Quote of the Day: How Jews Harm Other Jews

 

“Dare I say it? I must. I implore Jews to stop fighting with one another. Even if we disagree, we must try to do so respectfully, soulfully. I am psychologically very sensitive to Jewish self-hatred and anti-Semitism within the Diaspora. I fear it may very well function as a fifth column. I do not, however, think that other Jews are my enemies. It is important for Jews to remember this. Even if all Jews saw eye-to-eye on everything, we would still have real enemies whose goal in life is to kill us and to drive a Jewish presence out of the Middle East.” — Phyllis Chesler, The New Anti-Semitism

I saw Phyllis Chesler give a talk at a conference in St. Petersburg, FL, several years ago. It was a conference on Islamism; unfortunately, they haven’t held the conference again. Some great people were there, whose warnings were prescient, many of which have manifested in the years since.

Chesler is a feminist, which might make her appear alien to most conservatives. But Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman I greatly admire, said this about her:

Phyllis Chesler stands out among women in general and feminists in particular. In this dark age of identity politics, when the rights of millions of women are sacrificed at the altar of intersectionality, Phyllis Chesler keeps us all focused on universal human rights for all women.

At a time when the vast majority of Jews are on the Left, supporting anti-Semitic Muslims and condemning Israel, Chesler’s message is a serious one, even for non-Jews. How do we argue and disagree respectfully? Whom do we see as a friend or foe? Are we able to distinguish between those who are irritating and those who are truly dangerous to our country, to our people?

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There are 26 comments.

  1. Aaron Miller Member

    I heard something new today. The bishop presiding over GK Chesterton’s area in England stopped canonization investigations (determining whether or not Chesterton’s life and posthumous miracles identify him as one of God’s chosen — a saint) in part because Chesterton was, the bishop claims, anti-Semitic. Why would he think that? From CNS:

    In an interview with Alfa y Omega, a Spanish Catholic weekly, Doyle said that while Chesterton was staunchly against the Nazis, he stereotyped Jewish people in concerning ways in some of his writings.

    As an example, Alfa y Omega noted, in The New Jerusalem, a book written in 1920 by Chesterton, he argued that Jewish people needed to have a separate nation in order to “live, as far as possible, in a Jewish society ruled by the Jews.” He also advocated that Jews wear distinctive clothing in public to set them apart.

    Proposing an independent state of Israel and the wearing of yamulkes (public symbols of faith, like a Catholic’s crucifix pendant) is anti-Semitic. Talk about confusing friend and foe!

    The Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton argues that the charge of anti-Semitism against Chesterton is false, given that the man once said “The world owes God to the Jews,” and “I will die defending the last Jew in Europe.”

    Chesterton was “a man who hated racism and racial theories and who fought for human dignity and always affirmed the brotherhood of all men,”the society states on its website.

    • #1
    • August 7, 2019, at 10:04 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Vectorman Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: Chesler is a feminist, which might make her appear alien to most conservatives

    Most conservatives have no problems with Christina Hoff Sommers, The Factual Feminist.


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. There are many dates open on the August Signup Sheet. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #2
    • August 7, 2019, at 10:11 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    I heard something new today. The bishop presiding over GK Chesterton’s area in England stopped canonization investigations (determining whether or not Chesterton’s life and posthumous miracles identify him as one of God’s chosen — a saint) in part because Chesterton was, the bishop claims, anti-Semitic. Why would he think that? From CNS:

    In an interview with Alfa y Omega, a Spanish Catholic weekly, Doyle said that while Chesterton was staunchly against the Nazis, he stereotyped Jewish people in concerning ways in some of his writings.

    As an example, Alfa y Omega noted, in The New Jerusalem, a book written in 1920 by Chesterton, he argued that Jewish people needed to have a separate nation in order to “live, as far as possible, in a Jewish society ruled by the Jews.” He also advocated that Jews wear distinctive clothing in public to set them apart.

    Proposing an independent state of Israel and the wearing of yamulkes (public symbols of faith, like a Catholic’s crucifix pendant) is anti-Semitic. Talk about confusing friend and foe!

    The Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton argues that the charge of anti-Semitism against Chesterton is false, given that the man once said “The world owes God to the Jews,” and “I will die defending the last Jew in Europe.”

    Chesterton was “a man who hated racism and racial theories and who fought for human dignity and always affirmed the brotherhood of all men,”the society states on its website.

    It’s interesting how eager people are to label people anti-Semitic. I’m not sure what “advocated that Jews wear distinctive clothing in public to set them apart” meant. Maybe it’s being out of context is the problem. I know that there are times I may be overly sensitive–something about who makes the comment and the context. Many of us know that Truman made anti-Semitic remarks–but he was the first to support Israel’s becoming a nation. And when we hear Jews making anti-Semitic remarks about other Jews–it’s not helpful. Thanks, Aaron.

    • #3
    • August 7, 2019, at 11:09 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Stad Thatcher

    Vectorman (View Comment):
    Most conservatives have no problems with Christina Hoff Sommers, The Factual Feminist.

    Met her on an NR Cruise, had a brief chat about how much I liked her book Freedom Feminism. Too bad my version was electronic, or I would had gotten an autograph. 2020 NR Cruise, maybe?

    • #4
    • August 7, 2019, at 11:27 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    I feel compelled to add that as a once-secular Jew, I know what it’s like to at least feel indifferent to the survival of Judaism. I remember going to one Chabad group meeting–it was a little group led by a rabbi–and it came up afterward that I was then practicing Buddhism. I remember one woman asked me: “What about the covenant we made with G-d at Sinai?” I knew about Sinai, but otherwise I had no idea what she was pointing out. I did nothing in my earlier years to help maintain the Jewish people (although at least I didn’t disparage any Jewish group). But I guess I feel an extra commitment to keep Judaism alive in my own way, to point out to those secular Jews that when they attack Israel, they are attacking themselves; when they ridicule more observant people, they denigrate themselves. That isn’t saying that Jews or Israel should never be criticized–but they shouldn’t be judged for who they are. At the very least, they should be respected for carrying on the faith.

    • #5
    • August 7, 2019, at 12:45 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Arthur Beare Member

    Susan, I’ve heard about Jewish self-hatred for many years, so I believe it is real and not uncommon. But it makes no sense.

    Can you, or any other of our very articulate Jews, explain it?

    • #6
    • August 7, 2019, at 12:48 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Rodin Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    I heard something new today. The bishop presiding over GK Chesterton’s area in England stopped canonization investigations (determining whether or not Chesterton’s life and posthumous miracles identify him as one of God’s chosen — a saint) in part because Chesterton was, the bishop claims, anti-Semitic.

    Slightly off-topic: How do you start and stop a canonization? Do humans control whom G-d has chosen?

    Back to main thought: The only value of group identity is defensive. Someone else is aggregating you under criteria they select for the purpose of doing you harm. Anyone who aggregates others in a negative way does not value/respect anyone in the target group who tries to step outside of the group and aid in harming that group. If someone is identified as a Jew (either self-described or otherwise) should give no aid to those that seek to harm those thus identified and should make common cause in defense. To do otherwise is suicide.

    • #7
    • August 7, 2019, at 12:59 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):

    Susan, I’ve heard about Jewish self-hatred for many years, so I believe it is real and not uncommon. But it makes no sense.

    Can you, or any other of our very articulate Jews, explain it?

    I may not be the best source. I was accused of Jewish self-hatred as the reason I turned to Buddhism. I was so surprised at the accusation that I could only assure the person he or she was wrong. (I’ll save that story for another time.) My understanding is that Jewish self-hatred is directed not only at oneself, but to one’s Jewish origins. Jews, especially in Europe, hated being ostracized or singled out, just because they were Jewish. They hated the holidays that made them different; the rituals that set them apart; and being identified, in some cases with Orthodox Jews who were distinct in their dress and who often had to isolate themselves to survive or to continue a traditionally Jewish lifestyle. The hatred would have made more sense if it were directed at the Jew haters, but some Jews wanted so much to fit into general society that they would do just about anything. Some denied their heritage; others changed their names; still others were actively anti-Semitic. Here’s a link with more specific information. Thanks so much for asking, @arthurbeare.

    • #8
    • August 7, 2019, at 12:59 PM PDT
    • Like
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Rodin (View Comment):
    The only value of group identity is defensive.

    I’m not sure that is completely accurate, @rodin. Even though I don’t practice communally, Judaism is very much a communal religion by design. Yes, being with others like yourself could be a good defensive strategy, but there has always been an emphasis on community, celebrating and honoring others, and honoring G-d together. The family is a little community, one reason that G-d wants us to marry and have children. That perpetuates the faith, too, obviously.

    • #9
    • August 7, 2019, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Arthur Beare Member

    Susan, thank you for the very prompt reply, and the link.

    What you said kinda makes sense in some circumstances, but none at all in 21st century America.

    I agree that the hatred would have made more sense if it were directed at the Jew-haters, but maybe that is a hopelessly 20th century American way of looking at the world (though I can imagine no other)…

    • #10
    • August 7, 2019, at 1:11 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    rthur Beare (View Comment):

    Susan, thank you for the very prompt reply, and the link.

    What you said kinda makes sense in some circumstances, but none at all in 21st century America.

    I agree that the hatred would have made more sense if it were directed at the Jew-haters, but maybe that is a hopelessly 20th century American way of looking at the world (though I can imagine no other)…

     

    Jews are often paranoid, too, beyond reason. Many secular Jews think that all Christians are bound and determined to convert them, and think that is a hateful intention. My feeling is that all the Christians I know are very kind toward Jews, and many of them may want us to become Christians, because they think it would be beneficial for us from their faith perspective. I’ve also known Christians who were distressed because I might not be saved; I think that concern for me is sweet. But I’m not worried; I think I’m in good hands, and it doesn’t feel oppressive that Christians would like me to accept Jesus as my savior. We can’t always get what we want. (I don’t intend to sound snarky.)

    • #11
    • August 7, 2019, at 1:25 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. iWe Reagan
    iWe

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):

    Susan, I’ve heard about Jewish self-hatred for many years, so I believe it is real and not uncommon. But it makes no sense.

    Can you, or any other of our very articulate Jews, explain it?

    Being Jewish is a burden – there is a reason the word we have for non-observant Jews is “frei” – which means “free.”

    If you are a Jew who hates being told what to do, you want to prove your independence, you do not want to be driven by the guilt and gravitas that is inherited after thousands of years of tradition and angst and better men than you… you might choose to hate Judaism.

    • #12
    • August 7, 2019, at 1:47 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. iWe Reagan
    iWe

    Jewish self-hatred is not unlike liberal hatred. It sounds high-minded and wicked-smart, but is usually born of deep ignorance and a kneejerk rejection of all who disagree with you.

    • #13
    • August 7, 2019, at 1:51 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  14. Henry Castaigne Member

    Susan Quinn: How do we argue and disagree respectfully? Whom do we see as a friend or foe? Are we able to distinguish between those who are irritating and those who are truly dangerous to our country, to our people?

    Just focus on breeding for a few generations. The atheistic lefties will die off. 

    • #14
    • August 8, 2019, at 5:24 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. DavidBSable Coolidge

    A while ago, I saw a Jewish Comedian who was conservative who was asked the question why many Jews align with secular liberals over against the values that their Law and Torah bring to the world. He answered that after centuries of persecution up through the Nazi death camps, Jews just don’t want to stand out. Being secular and liberal seems the better path of survival.

    Sort of reminds me of the Tevya’s line in Fiddler On the Roof. “I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can’t You choose someone else?”

    That was the Jewish Comedian’s opinion, anyway.

    • #15
    • August 9, 2019, at 1:50 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. Skyler Coolidge

    Whether the state of Israel exists or not has little to do with the race or religion of Judaism. They existed a very long time without that government existing. It is not a requirement of Judaism to back that government.

    I have a very close orthodox Jewish friend who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the USMC and she would frequently tell me that the state of Israel is not the same as Judaism. It’s just another government. I would add, too, that Israel has not always been a very good friend to us. In the 1980’s Israeli jets thumped our helicopters (flew fast and right over the rotors, causing the helos to have dramatic drops in altitude), tried to over run us with their tanks, spied on us with Pollard and probably others, and were often very nasty to us.

    My friend said her loyalties were to the United States and she had none to Israel.

    And don’t get her wrong. She certainly did not support Palestine or the Jew-hating muslims. But there is plenty of room for Jews to disagree on support of Israel.

     

    • #16
    • August 9, 2019, at 3:06 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    DavidBSable (View Comment):

    A while ago, I saw a Jewish Comedian who was conservative who was asked the question why many Jews align with secular liberals over against the values that their Law and Torah bring to the world. He answered that after centuries of persecution up through the Nazi death camps, Jews just don’t want to stand out. Being secular and liberal seems the better path of survival.

    Sort of reminds me of the Tevya’s line in Fiddler On the Roof. “I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can’t You choose someone else?”

    That was the Jewish Comedian’s opinion, anyway.

    Thanks, @davidbsable. I have a different view. They may think it’s a good idea to keep a low profile, but in Germany, the most assimilated Jews were identified. There was no hiding. 

    • #17
    • August 9, 2019, at 3:13 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Whether the state of Israel exists or not has little to do with the race or religion of Judaism. They existed a very long time without that government existing. It is not a requirement of Judaism to back that government.

    I have a very close orthodox Jewish friend who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the USMC and she would frequently tell me that the state of Israel is not the same as Judaism. It’s just another government. I would add, too, that Israel has not always been a very good friend to us. In the 1980’s Israeli jets thumped our helicopters (flew fast and right over the rotors, causing the helos to have dramatic drops in altitude), tried to over run us with their tanks, spied on us with Pollard and probably others, and were often very nasty to us.

    My friend said her loyalties were to the United States and she had none to Israel.

    And don’t get her wrong. She certainly did not support Palestine or the Jew-hating muslims. But there is plenty of room for Jews to disagree on support of Israel.

     

    Thanks, @skyler. I have a few observations. The state of Israel did not exist until 1948. The Torah and prayers repeatedly call Jews back to Israel. The only orthodox I know who resist that statement are those who think a state should not be formed until the Messiah returns. I assume that would not apply to your friend.

    The state of Israel is not the same as Judaism, but it is not like any other government. It is the only Jewish state, and that matters. Israel may not have always been a good friend to us, but I expect that the US has disappointed Israel as well. Even allies can have disagreements. I don’t know about the incident you described. And I don’t know what “very nasty to us” means.

    Your friend doesn’t have to be “loyal” to Israel. But I hope she at least supports its existence. The right to exist is very important to me and to many Jews; Israel certainly has made mistakes, but I believe they are entitled to live in the land which they have occupied for a very long time.

    • #18
    • August 9, 2019, at 3:30 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. DavidBSable Coolidge

    Thanks, @davidbsable. I have a different view. They may think it’s a good idea to keep a low profile, but in Germany, the most assimilated Jews were identified. There was no hiding.

    @susanquinn – Yes that is a stirring truth. In my reading of the book of Esther recently, I saw it as a lesson of Mordecai and Esther hoping to live faithfully but under the radar blending in to the culture of Susa. The famous “such a time as this” exhortation from Mordecai to Esther was his telling her that we (Jews, Christians, Conservatives) don’t get to remain silent and undetected in a culture with its increasing intolerance and absolutism.

    It was actually this story that stirred me to go back on Ricochet and learn to write what I believe instead of just mulling it over in my head.

    “For if you keep silent athis time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time athis?” Esther 4:14

    • #19
    • August 9, 2019, at 6:43 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Manny Member

    This left/right split has really sharpened in recent years in Catholicism too. It’s not good for either of our faiths to be this way, but other than capitulating I don’t know what else to do about it. The left and the right just look at the world vastly different and that has altered everything, including things that should never be altered, our faiths 

    • #20
    • August 10, 2019, at 9:48 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    DavidBSable (View Comment):
    It was actually this story that stirred me to go back on Ricochet and learn to write what I believe instead of just mulling it over in my head.

    Ricochet is a wonderful place to share your ideas and your truth. I’m glad you came back. I like the book of Esther, too; for those who don’t know, it’s the only book that doesn’t mention G-d.

    • #21
    • August 10, 2019, at 3:37 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. iWe Reagan
    iWe

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DavidBSable (View Comment):
    It was actually this story that stirred me to go back on Ricochet and learn to write what I believe instead of just mulling it over in my head.

    Ricochet is a wonderful place to share your ideas and your truth. I’m glad you came back. I like the book of Esther, too; for those who don’t know, it’s the only book that doesn’t mention G-d.

    Song of Songs…

    • #22
    • August 10, 2019, at 7:22 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. Randy Webster Member

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I have a very close orthodox Jewish friend who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the USMC and she would frequently tell me that the state of Israel is not the same as Judaism. It’s just another government. I would add, too, that Israel has not always been a very good friend to us. In the 1980’s Israeli jets thumped our helicopters (flew fast and right over the rotors, causing the helos to have dramatic drops in altitude), tried to over run us with their tanks, spied on us with Pollard and probably others, and were often very nasty to us.

    There was also the USS Liberty incident.

    • #23
    • August 10, 2019, at 8:12 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    iWe (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DavidBSable (View Comment):
    It was actually this story that stirred me to go back on Ricochet and learn to write what I believe instead of just mulling it over in my head.

    Ricochet is a wonderful place to share your ideas and your truth. I’m glad you came back. I like the book of Esther, too; for those who don’t know, it’s the only book that doesn’t mention G-d.

    Song of Songs…

    That’s true. But I heard something like that about Esther. Do you know what that might have been, @iwe?

    • #24
    • August 11, 2019, at 7:01 AM PDT
    • Like
  25. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Coolidge

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):
    Can you, or any other of our very articulate Jews, explain it?

    It’s as bizarre as American self-hatred, which is now shared by nearly half of the American (Democrat voting) populace.

    • #25
    • August 11, 2019, at 7:36 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Coolidge

    It would seem there is one thing which people who do not like themselves or their backgrounds have in common: a disinterest in G-d which is really a rebellion against G-d. And once you rebel against G-d, the next step is rebellion against yourself — after all, you were created in His image!

    • #26
    • August 12, 2019, at 6:35 AM PDT
    • 3 likes