Thursday, April 8, 2010

Understanding the Jewish Psyche

Excerpts from Echoes of the Holocaust

by Rebecca Bynum

A Review of Jihad and Genocide

by Richard L. Rubenstein

. . . In addition to being a student of history, Rubenstein is also a student of psychology. He doesn’t write history in terms of disembodied historic forces playing upon hapless individuals. His history is driven by men of flesh and blood whose actions are psychologically conditioned by their worldview and experience.

. . . . The most poignant aspects of Rubenstein’s body of work concerns the meek acceptance of the Jews of their fate at the hands of the Nazis and not only acceptance, but active collaboration in some cases, born of the denial of reality coupled with the hope for the survival of a remnant.

In The Cunning of History, he writes:
One of the elements conditioning the compliant Jewish response to the process of extermination was their own history. The last time Jews had taken up arms against an enemy was during the Judeo-Roman Wars of 66-70 C. E. and 131-35 C.E. On both occasions, they fought valiantly and lost disastrously. Those who during the first Judeo-Roman was had counseled submission and surrender were installed by the victors as the religious and political leaders of the Jewish people. The religious leaders of the European diaspora for almost two thousand years were the spiritual heirs of the Pharisees and rabbis who rose to political and religious dominance only after they had been selected by the Romans as their "loyal and non-seditious agents." Thus, diaspora Judaism began in the aftermath of catastrophic military defeat and survived by developing a culture of surrender and submission in consequence of that defeat. Until the bloody wars with the Romans, the Jews had been a violent, troublesome, rebellious nation. Their transformation from a warrior people of the sword into a submissive people of the book led by plebian scribes and scholars took several generations. By the year 200 C.E., Jewish character had undergone one of the most radical psychological and cultural transformations in history. Rabbinic Judaism is the result of that transformation. It shaped Jewish character and conditioned Jewish responses in the diaspora for two thousand years. Long after Western Jews were secularized and considered themselves "emancipated" from their ancient traditions, they continued as an organized community to respond to overlords as had those who surrendered to the Romans. No matter how grave the provocation, the Jewish Community instinctively avoided violent response. They sought to avert hostile action by bribery, petitions for mercy, or appeals to the religious or moral sentiments of their adversaries. [2]

That is why during the Holocaust the Germans were able to incorporate the existing Jewish leadership and organizations into their bureaucracy and thereby to direct Jews to cooperate in their own extermination.

In the Warsaw Ghetto and in Lodz, Poland, the Jewish council, or Judenrat, did not resist German directives even when the Germans demanded the "selection" of 10,000 Jews a day for deportation. Jewish bureaucrats made the selection; Jewish police rounded up the victims. [3]

When resistance was finally organized in the Warsaw Ghetto, they were forced to shoot the leader of the Jewish police along with several others in order to overthrow and replace the existing Jewish Council. Regarding Europe today, at a time of sharply increasing antisemitic attacks and a growing atmosphere of persecution, it is hard to discern any organized and active Jewish resistance. We see instead an emphasis on "interfaith dialogue" along with increased emigration from Europe on the part of young Jews who see the writing on the wall for their children. Last year during Israel's brief war in Gaza, a small demonstration in Malmo, Sweden in favor of Israel was attacked by a screaming mob of Arabs and Swedish leftists, who threw bottles and firecrackers as the police passively looked on and did nothing. The mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, insisted to The Sunday Telegraph that he was opposed to anti-Semitism, but added: "I believe these are anti-Israel attacks, connected to the war in Gaza. We want Malmo to be cosmopolitan and safe for everybody and we have taken action. I have started a dialogue forum. There haven't been any attacks on Jewish people, and if Jews from the city want to move to Israel that is not a matter for Malmo. [4]

Meanwhile, Malmo’s synagogue employs full time security guards along with rocket-proof glass for the windows, and the Jewish kindergarten is equipped with thick steel doors. This pattern is repeating all over Europe and Great Britain.And even after the Holocaust and in the face of the most strident genocidal rhetoric, the denial on the part of both Jewish organizations and secular Western governments continues.

Read the whole thing!

Lots More There

[2] Rubenstein, Richard L., The Cunning of History: The Holocaust and the American Future (Perennial, an imprint of Harper Collins, 1975, reprint 2001) pg. 70
[3] Ibid. pg. 74
[4] Meo, Nick “Jews leave Swedish city after sharp rise an Anti-Semitic hate crimes” The Sunday Telegraph Feb. 21, 2010

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