American Jews: Still on the Shtetl
Many people – essayists, writers, and commenters – have questioned why it is that American Jews are not just staunch Democrats, but have overwhelmingly remained so in light of the clear cynical calculation that Democrats are making with regard to currying favor with Muslims over Jews in this country; e.g., my latest essay on that: Attention American Jews: Sit at the table or be on the menu (CARTOON).
For example,, comedian and 9-12 patriot Evan Sayet wrote an excellent essay back in 2011; Why Jews Support the Democratic Party (bolding added):
To be called a Jew, all you have to do is plop out of a Jewish womb. Because these Jews – I’ll call them here “The Plopping Jews” – do not believe anything particularly Jewish. Indeed, there’s absolutely no reason to expect them to vote in a way that reflects Jewish values and beliefs. Since a Jewish person’s Judaism is not of his own choosing or a reflection of his beliefs, his Jewishness is nothing more than an accident of his birth. Therefore, to expect him to choose to support Jewish causes is actually a form of bigotry. People’s behaviors are predicated on their beliefs, not on the circumstances of their birth.
In fact, not only is there no reason to expect the Plopping Jew to support Jewish causes, one might even argue that the folks who Dennis Prager calls “Non-Jewish Jews” and are more generally known as “Secular Jews” (note that it is almost unheard of for someone to call themselves or be called “Secular Christians” or “Secular Muslims”) are less likely to support Jewish causes and to be antipathetic to Israel and other Jewish issues than are others since we can assume, having been born to a Jewish mother, they were at least exposed to Judaism and chose to reject it. Put simply, the Plopping Jew is more likely to be an anti-Semite than your average American.
Sadly, in an America that has been successfully secularized by the Left, the Plopping Jews make up the vast majority of the people who are identified as “Jewish” and thus a major part of the explanation as to why so many “Jews” vote for the party that is, as we shall see, patently Jew-hating.Ben Shapiro has an excellent video echoing the above: the secularism of most American Jews drives them Left:
[Ben Shapiro: Why Jews Vote Leftist? / 5:06]
Norman Podhoretz wrote a book – which I own but have just skimmed thus far:
And on countless blog posts as well as Israel / Jews related articles, time after time after time after time, both the authors and the commenters ask the same questions, like “Why are Jews so captive to the Democrats?” and “What will it take to break them from voting ‘D’?”Fortunately, at least some are waking up, along with #blexit, #lexit, and #walkaway.
(Not much at that website yet but keep pinging it...)
LIFE IMITATES ART…From The Children's Hour, a sci-fi book set in the time of the Man-Kzin Wars, in a discussion about the evolution of people and their cultures while living in space (italics in original, bolding added):
"Look," she went on: "What happens to somebody in space who’s not ultra-careful about everything? Someone who isn’t a detail man, someone who doesn’t think checking the gear the seventh time is more important than the big picture? Someone who isn’t a low-effect in-control type every day of his life?”
“They die,” Harold said flatly. Claude nodded agreement.
“What happens when you put a group through four hundred years of that type of selection?...”I should add that those who survive to breed pass their culture / habits to their children. Thus, while not truly biological evolutionary process, cultures and habits get passed down as well. With that in mind…
THE SHTETL MENTALITYWhile writing my third essay about gun control, Never Again? Why are most American Jews ignoring history and today's reality? I happened to have stumbled on The Shtetl Mentality (which I’d read before but had forgotten), and from which I excerpted into mine some fascinating observations about why it is Jews reflexively are submissive rather than defiant and fighting back against those hostile to them (bolding added):
Before the existence of the state of Israel ever since the diaspora Jews have lived in small areas of other people's countries. Among American Jews this now typically means great grandparents who lived in shtetls or ghettos, segregated, isolated rural or urban areas in Europe. One of the major hazards of this situation was that occasionally a few Cossacks would get drunk, ride over to the nearest shtetl, rape a few women, maybe murder a man who protested rather than begging for his life and then ride off into the sunset, big fun... for the Cossacks.
It had to be inescapably clear to these Jews that there were dozens if not hundreds of them, able-bodied and sober, surely a match for 8 or 10 drunk Cossacks. It would have been easy, even for people not trained in arms, to kill them and bury them someplace, but it is obvious why they did not. If they had done so, all the Cossacks would have come to the shtetl fully armed for battle. They would have massacred every Jew in this shtetl and every other one within 100 versts. Defense was just not an option, not a survival trait. The women raped and the men murdered had to be seen as the price Jews paid for living, for surviving as a people. Since no Jew ever even remotely considered the possibility that without some major provocation someday the Cossacks would try to kill them all, it seemed like a reasonable if awful compromise.
Such a compromise must have taken a devastating and horrific psychological toll on the people forced to make it. Sooner or later someone among our traumatized ancestors had to make the following rationalization to justify this situation: "We are better than those people because they are violent and we are not. They handle weapons, and we do not." In order to maintain self-respect people in such a condition had to explain it as the result of something that made them better than their oppressors. This was the notion that they voluntarily (rather than of necessity as was the actual case) eschewed the use of weapons of any sort because they understood that violence was evil while their tormentors did not. It was the key to survival, self-respect and eventually the shtetl mentality which American Jews, far removed from the shtetl, still carry with them despite the fact that it has long since lost its utility.(As an aside, at a lecture at my Synagogue a while back the speaker said that Judaism had, for millennia, been a patriarchal lineage. It was, according to him, in reaction to the rapes by the Crusaders – and the resulting pregnancies – that it switched to being matrilineal so that the children of these crimes, obviously still with the mothers, would be considered Jewish. I’d always attributed it to the “practical” idea that while the father’s identity was not always 100% sure, until the advent of modern medicine one always knew who the mother was. Oh well; so much for my assumption.)
Jews living in Muslim lands as dhimmis fared similarly. Although there were instances of Jews doing quite well, comparatively and especially to their status in many contemporary Christian realms, their status was certainly not one of equal to the Islamic ruling population; this book, The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain, expertly debunks the idea that there was a “golden age” of co-existence. Kidnappings and the subsequent forced conversions & marriage of Jewish girls was frequent, as was theft, graft, protection money extortion, etc. (it still happens, and not just to Jews, and another example). As outlined in the excellent book Uprooted: How 3000 Years of Jewish Civilization in the Arab World Vanished Overnight, while it focuses on the post-1948 expulsion of up to a million Jews from Muslim lands after Israel was created, the treatment of Jews in those lands was never fantastic for the majority of Jews (also, see these three short videos about the lot of Jews in Muslim lands – pre-Israel’s formation and the Islamic reaction to Israel becoming a reality). In these Muslim-ruled lands too, Jews learned to attempt to curry favor with the ruling powers and to not speak out about unjust treatment.Even today, most diaspora Jews are more worried about what the neighbors think:
Jews have a long-standing tradition of identifying with their captors. Many Israelites rescued from Egyptian bondage complained to Moses that conditions under slavery were better than their trek through the desert to arrive at the Promised Land. If those whiners had had their way, we would not be celebrating the Passover holiday that begins this Friday.
The other tendency of Diaspora liberals – to flinch whenever Israel asserts its heritage and power – stems from “mar’it ayin,” a concept in Halachah (Jewish law) according to which even legitimate actions are prohibited when they could be misconstrued by other people as impermissible. In other words, it’s the Jewish legalization of worrying about what the neighbors might think, and changing one’s behavior to stave off possible disapproval.So let me reparse the question from the sci-fi book, altering it to consider the Jewish reality’s far-longer timeline:
“What happens when you put Jews worldwide through a millennium-plus of that type of selection?...”
BONTSHA THE IDEALSo ingrained in the Jewish culture is this reflex to not protest that there is the story of a very humble peasant, Bontsha “the silent”, who never speaks or cries out at his mistreatment. Never in his life. The story concludes with his entrance to paradise in the world-to-come because of his “inner power”:
There in that other world, that world of lies, your silence was never rewarded, but here in Paradise it is the world of truth, here in Paradise you will be rewarded.What is the clear message of this morality tale? That silence and resignation in the face of insult & abuse is rewarded in the world-to-come. So… be silent. Bear the hardship. Do not speak out, do not contest, do not protest, do not fight. Precisely in line with that last paragraph from The Shtetl Jew – making a strength and asset out of being better and more noble by not fighting back.
Such is the culture, not only of the Ashkenazi Shtetl Jew, but Jewry worldwide for millennia. A culture, as observed above, under relentless pressure generation after generation to conform to this submissive standard lest disaster and massacres follow. And not to conform, but to rein in those whose hackles rise and want to stand up.
PULLING IN NON-CONFORMISTS HAS A BIOLOGICAL BASISVery coincidentally, as I was writing this I saw this essay, Why I Did Not Become a Terrorist, with one fascinating quote (bolding added):
It's normal to want to hurt others whom we understood to have hurt us. In August, 2004, scientists published "The Neural Basis of Altruistic Punishment" in Science magazine. Researchers instructed two subjects to play a game. If player B cheated player A, player A was offered a chance to retaliate against player B. Player A was attached to a PET scanner. The researchers discovered that while player A contemplated revenge against player B, his dorsal striatum would become active. If player A decided on a large punishment, his dorsal striatum fired intensely. "Many people voluntarily incur costs to punish violations of social norms," they wrote. "Evolutionary models and empirical evidence indicate that such altruistic punishment has been a decisive force in the evolution of human cooperation … people derive satisfaction from punishing norm violations"The hurt does not have to be physical. If Jews stood up against an oppressor, e.g., a Cossack or Christian or Muslim overlord, the hurt can be stricter rules to group-punish the subset to which the stander-upper belongs beyond direct reprisals on the one standing up and their immediate family. (As an aside, this could very well be part of why the Left so viciously goes after those who question the Borgleft Collective diktat.) This pattern, speaking very generally, can be seen in mammals with group societies as well – like chimps (bolding added):
In fact, the work shows that chimps work together at similar rates as humans—and that when violence does occur among apes, it is often directed toward an individual that is not being a team player.Don’t forget dopamine drug addiction to the praise from the in-group that people get when they conform and reinforce the in-group’s beliefs (bolding added):
The more powerful the addictions, the greater the self-deception and denial, the less free will, the more likely addicts are to ignore, dismiss, detest information that threatens to expose their addictions and keep them from trying to satisfy insatiable cravings.
To keep the dopamine flowing, heroin addicts shoot up, safety addicts follow, power addicts control, acceptance addicts flock, approval addicts acquiesce, and esteem addicts flaunt. One important distinction between addictions is that heroin addicts their needles whereas psychological addicts get away with pretending their addictions are normal, acceptable, and even admirable.Praise from those with whom you regularly associate is a powerful thing to keep you in line. Praising those who conform; punishing those who rebel – carrot and stick to keep the ghetto Jew still in the ghetto.
INDOCTRINATING THE NEW IMMIGRANTSIt isn’t just ancient conditioning and cultural evolution that created such a strong “D” affinity. Daniel Greenfield wrote in The Jewish and Post-Jewish Vote about the indoctrination of immigrant Jews into the Democrats (bolding added, clarifying / expanding thought added in ):
This second wave [of Jewish immigrants] turned rigidly Democratic under the rough tutelage of the urban political machine and the gentler tutelage of an educational system meant to turn Jewish, Irish and Italian immigrants into proper Americans-- and to the people running the melting pot machine, Americanism meant Liberalism. They didn't always succeed, but they succeeded well enough to build an immigrant electorate for the Democratic Party.This didn’t just happen to the Jews, of course; waves of immigrants from Europe in general were absorbed into the education, I mean, indoctrination system as most immigrants tended to settle in cities. But again, not only genes are passed from parent to child, but cultures and beliefs – and when the parents, and all the friends, are on the Left… you get people who are Leftists from the start.
I AM FAR FROM ALONE IN THIS OBSERVATIONCertainly the essay I cited above sees it. This one also sees the reflexive flinch; You Can Take the Jew Out of the Ghetto- Taking the Ghetto Out of the Jew Is Tougher (bolding and italics in the original):
Modern Hebrew has a word — “galutiut” (ga-lu-tee-yoot) — which defies translation. It describes the essence of exile, the very depth of ghetto thinking, as in the Der Stürmer-like image of Israelis moving to Berlin, or a Neturei Karta guy holding up an anti-Zionist poster at a rally in downtown Tehran. If you’re Jewish and emotionally stable, you’ll recognize the essence of galutiut in the words and actions of so many Jews, starting with the meraglim (spies) of 1247 BCE and leading up to left-wing Jews who merrily turn in Arab land dealers to the Palestinian police to be tortured and even executed.
From another essay; Passover and the freedom of the Jews (Forest Rain) (italics in original):
2000 years of living as unwelcome guests in other people’s lands have taken a toll on the Jewish People. Putting your head down, being quiet in the face of abuse and minimizing signs of Jewishness have become habits, so deeply ingrained that many fail to recognize their existence. Judaism upholds the sanctity of life and, because of this, actions taken by Jews to hide their Jewishness in order to survive were approved. Even religious traditions were changed in order to adapt to the realities of living in places where it was not necessarily a good idea to be “too Jewish” – for example lighting and placing the Hanukah candles inside the home rather than in a public place where everyone passing by can see.And young Jews, eager to be combative and fight for a positive image of Israel in the face of BDS, etc., are vastly disappointed in TPTB; Fighters Not Followers: How Jewish “Leadership” Castrates Campus Activism:
The Israel activism movement needs bold, confident, big personalities. They need aggressive action, real charisma and risk-taking, but instead, what they’re getting is soft, tame, weak, fearful inactivism.
Due to the fact that their biggest influences come from older people, the inevitable generation gap impedes their ability to get what needs to be done, done. It makes it difficult if not impossible to break down barriers, kick down the doors, stage actual protests, and be proper “badasses” enough for their fellow students to admire them and feel that they are standing up for a worthwhile cause.
Why liberal Jews opposing annexing settlement blocs are wrong (bolding added):
These leaders need to learn how to answer the questions that Israel's critics hurl at the Jewish state without acting like frightened shtetl Jews. A big reason Israel is losing the support of young American Jews is because their own Jewish role models are too ignorant or cowed to proudly support Israel unequivocally, and to explain why Israel does what it does.Didn’t Osama bin Laden observe “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will naturally want to side with the strong horse”? People look at the confidence of the Left vs. the cringing RINO squishes of the Right… and go for the strong horse. They see the strident self-assured swagger of the Islamists vs. the don't-provoke-them mentality of those fighting BDS, etc.… and go for the strong horse. (Which, in parallel, is one reason – IMHO – the Left hates Trump so: HE FIGHTS! And I’ll opine the RINO squishes hate him for all sorts of reasons, but among them is jealousy over his assuredness and manliness.)
COMBINING FACTORSSo what do we have?
· We have a culture that, to survive among hostiles who had far greater numbers, power, and the willingness to use it ruthlessly needed to take a submissive attitude – and had to do so for countless generations.
· We have Leftists in America welcoming the new immigrants as ready blank slates to become Democrats.
· Doubtless, in their indoctrination towards liberalism, they were informed that this is the rising power; this, clearly for Jews, would fit into the first bullet point’s currying-of-favor tendency.
· We have biological imperatives that pull back those who stand out – thus helping to keep “errant” Jews in line.
· We also have the perversion of the Jewish requirement of Tikkun Olam – healing the world – to meet the taxpayer-funded vote-pump “giving of charity” that the Left pursues.
[Moses Parts the Sea - The Ten Commandments (6/10) Movie CLIP (1956) HD / 2:25]
In the Torah, the now-freed Israelites – having seen G-d’s miracles time and again – still complained and turned their back on Him. As they do today, preferring the seductive slavery of silence and acquiescence to the animating contest of freedom:
Passover is the holiday of Jewish freedom, the historical moment when the world learned that slaves do not have to remain slaves forever. Israel’s national anthem speaks of the “2000 year old hope to be a free nation, in our own land.” The hope still remains because we are not yet completely free.
Usually when we speak of not yet being free, we refer to the need to fight our would-be killers. I say that freedom of the Jews will come when our Jewish brothers and sisters shake off their fear of being who we are. The divide of the diaspora is not an issue of Israeli policies, it is a lack of acceptance of Jewish freedom and sovereignty.
WHY? ANSWERED. NOW TO ANSWER THE HOW…I think I’ve sufficiently identified the WHY of American Jews cringing, whether in their staying with the ever-more-open Jew-hating Left, or in fighting a Marquis of Queensbury fight against the BDS, SJP, etc., crowd. The question is – the goal is – to start getting American Jews to their #JEXODUS moment. To get them to see that the Left has embraced Islam, and is ready to feed them to the growing Muslim community in America. That donations to the Left will be cheerfully taken, and not reciprocated. And ultimately, that their Leftism is a betrayal of their Judaism.
And it was on Small Dead Animals that I first saw this:
Pleasing your enemies does not turn them into friends.
Got suggestions on how to do this Herculean task of waking American Jews up to this? Put ‘em in the comments and – if I get enough – I’ll compile them into a post.
© 2019, NITZAKHON