On my recent visit to the post office in our rural village in Central Pennsylvania, the postal worker, who is a Trump supporter, engaged me in conversation about the American Left. Without any idea of my Jewish background, he expressed wonder that Jews, who in other ways are so accomplished, are so “weird” in their political and social attitudes.
At first, I thought I would make my usual remarks about how Jews harbor obsolete negative attitudes about Christians and. more generally, about white people. But as I figured out that my acquaintance wouldn’t be able to catch the drift, I responded that the Jews he was referring to may be clever on tests, but they’re also unfortunately nuts.
Although I usually read Kevin MacDonald on Jewish attitudes with a sense that he may be overstating his case, his analyses of Jewish support for Hillary’s campaign against Donald Trump cannot do justice to the utter lunacy on display. This madness may indeed defy any attempt to describe it. Whether I’m reading the Forward about the terror that overcomes a self-identified Jewish woman with a Mexican-American baby when her “Trump Nazi nightmare” comes to mind [How Do I Explain My Trump Nazi Nightmare to My Mexican American Daughter?, By Anna Keller, Forward, October 21, 2016 ], a Jewish website deploring the rising tide of anti-Semitism in our universities caused by the Donald’s nomination [Antisemitism and the College Campus] or Bret Stephens [Email him] in the (onetime) conservative Wall Street Journal ranting against Trump for (entirely in Stephens paranoid imagination) reviving the idea of an international Jewish banking conspiracy [The Plot Against America, WSJ, October 17, 2016] I feel I’ve stumbled into the looney bin.
This doesn’t even get us into the subject of the hundreds of millions of dollars that identifiably Jewish donors have raised for “Crooked Hillary.” One particularly munificent donor, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, has explicitly forbidden his employees to give anything to the Republican nominee for president. [Goldman Sachs Bans Employees from Donating to Trump, by Lucinda Shen, Fortune, September 6, 2016] Trump apparently terrifies Blankfein, no less than he does Mark Zuckerberg, Barbra Streisand, and the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman. Foxman, who is no stranger to Leftist hysteria, even insists that when Trump asked supporters raise their right hands and pledge to support him, it was a “fascist gesture” which looked like the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute. (It didn’t.) Maybe Trump should tie his arm down? [Ex-ADL director: Trump pledge 'is a fascist gesture', By Eliza Collins, Politico, March 7, 2016]
I’ve literally no idea how Jewish celebrities and multi-millionaires can view Trump as a dangerous anti-Semite. His daughter Ivanka, who is now herself an observant Jew, is married to Jared Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, and one of Trump’s closest advisers. Among Trump’s other advisors and his frequent TV surrogates are other Jews, like investment banker Boris Epshteyn and Trump’s lawyer Mickey Cohen. Perhaps no other American presidential candidate has been so surrounded by Jews—and yet the attacks on him from Jewish quarters as a second Hitler (for some of the neocons he may be the hundredth) just won’t let up.
Nevertheless, let the record show that there are some what we might call “Righteous Jews”—besides me! Two of the three conveners of a Scholars for Trump declaration that has just reached sixty names, are Jewish, Walter Block and myself. (Walter is defending the motion “Libertarians Should Vote For Donald Trump In the Presidential Election” against the appallingly unreasonable Reason Editor Nick Gillespie [Email him] at New York’s SohoForum on November 1). (Anyone wishing to sign our Scholars For Trump Declaration should email me). And a declaration for Trump that was posted on the American Greatness website, included such Jewish public figures as Michael Ledeen, David Goldman [Spengler] and Robert Weissberg.
Indeed, even the neoconservative icon Norman Podhoretz (unlike his Hillary-leaning son) is openly supporting Trump. Norman explained in a July interview with the New York Post that “Say what you will about Trump, she’s worse.” [Trump is plainly the best bet for the Jews, by Seth Lipsky, July 20, 2016.
Some of Trump’s Jewish supporters are far from friends with each other. The American Greatness webmasters specifically excluded the names of the conveners of our declaration from their listing. Yet there are Jews on both declarations, who obviously don’t regard Trump in the manner of Bret Stephens or Anna Keller of Forward, as a threat to the survival of American Jews.
Although only 19 percent of likely Jewish voters support Trump (roughly the same percentage that went to George W. Bush in 2000), a plurality of Orthodox Jews do. In a poll recently taken at Yeshiva University, 37% of the students declared for Trump, but only 27% for Clinton. [The Orthodox Vote for Trump, by Armin Rosen, Tablet, September 27, 2016]
Let me also note that a group of contrarians, all of whom are probably supporting Trump, meet each month in the basement of an Irish pub in Midtown Manhattan. Peter Brimelow, John Derbyshire, Edwin S. Rubenstein and I have all addressed this coterie that seems equally divided between Jews and Irish. All the attendees however express roughly the same Old Right views, which bring pleasure to my ears. Were my parents still alive, I’ve no doubt they’d be sporting a Trump sign on their lawn in Bridgeport, Connecticut even larger than the one on mine in Elizabethtown, PA.
It may run in families. My brother, who is a prominent physician in Litchfield County, CT (near Peter Brimelow’s residence) and my sister-in-law who is descended from Manhattan’s old German Jewish elite, will likewise be pulling the lever for Trump on November 8. And so will most of my cousins—although not, alas, their children, who are now in their forties and who sound politically (alas) like Jennifer Rubin ,[email her] Max Boot, etc. This may reflect their Jewish and non-Jewish peer groups in their elite universities.
What Jewish and other critics of Trump find the scariest is his determination to deal decisively with illegal immigrants. Although Trump may have toned down his initial stand to deport all illegals, he has promised that if elected he’d deport illegals who’ve committed crimes. He would then defer any decision about other illegals until he’s deported the criminal ones and built a wall to protect our Southern border.
This has obviously upset Jewish civic and organizational leaders who would like the next president to put illegals on an instant path to citizenship. Motivating these scaremongers, as MacDonald correctly observes, “a concern that a homogeneous White America could ultimately rise up against Jews, as occurred in Hitler’s Germany; and historic antipathy toward Christian Europeans, an outgroup seen exclusively in the context of the Jewish preoccupation with anti-Semitism.”
MacDonald is entirely correct, on the basis of my personal observations, about why Jews remain radicalized on the (cultural but no longer economic) Left. What seems less obvious to me than it may be to MacDonald: whether this political response reflects real Jewish group interests. To me, it shows no rationality—it’s the perpetuation of phobia that no longer in any way corresponds to everyday reality. The fears and antipathies that Jewish leaders exploit arise from a determination to identify as a group enemy those who are objectively on the same side as American Jews, namely traditional white Christians.
Focusing on an invented enemy, as I have argued—see my autobiography Encounters, p. 22-26—may enhance Jewish solidarity in the face of an imaginary threat. But it is also a flight into what for want of a better name is collective psychosis.
Remember that in the 1990s, the present imagined savior of the Jews—a.k.a. the anti-Christian, anti-white presidential candidate—along with hubby Bill, were calling for sterner measures against illegals than those that had been taken under the Bush administration. [1996 Flashback: Bill Clinton Talks Like Trump On Immigration: "We Are A Nation Of Laws" , By Ian Schwartz, RealClearPolitics, May 17, 2016 ]Then Jewish voters who are now fearfully awaiting a second Holocaust if Trump is elected were drooling over the Clintons, despite the fact that Bill was calling for deporting illegals in his State of the Union address in 1996. Jewish voters didn’t seem to mind this view back then when the person who expressed it was characterized in the Main Stream Media as a left-of-center Democrat.
Were the criterion for a threat to Jewish survival then set higher by American Jewish spokesmen and journalists? Has Jewish antipathy for what is perceived as the dominant group actually increased? Or is this merely part of overall intensifying Cultural Marxist totalitarianism as the goal of Electing A New People comes in sight?
Paul Gottfried [ email him ] is a retired Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, PA. He is the author of After Liberalism, Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt and The Strange Death of Marxism His most recent book is Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America.