78 Comments

Thank you for your analysis of how Jewish activists, like all emotionally-driven activists, are hurting their cause. I rolled my eyes at the Nazi problem on Substack and the attempts to control speech by ADC in Melbourne. There's only so many times one can cry wolf before people no longer take you seriously.

Expand full comment
Jan 16·edited Jan 16Liked by Lorenzo Warby

Personally speaking I do not much warm (in the context of the rich Western world) to 'activists' and 'protestors' full stop. 'Narcissists', 'busy-bodies' and 'politico-obssessives' are perhaps better terms.

In places like Iran and Afghanistan where protesting is brave and dangerous it's a different thing altogether....and very noble. In the West though, it's high time we de-sanctified the idea of 'protest' and its resultant...'activism' pretty-much whatever the supposed 'cause'.

Expand full comment
founding
Jan 16Liked by Lorenzo Warby

Once again you manage to weave past the distractions and identify the better language. But we need to remember that just as one man's patriot is another man's counterrevolutionary, titles of "Karen's" or "busy-bodies" can go both ways.

Still, I wonder for those cases requiring real courage protesting in regimes with arbitrary or compromised rule of law, if better results occur when the protest has been organized and coordinated by some underground group, vs. a more general and spontaneous outpouring of the population.

Expand full comment

I don't know is the short answer. I just know that it is so heart-clenching to see the women braving the frothing-mouthed reprisals in these places....and then when you see - by contrast - the look-at-ME-protesters on Western city streets with their "look at my banner; look at how much more I CARE than you do" vanities....you just think Uuuugh Yuk!

Expand full comment
Jan 16Liked by Lorenzo Warby

To me, rule of law is a great protector. This is why erosion of the rule of law has turned out not to be good for Jews, and some other minority groups. Once you start saying things like, “Jews are oppressors, you can apply to different rules to them,” it is very dangerous, in my view.

Expand full comment
Jan 16Liked by Lorenzo Warby

Certain Jews loudly talked up "Whites are Oppressors" while forgetting that their allies considered them White. And no amount of "I'm not white, I'm Jewish", isn't going to work.

Expand full comment
Jan 16Liked by Lorenzo Warby

Yes, I think that particular reality has really bitten, in the last few months. I think it is a real danger to start drawing those kinds of distinctions (eg, black/white). Predicating your identity on victimhood also gives rise to real issues. I read some interesting research by Israeli psychologists on this.

Expand full comment
Jan 17Liked by Lorenzo Warby

Yes, I find it very odd when people start referring to Jews as separate from the white race.

Because some of them (only some) have olive skin and dark hair? That let's a lot of other groups off the hook then, and leaves those of us with pale eyes and palefaces alone and mighty guilty of just about everything. , but also able to stand proudly behind many important innovations such as the modern rule of law, for one, the Industrial revolution for another.

Expand full comment

Agreed. Our constitutions both federal and state, need protection.

Laws are the great equalizers but only if applied equally.

Expand full comment
Jan 17Liked by Lorenzo Warby

Even when they are not applied equally, they still are better than no laws with the current mindset of the human race.

Expand full comment
author

Or the human mindset at any time. The implications of the Neolithic y-chromosome bottleneck are quite frightening. Except, we are already after the Holocaust …

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-04375-6

Expand full comment
Jan 19Liked by Lorenzo Warby

By coincidence, my holiday reading: Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, is prefaced by a quotation from the Yuma Daily Star 1983 regarding a 1982 expedition to the Afar region of southern Ethiopia by Clark and White in which 'a re-examination of a 300,000-year-old fossil skull found in the same region earlier shows evidence of having been scalped."

Expand full comment

Great post! You manage to do the difficult dance quite well, discussing these controversial issues fairly and insightfully, without falling into the rigid ideological ruts on either side of the discussion -- for which reason, the ideologues will complain that you go too far or don't go far enough or whatever (no good-faith discussion will ever satisfy such ideologues). The importance of maintaining a legitimate, functioning state of some kind cannot be overstated, especially since Bolsheviks have a tendency to foment and exacerbate anarcho-tyranny (and hence, de-legitimize the state and diminish its ability to function) as part of their revolutionary program (something we see happening in America now with out-of-control immigration and Soros DAs engaging in lawfare against political opponents while permitting violent criminals to go free). If people want to avoid genocidal violence in the future, they absolutely must oppose this campaign of anarcho-tyranny today.

Expand full comment
Jan 16Liked by Lorenzo Warby

The problem for the Jewish lobby (ADL) in the US is an unrelenting identification with leftist ideology. While this might have been useful when all the intelligent people were marching together toward a glorious, idyllic future in Liberal land, the reality of vaccine mandates, lockdowns, climate change communism, out of control spending, DEI, and anti- capitalism has finally caught up to them. “When you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas”. Not much sympathy here.

Expand full comment
Jan 16Liked by Lorenzo Warby

I had to stop reading to write a comment.

- This essay is brilliant.

It's also expounding the first original ideas on the topic I've read or heard since I was a teen.

Expand full comment
author
Jan 16·edited Jan 16Author

To be clear, the analysis of the Holocaust is Timothy Snyder’s, based on his reading of archival material, which apparently he learnt extra languages to read, because he is that sort of terrifying linguist, I am just teasing out further implications.

Expand full comment

Perhaps I missed something obvious here but what does “Jewish lobby” in this piece refer to? Seems like it is referring to random people on Substack, some of whom may be Jewish, as opposed to actual lobbying organizations, or am I confused?

Expand full comment
author

Yes, I mean the non-profits such as the ADL and the networks they coordinate.

Expand full comment

Is the claim that the ADL & co. are behind the Substack-Nazi pseudo-controversy? The first paragraph makes it sound like that's what you're saying. That wasn't my understanding of the whole affair, so I must be missing something?

Expand full comment
author

Sometimes organisations such as ADL get explicitly involved, sometimes they coordinate behind the scenes and sometimes it is just networks, which may well involve non-Jews, operating according to patterns well established. The level of coordination may not be clear at the time.

Expand full comment
Jan 16Liked by Lorenzo Warby

I can't speak for Lorenzo, but I -think- he means bureaucracies like the ADL. Most brand-name bureaucracies in the USA (and probably the West) have become shells that serve themselves and whatever is currently fashionable, and not their original purpose. If Harvard is now antagonistic to actual scholars, think of how many other brand name culture cans are shells containing something toxic to the purpose they purport to serve.

Expand full comment

FWIW my own sense is that most Jews (myself included) have little or no interest in what the ADL and various other lobbying organizations say, and also that most Jews are under no illusions about the ability to censor views they don't like, but that's just my sense.

Anyway, what you wrote makes sense, if that's what Lorenzo meant, although it wasn't clear to me from the text and so may not be clear to others. Just mentioning it because misunderstandings with topics like this obviously can get heated quickly, and I'm not typically confused by what Lorenzo is saying.

Expand full comment
author

Thanks for that. I just hopped onto Xitter and said my piece to that poster.

Two rules as usual and this guy is not exactly being helpful here. He can allow other people to point that stuff out- we all know they will & they don’t need our help.

His post was defending a group of people that they don’t seem to want (((us))) AT ALL. “From the river to the sea” is not a radio jingle for a holiday destination advertisement.

That prick Gandhi said in 1939 that the Jews there in Europe should only face the Nazis with peaceful resistance and many years afterwards doubled down saying that they should have “offered themselves to the butchers knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from the cliffs.

It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany... as it is, they succumbed anyway in their millions”.

He had adopted an Arab perspective of Zionism.

Should we all be like Gandhi, hey? Wouldn’t that be nicely convenient for everyone?

Do you know anything about what underlies militant pantheistic ideology?

Let’s just say that they’re not exactly in love with the idea of monotheism or the people who after millennia of miraculously surviving the constant threat to our existence are still alive and definite proof that our G-d has a lot of power. That maybe the Jews are onto something here.

The ugly truth is not hard to find. And once you find it you will never stop seeing it everywhere.

Slick. Real slick. Thanks champion. Psalm 55. Cheers 🕊️✡️🕊️

Expand full comment
author

Anyone can write letters of complaint, they are citizens and the ABC is a public entity. Organising to wield employment law because of what someone said is a bit different.

Jews in the Anglosphere are not at risk from folk’s words about Israel and Palestine.

Part of what infuriates me about all this is that if one goes to very Jewish areas of Melbourne, such as Caulfield, on a Saturday one sees security guards outside synagogues. Jewish schools have security guards. This never used to be necessary in Australia, which was one of the most philo-Semitic societies ever.

Jewish intellectuals and lobby organisations—acting on the paranoid nonsense idea that the Holocaust could happen anywhere—agitated for multiculturalism, replacing the previous policy of assimilation. They wanted Jews to not be “the only” minority. So, we ended up importing people from places that have much more recent histories of anti-Jewish pogroms.

The same Jewish activists pioneered the cancel culture techniques that have since metastasised. Their tactics of monstering people for what they said or wrote, often showing a ridiculous hyper-sensitivity, have turned neutrals into bitter enemies.

Hamas are monstrous thugs who need to be obliterated: my concern with Israel’s war against Hamas is whether they have a good strategy for after the catastrophe, hence my following post. But the Jewish community in Australia has not been well served by those who purport to speak on their behalf.

Expand full comment

Did Jewish activists actually pioneer cancel culture? Definitely Jews have (unfortunately) been overrepresented among far-left activists. But you know, “cancel culture” has been going on for centuries. It’s been practiced by religious communities against heretics and so on.

I do hear this idea sometimes that Jewish activists pushed for third world immigration because white European did the Holocaust and so there’s some reflexive anti white animus. It doesn’t actually sound true to me. Isn’t this basically the McDonald hypothesis that Cofnas shot down?

Like, one could say Jews were overrepresented in Russian communism because of the pogroms, but Marx himself was a self-hating German Jew and clearly wasn’t motivated by antisemitism. I think the null hypothesis that Jews are just a high iq group with a high general factor of personality and a verbal tilt that’s very interested in politics makes more sense. Jews are also probably higher in neuroticism. So you know, paranoia.

Expand full comment

I second this.

Expand full comment

I'd include Hollywood in this. It's a constant rain of Jewish propaganda. Very professional, entertaining, often beautifully done, but a constant repetitive theme, not so much monotonous as tedious, like a thumping bassline in an otherwise interesting tune. One wonders why the likes of Spielberg don't concern themselves ever with eg the Holodomor, or Stalin's purges of the kulaks

Expand full comment
founding
Jan 16Liked by Lorenzo Warby

OT except to the extent we are discussing the destruction, or not, of states; and that there are Australian, British, and US readers here:

perhaps you will find this short commentary about the AUKUS alliance by George Friedman of Geopolitical Futures to be of interest: https://geopoliticalfutures.com/aukus-in-2024/?tpa=MzUwNDUzZTk4MTU2MmI2MDQwY2E5MTE3MDYxOTc0NzgyYmIzMjQ&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=https%3A%2F%2Fgeopoliticalfutures.com%2Faukus-in-2024%2F%3Ftpa%3DMzUwNDUzZTk4MTU2MmI2MDQwY2E5MTE3MDYxOTc0NzgyYmIzMjQ&utm_content&utm_campaign=PAID%20-%20Everything%20as%20it%27s%20published

Expand full comment
Jan 17Liked by Lorenzo Warby

Thanks for the link. Interesting and informative.

Expand full comment
author

Workmanlike summary.

Expand full comment

I do spend time thinking about, as a former Christian, how to maintain those two core beliefs (the universalism and the preferential option for the poor and the sick) without the theological justifications for them. I can’t bring myself to believe in God as Christianity defines God anymore, but I do view taking care of the disabled and the poor and the golden rule as necessary for a health society. How do we hold onto these things as society becomes less and less Christian?

Expand full comment
founding
Jan 16Liked by Lorenzo Warby

My view is that our morality has a genetic inherent psychological element desiring transcendence, and a cultural element that works (well enough) for a given society. We inherently have a sense of fairness vs. harm (infant studies show this), an inherent tendency to assign agency to unknown forces/ situations, a sense of empathy coupled to a theory of mind for ourselves and for others. These provide a basis for believing in the Golden Rule. The increased within-group trust and cooperation derived from a given culture's religious beliefs also contributes to survival and adaptability.

On the culture side I might recommend Larry Siedentop's Inventing the Individual; or Tom Holland's Dominion, plus many of Tom's You Tube segments. They discuss how Christianity developing in the West has led to our current social and political orientations. It still took 1000 to 1700 years.

Expand full comment
Jan 17Liked by Lorenzo Warby

Yes, it’s the intention of compassion. An attribute of the civilized.

Expand full comment

I recognize this was not the main point of the essay

Expand full comment
author

No, but it is absolutely a fair question.

Expand full comment
founding
Jan 16Liked by Lorenzo Warby

You have indicated in the past your intent/plans to explore the role and benefits and limits of maintaining "institutional order". I gather this essay is one arrow in that quiver. I look forward to your further thinking in this direction.

I presume when you discuss "destruction of the state" you are saying the previous (order preserving) state institutions and leadership have been taken over by the invader's state and rulers, so the kind of institutional order changes from one previously accepted by the populace to one they wish was not in place. Conversely, an invader could create a state of order that is more benign than the previous case, which might then actually be more welcome (or still not so much, given human perversity and resistance to change!).

From this view, the real issue becomes not so much the role of Jewish or other activists, etc., but the fragility of having a suitable state providing such institutional order (but not too much order, such as might restrain free speech rights). Your remark on the Netherlands suggest that even when the overall governance structure has been compromised (but short of real destruction), then there can still be a residual undercurrent of institutionalized order (retaining some level of morality, law abidance, law enforcement infrastructure - police/courts, money management and banking, etc. ) This influences the degree to which "the other" has to be shipped elsewhere for extermination.

The loss of institutional order presumably has many levels or shades of gray, depending on culture, social structures, history, geography, economic prosperity, relationships to trade and import/export, etc.

Expand full comment
author

Yes, nicely put.

Expand full comment
Feb 9Liked by Lorenzo Warby

I was expecting this one, to raise my hackles but found it really well thought out and written. interesting read!

Expand full comment
Jan 19Liked by Lorenzo Warby

I assume that people who are fighting another group would want to know what they are thinking. Free speech enables that. But they don't want to know, or believe they already know who their enemies are and what they think. They really aren't fighting as much performing.

Expand full comment
Jan 18·edited Jan 18Liked by Lorenzo Warby

The evil of Hitler and National Socialism was unprecedented. Nothing like it had ever been seen before. The same could be said of Stalin. He was unique in the history of the world. In Asia, someone like Mao had never been seen before. Of course there had been tyrants, oppression, famine, but never in that way and to such a scale.

The spiritual powers of evil are creative and adapt to various situations. Hitler emerged out of a unique historical context, and so did Stalin, so did Lenin, Mao and Pol Pot.

The next new evil that arises, and maybe already is beginning to take shape, will be in new and unexpected forms.

Expand full comment
author

It is particularly grim to realise that Pol Pot was actually less unprecedented than the others: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huang_Chao

Or that Mao admired Hong Xiuquan, a trouble-making Hakka.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Xiuquan

Expand full comment
Jan 18·edited Jan 18Liked by Lorenzo Warby

I had never heard of Huang Chao but have read a couple of biographies of Pol Pot, who was of course familiar with Lenin, Mao and Stalin, even Bakunin and some French revolutionaries from his time in Paris. He also had some parallels with Hitler with his racial emphasis. Pol Pot believed that the dark skinned Cambodians were superior and ethnically purer than lighter skinned Cambodians (the result of breeding with Chinese and Vietnamese).

About Mao, I have read a little about the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom rebellion in a general history but did not remember any names. Mao was an avid student of Chinese history and according to one biography often sought to learn and apply lessons from his reading. Mao had also heard of Lenin and Stalin since Soviet emissaries were active in China in the 1920s and 30s and had given a very glowing vision of the destruction of the old empire and the emergence of a new society.

There are also some striking parallels between Hitler and the leaders of some Russian peasant rebellions, such as Stenka Razin in the 17th century and Emilian Pugachev in the 18th. They are both in Wikipedia but from skimming the articles I thought they had historical facts but did not display the ferocity and violence of extremely charismatic adventurers who whipped up hatred and resentment and did huge amounts of damage before being destroyed. A good book on that is "Russian Rebels, 1600-1800" by Paul Avrich.

Expand full comment
Jan 16Liked by Lorenzo Warby

Well done Lorenzo. This needs to be said - calmly by someone with intellectual gravitas and no axe to grind. The fact is that merely by criticising those (constantly) crying 'anti-semitism', one opens oneself up to the accusation. That is a warning sign in itself, as the accusers lose potential allies and support. Personally I have got to the point where I avoid the subject. This is not cowardice, but conservation of effort - there are so many other deserving fish to fry

Expand full comment

My answer to Professor Snyder’s analysis is precisely: so what. The question mostly is not about the status of governments in Europe. The question is about why all these countries felt the need to murder millions of innocent people because of religious or cultural differences. Jews aren’t claiming to be the only people who have suffered. We are however deeply interested in avoiding assholes trying to exterminate us. As far as the woke thing goes and suppressing speech, there are Jews on the Left obviously. And they use the tactics of the Left because they are Leftists.

But most Leftists aren’t Jews. Just like the overwhelming majority of Bolsheviks were not Jews. So the point is, you’re attributing a power to Jews they don’t have. If Jews are the power center behind the Left, explain to me why they are now the big targets of the Left in the most aggressive, ugly way. Jews were purged by the Soviets a number of times. So you’re right in saying Jews have a voice, and have /had some influence in world affairs at some junctures , but it doesn’t seem to be the dominant voice or the dominant influence. In fact Jews are being forced out of prominent positions in Left driven institutions in America. This is because of Marxism and money flowing into certain sectors from a variety of sources like Qatar, China, and other sources.

As far as I’m concerned, freedom of speech is paramount. People deserve the opportunity to show themselves through their opinions. But hatred has extracted a real price from certain groups of people, Jews among them, and it’s going on right now. And that makes people nervous. So I think if somebody wants to say something pejorative about Jews, they should expect the same treatment back. I agree with you that focusing on the Holocaust is counterproductive for a number of reasons, the main one being it portrays Jews as victims. We are not victims. We are strong and we survive. And we will be here long after this round of homicidal maniacs has been consigned to the dustbin of history, like Egypt, like Rome, like Persia, like the Nazis, like Stalin and others. And now Israel has guns and bombs and missiles and knows how to use them, as the islamonazis are learning yet again. By repeatedly subjecting Jews to mass murder through history, a warrior nation has been born. A nuclear power. There isn’t going to be another massive Holocaust, without a lot of other people being simultaneously sacrificed, regardless of the atrocities committed by the cowards of Hamas.

I’d rather leave the relatively superficial, immutable things like race and gender and religion out of any conversation when I can. It’s very dangerous and divisive to play the racialist reductionist identity politics game, which the Left and far Right uses to great advantage to sow discontent. Most of us can get along. Most of us want the same things for our families and our lives. In doing surgical mission work around the world I found that our similarities are far greater than our differences. Hatred rarely wins in the long run. In the meantime, establish some constructive dialogue with people. Avoid the convenience of the modern echo chamber of the internet. It’s not a healthy place. One on one most people of good will can relate to one another.

Expand full comment
author
Apr 19·edited Apr 19Author

I am attributing no power to Jews as such. This post is a criticism of activism allegedly on behalf of Jews, not of Jews.

Expand full comment

Ok. Fair enough. But you’re talking about people who don’t really represent Jews. The anti-defamation league for example is a hard left corporate shakedown outfit and not fulfilling its original mission. A lot of Jews, even on the Left, don’t like it.

https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/no-more-adl-liel-liebovitz-kyrie-irving

Expand full comment
author

That the activists don’t actually serve who they are pretending to serve is also much of the point of the post.

Expand full comment

Ok. I’ll put it this way. The cancel tactic to shut down politically incorrect speech is not a “Jewish” tactic. It’s a Cultural Marxist tactic. Most Cultural Marxists are not Jews. And Jews who are committed Marxists are also not practicing Jews. They are Marxists. This set of tactics to silence politically incorrect speech has been around with the Chinese Commies and the Soviets for over a hundred years. The Cultural Revolution in China and the Red Guard did this 60 years ago. So ascribing this to Jews is not historically correct. But you don’t call it the Chinese tactic or the Russian tactic. Bolshevism was not a Jewish movement. Although many Russian Jews were Bolsheviks, and given the tender mercies and pogroms of the Czars , I can’t say that I blame them.

Expand full comment

I’m astonished at this post. The people campaigning for nazis to be demonetized or removed from substack are not “the Jewish lobby”. They’re not even all Jewish. This whole post actually just plays on very real anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jewish control of the media. To be clear. There is no “Jewish lobby” on substack. And while in the real world there certainly is one, that is no more true than it is of other ethnic groups. We don’t control the media. Mostly we find the media very frustrating in that we think coverage of Israel is often motivated largely by antisemitism (not all Jews think this but many do).

I don’t want you to be cancelled, because I don’t think that’s right. But I do think you ought to be quite ashamed of what you wrote here. It is very genuinely offensive.

Expand full comment
author

That other folk piggy back onto such moral panics is actually a warning sign, a point I made in the post. At no point do I say or imply that Jews control anything. I don’t even state or imply that the Jewish community control the activists who purport to speak on their part. The notion that criticism of Jewish activists, who are explicitly stated to be separate from Jews at a whole, is a criticism of Jews as a group is obviously false. The notion that any criticism of any group who happen to be Jewish is ipso facto anti-Semitic is offensively false. These activists are harming wider Jewish interests. A pattern that we see across so much of activism in general, and which I have been critical.

Expand full comment
Jan 17Liked by Lorenzo Warby

I think that the term “Jewish Lobby,” while a useful shorthand, is misleading. First, as Alex observed, it’s not made up only of Jews. Second, it implies that it’s an organized group, which it is not, though it does include some organizations. Third, it invites charges of antisemitism, which detracts from the point that you’re trying to make.

Perhaps a better label is “people who promote the idea that Jews are unique as victims” or PWPIJUV. Having coined a less controversial (though far more awkward) name, perhaps we can concentrate on the main questions: (1) Are Jews truly unique as victims? (2) Have PWPIJUVs in ways that helped lay the foundations for intersectionality and the broader cult of woke victimology? (3) Were PWPIJUVs the only, or even the primary, source of the victimology cult?

I think that the answer to the first two questions is yes, and that the answer to the third is no.

I think the primary source of the cult is the Left’s attempt to rationalize the failure of their welfare state policies. Instead of admitting that their ideas were wrong, they chose to claim that western societies are far more racist - indeed systemically racist - than even they had imagined, so their policies were inadequately radical. The victims of western societies, then, were *systematically* victimized and the system must be destroyed.

Expand full comment
author

Yes, but the specific patterns of mobbing, secular excommunication we now call cancel culture was pioneered by the Jewish lobby.

Expand full comment
Jan 17Liked by Lorenzo Warby

You mean the PWPIJUVs? (Pronounced “puppy juvs”)

Expand full comment
author

Yes, there was sometimes bringing in of non-Jews, but it was specific networks largely built around bodies such as ADL.

Expand full comment

By labeling people who are calling for censorship on substack as “the Jewish lobby”, you absolutely imply that they represent Judaism in some way. And the term “the Jewish (or Zionist) lobby” is commonly used throughout antisemitic propaganda. The piece could have been written without that. Especially without stressing and repeating that point. Again, just for example, Casey Newton is not a Jewish name. There are many non-Jews amongst those critiquing substack on this issue and the Jews in question hardly see themselves as exemplars of the community.

Expand full comment
author

This sort of thing happens and has happened for decades.

https://twitter.com/joshbbornstein/status/1747023635238539269?s=46

You might look up the 1990s controversy over the novel The Hand That Signed The Paper. The lobby was still trying to sabotage the author’s legal career in Scotland in 2012.

Expand full comment

So Alex, are you implying that there is no Jewish lobby and, specifically, no ADL organizing heavy-handed and one-sided censorship campaigns throughout the Anglosphere? (E.g., an ADL that will *defend* genocidal South African blacks chanting about killing white farmers, while going hard after any social media platform that allows similar chanting by Palestinians against Israelis.)

Your criticism of this post is disingenuous. Nowhere in this essay does the author conflate the pro-censorship Jewish lobby with the entire Jewish people or deny that there are Jews who oppose that lobby, but he instead makes that very distinction.

I wish you had a little more self awareness to see that you are doing the very thing that the essay describes the Jewish lobby (think ADL) as doing: trying to shut down a good-faith discussion about difficult and nuanced issues by crying "antisemitism!" And as the essay observes, this response is counterproductive and feeds the very antisemitic sentiments you are afraid of. People see the double-standard and naturally ask, "Why is it that our own people, culture, and history can be aggressively challenged and critiqued (often by Jews), but we cannot do the same with Jewish people, culture, and history?" By perpetuating the sense that anything Jewish is off-the-table for discussion (except to venerate it) but other cultures, ethnicities, religions, and historical events are fair game, you feed that very stereotype that you claim to want to fight.

Expand full comment
founding
Jan 16·edited Jan 16Liked by Lorenzo Warby

"... a good-faith discussion about difficult and nuanced issues..." the phrase I wish I might have come up with in my planned reply to Alex. But you got here first and provided an even more forthright version than I might have written. Thank you.

Expand full comment

I am not implying there is no Jewish lobby. I am saying so explicitly. There are Jews who engage in this behavior. But many non-Jews too. As I have repeatedly said, in this specific example (the small scale trend to boycott substack) the primary movers are mostly not Jewish! To label them the Jewish lobby is inaccurate and makes me wonder why anyone would. That was my entire critique. The rest do the piece makes an argument that I have no strong feelings about one way or another. However, if you can’t accept that labelling *non-jews* attacking a company as “the Jewish lobby” is at the least bit inaccurate and offensive, and accuse the person pointing that out of disingenuousness and a lack of self awareness, perhaps you should look in the mirror first?

Expand full comment
author

Sometimes organisations such as ADL get explicitly involved, sometimes they coordinate behind the scenes and sometimes it is just networks, which may well involve non-Jews, operating according to patterns well established. The level of coordination may not be clear at the time.

This sort of thing happens and has happened for decades.

https://twitter.com/joshbbornstein/status/1747023635238539269?s=46

And really, it is of minor importance which of these things this specific case is. If you take a description of a single incident and blow it up into a pattern of claiming any negative characterisation of any Jews, which are specifically stated not to apply to Jews in general, is anti-Semitism, perhaps you need to look in the mirror.

Expand full comment