By Richard Edmondson
A week or so back when news was first breaking about hurricane victims in Texas being required to sign papers renouncing support for a boycott of Israel, a friend of mine commented, “To paraphrase a Limey war criminal’s famous words, ‘a heavy Iron Curtain adorned with 6-pointed stars is descending upon America.'”
It was an allusion to the famous 1946 speech by Winston Churchill in which he warned of an “iron curtain” descending across Europe under orders of Moscow. But my friend was also making reference to the fact that whenever and wherever Jews gain control of governments, walls and iron curtains seem invariably to go up–and that the wall presently surrounding the state of Israel and cutting across Palestinian land obviously has/had as its counterpart the iron curtain of the former Soviet Union which cut across central and eastern Europe.
There seems to be something deeply embedded in the Jewish psyche, or at least in the psyches of Jewish leaders, that compels the erection of walls, and we notice that often these walls seem designed at least as much to keep others out as to keep the Jews in. Consider the following. It is a trailer for a new documentary entitled “One of Us”–about the Hasidic Jewish community.
Note especially the words, “everybody who leaves–they end up in jail or in rehab”–and that the man who offers this observation comments that the society is essentially designed and rigged to produce this very result. You try to break free from the tribe, you pay a price.
The documentary seems to convey the impression that this problem is limited solely to the Hasidic community and that it does not apply to Jewish society as a whole. But is this actually the case?
While the coercion and intimidation may be worse in the Hasidic community, I’m inclined to believe that other Jews, even secular ones, experience this to some degree whenever trying to liberate themselves from tribal control and indoctrination. I’m of course reminded here of the case of South African jurist Richard Goldstone, who faced an enormous backlash after releasing a report finding Israel guilty of war crimes, so much so that the South African Jewish community threatened to picket his grandson’s bar mitzvah if he attempted to attend the ceremony. This would be the equivalent of a Christian being blocked from attending his own grandchild’s baptism or christening. Such a person–were a comparable situation conceivable–would end up being shunned in the wider community at large.
And I don’t think Goldstone’s situation is unique. Daring to tell the truth about Israel’s occupation can cause major rifts in Jewish families. I have another friend, born and raised in such a family, who went through such an experience herself and who is now estranged from her family due to her activism on behalf of Palestinian rights. The last communication she had with one of her relatives was an email received some years back which closed with the words, “regret writing to you at all.”
The “Holocaust” has of course been referred to as a “religion,” and if you choose to think of it this way, then you must also allow for the fact that Zionism and support for Israel are key components to this faith, as it were. Add to that the sense of “chosenness” (which in essence comes down to “self-worship” ), and what you end up with basically is, yes, a full-blown “religion”–defined as “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.”
Under such a system of belief, a Jew who advocates for Palestine can be thought of as a “heretic” and probably nothing more.
The sense of perpetual victimhood must also be factored into the equation, but is it possible that Jews themselves have been responsible for most of the outbreaks of anti-Semitism that have occurred over past millennia? This is the view put forth in the passage quoted below. Were the writer a Gentile, the opinion expressed of course would be easily dismissed, but since he’s Jewish perhaps more credence will be given it. The writer is Bernard Lazare, a French Jewish literary critic who lived in the latter part of the 19th century. Here is what he had to say on the matter:
Wherever the Jews settled after ceasing to be a nation ready to defend its liberty and independence, one observes the development of antisemitism, or rather anti-Judaism; for antisemitism is an ill chosen word, which has its raison d’etre only in our day, when it is sought to broaden this strife between the Jew and the Christians by supplying it with a philosophy and a metaphysical, rather than a material reason. If this hostility, this repugnance had been shown towards the Jews at one time or in one country only, it would be easy to account for the local causes of this sentiment. But this race has been the object of hatred with all the nations amidst whom it ever settled. Inasmuch as the enemies of the Jews belonged to divers races, as they dwelled far apart from one another, were ruled by different laws and governed by opposite principles; as they had not the same customs and differed in spirit from one another, so that they could not possibly judge alike of any subject, it must needs be that the general causes of antisemitism have always resided in Israel itself, and not in those who antagonized it.
Lazare also comments on the tendency by Jews to segregate themselves from others, something he traces back to ancient times and the belief that mosaic law must reign supreme over laws of nations such as Rome, coupled with views of other peoples as “contaminated,” and he also discusses the split that occurred between the Pharisees and the more Hellenized Jews.
In regards to that split, history tells us that of all the Israelite sects, it was the Pharisees alone who survived the revolts against Rome–the Pharisees, the sect so bitterly at odds with the teachings of Jesus and who propounded a system of “oral laws” that later came to be written down and known as the Talmud.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the concept of an “iron curtain” actually comes from the Talmud itself, specifically from the Tractate Sota 38b, which discusses a “mechitza shel barzel,” or an iron barrier or wall. A Wikipedia article includes a quote from the tractate: “Even an iron barrier cannot separate [the people of] Israel from their heavenly father.”
Churchill was not the first to apply the term to the Soviet Union. That honor goes to the Russian writer Vasily Rozanov, who in 1918 published a book entitled The Apocalypse of Our Time in which he opined:
With clanging, creaking, and squeaking, an iron curtain is lowering over Russian History. “The performance is over.” The audience got up. “Time to put on your fur coats and go home.” We looked around, but the fur coats and homes were missing.
We seem to see the same iron curtain lowering over American history now, with statues of historical figures smashed and vandalized in our city parks.
Recently I wrote and posted an article entitled Solzhenitsyn and the Jews in which I observed that the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917 was largely a Jewish operation. “Yes, there were non-Jews involved as well, but much like the situation we have today in America, Jews were disproportionately represented,” I noted. The article also included quotes from a little-known work by Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn entitled The Jews in the Soviet Union. At one point in the book, Solzhenitsyn states:
One finds them [Jews] at the top of the Comintern with Zinoviev, Radek and Manuilsky; the International of trade unions, the Profintern with Dridso-Losovsky; and the Komsomol [the communist youth organization] with Oscar Rivkin, then after him Lazarus Shatskin, who presided over the communist Youth International as well.
And he also writes:
Why was it that anyone who had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the Cheka [the early Soviet secret police] could count with high probability on standing before a Jewish investigator or being shot by a Jew?
It is certainly premature to suggest we are headed toward a future of Gentiles (or Jewish heretics) being shot by Jewish firing squads here in America, but on the other hand, people have found themselves astonished by the Israeli lobby’s power. There are glaring displays of it on an almost daily basis. And that power is not just in Washington or limited to effectuating wars fought by American soldiers on Israel’s behalf. Earlier this year it was reported that governors in all 50 states have endorsed a pledge to oppose the BDS movement. The most recent move in this regard was an executive order signed by the governor of Maryland on Monday of this week barring state contracts for any firm supporting a boycott of Israel.
“There is no place in our state for boycotts and threats,” said Governor Larry Hogan.
No place for “threats” other than threats against those supporting free speech, of course, and the right to boycott.
Hogan made the remarks at a press conference surrounded by leaders of pro-Israel groups and Jewish organizations. His executive order brings the number of states that have enacted some form of anti-BDS legislation up to around 22 or 23.
How much longer the Constitution or the First Amendment will remain relevant in US courts is anybody’s guess, but the iron curtain is descending, and anyone who can’t see the ominous direction in which all this is headed is totally asleep at the wheel.