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Everybody’s problem

One of the great myths about anti-Semitism is that it’s only a problem for Jews. But if you were one of the people walking down the street doing nothing while European Jewry was being rounded up for slaughter during WWII, I hope you would not just have felt sorry for ‘God’s ancient people’ and left it at that. I hope you might have done something positive to help them. To stand by and do nothing while an evil psychosis sweeps your civilisation is not likely to be a very moral option. So maybe you would have felt honoured to risk and even sacrifice your life, like the eighty-three-year-old man I quoted above. Sometimes that is the only way to conquer evil.

Anti-Semitism is a problem for us all, because civilisation-destroying evil is a problem for us all. Would Marxist nutters be trying to take over Europe right now if Europe hadn’t annihilated a vast swathe of its own cultural topsoil sixty-five years ago? I wonder.

In considering the Holocaust, most attention has been given to its direct victims, as is appropriate. However, we must also consider that it was a form of self-administered lobotomy for Continental European culture

…as James C. Bennett said in this very good article.

It is not just that if ‘they’ start by looking for the Jews ‘they’ will end up looking for anybody and everybody. It is simply that good cultures and civilisations require decent moral human beings, and the destruction of those decent, moral human beings (who also happen in general to be intelligent, freedom-loving capitalist human beings, as you will notice from taking a cursory overview of their societies) by evil crazy ones has massive and terrible ramifications we can not begin to measure. Had the Allies bombed the death camps when they should have, or even (unimaginable!) gone into Germany with the full backing of America sometime in the 1930s with the explicit purpose of removing the dictatorship and instigating democratic rule, Europe might now be far ahead of where it is. Good ideas grow more good ideas. Evil destroys them. We might have evolved the kind of free market European collection of small capitalist democracies that we can only hope might happen in another fifty or a hundred years through some as-yet-unconceived democratic libertarian miracle.

And we might not be producing, or nurturing, people like these. Or Tom Dalyell, the Leader of the House accusing Blair of having built his war policy on “being unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers”, rather than on any kind of moral or political substance. As Jack Straw (one of the “cabal”)’s spokesman responded: “If these reports are accurate, these remarks are too unworthy to be worth a comment.” I agree, in theory anyway. But Mr Dalyell also said, “I am not going to be labelled anti-Semitic.” Well, sorry Mr Dalyell, but you are anti-Semitic. Objecting to the influence of British MPs on the basis of their Jewishness can hardly be described as anything else. And I am amazed at the new respectability anti-Semitism has achieved since the growth of left-wing anti-capitalism inspired by the actions of good nations in the war.

Life is surely complicated for free countries. No arrest and torture for Mr Dalyell, of course. But when leaflets like ones that say this:

When this sudden explosion of American-Zionist violence is aiming to eradicate a nation’s existence, eliminating its vitality and sites of resistance, the only way to protect this nation is through acts of martyrdom.

…published in the UK, are found in the Gaza strip, it is clear that the freedom our society offers is being abused.

The kind of brain that can turn liberation into annihilation in one fell slander is not the kind of brain we want festering in the UK. I don’t know exactly how we’re going to deal with it, but we are definitely going to have to find ways soon. Otherwise the next suicide bomber might indeed turn up in Oxford Street M&S, and it might be you or me who gets blown to smithereens in the frozen ready-meals section. And the next person who tells me that targets should not attract trouble in the first place can go and live in Switzerland and get citizenship there and then write me an essay entitled, “What would have happened in WWII if the UK and the US had acted like us.”

Zionism: it’s not just for Jews anymore.

26 comments to Everybody’s problem

  • And the next person who tells me that targets should not attract trouble in the first place can go and live in Switzerland and get citizenship there

    “America should have minded her own business and stayed out of the world war. If you hadn’t entered the war the Allies would have made peace with Germany in the spring of 1917. Had we made peace then there would have been no collapse in Russia followed by communism, no breakdown in Italy followed by fascism, and Germany would not have signed the Versailles Treaty which has enthroned Nazism in Germany. If America had stayed out of the war all these isms wouldn’t today be sweeping the continent of Europe and breaking down parliamentary government, and if England had made peace early in 1917, it would have saved over 1 million British, French, American and other lives.”
    — Winston Churchill, 1936

  • Jacob

    So America, entering into WW1 is to blame for European antisemitism and the holocaust ??
    Interesting quote from Churchill that shows that even great men aren’t immune from uttering dumb statements.

  • No, “America” isn’t responsible. I posted the quote to show that idiot governments (such as, but not limited to, ours in the US) still face the law of unintended consequences, even when they claim (honestly or not) the best of intentions. I don’t equate America with the US government; condeming the govt is not condeming the country.

  • George Zachar

    During the only pogrom on US soil, the 1991 Brooklyn, NY Crown Heights riots, all whites were considered fair game, though Jews and Jewish property were singled out for particular attention.

  • Elizabeth

    The only way to begin to overcome anti-Semitism is to call it for what it is. That is not easy to do unless one can engross another in a willing honest conversation. I have rarely encountered leftists who SAY they are anti-Zionists in mutual conversation on plain terms. It’s hard to imagine that perhaps there is a bit of conspiratorial paranoia on their parts when I hear some of them refer to “neo-conservatives” adding a spin of Jewish whisperers getting the US and GB to act in accordance to what they say is best for Israel at the expense of all others world over – including themselves.
    Another point that needs to be made to those who believe the Palestinian terrorists are “freedom fighters” and that there needs to be no negotiation or end to violent acts against innocent Israeli’s as well as others – prior to the formation of a Palestinian state. There are some who believe that the US is acting in a bias manner on behalf of Israel and attempting to commit genocide against Palestinian people.
    If I were to attempt to follow the logic of their arguments – and all persons who believe they are treated unfairly by other nations – whether they have a legitimate legal argument or not – have the right to act out by use of violence against innocent citizens of any state – then we ALL have rights to do so at will and there is legitimacy to the use of violence to achieve political statements or objectives.

    According to them – any and all age old feud by any one at any time has the right to murder any one of their choosing in order to bring notice to their political or religious cause. This is political as well as moral blackmail.

  • Elizabeth

    ok – I mean – to engage someone in conversation – not engross. 🙂

  • K.A. Kaapro

    “the law of unintended consequences”

    Heh..heh…Therefore- The US is responsible for Nazism..And Constantine is responsible for the growth of Islam, And Muhhammed is responsible for the Crusades, and Guetenberg is responsible for Romance Novels, and Tolstoy is responsible for those damned Bolsheviks.

  • K.A. Kaapro

    “the law of unintended consequences”

    Heh..heh…Therefore- The US is responsible for Nazism. And Constantine is responsible for the growth of Islam, And Mohammed is responsible for the Crusades, and Gutenberg is responsible for Romance Novels, and Tolstoy is responsible for those damned Bolsheviks.

  • I think there is much to commend the idea of deposing National Socialism in Germany at bayonet point long before they became a titanic threat (i.e. immediately after the still weak Wehrmacht marched into the Rhineland).

    However I am rather less sure that allied airpower, in all its 1940’s technological splendour, would have realistically made much difference to how many Jews survived the attentions of the Nazis. And with all due respect, WW2 was not fought by the British or Americans (the only ones with real long range airpower) for the primary benefit of Europe’s Jews (any more than GWBush/TBlair liberated Iraq primarily for the Iraqi people)… it was nothing less than a war of survival fought for complex reasons of self-interest. The end of the holocaust that came with the overthrow of National Socialism was just one of several happy side effects.

    To divert military effort from missions deemed at the time to be of direct military value, against a foe many times more formidable than Saddam Hussain’s murderous clowns, even as late as 1945, would have been folly from both a utilitarian and ultimately even moral viewpoint.

    Also Zionism is not really something I would be all that happy to sign up for myself. I have nothing against Israeli society, or that they dare to defend themselves against vile people who clearly wish to exterminate them collectively. However Zionism is about a Jewish state. As I am not that keen on states, seeing them as at best a necessary evil, and I am even less keen on exclusionary states which allocate rights up based on some taxonomy of confessional worthiness, not surprisingly I do not feel Zionism has anything whatsoever to commend itself to me.

  • Elizabeth

    Not all persons who say they are against Zionism necessarily admit they are also anti-Semitic and at times – depending on how knowledgable the person is about Middle Eastern affairs is – about Zionism and the history of it – seem to be at least somewhat paranoid about Jewish political conspiracies.
    That given – I do understand that one can not be for Zionism while also not be anti-Semitic.

    Did European imperialists have a right to draw up states to best benefit themselves and award the Jewish people a state? (a worthy cause in the opinion of some as it is also necessary to recognize the attempt of some governments to exterminate Jews from Europe and the former Soviet Union)
    Perhaps not, but in order to rectify the current problems in and around Israel – the history of the cause of Zionism should be more closely examined.

  • G Cooper

    Alice Bachini writes:

    “Would Marxist nutters be trying to take over Europe right now if Europe hadn’t annihilated a vast swathe of its own cultural topsoil sixty-five years ago? I wonder.”

    I rather think they might. It was, after all, a European ‘intellectual’ who started all this nonsense and it has been successive generations of European ‘intellectuals’ that have nurtured it ever since.

    Not, of course, that this is a justification for slaughtering intellectuals a la Pol Pot, but they are, at least in my estimation, utterly untrustworthy in political matters. Followed, naturally, by the lawyers.

  • Della

    Two evil people of note who have used free countries as a springboard to tyrany are Marx and Engles in London in the 1850s. Marx sought exile in several places whilst on the run from the law in Germany. He wrote the Communist Manifesto in Brussels and first published in London. It is interesting to note that Marx sought a world war against Great Britain in order to break its power:

    ” ‘England, appears to be the rock against which the waves of revolution will break’ “

    “Old England could be overthrown only by a world war, which alone could offer the Chartists, the organized party of the English proletariat, the conditions necessary for a successful insurrection against its powerful oppressors. […] Only when the Chartists were at the head of the English government would the social revolution advance from the world of utopia into the world of reality”

    Other famous evil people to use free countries as a sprinboard for tyrany include Lenin who went to Switzerland.

    Scott, above, provides a quote by Churchill blaming the Americans involvment in the First World War for the rise in “-isms” in Europe in the 1930s, I can only note that the first world war was started by the assasination of Arch Duke Ferdinand by Communists.

  • England and France doing something about Hitler (like confronting him in the Rhineland) would have had something good going for it – no sarcasm here; I’m actually agreeing w/ Perry. Germany was right next door, so to speak, and so it wouldn’t have involved scouring the world looking for enemies to fight (just because the Saudi terrorists operating out of Afghanistan were Arabs doesn’t make any given Arab country a legit target, IMHO, but I’m getting off track here).

    I also didn’t object to Isreal unilaterally destroying that Iraqi nuclear plant back in, what, the early 80s? I just don’t accept the “anybody bad or anybody who could be some sort of threat at some point in the future” school of preemptive war.

  • John F. MacMichael

    Re Della’s comment above: Please correct me if I am wrong but were not the murderers of the Arch Duke Ferdinand Serbian nationalist fanatics rather than Communists?

  • Guy Herbert

    A few more or less unrelated points:

    1. Yes Anti-Semitism is everyone’s problem, as one prominent example of apocalyptic totalitarian thinking: “X is to blame for all the problems of the world and people not doing what I want. If we only anihilate X, everybody will do what they’re told and the world can be perfect.” Substitute Jews, witches, capitalism, communists, apostates, intellectuals, blacks, whites, muslims, Christians… for X, ad lib.

    2. Let’s not make the common mistake of attributing WW2 to a desire on any of the United Nations’ part to save the Jews and others from being murdered by the Nazis. Germany and Japan threatened their strategic interests by attacking them, or their proxies in eastern Europe. That the Nazis _were_ nasty was a convenient contingency. Meanwhile, openly “restricted” (i.e. barred to Jews) facilities survived in the US for a long time after the war; and Soviet anti-Semitism is well known.

    3. Unsolved problems: How are we to impose individual freedom to those whose murderous creed is founded in objections to individual freedom and its products? How can we defend it for ourselves, when it is not very popular even among those of western culture?

    4. It does look a bit anti-Semitic to comment on the Jews in the administration (including people who have Jewish relations, but are not, pace the Nuremburg Laws, actually Jewish), while not noticing the Scottish birth and culture of its dominant members. It’s an anti-Sassenach conspiracy, plainly.

  • Lenin also spent time in England in the years before his triumphal arrival at St Petersburg’s Finland Station (now rather further away from Finland since Stalin nicked two big slices of land off the Finns).

  • Della


    The murder of Arch Duke Ferdiand was carried out by members of a group called “Mlada Bosna” (Young Bosnia) which was a group that was communist anarchist and nationalist. It was payed for by a member of Serbian Military Intelligence although the assasins didn’t know that.

    At that time communist anarchists were doing a lot of really stupid stuff, and had killed quite a few leaders of various goverments:

    It is striking how frequently attacks on prominent people took place between the years 1880 and 1914. There was the murder of Sadi Carnot, the president of France, and U.S. president William McKinley, the assassinations of the empress of Austria, the King of Italy, and the prime minister of Spain. In 1879 there were two attempts on the life of the Kaiser and one on the King of Italy, a plot to blow up the House of Commons, and an anarchist plot to blow up, all at once, Emperor Wilhelm, the Crown Prince, Bismarck, and Moltke. And of course, that of Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914.

  • Ian

    Since 9/11, Bush and Blair have made sure carefully to distinguish between Muslims and Islamofascists, and not only that but also to be seen to make that distinction.

    Of course, every whining little shit with an axe to grind has been bleating about a war on Islam and stirring up trouble at home by suggesting Blair and Bush will start some genocide of Muslims in the West, Kosovo notwithstanding.

    Dalyell’s attitude is like Blair saying the anti-war movement surround themselves with a conspiracy of Muslims and then denying any Islamophobia.

  • Tam Dayell is a bigoted , ugly, senile scumbag, but that is no excuse to prosecute him for thougtcrime.

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  • JH

    re:Chuchill’s lament:

    If the Allies had been serious about making peace in 1917,couldn’t they have told the Americans to stay at home and make the peace anyway?I don’t like arguing with Sir Winston,since he can’t argue back anymore,but it seems to he was wrong on this matter.If any one person should take the blame for ‘causing’ the rise of Nazism in Europe,it’s Georges Clemenceau and his stupid vendetta against the Germans at the Versailles.Leave Woodrow Wilson out of this.

  • Jacob

    Actually Woodrow Wilson made great efforts to bring the war in Europe to a negociated end, proposing his services as mediator before the US entered the war, while it was still neutral. He tried many times, every year, right up to the spring of 1917. There were no takers. Neither the Allies no Germany were interested. So Churchill’s hypothetic-fantastic speculations should’t be taken too seriously.

  • Jacob

    Even if the Allies had sued for peace in 1917 – Germany would have imposed impossibly harsh terms, as it was victorious on the Eastern front, and very self confident. Then, a huge, militaristic and hubristic German Empire would have been created that might well have turned out worse (i.e. more powerful and lasting) than the Nazi’s. So here are my humble, hyphotetic counter speculations.

  • Davey

    I’m in the wrong place here, far too educated for the likes of me, but it makes a magic read.
    Religions and Politics are really quite good fun aren’t they? But being Scottish, I prefer my Playstation and some nice medical weed.
    Funnily enough, so do all my asylum seeking friends!!! who’d of thunk it?
    Peace, love and donuts.xxx
    p.s.- If God is invisible, how will we know him when he comes?

  • Johnathan

    Alice, good piece and well said. We all need to watch out for anti-semitism. I do detect that hostility towards Israel has increasingly mingled with dislike of Jews.

    Scott Cattenach supports the Israel attack on Iraq in the early 1980s when it pre-emptively bombed the nuclear plant! Hey, hold the front page – Scott supports pre-emption! Does this mean all his previous nit-picks against the war vs Iraq are rendered so much blather?

    Scott, we need to know. You are in danger of becoming a warblogger.


  • Scott Cattanach

    Iraq’s nuclear plant was a much more direct threat to Isreal in the early 80s than Iraq was to us after 12 years of embargos and no fly zones. Either accepting Gulf War II or become a pacifist is a false choice.

    That, and Churchill’s behavior during WWI does not nullify his comment, he may have considered that behavior wrong in hindsight.

  • Minor correction: the english dude is Tam Dalyell and he is the Father of the House. Which is this odd semi-official title for the MP that has been in office for the longest unbroken period. In his case, since 1962. Dude might be just a touch off his rocker, but who knows..