Monday, October 15, 2012

 

Quotable: "Study of the sufferings of Jews"

... prior to modern times Jews had seen their sufferings as imposed by a righteous god in response to their own failings. Now it became the perverse Gentiles who were oppressing wholly innocent Jews - and those Other Nations were no longer seen as mere tools of God.

Such modern ideologies as socialism, (both Marxist and anarchist), Zionism, and various forms of the psychiatric worldview (Freudian psychoanalysis and related schools) all emphasize the tainted or sick qualities of Gentile existence, be it in exploitative capitalism, aggressive nationalism, or repressive Victorian prudery. Jewish frustration, anxiety, and rage at being considered inferior, and in some partial and tormented sense agreeing with that evaluation, found an alluring outlet in these ideologies - and a hope for eventual redemption.

Obviously, these ideologies cannot be described as simply or explicitly Jewish condemnations of the Gentile world; non-Jews in great numbers were also attracted to them. ... But by the end of the nineteenth century Jews were attracted to socialism and, after 1917, communism in significantly greater proportions than were non-Jews. It is instructive that it was Jewish intellectuals, Marx and Freud are the most obvious examples, who became the most brilliant and preeminent exponents of these modern theories.

... Study of the sufferings of Jews [i.e. Leidensgeschichte - "suffering-history, or the tendency to write Jewish history largely in terms of the suffering endured by the Jews at the hands of Gentiles"] is now advocated mostly as a way of preventing suffering in the future, largely by exposing the sinful or corrupt nature of Gentile society and its responsibility for Jewish suffering and almost never as a means by which Jews could become aware of their own sins, except insofar as an error in judgment, a naive misperception of Gentile malevolence, is considered a sin. Anything else, again, would be blaming the victim.

Source:  Albert S. Lindemann. Esau's Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews. (Cambridge UP, 1997) pp. 14-15.

See also: Esau's Tears reviewed by Kevin MacDonald

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