February ALDEN FILMS BLOG
In the 19th Century, when many prominent Jews in Germany converted to Christianity, Heinrich Heine’s famous quotation, “Baptism as a passport to European Culture” (1) often became the principal reason for crossing over from Jewish identity to become a member of the Church, whether Catholic or Protestant. This phenomenon — although not as large as commonly thought (2) — convulsed much of German Jewry, because leading Jews and families such as Moses Mendelssohn’s children, Eduard Gans, the founder of Wissenschaft Des Judentums (The Scientific Study of Judaism), Karl Marx, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, Fritz Haber and many others, converted. Even liberal German philosophers such as Theodor Mommsen called for the dissolution of Judaism. The trend of selective conversion of Jews to Christianity spread throughout Europe up until the Holocaust. Similar to the conversos of 16th and 17th century Portugal and Spain, these Jewish converts never completely lost the enmity of their fellow Christians, and they continuingly had to prove their fidelity to Christianity by eating pig, celebrating Christian holidays and constantly excoriating Jews and Judaism. In the 19tth and early 20th Century in Germany and Europe, Jews who became Protestants or Catholics were never truly accepted as Christians, and again constantly have had to affirm their new religion by criticizing Jews and Judaism (3).
Today a more insidious but similar phenomenon (without the need for conversion) has arisen among Jews who desire to enter or be a part of the elite culture of America and Europe: the denunciation of Israel and Judaism while at the same time still maintaining a curious stridency of Jewish identity (4). Similar to prominent 19th century German Jewish converts, many of these same “self-hating” Jews (5) include writers, scientists, artists, academics and entertainers (6). The similarity between the conversos, (the 19th century German converts), and today’s “Jewish” enemies of Israel, Zionism and Judaism, is striking. This new version of conversos have embraced the BDS movement. They share a hatred of Judaism, Zionism and Israel. They embrace left wing ideologies except in their defense of Islamic regimes and Islamic practices such as mutilation of women, honor killings, suicide bombers, killers of Jews and Iran’s building of an A bomb, as well as a hatred of the United States (7). The Jews who have joined this new elite — with its terrible entrance requirements — are part of a death spiral of Jewish life in America and Europe. Unlike the conversos of Spain and Portugal, they have gladly imbibed the bitterness of self-hatred (8). Their extremism evinces a last gasp of a civilization based on left wing secular beliefs. They have even compared the Holocaust and modern Antisemitism as being the fault of the Jews (9) or have created a moral equivalence between the murder of European Jewry with AIDS, the Naqba, (Arab response to the establishment of Israel), Black Lives Matter, Global Warming, Universal Health Care, Environmentalism, Animal rights (except in the case of Islam), Feminism (also, except in the case of Islam), LGBT rights (again, except in the case of Islam), and other left wing ideologies. These are Jews without Judaism, without Israel, without a future. Like a neurotic Freudian repetition compulsion, these “Jews” perform their mantras of self-hatred without end. To the non-Jew, these people appear to be crazed, weird, obsessed, and angry at themselves for being Jews. When the non-Jew supports BDS and other anti-Israel movements, it’s always because of antisemitism. Israel is a perfect substitute for Jew hatred, without the vulgarity of labeling their hatred as the traditional antisemitism.
As Europe is emptying out of Jews, sadly many American Jews are following in their footsteps by intermarriage, lack of affiliation, and most significantly, a lack of appreciation of Jewish identity. What is to be done? These Jews, in name only, are constantly in need of an audience. To anti-Israel groups, they are a convenient defense by claiming that they are not antisemitic. But to Jewish groups, they are a reminder of 2000 years of Jewish life in the diaspora with Jewish self-hatred being, unfortunately, a by-product of diaspora life. Jews from Pablo Christiani (10) to Noam Chomsky are found in every age. They are part of the pathology that has sadly accompanied the Jewish saga.
(1) Heinrich Heine continues, “I am hated alike by Jew and Christian . . .
I regret very deeply that I had myself baptized. I do not see that I
have been the better for it since. On the contrary, I have known
nothing but misfortunes and mischances . . .” (Jan. 9, 1826)
(2) Jews, God and History, Max Dimont, 1962
(3) Karl Marx, “On the Jews”
(4) Moment Magazine, The Forward, and Tikkun have become platforms for
these “Jews” to proclaim their Jewish identity while trashing Israel,
Judaism and Jewish history.
(5) Tony Kushner, Tom Friedman, Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler,
and others identify themselves as Jews while at the same time
attacking Israel, Zionism and Judaism.
(6) Scientists such as Edward Whitten and many of the Hollywood
elite (writers such as Jonathan Franzen and Adrienne Rich, and others
of the Jewish intelligentsia).
(7) Many Jews are in the forefront of supporting Iran as well as
defending Islam (Tom Friedman, Roger Cohen, Paul Krugman,
(8) The Pew Study of Jewish life in America, 2013
(9) Esau’s Tears, Albert S. Lindemann; The Savage In Judaism,
Howard Eilberg-Schwartz; Homicide in the Biblical World, Pamela
Barmash; The Invention of the Jewish Peopl,e, Shlomo Sand; The
Seventh Million, Tom Segev; When The Facts Change, Tony Judt;
The Holocaust Industry, Norman Finkelstein
(10) The Disputation, Alden Films