Lubomyr Prytulak   UKAR editorial   21-Oct-1998   Reflections on anti-Semitism
If anyone has an explanation of how such a low quality of reasoning, and such a high level of duplicity, is possible within such prominent Jewish representatives other than as a result of a unique Jewish protection from criticism, I would like to hear it.
Several uses for "anti-Semitism"

Already discussed on the Ukrainian Archive have been two major uses of the accusation of anti-Semitism.  One of these is to increase the flow of scientists and engineers from the Former Soviet Union to Israel.  Another is to render incredible the charge that Ukrainians have been among the foremost victims of Jews.  Below is discussed still another use � which is to silence opposition � and more importantly is discussed the destructive effect this third use has on the quality of Jewish thinking.

Welfare destroys economic productivity

What is a sure way to destroy a people economically?  One answer is to put them on welfare.  On welfare, with the passage of time, an increasing proportion of them are seduced into passivity.  Not forced to work, they stop working, and soon develop an aversion to work.  Their leaders orient themselves not toward increasing the productivity and strength of their people, but toward augmenting welfare benefits.  The best among these people, those who want to work, for whom welfare is not enough, abandon their community.  Those who remain behind tend to be the ones who would have the hardest time succeeding economically in the working world, and who as a result have most quickly succumbed to dependence on welfare.  The degeneration of the group demonstrates that a soft life is a destructive life, that constant challenge is needed to provoke the energy that leads to economic success.

Protection from criticism destroys intellectual excellence

A similar phenomenon exists in the intellectual realm.  What is a sure way to destroy a people intellectually?  Give them protection from criticism.  Allow them to speak inaccuracies, and praise them when they do so.  The result will be the same as in the case of welfare.  An increasing proportion will be seduced into intellectual lethargy.  Not forced to think, they will stop thinking, and soon develop an aversion to thinking.  Once freed from the threat of being challenged, they will begin by dabbling in exaggeration and will end by wallowing in fantasy.  Their leaders, increasingly, will orient themselves not toward upgrading the intellectual productivity and merit of their people, but toward increasing protection from criticism, from challenge, from open debate.  The best of these people, the ones who strive for genuine intellectual merit, abandon their community.  Those who remain behind tend to be the ones who would have the hardest time succeeding intellectually in an unprotected world, and who as a result have most completely succumbed to dependence upon protection from criticism.  Their intellectual degeneration demonstrates that immunity from criticism is destructive of the quality of intellectual output, that constant challenge is a precondition of intellectual excellence.

Reliance on the accusation of anti-Semitism undermines Jewish intellectual excellence

To get specific, perhaps the above principle helps explain a phenomenon documented at length on the Ukrainian Archive, and which deserves further efforts at explanation.  The phenomenon is that lies are told about Ukrainians and about Ukraine, and winning any correction or retraction of these lies is discovered to be well-nigh impossible.  Documented on the Ukrainian Archive have been the lies, or the unsupported and untrue statements, of Yaakov Bleich, Alan Dershowitz, Morley Safer, Neal Sher, Elie Wiesel, and Simon Wiesenthal.  Related are the lies of Jerzy Kosinski.  We notice that these calumniators � of Ukrainians specifically, or of Slavs generally if we include Kosinski � are all Jewish.  We notice too that their lies are hard enough to split rocks.  And we notice, finally, that the lies are mostly protected by the charge of anti-Semitism.  That is, the lies are rarely challenged because the potential challengers fear being labelled as anti-Semites, and the few challengers who do come forward can be written off as anti-Semites.  The meaning of "anti-Semite," then, extends to cover all those who make themselves in some way irritating to some Jews, and in daily use, this becomes its predominant application.

I said "mostly covered" above because the lies of Jerzy Kosinski were exposed, and he committed suicide, which is to say he did lose his protective cover, and today no longer has it or needs it.

The devastating effect of immunity from criticism

Thus are the Jews degraded intellectually.  Thus it happens that Jews bring down on themselves the second-greatest calamity to befall them in this century.  The greatest calamity was the Jewish Holocaust, and the second greatest is fantasizing about the Jewish Holocaust to a degree that the fantasizing has become, in Israeli journalist Boaz Evron's words, "a cancer for Jews and for the State of Israel":

Two terrible things happened to the Jewish people during this century: [First, t]he Holocaust and the lessons drawn from it.  [Second, t]he non-historical and easily refutable commentaries on the Holocaust made either deliberately or through simple ignorance and their use for propaganda purposes among non-Jews or Jews both in Israel and the diaspora constitute a cancer for Jews and for the State of Israel.
Boaz Evron, Holocaust, a Danger for the Jewish People, published in the Hebrew journal Yiton 77, May-June 1980.

Thus it comes to pass that when one picks up a history dealing with some aspect of the Second World War, or a comment on Canadian war crimes proceedings, and notices that its author is Jewish, one expects on the basis of past experience that the treatment will range from distorted to fantastic, and one repeatedly has such an expectation confirmed upon a reading of that history or that comment.  Of course what is meant by this is that the expectation amounts to a subjective probability which however falls short of a certainty, and of course occasionally the expectation proves to be inaccurate, and the Jewish history or comment proves to be remarkably honest and accurate.

Protection from criticism degrades only certain areas

Of course, too, the protection afforded by the accusation of anti-Semitism is restricted to certain areas.  If Jewish mathematicians do not cry "anti-Semitism" when errors are discovered in their proofs, then Jewish mathematicians do not degenerate, and no rational person expects that the quality of a mathematical paper will prove to be low because its author is Jewish.  If Jewish tailors do not cry "anti-Semitism" when their customers complain about suits falling apart, then Jewish tailors do not degenerate, and no rational person expects that the quality of a suit will prove to be low because its tailor was Jewish.  But if Jewish historians or Nazi hunters do cry "anti-Semitism" when their errors are discovered � or if they silently think "anti-Semitism" and use this excuse to blind themselves to their own errors � then Jewish historians and Nazi hunters do degenerate, and every rational person will sooner or later learn to expect that the quality of a statement concerning history or Nazi hunting might be lower because its author was Jewish.

Who is unafraid of the accusation of anti-Semitism?

There is one category of people to whom the charge of anti-Semitism does not stick.  These people are Jews themselves.  If a Jew criticizes some other Jew, or criticizes some action of the State of Israel, then it is not completely credible that he does so on account of his own anti-Semitism.  The derogatory label for such a person is more likely to be "self-hating Jew" rather than "anti-Semite," but "self-hating Jew" does not carry the same power to intimidate and to silence.  For this reason, perhaps � that is, because they are uniquely not susceptible to being intimidated by the accusation of anti-Semitism � some of the most vocal and uninhibited critics of positions taken by particular Jews and or by the State of Israel have been Jews themselves, as for example Noam Chomsky, Boaz Evron, Norman Finkelstein, Akiva Orr, Philip Roth, John Sack, Israel Shahak, Yoram Sheftel, or William Wolf.

Take your choice

A people cannot have it both ways.  They cannot accept welfare and hope to be economically productive, and they cannot shelter under the umbrella of intellectual impunity and hope to be intellectually excellent, or even intellectually respectable .  They must choose one or the other; they cannot have both.  If a people set intellectual excellence as their goal, then they should seek the opposite of immunity from criticism, they should seek to attract upon themselves more criticism than is common, and should learn to respond to that increased criticism without resorting to ad hominem attacks upon the sanity of their critics.

Dabbling in psychiatry

Yes, that is what the accusation of anti-Semitism is � an ad hominem attack questioning the sanity of the critic.  Anti-Semitism is a diagnosis of mental illness because anti-Semitism is defined as an irrational, all-consuming, reason-distorting hatred, and if that is not a variety of mental illness, then I do not know what is.  The diagnosis differs from other psychiatric diagnoses in one major respect � the belief that the people best qualified to perform the diagnosis are not psychiatrists, but Jews.  Thus, when someone tells a Jewish historian or Nazi hunter that an event did not take place, and the Jewish historian or Nazi hunter replies � whether euphemistically or bluntly � with the accusation of anti-Semitism, then the Jewish historian says, in effect, "You're nuts!"  He says "I'm Jewish, I'm qualified to say you're nuts, I say you're nuts, so you're nuts!"  Case closed.  Conversation over.  The Jewish historian or Nazi hunter � turned Jewish psychiatric diagnostician � thus invokes protection from challenge, society grants him the protection he invokes, and he wins.  His victory is an effortless one.  He does not need to grapple with the content of the criticism.  The content is brushed aside.  His victory, rather, consists of offering his critic a psychiatric diagnosis, along with the implication that anyone suffering from the disorder diagnosed does not need to be taken seriously, and in fact would do the world a favor by crawling into a hole somewhere and hiding his shame.  The accusation of anti-Semitism is the universal rebuttal, good at all times and in all places and in response to all opposition.  Once memorized � which is not hard � it needs to be varied hardly at all from one situation to the next.  Once practiced, it becomes reflexive, and renders painful thinking unecessary.

Euphemistic diagnosis

When Canadian Federal Court judge William McKeown decided a few weeks ago that 83-year-old Latvian Arvids Vitols did not misrepresent his wartime record to Canadian authorities, Sol Littman responded by recommending that McKeown should go for sensitivity training.  What was this but an ad hominem attack?  What was this but a delicate and euphemistic variation of the blunter, "You're an anti-Semite and should seek psychiatric help"?  What was this but a shot across the bow, a gentle reminder of the harsher expressions of the same diagnosis that might be forthcoming should judge McKeown hand down similar decisions in the future?  And � let us not forget � what was this but a signal to all Jews that in certain situations they are exempted from having to think as hard as other people, and a signal to those other people to decrease their respect for the quality of Jewish thought?

Cheap victories have hidden costs

Such victories, as I have been saying, come with a hidden cost.  The quality of Jewish history declines, as does the quality of Jewish Nazi hunting, and of Jewish legal and political commentary.  Each such win for an individual Jew is a loss for the intellectual vitality of all Jews, and a decrement to the prestige of Jewish thought.  Whenever Sol Littman knee-jerks his accusation of anti-Semitism, whether he does so euphemistically or bluntly, his own intellectual acumen dulls, and he invites a fall in the quality of Jewish thought and a reduction in admiration for Jewish reasoning.

That price is degradation into childish reasoning and into fantasy

It is no exaggeration to say that the eventual result of prolonged protection from criticism is that even highly placed Jews become capable of reasoning that is childish, and become capable of mistaking fantasy for reality.  Take, for example, the reasoning of three Israeli judges on the question of the authenticity of the "Demjanjuk" signature on the Demjanjuk Trawniki ID card, in which the judges conclude that this signature failing to resemble all known signatures of John Demjanjuk proves that it is genuine.  Or take, for another example, the letter written by Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset Dov B. Ben-Meir in which he recommends that all Ukrainians go to church and kneel there "until bleeding at the knees" to atone for the sins of Bohdan Khmelnytsky 350 years ago.  Or take, as a third example, the hypothesis proposed by Morley Safer that Ukrainians may be genetically predisposed to anti-Semitism (once in the linked article, hit CTRL+F and search for "genetically").  Or take the creation by Neal Sher of a palpably mythical "Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka" so as to make possible his attempt to murder John Demjanjuk.  Or note that Elie Wiesel seems to be unaware that the chief method of execution at Auschwitz is widely thought to be gassing, and instead describes leaping into pits of fire; and can't remain consistent from one recounting to the next whether the supposedly murderous Germans indulged him with a two-week stay in a hospital to operate on the sole of his foot or on his knee.  Or remember that Simon Wiesenthal, to take a final example from the vast assortment available, proclaims on 60 Minutes that Ukrainians in Lviv committed the biggest pogrom of World War II prior to occupation by German forces, but is contradicted by reputable Jewish historians who conclude that no such pogrom took place (once in the linked article, click "What happened in Lviv?" in the yellow CONTENTS box).

If anyone has an explanation of how such a low quality of reasoning, and such a high level of duplicity, is possible within such prominent Jewish representatives other than as a result of a unique Jewish protection from criticism, I would like to hear it.  If anyone can propose a means for redeeming the quality of Jewish thinking other than by their renouncing the protection from opposition afforded by their charge of anti-Semitism, then let him come forward and divulge this alternative means.  If anyone knows of a calamity to the Jews which deserves second place after the Jewish Holocaust instead of the calamity noted by Boaz Evron � namely, the calamity of fantasizing about the Holocaust � let him propose it.