The Holocaust Historiography Project

Book review

Why The Goyim?

  • Why The Jews? The Reason For Antisemitism, by Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983, 238pp, $14.95, ISBN 0-671-45270-3.

reviewed by L. A. Rollins

“Jews have suffered, and Christians have suffered. Mankind has suffered. There is no group with a monopoly on suffering, and no human beings which have experienced hate and hostility more than any other. I must say, however, that it is my impression that Jewish history has been taught with a whine and a whimper rather than with a straight-forward acknowledgment that man practices his inhumanity on his fellow human beings …”

Rabbi Richard E. Singer, Highland Park, Illinois, Lakeside Congregation. Quoted by Alfred Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection. (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1978), p. 401.

In Why the Jews?, Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin perform a disingenuous duet of whining and whimpering. The basic premise of the book, which I dispute, is that (p. 17) “Hatred of the Jew has been humanity’s great hatred. While hatred of other groups has always existed, no hatred has been as universal, as deep or as permanent as antisemitism.”

But all of Prager and Telushkins' arguments in support of their assertion of the “uniqueness” of Jew-hatred are rendered at best inconclusive by a fundamental defect in their discussion. This defect is their failure to acknowledge the reality of another form of hatred that has been as universal, deep and permanent as Jew-hatred. I'm talking about Goy-hatred.

Space limitations preclude my documenting the phenomenon of Goy-hatred in the detail that I would like to. So interested readers are referred to my book A History of Anti-Gentilism, forthcoming from Random House — when Hell freezes over. But right now I will quote just one piece of Jewish testimony concerning Goy-hatred. Writing under the name “Avner,” a former member of LEHI, also known as the Stern Gang, a Jewish terrorist organization in Mandatory Palestine, described his joining the group:

Tsfoni handed us each a heavy revolver and said in a harsh voice which immediately acquainted us with the spirit of the adventure we were embarking on:

“No pity for the Goys.”

I experienced an inner surge of emotion.

It was years since I had heard this word. It was never used in the kibboutz because there was no place for it in Marxist terminology. For the European Jew, the term is not necessarily one of abuse. It is the way in which it is said which gives it its character. For the Lehi, on the other hand, an Englishman would always be a filthy Goy, who could be killed for this reason alone, but if one in particular was necessary — the Polish pogrom and the Hitler camps. Later, I saw this biological hatred appear in the course of operations, as in the case of the eighteen-year-old Sabra who, after having fired a burst of submachinegun fire point-blank at a policeman, instead of running away, lingered a long while battering the already cooling body with the butt of his weapon. (Memoirs of an Assassin: Confessions of a Stern Gang Killer [New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1959], p. 78.)

In the course of this review, I will present some additional evidence of the existence of Goy-hatred throughout Jewish history.

Their failure to acknowledge the reality of Goy-hatred is not the only defect in Prager and Telushkins' discussion of the alleged uniqueness of Jew-hatred. Another defect is their penchant for magnifying the extent of Jew-hatred by promiscuously labeling as Jew-hatred (or “antisemitism"} any opinion concerning Jews that they find troublesome, and by endorsing false or exaggerated Jewish accusations against the Goyim.

As an example of their promiscuous use of the “antisemitism” label, consider this statement (p. 17), intended to illustrate the allegedly unique nature of Jew-hatred: “Jews who live in non-Jewish societies have been accused of having dual loyalties, and Jews who live in the Jewish state have been condemned as 'racists.' “ But inasmuch as it is true that some Jews who live in “non-Jewish” societies do have dual loyalties, and some Jews who live in the Jewish state are racists, saying so does not necessarily indicate Jew-hatred.

Prager and Telushkins' endorsement of false or exaggerated Jewish accusations against the Goyim is well illustrated by their discussion (pp. 18-19) of various alleged attempts to annihilate the Jewish people:

The basic source of ancient Jewish history, the Bible, depicts two attempts to destroy the Jewish people, the attempt by Pharaoh and the Egyptians (Exodus 1:15-22) and that of Haman and the Persians (Book of Esther). While it is true that the historicity of these biblical accounts has not been proven or disproven by nonbiblical sources, few would dispute the supposition that in ancient times attempts were made to destroy the Jews. Indeed the first record reference to Jews in non-Jewish sources, the Mernephta stele, written by an Egyptian king about 1220 B.C.E., states “Israel is no more.” Jewish writings from the earliest times until the present are replete with references to attempts by non-Jews to destroy the Jewish people. Psalms 83:5 describes the enemies of the Jews as proponents of genocide: “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the Name of Israel may no more be remembered.” Just how precarious Jews have viewed, their survival is reflected in a statement from the ancient and still recited Passover Haggadah: “In every generation they rise against us in order to annihilate us.”

On two occasions in the last 350 years annihilation campaigns have been waged against the Jews: the Chmelnitzky massacres in Eastern Europe in 1648-49, and the Nazi destruction of Jews throughout Europe between 1939-1945.

… In both instances all Jews, including infants, were targeted for murder; the general populaces nearly always joined in the attacks; and the torture and degradation of Jews were an integral part of the murderers' procedures.

Contrary to Prager and Telushkin, nonbiblical sources do disprove the historicity of the biblical account of Haman’s alleged plot to annihilate the Jews of Persia. Theodore H. Gaster, a scholar of religions and civilizations of the Near East, has written:

Scholars have long since pointed out that the story of Esther, as related in the Bible, is simply a piece of romantic fiction and cannot possibly represent historical fact. None of the Persian kings called Xerxes had a wife named Esther, and none had a vizier named Haman. What is more, the whole story of Ahasuerus' marrying a Jewish maiden is factually preposterous, for we happen to know from the Greek historian Herodotus and from other sources that the Persian king was permitted to marry only into one of the seven leading families of the realm, and the pedigree of the bride was therefore submitted to the most searching examination. (Festivals of the Jewish Year: A Modern Interpretation and Guide, 2nd printing [New York: William Morrow, 1972], pp. 215-216.)

(Parenthetically I will point out that if, as Prager and Telushkin claim, biblical accounts of attempts to destroy the Jewish people are evidence of the depth of Jew-hatred, then, by the same token, the biblical account (Book of Joshua) of how “the children of Israel,” led by Joshua, “utterly destroyed” the inhabitants of Jericho, Ai, Makedah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, Debir and Hazor must be evidence of the depth of Goy-hatred. Maybe that is why Prager and Telushkin do not mention Joshua or his perhaps mythical massacres.)

The Chmelnitzky massacres of the 1640s did, in fact, occur, with Poles and Germans among the victims, not only Jews. But, contrary to Prager and Telushkin’s claim that “… all Jews, including infants, were targeted for murder…,” Paul E. Grosser and Edwin G. Halperin have said:

The roving bands of [Cossack] rebels allowed only those who converted to the Greek Orthodox faith to survive. Jews living in the Kiev area fled to the Tatar camps and surrendered. (As a rule the Tartars refrained from killing them but rather sold them into slavery in Turkey where there was an excellent chance of being purchased by their Turkish coreligionists.) (Anti-Semitism: The Causes and Effects of a Prejudice [Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press. 1979], p. 180.)

Prager and Telushkin’s claim that “… all Jews, including infants, were targeted for murder…” during “the Nazi Holocaust” has been convincingly disputed by a number of writers. Rather than open up that particular subject in this review, I will refer readers especially to the works on this question by Arthur Butz and Robert Faurisson. [note 1]

At least some of the five alleged attempts to annihilate the Jewish people specifically mentioned by Prager and Telushkin are totally or partially fictional. But even if all five were completely factual, that would not make true the Passover Haggadah’s defamatory accusation against the Goyim: “In every generation they rise against us in order to annihilate us.”

Why, then, do Prager and Telushkin cite the Passover Haggadah’s defamation of the Goyim as evidence of the depth of Jew-hatred, when, if it is evidence of anything, it must be evidence of Goy-hatred? After all, they treat false and defamatory accusations against the Jews as evidence of Jew-hatred. But by the same token, false and defamatory accusations against the Goyim can with equal justification be viewed as evidence of Goy-hatred. So if Prager and Telushkin are right to interpret anti-Jewish libels as evidence of Jew-hatred, then their own endorsement of various anti-Gentile libels must be evidence of their own virulent, violent Goy-hatred.

The main point of Why the Jews? is to present Prager and Telushkins' explanation of Jew-hatred. They reject various explanations that have been proposed, including (p. 20) “economic factors, the need for scapegoats, ethnic hatred, xenophobia, resentment of Jewish affluence and professional success, and religious bigotry.” They assert that none of these things provides an ultimate or universal explanation of Jew-hatred. And they assume there must be such an ultimate, universal explanation. Why must there be? They say (p. 21): “Antisemitism has existed too long and in too many disparate cultures to ignore the problem of ultimate cause and/or to claim that new or indigenous factors are responsible every time it erupts.” But to deny that there is any ultimate, universal cause of Jew-hatred is not necessarily to imply that “new and indigenous factors are responsible every time it erupts.” To prove their point, Prager and Telushkin must prove that new and indigenous factors are never responsible for Jew- hatred. This they have not done.

Nevertheless, Prager and Telushkin proceed to endorse “the age-old Jewish understanding of antisemitism,” which they express (ibid.) thusly: “Throughout their history Jews have regarded Jew-hatred as an inevitable consequence of their Jewishness.” Or, as they also put it (p. 22): “The ultimate cause of antisemitism is that which made Jews Jewish — Judaism.” But if, as they assert, Judaism is the cause of Jew-hatred, then what (or who) is the cause of Judaism?

In any case, Prager and Telushkin specify (pp. 22-23) four reasons why Judaism has caused Jew-hatred: 1) the Jews' allegiance to “God, Torah, and Israel” has been regarded by “non-Jews (often correctly) as challenging the validity of the non-Jews' god(s), law(s), and/or national allegiance"; 2) the Jewish mission “to perfect the world under the rule of God” and the Jews' consequent practice of making “moral” demands upon others “has constantly been a source of tension between Jews and non-Jews"; 3) Judaism has also held from the earliest time that the Jews were chosen by God to achieve the mission of perfecting the world"; and 4) “As a result of the Jews' commitment to Judaism, they have led higher quality lives than their non-Jewish neighbors in almost every society in which they have lived,” a fact which “has challenged non-Jews and provoked profound envy and hostility.” “For these reasons,” say Prager and Telushkin (p. 24), “Jews have always seen antisemitism as the somewhat inevitable and often quite rational, though of course immoral, response to Judaism.”

In Chapter Two, “Antisemitism: The Hatred of Judaism and Its Challenge,” Prager and Telushkin elaborate upon the first two of the four reasons why, they say, Judaism causes Jew-hatred. They state (p. 27): “Judaism consists of three components: God, Torah (laws and teachings), and Israel (Jewish nationhood). Throughout Jewish history, the Jews' affirmation of one or more of these components has challenged, often threatened, the gods, laws, and nationalism of non-Jews among whom the Jews have lived.”

Jewish monotheism has challenged the validity of worshipping any god but Yahweh. As Prager and Telushkin explain (pp. 27-28):

In the ancient world, every nation but the Jews worshiped its own gods and acknowledged the legitimacy of others' gods. The Jews declared that the gods of the non-Jews were nonsense: “They have mouths but cannot speak, eyes but cannot see, ears but cannot hear…” (Psalms 115:5-6). There is but one God and He had reveal ed himself to mankind through the Jews. One need not be a theologian or historian to understand why these doctrines bred massive anti-Jewish resentment.

True enough. But Prager and Telushkin seem to overlook something. While Jewish monotheism challenges the legitimacy of any god but Yahweh, every other form of religion (and every form of irreligion) similarly challenges the legitimacy of Jewish monotheism. While Goyim have felt their religions threatened by Judaism, Jews have also felt Judaism threatened by other religions (or irreligions). Just as Goyim have hated Jews for this reason, so have Jews hated Goyim. Prager and Telushkin cite (p. 105) as a manifestation of Jew-hatred a ruling of the Synod of Elvira in 306 A.D. that Jews and Christians were not permitted to eat together. But in an interview in The Jerusalem Post International Edition (26 February-3 March 1984, p. 22), the Sephardic and Ashkenazic Chief Rabbis of Israel, discussing Christian missionaries, “… stressed that it was forbidden for Jews to have anything to do with such people.” And the Chief Rabbis' stated attitude is relatively moderate. According to Norman Kempster, in the Los Angeles Times (18 March 1984, p. 1), “Amid the religious graffiti covering the walls of Mea Shearim, the home neighborhood of Israel’s most militantly Orthodox Jews, someone has plastered dozens of copies of a handbill with the jarring message: 'Death to the Missionaries.' “ Kempster also reports: “Within the last six months, the meeting place of a Christian congregation in Jerusalem was set on fire and Christian worshippers by the Sea of Galilee were showered with stones, including a potentially lethal seven pound chunk of concrete that injured a woman seriously enough to send her to a hospital.” All of which is further evidence that Prager and Telushkins' whining and whimpering about the alleged uniqueness of Jew-hatred is simply so much kosher baloney.

According to Yrager and Telushkin, the Jews, via their “ethical monotheism,” have challenged the values of their neighbors. They quote (p. 28) the Reverend Edward H. Flannery: “It was Judaism that brought the concept of a God-given universal moral law into the world …” But, they say (ibid.), “The world to which the Jews have introduced God and His moral demands has always resented this challenge.” And they conclude (ibid.): “A basic element of anti-semitism is, therefore, a rebellion against the thou shalts and thou shalt nots introduced by the Jews in the name of a supreme moral authority.”

Though Prager and Telushkin have provided no proof of this, there may be some truth to it. Perhaps some Goyim do resent the challenge of Jewish “morality.” But in any case, some Goyim do not resent it. They simply reject it as a hoax, a camouflage for the advancement of Jewish interests. And such “amoralism” need not mean hatred of Jews. It may simply mean a refusal to be manipulated by Jewish moralizers such as Prager and Telushkin.

Prager and Telushkin discuss resentment of Jewish “morality.” They do not discuss resentment of Jewish “immorality.” The Ten Commandments include the commandment that thou shalt not steal. But have Jews always felt bound by this commandment in their relations with Goyim? In The Jerusalem Post International Edition (25-31 March 1984, p. 14), Dr. Reuven Hammer, of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, writes: “When the Romans complained to Rabban Gamaliel that Jewish law was most praiseworthy except for the fact that it permitted theft from non-Jews, he promptly made an enactment forbidding it.” Thus, prior to Gamliel’s amendment, the prohibition against stealing was interpreted so as to allow stealing from Goyim. It is only natural that Goyim would have resented such “immorality” towards them.

This may have been one reason why some Romans accused the Jews of hating mankind. Prager and Telushkin mention this pagan “antisemitic” allegation a number of times, but they never deign to refute it. Nor do they ever mention that Jewish law once permitted theft from Goyim. Why, though, did Jewish law allow this, if not due to hatred of the Goyim?

According to Prager and Telushkin, Jews constitute not only a religion, but also a nation. Although attempts have been made to eliminate nationhood from Judaism, they insist (pp. 35-36) that “Judaism cannot survive without nationhood, since without this component it is by definition not Judaism but a new religion.” And, for some reason, they assume that Judaism (as defined by them) must survive rather than be replaced by any such new religion.

Jewish nationhood, however, renders the patriotism of Jews outside Israel suspect in the eyes of their neighbors. But Prager and Telushkin say that such suspicions are unfounded. They deny (pp. 38-39) that Jews outside Israel have a “dual loyalty": “Jews who affirm the national component of Judaism, both in fact and Jewish legal obligation (dina dimalkhuta dina, the law of the land is the law according to the Talmud) live as every other good citizen in accordance with the constitution and laws of the country in which they reside, presuming, of course, that the government is not a dictatorship and does not pass immoral laws.”

But, as a matter of “fact,” this is mere assertion. Prager and Telushkin make no attempt whatever to refute any of the specific allegations about “dual loyalty” that have been made by anti-Zionists, in some cases Jewish anti-Zionists. (See, for example, “Dual Loyalty,” Chapter Four of Alfred Lilienthal’s The Other Side of the Coin [New York: Devin-Adair, 1965].)

As to the matter of “Jewish legal obligation,” Prager and Telushkins' qualification creates a loophole wider than the Mississippi River. Specifically what sort of laws would they consider “immoral"? Who knows? Within the pages of their book, “morality” and “immorality” are completely nebulous terms, with no clear-cut meaning.

Chapter Three is devoted to “The Chosen People Idea as a Cause of Antisemitism.” Prager and Telushkin assert that the Jewish belief that they are “the Chosen People” has caused anti-Jewish feelings ever since Goyim became aware of it. They say (p. 42):

“Reactions to the Jewish belief in chosenness have been often so negative that some Jews have actually called for elimination of this belief from Judaism …” But they insist that “chosenness is an integral belief of Judaism” and proceed to “explain” (p. 43) the belief in order to give their readers “a proper understanding of the doctrine.”

Jewish chosenness has always meant that Jews have believed themselves chosen by God to spread ethical monotheism to the world and to live as a moral “light unto the nations” (Isaiah 49:6). All other meanings imputed to Jewish chosenness are non-Jewish.

The Hebrew Bible, where the concept originates in its entirety, neither states nor implies that chosenness means Jewish superiority or privilege.

Apparently the following passage in my King James Version of the Bible is a mistranslation:

The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.

And all people of the earth shall see that thou are called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.

And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.

The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heavens to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thy hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.

And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou shalt hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe them and to do them… (Deuteronomy 28:9-13)

Of course, there are other passages of a similar nature in the Bible. And the Bible is not the only Jewish source in which Jewish chosenness has meant superiority or privilege. In “Meta-Myth: The Diaspora and Israel,” Rabbi Jacob B. Agus has written:

It is axiomatic in Kabbalistic writings that the higher souls of Jewish people are derived from the divine pleroma — the realm of Sefirot — whereas the souls of all other nations are derived from the “shells.” Rabbi Hayim Vital does not exempt converts from this rule (Aitz Hayim 7, 10, 7) (Aitz Hadaat, Bemidbar). The “Tanya” of Rav Sheneur Zalman was written for the general public. Its view of Gentile souls is in Chapter 6. The Zohar follows the same line, save that in the Midrash Haneelam, we note a certain effort to account for this difference. Before Adam sinned, he possessed the higher soul; after his sin, only his animal soul remained. Thereafter, the divine soul comes only to those who are preoccupied with Torah, entering the body of the Jewish male at age 13 (Zohar Hodosh, Bereshit 18b-19a, Midrash Hane'elam). (Etan Levine [ed.], Diaspora: Exile and the Jewish Condition [New York: Jason Aronson, 1983], p. 139.)

So much for Prager and Telushkins' insistence (p. 203) that, historically, “The Jews saw their superiority as an existential fact, not a theological premise …” In fact, to this very day some Jews continue to hold the views mentioned by Rabbi Agus. This very day, it so happens, I received the 30 March 1984 issue of the B'nai B'rith Messenger, in which columnist Gershon Winkler criticizes such views. Winkler’s column, entitled “The Goy,” begins: “I've heard this once too often: If a shopkeeper unknowingly gives you back too much change for your purchase, you must return the money to him only if he is Jewish. This, too, I've heard once too often: A non-Jew has an 'animal' soul, not a 'Godly' soul like that of a Jew.”

To judge from Prager and Telushkins' discussion of Jewish chosenness, the “ethical monotheism” that they espouse does not require them to tell the truth. Or perhaps “God” simply made a mistake in choosing Prager and Telushkin to be a light unto the nations?

Why the Jews? is more than an exercise in whining and whimpering; it also contains its share of bragging and boasting. Thus, Chapter Four concerns “The Higher Quality of Jewish Life as a Cause of Anti-semitism.” According to Prager and Telushkin (p. 46), “In nearly every society in which Jews have lived for the past two thousand years, they have been better educated, more sober, more charitable with one another, committed far fewer violent crimes, and had a considerably more stable family life than their non-Jewish neighbors.”

There may be a good deal of truth in these claims, but even so I dispute the assumption that this means that (p. 47) “… Jews generally have led higher quality lives…” Prager and Telushkin go so far as to assert (p. 56) that “The higher quality of Jewish life is objectively verifiable.” But at best they have objectively verified only that Jewish life has generally been of higher quality in terms of a handful of specific criteria of evaluation. And these particular criteria are not the only ones by which the quality of a life, or a peoples' collective life, may be evaluated. Jews may have generally been more sober, but have they generally had more fun? Jews may have generally committed far fewer violent crimes, but have they generally committed fewer non-violent crimes, such as fraud and embezzlement? Perhaps Jews have generally been better educated, but have they generally been more physically fit, healthier or more athletically accomplished? If Prager and Telushkin wish to demonstrate the objectively higher quality of Jewish life, then they must demonstrate the higher quality of Jewish life in every respect.

In proclaiming the higher quality of Jewish life, Prager and Telushkin focus on certain positive aspects of Jewish life, never acknowledging that they might have any negative aspects to complicate the simple picture painted. This despite the fact that their book is largely devoted to whining and whimpering about how Judaism has caused Jews to be victims of the greatest hatred in history, almost always suffering from discrimination, persecution, violence, murder or annihilation campaigns, and so on. But if, as Prager and Telushkin assert, Jew-hatred is the inevitable consequence of Judaism, then why don’t they take into account Jew-hatred and all its manifestations when calculating the overall quality of Jewish life?

Part Two of Why the Jews? is supposed to “document the thesis that Judaism, with its distinctiveness and moral challenge, is at the root of Jew-hatred.” (p. 81) But this it does not do. It merely presents yet another one-sided account of Jewish history, bewailing hatred of the Jews and ignoring hatred of the Goyim.

For example, in Chapter Seven, “Antisemitism in the Ancient World,” Prager and Telushkin tell us (p. 85):

In 167 B.C.E., the first recorded antisemitic persecution in the postbiblical period took place. The Hellenic ruler of Syria and Palestine, Antiochus Epiphanes, incited in part by certain assimilated Jews, attempted to destroy Judaism, which he correctly perceived as the basis of the Jewish opposition to his leadership. Owing to their religious beliefs, the Jews rejected Antiochus' claim to being the “god manifest” ("Epiphanes” in Greek). Consequently, according to the biblical Apocrypha, Antiochus sent an emissary to Judea “in order to force the Jews to transgress the laws of their fathers and not to live according to God’s commandments.” (Maccabees II 6:11). He renamed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after Zeus Olympus, prohibited the observance of the Sabbath and circumcision, and forced the Jews to participate in the festival procession in honor of Dionysus.

Such measures sparked the Maccabean revolt, which eventually led to Judean independence from Syrian rule. As George W. Robnett has commented:

What Antiochus Epiphanes did to the Jews in pressing Hellenism upon them is the kind of thing the Jews have capitalized down through the centuries as “oppression” — and since realism shows that most human problems are two-way streets, it is interesting to contrast the disposition of Antiochus with a Jewish leader just a few years afterwards. John Hyrcanus (of the Jewish Hasmonean-Maccabean line) came to power in Judea in 135 B.C. (under the new freedom won by the revolt). He conquered the small country of Edom to the south and (according to Graetz) gave the inhabitants (Idumeans) “the choice between acceptance of Judaism or exile.” They accepted Judaism in order to keep their homes. (Zionist Rape of the Holy Land [Pasadena. CA: Crown City Publishing Co., rev. ed. 19761, p. 386.)

Prager and Telushkin do not even mention the Maccabean revolt, let alone John Hyrcanus and his forcible conversion of the Idumeans to Judaism. But if Antiochus Epiphanes' actions show that he hated the Jews, then by the same token John Hyrcanus' actions must show that he hated the Idumeans. In which case: Why the Idumeans?

In Chapter Nine, “Islamic Antisemitism,” Prager and Telushkin quote (p. 128) French-Jewish novelist Albert Memmi’s characterization of the status of Jews under Islam in the 20th century: “Roughly speaking and in the best of cases, the Jew is pro- tected like a dog which is part of man’s property, but if he raises his head or acts like a man, then he must be beaten so that he will always remember his status.” But even if this characterization is accurate, there is a parallel in the attitude of Orthodox Jewish settlers toward Arabs in the West Bank. In The Fateful Triangle (Boston: South End Press, 1983), Noam Chomsky discusses an article by Yedidia Segal in the 3 September 1982 issue of Nekudah, the journal of the religious West Bank settlers. According to Chomsky (p. 124):

The scholarly author cites passages from the Talmud explaining that God is sorry that he created the Ishmaelites, and that Gentiles are “a people like a donkey.” The law concerning “conquered” peoples is explicit, he argues, quoting Maimonides on how they must “serve” their Jewish conquerors and be “degraded and low” and “must not raise their heads in Israel but must be conquered beneath their hand… with complete submission.”

According to Prager and Telushkin (p. 128), “It is the Jews' refusal to accept this subordination [to Moslems] that is at the heart of the Arab-Muslim hatred for Israel.” If so, however, then by the same token the Arabs' refusal to accept such subordination to Jews must be at the heart of the Jewish-Israeli hatred for Arabs.

In Chapter Fourteen, Prager and Telushkin ask the musical question, “What Is to Be Done?” Or, in other words (p. 179): “What, if anything can Jews do to eradicate, diminish, or at the very least, individually avoid antisemitism?”

They say (p. 182) that assimilation, defined as “ceasing to be a Jew,” is “… a rational and viable way to escape antisemitism for individuals, not to the Jewish people as a whole. Many Jews will never assimilate, which alone invalidates assimilation as a solution to antisemitism.”

Thus, Prager and Telushkin are looking for a total (final?) “solution to antisemitism.” Furthermore (pp. 181-82): “A solution to antisemitism must by definition include the survival of Jewry, just as a solution to an illness must by definition include the survival of the patient. We seek solutions to antisemitism which enable Jews to live as Jews.” But if, as they assert elsewhere in the book, Jew-hatred is an inevitable response to Judaism, then how can there be any total “solution to antisemitism” which enables Jews to live as Jews? The only possibility that comes to mind is the elimination of all “non-Jews,” one way or another.

Prager and Telushkin do not, in fact, advocate such a solution. Instead, after showing that some other solutions (Zionism, seeking converts, fighting “antisemitism” a la the ADL) are not total solutions, they announce (p. 191) the following “solution to anti- semitism": “… if the goal is to put an end to antisemitism, then Jews must also attempt to influence the moral values of non-Jews so that no aspect of Judaism any longer threatens the non-Jews' values.” What does this mean in practical terms? Here’s the closet that they come to answering this question (ibid.): “Jews must therefore resume their original task of spreading ethical monotheism… This means in essence that the Jews must make the world aware of two basic principles: ethics need God, and God’s major demand is ethics.”

But Prager and Telushkin don’t tell us how they are going to get the world to accept “ethical monotheism.” Furthermore, they don’t clearly explain how such acceptance of “ethical monotheism” will necessarily end “antisemitism.” After all, there have been many Christian and Moslem “ethical monotheists” who nevertheless, in Prager and Telushkin’s opinion, have been “antisemites.” I suggest the Prager and Telushkin’s “solution to antisemitism” is as illusory as their “God” and his commandments.

If a “solution to antisemitism” is in fact possible, its discovery will require a more honest consideration of the problem than Prager and Telushkin have given it. This means, among other things, that the problem of Jew-hatred cannot be divorced from the problems of Goy-hatred. If there is to be a solution to the former problem, there must be a solution to the latter problem as well. So rather than devoting themselves exclusively to whining and whimpering “Why the Jews?,” I suggest that Prager and Telushkin finally begin to ask themselves: “Why the Goyim?”


1. Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, 5th ed. (Costa Mesa, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1983). This is the expanded edition which includes, as appendices, the essays “The International 'Holocaust' Controversy” and “Context and Perspective in the 'Holocaust' Controversy.” Robert Faurisson “The Mechanics of Gassing,” Journal of Historical Review Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 1980), pp. 23-30; “Confessions of SS Men Who Were at Auschwitz,” JHR Vol. 2, No. 2 (Summer 1981), pp. 103-36; “The Gas Chambers of Auschwitz Appear to be Physically Inconceivable,” JHR Vol. 2, No. 4 (Winter 1981), pp. 311-17; “The Gas Chambers: Truth or Lie?,” JHR Vol. 2, No. 4 (Winter 1981), pp. 319-73. The most complete exposition of Faurisson’s views is, of course, found in his books and those of his supporters which have been published in France: Serge Thion [With Robert Faurisson], Vérité historique ou vérité politique? Le dossier de l'affaire Faurisson: La question des chambres à gas (Paris: La Vieille Taupe, 1980); Faurisson, Mémoire en défense contre ceux qui m'accusent de falsifier l'Histoire (Paris: La Vieille Taupe, 1981); Réponse à Pierre Vidal-Naquet, 2nd ed. (Paris: La Vieille Taupe, 1983); Jean-Gabriel Cohn-Bendit, Eric Delcroix, Claude Karnoouh, Vincent Monteil, and Jean-Louis Tristani, Intolérable Intolérance (Paris: Editions de La Différence, 1981); Anon., De L'Exploitation dans les camps a L'Exploitation des camps: Une mise au point de “La Guerre sociale,” supplement au numero 3 (Paris: La Guerre sociale, 1981); “Le Citoyen,” L'incroyable Affaire Faurisson: Les petits supplements au Guide des droits des victimes No. 1 (Paris: La Vieille Taupe, 1982). See also: Andrea Chersi (ed.), Il caso Faurisson (Castenedolo, Italy: Andrea Chersi, 1982), and Anon., Note rassinieriane (con appendice sulla persecuzione giudiziaria di R. Faurisson) (Rome: Estratto da L'Internazionalista, 1982).

Bibliographic information
Author: Rollins, Lou A.
Title: Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism (review)
Source: The Journal for Historical Review
Date: Winter 1984
Issue: Volume 5 number 2, 3, 4
Location: Page 375
ISSN: 0195-6752
Attribution: “Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, PO Box 2739, Newport Beach, CA 92659, USA.”
Please send a copy of all reprints to the Editor.