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Editorial Article

The Pathology of Jewish Anti-Semitism

By Steven Plaut

It sounds like a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron. And if only it were.

Jewish-anti-Semitism is a modern disease. In the twenty-first century the world is experiencing an explosion of it, a virtual plague. Among the most malicious and venomous of all bigots, the Jewish anti-Semites are at the forefront of each and every smear campaign against Israel and other Jews. Jews today are leaders in the campaigns to boycott and “divest from” Israel, including the “Solidarity with Terrorists” groups. They make pilgrimage to the terrorist camps of the Hamas and the Hezb’Allah, cheering on terrorist atrocities against Jews. They pioneered the smear campaign to paint Israel as an apartheid regime and denouncing Israel as equivalent to Nazi Germany is their favorite pastime.

Western campuses are crawling with them. Some of the Jewish anti-Semites even hold leadership positions in Hillel houses. Many others are tenured professors. An anti-Semitic Jewish judge chaired a UN commission demonizing Israel. A Jewish member of Britain’s Parliament (Gerald Kaufman) compared Hamas terrorists to Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto and denounced Israel as a Nazi entity. And a shockingly large number of Jewish anti-Semites are Israelis or ex-Israelis.

Most Jews dismiss such people as “self-hating,” but that term is misleading. These rogues do not hate themselves. Indeed they are masters of narcissism. They hate other Jews and wish them harm. These are not the assimilationists of Jewish descent who have simply lost interest in Jewish heritage, or those indifferent towards Jewish history and Israel. Anti-Semitic Jews often make a point out of waving their own Jewish “roots” as artillery support for their anti-Semitism. In some extreme cases they collaborate with Neo-Nazis, Islamist terrorists, and even Holocaust Deniers. No, that is not a misprint; there are today in the world Jewish Holocaust Deniers!

Jewish anti-Semitism was once considered a bizarre irrelevance. It was touched upon gingerly in the 1947 Gregory Peck film, “Gentleman’s Agreement,” but long ignored by the organized Jewish community. Modern Zionists expected that the very creation of Israel would put an end to any neurotic self-hatred that afflicted Diaspora communities. It was expected to end not only Jewish physical insecurity but also spiritual pathology. Alas, psycho-history had a surprise up its sleeves: many of the very worst Jewish anti-Semites on the planet have emerged from the more radical fringes of the Israeli Left, its academic institutions, and its “intelligentsia”!

Among the most open Israeli promoters of anti-Semitic mythology today is Professor Shlomo Sand, a hardcore communist on the history faculty of Tel Aviv University. Sand last year published a “book” with a far-leftist anti-Israel publisher claiming to prove that Jews are not and never have been a “people.” Recycling myths popularized by Neo-Nazi web sites, Sand’s entire book is a sort of Protocols of the Elders of Anti-Zion, a pseudo-analysis that claims that most Jews today are frauds, converts from the Khazar Turkic tribe, impersonators of Jews. All real Jews, according to the learned professor, became Palestinian Arabs centuries ago. Hence Israeli “Jews” are not Jews at all, certainly having no right to their own state.

Sand travels the globe with Tel Aviv University funding to tout his book and advocate the extermination of Israel. He is surpassed in his anti-Semitism only by one other Israeli professor, now retired, Ariel Toaff, who claimed to have evidence that Jews use gentile blood in religious ritual. Other anti-Semitic Israeli academics are cataloged on the web site

Just what makes Jewish anti-Semites tick is harder to explain. One of the few people to take a serious stab at doing so is Kenneth Levin, a psychiatrist at Harvard and an occasional contributor to these pages. He attributes Jewish anti-Semitism In part to attempts by some Jews to gain social acceptance in an environment that is hostile towards Jews. He attributes some of it to infantile attempts at self-blame resembling those in abused small children. And in part he considers it a cousin to the notorious "Stockholm Syndrome," whereby victims adopt the outlook and agenda of their victimizers. I personally believe it is a sort of infantile rage by disturbed people, resentful towards their parents for forcing them to become toilet trained. I am serious.

Anti-Semitism is today the main common denominator that unites the far-Left with the Neo-Nazi ultra-Right in the United States and in Europe. There are Jewish anti-Semites to be found in the wings of the political spectrum. In the American ultra-Left many serve as columnists for the extremist “Counterpunch” web magazine, published by the ex-British Stalinist Cockburn brothers. Counterpunch is so openly anti-Semitic these days that it goes well beyond merely calling for Israel’s extermination. It endorses anti-Semitic conspiracy “theories” (such as the Jews being behind the 9-11 attacks!) and increasingly publishes Holocaust Denier columnists. Some of its columnists moonlight as writers for Neo-Nazi web sites and organizations. Almost every literate Jewish anti-Semite writes for it.

On the cyber-pages of Counterpunch, Jewish anti-Semites cheer on the jihad and endorse anti-Jewish terrorism. It would be difficult to find Jewish writers in Counterpunch who are NOT making the de rigueur comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany. The University of Wisconsin’s Jennifer Loewenstein published there “Gaza Holocaust,” in which she writes: “Israel and its US Master have long since resided in the lowest circle of Hell for betraying the name of humanity.” She adds that Israel treats Palestinians as subhuman “Untermenschen,” reminiscent of German treatment of Jews in the Holocaust. Then, in a quote that could easily have been printed by the Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer in the 1930s, she adds: "The Neo-Jewish Masters and their allies in the United States... have no intention of making a just peace with the lower forms of life in their midst." In Loewenstein’s take on reality, Israel engages in state terror while operating a cabal that enslaves the American government and dictates its policies. Even Yom Kippur for her is nothing more than a day to be exploited to help the terrorists and demonize the Jews.

Another Counterpunch anti-Semite is Richard Falk, a retired professor from Princeton, best known for serving on the UN commission that condemned Israel for genocidal war crimes even before it began its investigation of Israel’s Gaza operations. Falk is not only one of the worst collaborators in the academic wars against the Jews, he is also America’s leading practitioner of the Orwellian inversion. For Falk, Israel is a terrorist aggressor, while the Arab terrorist aggressors are innocent victims and peace-loving progressives. For him, Israel is a Nazi-like country seeking genocide, while the Islamofascists of the Hamas and their backers are merely protesters against social inequality inside Israel. For him, terrorist aggression against Jews is really the pursuit of peace, while self-defense by Israel is criminal, terrorist aggression and genocide.

Falk has been trying for decades to get Israel obliterated. In 2007 Falk published, “Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust,” in which he wrote that it was not an “irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians (by Israel)” with the “criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity.” In it, he accuses Israel of mistreating Palestinians on a scale comparable to the Nazi extermination of Jews. He writes:

“Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not. The recent developments in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy.”

One of the regular contributors to Counterpunch is an ex-Israeli anti-Semite named Gilad Atzmon. He is a saxophone player living in the UK and closely associated with Neo-Nazi and Holocaust Denier groups in Europe. While active in pro-terror organizations, Atzmon is so openly anti-Semitic that some of these anti-Israel groups shun and refuse to have anything to do with him. The well-known British writer Oliver Kamm has denounced Atzmon as an open Holocaust Denier. Atzmon has called not only for Israel to be annihilated but also for synagogues to be burned down. He heads a small clique of Neo-Nazi followers, mainly in Italy, for whom he serves as cult leader. Atzmon has repeatedly asserted that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a historically accurate documentation of the crimes by the Jewish people.

Paul Eisen, another anti-Israel Jewish extremist in the UK, is also an open Holocaust Denier. He has distributed an essay endorsing Holocaust Denial entitled "Holocaust Wars," which claims - among other things - that the gas chambers of Auschwitz are fraudulent and could not possibly have worked. Among its “sources” are David Irving and the Neo-Nazi crank Ernst Zundel, deported by Canada and now in prison in Germany.

Several Jewish anti-Semites engaged in a bizarre form of Holocaust Denial on the anti-Semitic “ALEF” chat list that operates under the auspices of the University of Haifa in Israel, which is not the only forum for Jewish anti-Semites. Members of that list debated at length whether Hitler was actually guilty of anything, concluding that he was probably not. Shraga Elam, a Swiss-based ex-Israeli and a member of the same “ALEF” list, published a sycophantic letter praising Holocaust Denier David Irving as a “brilliant researcher.”

The most venomous Jewish-born Holocaust Denier of all is one “Israel Shamir.” An émigré from the Soviet Union, “Shamir” moved to Israel and later left for Sweden, where he changed his name to Adam Ermash and reportedly converted to Christianity. A vulgar Jewbaiter, he regularly attends Holocaust Denial conferences. As just one example of his poison, in an interview with the Islamist Mohamed Omar in August 2009, Shamir said: “I think it is the duty of every Muslim and Christian to deny the Holocaust, to reject this belief, just like Abraham and Moses rejected idolatry. Every person who profess (sic) their (sic) faith to God should deny the Holocaust. I think it's much more serious that people deny God, isn't it?”

In other cases prominent Jews endorse Holocaust Deniers while carefully tiptoeing around endorsing Holocaust Denial itself explicitly. The best known of these is Noam Chomsky, an extremist anti-American and anti-Israel professor of linguistics at MIT. Chomsky’s father had been a Hebrew teacher at Gratz College in Philadelphia (which I attended in the 1960s).

A longterm apologist for the Khmer Rouge, Noam is considered to be an unrepentent Stalinist. He despises Israel almost as deeply as he hates America. He considers both countries worse than Nazi Germany. Chomsky has campaigned on behalf of the French Holocaust Denier Robert Faurisson and other European Neo-Nazis. He does not only demand that this hate be protected under freedom of speech. As Professor Werner Cohn has proven, Chomsky also endorses the contents of their speech: “But in fact we saw that Chomsky justified Faurisson's Holocaust-denial, we found Chomsky publishing his own books with neo-Nazi publishers, we saw him writing for a neo-Nazi journal, we saw that the neo-Nazis promote Chomsky's books and tapes together with the works of Joseph Goebbels. It is this complex of anti-Semitic activities and neo-Nazi associations, not his professed ideas alone, that constitutes the Chomsky phenomenon.”

Within Israel, one of the most openly anti-Semitic Jews was the late Professor Israel Shahak, who taught chemistry for decades at the Hebrew University. He specialized in endorsing medieval anti-Jewish blood libels. He insisted that Judaism teaches Jews to worship Satan, to connive against non-Jews and to murder them. He stopped just millimeters short of saying that Jews use gentile blood for ritual purposes. He claimed that the Talmud is filled with calls to murder gentiles, and that Jews regard gentiles as subhuman. He collaborated with Neo-Nazis all over the planet. Naturally he wanted Israel to be speedily destroyed, and he was one of the first Israeli open collaborators with Palestinian terrorism, long before the Oslo “process” commenced and produced so many.

In an analysis of Shahak, the British writer Paul Bogdanor notes: ‘According to Shahak, the Jews think of nothing but making money for the benefit of the Jewish state (“The force of Jewish devotion in assembling money is thought to be infinite”). According to Shahak, the Jews plan to dominate much of the world through an Israeli empire (“extending from ‘Algeria or Morocco’ from the west to China in the east, and from Kenya or even South Africa in the south to the USSR in the north”). According to Shahak, the Jews facilitate the spread of vice in order to enslave the masses (“Part of the motivation” must be “encouraging drug addiction and thus promoting political apathy”)…. Shahak also found excuses for the near-genocidal Chmielnicki pogroms, which he classified as a “revolt of the oppressed.”

Only marginally less openly anti-Semitic is Norman Finkelstein, who had been on the faculty of DePaul University until he was fired three years back (and has been unemployed ever since). Finkelstein has built an entire career out of smearing Holocaust survivors as frauds and liars, and cheering on Islamofascist terrorism against Jews. His personal web site is a vulgar gutter of juvenile anti-Semitic catcalls. He claims that Zionists exaggerate the dimensions of the Shoah to steal money and invent Holocaust survivors to exploit Germany. He has made pilgrimage to the Hezb’Allah terrorists and was denied entry into Israel on grounds that he is a terrorist agent. Finkelstein wrote a “book” entitled “The Holocaust Industry,” today the basic textbook used by all Neo-Nazis and Holocaust Deniers. He has praised Holocaust Denier David Irving as a great and reliable historian. (Irving, in turn, claims the entire Holocaust is a Zionist hoax and that no Jews were murdered in Auschwitz.)

While Finkelstein is a pseudo-academic and a fraud, dismissed as a crackpot by all serious historians, he is nevertheless celebrated by all other Jewish Anti-Semites. One Israeli academic in particular, Neve Gordon, an Israel-hating extremist who teaches political science at Ben Gurion University, has devoted much of his career to celebrating Finkelstein and endorsing Finkelstein’s “ideas.” When he is not denouncing Israel as a fascist apartheid terrorist regime that needs to be eliminated, Gordon has even compared Finkelstein ethically to the Prophets of the Bible.

The creation of Israel was supposed to turn Jews into a “normal” people. But the psychosis of Jewish anti-Semitism has no comparable analogue among the nations, making the Jews a therapist’s sui generis. The disease of Jewish anti-Semitism not only illustrates the absence of “normality” among 21st century Jewry, it threatens the very survival of Israel and of Jewish communities around the world.


Op-Ed articles appearing on are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinion of