This is an interesting discussion vis-a-vis The new anti-Semitism, and the campaign to silence American critics of Israel by Jeff Warner and Dick Platkin on the Mondoweiss blog regarding the authors' claim that
Jewish students and faculty were once victims of real anti-Semitism on American campuses from the early 20th Century through the early 1970s in the form of admission quotas, glass ceilings on high academic and administrative positions, and discriminatory practices by fraternities and sororities.The discussion took place in the Comments section of the blog. I found it interesting because I too was skeptical of the veracity of this particular claim, and suspect it's just another of those mythical Jewish victim shtick narratives that gets handed down over generations, exaggerated a little bit more each time it's handed off (kind of like what became known fist as the Holocaust and then to distinguish the Jewish angle even further, the Shoah...the Jewish persecution aspect being barely even mentioned in mainline, WWII-era histories, but exaggerated by self-serving Zionists over time to nearly become the casus-belli of "The Good War" today).
Of course, these same types of mythical, Zionist victim-and-vengeance narratives date to the Old Testament/Torah, as well.
The discussion also evolved to touch upon the fact that certain Zionist strains of Protestantism are as much anti-Catholic as they are philo-Semitic/Judeophile.
I've long wondered if it wasn't an anti-Catholic, Zionist strain of Protestantism (perhaps in conjunction with self-evidently Catholic-hating Zionist Jews who forever declare that "Hitler was a Catholic!" to anyone who will listen) that instigated the assassination of America's first Catholic President, John F. Kennedy, in part because he was not on board the exaggerated "evil Germany" and "evil Western Civilization" Zionist-Marxist-Imperialist victim-shtick narrative, and in fact in the wake of WWII expressed tremendous compassion for the German people, and was highly critical of Russian and British looting, pillaging and raping, and even somewhat critical of U.S. policy.
No doubt the warped, vengeance-seeking, Zionist strain of Protestantism always held that against him.
Here's part of the Comments section discussion that emphasizes this Zionist anti-Catholicism in particular:
August 26, 2013 at 1:56 pm
Jews were never victims of anti-Semitism on campuses in the 70′s, 60′s, or probably the 50′s either. Just a ridiculous statement. In fact, there were no real quotas affecting Jewish students during these years– there were attempts at lots of elite universities to make them more nationally focused universities, by taking students from the other 40 states of the union, not huddled around the Northeast corridor. That is, there was positive discrimination for kids from the states that people in the Northeast have always hated (Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, etc), and as a result, many Jews living in the Northeast complained that this was pro-Christian discrimination or anti-Jewish discrimination in the same way that whites currently complain about affirmative action.
There was and is only one true religious discrimination that has gone on at this country’s elite universities and that is anti-Catholic discrimination, and Jewish professors and students as well as Protestant profs and students have done their part to stoke the flames against Catholicism and Catholics from the late 19th century to the present. More recently there is a fervent anti-Muslim fervor among lots of atheists and Jewish profs at elite universities– the same type of people that are anti-Catholic are often equally anti-Muslim.
August 26, 2013 at 4:01 pm
Madrid, similar point I made below. And I do not know why the authors rolled that old dog out in their essay. Either they have an interest in keeping the untrue meme alive or they have been brainwashed to believe it and keep on repeating it. I think the latter.
I think it was Galbraith who said that is is still and always PC in America to be completely anti Catholic.
All that is really besides the point — and so what — as what I wonder is why it seems there is a celebration, even a nurturing of ideas of anti Jewish in history as a part of Jewish identity? What other group does that? And why would any group do so?
August 26, 2013 at 6:23 pm
This seems like a factual question which someone ought to be able to answer–was there discrimination in colleges against Jews as late as the early 70′s? I was initially surprised it could have survived to that late date, but I don’t know–certainly black Americans faced much worse discrimination right through the middle 60′s. I don’t think the authors of the post simply made this up.
The Jewish virtual library has a short article on discrimination against Jews at Harvard, which lasted from the early 20′s to the late 30′s. Part of the motivation was anti-semitism, or pandering to the anti-semitism of students (which isn’t quite how the Harvard official put it), while part of it seems to have been a desire for geographical diversity–sort of an affirmative action program for rural white Christians from North Dakota, so to speak. This is what Madrid mentioned, but from what the jewishvirtuallibrary says there was also anti-semitism at work. I see no reason to doubt it.
“What other group does that? And why would any group do so?”
Um, everyone does it. Claiming victim status gives you the moral high ground, or that’s how it’s supposed to work. I think this goes back to the days when Christians bragged about their martyrs, first by pagans and later by other Christians (Fox’s Book of the Martyrs comes to mind) and it hasn’t stopped. American Christians have about as little to complain about as any group in history–just some ridicule by secularists in Hollywood sometimes–and evangelicals sometimes talk like mass persecution is just around the corner. Every group that has suffered anything claims victim status, some with more justification than others. Even white males in the US get into the act sometimes. Whether the attempt to grab moral high ground is justified is just something one has to figure out on a case-by-case basis.
August 26, 2013 at 6:54 pm
“Um, everyone does it. ” No, not at all. As for the rest of your post, it is too banal and ridiculous to respond to, but briefly.
There are many groups/individuals/ethnic identities who no not narcissisticly (sic) shroud themselves as victims, fearful of the other and build a colonial enterprises based on the ideas of victimology. That is, after all, essentially weak and pathetic.
I’ve mentioned this before: I witnessed Muslin women in the Balkans removing a plaque placed in the memory of the horrific rapes and killings in a sports stadium. This was not the self identity they wanted to cultivate and nurture.
As for the Christian fear about mass persecution right around the corner: can you source such claims?
August 26, 2013 at 7:07 pm
Your problem, and the problem of most educated Americans, is that they know relatively little about the history of religion in the west or in the US. A review of that history shows that most of the charges of American anti-Semitism at elite American universities, while certainly valid in some cases, were exaggerated.
Here are a few salient facts about the history of religious elites in England and the US after the seventeenth century that should make things clearer:
1. After 1649, when the Puritans and the Levellers got control of England, the country became very philo-Semitic, something which did not change with the restoration of the king in 1660. It wasn’t solely evidenced by Cromwell allowing free immigration of Dutch and German Jews. It was also that the Puritans thought of themselves as the New Jews– the new Chosen nation. This was caused partly by the Erastian political theories that had begun in the earlier century, but it was also due to the new focus on the Old Testament by the Puritans, rather than the New Testament. The Puritans also viewed their own “anti-idolatry” tenets and their Bibliophilic nature as something that was similar to Judaism’s reverence for scripture and iconoklastic approach to idol-worship as well as antithetical to Catholic reverence for saints and Catholic icons.
2. During this period and later, it was often said by English and American Protestants of all denominations that it was far more important to fight the Catholics than the Jews or the Muslims. Indeed, even Queen Elizabeth had tried to establish strong diplomatic relations with the Sultan of the Ottoman empire, at a time when Europe was seriously threatened with wholesale invasion by the Ottomans. This is because Anti-papism was a fundamental aspect of Protestantism (and still is to some degree). In other words, it was similar to the trinity or belief in Christ’s resurrection. It was a basic requirement of being a good protestant, and thus expression of anti-papism became a fundamental aspect of the religion. This never occurred with anti-Semitism– in fact, many Puritan sects tried early on to emulate the Jewish prohibition on eating pork, for example, while everything to do with Catholic traditions was to be rejected.
3. The reason why English and American Protestants discriminated against Catholics is that they considered the Pope to be another temporal ruler, which he was to a certain extent– he governed the papal states, supposedly from the time of Constantine’s Donation. And they thought that Catholics recognition of the Pope meant that Catholics were ipso facto traitors to the country. At least before the state of Israel was founded, there was no evidence of Jewish dual loyalty for American Protestants, so there was no reason to make accusations of dual loyalty during the first 5 decades of the 20th century.
So while, yes, there was certainly anti-Semitism, Jews were accepted in the historically Protestant universities of the Northeast well before Catholics were accepted at those places. A good example of how serious anti-Catholicism was at the university level is the contempt that the University of Notre Dame encountered, when Knute Rockne tried to lobby for ND to join the Big Ten conference. Even though Notre Dame had rivalries with several of the Big Ten schools, administrators at Michigan and Chicago said very publicly that in no uncertain terms would there ever be a Catholic school in the Big Ten. There never has been such outward hostility to any other religion in the US, including Judaism, with the exception of recent hostility towards Islam.
August 26, 2013 at 10:15 pm
“No, not at all. As for the rest of your post, it is too banal and ridiculous to respond to, but briefly.”
I didn’t expect that sort of nastiness, but perhaps you are so sure of yourself the arrogance just comes spilling out. It’s astonishing that you’ve not heard people say anything about this before. Banal, yes, because it’s obvious, except maybe in your world where only, it seems, one particular group uses past discrimination in current political arguments. I see men complain about feminists, feminists complain about men, whites complain about blacks, evangelicals complaining about gays (I literally heard this last night). Somehow you must have missed the whole Zimmerman/Martin thing. Claiming victimhood and making fun of people claiming victimhood has been part of US politics for decades.
“As for the Christian fear about mass persecution right around the corner: can you source such claims?”
That took me about thirty seconds.
I knew about this personally and again, anyone as arrogant as you should have known this.
August 26, 2013 at 10:22 pm
Oh, Ellen, here’s some more commentary by a well-known liberal evangelical blogger it would have taken you thirty seconds to find.
Maybe you’re not American. That would be some sort of excuse.
August 26, 2013 at 10:53 pm
Yet another link, Ellen. Maybe you should reconsider why you would have ever thought that self-dramatization and imagined victimhood was the property of one particular group, when evidence contradicting this was all around you. I suppose you somehow missed how some of the opponents of gay marriage see themselves as victims.
August 26, 2013 at 11:19 pm
One final one–this from a conservative Christian blogger (Michael Spencer) who died of cancer some years ago, but started to become critical of his subculture. He was fairly well known on the evangelical internet. This post is from 2007. Note that he takes for granted the fact that American evangelicals harbor delusions of being persecuted–
August 27, 2013 at 4:15 am
Donald, my point was that not “everyone does it.” Even if that were true, in no way does it minimize the self centered, and ultimately weak, manipulative tactics of cultivating victimology for gain. Working up claims of “new anti semitism” is an example of just that.
While you give current examples of a similar (but not the same) being done by self identified groups — feminists, gays, some evangelical Christians, you do point it out as wrong and delusional. And so is the politics of a phony “new antisemitism. ” (Or Judeophobia, more correctly.) And not one of those self identified groups has as much influence in government and policy as Zionists in the USA.
Your attempt was to minimize the manipulative nurturing of ideas of new antisemitism.
And you continue to do that with links, for example, to the utterings of an aging Evagelical fringe internet character or the sometimes qustionable identity politics of gays and feminists.
The dishonest diversion of “everyone does it” to minimize and distract from the truth at hand is abbhorent. That made me angry, and I do apologize if it came across as an attack of you. It is an attack of the argument and dishonest methods.