Outside the Jewish Mainstream: Robert Weissberg and Philip Weiss

Robert Weissberg is something of an unconventional Jew. An emeritus political scientist at the University of Illinois, he has written articles for American Renaissance, Jared Taylor’s publication, and he has spoken at their conferences. His 1999 AmRen article, “In Defense of the Racial Spoils System,” argued that because of the intractable cognitive difference between blacks and whites and the propensity of blacks to resort to violence unless they are provided middle class jobs and a constant stream of government benefits, whites have in effect decided to keep the peace by appeasing them. “Most whites, even those dispensing the benefits, understand that this is little more than extortion but they say nothing. Blacks, by contrast, see it all as legitimate ‘racial fairness.’”  The racial spoils system, then, is a form of taxation — the price whites pay to keep the peace.

And in a talk to an AmRen conference, Weissberg stated that in his personal experience Jews had a private fear and dislike of blacks because they perceived them as violent and inept. Jews are the first to move away when blacks move into a neighborhood, and they do not socialize or intermarry with blacks. However, they supported black causes—indeed, they were the backbone of the civil rights movement—because of an even greater fear of white anti-Semitism — a view that is at least partly compatible with mine. He also predicted that more Jews would become white nationalists, but only if white nationalism is free of anti-Semitism. In a news report on an AmRen conference, “Weissberg said that while he likes some folks at the conferences and loathes others, he keeps coming because he finds the open discussion of race so rare and refreshing.” I guess the idea is that Jews and whites should let bygones be bygones in the event that whites eventually develop an identity and a sense of having interests that conflict with other groups.

But, according a recent comment, the real problem that whites have in establishing an identity is that “our side lacks a sufficient number of loud, obnoxious Jews willing to intimidate those who deny reality.”

I spent most of my life in a research university setting where one argued with hard evidence — this study versus that study, my data versus your data, on so on.

When I recently moved to Manhattan, I was amazed at how one "won" arguments. I was equally amazed about how little so-called smart people knew, especially about race. But to listen to the smart alecks talk, they clearly think they have a true grasp on the subject. …

Those who perceive themselves as debate winners reject real science to instead offer a bag of verbal tricks and over the top emotional appeals. If all else fails, they try to destroy tangible evidence by claiming to "be offended" by the truth.

Sadly, these bullying techniques are all very "Jewish". And I say this as a Jew of good standing.

There are a lot of things going on here, but one of them surely is that Weissberg is accepting the “Jews are aggressive” stereotype that has been on my mind quite a bit too (see also here).

Jewish aggressiveness is also much on display in a recent column by Philip Weiss. I first came across Weiss when he wrote a gutsy article for New York Magazine (January 29):25–32, 1996) entitled “Letting go.” These were my comments on it in a chapter on Jewish self-deception:

Philip Weiss (1996) created a considerable stir when he acknowledged the unreality of the Jewish self-conception as an outsider and several other self-delusionary aspects of being Jewish in late 20th-century America. … Being Jewish is highly salient to him and strains his relationships with gentiles. He pictures his gentile Yale classmates as “blond and slightly dull witted, while the Jewish professor spews out brilliant lines. . . . We held them [gentiles] in a certain contempt. But we were marginalized. We were the outsiders. I’ve carried those lessons around with me all my life as I’ve made my own steady progress in the world. . . . Feelings of marginalization have informed my journalism, my humor, my social navigations” …. (Even the aggressively ethnocentric Alan Dershowitz is quoted by Weiss as saying, “There is in our tradition, understandably but tragically, an anti-Gentile bias that we must root out.”) Indeed, his relationships with gentiles are strained by his “relentlessly defensive Jewish identification,” another way of saying that he is unable to relate to gentiles without invoking … ingroup/outgroup comparisons … .

Jews cherish feelings of exclusion not just because there is wisdom in foreboding but because these feelings are useful. They preserve our position as outsiders, a status that has certain moral and practical advantages. As an outsider you have motivation: to get in. And you get to be demanding without any particular sense of reciprocity: the ADL (which is committed to fighting all forms of bigotry) running its Geiger counter over the goyim while failing to gauge Jewish racism. Perhaps most important, these feelings solidify Jewish identity. (p. 30)

Jews have . . . prevaricated about the question of Jewish influence — whether we have it, how we gain it, what it means. . . . When the NRA exercises political power, it’s a hot-button issue. When Jewish money plays a part, discussing it is anti-Semitic. (p. 32)

I couldn’t agree more. And Weiss adds to the accusation of a Jewish double standard on concerns about racial purity by noting that many of his family’s closest friends emigrated to Israel in order to prevent the marriage of their children to non-Jews.

Which reminds me that the original motivation of many of the early Zionists was that Israel would ensure racial purity. For example, all of the fin-de-siècle Zionist racial scientists studied by John M. Efron, including Elias Auerbach, Aron Sandler, Felix Theilhaber, and Ignaz Zollschan, were motivated by a perceived need to end Jewish intermarriage and preserve Jewish racial purity. For Auerbach, Zionism would return Jews “back into the position they enjoyed before the nineteenth century — politically autonomous, culturally whole, and racially pure.”

In his recent blog, Weiss expands on his point about Jews-as-outsiders. Jews have become an elite, but an elite that does not identify with its subjects — a hostile, estranged but very wealthy elite that still sees themselves as outsiders.

The Republican Party is now losing the money race to the Democratic Party … and meantime the Washington Post reported some years ago that more than half of Democratic presidential giving is coming from Jews, while Steve Rabinowitz, Clinton friend, told me this year that if anyone did a study of how much Dem money comes from Jews, it would fuel conspiracy theories.  … Obviously Jewish wealth is playing a huge part in U.S. politics and foreign policy. My theory is that the strength of the Israel lobby is a reflection of class and economic power in American life. … But because Jews still think of themselves as outsiders, there's nothing like the "noblesse-oblige" ethos which characterized the WASP ascendancy of the previous 200 years. The WASPs resigned. Mutilated by the Vietnam War and sensitive to the criticism of their caste as exclusive and snobbish and racist, they calmly decamped and left the scene. Joseph Epstein wrote that there has never been a sociological surrender like that one, without a shot being fired, in history. I'm hoping for a sociological capitulation on my people's part, a return to other values. Yes we are the kings of the information age. But look how disfiguring it is.  

Jews won the culture war without a shot being fired and without the losing side seeming to realize that it was a war with real winners and real losers — where the losers have not only given up their cultural preeminence, but have failed to stand up to the ultimate denouement: demographic displacement from lands they had controlled for centuries. The new elite retains its outsider feelings toward their new subjects — a hostile elite in the United States as it was in the Soviet Union.

Unlike Weissberg, then, Weiss seems to feel a twinge of guilt about the role of Jews as victors in the culture war — guilt stemming from his understanding that the new elite has some very glaring moral failings of its own, including its own brand of ethnocentrism that seems far deeper than anything imagined by the WASPs.   

The danger for Jews is that non-Jews will come to realize the deep wellsprings of Jewish ethnocentrism and see Jewish involvement in the displacement of European-descended peoples as resulting from ethnic conflict over the construction of culture. Ultimately, Europeans may come to realize that the conflict is really about the ethnic displacement of themselves as a people.

Speaking for myself, it would be difficult for me not to have developed something of a sense of my peoplehood after delving into the 2000-year history of Jews who were intensely concerned about preserving their people and their culture. As I’ve come to realize, preserving one’s people and culture is a virtual human universal. No one would contend that, say, Koreans have a moral obligation to allow millions of other peoples into Korea so that what we would call ethnic Koreans become a minority and their culture put up for grabs. Certainly, the idea that Israel is a Jewish state is central to its entire self-concept — so much so that the idea of the Palestinians who were basically expelled in 1948 being allowed to return to create a multi-ethnic, pluralistic society is a political impossibility. The idea that European-descended peoples have no right to preserve their peoples and cultures while others do is a glaring double standard.

The fact is that the US did have a sense of being a European, Christian society until very recently. Christianity was an uncontested part of public culture until large-scale Jewish immigration in the early 20th century. The immigration laws were biased in favor of Europeans until 1965 when the long Jewish campaign to change them finally succeeded. Such laws were no different from exactly what Israel continues to do with the strong support of the organized American Jewish community. Nevertheless, my research shows that the organized American Jewish community has led the campaign to make assertions of white identity and interests illegitimate. I see that as hypocritical. The big question is whether the WASPs will put up a fight.