Self-Degrading Jews

Self-Degrading Jews

In preparing for a lecture in my honor-shame class, I was thinking about about the nature of the accusation that Israel is like the Nazis. This obviously doesn’t have anything to do with reality. There’s nothing that the Israelis and the Nazis have both done that every other sovereign entity in recorded history has not done. On the contrary, any study of Jenin 2002 will reveal that the Israeli army is, militarily speaking, the opposite of Nazism on a scale of what is humanly possible. To accuse Israel of acting like the Nazis is an act of moral sadism, the worst insult you can hurl at a Jew.

So it’s not about reality, it’s a shouting match… the kind so common to honor-shame cultures, in which verbal provocations, degradations, and violence are paired in the struggle for dominance. Your mother wears army boots writ large.

So what are Jews doing calling fellow Jews Nazis? And doing it publicly, before eager audiences of non-Jews, indeed, anti-Zionists? These Jewish anti-Zionists, people like Norman Finkelstein, who go out of their way to identify as Jewish and then side with the people who are dumping on their people.

They are self-degrading. Such a designation for Jews whom some call self-hating, the alter-Juifs, the  scourges, gets at a key element of their behavior. Rather than identify their driving emotion – self-hatred, self-loathing, messianic masochism – this designation gets at their actions, and the framework in which they have meaning.

For an example of a group of Jews who make this self-degradation a matter of urgent principle, see this about a group called Independent Jewish Voices, who insist that anti-Semitism is overblown, and people like Irwin Cotler are just trying to prevent the legitimate criticism of Israel.

Honor Killing and Self-Degrading Jews

When I was preparing my talk for Yale it occurred to me that those whom I then called scourges (Anthony Julius’ term) were engaged in a peculiarly Jewish form of honor-killing. Israel, because of the terrible image that she has in the MSNM, has shamed liberal and progressive Jews, humiliated them in front of their colleagues and friends on the left. The most horrified of these, has adopted the Palestinian narrative – Israel is born in sin and must be destroyed – as a way of killing the member that has shamed the family.

As with Arab honor-killings of daughters, it doesn’t matter whether Israel has actually done the things she’s accused of. (In Jordan, for example, the family kills the daughter suspected of having been in an illicit affair, then the autopsy determines whether she was a virgin. If yes, it stops there; if no, they go after the suspected male lover.) Just the fact that she has such a bad reputation is sufficient to make her worthy of elimination.

Anything to save face.

15 Responses to Self-Degrading Jews

  1. The following is how to counter and conquer such evil stuff.

    In the following, approximately six-minute-long, video presentation, Dennis Prager simply and clearly presents the reality of the situation (the situation being the military, terroristic, diplomatic, propagandic, intendedly genocidal, racist war against the country of the Jewish people that is euphemistically called “The Arab-Israeli conflict”, and “The ‘Palestinian’-Israeli conflict”, and “The Middle-East conflict”, etc).

    (However, although Dennis Prager, correctly, discusses, and accurately presents the nature of, the racist officially ideologically genocidally anti-Jewish political organization Hamas, he, erroneously, and unbeneficialy, does not mention, and does not accurately present the nature of, the racist officially ideologically genocidally anti-Jewish political organization Fatah-PLO-PalestinianAuthority, which is a political organization that was founded under the guidance of Amin al-Husseini, who, in 1928, joined the Muslim Brotherhood, and was an early leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and who, from 1941 to 1945, resided in Germany and was an adjoined official of the Nazi regime of Germany, and who, with his colleague Adolf Eichmann, was the co-architect of the genocide of the Jewish people in Europe by the Nazi regime of Germany, and who was the mentor of, and an uncle of, Egyptian-born Yasser Arafat (Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini).)

    Israeli leaders, this is how it’s done (just add the information about Amin al-Husseini and Fatah-PLO-PalestinianAuthority).

    “Prager University: The Middle East Problem” (Video (5 min 59 sec))

  2. […] Augean Stables “Always be ready to speak your mind and a base man will avoid you.” (William Blake, 1796) Skip to content HomeContact Richard LandesAl Durah Affair: The DossierFAQsChronologyCourt’s Decision on KarsentyDebriefing.orgView the Rushes!Guide to Augean Stables PostsKarsenty Court of Appeals Decision (English)The France2 TapesEssays on FranceParis Notes, Spring 1997Paris Notes, Fall, 1999Paris Notes, Spring 2003Paris Notes, Summer 2004Paris Notes, Printemps 2005Paris Notes, Fall 2005Paris Notes, Spring 2006Essays on JudeophobiaConceptual BackgroundMedieval (Prime Divider)Modern (Civil Societies)Arab-Israeli Conflict“Post-Modern” Anti-Semitism: Cognitive Egocentrism, Moral Schadenfreude, and “Progressive” Anti-ZionismHERZILYA CONFERENCEConceptual PrinciplesProgram with LinksBibliographyMultiple-Part EssaysPJ (OSM) Media LaunchMainstreaming Conspiracy TheoriesOpen Letter to Jostein GaarderReflections from The Second DraftCognitive EgocentrismDemopaths & DupesMoral EquivalencePallywood: A HistoryCivil Society vs. Prime-Divider SocietyEurabiaGame Theory and Social EmotionsIslamophobia and Criticism of IslamJudeophobia: Anti-Judaism, Anti-Semitism, Anti-ZionismParadigms and the Middle East ConflictPCP 1 and 2Honor-Shame Jihad (HJP)PCP vs HJPSelf-CriticismPalestinian SufferingRichard Landes CVSaïd and Honor-Shame ← Self-Degrading Jews […]

  3. Cynic says:

    Melanie Phillips in her post on the attack on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Jews for Injustice Against Jews,
    borrows from the title of Howard Jacobson’s award winning book “The Finkler Question” in referring to them as those obnoxious Finklers.
    She also links to the “” article
    Maybe we can start applying a term ( alter-Juifs, scourge, Theobald, Finkler, etc.) to grade the type of anti-Jewish behaviour?
    Melanie wrote:

    Alas, it was ever thus. Most tragically, throughout the history of anti-Jewish persecution there have always been Jews who volunteered to do the Jew-haters’ dirty work for them. Like Jew-hatred itself, what we are seeing in the JfIAJ is merely yet another mutation — of the racial treachery that has centuries-old blood on its hands.

    We also have the fools who have no idea of what they are saying and its implications and the latest one to come to mind is the ADL’s Foxman who attacked Glenn Beck’s program exposing Soros in Soros’ own words as antisemitic. Soros a former Jew is suddenly Jewish enough that he needs the ADL behind him?

  4. E.G. says:

    I’m sorry, I fail to see where any self is involved in the degrading-depreciating-insulting etc., except for some self-aggrandising made by dissociating one’s moral judgement from others’.

    But I do appreciate the attempt to focus more on behaviour rather than on some internal, less observable aspects.

    • Richard Landes says:

      it’s “self” degrading because they identify as Jews. if Harold Pinter or Tony Judt or (even better) Edgar Morin, were to dump on Israel as outsiders, then it would just be degrading. But they gain credibility by claiming to be Jewish; they are admired for “self” degrading. as for what they feel, see my update above.

      • E.G. says:


        I object to the term self because it’s confusing.
        In some sense, Alter/Post-Jews play by the al-wara – al-bara rules: not part of “us” any longer, and a distinctive part of “them”.

        And perhaps Stéphane Hessel is even a better example: he’s not Jewish but pretends to be half-Jewish and, having been deported to Buchenwald as a resistant, claims to be a concentration camp survivor. Indeed, to gain legitimacy for his anti-Zionist discourse.

  5. […] only way to look at ramblings like this is to realize that the amount of self-degradation is so deep that people like Eldar have bought into the Arab mindset that what helps a Jew – […]

  6. Comment on YouTube Video of David Horowitz’s BBC Israel Diatribe…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  7. Rich Rostrom says:

    “There’s nothing that the Israelis and the Nazis have both done that every other sovereign entity in recorded history has done.”

    ITYM “not done”…

    BTW there is one thing Israel and Nazi Germany have both done that nobody else has done – win stunning and unexpected military victories through expertise in armored warfare (the Battle of France, the Six-Day War). The circumstances were very different, but the achievements were similar.

  8. Joel says:

    FYI. Norman Finkelstein has gone beyond calling Israel a Nazi State, having recently called Israel a ‘Satanic State’.

  9. […] also has some relevant things to say about Honour-Shame in his discussion of Self-degrading Jews and Integrity versus Honour in group solidarity. posted under […]

  10. […] einzige Möglichkeit, ein solches Geschwafel zu betrachten, besteht darin zu erkennen, dass die Selbsterniedrigung so weit geht, dass Leute wie Eldar an die arabische Denkweise glauben, dass etwas, das Juden hilft […]

  11. […] – which strikes me as a total lack of criticism. Indeed, it bespeaks the tendencies of self-degrading Jews to fall prey to the Human Rights […]

  12. […] embarrassed in the public sphere, while radical prophets of “self-criticism” – most of them identifying “as a Jew” – relentlessly assailed […]

  13. […] only way to look at ramblings like this is to realize that the amount of self-degradation is so deep that people like Eldar have bought into the Arab mindset that what helps a Jew – […]

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