George Soros and the Problem of the Radical Non-Jewish Jew
What do Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, Noam Chomsky and George Soros have in common? They were/are all radicals, born to Jewish parents, had no Jewish identity and hurt Jews (not to mention non-Jews).
The term "non-Jewish Jew" is generally attributed to the Jewish historian Isaac Deutscher, who wrote an essay by that name in 1954. The term describes the individual who, though born a Jew (Judaism consists of a national/peoplehood identity, not only a religious one), identifies solely as a citizen of the world and not as a Jew, either nationally or religiously.
Once the walls of Jewish ghettos broke down and European Jews were allowed to leave Jewish societies, many Jews became non-Jewish Jews. In most cases, either they or their children assimilated into the societies in which they lived. However, a small but significant percentage became radicalized.
They came to loathe "bourgeois," i.e., traditional middle class, values and Judeo-Christian society; Western national identities (though they generally supported anti-Western national identities); and they particularly loathed Jewish religious and national identity.
Karl Marx, the grandson of two Orthodox rabbis (and, to be entirely accurate, son of parents who converted to Christianity), wrote one of the most significant anti-Semitic essays of the 19th century, "On the Jewish Question" (1844). In it one finds such statements:
"Money is the jealous god of Israel, beside which no other god may exist. . . . The god of the Jews has been secularized and has become the god of the world. . . . The social emancipation of Jewry is the emancipation of society from Jewry."
Leon Trotsky, born Lev Bronstein, may be regarded as the intellectual father of Russian, later Soviet, Communism. He along with Stalin and three others fought to succeed Lenin as leader of the Communist Party after Lenin's death in 1924. In 1920, when Trotsky was head of the Red Army, Moscow's chief rabbi, Rabbi Jacob Mazeh, asked him to use the army to protect the Jews from pogromist attacks.
Trotsky is reported to have responded, "Why do you come to me? I am not a Jew." To which Rabbi Mazeh answered: "That's the tragedy. It's the Trotskys who make revolutions, and it's the Bronsteins who pay the price."
Noam Chomsky has devoted much of his life to working against America and Israel. He is alienated from the very two identities into which he was born. Indeed he has vilified both his whole life. To cite but one example, he traveled to Lebanon to appear with Hezbollah leader Sayyed Nasrallah and lend his support to a group that is committed to the annihilation of Israel and is officially listed as a terrorist organization by the United States.
George Soros is the fourth example of an individual born Jewish who has become a radical world citizen who is alienated from America and from his Jewish origins, and damages both.
As described by Martin Peretz, editor-in-chief of The New Republic, "George Soros is ostentatiously indifferent to his own Jewishness. He is not a believer. He has no Jewish communal ties. He certainly isn't a Zionist. He told Connie Bruck in The New Yorker -- testily, she recounted -- that 'I don't deny the Jews their right to a national existence -- but I don't want to be part of it.'"
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, writer Joshua Muravchik reported that Soros has publicly likened Israel to the Nazis.
Of course, Soros supports Palestinian nationalism, but that is a consistent feature of radicals -- anti-Jewish and anti-American nationalisms are good, Jewish and American nationalisms are bad. Thus, as reported in the Jerusalem Post, "Soros and his wealthy Jewish American friends have now decided to aim their fire directly at Israel . . . to form a political lobby that will weaken the influence of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC."
How to explain such Jews? People with no national or religious roots who become politically active will often seek to undermine the national and religious roots of others, especially those in their own national/religious group. It is akin to the special animosity some ex-Catholics have toward the Church. Non-Jewish Jews are far more likely to work to weaken Christianity in America than Jewish Jews, especially religious Jews. Religious Jews celebrate religious Christians.
Jews with no religious or national identity do not like Jews who have those identities, and Americans who have likewise become world citizens do not much care for Americans who wave the American flag.
Just as chauvinism -- excessive and amoral nationalism -- can lead to nihilism, so, too, the absence of any national or religious identity can lead to nihilism. The radical non-Jewish Jew loves humanity, but hurts real humans, especially his own.
Written February 27, 2007
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