Spot on…… (As usual)
The Alt-Right and Israel
This is where it gets to be completely bewildering. In fact, from a personal stand point, this is what drew me in to trying to understand these people. It is on Israel that they diverge completely from the vast majority of good people in the US who supported Donald Trump, may well be American patriots and nationalists but have no part in racist nationalism. This group of people, far far larger than the tiny Alt-Right, I can identify with and understand. They were the ones falsely maligned and slandered by the media trying to put all Trump supporters into an Alt-Right, white supremacist box.
In another paradox, they deeply admire us in Israel for establishing what they consider to be the “ethno-nationalist state” they so want to live in. They don’t really understand our 20% Arab minority (and that minority’s Islamic majority) or the ethnic diversity within Judaism. And the Alt-Right seems to stick to learning about Israel from either mainstream left and far-left sources like Ha’aretz and the New York Times or (even worse) outright Jew and Israel hating sites like Monodweiss, Electronic Intifada and individuals like Peter Beinart. If you ask them whether they believe the New York Times reports accurately on White nationalism or subjects they care about, they’ll tell you of course not. Then they’ll show you an article about Israel copied from Ha’aretz by the New York Times and scream at you that it is gospel truth.
Back to Nathan Cofnas’s refutation of the Culture of Critique, we come to an analysis of Jewish influence on top intellectuals. What ever you want to say about this disproportionate representation of Jews in an arbitrary list of top intellectuals, blind, lockstep support for Israel and fervent Zionism certainly isn’t a common theme. So what Jewish interests are this diverse group of Jews pushing?
Freud and Psychoanalysis
The 15 Jews among the top 21 intellectuals were (1) Daniel Bell, (2) Chomsky, (3) Irving Howe, (4) Norman Mailer, (5) Robert Silvers, (6) Susan Sontag, (7) Lionel Trilling, (8) Hannah Arendt, (9) Saul Bellow, (10) Paul Goodman, (11) Richard Hofstadter (Jewish father), (12) Irving Kristol, (13) Herbert Marcuse, (14) Norman Podhoretz, and (15) David Riesman. A closer look shows that only two or three of these cases support MacDonald’s thesis, and several are clear counterexamples. First off, five of these intellectuals are, by MacDonald’s criteria, unambiguously anti-Israel and therefore opposed to Jewish interests. Chomsky was (and still is) arguably the world’s leading critic of Israel. Mailer tended to sympathize with the Palestinians (Theodoracopulos 2015). When Sontag accepted the Jerusalem Prize in 2001, she used the occasion to condemn Israel (Cockburn 2001). Marcuse (who will be discussed in more detail below) advocated the return of Arab refugees to Israel, ending Jewish control of the country (Marcuse 2005:181). Arendt was the student, promoter, and lover (in a romantic sense) of the Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger. She was best known for her book Eichmann in Jerusalem (Arendt 1963), in which she argued that Israeli laws were comparable to the Nazi Nuremberg laws and that holocaust-orchestrator Eichmann had been given a “show trial” and was not a particularly bad person (just that he was prompted to do bad things by circumstances beyond his control—though she faults him for not being brave enough to protest). In 1948, Arendt (along with Einstein, Sidney Hook, and 24 other prominent Jews) signed a letter to the New York Times which described the political party of Menachem Begin as “closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties” (Shatz 2004:65).
Another intellectual on the list, Saul Bellow, was a conservative who opposed feminism, multiculturalism, and political correctness. Bellow urged Allan Bloom, another Jewish academic at the University of Chicago, to write The Closing of the American Mind (Bloom 1987), one of the most influential pro-traditionalist academic books in the past few decades (Ahmed and Grossman 2007).