Memes about Jews
A few weeks ago American Thinker published an article called 'Anti-Semitism and the Khazar Theory'. The article received a few critical comments which inspired me to write this piece. Those comments are woven into what follows.
But first let me give a very basic outline on what memes are.
"...an idea, belief or belief system, or pattern of behavior that spreads throughout a culture either vertically by cultural inheritance.”
There's nothing contained within this definition, as far as I can see, which says that a meme -- whether a theory, idea or belief-system -- is necessarily false (or necessarily true, for that matter). Many memes are true. Indeed the meme theory has been proposed by such Darwinists as Richard Dawkins and it could be said that Darwinism/evolutionary theory itself is a meme. For example, a Creationist interviewed on the BBC once said that “millions of people believe in Evolution because millions of people believe in Evolution”. (He was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 program 'Science and Wonders' by Russell Stannard, a Christian physicist who believes in Evolution.)
Memes about Jews
My use of the word “meme' is neither technical nor scientific. In very basic terms, all I will mean by “meme” is that many of the theories about Jews of previous generations have simply been passed onto the next generations. Nonetheless, each new generation will add something new simply because many of the older theories have been shown to be either false or foolish.
Thus the hatred of Jews will change (if only slightly) or be given a different gloss. Nonetheless, such changes -- or such such meme-manipulations -- will often or always take the (conspiracy) theories about Jews which already existed and rejig them. Despite that, sometimes new negative theories and Jews will completely contradict the equally negative earlier ones (as with the Khazar theory).
Some of the old theories, of course, remain largely untouched. For example, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (which is cited in the Hamas Covenant, or Charter, of 1988) is still widely consumed in National Socialist and Islamist/Muslim circles. Nonetheless, if the old theories about Jews weren't passed on (though rarely by parents or family) to new generations, then the new/newish theories wouldn't even get started in the first place. In other words, the old hatred of Jews is a necessary prerequisite for the new hatred of Jews.
For example, although National Socialist and International Socialist (Leftist/Marxist) anti-Zionism is plainly a 20th century phenomenon, it wouldn't have got off the ground if it weren't for older (negative) theories about Jews. However, most contemporary Leftist anti-Zionists would be a little embarrassed to publicly uphold many of those older theories because they are now, from a Leftist perspective, unfashionable or discredited. (Though Leftist/Marxist negative theories about Jews predate the creation of Israel by around 100 years and even predate modern Zionism -- in the late 19th century -- by around 30 or 40 years.)
No Smoke Without Fire
Some people say that there's “no smoke without fire” when it comes to Jews. (Other people – sometimes the same ones – also say that there's no smoke without fire when it comes to UFOs, Freemasons, the Illuminati, 9/11, alien lizards, JFK, etc.) Such people say, or think, that there must be some reason/s as to why so many people hate the Jews and have done so for such a long time.
Yet there are many cases of smoke without fire (including literal cases). There was lots of smoke about “Slavs” being Untermenschen (“subhumans”) or about all blacks being “apes”.
More specifically, it can be said that lots of people have believed that Jews have caused “ill will” simply because lots people believe have believed that the Jews have caused ill will. (As I said about memes earlier, I think that the lots-of-people-believe-X-because-lots-of-people-believe-X motto is even the case even when X is actually true.)
There's also a "pervasive and universal" hatred of -- and beliefs about -- all sorts of things and all sorts of groups. In the 1930s, over a hundred million (perhaps far more than that) people were self-described Nazis. There were millions more communists worldwide when communism was at its peak (circa the 1940s and 1950s). Today, there are one billion people (or so we are told) who believe in Islam. So, clearly, numbers and longevity alone cannot prove the veracity of anything.
Another critic of Jews (all Jews) asked me if the “worldwide resentment across millennia is irrational and without logical basis?" Of course it had a "basis". I just don't think it had a "logical" or "rational" basis
That “resentment”, or hatred, was, I think, primarily based on another thing: the emotional, political, and psychological appeal of simplistic (conspiracy) theories.
In terms of these simplistic (conspiracy) theories: if Jews are responsible for all that is bad in the world, then what better simplification of the political and social complexities of the world could you hope for? And that's a simplicity which clearly has both a political (or even a cognitive) and an emotional appeal. In fact psychologists and cognitive scientists are forever telling us how human beings have an emotional and intellectual predisposition to try and simplify complex matters -- especially complex political matters.
That emotional basis to the hatred of Jews displays itself every day. So let's just take an example which is relevant to American Thinker and the comments sections of political websites and blogs.
I know that many people who have Google Alerts with the words such as "Khazar", "Jew", "Zionist" and "Israel" on them. That means that Google “alerts” them whenever an article appears on the Internet with these words in them. When the Jew-haters are given that information, they can then zone in on these articles -- even on websites they've never visited before. This isn't conjecture or speculation because it's easy to check someone's Disqus account. When you do so, you can instantly see which websites the commentators have previously visited, what subjects tend to attract their attention and what they've already said. With the majority of these Jew-obsessives you also find that they hardly ever comment on any other subject; save when that subject is also connected to race in some way.
Another guy asked me this question: “What are Jews doing to contribute to anti-Semitism?”
He answered his own question: "I find 'nothing' difficult to accept."
This argument has also been used by Noam Chomsky (yes, a Jew) when it comes to the hatred of Jews. Chomsky thinks that it's a justifiable response to what the Israelis are allegedly doing to the Palestinians. He also thinks -- believe it or not -- that it's a justifiable response to the behavior of Jews in the United States. (Incidentally, Chomsky also said that 9/11 was a justifiable response to what evil Americans had done.)
The question “What are Jews doing to contribute to anti-Semitism?” is illogical and question-begging. For a start, of course some Jews, and some points in time, have done wrong. Blacks and Anglo-Saxons (or whites) have also sometimes done wrong. Does that contribute to the racial hatred of blacks and Anglo-Saxons? (Actually, in the former case, it often does.)
The assumption here is that this Jewish or Anglo-Saxon wrongdoing represents an entire race or ethnic group. It also somehow proves something about that race or ethnic group. (In a certain sense it doesn't matter if Jews don't actually constitutes a single racial group because most haters of the Jews believe that they do.)
(Some Leftists and Muslim critics have asked me why I don't apply the former logic to my criticisms of Muslims. Well, for a start, I personally have never once criticized “all Muslims” or accused every Muslim of anything. My criticisms are aimed primarily at Islam. And when I do criticize Muslims, it's to the extent that they are following Islam. I would never, for example, single out a Muslim burglar or cheat for extra-special attention and ignore all the white or Christian burglars or cheats.)
Despite all the points and arguments against the hatred of Jews, many -- or all -- of them will simply fall on stony ground when it comes to hardcore and committed Jew-obsessives. Take one critic of my piece on the Khazar theory. He told me that he had "read a number of articles [like mine] that go into lengthy technical detail" about the hatred of Jews. And? It was almost as if he were saying that he preferred emotion and rhetoric when it comes to this -- and perhaps other -- issues. His argument -- if that's what it was -- seemed to be against "technical detail" itself: not technical detail that is false. In other words, he seemed to be suggesting that we “think with the blood” (as Adolf Hitler once put it) when it comes to the Jews.