|TIME FOR A RETREADED MEARSHEIMER TO RETIRE|
TIME FOR A RETREADED MEARSHEIMER TO RETIRE
American Antisemitism Since WW2
John Mearsheimer has made himself an admired symbol to all red-blooded Jew-haters. He has become an academic spokesman for middle-class antisemites, who hitherto suffered from the uneasy suspicion that their obsession with Jews was seen as vulgar and slimy and shameful by the general public. To have a scholar backing up their hate for Jews is the equivalent of having the Venus de Milo on the same podium as a selection of centerpieces from girlie magazines. It is liberating. It takes away the odor of vulgar Jew-hate; their opinions now have the pure fragrance of the Academy.
To see this in context, let's take a very brief look at the history of antisemitism in America. During the 19th and 20th centuries, there was frank antisemitism, but it was private, not governmental. Jews with talent and energy could do well. Very well. And if the country club was closed to them, they could build one for themselves.
During the '20s and '30s, Jew hate could be preached openly, even by iconic figures. On the radio, Father Charles Coughlin preached a socialist-covered fascism, whose anti-capitalist principles were described by Alan Brinkley in Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression as "work and income guarantees, nationalizing 'necessary' industry, wealth redistribution through taxation of the wealthy, federal protection of worker's unions, and decreasing property rights in favor of the government controlling the country's assets for 'public good.'" Coughlin ranted on and on about Jewish bankers and Wall Street; Jews were also said to be behind Communism. Charles Lindberg, a genuine hero for his accomplishments in aviation and viewed as a model for the younger generation, accepted a prize for his achievements in aviation from Hitler. He praised Nazi Germany and its promotion of Aryan racial purity and spoke against the Jews. He claimed Jews were pushing us into war. What was worse, they were pushing us into war on the wrong side.
Then came the Second World War.
Antisemitism was acceptable during the war, though more and more people praised themselves on their tolerance. Some clubs, communities, hotels and restaurants continued to be restricted. Quotas to universities and medical schools were openly reported as the reason a Jewish student was rejected.
The facts of the Holocaust, which were never highlighted by a mainstream medium such as the New York Times during the war, became widely known toward the end of the War and afterwards. Many were genuinely remorseful. And things changed. At worst, it became impolite to be anti-Jewish.
Since the Second World War anti-Semitism has displayed a jagged course.
Because of what they had suffered during the Holocaust, the Jews had acquired the mantle of holiness that the Indians had had after Gandhi had won out over the mighty British Empire.
The Jews soon handed their can-do-no-wrong ticket to the blacks. Some half to two-thirds of the white civil rights activists were Jewish. They campaigned. They did for the Negro what they were seldom capable of doing for themselves. The belief in equality of rights and opportunity eventually became a necessity for all right-thinking individuals. Civil rights for all eventually prevailed.
But by the time it did, overt antisemitism was starting again -- and ironically, vicious complaints against the Jews were being shouted by the very people the Jews had helped so consistently and so successfully. Some blacks were beginning to articulate their bitterness and hate against the white man -- and the Jew was a perfect target. The Jew might remonstrate, but he would not hit back physically as might the Irish or the Italian or other ethnic groups making up the American culture. And while antisemitic speech from whites was seen as vulgar and meanspirited, hate speech coming from blacks was acceptable. They were, after all, the suffering victims whose righteousness white America had finally acknowledged. They were allowed to say what was in their hearts.
So it was in the spring and summer of 1968 when Resurrection City was created on the Washington Mall as part of the Poor People's Campaign. Many Jews came down from the suburbs to help build the houses. Reports drifted back that the blacks were ranting on the podium cursing the Jews. When their congregants voiced concern, liberal rabbis advised: forget their methods, focus on their cause. When Meir Kahane promoting the cause of Soviet Jewry came to DC in the '70s, the same liberal rabbis urged: the cause has merit, but his methods are not acceptable. Shun him. So it was that the shuls of Washington for the most part rejected the outspoken anger of Rabbi Kahane but welcomed Walter Fauntroy and Jesse Jackson, who are pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel. And so it was that the blacks were the acceptable mouthpieces of the haters of Jews in the few years that openly-expressed Jew hate was taboo.
Compared to today, the hate speeches were mild. They wanted to milk the Jews, not kill them. The blacks were the voice of the preachers and the elite who were themselves restrained from making unseemly anti-semitic remarks. The blacks, with their borrowed 'sacredness" were allowed. And did.
Today, 'Kill the Jews' mouthings and the wide-open, unrestricted hate -- the kind columnists can repeat without pretending indignation, the kind that Robert Wistrich in his book The Lethal Obsession calls exterminationist -- comes mainly from Muslims. Fairly crude remarks also come from white nativist neo-Nazis. Church people who see themselves as liberal and modern but who are still mired in medieval Jew-hatred usually use milder language.
During these years, Arabs such as Yasir Arafat were fleshing out the brilliant idea of pitting a newly-manufactured people called the Palestinians against the Jews. Given the basic idea, they had but to use the history and concepts of Jewish Zionism, substituting Arab for Jew. Arab refugees became diaspora Arabs -- even if they lived in a similar milieu 10 miles away from their original homes. They were homeless and persecuted, though they lived better than most Arabs in Arab countries. They instantly developed a longing for Jerusalem. Jerusalem went from being ignored for centuries into a respected even holy city. Arabs who turned every day to Mecca to pray began to "ache" for their holy city, Jerusalem.
The Palestinians may be the perfect gun to bring down Israel, but it is the rich Arab countries and the Western countries that have paid to maintain the Palestinian unearned style of life by direct grants and through unofficial NGOs and official agencies of the U.N. and the E.U. And the dishonest media have disseminated each precious word that comes from an Arab mouth. Arab claims are not questioned. The reporters never let what their eyes see influence what their fingers type. Reporters get up from a hearty meal in a luxury hotel in Gaza, stop at well-stocked stalls for some snack food, open their laptops and write about the starvation of what are actually well-fed, comfortably housed Arabs. Somalia it ain't.
Israel has been and continues to be intimidated into military restraint by a media calling the death of a single Arab child a war crime, while the hundreds and thousands of Arabs and non-Arabs killed by the Arab countries have been ignored. There is even the psychological oddity that once it was established that tiny Israel was Goliath and the millions upon millions of Arabs were David, then anything Israel does is massive and brutal, and whatever the Arabs do is a small weak token of a response. The media will write up the fact that the Arabs used stones as if it were a childish prank and ignore that these stones had killed people. They write of handmade Molotov cocktails as if these were too primitive to harm anyone and ignore that scores of people are killed and maimed by the explosives.
The concern of the world for the welfare of the Palestinian Arabs is said to be au fond because of oil -- because the oil-bearing Arab countries are so upset by Israel's alleged treatment of their Palestinian brethren that they can't make peace with Israel. If this were true, it would suggest an easy fix: let Israel allow the millions of Arabs living as refugees to return to their pre-1948 homes, let Israel give the land (sometimes this is the Territories; sometimes it's all of Israel) to the Arabs and all will be well. The despicable treatment by the Arab countries of the Palestinians who live a life of dependency in their countries -- without human rights or political power -- gives the lie to that explanation.
There's another explanation, more resistant to change. It certainly isn't something the Jews can fix. Art Bussel put it well:
"there was the world, tired of making nice to the Jews. Anti-Semitism never subsided; it was only buried beneath the surface after WWII. The Europeans may have behaved differently outwardly, but the Arabs' hatred toward the Jews remained exposed and festered in time."
The Arabs have for years been saying without hesitation and without shame what many a European hesitated to say out loud.
Sudanese child. (photo: Jason Straziuso)
If you don't think the excessive concern of the West for the welfare of the Palestinian Arabs is odd, ask yourself why isn't there the same amount of effort being made for the starving children of Muslim Darfur? Why was it not a scandal that after Raila Odinga of Kenya lost his bid for the Presidency and incited Muslim rioting in which Christians were burned alive that Condeleezza Rice and Barack Obama used their positions in the American Government to force Kenya to give Odinga a powerful position in the government? Why does the prestigious feminist movement in the West ignore that Arab women are treated as chattel in pious Arab countries? Why isn't the U.N. in special session because Egyptian Muslims are slaughtering Egyptians Christians? Why aren't Arabs reprimanded for their treatment of minorities? Why does the world become indignant only when Israel is accused of being the aggressor.
As a particularly egregious example of ignoring evil, Ahmadinejad of Iran continues to boast that he will soon be in a position to destroy the Jews; and this doesn't disturb the members of the United Nations. Claudia Rosett writes:
"It's no surprise by now that the United Nations continues to host Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at "high-level" events at its New York headquarters. At the UN, despite its charter stipulation that membership is open to 'peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter,' it is by now obvious that a welcoming hand (including that of the Secretary-General) is routinely extended to Ahmadinejad as leading envoy of Iran's regime. Never mind that Tehran's proliferation-loving mullocracy is the world's leading sponsor of terrorism, a persistent and flagrant violator of UN sanctions, a gross violator of human rights on its domestic turf and a self-advertised hub of genocidal desires regarding the democratic state of Israel, and ultimately the United States (that's the meaning of 'Death to America! Death to Israel!').
Jonathan Rosenblum writes that obsessional antisemitism
"is widespread throughout the Muslim world. But apart from the context of anti-Israel demonstrations, where slogans like 'Jews to the ovens,' are apparently considered within the realm of poetic, or left-wing, license, it is not yet acceptable for non-Muslims to voice such sentiments in the West. Instead anti-Israel Western elites content themselves with manipulations of international law that would leave Israel incapable of defending itself."
Actually, it does seem that Western politicians, media columnists and anchors, churchmen and academics are beginning to ignore the taboo on openly-expressed anti-Semitism that was instituted when it became obvious after WW2 that Jew-Hate had led to Jew-Slaughter.
And that's where John Mearsheimer comes in. He is a giant step forward in making antisemitism unselfconscious again. He wraps the recently unacceptable in a cloak of respectability. He's a big professor, after all.
Mearsheimer As Academic Seal Of Approval Of Antisemitic Sentiments
In March 2006, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, both professorial objects of low luminance in the academic firmament, published an article entitled The Israel Lobby in the London Review of Books. In different form, it was then published as a book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy that became a hit, particularly popular on pro-Arab and leftist sites but also acclaimed, with perhaps less verve and more sobriety in clerical newsletters.
Like his book, John Mearsheimer became a celebrity in his own right. In this excerpt from her Pajamas Media essay, Belladona Rogers describes the aftermath of the Mearsheimer and Walt book:
Overnight, the two professors were rich and infamous. Being rich is the right of all Americans. Infamy brought about through freely-expressed bigotry — although certainly a right under the First Amendment — is intolerable in a tenured professor, or in anyone choosing to teach for a living. Like so many before them and since, such as — no, why give any of them any further publicity? — the two authors found a mother lode of lucre and like-minded support in the far left academic world of today, as well as among people with similar political views outside the academy.
For the next few years, matters at U of Chicago continued as in most universities in the West and in Israel. The dominant voices on the intersection of Jews and politics were of the far Left. They were often wrong. Much of their output was of an academic quality that would get a third year Pol-Sci student a big fat F. But they were not challenged. The faculty that didn't agree was too timid to speak out. Perhaps they feared that they would be putting their jobs in jeopardy. Yet, with a simple psychological flip, they fearlessly proclaimed the importance of freedom of speech. A good point. They didn't explain why they didn't speak out when the dominant Left refused to let students have the same right of freedom of expression.
The timidity of the Jewish faculty and Jewish organizations such as Hillel at Columbia and Berkeley was particularly bright-lighted because at these universities, some Jewish students were beginning to fight back. Things started to change. Columbia students made a documentary of multiple incidents of harassment of Jewish students by Muslim professors. Prez Bollinger of Columbia was forced to convene a committee to investigate Rhasid Khalidi, a notorious Jew-hater and friend of Prez Obama. Bollinger stacked the deck with committee members who shared Rhasid's ideology. As I commented on an article entitled "Columbia University under Investigation" in October 2011 in Front Page Magazine, when the Dept of Education was taking a look at possible misconduct:
Columbia doesn't just discriminate against Jewish students by hiring anti-Semitic professors who can't keep their bias out of their lectures, it adds contempt into the mix.But there was now a precedent.
Mearsheimer, was becoming more and more vocal and direct, though no more factual, in stating his belief that Israel (and the Jooz) had evil intent. As Rogers writes:
Mearsheimer continued to teach, attend faculty meetings, and be treated with civility by his colleagues, both at the University of Chicago and beyond, where he became an ever more popular guest lecturer. Far from "paying a price," he and his co-author have flourished as they never had before. [...]
Counter ActionsBeneath the surface, things were beginning to happen.
In Israel, student members of Im Tirtzu spoke up and used street theater to gain publicity and sympathy for their cause. Donors who had never seemed to notice what their money was funding started asking questions. In this country, donations were also apparently affected. I noticed that Columbia Magazine, the Columbia alumni magazine, was having articles about munificent and saintly Jewish philanthropists -- just around fundraising time.
With respect to Mearscheimer, as Rogers writes,
"Although his colleagues said nothing, Mearsheimer's students were taking note of his public descent into classic bigotry, freely and widely expressing his heretofore unspoken beliefs."
On November 30, 2011 conservative students at U of Chicago called for Mearsheimer's resignation. As Belladonna points out, "In an editorial that is far better-written and more logically-argued than the Mearsheimer-Walt screed," they published an editorial in COUNTERPOINT: The University of Chicago's Conservative Quarterly, a student publication
This is the editorial.
Certainly, Mearsheimer's sympathies appear to have changed not just about the Holocaust but about America's current foreign policies. In 1991, he was a proponent of invading Iraq, to rescue Kuwait from Iraqi occupation. By 2002, he opposed invading Iraq, still in the grip of Saddam Hussein's brutal rule. Or he may finally have reached down to more fundamental attitudes. Cynically, we might see his flipflop as fundraising on behalf of a comfortable old age. Whatever. He has done damage, expanding the hernia through which anti-Semitism seeps out of ancient hate into the body politic. But he has also aroused a significant response. And not just from the usual suspects.
The Daily Kos is often described as a progressive political blog. An analysis by Adam Levick in 2009 suggested there was a nervous-making amount of demonizing both of Israel and its supporters.
From a cursory examination, it would seem the blog's belief structure is leftist conventional -- it is ardently "green" environmentally; it is devoutly for clean energy; it believes in the Democratic party and fundraises for its candidates; it look upon scientists who deny a climate holocaust is coming as spawn of the devil out to ruin the earth -- they seem not to have read about the sensor and programming inadequacies that produced the data that shakily supports their beliefs; the writers have a love of rabbit food instead of meat; they agree we are 15 trillion in debt, but other countries owe us, so what's to worry -- we're only a couple of trillion in the hole (assuming nobody defaults); Palestinian Arabs should have a state and there was annoyance with Gingrich saying that the land wasn't theirs. So I admit it was a surprise to see a sober analysis of Mearsheimer's drift into frank, undeniable antisemitism. The article was posted by Geeksque and uses much of an essay by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic entitled "John Mearsheimer Endorses a Hitler Apologist and Holocaust Revisionist."
It got some things very wrong. It describes Thomas Friedman as a "mainstream supporter of Israel" -- now that's a chuckle. It feels Mearsheimer was "vindicated on the existence of 'the Israel lobby'" by Thomas Friedman. Another thing Friedman should feel guilty about. But, the Kos article continues
"for some reason Mearsheimer has decided to sacrifice his credibility by vouching for and endorsing one of the vilest Jew-haters on the planet, Gilad Atzmon. This is a stunning failure of judgment and of basic research--so much so that the only alternative hypothesis to Mearsheimer being an anti-Semite himself is that he is a complete fool."
I would think it is reasonable to assume that if Mearsheimer's endorsement of Gilad Atzmon was a very obvious indication of antisemitism, maybe his insistence on there being an Israel lobby dictating American foreign policy should be reexamined. It might be less obvious Jew-hate, but it still sets up Jews as the enemy. That being said, the Kos comments by Geeksque are succinct, sensible and blunt.
These are small signs. Students fighting back against brain-washing substituting for clear thought. A Leftist Blogger bluntly calling an antisemite an antisemite. Laymen taking university administrators to court because of their negligence in protecting Jewish students.
Might this be the start of an "Academic spring" where scholarly output will again be judged on its merit, not on its politically endowed source? Who knows? Should it continue, perhaps even the academic believers in the coming of a climate holocaust might feel the heat.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Coughlin# cite_note-17
 Laurel Leff's book "Buried by The Times: The Holocaust." See also her article at
 Daniel Pipes,
 Martin Solomon, "The Blackout — A Hamas-Aljazeera Co-Production/Staged Gaza Blackout Pictures,"
 Tom Gross, "Gaza Snapshots,"
 Raymond Ibrahim, "Muslim Persecution of Christians: October, 2011,"
 Claudia Rosett, 22sep2011,
 Jonathan Rosenblum,
 John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/john-mearsheimer/the-israel-lobby.
 Belladona Rogers,
 Educating Voices for Israel, "Columbia to Check Reports of Anti-Jewish Harassment,"
 Rashid Khalidi, who had once served as Yassir Arafat's spokesman was at the U of Chicago from 1987 to 2003, when he toodled off to indoctrinate the newbies at Columbia. In Chicago, Obama and Bill Ayers, one-time Weatherman terrorist and currently a professor at U. of Chicago, had served together on the Board of the Wood Fund, where they were able to award Rashid Khalidi and his wife grants to help disadvantaged Arab Americans. The Los Angeles Times is yet to release its tape of the offensive anti-semitic remarks made at Khalidi's send-off dinner attended by Barack Obama.
The comment was with Arnold Ahlert, "Columbia University Under Investigation,"
 Lee Kaplan,
 http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/ 2011/09/john-mearsheimer-endorses-a-hitler -apologist- and-holocaust-revisionist/245518/
 Steven Plaut, " Why The Left Hates Im Tirtzu," The Jewish Press, 17Feb2010,
 Of course they were labeled conservative. I have no quarrel with the correctness of the label. I only wish to point out that were they Lefties, they would not be labeled, not even if they published in something named 'the Marxist Worker's Jargoned Journal Of Class Warfare." Being Left, even Illiberally Left, is normal and needs no label.
 Editorial in Counterpoint,
 Pejman Yousefzadeh,
 Adam Levick, "Anti-Israelism And Anti-Semitism In Progressive U.S. Blogs/News Websites: Influential And Poorly Monitored"
 http://www.dailykos.com/ story/2011/09/26/1020371/-John-Mearsheimer- does-his-best-to-prove-critics-right
 Jeffrey Goldberg, "John Mearsheimer Endorses a Hitler Apologist and Holocaust Revisionist." The Atlantic, 23Sept2011,
 http://think-israel.org/benjamin. ucnegligence.html
Bernice Lipkin is editor of Think-Israel.org
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