“The Jewish problem is one of the greatest problems in the world, and no man, be he writer, politician or diplomatist, can be considered mature until he has striven to face it squarely on its merits.”
…......................—Henry Wickham Steed
Here I present the second part of Prof. MacDonald’s 2002 Preface to The Culture of Critique. The inclusion of images is entirely my own initiative. No images appear in the printed text of MacDonald’s Preface. For the Contents Page and my introduction, click here.
The Decline of Ethnic Consciousness Among European-Derived People in the United States
Fundamental to the transformation of the United States as a result of massive non-European immigration was the decline of ethnic consciousness among European peoples. It is fascinating to contrast the immigration debates of the 1920s with those of the 1950s and 1960s. The restrictionists of the 1920s unabashedly asserted the right of European-derived peoples to the land they had conquered and settled. There were many assertions of ethnic interest—that the people who colonized and created the political and economic culture of the country had a right to maintain it as their possession. This sort of morally self-assured nativism (even the word itself now has a pathological ring to it) can be seen in the statement of Representative William N. Vaile of Colorado, a prominent restrictionist, quoted in Chapter 7 of CofC.
By the 1940s and certainly by the 1960s it was impossible to make such assertions without being deemed not only a racist but an intellectual Neanderthal. Indeed, Bendersky (2000) shows that such rhetoric was increasingly impossible in the 1930s. One can see the shift in the career of racial theorist Lothrop Stoddard, author of books such as The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy and numerous articles for the popular media, such as Collier’s, Forum, and The Saturday Evening Post. Stoddard viewed Jews as highly intelligent and as racially different from Europeans. He also believed that Jews were critical to the success of Bolshevism. However, he stopped referring to Jews completely in his lectures to the Army War College in the late 1930s. The Boasian revolution in anthropology had triumphed, and theorists who believed that race was important for explaining human behavior became fringe figures. Stoddard himself went from being a popular and influential writer to being viewed as a security risk as the Roosevelt administration prepared the country for war with National Socialist Germany.
Another marker of the change in attitude toward Jews was the response to Charles Lindbergh’s remarks in Des Moines, Iowa on the eve of U.S. entry into World War II. Lindbergh’s advocacy of non-intervention was shaped not only by his horror at the destructiveness of modern warfare—what he viewed as the suicide of European culture, but also by his belief that a second European war would be suicidal for the White race. In an article published in the popular media in 1939 shortly after the outbreak of World War II, he stated that it was a war “among a dominant people for power, blind, insatiable, suicidal. Western nations are again at war, a war likely to be more prostrating than any in the past, a war in which the White race is bound to lose, and the others bound to gain, a war which may easily lead our civilization through more Dark Ages if it survives at all” (Lindbergh 1939, 65).
In order to maintain their dominance over other races, Lindbergh believed that whites should join together to fend off the teeming legions of non-whites who were the real long-term threat. Lindbergh was not a Nordicist. He took a long-term view that Russia would be a white bulwark against the Chinese in the East. He advocated a racial alliance among Whites based “on a Western Wall of race and arms which can hold back either a Genghis Khan or the infiltration of inferior blood; on an English fleet, a German air force, a French army, [and] an American nation” (p. 66). However, the Soviet Union under Communism was abhorrent: “I tell you that I would a hundred times rather see my country ally herself with England, or even with Germany with all of her faults, than with the cruelty, the godlessness, and the barbarism that exist in Soviet Russia. An alliance between the United States and Russia should be opposed by every American, by every Christian, and by every humanitarian in this country” (in Berg 1999, 422). Lindbergh clearly viewed the atrocities perpetrated by the Soviet Union to be worse than those of Nazi Germany.
Lindbergh’s famous speech of September 11, 1941 stated that Jews were one of the principal forces attempting to lead the U.S. into the war, along with the Roosevelt administration and the British. Lindbergh noted that Jewish reaction to Nazi Germany was understandable given persecution “sufficient to make bitter enemies of any race.” He stated that the Jews’ “greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our Government.” And, most controversially, he stated, “I am saying that the leaders of both the British and Jewish races, for reasons which are understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war” (in Berg 1999, 427).
Lindbergh’s speech was greeted with a torrent of abuse and hatred unparalleled for a mainstream public figure in American history. Overnight Lindbergh went from cultural hero to moral pariah. Jewish influence on the media and government would be difficult to measure then as it is now, but it was certainly considerable and a common concern of anti-Jewish sentiment of the time. In a booklet published in 1936, the editors of Fortune magazine concluded that the main sources of Jewish influence on the media were their control of the two major radio networks and the Hollywood movie studios (Editors of Fortune 1936). They suggested that “at the very most, half the opinion-making and taste-influencing paraphernalia in America is in Jewish hands” (p. 62)—a rather remarkable figure considering that Jews constituted approximately 2-3% of the population and most of the Jewish population were first or second generation immigrants. A short list of Jewish ownership or management of the major media during this period would include the New York Times (the most influential newspaper, owned by the Sulzberger family), the New York Post (George Backer), the Washington Post (Eugene Meyer), Philadelphia Inquirer (M. L. Annenberg), Philadelphia Record and Camden Courier-Post (J. David Stern), Newark Star-Ledger (S. I. Newhouse), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Paul Block), CBS (the dominant radio network, owned by William Paley), NBC (headed by David Sarnoff), all of the major Hollywood movie studios, Random House (the most important book publisher, owned by Bennett Cerf), and a dominant position in popular music.(2) Walter Winchell, who had an audience of tens of millions and was tied with Bob Hope for the highest rated program on radio, believed that opposition to intervention “was unconscionable, a form of treason” (Gabler 1995, 294). Winchell, “the standard bearer for interventionism,” was Jewish. He had close ties during this period to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which provided him with information on the activities of isolationists and Nazi sympathizers which he used in his broadcasts and newspaper columns (Gabler 1995, 294-298).
There is no question that the movie industry did indeed propagandize against Germany and in favor of intervention. In May, 1940, the Warner Brothers studio wired Roosevelt that “personally we would like to do all in our power within the motion picture industry and by use of the talking screen to show the American people the worthiness of the cause for which the free peoples of Europe are making such tremendous sacrifices” (in Gabler 1988, 343). Later in 1940 Joseph P. Kennedy lectured the Hollywood movie elite that they should stop promoting the war and stop making anti-Nazi movies or risk a rise in anti-Semitism. Immediately prior to Lindbergh’s Des Moines speech, Senator Gerald Nye asserted that foreign-born owners of the Hollywood studies had “violent animosities toward certain causes abroad” (Gabler 1988, 344-345). Representatives of the movie industry, realizing that they had the support of the Roosevelt administration, aggressively defended making “America conscious of the national peril.”(3)
Harvard historian William Langer stated in a lecture to the U.S. Army War College that the rising dislike of Nazi Germany in the U.S. was due to “Jewish influence” in the media:
You have to face the fact that some of our most important American newspapers are Jewish-controlled, and I suppose if I were a Jew I would feel about Nazi Germany as most Jews feel and it would be most inevitable that the coloring of the news takes on that tinge. As I read the New York Times, for example, it is perfectly clear that every little upset that occurs (and after all, many upsets occur in a country of 70 million people) is given a great deal of prominence. The other part of it is soft-pedaled or put off with a sneer. So that in a rather subtle way, the picture you get is that there is no good in the Germans whatever. (In Bendersky 2000, 273)It is also interesting that the Chicago Tribune was “circumspect on the Jewish question” despite the personal sentiments of Robert McCormick, the Tribune’s non-Jewish publisher, that Jews were an important reason behind America’s anti-German policy (Bendersky 2000, 284). This suggests that concern with Jewish power—quite possibly concern about negative influences on advertising revenue (see Editors of Fortune 1936, 57), was an issue for McCormick. On balance, it would seem reasonable to agree with Lindbergh that Jewish influence in the media was significant during this period. Of course, this is not to say that Jews dominated the media at this time or that other influences were not important.
It is also noteworthy that U.S. military officers often worried that Roosevelt was influenced to be anti-German by his Jewish advisors, Samuel I. Rosenman, Felix Frankfurter, and Henry Morgenthau, Jr. (Bendersky 2000, 274), and they worried that Jewish interests and the British would push the U.S. into a war with Germany. Both Frankfurter and Morgenthau were strongly identified Jews and effective advocates of Jewish interests within the Roosevelt Administration. Morgenthau actively promoted Zionism and the welfare of Jewish refugees (e.g., Bendersky 2000, 333ff, 354ff). Both supported U.S. involvement in the war against Germany, and Morgenthau became well-known as an advocate of extremely harsh treatment of the Germans during and after World War II.
Moreover, there is no question that Jews were able to have a great deal of influence on specific issues during this period. For example, Zionist organizations exerted enormous pressure on the government (e.g., Bendersky 2000, 325). During World War II they engaged in “loud diplomacy” (p. 326), organizing thousands of rallies, dinners with celebrity speakers (including prominent roles for sympathetic non-Jews), letter campaigns, meetings, lobbying, threats to newspapers for publishing unfavorable items, insertion of propaganda as news items in newspapers, giving money to politicians and non-Jewish celebrities like Will Rogers in return for their support. By 1944, “thousands of non-Jewish associations would pass pro-Zionist resolutions” (p. 326). In 1944 both Republican and Democratic platforms included strong pro-Zionist planks even though the creation of a Jewish state was strongly opposed by the Departments of State and War (p. 328).
Nevertheless, whatever the level of Jewish influence on the media during this period, commentators generally focused on denouncing the seeming implication in Lindbergh’s speech that Jewish interests were “not American.” I suppose that Lindbergh’s statement could have been amended by a public-relations minded editor without distorting Lindbergh’s intentions to read something like, “Jewish interests are not the same as the interests of most other Americans,” or “Jewish interests are not the same as those of the country as a whole.” However, I rather doubt that this alteration would have assuaged the outpouring of hatred that ensued. The simple facts that the vast majority of U.S. Jews were indeed in favor of intervention and that Jews did have a significant effect on public attitudes and public policy had become irrelevant. As Lindbergh himself said, the choice was “whether or not you are going to let your country go into a completely disastrous war for lack of courage to name the groups leading that country to war—at the risk of being called ‘anti-Semitic’ simply by naming them” (as paraphrased by Anne Morrow Lindbergh 1980, 224; italics in text). America had entered into an era when it had become morally unacceptable to discuss Jewish interests at all. We are still in that era.(4)
It is instructive to review in some detail the “Niagara of invective” experienced by Lindbergh (Berg 1999, 428). He was denounced by virtually all the leading media, by Democrats and Republicans, Protestants and Catholics, and, of course, Jewish groups. Many accused him of being a Nazi, including the Presidential Secretary who compared Lindbergh’s speech to Nazi rhetoric. Reinhold Niebuhr, the prominent Protestant leader (see below), called on Lindbergh’s organization, America First, to “divorce itself from the stand taken by Lindbergh and clean its ranks of those who would incite to racial and religious strife in this country” (in Berg 1999, 428). America First released a statement that neither Lindbergh nor the organization were anti-Semitic.
The reaction of Lindbergh’s wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, is particularly interesting because it illustrates the power of moral revulsion combined with hypocrisy that had enveloped any public discussion of Jewish interests.
September 11, 1941:Several issues stand out in these comments. Anne Morrow Lindbergh is horrified at having to walk through “aisles of hate,” horrified at having to give up her friends, horrified at being a pariah where once she was idolized as the wife of the most popular man in the country. While she accepts the truth of what her husband said and its good intentions, she thinks it better left unsaid and does not dwell on the unfairness of the charges against her husband, in particular with calling him a Nazi. Truth is no defense if it leads to morally unacceptable actions, and slander and smear tactics are warranted and understandable if the goals are morally praiseworthy. She supposes that even a disastrous war that might kill hundreds of thousands of Americans (and, as her husband believed, might result in the destruction of European culture and the white race) is preferable to the possibility of an outbreak of violent anti-Semitism. The moral demeanor of Americans is more important than their survival as a nation or people. And all of this because Lindbergh simply stated that Jews had interests as a group that differed from those of other Americans. Their lesson learned, American politicians presumably realized that even rational, intelligent, and humane discussions of Jewish interests were beyond the boundaries of appropriate discussion. Jews had no interests as Jews that could be said to conflict with the interests of any other group of Americans.
Then [he gave] his speech—throwing me into black gloom. He names the “war agitators”—chiefly the British, the Jews, and the Administration. He does it truthfully, moderately, and with no bitterness or rancor—but I hate to have him touch the Jews at all. For I dread the reaction on him. No one else mentions this subject out loud (though many seethe bitterly and intolerantly underneath). C. [Charles], as usual, must bear the brunt of being frank and open. What he is saying in public is not intolerant or inciting or bitter and it is just what he says in private, while the other soft-spoken cautious people who say terrible things in private would never dare be as frank in public as he. They do not want to pay the price. And the price will be terrible. Headlines will flame “Lindbergh attacks Jews.” He will be branded anti-Semitic, Nazi, Führer-seeking, etc. I can hardly bear it. For he is a moderate...
September 13, 1941: He is attacked on all sides—Administration, pressure groups, and Jews, as now openly a Nazi, following Nazi doctrine.
September 14, 1941: I cannot explain my revulsion of feeling by logic. Is it my lack of courage to face the problem? Is it my lack of vision and seeing the thing through? Or is my intuition founded on something profound and valid?
I do not know and am only very disturbed, which is upsetting for him. I have the greatest faith in him as a person—in his integrity, his courage, and his essential goodness, fairness, and kindness—his nobility really... How then explain my profound feeling of grief about what he is doing? If what he said is the truth (and I am inclined to think it is), why was it wrong to state it? He was naming the groups that were pro-war. No one minds his naming the British or the Administration. But to name “Jew” is un-American—even if it is done without hate or even criticism. Why?
Because it is segregating them as a group, setting the ground for anti-Semitism... I say that I would prefer to see this country at war than shaken by violent anti-Semitism. (Because it seems to me that the kind of person the human being is turned into when the instinct of Jew-baiting is let loose is worse than the kind of person he becomes on the battlefield.)
September 15, 1941: The storm is beginning to blow up hard. America First is in a turmoil... He is universally condemned by all moderates... The Jews demand a retraction... I sense that this is the beginning of a fight and consequent loneliness and isolation that we have not known before... For I am really much more attached to the worldly things than he is, mind more giving up friends, popularity, etc., mind much more criticism and coldness and loneliness.
September 18, 1941: Will I be able to shop in New York at all now? I am always stared at—but now to be stared at with hate, to walk through aisles of hate! (A. M. Lindbergh 1980, 220-230; italics in text)(5)
By the time of Lindbergh’s speech, Jews not only had a prominent position in the U.S. media, they had seized the intellectual and moral high ground via their control of the intellectual and political movements discussed in CofC. Not only were Jewish interests beyond the bounds of civilized political discussion, assertions of European ethnic interest became impermissible as well. Such assertions conflicted with the Boasian dogma that genetic differences between peoples were trivial and irrelevant; they conflicted with the Marxist belief in the equality of all peoples and the Marxist belief that nationalism and assertions of ethnic interests were reactionary; such assertions were deemed a sure sign of psychopathology within the frameworks of psychoanalysis and the Frankfurt School; and they would soon be regarded as the babblings of country bumpkins by the New York Intellectuals and by the neo-conservatives who spouted variants of all of these ideologies from the most prestigious academic and media institutions in the society. There may indeed have been other forces that relegated a nativist mindset to the political and intellectual fringe—Gottfried (2000) points a finger at liberal Protestantism and the rise of the managerial state, but it is impossible to understand the effectiveness of either of these influences in the absence of the Jewish movements I describe.
The rise of a de-ethnicized non-Jewish managerial elite that rejects traditional cultural institutions—as exemplified by former President Bill Clinton and now Senator Hillary Clinton—and interwoven with a critical mass of ethnically conscious Jews and other ethnic minorities is an enormously important fact of our current political life. My claim that Jewish intellectual and political activities were a necessary condition for the rise of such an elite, while obviously difficult to verify conclusively (as any other causal hypothesis would be) is also compatible with the work of others, most notably D. A. Hollinger’s (1996) Science, Jews, and Secular Culture: Studies in Mid-20th-Century American Intellectual History and Carl Degler’s (1991) In Search of Human Nature: The Decline and Revival of Darwinism in American Social Thought.
The rise of such a de-ethnicized elite is hardly an inevitable consequence of modernization or any other force of which I am aware. Such de-ethnicized managerial elites are unique to European and European-derived societies. Such elites are not found elsewhere in the world, including highly developed nations such as Japan and Israel or the undeveloped nations of Africa and elsewhere. Moreover, the cultural shifts under consideration have also occurred in traditionally Catholic countries like France and Italy, where Protestantism has not been a factor. France in particular has been very open to non-European immigration and its intellectual life has been deeply influenced by the movements discussed in CofC. Conversely, there are many examples where Protestantism has peacefully co-existed with or even rationalized nationalism and ethnocentrism.
Developing theories of why Western cultures provide such fertile ground for the theories and movements discussed in CofC is a very useful area for research. It is instructive to look at the way Europeans in the U.S. saw themselves a century ago.(6) Americans of European descent thought of themselves as part of a cultural and ethnic heritage extending backward in time to the founding of the country. The Anglo-Saxon heritage of the British Isles was at the center of this self-conception, but Americans of German and Scandinavian descent also viewed themselves as part of this ethnic and cultural heritage. They had a great deal of pride in their accomplishments. They had conquered a vast territory and had achieved a high degree of economic progress. They saw themselves as having created a civilization with a strong moral fabric—a country of farmers and small businessmen who had developed into a world economic power. They believed that their civilization was a product of their own unique ingenuity and skills, and they believed that it would not survive if other peoples were allowed to play too large a role in it. They saw themselves as exhibiting positive personality traits such as courage in the face of adversity, self-reliance, inventiveness, originality, and fair play—the very virtues that allowed them to conquer the wilderness and turn it into an advanced civilization.
Americans at the turn of the 19th century looked out on the world and saw their own society as superior to others. They saw themselves and other European societies as reaping the rewards of political and economic freedom while the rest of the world suffered as it had from time immemorial—the despotism of Asia, the barbarity and primitivism of Africa, and the economic and political backwardness of Russia and Eastern Europe.
They saw themselves as Christian, and they thought of Christianity as an essential part of the social fabric and their way of life. Christianity was seen as basic to the moral foundations of the society, and any threat to Christianity was seen as a threat to the society as a whole. When these people looked back on their own childhood, they saw “a simple, secure world of commonly accepted values and behavior” (Bendersky 2000, 6)—a world of cultural and ethnic homogeneity. They had a strong sense of family pride and regional identification: They had deep roots in the areas in which they grew up. They did not think of the U.S. as a Marxist hell of war between the social classes. Instead they thought of it as a world of harmony between the social classes in which people at the top of society earned their positions but felt a certain sense of social obligation to the lower social classes.
The early part of the 20th century was also the high water mark of Darwinism in the social sciences. It was common at that time to think that there were important differences between the races—that races differed in intelligence and in moral qualities. Not only did races differ, but they were in competition with each other for supremacy. As described in Separation and Its Discontents (MacDonald 1998a), such ideas were part of the furniture of intellectual life—commonplace among Jews as well as non-Jews.
That world has vanished. The rise of Jewish power and the disestablishment of the specifically European nature of the U.S. are the real topics of CofC. The war to disestablish the specifically European nature of the U.S. was fought on several fronts. The main thrusts of Jewish activism against European ethnic and cultural hegemony have focused on three critical power centers in the United States: The academic world of information in the social sciences and humanities, the political world where public policy on immigration and other ethnic issues is decided, and the mass media where “ways of seeing” are presented to the public. The first two are the focus of CofC.
At the intellectual level, Jewish intellectuals led the battle against the idea that races even exist and against the idea that there are differences in intelligence or cultural level between the races that are rooted in biology. They also spearheaded defining America as a set of abstract principles rather than an ethnocultural civilization. At the level of politics, Jewish organizations spearheaded the drive to open up immigration to all of the peoples of the world. Jewish organizations also played a key role in furthering the interests of other racial and ethnic minorities, and they led the legal and legislative effort to remove Christianity from public places.
The first bastion of the old American culture to fall was elite academic institutions and especially the Ivy League universities. The transformation of the faculty in the social sciences and humanities was well underway in the 1950s, and by the early 1960s it was largely complete. The new elite was very different from the old elite it displaced. The difference was that the old Protestant elite was not at war with the country it dominated. The old Protestant elite was wealthier and better educated than the public at large, but they approached life on basically the same terms. They saw themselves as Christians and as Europeans, and they didn’t see the need for radically changing the society.
Things are very different now. Since the 1960s a hostile, adversary elite has emerged to dominate intellectual and political debate. It is an elite that almost instinctively loathes the traditional institutions of European-American culture: its religion, its customs, its manners, and its sexual attitudes. In the words of one commentator, “today’s elite loathes the nation it rules” (Gerlernter 1997). A good example is Stephen Steinlight’s comments on the immigration restriction of 1924-1965 (see above).
This “hostile elite” is fundamentally a Jewish-dominated elite whose origins and main lines of influence are described in CofC. The emergence of this hostile elite is an aspect of ethnic competition between Jews and non-Jews and its effect will be a long-term decline in the hegemony of European peoples in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.
Although European peoples are less prone to ethnocentrism and more prone to moral universalism and individualism (see below), they did not surrender their impending cultural and demographic eclipse without a fight. There is no evidence for internal WASP self-destruction, but a great deal of evidence that their active resistance was overcome by the movements I discuss in CofC. For example, Bendersky’s (2000) recent The “Jewish Threat” shows strong resistance to the decline of European hegemony among U.S. Army officers in the period from World War I to well into the Cold War era and shows that similar attitudes were widespread among the public at that time. But their resistance was nullified by the decline of the intellectual basis of European ethnic hegemony and by political events, such as the immigration law of 1965, which they were unable to control. In the end, the 1965 law passed because it was advertised as nothing more than a moral gesture that would have no long-term impact on the ethnic balance of the U.S. However, to its activist supporters, including the Jewish organizations who were critical to its passage, immigration reform was what it had always been: a mechanism to alter the ethnic balance of the United States (see Ch. 7).
The fact that the Jewish intellectuals and political operatives described in CofC did not lose their national/ethnic loyalties shows that there was no general trend to de-ethnicization. The broad trends toward de-ethnicization somehow occurred among the Europeans but spared the Jews who by all accounts continue to strongly support their ethnic homeland, Israel, and continue to have a strong sense of peoplehood—propped up now by high-profile programs encouraging Jews to marry other Jews. My account would benefit from discussing the acceptance of Jews by the Protestant establishment after World War II. However, what I have seen thus far suggests Jewish involvement in the dramatic changes in Protestant sensibilities as well. Recently I have become aware of John Murray Cuddihy’s (1978) book, No Offense: Civil Religion and Protestant Taste. The chapter on Reinhold Niebuhr is particularly interesting in thinking about how to account for the acceptance of Jews and Judaism by the WASP establishment after W.W.II. Cuddihy focuses on the elevation of Judaism to the status of one of the “big three” U.S. religions, to the point that a rabbi officiates at the presidential inauguration even though Jews constitute approximately 2-3% of the population. Cuddihy argues that this religious surface served as a protective coloring and led to a sort of crypto-Judaism in which Jewish ethnic identities were submerged in order to make them appear civilized to the goyim. As part of this contract, Niebuhr acknowledged “the stubborn will of the Jews to live as a peculiar people”—an acknowledgement by an important Protestant leader that the Jews could remain a people with a surface veneer of religion.
Both sides gave up something in this bargain. The Jews’ posturing as a religion left them open to large-scale defection via intermarriage to the extent that they took seriously the idea that Judaism was akin to Protestantism, and to some extent this did occur. But recently, Jews have been mending the fences. There is an upsurge in more traditional forms of Judaism and an open rejection of intermarriage even among the most liberal wings of Judaism. Recent guidelines for Reform Judaism emphasize traditional practices of conversion, such as circumcision, that are likely to minimize converts, and proselytism is explicitly rejected.(7) It would appear that Conservative religious forms of Judaism will be the rule in the Diaspora and there will be a self-conscious ethnic aspect to Jewish religiosity.
What the Protestants gave up was far more important because I think it has been a contributing factor in the more or less irreversible ethnic changes in the U.S. and elsewhere in the Western world. Judaism became unconditionally accepted as a modern religion even while retaining a commitment to its ethnic core. It conformed outwardly to the religious norms of the U.S., but it also continued to energetically pursue its ethnic interests, especially with regard to issues where there is a substantial consensus among Jews: support for Israel and the welfare of other foreign Jewries, immigration and refugee policy, church-state separation, abortion rights, and civil liberties (Goldberg 1996, 5). What is remarkable is that a wealthy, powerful, and highly talented ethnic group was able to pursue its interests without those interests ever being the subject of open political discussion by mainstream political figures, for at least the last 60 years—since Lindbergh’s ill-fated Des Moines speech of 1941.
I suppose that Niebuhr thought that he was only giving up the prospect of converting Jews, but the implicit downgrading of the ethnic character of Judaism provided an invaluable tool in furthering Jewish ethnic aims in the U.S. The downgrading of the ethnic aspect of Judaism essentially allowed Jews to win the ethnic war without anyone even being able to acknowledge that it was an ethnic war. For example, during the immigration debates of the 1940s -1960s Jews were described by themselves and others as “people of the Jewish faith.” They were simply another religion in an officially pluralistic religious society, and part of Jewish posturing was a claim to a unique universalistic moral-religious vision that could only be achieved by enacting legislation that in fact furthered their particularist ethnic aims. The universalistic moral-religious vision promoted by Jewish activists really amounted to taking the Protestants at their own word—by insisting that every last shred of ethnic identity among Protestants be given up while Jews were implicitly allowed to keep theirs if they only promised to behave civilly.
The evidence provided by Cuddihy suggests that Niebuhr was socialized by the Jewish milieu of New York into taking the positions that he did—that his position as a major Protestant spokesperson was facilitated by alliances he formed with Jews and because his writings fit well with the Jewish milieu of New York intellectual circles. Niebuhr’s behavior is therefore more an indication of Jewish power and the ability of Jews to recruit non-Jews sympathetic to their causes than an indication of Protestant self-destruction. One cannot underestimate the importance of Jewish power in intellectual circles in New York at the time of Niebuhr’s pronouncements (see CofC, passim). For example, Leslie Fiedler (1948, 873) noted that “the writer drawn to New York from the provinces feels... the Rube, attempts to conform; and the almost parody of Jewishness achieved by the gentile writer in New York is a strange and crucial testimony of our time.”(8)
NOTES [the Bibliography will appear in the 10th entry]
2. This listing is based on several sources: Editors of Fortune (1936); To Bigotry No Sanction. A Documented Analysis of Anti-Semitic Propaganda. Prepared by the Philadelphia Anti-Defamation Council and the American Jewish Committee. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Anti-Defamation Council (1941); Gabler 1988; Kantor 1982 (here).
3. Ben Hecht, who was a prominent Hollywood screenwriter and staunch Zionist, included pro-interventionist ideas in movies at this time (Authors Calendar). For example, in Angels over Broadway (1940), Hecht has the Douglas Fairbanks Jr. character ask, “What happened to the Poles, the Finns, the Dutch? They’re little guys. They didn’t win...” Rita Hayworth replies, “They will, some day.” Hecht also made some uncredited additions to Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent (1940). When Hitchcock was asked about the anti-Nazi and pro-Britain message of the film, he said that it was all the doing of Walter Wanger and Ben Hecht. (Wanger was also Jewish; his birth name was Walter Feuchtwanger.) In the film a character says, “Keep those lights burning, cover them with steel, build them in with guns, build a canopy of battleships and bombing planes around them and, hello, America, hang on to your lights, they’re the only lights in the world.”
4. The only exception in recent years—albeit relatively minor—was Pat Buchanan’s 1990 column in which he referred to Israel’s “Amen Corner” in the United States advocating war with Iraq. (Indeed, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee had been lobbying Congress behind the scenes to declare war on Iraq [Sobran 1999]). Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Norman Podhoretz, former editor of Commentary, promptly labeled Buchanan an “anti-Semite” without feeling the need to address the question of whether or not American Jews were indeed pressing for war with Iraq in order to benefit Israel. As in the case of Lindbergh’s remarks a half century earlier, truth was irrelevant. While this incident has not altered the taboo on discussing Jewish interests in the same way that it is common to discuss the interests of other ethnic groups, it has resulted in a long-term problem for Buchanan’s political career. When Buchanan ran for president in 2000, a hostile columnist writing in a prominent Jewish publication stated, “Out of the slime of the sewers and into the filth of the gutter a desperate Patrick J. Buchanan, the neo-Nazi, has crawled into the political arena using anti-Semitism as his principal device to secure a future for himself” (Adelson 1999). The columnist went on to claim that Buchanan “always was a neo-Nazi” and that he “reveals the shallow quality of his tortured, sick, defective mind.” Not to be outdone, Alan Dershowitz (1999) wrote, “Let there be no mistake about it. Pat Buchanan is a classic anti-Semite with fascist leanings who hates Israel and loves Nazi war criminals.” The example illustrates that Jews continue to exert immense pressure, including smear tactics, to keep Jewish interests off limits in American political discussion. As with Lindbergh in an earlier generation, Buchanan’s experience is a grim reminder to politicians who dare raise the issue of Jewish interests in public debate. Buchanan became completely marginalized within the Republican Party and eventually left it for a spectacularly unsuccessful run as the Reform Party presidential candidate in 2000.
5. In a conversation with his wife on November 24, 1941, Charles Lindbergh was pessimistic about establishing a Jewish state:
C. and I get into an argument á propos of an article in the paper, a speech of a rabbi at a Jewish conference in which he said that the first thing that would have to be done at the peace table after the war was that a large indemnity would have to be paid to the Jews for their sufferings. Also speaks about having a piece of land of their own—which I am sympathetic with... [C.] says it isn’t as simple as all that. Whose land are you going to take?... He is very pessimistic of its being solved without great suffering. (A. M. Lindbergh 1980, 239)6. The following is based on Bendersky’s (2000, 2-46) study of U.S. military officers but is representative of commonly held attitudes in the early 20th century.
7. “Reform Judaism Nears a Guide to Conversion.” New York Times, June 27, 2001.
8. Jewish pressure for altering traditional Roman Catholic attitudes on Jewish responsibility for deicide are recounted in Lacouture (1995, 440-458) and Roddy (1966). Pope John XXIII deleted the “perfidious Jews” reference from the Holy Week liturgy (Lacouture 1995, 448). He then solicited the opinions of the world’s 2,594 bishops on the Church’s relations with the Jews. Virtually all of the respondents wished to maintain the status quo. The Pope was “bitterly disappointed by the response of the episcopate” (p. 449).