CNN Survey of European Attitudes Toward Jews

These are disturbing statistics,

Anti-Semitic stereotypes are alive and well in Europe, while the memory of the Holocaust is starting to fade, a sweeping new survey by CNN reveals. More than a quarter of Europeans polled believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance. Nearly one in four said Jews have too much influence in conflict and wars across the world.

One in five said they have too much influence in the media and the same number believe they have too much influence in politics.

“That Jew”

Reason recalls an incident from several years ago where an Arkansas state legislator, Kim Hendren, referred to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) as “that Jew” during a campaign event. As the New York Daily News noted at the time, Hendren then tried to excuse his anti-Semitism thusly,

Hendren excused his remark by pointing to his reputation as a gaffe machine.

“I don’t use a Teleprompter, and occasionally I put my foot in my month,” he told Tolbert, then inserted it a little farther.

“I was attempting to explain that unlike Sen. Schumer, I believe in traditional values, like we used to see on The Andy Griffith Show,'” Hendren said.

“I made the mistake of referring to Sen. Schumer as ‘that Jew’ and I should not have put it that way, as this took away from what I was trying to say.”

Since the GOP has no shame, Hendren served in the Arkansas State Senate until 2011, when he was term limited out. He then ran and has served since in the Arkansas State House.

Public Enemy Action Figures

Saw this interesting article/ad at Boing! Boing! last summer featuring a set of Public Enemy action figures. These are based on the art of Ed Piskor who has been doing a graphic novel history of hip hop which is generally well done.

The interesting thing, however, is that yes, that figure on the far right is of Professor Griff. Yes, the same Professor Griff who told David Mills back in 1989 that,

Jews are responsible for the majority of the wickedness in the world.

But, hey, can’t let a few racist comments stand in the way of promoting some cool action figures by “Boing Boing comic artist Ed Piskor.” I mean, yes, maybe if this was a cat meme, then there might be cause for concern, but this is only anti-Semitism, so no harm no foul.

Harvard’s 1920 Homosexual Purge

Back in 2002, Amit Paley wrote a lengthy article about a previously secret witch hunt carried out to rid Harvard of homosexual students in 1920. A secret 5-man disciplinary committee interviewed dozens of people and ended up in the expelling of 8 students and the forced resignation of an assistant professor.

The trial was over. The purge had already begun a week earlier. On June 4, Greenough, at the direction of President Lowell, advised Roberts to withdraw from Harvard at once. Over the next two weeks, The Court handed down and recorded a verdict of “guilty” for a total of 14 men: seven college students; Cummings, the Dental School student; Clark, the Assistant in Philosophy; Saxton, the alumnus; and four men not connected with Harvard.

The college students were not just asked to leave campus, they were told to get out of Cambridge—immediately.

Cummings — the dental student — committed suicide shortly after his expulsion, and several of the student had their future academic careers ruined when other colleges inquired why they had withdrawn and were told of the “immoral” dealings the young men had been involved with.

Unsurprisingly, the same Harvard president who authorized the special disciplinary committee — A. Lawrence Lowell — would in 1922 propose a quota to limit Jewish admissions to Harvard. Lowell argued that capping Jewish admissions at 15 percent of the student body was the best way to fight anti-Semitism among the student body. The quota was never instituted explicitly, but instead enacted with the euphemism of “geographic diversity” — admitting more students from rural communities regardless of merit, thereby reducing the number of urban Jews who could gain entrance.

A Better Way to Apologize for Holocaust Denial

This Reuters story describing a Catholic group apologizing for some Holocaust denial remarks is a bit odd,

The leader of a traditionalist Catholic movement apologized to Pope Benedict on Tuesday for remarks denying the Holocaust made by one of his members whom the pope recently rehabilitated.

Bishop Bernard Fellay also said that he had disciplined the bishop who made the statement, British-born Richard Williamson, and ordered him not to speak out again on any political or historical issues.

Williamson’s remarks on the Holocaust, most recently on Swedish TV last week, provoked widespread criticism by Jews who said he had wiped out nearly half a century of dialogue with Catholics.

Now maybe I’m missing something here, but shouldn’t Fellay be apologizing to — oh, I don’t know, maybe the Jews and other racial minorities who were the main victims of the Holocaust?

And this is not just a case of Reuters leaving something out. This is the entire text of Fellay’s statement,

Statement of His Excellency Bernard Fellay, Superior of the Fraternity of St. Pius X

We have become aware of an interview released by Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of our Fraternity of St. Pius X, to Swedish television. In this interview, he expressed himself on historical questions, and in particular on the question of the genocide against the Jews carried out by the Nazis.

It’s clear that a Catholic bishop cannot speak with ecclesiastical authority except on questions that regard faith and morals. Our Fraternity does not claim any authority on other matters. Its mission is the propagation and restoration of authentic Catholic doctrine, expressed in the dogmas of the faith. It’s for this reason that we are known, accepted and respected in the entire world.

It’s with great sadness that we recognize the extent to which the violation of this mandate has done damage to our mission. The affirmations of Bishop Williamson do not reflect in any sense the position of our Fraternity. For this reason I have prohibited him, pending any new orders, from taking any public positions on political or historical questions.

We ask the forgiveness of the Supreme Pontiff, and of all people of good will, for the dramatic consequences of this act. Because we recognize how ill-advised these declarations were, we can only look with sadness at the way in which they have directly struck our Fraternity, discrediting its mission.

This is something we cannot accept, and we declare that we will continue to preach Catholic doctrine and to administer the sacraments of grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is not a “we’re sorry we tolerate such ignorance in our midsts” apology; rather this is a “we’re sorry we embarrassed the Pope so soon after he un-excommunicated us.”

Not surprising. Fellay’s Society of St. Pius X has long been riddled with antisemitism, but, of course, that is not why it was excommunicated. That action was taken because in 1988 Fellay was ordained by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (then head of the Society) against the wishes and permission of Pope John Paul II.

Obviously it wasn’t the anti-semitism that bothered the Church, or else they would never have rehabilitated the organization in the first place.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Anti-Semitism

Alexander Solzhenitsyn died yesterday at the age of 89. Much of the press coverage, obviously, focuses on Solzhenitsyn’s dissection of the Soviet Union. As Cathy Young once put it, “he probably deserves more credit than any other person for stripping away communism’s moral prestige among Western intellectuals.” On a personal note, reading The Gulag Archipelago was like a religious experience to me, and it may indeed be the best work of non-fiction of the 20th century as Time magazine once argued.

But as Young noted in the article I swiped that quote from above, there was a darker side to Solzhenitsyn that is being ignored by all the glowing obituaries and commentary, and that was his anti-Semitism,

Accusations of anti-Semitism are not new for Solzhenitsyn. Critics have long pointed to passages in The Gulag Archipelago that selectively list the Jewish last names of labor camp commandants. And Solzhenitsyn’s historical novel August 1914, published in English in 1972, emphasizes the Jewishness of Dmitry Bogrov, assassin of Russia’s reformist prime minister Pyotr Stolypin.

Solzhenitsyn has claimed that he was merely telling it like it was, but August 1914 embellishes history considerably: While Bogrov was a thoroughly assimilated revolutionary from a family of third-generation converts, Solzhenitsyn saddles him with a Jewish first name, Mordko (a diminutive of Mordecai), and the fictitious motive of trying to undermine the Russian state to help the Jews.

Then came the news that Solzhenitsyn was writing a major history of the Jews in Russia. The first volume of Dvesti let vmeste (Two Hundred Years Together), covering the period from 1795 to 1916, appeared in 2001; the second volume followed in 2003. According to Solzhenitsyn, the work was intended to give an objective and balanced account of Russian-Jewish relations: “I appeal to both sides — the Russians and the Jews — for patient mutual understanding and admission of their own share of sin.” This comment seems suspicious in itself, given that, for most of their history in Russia, Jews were victims of systematic oppression and violence. To talk about mutual guilt is a bit like asking blacks to accept their share of blame for Jim Crow.

Young describes how Western intellectuals tended to ignore or downplay Solzhenitsyn’s anti-Jewish statements, and Christopher Hitchens follows form in his obituary for Solzhenitsyn in Slate. But I think Young was on to something when she concluded her 2004 article thusly,

How to explain this leniency? Perhaps it is simply too painful to consider that the great moral beacon of the communist days might be tainted with bigotry. But while the writer’s role in Soviet-era history undoubtedly deserves respect, that does not require blindness to his flaws.

Solzhenitsyn’s anti-communism, it is increasingly clear, was never a defense of individual freedom. It was a defense of a different kind of collectivism: ethnic, religious, and traditionalist. This is far from the only time that such a mind-set — anti-secular, anti-modern, anti-individualist — has been linked to prejudice against those who don’t fit into the collective.