General Antisemitism

Geary Theory: A Goy contemplates “As-A-Jews”


A guest post by Joe Geary
I have recently taken to trying to fathom an explanation of the phenomenon of the As-A-Jew which, thanks to Howard Jacobson, also goes by the name of ASHamed Jew or “Finkler”. Some call them “self-hating Jews”.

What precisely can it be that transforms a sensible upstanding member of the Jewish community into a raving, swivel-eyed fanatic bent on spouting the most preposterous anti-Israel claptrap complete with conspiracy-theory quotes from Chomsky and friends? Or into a simpering obsessive, forever composing letters in green ink to the Guardian beginning:

“Dear Sir, As a Jew I am writing to dissociate myself from the policies of the Israeli government …”?

You see, I’m not Jewish myself but if I were I’d be inordinately proud of what my co-religionists have achieved in a blink of history’s eye. I’d be an Israel braggart, poking people in the chest and challenging them “what do you think about that then?” A democracy with civil rights for all, sexual equality, freedom of expression, freedom of faith. A scientific cornucopia forever replete with marvellous inventions. A never-ending cultural and artistic festival with magnificent film-makers, musicians, writers. And all in sixty years and all in a region benighted by despotism, cultural and educational stagnation and under-achievement in every sphere except those of violence and intolerance. Yes, I’d be an Israel pub-bore. Like Jacobson, only less funny.

So how does Jacobson himself explain the “Finkler”? He sees it partly as an expression of the famed Jewish disputatiousness (his word, too long for me to have thought of), of contrarianism. A sort of: “I’m Jewish and so you expect me to be proud of Israel? Well, I won’t be, just to teach you not to presume”. And partly as an expression of the eternal Jewish quest, of self-interrogation for the essence of Jewishness in a world of non-Jews, which brings with it at times great pride but at other also a sense of guilt at being Jewish in that world of non-Jews. And partly as a paradoxical sense of disappointment. Before it existed it was possible for Zion to be all things. Now that Israel does exist, why isn’t it perfect in every single way?

All very cerebral and complicated. But then, Jacobson is an intellectual and intellectuals sometimes have a difficulty in seeing a spade as anything less than a long-handled spatula agricultural implement. Me, plain old Joe Geary, I’m not convinced. Why not? Well just look at them, these As-A-Jews – the Richard Silversteins, the Antony Lermans, the Tony Greensteins.  Do you really think they’re capable of all the mental machinations that Jacobson attributes to them, all that self-interrogation? Are they in constant logical and emotional turmoil forever pondering and balancing ideas of identity and belonging? Do me a favour. These are the Jews that God forgot. The Friday afternoon Jews, or perhaps the extremely-late-in-the-evening-of-the-Sixth-Day-when-He-was-really-exhausted Jews. Whose craniums He omitted to fill and whose backbones got left in the crate.

No. My explanation is much simpler. The As-A-Jew certainly wants to be loved. He desperately desires to be accepted into the shallow hypocritical soi-disant left-leaning world which he feels is his natural habitat (that would be, by the way, the world whose UK branch is pandered to and bolstered by the Guardian). But he has a problem. He’s Jewish. And one of the trade-marks of, one of the tribal markings you must have to enter that shallow hypocritical soi-disant left-leaning world is a hatred of Israel, aka the Jewish state. That soi-disant left-leaning world is therefore suspicious of Jews: do they or do they not pass the Jonathan Freedland “Israel test”? Tell us you despise the place and there is a seat at our dinner table. Tell us you feel any affinity and you can find your own way to the door. As Freedland puts it most succinctly:

[I]f Jews refuse to dissociate themselves from Israel, then they are fair game for abuse and attack until they publicly recant. Liberals rightly recoil from the constant pressure on Muslims to explain themselves and denounce jihadism or even Islamism. Yet they make the same implicit demand when they suggest Jews are OK, unless they are Zionists.The effect is to make Jews’ place in British society contingent on their distance from their fellow Jews, in this case, Israelis.

There you have it. The As-A-Jews are the Uriah Heeps who, instead of unleashing the old two-fingered (or one-fingered if you happen to be American) salute on whoever sets them this test, meekly renounce the Little Satan and all its Works.

And having betrayed their people, their history, their tradition, they make a virtue of that very betrayal. They brandish their anti-Israeli views like a pimp displays his Cadillac. They’ll top any anti-Israel story with one of their own. They’ll meet your “Gaza-open-prison” and raise you an “apartheid State” They even become experts at the reductio ad Israelam fallacy, namely, the evils of the Middle East, nay make that the entire world, are all down to the existence of the Zionist entity. Thus our As-A-Jew, like some latter-day Hebrew Faust sells his soul to buy his soirée cred.

Also of course there’s money and fame to be had – if you can call “fame” being published by the Guardian’s Comment is Free.

And doesn’t that soi-disant left-leaning world just love its tame As-A-Jews, its “House Jews”? What could be more useful in the campaign to delegitimise the Jewish State than to trot out a Jew to recite your script?

So, I’m sorry Howard, but I don’t buy your intellectualisations. You do these sell-outs too much credit. This is my version. You asked “The Finkler Question”. Call this answer the “Geary Theory”.

30 replies »

    • Here here! Hats off to you Geary for a clear headed explanation. And yes , why not the Geary Theory? I like it.

  1. Roll Up! Roll Up!

    View the Zionist Entity in Robert Fisk’s Hall of Mad Mirrors!

    “Israel, which has been so skewed and immature in its response to the Arab awakening – why on earth did its leaders not welcome the Egyptian revolution, opening their arms to a people who showed they wanted the democracy which Israel always boasts of, instead of shooting dead five Egyptian soldiers in the latest Gaza shoot-out? – has much to ponder.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-how-long-before-the-dominoes-fall-2342202.html

    • “why on earth did its leaders not welcome the Egyptian revolution”

      Unlike Fisk, Israel’s leaders and citizens have had 100 years to contemplate Arab revolutions, each of which seems to have been more destructive to Arab society than the previous one, and more threatening to all around them.

    • “.. why on earth did its leaders not welcome the Egyptian revolution, opening their arms to a people who showed they wanted the democracy which Israel always boasts of,..” What a bizarre statement, even by Fisk’s standards! Is he really so foolish as to believe what he writes? Assuming that Fisk meant it seriously, his lack of knowledge about the attitude of Islam towards democracy is appalling and shaming of him.

      Although there may be a few Muslims with foresight who recognise the advantages of democracy, the majority would not be able to give an operational definition of it or its benefits. They are too terrified of the reactions of their religious leaders. Why, then, should Israel welcome such buzz-words from Egypt if they are not backed up with any recognition of what changes have to be made? Those Egyptians in Tahrir Square were at the mercy of their feelings rather than had any idea of how to implement democracy.

      The following is typical of what most Muslim/Islamist leaders (and therefore their people, who, although they may make grandiose speeches, have neither the will nor the first idea how to implement their ideas) believe about democracy:

      Abu Bakar Bashir, an Islamist released from prison in 2006 after having been charged with complicity in the Bali attacks of 2002, said: “There is no democracy in Islam, so do not try to interpret the Qu’ran and turn Islam into a democracy to suit your needs. God’s law comes first. It is not up to the will of the people to decide what is right and how to live. Rather the will of the people have (sic) to be bent to suit the will of God. It is not democracy we want but Allah-cracy! The principles of Islam cannot be altered…. Democracy is shirk (blasphemy) and haram…

      In short, it threatens their power base.

  2. And doesn’t that soi-disant left-leaning world just love its tame As-A-Jews, its “House Jews”?

    FFS, mate, you’ve completely lost the plot. What do you sound like?

    You’re talking abut a tiny minority of lefites. Lauren Booth and you are one and the same.

    • “You’re talking abut a tiny minority of lefites”

      What’s a “lefite”?
      I’m talking about the vast swathes of people who adore their Chomsky, their Naomi Klein, their Norman Finkelstein, precisely because they are Zionophobic Jews.
      And I’m talking about the Guardian which also adores its House Jews. They’re all over CiFilis like a rash.

      “Lauren Booth and you are one and the same”

      Odd. I can’t recall the last time I called for the destruction of the Zionist entity. Or anyone else for that matter.
      Here’s the difference. One of us is sane, the other isn’t.

    • “You’re talking abut a tiny minority of lefites.”

      You’re living in the past, Pretzelberg. In the far past, before the Marxist branch moved to become the Left’s mainstream and pushed the older, patriotic, pro-Israel Left to minority status.

      You may well be part of that older Left, but you’re no longer mainstream. Those Islam-sympathizing anti-Zionist sickos are now the mainstream of the Left.

      • before the Marxist branch moved to become the Left’s mainstream

        The Labour Party is commonly considered to be mainstream left. And they’ve hardly been taken over by Marxists.

        But ta for that personal acknowledgement further down. At least some people here have an idea about what I do and do not stand for.

        • “The Labour Party … [ha]ve hardly been taken over by Marxists.”

          People who are Marxists, no. Marxist sentiments, heck yeah.

          I always wonder at reading essays from left-wingers, not to mention right-wingers, of the 1950s, 60s and earlier 70s, with the idea—often not even explicitly stated, but implicitly assumed—that a nation has a right to exclusive political rights within its state. Whereas now, even professing right-wingers are afraid to voice that once common-sense opinion, for fear of being called “racists.” They will tell you they disavow Marxism in all their hearts, but though truly said, the precepts and thought-laws of Marxism have seeped so far into the discourse that even they are governed by them.

          The rejection of the old, common-sense and inoffensive idea that the state should be its nation castle has been all but mainstreamed. Now the idea that the Jewish State needs to be cut down in size (despite being already minuscule!), or even eliminated altogether, is being mainstreamed as well, if only within the Left. I know because I have seen quite a few examples on Daily Kos of a pro-Israel poster using right-wing sources to defend Israel, being called upon it, then protesting that those are the only sources available.

          Zionism is compatible with left-wing politics, but not with the anti-nationalist Marxist branch of the Left. The mainstreaming of that branch’s sentiments means anti-Zionism is turning into a requirement, not an option, for anyone who counts himself among today’s Left.

          • Zionism is compatible with left-wing politics

            Yes, absolutely. I think a major problem is that “Zionism” has come – in certain circles – to be interpreted as a mix of Jewish supremacism and Israeli expansionism. Although if you conducted a poll in e.g. the UK, my guess is that you’d get a massive range of definitions – plus plenty of “don’t knows”.

  3. Geary

    A perfect description of the kind and I agree with every sentence but this:

    Thus our As-A-Jew, like some latter-day Hebrew Faust sells his soul to buy his soirée cred.

    I think that Faust as we know him from Marlowe and Goethe was a larger than life tragic hero who sold his soul (moral integrity) for unlimited knowledge and earthly pleasures.
    The subjects of your excellent theory are simply extremely small-time non-entities whose souls (if they have any) are non-marketable stock, nobody wants them to buy only to rent for free and dispose after use. The devil was a honest trader not like the “buyers” of these Theobalds. They are despised by everybody (especially by their users) apart from themselves. They don’t seek knowledge, nor success, they are simply suffer from excessive self-adoration and can’t understand why they are detested by all when they have a so beautiful and unique self.

  4. I just noticed a small error in the link to Silverstein. Its says:

    “Richard Silverstein, a Seattle based Jew and self-described “Jewish progressive”, is a regular contributor to ‘Comment is Free’ and the Huffington Post ”

    Actually, he WAS a regular contributor, but this as-a-Jew was dropped like a hot potato when even he became too extreme for CiF. As for the HuffPo – I don’t read that ghastly rag, so can’t comment. Of course, he still pumps out his bile to a group of like-minded lunatics on his own blog.

    I think CW was largely responsible for the demise of Lerman as we exposed his attempts to use the Guardian to get back at those who fired him from that British think-tank, the IJPR, and his silly attempts to start a sort of competing anti-Israel on-line paper. My recollection is that his last article for the Guardian was piece about how wonderful some people were on a Greek Island for preserving an ancient synagogue. Like the Guardian itself, he should stick to gardening and archeology.

    Greenstein is a one-man horror show that the Guardian actually banned. It is almost inconceivable that there appear to be three or four people in England who actually take him seriously. Seamus Milne, for one, I suppose.

    It is interesting to see how once their usefulness ends, their idiotic attempts to ingratiate themselves with the gentile society around them backfire. People admire those who are proud of and respect their own heritage, not those who disparage it as a method of social climbing..

    • Anyone who describes themself as a “progressive” is suspect in my eyes! Certain posters here might not believe it, but quite a while back I suggested that removing Silverstein and Ben White would be a first step in improving CiF’s I/P coverage.

  5. Geary, worry you not about Pretzelberg who cannot fine tune his reactions. Apart from the obvious differences, such as your far greater intelligence and capability to reflect and analyse, and the fact that you, thankfully tend not to have “mystical” experiences which lead to your converting to a Dark Age death cult you know less than nothing about, no way are you comparable to the ignoramus Lauren Booth, but then I expect you knew that.

    And this is an excellent article, which should be forwarded to all the As-a-Jews who write for the Groan and to any others you can think of who don’t.

    I’ve already sent it to everyone in my address book

    • worry you not about Pretzelberg who cannot fine tune his reactions.

      My reactions are far subtler than those of the vast majority of posters on these threads.

      Strange how you never make such personal attacks on them.

  6. I interact with people like this more than I want to, and I think it is a combination of several factors. Wanting entry into the sort of political circles that demand this kind of language from you is part of it. Another is that most of these people have very little real or significant understanding of Jewish history. And they do not think of Jewish history in the same way they think of the history they learn in left-wing circles. People who can clearly state all the ways in which the legacy of slavery continues to affect the African diaspora will look at you and say, with apparent total honesty that the oppression of Jews is ‘over’.

    Most of them are undermined by a sort of low-grade anti-Semitic narrative that leaves them very vulnerable to this sort of thinking. They believe that Jewish suffering is supposed to help other people. It’s selfish to actually think it’s about Jews. The horrors of the old country are for everyone to enjoy as Fiddler, and the Holocaust is presented as the property of the whole world, for everyone to cry over and understand how wrong it is to kill people because they are different. They have been told that as Jews today they are suburban, affluent, and materialistic, and they go along with that, and try to cleanse themselves of it. I wish they would damn well educate themselves instead.

    It makes me crazy.

    • They have been told that as Jews today they are suburban, affluent, and materialistic

      Eh? Who tells them that?

      • Popular culture, people they meet in college, sometimes even their own perceptions of the communities they were raised in, which they seldom understand not to reflect much except the community they were raised in. Many sources, many negative results.

  7. “They brandish their anti-Israeli views like a pimp displays his Cadillac”

    Love the image, Geary!

    It is in their over-reaction, over-statementing and apparent willingness to go along with misinformation that their ‘need’ is clearly visible.

    • My impression is that they are essentially materialist cowards who do the sums and opt for refuge among the antisemites rather than among Jews, never mind in G0d.

    • Penny I liked this one too:

      “The Friday afternoon Jews, or perhaps the extremely-late-in-the-evening-of-the-Sixth-Day-when-He-was-really-exhausted Jews. Whose craniums He omitted to fill and whose backbones got left in the crate.”

      I couldn’t come up with that one in a million years. I hope Geary does not mind me using it.

  8. I personally settle for calling those “As-a-Jew” types Uncle Choms or Auntie Amiras (that is assuming if they even has any Jewish ancestry like they claim), it’s just a shame that much of the entrenched, smarmy and sycophantic Jewish leadership is made up of such an unworthy lot, who give legitimacy and curry favour to individuals / groups that believe Jews are somehow a people without a history or taking things to their logical conclusion, long for the day when the world declares that “Judaism is Racism” in the same way as Zionism was.

    • much of the entrenched, smarmy and sycophantic Jewish leadership … give legitimacy and curry favour to individuals / groups that … long for the day when the world declares that “Judaism is Racism” in the same way as Zionism was.

      What tiny minority of Jews would agree that “Judaism is Racism” – let alone Jewish leaders?

      • Those very same “As-a-Jew” folks and other self-deniers that have replaced Judaism for Liberalism / Leftism and believe that the Torah can be summed up as simply “Social Justice”, with leaders who constantly compromise with unapologetic enemies and go against the interests of the very community they claim to represent.