Italy is glorious this time of year, with lush green grass covering valleys, with first figs breaking out, and cherry blossoms already being blown away by spring rains. I was there at a conference on Holocaust and the Middle East: the Gagged History, organised by the great Professor Claudio Moffa, a Paul Newman look-alike; a tall, lanky, noble-looking and blue-eyed Italian who excels in charging into one-way lanes the wrong way. His dislike for prohibitions is not limited to traffic signs: it seems it is enough to put a No Entry sign anywhere, even in some historical discussion, and the man will charge head on. He found the hottest and most tabooed part of European discourse and organised a conference, well attended by history professors, - from the Universities of Siena and Calabria, Torino and Napoli, Rome and Urbino, by writers and journalists from all over Italy, me being the only foreigner. The conference took place in Moffa’s university of Teramo, a charming, quaint medieval town in the Abruzzi Mountains, in the shade of Gran Sasso's snow peaks. Among many attendees and speakers I’d mention Prof Mauro Manno, whose articles you can find on my site, and Dr Tiberio Graziani, the editor of Eurasia Magazine. You can read about the conference, and the talks given there on Prof Moffa’s site http://www.mastermatteimedioriente.it/ , while here I offer you my talk:
By Israel Shamir
(A Talk given in Teramo University, Italy, at the Conference on Holocaust and the Middle East: the Gagged History, on April 18, 2007)
One should not be amazed that the gentle muse of history, Clio, finds herself gagged. History is not a peaceful collection of facts and trivia. History is a perpetual tug-of-war, for its re-writing may change the world. One can’t change the past, so goes the old adage, and it is true. But if we are dissatisfied with our present, we may change our understanding of past, and this will change our future. This has been known since time immemorial, and this is why history was given into custody of sacred keepers, to ensure the power structure and some continuity. Whoever controls the past determines the future. The subject of this conference deals exactly with this topic: we are dissatisfied with present, we turn to the past, and by re-assessing it we plan to influence future. If some parts of the historical narrative are strongly defended, or perverted outright, the more reason we have to attack it.
By no means is the Holocaust the only vigorously defended domain of history, where an offender may find himself in deep water. The old case of Jewish human sacrifices re-emerged recently in Italy, with the publication of Professor Ariel Toaff’s book, Passovers of Blood. As you may already know, Prof Toaff proved that some Jews accused of kidnapping and killing Christian children in the Middle Ages were actually guilty as charged. They were executed for brutal murder, and they weren’t victims of alleged Christian prejudice or primordial antisemitism. One may think it would be a reason for celebration: the criminals were not libelled but properly punished; justice was carried out, and modern Jews should be happy that the medieval anti-Jewish prejudice is but a myth, akin to the myth of Germans turning Jews into soap.
But the Jewish organisations were not happy at all. They attacked the Jewish Professor of Medieval Jewish studies in an Israeli University; the mentally tortured, almost crucified professor Toaff withdrew and destroyed the book (mercifully in our days it is not that easy, and the book can be read on the web on http://www.vho.org/aaargh/fran/livres7/pasque.pdf ), surrendered the small amount of money he got from the publisher to the Jewish inquisition of ADL, and was forced to a new act of repentance.
The Israeli parliament (Knesset) plans to send Dr Toaff to jail, others intend to sue him for all it is worth, and see that he dies a pauper and an outcast. Here in Italy, it is natural to compare Dr Toaff with Galileo, this great Italian scholar, who was persecuted for his scientific discovery, and preferred repentance to a fiery death.
But the actual achievement of Dr Toaff is best compared to that of his Italian Jewish colleague, Dr Carlo Ginzburg, the author of The Witches’ Sabbath. Ginzburg proved that the Friulians, that is people of Friuli, neighbours of Venice, were dabbling in Black Magic, growing out of its ancient fertility ritual. Toaff achieved a similar result for the Jews, that they were dabbling in Black Magic and that it grew out of their ancient cult of vengeance and salvation-through-blood. But the Friulians remained calm, while the Jews almost lynched the Professor, thus proving that the Friulians are open-minded folk that can look with mild curiosity at the misdeeds of their ancestors, while the Jews still cannot come to terms with their non-exclusivity, their non-Chosenness, and their non-sacrality.
Together with Dr Ginzburg, Dr Toaff had completed the process of reassessment of the Middle Ages which was well described by Mircea Eliade in his Occultism, Witchcraft, and Cultural Fashions. Eliade wrote: “Some 80 years ago, prominent scholars Joseph Hansen and Henry Charles Lee considered the black magic an invention of inquisition, not of the sorcerers. They considered the stories of witches’ Sabbath, of Satanist rites, orgies and crimes to be a whim of imagination or a result of torture-induced confessions. Now we know, - writes Eliade, - that black magic was not invented by inquisition”. Nor, we may add, the Jewish human sacrifices that were proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Toaff dealt with the case of Simon of Trent, a child ritually murdered by the Jewish black magicians. The guilt of a few Jews was established by the best court of law anybody could have those days, and the innocent Jews did not suffer more than innocent Muslims have suffered in the US after 9/11. Another case was that of Hugh of Lincoln, a child ritually murdered in 1255: out of 90 Jews detained in the aftermath of the crime, over 70 were released unharmed as their innocence was established, while those found guilty were hanged: hardly a case of “mob justice”!
In a blatant case of ethnic bias, the Jewish-edited Wikipedia described Hugh of Lincoln as “allegedly murdered”, while the proven accusation is termed “blood libel”. “Blood libel” is a standard definition of these cases, implying that always-innocent Jews were libelled by prejudiced Christians. But, if a moral lesson can be extracted from these old criminal cases, then it is that the European sense of justice and fairness invariably prevailed; while guilty Jews were punished, innocent Jews lived and prospered as the only non-Christian community in Europe.
Muslim justice was not worse, either: in an 1840 Damascus case, a Catholic friar was murdered by a few Jews who confessed to the crime and were punished. But this did not interfere with prosperity of their brethren, and Farkhi, a Jew of Acre, was considered the richest man in Syria after the affair as well. This case was investigated by the great Orientalist, Sir Richard Burton, the British consul in Damascus, who began as an avowed philosemite (“'Had I choice of race there is none to which I would more willingly have belonged than the Jewish”) but accepted the guilty verdict in this case, and wrote a full exposition of the affair. The London Jews paid good money to buy the Burton manuscript from his heirs, and it has never been published to this very day, being kept in the cellars of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. A British Jewish journalist Aaronovitch chided Syria for a Syrian minister daring to write about it; Aaronovitch never mentioned the Burton investigation, just exclaimed “blood libel” as if this explains everything.
Indeed, before there was the Holocaust, there was blood libel. When one reads Jewish and Judeophile pre-WWII texts, one notices that the place currently occupied by the Holocaust dogma in the Judeocentric universe was not vacant; it was taken by pogroms in Russia, by the Dreyfus trial, by the Inquisition, by the expulsion from Spain, by the destruction of the Temple and to a great extent by the “blood libel”. They carried the same message: they proclaimed eternal, unique, reasonless and baseless suffering of Jews caused by the irrational hate of Gentiles; they united and mobilized Jews against the Gentiles; they deflated some envy, hostility and distrust into pity, even engendering guilt feelings among the best of goyim.
The case of Dr Toaff may help our friends who are over-involved with the Holocaust narrative to see the point. I respect the dissidents/deniers for their going against the stream, but I do not share their enthusiasm. Yes, these tales of undeserved and unique suffering could be argued against on the factual grounds. This is what Dr Serge Thion did in connection to the Holocaust, noting that Elie Wiesel, the great narrator of Holocaust, preferred to stick to his Nazi persecutors rather than stay with his Russian liberators. This is what Dr Toaff and Sir Richard Burton did with respect to blood sacrifices, proving that the authorities’ response was measured and legitimate.
The Russian historian Kozhinov dealt with the Russian pogroms proving that more non-Jews than Jews were killed in these violent encounters. The greatest and the bloodiest pogrom, that of Kishinev, was described by Bialik, the national Jewish poet, as the greatest of massacres with blood flooding the streets, and in recent issue of Haaretz, an Israeli journalist wrote that “no one doubts the Russian nation's right to exist because Christians in Kishinev at the beginning of the 20th century stuck nails into the eyes of Jewish children.” However, as opposed to the cases of the Italian and English babies tortured to death by Jewish black magicians, the allegations of “nails into the eyes etc” were a flight of fantasy disproved almost instantly, while the total loss of life in Kishinev amounted to 45, a quarter of Deir Yassin, a month's harvest of the Intifada.
So all these stories of unprovoked suffering can be deconstructed, but why bother, if the only thing the producers of the narratives wish to convey is that Jews are unique and special, have suffered more than anybody else and that is why they are entitled to have their way, are the best there is, while whoever doubts it is obsessed by mystic antisemitism. These narratives are brought forth to wake Jewish fury against their alleged persecutors, c’est tout.
I take great dislike to these victimhood stories, and not only because they are factually weak. The victimhood stories are not the result, but a cause of suffering. Whenever these stories of unprovoked persecution are being delivered, have no doubt: their promoters are preparing a beastly atrocity of their own. Jews brandished the story of the holocaust and erased the peaceful Palestinian population in 1948. Armenians recited the story of their unique unprovoked suffering, and massacred innocent Azeri civilians in Qarabağ in 1991-94 war, sending hundreds thousands of refugees to Baku. Poles and Czechs inflamed by stories of their suffering under the Reich expelled millions of ethnic Germans from their ancestral lands, while Ukrainians who told the stories of their suffering in Rzecz Pospolita slaughtered the Poles of Volyn by the thousands.
National politics parallel gender politics, as it was outlined by Otto Weininger: thus, the feminists promoted a narrative of women’s suffering under their eternal male oppressor, and caused the breakdown of many families, the impoverishment of women and the emasculation of men. A narrative of this kind may be balanced by a counter-narrative. While it is true that men lead in physical violence, women are much more efficient in verbal aggression. The lashing tongue of Lady Macbeth was no less guilty than Macbeth’s piercing knife. Women do know how to provoke a man; and men respond – sometimes with a kiss, sometimes with a blow, sometimes with a bullet. Jose killed, but Carmen provoked. Despite the much promoted myth of the muscular Barb Wire type of girl, women are less successful when it comes to physical blows, so they tend to forbid physical violence but allow the verbal one and outlaw the very concept of provocation.
Coming back to the subject, if Turks killed, the Armenians provoked; and whenever there were actions against Jews they were caused by actions of Jews. Indeed, a through-and-through denier, I deny the very existence of antisemitism, the “irrational hate towards Jews”. It does not exist. Jewry was fought against, as every power, from Roman Catholic Church to Standard Oil Co was. Jews are not lambs, but quite an active factor of ideological and economic life. One may be for or against them. But “hate”? Surely not. Non-Jews have usually been fairer to Jews than the other way around. Even the “blood libel” turned out to be not a libel but a regular criminal case.
Were there anti-Jewish actions, in Europe and in the Middle East? Surely they were. But were they caused by “irrational hate”? Hate my foot! In 1911, the US government undid the mighty empire of John D. Rockefeller. Not being a Jew, Rockefeller could not claim it was due to antisemitism. He did not say that it was because they did not like his looks, race, breed, manners, or that’s divine punishment for his sins. They broke up the Standard Oil Company because it became too powerful. For the same good reason, Russian President Vladimir Putin broke up the oil company of his unruly oligarchs. Not because they were Jews, or because they supported democracy. Power creates the demand for a countering power, force calls for counterforce, and Jews were and are a power.
Jewry is stronger than the Catholic Church, as we learn from the fate of an Italian scientist we can compare Dr Toaff with. Yesterday, just off the main square, I saw a plaque commemorating Giordano Bruno, the martyr of science. It said: “He was killed by the Catholic Church, the enemy of science.” Go over hundreds of books, crawl all over Internet, you will read that the Church is guilty of this crime. You can say it freely, and nobody will scream at you hysterically: “ALL the Church? All billion of Catholics from Brazil to Poland are guilty? Shame on you! You are anti-Catholic!” Actually, the late Pope even apologised for it, as was his wont.
In vain you’ll look for a plaque commemorating a Jewish philosopher, scientist and sceptic Rabbi Samuel Ibn Zarza, the author of Miklal Yofi, who expressed his doubt about Creation, and was burned at the stake in Valencia – by order of the Jews. Now, I wait to hear the shout “All the Jews? Antisemite!” What, nobody says it? Good, we may proceed. In the Book of Lineage, a 15th century Jewish book I had pleasure of translating (into English), there is a gloss saying “When the Rabbis read ‘The year such and such since creation of the world’ this Zarza fellow placed his hand on his beard and alluded to the world’s pre-existence by holding the hairs of his beard. The Chief Rabbi Isaac Campanton stood up in his place and said, ‘Why is the bush not being burnt? Let the bush burn!’ (Zarza is a sort of bush in the Castilian; so this pun alludes to Exodus 3:3) The Rabbis led him to the tribunal and had him sentenced to death by burning for confessing pre-existence of the world.”
So there are two scientists, both burned, but one was sent to the stake by the Church, while another one by the Jews. If you go into the details, you can find even more similarities. Samuel Ibn Zarza was executed by the tribunal at the instigation of the Jews. There are some hints that the Jews were active behind the scenes in sending Giordano Bruno to his death as well, for he was strongly anti-Jewish. Giordano Bruno called the Jews 'such a pestilential, leprous, and publicly dangerous race that they deserved to be rooted out and destroyed even before their birth.' (Giordano Bruno, Spacio della Bestis Trionfante (1584). This opinion contributed to his execution, for even then, the Jews could access the authorities’ ears, and there were always enough officials ready to follow their orders. But in the case of Bruno, there are no visible traces, thus his case remains known, while the case of Samuel Ibn Zarza is forgotten or denied.
If you open the Jewish-edited Wikipedia, you’ll read: “though Samuel Shalom (a 16th century Jewish sage) states that Zarza was burned at the stake by the tribunal of Valencia on the denunciation of Rabbi Isaac Campanton, who accused him of denying the creation of the world, historians have proved this assertion a mere legend.” Thus, the Jewish history-making and vetting Ministry of Truth still can decide and rule what happened and what was and remains a “mere legend”. The Catholic Church can’t even dream of such power.
Can one quantify Jewish power? Some months ago, the British weekly Economist published an unusual map of the world: a country’s territory was represented in proportion to its GNP. This is a revealing map: India was smaller than Holland, all of Latin America was only as big as Italy; Israel was bigger than all its Arab neighbours. This map was not exactly the map of power: in order to draw the true map of the world one should consider other parameters as well: gun power, nuclear and conventional capability, discursive influence connected with output of films, books, newspapers, university cathedras, international positions. On such a power map, Jewry would look impressive enough. The Jews are an important power in the world we live in. It is a first-rate power, stronger than the Catholic Church, surely stronger than Italy or any single European state, stronger than Shell and Agip or any trans-national corporation.
In space studies, there is a phenomenon called the black hole: a very dense and heavy star changes the geometry of surrounding space, and rays of light can’t escape the gravitation trap it creates. Such a black hole star is invisible because it is very powerful. Likewise, Jewry is a black hole. It is so powerful that it is not seen. One is not allowed to see it. This is the strongest taboo of our day. The famous “tail wags the dog” discussion about the Jewish Lobby in the US, is an attempt to go around the taboo without actually breaking it. For sure, a small Middle Eastern country called Israel can’t possibly “wag the US dog”. The Israel Lobby of AIPAC and sundry can’t influence much, despite its efforts. But the Israel Lobby and the state of Israel are perceived as manifestations of the Black hole, of the great unmentionable: of Jewry.
In a recent debate between James Petras and Norman Finkelstein, Dr Petras comes very close to real thing as he describes the pro-Israel lobby as “a whole string of pro-Zionist think tanks from the American Enterprise Institute on down, and … a whole power configuration, which not only involves AIPAC, but also the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, which number 52… and individuals occupying crucial positions in the government (Elliott Abrams and Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and others), … the army of op-ed writers who have access to the major newspapers… the super-rich contributors to the Democratic Party, Media moguls with the leverage in Congress and in the Executive”. It is not a lobby, it is Jewry.
Why is Jewry so powerful now? In my book, Pardes, I give an explanation: historically an alternative church, Jewry had a traditional enemy in the Apostolic church. When the Roman Catholic church’s hold was broken, the alternative one spurted forth. But if this explanation is too complicated, or unacceptable to strict materialists, one can translate it into dollars and pounds.
Recently, Jewish pundit
rose in defence of American
sportsman Richardson who was suspended for saying that the Jews
are powerful and crafty. He said: “The Jews have got the best
security system in the world. Have you ever been to an airport
in Tel Aviv? They're real crafty. Listen, they are hated all
over the world, so they've got to be crafty. They got a lot of
power in this world, you know what I mean? Which I think is
great. I don't think there's nothing wrong with it. If you look
in most professional sports, they're run by Jewish people. If
you look at a lot of most successful corporations and stuff,
more businesses, they're run by Jewish [sic]. It's not a knock,
but they are some crafty people."
Chafets retorted: “Excuse me, but Richardson didn't say anything offensive. In fact, Jews, as a people, are smart, in my experience. And they're proud of it (especially the dumb ones). What other hurtful things did Richardson supposedly say? That Israel has the best airport security in the world? This is both true and something Israel itself brags about. That Jews are hated and need to protect themselves? That's the founding premise of the Anti-Defamation League itself. Sure, Richardson exaggerates when he says that Jews own most sports teams. As far as I can tell, Jews (about 1% of the population) only own about half the teams in the NBA (and a pretty fair proportion in baseball and football too). So what? As to the observation that Jews run a lot of successful businesses, no kidding. Jews are very likely the most economically successful ethnic group in the U.S. What's the matter with that?”
This question (“What's the matter with that?”) was answered by David C. Johnston in the New York Times. He wrote: “Income inequality [in the US] grew significantly in 2005, with the top 1 percent of Americans - those with incomes that year of more than $348,000 - receiving their largest share of national income since 1928, analysis of newly released tax data shows. The new data also shows that the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. Per person, the top group received 440 times as much as the average person in the bottom half earned, nearly doubling the gap from 1980.”
A question Johnston does not answer (nor even posits) is: out of “the top 300,000 Americans who collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans” how many belong to “the most economically successful ethnic group in the U.S”? Isn’t it to be expected that – in absence of a national church or other non-economical limiters - their influence on the US politics would be roughly proportional to their joint income?
“Democracy” is an ideal political system where each person has one vote and all votes are equal. This ideal can hardly be realised even in the absence of economic inequality, for there are more and less influential people by their very abilities. In the conditions described by Johnston, when one member of elite has the income of 500 ordinary people, democracy is severely undermined. But this ideal is betrayed outright if these elite people own mass media and thus have an ability to shape the world view of others. If these media lords pool their resources as happens in the US, democracy loses its meaning. I agree wholeheartedly with Frau Merkel who said: “A free press is the cornerstone of our society and the basis for all freedoms." But I can’t even guess why she considers the press as being free if it is owned by Jewish and Judeophile media lords, like Alfred Neven DuMont, owner of one of Germany's oldest publishing houses and part-owner of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, (she spoke at his birthday party) or your own Berlusconi? Why is this press freer than a state-controlled press, as in Putin’s Russia? A State can anyway claim to represent all its citizens.
Why do I stress “Jewish and Judeophile media lords”? Surely “media lords” would suffice? Not really. A DuMont-owned Haaretz may run a piece called Confessions of an anti-German racist, but a DuMont-owned German newspaper would never run a piece by a man who dislikes Jews. Judeophilia integrates the media lords and their holdings into one totalitarian machine, like Communist ideology integrated all Soviet media into one totalitarian (and boring) device. This comparison may be developed: in the US and in the West in general, Jewry occupies the controlling heights once kept by the Communist Party in the USSR: practically unmentioned in the Constitution, formally not a part of state apparatus, this opaque body controls all processes and is not controlled by external forces. Joe Public is not represented at the board of Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, just as Ivan Publicoff was not represented in the Politburo.
Once, this position was occupied by the Church. Anticlerical campaigns consumed much of people’s energy and thought in the end of 19th and beginning of 20th century. The major complaint was that the church controlled society, but was not controlled by society. The Communist party in Russia (or the fascist one in your country, with all the difference recognized and acknowledged) faced the same complaint. Now is the time to address the latest usurper, for the majority did not appoint Jewry to guide and control its thinking process. The excessive influence of Jewry is an indicator of lack of democracy: in a truly democratic country, Jewry would have an influence proportional to its numbers. But history is not over yet, and freedom can be ushered in by sending Jewry the way the Church and the Party went, i.e. into a modest niche of our dynamic society.
Holocaust revisionists believe that the Jewish power will collapse if the Holocaust narrative is undermined. They believe that “Jewish power is founded upon the lie”. I disagree. The power of Jewry is quite real, it is based on money, ideology and everything a power could be established upon. This real power could and should be undone, and then the Holocaust narrative will be of no interest to anyone but the next-of-kin.
Led by love of freedom and by compassion, this solution will be good for individual Jews. What is the position of an individual Jew versus Jewry? It is the same as of an individual Party member versus the Party. In the last days of the Soviet Union, there were 16 million Party members; it was profitable to be a member; but when the Party membership ceased to bring benefits, the membership shrunk down to a few hundred thousand. See it not as a tragedy: yesterday’s Communists regained freedom. Some of them (like Yeltsin) became anticommunists, others dropped politics and went into faith, or trade, or business. Those that remained Communists do not regret the collapse either: they parted with hypocrites and do not have to try and please millions of petit bourgeois; they may proclaim their true belief.
Likewise, undoing of Jewry by bringing its influence into proportion to its numbers will cause mass ideological exodus. Out of 16 million Jews, probably a few hundred thousand believers will remain faithful to the Mosaic Law and to Talmud and Cabbala study (God bless them!), while the rest will find other interests and allegiances (God bless them, too). All of them will be grateful to dissidents like Dr Toaff who buried the myth of antisemitism and helped them to regain freedom.
Can’t they be free within this framework of Jewry? In the 1970s-80s, a similar discussion went on regarding freedom and pluralism within the Communist Party. Eventually, it did not work out. Jewry is not less monolithic than the Party, it also allows for some spread of opinions, but the spread is not wide enough. On the right end, there is Gilad Sharon, who wants to strip non-Jews of their Israeli citizenship, on the left end, there is Uri Avnery, who actually proposes the same. We may and should help Jews to regain freedom, like the Party members, and before them, Church attendees, were helped to recover their freedom of choice.