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April 26, 2016 7:25 am

The Phenomenon of Jewish Self-Hatred

avatar by Joseph Puder

Email a copy of "The Phenomenon of Jewish Self-Hatred" to a friend
Noam Chomsky. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr.

Noam Chomsky. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr.

Jews have always had to endure antisemitism, which has made us particularly defensive and guarded in the face of persecution and discrimination. Throughout history, some Jews opted to find a way to ease their lives by abandoning their faith and their people. Albert Einstein is alleged to have said, “The reason we Jews survive is that the cowards leave us.” Indeed, millions of people born Jewish were unable to carry this “burden,” and converted to other religions. Sadly, some of these people have become the most vicious enemies of the Jewish people, and now, the Jewish state of Israel.

The term “Jewish self-hatred” was coined by a German Jew named Theodore Lessing, whose 1930 book was titled Juedischer Selbsthass (Jewish self-hatred).  It was ostensibly directed at anti-Zionist Jewish academics. Lessing, a philosopher and an advocate of Zionism, had converted to Christianity, but returned to Judaism after reading Zionist anti-assimilationist literature.

Many self-hating Jews, however, have not returned to the fold.

Take the cases of Ilan Pappe and Noam Chomsky, both of them academics. These two participate in the most viciously anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and antisemitic gatherings. They are used by Islamists and leftist radicals, as well as Holocaust deniers, as shields to justify their hatred for Jews and Israel. They also support the BDS movement.

In the November 10, 2015, issue of the Electronic Intifada, Pappe wrote: “There is no denying that after nearly 50 years of brutal colonization one does not have to look too far to understand the depths of despair and levels of rage felt by Palestinians. However, this understandable impulse to act against oppression should not lead us to ignore Israel’s plans toward Haram al-Sharif. Nor should we accept that Arab and Palestinian apprehensions about Israel are figments of the oriental imagination and not rooted in reality. In fact, they can be substantiated.”

As the name of the publication clearly implies, the Electronic Intifada‘s mission is to delegitimize and destroy the state of Israel. Pappe is a favorite contributor there, since his venom comes from the mouth of an “Israeli useful idiot.”

Pappe’s book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006) provides justification for Arab-Palestinian violence and intolerance. Yet this self-hating Israeli-Jew taught at Haifa University in Israel (from 1984 to 2007), and was allowed to spew his hate for his country. Only in Israel’s democracy could he undermine his native land. Nowhere else in the Middle East would such a treacherous figure be tolerated.

Noam Chomsky, under the guise of being a libertarian, has supported neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers such as Robert Faurisson. Werner Cohn has pointed out that on Israel, Chomsky is a voice that antisemites and anti-Zionists love. “Chomsky’s most ambitious book about the Jews and Israel, published in 1983, is entitled The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians. It purports to review the history and current status of the Arab-Israel dispute as well as the role of the United States in it. Like other political writings of Chomsky’s, this one has been widely praised by his supporters for its wealth of “facts” and documentation. As we have seen, too, the book is featured as a prized item on the book lists of organized anti-Semitism.”

Jewish history is replete with “Jewish self-hatred.” In the Middle Ages, Jewish scholars such as Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (Ramban) and Rabbi Yosef Albo were forced to debate Jewish apostates whose hatred of Jews and Judaism was even more fanatical than that of their new Christian co-religionists. In our own time, a group calling itself Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is like these bygone apostates. Whether organizing pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel marches or staging anti-Israel public street performances in front the New York Jewish Federation’s offices, they demand that Israel lift the ‘siege’ on Gaza, yet refuse to condemn Palestinian terror. With their incoherent verbiage and pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel antics, the JVP epitomizes self-hatred.

There is an expression in Yiddish: “It is hard to be a Jew.” But Jews have nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, given Jewish gifts to humanity, and Israel’s contribution to the welfare of mankind through medical cures and agricultural innovations, Jews can, and should be proud. Conversely, the phenomenon of Jewish self-hatred is nothing less than a badge of cowardice.

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  • Ze’ev

    There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Iraqis, etc. Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9 percent of the Middle East lands. Israel represents one-tenth of one percent of the landmass. But that’s too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today… No matter how many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never be enough”.

    – Joseph Farah, “Myths of the Middle East” –

    “Pharoah sought to scare them [the Israelites] out of the land [of Israel]: but We [Allah] drowned him [Pharoah] together with all who were with him. Then We [Allah] said to the Israelites: ‘Dwell in this land [the Land of Israel]. When the promise of the hereafter [End of Days] comes to be fulfilled, We [Allah] shall assemble you [the Israelites] all together [in the Land of Israel].”

    The Qu’ran supports Israels right to exist.

    “We [Allah] have revealed the Qur’an with the truth, and with the truth it has come down. We have sent you [Muhammed] forth only to proclaim good news and to give warning.”

    [Qur’an, “Night Journey,” chapter 17:100-104]

    “And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd.'” [Qur’an 17:104]

    Whenever the issue concerning the Jewish population in Israel is discussed, the idea that Jews are “returning back” to their Homeland after almost two millennia of exile is taken for granted. It is true that such is the case for the largest number of Jews, but not for all of them. It is not correct to say that the whole Jewish nation has been in exile. The long exile, known as Diaspora, is a documented fact that proves the legitimacy of the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel, and was the consequence of the Jewish Wars of independence from the Roman Empire. If “Palestinians” allegedly are the historic inhabitants of the Holy Land, why did they not fight for independence from Roman occupation as Jews did? How is it possible that not a single Palestinian leader heading for a revolt against the Roman invaders is mentioned in any historic record? Why there is not any Palestinian rebel group mentioned, as for example the Jewish Zealots? Why every historic document mentions the Jews as the native inhabitants, and the Greeks, Romans and others as foreigners dwelling in Judea, but not any Palestinian people, neither as native nor as foreigner? After the last Jewish War in the 2nd century c.e., the Roman emperor Hadrian sacked Jerusalem in 135 c.e. and changed her name into Ælia Capitolina, and the name of Judæa into Palæstina, in order to erase the Jewish identity from the face of the Earth. Most of the Jews were expelled from their own land by the Romans, a fact that determined the beginning of the great Diaspora. Nevertheless, small groups of Jews remained in the province then renamed “Palestine”, and their descendants dwelled in their own country continuously throughout generations until the Zionist pioneers started on the mass return in the XIX century

    Arab “Palestinians” are recent immigrants to the regions.

    “The Arab population shows a remarkable increase ….. partly due to the import of Jewish capital into Palestine and other factors associated with the growth of the [Jewish] National Home..” (The Peel Commission Report – 1937)

    British PM Winston Churchill said in 1939: “.. far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country [Palestine]..”

    Joan Peters calculated that in 1882, just the non-nomadic, settled Muslims in Palestine numbered 141,000. Among them, those that resided in Palestine before the 1831 Egyptian invasion numbered 75 percent, or 105,700 (FTI page 197). By 2015, descendants of these 105,700 persons can trace their linage in Palestine for almost 200 years. Therefore, one might consider them to be the indigenous residents. The date 1831 is important, because this was the beginning of the war with Arab Egypt, during which many thousands of Arabs settled in Palestine and changed its demographics.

    Are Jews indigenous to Palestine? The ancient Jewish connection to Palestine is confirmed in the Jewish Bible, the Christian Gospels and the Koran, as well as by countless Jewish antiquities and copious scholarly research. Genetic studies show that today’s Jews—whether the Diaspora cast them to Europe, North America, Africa or other parts of the Middle East—are related genealogically to Jews of Biblical times. Jews also have a distinct language, culture and religion that are linked inextricably to Palestine. Indeed, for thousands of years Jewish liturgy has expressed the yearning of Jews to return to the land of Israel: “Next year in Jerusalem” is uttered by every observant Jew at Passover, and Jerusalem itself is a major character in the Torah, cited more than 600 times. Finally, of course, like Native Americans, Jews were dispossessed of their ancient lands— by the Romans, Christian Crusaders, Muslims, Babylonians and Ottomans. Surely just because Jews were deprived of their aboriginal lands doesn’t mean they have no claim to them. Rather than colonialism, of which Israel is accused by anti-Zionists, the Jews’ return to Palestine actually reflects an indigenous people’s self-determination to create a state on the site of its ancestral kingdom.

  • Allen F Mackenzie

    Jews are among the finest of peoples. They set a high standard which accounts for the envy of others.
    Here is also another excellent article on the matter:


    I JUST RETURNED FROM MY FIRST TIME IN ISRAEL……SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME HOW IT IS THAT ISRAELI’S WELCOME AND SHARE THEIR ONLY HOMELAND ON THIS PLANET WITH ONE AND HALF MILLION ISRAELI MOSLEM ARABS, WHO ENJOY ALL THE BENEFITS OF ISRAELI LIFE PROSPERITY AND A FUTURE FOR THEIR CHILDREN. Anyone who visits Israel can see the 600 ARAB villages full of minarets …..and the ‘Palestinian Issue’?…..wrong perpetrator….its the P..A., Hamas and Hezbollah who keep the poor Palestinians as THEIR VICTIMS…..not the Israelis. Ashkelon is studded by Gazian rockets….a constant barrage…….the world is blind to propaganda and Noam Chomsky……someone dropped him on his head! Pity.

  • Excellent article about Jewish self hatred. Noam Chomsky is one of the lowest pieces of excrement on the planet. Shame on MIT.

  • Michael Sperber

    Noam chomsky is a “libertarian” like unicorns are the new sustainable source of protein..

  • Dr. Matthew Yarczower

    There has not been a single excuse given by those who support Palestinian “rights” for the
    public hanging of homosexuals or the use of special needs children as suicide bombers. Perhaps the clever Professor Chomsky can twist himself into a pretzel to blame Israel’s occupation for these heinous events.

  • Jack

    Through out history some people have embraced the ‘other’ and what that denotes– deep seated insecurities and fears.

  • Jay Lavine

    Read what the haggadah says about the evil son. He excludes himself, and if he had been in Egypt he would not have been redeemed. It is clear that he has lost his status as a Jew (until the time that he returns). Self-hating Jew, no, not really a Jew for now. To his credit, at least he came to the seder and cared enough to ask questions, things that you can’t say about most people who have rejected Judaism as their way of life.

  • Yaakov

    The term “self-hating Jew” is generally used by those who consider Judaism to be a kind of race, as Hitler did, rather than the faith and way of life that it is.

  • ben

    It’s ironic that you cite Albert Einstein’s quote to justify your analysis of ‘Jewish self-hatred’, when in his own time Einstein was one of the most vociferous American Jewish critics of Zionist aggression against the Palestinians. To name just one example, after the Deir Yassin massacre of 1948- in which the Irgun slaughtered hundreds of Palestinian villagers (from a village that had been friendly to Zionists) and paraded their bodies through the streets of Jerusalem- Einstein and other prominent American Jewish intellectuals published a letter in the New York Times decrying the Likud party as ‘fascist’ and espousing ‘an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism and racial superiority’. Elsewhere, Einstein rallied against the need for a Jewish political nation-state, built upon an enforced Jewish demographic majority, at the expense of Palestinians. Would you call Einstein a ‘self-hating Jew’? Read more about Einstein’s criticism of Zionist policy here-

    • Nick
    • Micha Danzig

      Ben, Einstein was certainly not anti-Zionist. He was in fact very much a Zionist. He was also quite the pacifist and therefore naively believed that a state for the Jewish people in our indigenous homeland could be forged out of compromise and not through war. History proved him quite wrong in that regard; as every offer of peace and cooperation by Israel was answered by war, including the offer of peace made by Ben-Gurion when Israel first declared its independence from British rule. Many anti-Zionists like yourself conflate Einstein’s opposition to Lehi and the Stern Gang with him being anti-Zionist. Ben Gurion, however, also was vehemently opposed to Lehi and the Stern Gang. Was he an anti-Zionist? Einstein was clearly was not against Zionism, which is why he was offered the presidency of Israel (a ceremonial title). For more on Einstein’s Zionism see,

    • Likud was founded in 1973.

  • patr

    Israel’s Law of Return denies the “privilege” to Jews for Jesus and other converts to Christianity. It calls them “ex-Jews” not
    cowardly self-haters, as does this writer.
    Now, why is it that a Catholic who converts to Presbyterianism
    is and was never called a “self-hating Catholic?”
    On the whole I rather respect Israel’s law more than the propagandists here. Of course if the US removed foreign aid to Israel and made it stand on its own, quit fighting wars for it (eg Iraq, as Phillip Zelikow admitted), force it off the West Bank like it forced Saddam from Kuwait, Israel’s government might start using more vitriol.
    We’d need to replace the corrupt political class to do this, however.

    • Tal

      No one fights Israel’s wars but Israel. I agree all foreign aid should be stopped. Although I noticed you don’t mention aid that goes to terrorist supporting regimes? I wonder why.

    • Micha Danzig

      Patr, there is much wrong with your comment, but I will address the most ridiculous one, the comparison of Judea and Samaria to Kuwait. Judea and Samaria (what you call the West Bank) is part of the Jewish homeland under both International Law and as a matter of history. It was designated as such under the San Remo Conference and approved by the League of Nations, which by the way is how all of the states that border Israel and its neighbors were created. In 1948, Jordan (again, a country that never existed until after San Remo) with its transplanted rulers from the Arabian Pennisula (the Hashemites) attacked Israel and illegally occupied Judea and Samaria and the Old City of Jerusalem. As part of this 1948 war of aggression by Jordan every Jew that lived in Judea and Samaria and the Old City of Jerusalem was either massacred or ethically cleansed from their homes (homes many had in their families for centuries). In 1967 Israel gained control of Judea and Samaria and the Old City of Jerusalem AFTER Jordan attacked Israel in a self described “war of annihilation”. As a matter of international law, land acquired in a defensive war does not have to be returned and certainly not until after all hostilities have ended. With Kuwait on the other hand, the brutal dictator Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait without any threat of attack, let alone an actual attack by Kuwait against Iraq. It was a pure war of aggression, just like Germany attacking Poland in 1939. There is simply no comparison between how and why Israel came into being in control of Judea and Samaria and Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. To make that comparison is beyond ahistorical and borderline evil (unless you are truly ignorant of the actual history).

  • naro

    You didnt like my comment??

  • naro holt

    Being an anti Israel Jew ,or even better an anti Israel Israeli, is a very good business proposition. These miscreants earn very good money on the speaking circuit from universities, and Arab and Iranian money. Opportunities that they would never get if they loved Israel. It is a good living.

  • Paul

    Isn’t it interesting that Jews who dare to criticize the State of Israel’s policy necessarily have to be self-hating Jews? It’s not much of an argument. Maybe Chomsky and the others are self-hating Jews and maybe they aren’t but that’s entirely independent on the validity of their claims and the arguments made. I can call someone a “self-hating Catholic” who criticizes the church’s policy towards gays but does that make arguments against the chruch’s policy invalid? Of course not.

    It’s a non-point. If you are seriously interested in issues of justice and government policy, you don’t even think in these terms. The state of Israel has many aspects to be proud of. On the Palestinian issue they are condemned the world over for very good reasons: it’s a brutal occupation which initiates conflict, not responds to it.

    Nice try.

  • Ned Nisko

    Noam Chomsky is a cunning linguist and a masterdebator.
    So of course prurient people may want to listen in. He really should spew in private.

    • Ra’anan

      Abstinence would be even better (especially on the part of his parents!)!