‘Everyone Expects the Jews to Be the Only Real Christians in This World’

 

Eric Hoffer was a man not only of profound wisdom, but of true character.  And not only because he took the side of the Jews.  Scan his writings on the Internet, and I promise that you will be favorably impressed.  Yet, as my father was fond of saying:  “You can tell the true character of someone by how they feel about Jews,”; he would often add, “by how they feel about Israel.”  Hoffer clearly passes this test with flying colors.

In 1968, Hoffer wrote as follows (italics are mine):

Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russian did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it, Turkey threw out a million Greeks, and Algeria a million Frenchman. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese — and no one says a word about refugees.

But in the case of Israel the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab.

Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious it must sue for peace. Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.

And here is a statement from Hoffer that is all too obvious:

No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own, is worth the paper it is written on.

There cannot be any doubt that the college campus of today is an incubator of anti-Israelism, and that the likes of AOC and her friends, should they assume power, would have no use for Israel.  And, most likely, the mass of ignorant, brainwashed college graduates would fall in line with her way of thinking where Israel is concerned.

Hoffer continues:  “There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Blacks are executed in Rhodesia. But, when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one demonstrated against him.”

Or, as is often said, the Jews are the only minority in the world that it’s permissible to hate.

Hoffer: “The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives, it will be solely because of Jewish efforts. And Jewish resources. Yet at this moment Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally. We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us. And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer (during the Six-Day War of 1967) had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war to realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general.”

In other words, America needs Israel more than Israel needs America. The Jewish nation has been around for three millennia and knows how to take care of itself; America, on the other hand, is still in its infancy.  It’s not only because of geopolitics that America needs and supports Israel, but because America’s moral standing depends on that support. And it is doubtful that an immoral America could survive.

As Hoffer concludes:  “I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish, the Holocaust will be upon us all.”  

Here, however, as a person of faith — as distinguished from Hoffer, who was an atheist — I must demur since I cannot subscribe to the notion of Israel perishing.  However, it is entirely foreseeable that America’s abandonment of Israel, should that occur, would have dire consequences for America’s future and result in the perishing or disappearance of America as we know it.

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  1. Manny Coolidge
    Manny
    @Manny

    I agree with the first half of your post. Israel is unfairly singled out as to their relationship to those they defeat. They have been more than generous to the Palestinians. As to your second half, I don’t know. The Jewish nation has not been around for three millennia. The Jewish people have and for most of that time without a nation. In fact they really didn’t even have full control of their Judean homeland since 586 BC when the temple was first destroyed. Until of course when modern day Israel was established some 70 years ago. I think they very much need the US’s support. 

    • #1
  2. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    Hi Manny,

    For the record, we trace the genesis of our people to the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, an event that took place 3,334 years ago.  Ever since then, we have kept the Torah (kind of like our Constitution) and so continued our nationhood which depends on adherence to that document.

    • #2
  3. Manny Coolidge
    Manny
    @Manny

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    Hi Manny,

    For the record, we trace the genesis of our people to the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, an event that took place 3,334 years ago. Ever since then, we have kept the Torah (kind of like our Constitution) and so continued our nationhood which depends on adherence to that document.

    Ok, so your definition of nationhood is different. Gotcha. 

    • #3
  4. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Do you really think everybody who support[s] Israel is a good person and everybody who thinks Israel is a settler colonial state that oppresses Palestinians is a bad person? For that reason?

    • #4
  5. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Modern Israel can do fine without the US. I don’t think the US should give foreign aid to Israel.

    But I do not agree that without Israel, Jews would be eliminated from the world.

     

    • #5
  6. Manny Coolidge
    Manny
    @Manny

    iWe (View Comment):

    Modern Israel can do fine without the US. I don’t think the US should give foreign aid to Israel.

    But I do not agree that without Israel, Jews would be eliminated from the world.

     

    I also don’t think Israel needs our foreign aid but I do think they need our defense assurances. 

    • #6
  7. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    As I see it, Israel is an imperfect representative democracy.  The Palestinians are led by thugs.  So I side with the imperfect representative democracy, Israel.  

    • #7
  8. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    As I see it, Israel is an imperfect representative democracy.  

    Isn’t every democracy?

    Next to everything else, etc….

    • #8
  9. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    iWe (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    As I see it, Israel is an imperfect representative democracy.

    Isn’t every democracy?

    Next to everything else, etc….

    I agree.  I was going to write, “Israel is a representative democracy,” with out the “imperfect” adjective.  

    But I anticipated someone listing criticisms commonly made about Israel’s foreign policy.  

    • #9
  10. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark
    @CharlesMark

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Do you really think everybody who support[s] Israel is a good person and everybody who thinks Israel is a settler colonial state that oppresses Palestinians is a bad person? For that reason?

    Did someone say that was the case? 

    • #10
  11. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Charles Mark (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Do you really think everybody who support[s] Israel is a good person and everybody who thinks Israel is a settler colonial state that oppresses Palestinians is a bad person? For that reason?

    Did someone say that was the case?

    Did you read the OP?  That’s what I got from the first paragraph, but perhaps you got something else?

    • #11
  12. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Charles Mark (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Do you really think everybody who support[s] Israel is a good person and everybody who thinks Israel is a settler colonial state that oppresses Palestinians is a bad person? For that reason?

    Did someone say that was the case?

    Did you read the OP? That’s what I got from the first paragraph, but perhaps you got something else?

    Someone can be “wrong” without necessarily being “bad.”

    But in the case of Israel, it is amazing how much criticism Israel receives for its treatment of the Palestinians compared to the criticism that China gets for its treatment of Uyghurs.

    I think there is some anti-Jewish bias among many people, not all, who are anti-Israel.

    Some are not necessarily anti-Jewish, but they are opposed to any nation that is semi-capitalist and democratic, as opposed to being like Venezuela or Cuba.

    In some Lefty circles, it’s cool to wear a Che Guevara T-Shirt because it’s a sign that you are willing to give a middle finger to “the capitalist imperialist establishment.”  There’s a similar vibe from those who oppose Israel.

    • #12
  13. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark
    @CharlesMark

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Charles Mark (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Do you really think everybody who support[s] Israel is a good person and everybody who thinks Israel is a settler colonial state that oppresses Palestinians is a bad person? For that reason?

    Did someone say that was the case?

    Did you read the OP? That’s what I got from the first paragraph, but perhaps you got something else?

    I don’t see any “good person/bad person” comparison in that paragraph. I reject your dichotomy between supporters of Israel and “everybody who thinks Israel is a settler colonial state that oppresses Palestinians…”.  You appear to leave no room for nuance despite the complexity of the situation. 

    • #13
  14. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    iWe (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    As I see it, Israel is an imperfect representative democracy.

    Isn’t every democracy?

    Next to everything else, etc….

    Do you not ever wonder about governing like the rest of the world vs the way God ordained it? I know neither is perfect, but is that ever something you think about?

    • #14
  15. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Charles Mark (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Charles Mark (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Do you really think everybody who support[s] Israel is a good person and everybody who thinks Israel is a settler colonial state that oppresses Palestinians is a bad person? For that reason?

    Did someone say that was the case?

    Did you read the OP? That’s what I got from the first paragraph, but perhaps you got something else?

    I don’t see any “good person/bad person” comparison in that paragraph. I reject your dichotomy between supporters of Israel and “everybody who thinks Israel is a settler colonial state that oppresses Palestinians…”. You appear to leave no room for nuance despite the complexity of the situation.

    The title was kind of insulting in setting the dichotomy. I agree with you on the complexity, but I don’t think the OP was being very generous on that complexity.

    • #15
  16. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Stina (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    As I see it, Israel is an imperfect representative democracy.

    Isn’t every democracy?

    Next to everything else, etc….

    Do you not ever wonder about governing like the rest of the world vs the way God ordained it? I know neither is perfect, but is that ever something you think about?

    Of course.

    The Torah is entirely agnostic about which governmental type we choose. G-d did no ordain or order a theocracy or monarchy or democracy. What the Torah does talk about is maximizing rights and responsibilities, respect for property and law and person, etc. 

    • #16
  17. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Stina (View Comment):
    The title was kind of insulting in setting the dichotomy. I agree with you on the complexity, but I don’t think the OP was being very generous on that complexity.

    Titles and OP’s that are a little simplistic and even insulting are the best at drawing out the kind of thought and debate that we love to see here. I’m ok with it. I was even rather amused by the premise that Jews were expected to act more like Christians than Christians.

    • #17
  18. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    iWe (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    As I see it, Israel is an imperfect representative democracy.

    Isn’t every democracy?

    Next to everything else, etc….

    Do you not ever wonder about governing like the rest of the world vs the way God ordained it? I know neither is perfect, but is that ever something you think about?

    Of course.

    The Torah is entirely agnostic about which governmental type we choose. G-d did no ordain or order a theocracy or monarchy or democracy. What the Torah does talk about is maximizing rights and responsibilities, respect for property and law and person, etc.

    I don’t know if I agree with the not ordaining a monarchy. To me, it seems obvious he did, so how do you figure otherwise?

    • #18
  19. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    So maybe how I feel about Jews is that they seem to be the only people in the world so arrogant and self-absorbed that they think it appropriate to judge everyone other person’s character on the basis of whether that person thinks that the Jews are as great as the Jews believe themselves to be.

    I suspect that most Jews don’t actually think this way, though.  It is the attitude in the first paragraph of the OP, I think.

    • #19
  20. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):
    The title was kind of insulting in setting the dichotomy. I agree with you on the complexity, but I don’t think the OP was being very generous on that complexity.

    Titles and OP’s that are a little simplistic and even insulting are the best at drawing out the kind of thought and debate that we love to see here. I’m ok with it. I was even rather amused by the premise that Jews were expected to act more like Christians than Christians.

    Eric Hoffer (author of this post’s title) was the ultimate iconoclast.  Even after he had published several highly acclaimed books and been lauded by President Eisenhower and later by President Johnson, he continued to work as a longshoreman in San Francisco until the age of 62. For a period of time, he worked on the docks three days a week while moonlighting as a lecturer at UC Berkeley, although he had no formal education himself.

    His magnus opus was “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements.”  In it, he speaks the simple truth that the personality attracted to such movements is the same, whether the movement has good or evil intent.  In either case, the fanatic follower is someone who seeks to escape from himself.

    In Hoffer’s words, a mass movement “attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation.”

    He gave a famous series of interviews with Eric Sevareid:  Here is a taste of one of them. All the interviews can be accessed with a youtube search.

    • #20
  21. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    iWe (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    As I see it, Israel is an imperfect representative democracy.

    Isn’t every democracy?

    Next to everything else, etc….

    Do you not ever wonder about governing like the rest of the world vs the way God ordained it? I know neither is perfect, but is that ever something you think about?

    Of course.

    The Torah is entirely agnostic about which governmental type we choose. G-d did no ordain or order a theocracy or monarchy or democracy. What the Torah does talk about is maximizing rights and responsibilities, respect for property and law and person, etc.

    Hello iWe,

    It would seem that the Torah promotes a theocratic kingship.  Consider that kingship is mandated from King Saul to King David to King Solomon and so on down the line.  After Saul’s death, the prophet Samuel — and prophets are God’s mouthpiece — chose David to be king.  And the messiah himself, a descendant of David, is also to have the status of a king. 

    • #21
  22. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Like Eric Hoffer, I take the side of the Jews. But I won’t take the side of Eric Hoffer, because a number of these statements are either wrong, or likely to be counter-productive. 

    “America needs Israel more than Israel needs America” is needlessly insulting. I can’t think of a sentence less likely to make Americans want to support Israel. Let’s just say we have friendly relations; there’s no need for us to point out the obvious disparity of strength between the two economies or the two armies.

    The notion that we are apprentices because we’re a young nation and they are an ancient one is not valid. I’d agree that of course, they are the people of the Old Testament, and of course there is much that all humanity can learn from the Old Testament. 

    “Israel is our only unconditional ally” flatters neither nation. We are separate countries; neither Israel nor the US can ever be anyone’s unconditional ally. Our interests will not be identical, each and every time. Britain and Canada are as close to ideal allies as America could want, but again, nobody assumes that our interests are identical. 

    Nobody protested Hitler? Nobody demonstrated against Hitler? That’s just historically ignorant. Better to somberly note, “Until 1945, nobody succeeded in stopping Hitler” and leave that as a bitter note on European civilization. 

    I write this comment as a supporter of the Jews and as someone who supports the existence of Israel. I am under no obligation to promise to approve of everything that any Israeli government does, anymore than I promise to approve of what the Irish government does. 

    • #22
  23. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Like Eric Hoffer, I take the side of the Jews. But I won’t take the side of Eric Hoffer, because a number of these statements are either wrong, or likely to be counter-productive.

    “America needs Israel more than Israel needs America” is needlessly insulting. I can’t think of a sentence less likely to make Americans want to support Israel. Let’s just say we have friendly relations; there’s no need for us to point out the obvious disparity of strength between the two economies or the two armies.

    The notion that we are apprentices because we’re a young nation and they are an ancient one is not valid. I’d agree that of course, they are the people of the Old Testament, and of course there is much that all humanity can learn from the Old Testament.

    “Israel is our only unconditional ally” flatters neither nation. We are separate countries; neither Israel nor the US can ever be anyone’s unconditional ally. Our interests will not be identical, each and every time. Britain and Canada are as close to ideal allies as America could want, but again, nobody assumes that our interests are identical.

    Nobody protested Hitler? Nobody demonstrated against Hitler? That’s just historically ignorant. Better to somberly note, “Until 1945, nobody succeeded in stopping Hitler” and leave that as a bitter note on European civilization.

    I write this comment as a supporter of the Jews and as someone who supports the existence of Israel. I am under no obligation to promise to approve of everything that any Israeli government does, anymore than I promise to approve of what the Irish government does.

    Hello Gary,

    I appreciate your thoughts. Maybe I’m wrong, but when I say “America needs Israel more than Israel needs America,” I am talking about America and what it represents: support for a beleaguered, virtually friendless nation (excluding the UAE and Bahrain) that has given so much to humanity only to be reviled by the community of nations; thus, support for Israel is an embodiment of the high ideals for which America is known.  Without such support, those ideals would be horribly tarnished.  Israel, on the other hand, which is really the flagship of the Jewish nation, however dispersed around the globe it may be, does not need to prove its legitimacy to anyone. Israel is the perpetual underdog that only through divine intervention persists. I pray that this sort of intervention persists in America, too.

    • #23
  24. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Stina (View Comment):

     

    The Torah is entirely agnostic about which governmental type we choose. G-d did no ordain or order a theocracy or monarchy or democracy. What the Torah does talk about is maximizing rights and responsibilities, respect for property and law and person, etc.

    I don’t know if I agree with the not ordaining a monarchy. To me, it seems obvious he did, so how do you figure otherwise?

    Deut. 17:14

    If, after you have entered the land that your God יהוה has assigned to you, and taken possession of it and settled in it, you decide, “I will set a king over me, as do all the nations about me,” you shall be free to set a king over yourself, one chosen by your G-d.

    A monarchy is merely an option, and only if we feel the need to keep up with the Joneses.

    • #24
  25. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    As I see it, Israel is an imperfect representative democracy.

    Isn’t every democracy?

    Next to everything else, etc….

    Do you not ever wonder about governing like the rest of the world vs the way God ordained it? I know neither is perfect, but is that ever something you think about?

    Of course.

    The Torah is entirely agnostic about which governmental type we choose. G-d did no ordain or order a theocracy or monarchy or democracy. What the Torah does talk about is maximizing rights and responsibilities, respect for property and law and person, etc.

    Hello iWe,

    It would seem that the Torah promotes a theocratic kingship. Consider that kingship is mandated from King Saul to King David to King Solomon and so on down the line. After Saul’s death, the prophet Samuel — and prophets are God’s mouthpiece — chose David to be king. And the messiah himself, a descendant of David, is also to have the status of a king.

    Not in the text. Deut 17:14-15. 

    If we want one, we can have one. But there is no need to have one. What IS important is a government capable of supporting the legal system needed to defend rights given by G-d – like property, tort, etc.

    • #25
  26. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    iWe (View Comment):

    If, after you have entered the land that your God יהוה has assigned to you, and taken possession of it and settled in it, you decide, “I will set a king over me, as do all the nations about me,” you shall be free to set a king over yourself, one chosen by your G-d.

    A monarchy is merely an option, and only if we feel the need to keep up with the Joneses.

    Yes, I get that. But still, in the end of days, the messiah will reign as king so it would appear that even if, today, we are not ready for kingship, that is the ultimate goal.

    “The Messianic King will arise in the future and restore the Davidic Kingdom to its former state and original sovereignty. He will build the Sanctuary and gather the dispersed of Israel. All the laws will be re-instituted in his days as they had been aforetimes; sacrifices will be offered, the Sabbatical and Jubilee years will be observed fully as ordained by the Torah.” (Mishneh Torah, Laws Concerning Kings, 11:1)

    Note: The Mishneh Torah, authored by Moses Maimonides, is a companion to the Talmud.

    • #26
  27. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    Someone can be “wrong” without necessarily being “bad.”

    From the OP:

    “You can tell the true character of someone by how they feel about Jews,”; he would often add, “by how they feel about Israel.” Hoffer clearly passes this test with flying colors.

    “True character” seems to be about good or bad, but maybe I misunderstood?

    • #27
  28. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Charles Mark (View Comment):
    I don’t see any “good person/bad person” comparison in that paragraph.

    “True character” seems to be about good person/bad person. If you think it’s about something else, what would that be?

    I reject your dichotomy between supporters of Israel and “everybody who thinks Israel is a settler colonial state that oppresses Palestinians…”.  You appear to leave no room for nuance despite the complexity of the situation. 

    The situation is more unpalatable than nuanced or complex.

    After centuries of antisemitism, culminating in the Holocaust, many Jews felt a desperate need for a country where they were the majority and depended on nobody else’s good intentions or decency.  That’s understandable.

    The place they made this country – Israel – was already occupied by other people – hence the Nakba and the Naksa and the ongoing occupation.

    The fact that these other people lived in a colony – governed by someone else – is part of why that was possible.  Western support for the resolution of the grotesquely conceived “Jewish question” outside Europe, at the expense of a brown people, also says something about their attitudes.

    Ignoring that, downplaying it, pretending it doesn’t matter, pretending it didn’t happen – none of these treats Israeli Jews with the respect that adult, moral beings are entitled to.  It’s the soft bigotry of lower expectations. imho.

    • #28
  29. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):
    Yes, I get that. But still, in the end of days, the messiah will reign as king so it would appear that even if, today, we are not ready for kingship, that is the ultimate goal.

    Not in the Chumash, the Five Books. 

    It is clear that the Rambam (Maimonides) believed in philosopher kings – he was an Aristotelian at core after all, and enjoyed living in Muslim-governed countries. I do not believe that his pronouncement on this topic is dispositive. There are other opinions.

    After all, do you really think a theocracy is going to do a good job of building and maintaining roads, or collecting the garbage or running sewer reclamation? And if so, do you really think that is a smart allocation of resources?

    The Torah makes it clear that we are responsible for ourselves and for this world. Relying on a superhero to “save” us is entirely absent from the text, let alone expecting that superhero to become a Platonic philosopher king. 

     

    • #29
  30. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    iWe (View Comment):

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):
    Yes, I get that. But still, in the end of days, the messiah will reign as king so it would appear that even if, today, we are not ready for kingship, that is the ultimate goal.

    Not in the Chumash, the Five Books.

    It is clear that the Rambam (Maimonides) believed in philosopher kings – he was an Aristotelian at core after all, and enjoyed living in Muslim-governed countries. I do not believe that his pronouncement on this topic is dispositive. There are other opinions.

    After all, do you really think a theocracy is going to do a good job of building and maintaining roads, or collecting the garbage or running sewer reclamation? And if so, do you really think that is a smart allocation of resources?

    The Torah makes it clear that we are responsible for ourselves and for this world. Relying on a superhero to “save” us is entirely absent from the text, let alone expecting that superhero to become a Platonic philosopher king.

     

    I don’t think method of governance has any impact on the rest of it. And theocracy is properly defined as ruled by priests. Old Israel kept priest and king separate until the Hasmoneans.

    • #30
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