Jews as representatives of U.S. capitalism

Lisa Goldman links to a Wall Street Journal piece expressing fears of antisemitism related to the economic collapse:

“At this juncture, the trepidation may yet seem like paranoia, or special pleading akin to the old joke about the newspaper headline, “World Ends in Nuclear Attack: Poor, Minorities Hardest Hit.” Everyone is feeling the brunt of the recession; why worry about the Jews in particular? After all, Jews today have two refuges: Israel and America, a land where Jews have attained remarkable power and prosperity and have a constitutionally protected right to exercise their religion freely. In that case, why worry about potential danger to the Jews at all?”

Read on.

15 Responses to “Jews as representatives of U.S. capitalism”

  1. Evan Says:

    I’ve heard similar arguments, along the lines of “Jews can’t possibly be victims of racism because they’re “white”/ are not a (certified) “oppressed minority” in America/ they have “too much” financial power/ they are privileged.

    Of course, when people make such allegations, they should be reminded that German and Austrian Jews appeared to have achieved security in their respective societies before Hitler exposed this as an illusion.

  2. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    The comparison with Germany and Austria is not a good one.
    In both countries long before the Nazis were given power, there were very influential antisemitic movements.
    Interesting discussion is taking place now within the German extreme left, because Jürgen Elsässer (journalist connected with the Left party and especially with Lafontaine
    ) has started a movement against “financial capital”.
    Elsässer blames Finanzkapital to have given loans to Serbia
    http://juergenelsaesser.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/finanzkapital-gegen-serbien/
    Extreme right German Weekly Junge Freiheit praise for Elsässer’s iniative against
    “Finanzkapital”
    http://www.jungefreiheit.de/Single-News-Display.154+M5fa1e0455c0.0.html

  3. Susan Says:

    White Supremacist groups like the KKK or the Nazis do not consider Jews to be White. Some Jews literally are not White such as Sephardic Jews, Ethiopian Jews or Indian Jews.

    However, Jews are a unique category, because we are an religious and an ethnic group and a minority. Mira is right. Hitler exposed the illusion.

    • Rachel Says:

      Susan, Sephardic Jews are mediteranean people and have the same coloring as Italians, Spanish or Portugese. I know, I am one of them. So if these groups are not white….

  4. Rachel Says:

    My previous comment was deleted.
    I try again.
    Susan,
    Sephardic Jews come in all colorings! Some are light and some are dark like the mediterannean people they are.

  5. Gil Says:

    In the linked article by Ira Stoll in the WSJ, the following appears: ‘Here in America, the Web site of National Journal is hosting an “expert blog” by former CIA official Michael Scheuer, now a professor at Georgetown, complaining of a “fifth column of pro-Israel U.S. citizens” who are “unquestionably enemies of America’s republican experiment.” ‘

    I find this quote much more distressing than the anecdotes about anonymous bloggers on Yahoo Finance or the incident that sparked off his article, overhearing someone attack Jewish bankers, in a cell-phone conversation. This is nothing new and each generation comes up against it. Quite frankly, I don’t see the point of the article and what can be done, that hasn’t already been done.

    However, the quote by Scheuer has shades of David Duke and of Lindbergh. I am reminded again of Philip Roth’s book ‘The Plot against America’.

    I wonder if others share my view that Roth wasn’t just writing a ‘what if’ historical novel. but was giving a warning about the future.

  6. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Re Ira Stoll’s article, up to point, Lord Copper. Michael Mann (Prof of Sociology at UCLA – yes, David, one of _those_) published “Fascists” in 2004. He has a table on p. 50 in which he compares various economic statistics for democratic and authoritarian countries in the late 1920s (not just those which went fascist/nazi). There are clear distinctions all the way through between these two sets of countries, with those that remained democratic (conquest by Nazi Germany/Fascist Italy not counting).

    Thus the democracies have a lower percent in agriculture and infant mortality rates, higher rates of GNP per capita and mailed items per capita (higher literacy rates, more internal migration, etc). Only in the measure of the “severity” of the slump (measured by the maximum reduction of Gross Domestic Production, 1925-35) is there little difference. Even in terms of peak unemployment levels, the democracies didn’t necessarily do much better: the US peaked at 23%, Sweden the same, Denmark hit nearly a third unemployed, while others did “better”: the UK had “only” 15.6% maximum unemployment. (The figures for the authoritarian states are much less available.)

    Mann argues that the institutions of civil society were much stronger in the democracies, if only because they had had longer to develop and become institutionalised. Thus, in them, both sides had come to terms with the need to compromise and not seek to utterly reject as illegitimate and/or undermining what was “best” about the country what a former opposition party, now government, sought to achieve.

    The lesson for us is that what were democracies _then_ are democracies _still_, and thus the same institutions are still there. Further, some, at least, of the former authoritarian countries have managed to institutionalise democracy in the 60 years since then: eg Germany, for one. Of course, there were and are fascists and antisemites in, eg, the UK and the US [and Mann mentions Moseley, the National Front (UK & France) and the BNP (UK)], but these countries still came nowhere near falling for the fascists. This is not to argue that there is no need for vigilance, but that we shouldn’t be as gloomy as Stoll is in his article. The barbarians are not, yet, anywhere near the gates.

    And for those in or near London, Mann is giving a lecture (“The Rise and Fall of Fascism”, more or less) at Birkbeck, University of London, Lecture Room 34 (I think), Malet ST, W1, 7.00 pm. Doors open 6.40, no need to book, first come, first seated. It’s a joint Wiener Library/Birkbeck lecture. Anyone not yet on the Library’s email address list who wants to be kept in touch with Library’s programme, email me at bgoldfarb@wienerlibrary.co.uk.

    The final lecture this year is by Professor Chris Browning, 9 June, same place, same time.

  7. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Oops, the date of the Mann lecture is this Wednesday, 15 April. Other details correct.

    Sorry about that, folks.

  8. Susan Says:

    Gil, Michael Scheuer comes from the left which makes him more insidious and scarier. Many on the far left consider him some kind of hero.

    Rachael, Hispanics in America are considered “people of color” and a minority, even though you are right. I guess I didn’t make my point clearly enough.

    I don’t really consider myself white. I consider myself Jewish which is a whole separate category unto itself.

    BTW, where is all this money Jews are supposed to have? I am not rich, although people often assume that I must have money.

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      Some people assume they would recognise a Jew as they would recognise a black person. One thing I find striking is when people say antisemitic things to each other in public places which you can’t believe they’d say if you were sitting there with a kippa, a big magen david or some other badge.

      One time this happened I was in a B&B (the Star Inn, Dylife – years ago now) where one of the staff was joking openly in the bar about putting bacon in the sandwiches of a group of holidaying orthodox Jews one of them was catering for down the road. As a vegan I always try to stay on the right side of the people I depend on for food and I realised with a flash that it’s the same for observant Jews. In two kinds of solidarity I said something I can’t remember during which it emerged I was Jewish and the man stopped joking about it. I felt duly squeamish about my packed lunch next day but it was the middle of nowhere and we were walking 16 miles cross country so like it or lump it.

      You realise how much more vulnerable badged Jews are to intentional antisemitism, and how much more likely unbadged Jews are to directly learn of the thought processes behind it. I reckon it’s much the same for gay people.

  9. Nancy Says:

    Re Gil’s comment – both the quotidian anti-Semitism and the Michael Scheuer variety both continue to scare and appall me, though maybe in different ways.

    Scheuer is indeed odious – and has been for a while. He was formerly head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit before retiring in 2004. He got a lot of press for openly criticizing the US government’s approach on terrorism. Hence his hero-on-the-left status.

    Jeffrey Goldberg alerted his readers to Scheuer’s particularly vile recent statements about “Israel firsters” etc. Here is the full quote:

    “This is a good question, but the discussion will be feckless if it avoids what the moderator refers to as intimations that may be “ugly.” Well, friends, ugly is here and it has been here for decades. There is indeed an identifiable fifth column of pro-Israel U.S. citizens — I have described them here and elsewhere as Israel-Firsters — who have consciously made Israel’s survival and protection their first priority, and who see worth in America only to the extent that its resources and manpower can be exploited to protect and further the interests of Israel in its religious war-to-the-death with the Arabs. These are disloyal citizens in much the same sense that the Civil War’s disloyal northern “Copperheads” sought to help the Confederates destroy the Union. The Israel-Firsters help Israel suborn U.S. citizens to spy for Israel; they use their fortunes and political action organizations to buy U.S. politicians with campaign donations; and most of all they use their ready access to the media to disguise their own disloyalty by denigrating as anti-Semites or appeasers fellow citizens who dare to challenge them. The Israel-Firsters are unquestionably enemies of America’s republican experiment and will have to be destroyed as the Copperheads were destroyed — by the people, after a full public deabte, at the ballot box.” http://security.nationaljournal.com/2009/03/how-to-talk-about-israel.php

    Scheuer’s bio is here: http://security.nationaljournal.com/contributors/Scheuer.php He teaches as an adjunct at Georgetown U., consults for the national TV news magazine 60 minutes, and otherwise makes his opinons known.

    And here’s the Goldberg site where I first saw this: http://jeffreygoldberg.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/03/ Scroll down a bit to the 3/27/09 entries.

  10. newcentrist Says:

    “Hispanics in America are considered “people of color” and a minority.”

    A minority, yes. But that does not necessarily mean all Hispanics are viewed as people of color. As far as the census, Hispanics are divided into “white Hispanic” and “non-white Hispanic” categories. And I guarantee most radical lefty activists do not consider light-skinned Mexicans, Cubans, Colombians, etc. people of color.

  11. fred Says:

    Susan:

    “Gil, Michael Scheuer comes from the left which makes him more insidious and scarier.”

    What evidence do you have Scheuer “comes from the left?” I rather doubt there are a lot of lefty CIA agents…

  12. nwo Says:

    Youd be surprised, there are a lot of JFK style Democrats still around.

  13. Well Says:

    So now your an antisemite if you criticize capitalism as well? Wasn’t criticism of the neoconservative agenda also really a codeword for jews? You guys on the right wing fringe are really creative…


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