I have generally found myself agreeing with Jacob Neusner in his articles for Chronicles. I must, however, question his interpretation (“Haters and Self-Haters,” October 1996) of the “Anti-Jewists” excoriated by Edward Alexander in The Jewish Wars: Reflections by One of the Belligerents. The phenomenon of a people “so emotionally and mentally twisted” as to despise their own brethren and hold their defenders to a higher standard of behavior than their enemies is commonplace in the West. The history of conflicts between Westerners and the Third World since 1945 provides many examples of this pathology. If anything, Israel has suffered less than have other Western states. Jewish self-hatred is only a minor variant of the phenomenon of white self-hatred.
Let us merely compare the horror expressed by Western and Israeli liberals over the Lod Airport massacre and the various hijackings with the absence of any response (save joy) over the downing of two Rhodesian Viscount airliners by Nkomo’s guerrillas. The threat by Arafat and others to “drive the Jews into the sea” has been rightly denounced even by “self-haters” such as Michael Lerner, However, the 1.3 million European colonists in Algeria, people who actually suffered the fate threatened for the Jews, have received little pity, even from the right, in France or anywhere else. As Ionesco wrote: “They never show us how the Algerians put out the eyes of French children, that’s not done”; rather French playwrights invited their countrymen to condemn the sins of the White Man.
The examples are endless: one Somali is killed and the entire Canadian Airborne Regiment is disbanded. Even against white enemies Western armies are held to a ridiculously unwarlike standard. On “Bloody Sunday,” 12 Irish Catholics (all adult males) were killed by British paras; the British government was thrown into panic and the army was excoriated by the media. The Israeli establishment was rather more thick-skinned in its response to civilian casualties in the Intifada.
Recently, Mr. David Geffen, the personification of both the Jewish left and the American media elite, hosted a dinner in honor of General Ariel Sharon. Can one imagine a similar fete for General Westmoreland (let alone Generals Challe or Salan) from such a source? Indeed, to see the comparatively benign view of Israel held by the Western intelligentsia we need only recall the response of the mainstream media to the invasion of Israel in 1973 and their rather less melodramatic treatment of the invasion of South Vietnam in 1975.
It may be in particularly poor taste to compare Jews with the Nazis. However, one might wish that American, British, French, Rhodesian, and South African soldiers who actually fought the Nazis would be spared the comparison as well. Of course, this has not been the case. Professor Neusner is mistaking an epiphenomenon of Western self-hatred for a unique Jewish malady. If Jewish communities suffered from a self-loathing comparable to that of France in the 1960’s or white America today, there would be no Jewish state. Both Professor Neusner and Professor Alexander should contemplate this before attacking Pat Buchanan. Mr. Buchanan has American wars to fight before he can concern himself with Jewish ones. However, a good first step for Zionists seeking the sympathy of American paleoconservatives would be to recognize a commonality of interests. A white American living in the Southwest today is as much under siege as a Jewish settler on the West Bank. If American supporters of Israel acknowledged this fact, I’m sure they would find the attitude of Mr. Buchanan and his supporters greatly changed in their favor.