar, [had] declared that in the year of the world 5408 (1648) the era of redemption would dawn, and precisely in that year Sabbathai [Ze’evi] revealed himself. . . as the messianic redeemer.”

Sabbathai was a manic-depressive one of whose followers, Samuel Primo, preached that “your lament and sorrow must be changed into joy.” Spinoza and other rationalists were not amused. Thousands of Sabbathai’s flock even followed him into “holy apostasy” when he converted to Islam in 1666. His own conversion was under duress; theirs was not. Graetz’s highly-readable account of the fervor (vol. 5, pp. 121-67) is similar in style and tone to Gibbon’s account of the early Christian Church.

Arendas did not disappear after the Khmelnytsky uprising. See Jewish FamilyHistory. org/ Grand_ Duchy_of_Lithuania. htm (“During the 18th century, up to 80 percent of Jewish heads of households in rural areas [of what are now Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and parts of Poland] were arendars, that is, holders of an arenda”). Pogonowski, p. 72, describes the return of the Jews to the Ukraine after 1648-54. Similarly, see Simon M. Dubnow, History of the Jews in Russia and Poland, vol. 1, p. 158 (1916).

Shahak (Three Thousand Years, ch. 4) says that under the arenda system, “the full weight of the Jewish religious laws against gentiles fell upon the peasants.” As to the nature of those laws, see id., ch. 5, especially under the heading “Abuse.” See also such passages as Psalm 2:8-9 (“. . . I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance. . . . Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel”); Psalm 21:8-10 (“[T]hy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the Lord shall swallow them up. . .”); Psalm 79:6-7 (“Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen. . . [f]or they have devoured Jacob [i.e., Israel], and laid waste his dwelling place”); Jeremiah 10:25 (al-most identical); Psalm 137:8-9 (“O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed, . . . [h]appy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones”); Psalm 149:7-8; Isaiah 45:14 (“Thus saith the Lord, . . . in chains. . . they shall fall down unto [Israel]. . .”); Isaiah 60:12 (“. . .[T]he nation and kingdom that will not serve [Israel] shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted” ); Isaiah 61:5-6 (“. . .[S]trangers shall stand and feed your flocks. . . : [Y]e shall eat the riches of the Gentiles. . .”); and of course Esther 8:11 through 10:3. As to the last, and the feast of Purim, celebrated yearly then as now, see Elliott Horowitz, Reckless Rites (Princeton University Press, 2006).


The Babylonian Talmud, cabbalist treatises, and other rabbinical writings extant during the arenda period were even harder on the gentiles, particularly Christians. See Johann Andreas Eisenmenger’s hugely controversialEntdektes Judenthum (1700), translated as Rabbinical Literature: Or the Traditions of the Jews (1748). At p. 253 of that translation we read that:

The [cabbalist] Treatise Emek hammelech, in the Part entitled Shaar shiashue hammelech, gives us the following Passage. “Our Rabbins, of Blessed Memory, have said, Ye Jews are stiled Men; because of the Soul ye have from the Supreme Man (i.e., God; whom the Cabalists call Adam Ahelion; that is, the Supreme Man). But the Nations of the World are not stiled Men, because they have not, from the Holy and Supreme Man, the Neshama (or glorious Soul). But they have the Nephesh (i.e. the Soul) from Adam Belial; that is, the malicious and unnecessary Man, called Sammael, the Supreme Devil.”

The next seven pages are filled with further such quotations. Eisenmenger also discloses a rabbinical obsession with Esau and his nation Edom, themselves deemed satanic (as to which see more from scholars discussed below).

Jacob Katz, the author of Exclusiveness and Tolerance, above, and a professor of Jewish history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is hardly an admirer of Eisen-menger. Very much the contrary. But in From Prejudice to Destruction, pp. 14-15, 21, passim (Harvard University Press, 1980), Katz admits some important points:

[Eisenmenger’s] book was impressive both on account of its size—some 2,120 pages in two volumes—and its tremendous erudition. . . . [He] was acquainted with all the literature a Jewish scholar of standing would have known. . . . Contrary to accusations that have been made against him, he does not falsify his sources. He quotes them in full and translates them literally. . . . The question is how did Eisenmenger arrive at so darkly a negative picture of Judaism while quoting its sources unadulteratedly?

* * * There was a nucleus of truth in all his claims: the Jews lived in a world of. . . ethical duality—following different standards in their internal and external relationships. . . .(Emphases added.)[vi]

The anthropologist John Hartung comments, in an essay entitled “Love Thy Neighbor: The Evolution of In-Group Morality” (1995, available online), that “the half-life and penetrance of such cultural legacies are often under-appreciated.” To illustrate Hartung’s point, “Pour out thy wrath upon our enemies” (“shfoch hamatcha al hagoyim”) is even now a prayer at the Passover seder.

David M. Weinberg, director of public affairs at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies of the Orthodox Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, defends it as being “part of the Haggada text for a reason: to purposefully exclude and ward off the placid, falsely high-minded thinking that has overtaken so much of today’s Western world.” See Weinberg’s essay in the Jerusalem Post, April 21, 2003 (available online). The English translation “upon our enemies”—not “upon thine enemies,” or even “upon the heathen”—is taken here directly from Weinberg. All those renditions seem interchangeable in any event. The actual word, of course, is goyim.

According to Davies (God’s Playground, vol. 1, p. 444) the oppressiveness of the Jews as arendars “provided the most important single cause of the terrible retribution that would descend on them on several occasions in the future. . . .” In 1986 the Stanford history department voted 12-11 against offering tenure to Davies, then a professor visiting from the University of London. Davies sued unsuccessfully for defamation, which suggests the tenor of the discussion. Davies is now a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. The queen awarded him a CMG in 2001.

Actually, the Jewish “hatred and contempt” that Shahak remarks on can be traced back to times well before the events of 1648-54. Such attitudes can be seen, for example, in medieval traditions in which Esau—portrayed in Isaiah 63 and Obadiah as one with whom God himself is at war—came to stand for agricultural Christian Europe. See Rabbi Tzvi Weinberg, “Esau-Edom: Profile of a People” (Dec. 16, 2000), at http://www .biu.ac.il/ JH/Parasha/ eng/ vayishlach/ wei.html. See also Exclusiveness and Tolerance, above, p. 6, which says that in medieval Jewish poetry Edom was synonymous with Christianity. In Malachi 1:4 “the Lord hath indignation for ever” against Edom; see also Jeremiah 49:7-8, Lamentations 4:21-22, Ezekiel 35, and Amos 1:11.


Edom was never geographically fixed. It followed the Jews wherever they went—the nation allotted to Israel’s dehumanized twin, as ripe for righteous predation as the original Esau.[vii] Edom’s presence in Europe helped rationalize the Jewish role in the immensely profitable slave trade of the eighth through the 10th centuries. European boys—mostly in the East, but in the West as well—were kidnapped and castrated by Vikings, sold to Jews, taken south down the major rivers, and sold again as eunuchs in Muslim lands from Persia to Spain. See H.R. Trevor-Roper, The Rise of Christian Europe, pp. 92-93 (1965). As Trevor-Roper points out, the words for slave and Slav come from the same root in every European language, a reminder of a commerce whose memory has faded away in the West. The Arabic word for eunuch is from the same root. Some trace this trade as far back as the fifth century. .

A related matter is Ashkenazic—though not Sephardic—eschatological doctrine, which in the “late antique” period followed Jeremiah 46:28 (“Fear thou not, O Jacob [i.e., Israel], my servant, saith the Lord: . . . for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee. . .” ) and Psalms 110:6 and 94:1. See Adiel Schremer, of Bar Ilan University, “Eschatology, Violence and Suicide: An Early Rabbinic Theme and its Influence in the Middle Ages,” at research. yale.edu/ ycias/database/Files/MESV6-2.pdf: At p. 4, Schremer says:

[T]he construction of the eschatological redemption in terms of the total eradication of the nations, or at least in association with such an expectation, has a potential of shaping a violent personality and might contribute to. . . a violent mind-setting. For if one is hoping for God’s redemption soon to come, and is inspired by the idea of a total vanquish-ing of Israel’s enemies as an essential part of that redemption, one’s violent inclinations are not entirely suppressed and in a sense they are being fostered. (Emphasis added.)

Schremer’s paper was presented on May 5, 2002 at the Yale Divinity School. The reference in his title to suicide concerns the year 1096, when large numbers of Jews in the Rhineland killed themselves and their own children, siblings and parents, rather than submit to Crusaders’ efforts to convert them by force. By way of explanation, Schremer quotes Sigmund Freud: “No neurotic harbors thoughts of suicide which he has not turned back upon himself from murderous impulses against others.” Schremer cites many biblical passages and rabbinical exegeses that might feed such impulses.

For a much fuller discussion of this whole set of issues, see Israel Jacob Yuval, Two Nations in Your Womb(English tr., University of California Press, 2006). At pp. 120-21 Yuval tells of prayers that:

. . . demonstrate the abyss of hostility and hatred felt by medieval Jews toward Christians. And we have here not only hatred, but an appeal to God to kill indiscriminately and ruthlessly, alongside a vivid description of the anticipated horrors to be brought down upon the Gentiles. These pleas are formulated in a series of verbs—“swallow them, shoot them, lop them off, make them bleed, crush them, strike them, curse them, and ban them. . . destroy them, kill them, smite them. . . crush them [again], abandon them, parch them”—and in the best alphabetical tradition, the string of disasters the poet wishes for the Gentiles goes on and on.

Yuval collects an abundance of such material, from both before and after the events of 1096. In agreement with Schremer, he says (p. 123) that “we are dealing here with a comprehensive religious ideology that sees vengeance as a central component in its messianic doctrine.” He repeats (p. 125) that this vengeance was to be “against the Gentiles”—most of whom, it seems safe to say, were peasants—and that the vengeance stood “at the very heart of the messianic process.” He says tellingly (p. 134) that “the Christians were not unaware of the Jewish desire to see their destruction.”[viii]

The ethnocentric hostility of the Jews—consistently commented on by the peoples who have encountered them over the millennia—can be traced ultimately to the origins of Judaism as set forth in the Torah, e.g., Genesis 9:25 (“Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren”); Exodus 17:14-16 and 34:12-13 ; Numbers 24:8 (“God. . . shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows”), 25:6-13 (wherein God commends Phineas for his initia-tive in running a javelin through both parties to a marriage of Jew and gentile), 31:7-19 and 33:50-56; and Deuteronomy 2:33-35 (“[on God’s command] we. . . utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain”), 3:4-7, 7:1-5 (“thou shalt. . . utterly destroy them”), 7:14-26 (“thine eye shall have no pity”), 20:10-17 (“thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth”) and 25:19. Disdain for ordinary labor—to be performed by Esau and Edom, but to be exploited by Israel—appears as early as Genesis 25:23-27, as discussed in note vii below.

Ethnocentric hostility has lent itself to Jewish tax-farming. This can be traced back to very early times, and has sometimes involved copious use of deadly force, put at the disposal of the tax-farmers by their noble clients. See Flavius Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, bk. 12, ch. 4 (1st c.), available online (Syria violently stripped to its “bones” for Ptolemy III); and Elias Bickerman, The Jews in the Greek Age, p. 120 (Harvard University Press, 1988).

See also Rabbi Simeon’s lumping of gentiles with serpents, above; Cornelius Tacitus, The Histories, bk. 5.5 (c. 109 A.D.) (“[the Jews] regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies”); Gibbon, ch. 15 (“the[ir] sullen obstinacy. . . and unsocial manners seemed to mark them out a distinct species of men, who boldly professed, or who faintly disguised, their implacable hatred to the rest of humankind”); and Emilio Gabba, “The Growth of Anti-Judaism or the Greek Attitude Toward the Jews,” in W.D. Davies and Louis Finkelstein, eds., The Cambridge History of Judaism, vol. 2 (Cam-bridge University Press, 1990). At p. 629 Gabba attributes to Hecataeus of Abdera (early 3d c. B.C.) an observation about the hostility of the Jews. Gabba excuses that hostility, saying the Jews’ “misanthropic reserve” was understandable in light of the exodus from Egypt. But the exodus—thought by Hecataeus to have been an expulsion, and by Tacitus to have been an expulsion of lepers—was perhaps a thousand years past even when Hecataeus wrote. At p. 645 Gabba cites Posidonius (134 B.C.) on the advice given to his contemporary, King Antiochus Sidetes, to destroy the Jews, “for they alone among all peoples refused all relations with other races and saw everyone as their enemy. . . .”

Almost identical advice was given to King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I, 485-465 B.C.) in Esther 3:8-9. Some two-and-a-half millennia after Ahasuerus, the Jews still celebrate on their most joyous holiday the vengeance he allowed them: “sl[aughter] of their foes seventy and five thousand,” including “both little ones and women,” and hanging not just of the man who gave the advice, but of all ten of his sons. It was an occasion of “light, and. . . joy, and honour,” and of “gladness and feasting.” Id., 8:11-17, 9:13-28.

Martin Luther’s comments on this story, in The Jews and Their Lies (1543), fit with Yuval’s account of “a comprehensive [Jewish] religious ideology that sees vengeance as a central component in its messianic doctrine,” and Schremer’s account of Jewish hopes for “eschatological redemption in terms of the total eradication of the nations”:

Oh how [the Jews] love the Book of Esther, which so nicely agrees with their bloodthirsty, revengeful and murderous desire and hope. The sun never did shine on a more bloodthirsty and revengeful people than they, who imagine themselves to be the people of God, and who desire to, and think they must, murder and crush the heathen. And the foremost undertaking which they expect of their Messiah is that he should slay and murder the whole world with the sword.

This passage—indeed, the whole 64-page essay—is often cited as evidence of Luther’s pathological anti-Semitism, but Yuval and Schremer show that at least on this point he knew whereof he spoke. As Yuval says, “the Christians were not unaware of the Jewish desire to see their destruction.” Luther’s comments also fit with the descriptions of Jewish arendars given above—men who “found pleasure and a sort of triumphant delight in deception and cheating” (Graetz); who sowed “a terrible harvest of hatred” (Bermant); and who may have been “so moved by racist contempt for the Ukrainian and Polish peasantry as to regard them as subhuman” (Cantor).


Even in the 21st century, Israeli children are taught to sing “The Whole World is Against Us”(“Ha’olam Ku’lo heg’denu”). We have not only David M. Weinberg’s defense of the “shfoch hamatcha” prayer, but even Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik, “The Virtue of Hate,” First Things, Feb. 2003 (available online) (“When hate is appropriate, then it is not only virtuous, but essential for Jewish well-being”). Soloveichik is not a fringe figure. He is a member of an exceedingly eminent Orthodox rabbinical family. When he wrote the article he was resident scholar at the Jewish Center in Manhattan and a Beren fellow at Yeshiva University, and was studying the philosophy of religion at the Yale Divinity School.

Note the words “essential for Jewish well-being.” The “virtue of hate” seems to come of a positive need to be hated. The widely-published Rabbi Dr. Dan Cohn-Sher-bok, professor of Jewish history at the University of Wales (Lampeter) and author of The Paradox of Anti-Semitism (2006), says in an interview with the Independent(U.K.), March 19, 2006 (available online) that: “Jews need enemies in order to survive. . . . [I]n the absence of Jew-hatred, Judaism is undergoing a slow death. . . . We want to be loved, and we want Judaism to survive intact. . . . [T]hese are incompatible desires. . . . Why do we endure? Because we’re hated.” (Emphases added.)

Cohn-Sherbok says of a founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl: “He warned that if our Christian hosts were to leave us in peace for two generations, the Jews would merge entirely into surrounding races.” Id. Herzl also wrote in his conclusion to Der Judenstaat (1896): “Universal brotherhood is not even a beautiful dream. Antagonism is essential to man’s greatest efforts.”

In his book (p. 209) Cohn-Sherbok says that “in the past ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders were profoundly aware of this dynamic.” One of his examples is Schneur Zalman of Lyady, the first Lubavitch Rebbe and author of the Tanya (1796), the fundamental book of the Habbad movement, whose first chapter famously concludes by saying gentile souls “contain no good whatever.” [ix] In 1812, Zalman worked with the anti-Semitic Czar Alexander I to defeat Napoleon. He feared Napoleon would liberate the Jews, who might expect to benefit materially—although that’s a much-disputed calculation—but whose souls would be lost to assimilation and intermarriage.

Similarly, according to Ha’aretz, June 3, 2004 (available online), “in the mid-19th century, Rabbi [Samson Raphael] Hirsch, the leader of Germany’s Orthodox Jews, wrote that anti-Semitism is the tool through which the God of Israel preserves his people.” In 1958, Rabbi Dr. Nahum Goldmann, then president of the World Jewish Congress, com-plained that the “current decline of overt anti-Semitism might constitute a new danger to Jewish survival,” one that “has had a very negative effect on our internal life.” In 1957, Leo Pfeffer, then counsel to the same organization, said much the same. As to both, see Alfred M. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection II, p. 412 (1982). See also Charles E. Silberman, A Certain People, p. 165 (1985):

“For all that we are preoccupied by the damage once done to us by our enemies, we are still more concerned by the curse of friendship we now encounter,” Leonard Fein, editor and publisher of Moment magazine, told the Conference of Jewish Communal Service in 1980. . . . “Deep down—and sometimes not so very deep—we still believe that we depended on the pogroms and persecutions to keep us a people, that we have not the fiber to withstand the lures of a genuinely open society.” (Emphasis added.)

Hannah Arendt says of this whole line of thinking, in The Origins of Totali-tarianism, p. 7 (1973 ed.), that “. . . eternal anti-Semitism would imply an eternal guarantee of Jewish [corporate] existence. This superstition is a secularized travesty of the idea of eternity inherent in a faith in chosenness.”


It follows from this “superstition” (or psychological insight) that where anti-Semitism is inadequate to prevent an erosion of Jewish identity, it has to be fabricated or provoked. A seemingly encyclopedic survey of such fabrication—at least as it’s appeared in recent years—can be found in Norman Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah, pp. 21-85 (University of California Press, 2005).[x] As to the other technique, provocation, see Yuval,Two Nations; Shahak, Three Thousand Years; Lindemann, Esau’s Tears; some of the other material discussed above; and the private diary of Moshe Sharett, then prime minister of Israel, for May 26, 1955.

That diary entry records the view of Sharett’s colleague Moshe Dayan that only by a strategy of endless “provocation and revenge” toward its neighbors can Israel survive. Israel, says Sharett (paraphrasing Dayan), “must. . . invent dangers” to “keep its morale high and to retain its moral tension.” Sharett even quotes David Ben Gurion: “It would be worth while to pay an Arab a million pounds to start a war.” See the extended quotation from Sharett’s diary in Livia Rokach, Israel’s Sacred Terrorism, p. 44 (1980) (available online; emphasis in original). Rokach, whose father was Sharett’s minister of the Interior, says (id., p. 8 ) that by the mid ‘50s, if not before:

Terrorism and “revenge” were. . . to be glorified as the “moral . . . and even sacred” values of Israeli society. . . . [T]he military symbol was now Unit 101, led by Arik Sharon. . . . The lives of Jewish victims. . . had to be sacrificed to create provocations justifying subsequent reprisals. . . . A hammering, daily propaganda, controlled by the censors, was directed to feed the Israeli population with images of the monstrosity of the Enemy. (Emphasis added.)

Meanwhile, she says, Israel’s leaders never believed in any external threat to Israel’s survival. What they wanted was regional hegemony, and of course internal cohesion. In 1984, after her book had ceased to be news, Rokach was found dead in a Rome hotel room.

Boas Evron makes some of the same points as Rokach, in Jewish State or Israeli Nation?, above. At p. 251 he says: “In the absence of a positive national bond, Ben Gurion deliberately sought to base the national consciousness on the negative foundation of terror and nightmare. . . .” According to two books by the Mossad defector Victor Ostrovsky, By Way of Deception (1990) and The Other Side of Deception (1994), Mossad doctrine is squarely in accord with the views of Dayan and Ben Gurion, as recorded by Sharett and amplified by Rokach and Evron.[xi]

For more on hostile solidarity as an essential element of Judaism, see three books by Kevin MacDonald, A People That Shall Dwell Alone (1994), Separation and its Discontents (1998), and The Culture of Critique(1998); and John Hartung’s essay “Love Thy Neighbor,” above. Hartung begins with an epigraph from Blaise Pascal’s Pensees (1670): “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”

MacDonald and Hartung see Judaism as an economic strategy for competing with host populations, from whom the sharpest self-differentiation has to be maintained. One might infer from their work—as from such passages as Deuteronomy 7:14-26—a system designed to suppress the recognition of fellow humanity across ethnic and religious lines, a system still functioning millennia after its inception. Of course, any such analysis is taken as purest anti-Semitism, an occasion of “terror and nightmare” call-ing for (of all things) hostile solidarity.[xii]

See also Moses Hadas, Hellenistic Culture: Fusion and Diffusion, chs. 7 and 20 (Columbia University Press, 1959) as to the influence, via Plato, of closed, totalitarian Sparta on Judaism as far back as the Maccabean period (142-63 B.C.).[xiii]

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