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Lloyd George and Auto-Anti-Semitism

BS”D

Better is a neighbour near than a brother far off

The Holocaust and Israel at the Oscars

We were reminded of a very specific Jewish phenomenon at this year’s infamous Oscar ceremony when the Jewish filmmaker Jonathan Glazer received a reward for his Holocaust drama “The Zone of interest”. Glazer made the following statement: 

Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst. It’s shaped all of our past and present…Right now we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people, whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza”. 

The remarks were astounding, especially coming from a Jewish filmmaker who had received the highest reward in front of a world-wide non-Jewish audience for making a film about the Holocaust. The Holocaust was not only the greatest Jewish tragedy of all time, in terms of lives lost and direct human suffering, but also one of the greatest human tragedies of all time, in its calculated and pointed evil and its industrial mass slaughter. No other atrocity in world history comes close to achieving the combined evil of these factors. 

But Glazer’s statement above was also factually wrong in describing the Hamas pogroms as a result of Israeli occupation. The Israeli occupation of Gaza had been lifted from Gaza in 2006. The Hamas attacks on October 7th were unprovoked and genocidal in their wanton evil and destruction. Israel launched a counter-attack that was an inevitable and necessary response to rid the region of repeated wars of terror emanating from the Strip. To equate the defense against the pogroms and terror facing Israeli babies and women and civilians in the South to the actual atrocities themselves is both morally repugnant and plainly wrong.

Moreover, the terror organization of Hamas took more than 200 Israeli civilians as hostages and have been reported to also subject these hostages to sexual abuse. Israel is duty-bound to try and return these hostages to safety. 

Many of the individuals protesting against Israel around the world now claim to want “a cease fire” and “to free Palestine” from Israeli occupation. But the terrorist organization of Hamas has threatened to carry out these genocidal atrocities again and again until it achieves its goals of evicting the Jews from “Palestine”. Moreover, even after the pogroms above Hamas were sending hundreds of rockets every day towards Israel, so Israel’s decision to target the Gaza Strip militarily cannot even be considered a retaliation but rather self-defense per se. In order to prevent further attacks against its civilians Israel is literally forced to evict Hamas from the Strip. 

But all of these reasons above are lost on the logic of hate, and instead of freeing Gaza and “Palestine” from the murderous death cult of Hamas, who are using their own population as human shields, all the while hiding in tunnels to let their own population take the brunt of the IDF, and attacking and hijacking deliveries of food and medicine intended to relieve the civilian population of the siege against Gaza, the anti-Israeli protesters are only concerned with decrying a supposed Israeli “genocide” of Palestinians. The defense against genocide has become genocide itself, in this perception of reality. It is logic that has fallen on its own head and upon a closer inspection the motivation behind it has nothing to do with improving human rights or furthering peace in the region, quite the opposite. 

So what is going on here? Why does this Jewish film-maker, who just received a prize for making a film about the Holocaust, an unparalleled Jewish tragedy, use his 15 seconds of fame, as it were, to denounce the Jews at the very same time that they are under attack? 

A very Jewish phenomenon

Auto-Antisemitism is here defined as Anti-Semitic attitudes adopted by Jews. It is a baffling phenomenon because it is not clear if there is any other nation of people who has such an active minority within it who side with the enemy. 

Let me preface this analysis by saying that the commonly used term “self-hating Jew” is a lazy and misguided one. It is often used as an incendiary accusation which all too often is levied by some Jews against anyone who is considered too much of “a bleeding heart liberal” or “too critical or left-wing” on Israel’s stance vis a vis the Arabs. The accusation of being “a self-hating Jew” has indeed been used so much that it’s almost become a “red herring”, a watered-down concept-like the modern-day accusation of “racism”- that due to over-usage loses its potency and explanatory power and almost functions as a self-recriminating accusation of sorts.   

It also doesn’t make much sense to call someone “a self-hating Jew”. Does it mean that the Jew who acts on behalf of the enemy “hates himself”? Surely not, these Jews often believe they are acting for a good and lofty cause. To be a self-hating Jew will too often be worn as a badge of honor by certain Jews due to the ludicrous nature of the term. It’s a self-defeating concept. 

Who are the Auto-Anti-Semites?

But back to the very real nature of Auto-Antisemitism

All throughout history we have seen examples of this phenomenon. During the Spanish Inquisition some of the main combatants were Jewish converts to Christianity who egged on the Catholic Church to missionize and convert Jews. One of them was a former student of the Ramban who debated his former Rabbi on the truth and falsehood of Christianity and Judaism. During the Holocaust there were prominent Jewish leaders who opposed the influx of Jewish refugees fleeing Europe to the US or to neutral countries in Europe. There is even a small group of Orthodox Jews called Naturei Karta who due to their opposition to Zionism side with the genocidal and Anti-Semitic regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran and even attended a Holocaust denying conference in that country. The Kapos and Jewish collaborators with the Nazis are often brought up as quintessential examples of Auto-Anti-Semites but it is not clear to me that these were cases of ideological Anti-Semitism but rather a tragic instance of self-preservation and treason. A modern day variant of the Kapos would be the Jewish representative in the Iranian parliament, Humein Sameach, who praised Saturday’s attacks against Israel. 

But in our times the most wide-spread expression of Auto-Anti Semitism mainly consists of Jews who in the name of universalism and human rights side with our killers and sworn enemies. These are Jews who even after the horrific and unprovoked pogroms of October 7th vociferously oppose Israel, and seek to attain a “judenrein” Israel (an Israel without any Jews)-”a free Palestine from the river to the sea”. During times of unprecedented Anti-Semitism in the post-war era, with entire countries and millions upon millions of people lounging at the remnants of Jacob, wherever they may be, the Auto-Anti-Semites are actively seeking to be enlisted in the world-wide anti-Jewish effort. 

The Auto-Anti-Semites are fully Jewish by nationality and soul, but in their lives act as enemies of the Jewish people. In my home country of Sweden there is a host of names that come to mind (Göran Rosenberg, Dror Feiler, Harry Asher etcetera), but even internationally we have seen famous people like the chess master Bobby Fisher and academics like Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky express support for the enemies of the Jewish people and disdain for the Jewish State. Even without mentioning these famous names we all know of the vocal minority of Jews who voluntarily betray their people in public, and there are even Jewish organizations dedicated to harming the Jewish state politically, like the Anti-Zionist and BDS-supporting organizations active on campuses in the US called “Jewish Voice for Peace” and IfNotNow (in Sweden we have the same anti-Zionist Jewish organizations, no community is too small to have these Jews among them). 

What does Auto-Anti-Semitism achieve?

The damage caused by auto-Antisemites is multi-fold, but it mainly boils down to the following: It justifies and idealizes Anti-Semitism. It makes it into an ideology. 

Again, I am not sweeping this phenomenon with a wide brush and accusing every Jewish person who criticizes the current war effort in Gaza of being an Auto-Anti-Semite. The Jewish people has an enviable capacity for self-criticism and introspection, probably facilitated by the mechanisms within the religion itself, where we are constantly reminded to repent and mend our ways and treat the foreigner well. This is a self-developing mechanism, and it is healthy to always evaluate oneself first and see what can be improved before one goes on to criticize others. 

However, the phenomenon of Auto-Anti-Semitism only dresses up in the shroud of self-criticism but it’s not really the motivating force behind it. How can one tell? How can we be the arbiters of what motivates people?

An easy way to differentiate between someone who seeks to improve the Jewish people and someone who seeks to destroy it is not only in the actual message they are spouting but in which forums they act, and which allies they have. 

The first indication of Auto-Anti-Semitism is when Jews ally themselves with groups of people seeking to discriminate against Jews or even to kill them. This is a bona-fide sign of Auto-Anti-Semitism. The reason these groups want to get at the Jews is not vital. This is a mistake made by many people in judging the noble intentions of Auto-Antisemites. 

Let’s take the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement (BDS) as an example. According to its stated intentions the BDS movement seeks to end the occupation of the West Bank at a minimum. Many people in Israel want that too! How can you say that it’s Anti-Semitic to want to end the Occupation?

Of course, the opposition to the occupation itself is not Anti-Semitic, but uniquely targeting Israel and not targeting other countries who are much worse than Israel in their human rights record, and by doing so allying oneself with individuals who do not have a general concern for human rights but are only concerned with targeting Israel as an obsession, is a sign of Auto-Anti-Semitism. 

The second and related indication of Auto-Anti-Semitism is the forums within which they operate. If they operate solely in non-Jewish forums to oppose the Jews and the Jewish state this is a clear indication that they do not seek the self-betterment of all things Jewish, they only seek to make things worse for the Jews by counteracting them from the outside. These forums will be the mass-media, political parties in the Diaspora, academia or the nonprofit world of NGO’s.  

The second category above is probably the most widely known arena today where Jews who are purportedly humanists say “not in my name” with regards to supposed Israeli oppression of Arabs. A prime example of this would be Jonathan Glazer’s comments which we quoted at the beginning of this article. In other words, the modern version of Auto-Anti-Semitism is Jews who feel compelled to speak out and act in non-Jewish forums, to denounce Israel and Jews and to express support for their enemies. 

The main message of Auto-Antisemitism

But let’s return to the main damage caused by Auto-Anti-Semitism, in that it makes hatred of Jews into an ideology. The visceral hatred of Jacob does not need an intellectual reason, and it never has, since at its core it is pure envy. Some will even argue that Anti-Semitism is a war against G-d Himself, but that is a deeper concept which is beyond the scope of this article.

The lie that Auto-Antisemites help to propagate is that Anti-Semitism is really about making the world a better place, by saying the equivalent of the following; I am a Jew and I feel exactly the same as you! It is not because you harbor an irrational hatred of Jews that you do what you do, but rather justice is on your side! I am not like “those other Jews”; in fact my Judaism is less important to me than my humanity. Please treat me as one of your tribe. I don’t want to be associated with that other Jewish tribe. 

The opposite of Auto-Anti-Semitism

The Right Honourable David Lloyd George was the British prime minister during the time of the First World War, from 1916 to 1922. He was a member of the Liberal Party in the United Kingdom and he oversaw the support for the Jewish state-to-be, culminating in the so called Balfour Declaration in 1917, which expressed official support for the establishment of a Jewish State in “Palestine” side by side with an Arab-Palestinian state. This plan was embraced by the Jewish side but rejected by the Arab side, initiating a long history of Arab intransigence, absolutism, and terrorism, lasting to this very day. 

Lately, previously classified documents have shown that Lloyd George believed in “Jewish world power” and wanted to co-opt the Jewish lobby in the US to attain funding for the war effort. Lloyd George made utterances and remarks that some people today would consider to be Anti-Semitic, but ultimately his actions ended up working in favor of world Jewry by lending support to the idea of a national home for the Jews in Eretz Israel. Lloyd’s George’s actions, together with Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour, ended up being of great benefit for the Jews for generations to come. 

Truth is multi-layered and often there is a mixture of realpolitik and sincerely held values at play. Lloyd George’s articles, writings and speeches reveal a profound understanding of the plight of the Jewish people and show that he understood that the Jews had a righteous claim to their ancestral homeland. 

Maybe this is what the Scriptures referred to when they say; “better a neighbor close by than a brother far off” (Proverbs, 27:10). We might allow ourselves to interpret this Biblical verse allegorically, as not merely speaking of a physical distance, but rather understanding the verse as talking about a distance in concern for one’s welfare. In other words; who cares more about one’s welfare-a brother who is distant or a neighbor who is close? The brother will here be the Auto-Anti-Semite, a brother by kinship but an enemy by deed. The neighbor would be a Gentile like Lloyd George, who ends up promoting the process envisaged by the Prophets of Israel; a return to the Land of Israel after 2000 years of exile by Jews from all four corners of the earth; the very goal the Auto-Antisemites seek to oppose. It is extremely obvious to us in hindsight, and even in the present, who is acting in our best interest; it’s the neighbor who is close who helps us in times of need, and not the distant brother who is a snare and a curse to us. 

About the Author
Tobias Goldman is a deep thinker with a passion for all things Jewish and a huge interest in the world. He wears his heart on his sleeve but his mind is always at work. After long journeys in Israel and the UK he is back in Sweden, but his heart and mind wander freely. Communicates through the written and spoken word as well as song.
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