paranoid Jews? (was: RE: Michael Lerner bashing)

Max Sawicky sawicky at
Sat Jul 4 16:53:29 PDT 1998

I do think Joshua's note was overheated.

Francis said:
> privileges. But they did *not* have as many powerful and diverse groups
> who were their explicit supporters and allies.

The gaggle of U.S. groups lining up to register their support for Jewish causes (e.g., christian right, neo-cons, pols of all parties, etc.) may not be reflected in pre-1930 German society because the latter wasn't balkanized in the same way. My impression is that German Jewry was fully integrated into the highest rungs of society in all areas and was a larger component of the German nation than American Jews are.

> It is the lack of systematic oppression *plus* the powerful allies that,
> in my view, makes Jewish claims of victimization a bit hard for me to take
> seriously.

I agree there is not much in the way of victimization in the U.S. There are those unfortunate enough to be caught in European bombing episodes.

The security threats faced by Israel are another factor, though of course Israel has initiated and returned such threats in spades.

The bottom line for me is my fear that the layer of civility and democracy shielding modern (capitalist) society from outright barbarism may not be as thick as would be desired. For lack of such norms of civilization, such as they are, I don't doubt that there would be open season on Jews, among many others.

In this light, to be consistent with my skeptical view of nationalism, I should note that the implied issue is not danger to Jews per se, but peril for humanity. Those who exploit the Holocaust are part of the problem, rather than the solution. Those who particularize it excessively are ignoring the problem. It's unique and it isn't unique (e.g., one Jew, two opinions).


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