The Real News of the Month

August 2002
Volume 9, No. 8

Editor: Joe Sobran
Publisher: Fran Griffin (Griffin Communications)
Managing Editor: Ronald N. Neff
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  -> Summing Up Ted
  -> Wartime Journal (plus Exclusives to this edition)
  -> "For Fear of the Jews"
Nuggets (plus Exclusives to this edition)
List of Columns Reprinted


Summing Up Ted
(page 1)

     Yes, all in all, Ted Williams, the glory of the 
Boston Red Sox, was what he aspired to be: "Someday I 
want people to look at me walking down the street and 
say, 'There goes the greatest hitter who ever lived.'"

     His death at 83 leaves only Stan Musial, Bob Feller, 
and Yogi Berra as the surviving giants of the great 
postwar era.

     Williams didn't revolutionize the game, as Babe Ruth 
did, but he was the most artistic, the most esthetically 
and intellectually interesting, of all hitters. He was 
that rare thing, a power hitter who seldom struck out. He 
studied the physics of pitching and the geometry of the 
strike zone and wrote a book that established him as the 
game's answer to Isaac Newton. His autobiography, MY TURN 
AT BAT, is a great read, full of salty opinions and 
irresistible humor.

     Even though Williams lost five of his prime seasons 
to war, he won two Triple Crowns -- leading the league in 
batting average, home runs, and runs batted in -- and 
narrowly missed winning two more. He was twice named Most 
Valuable Player in a league that included Joe DiMaggio, 
and it might well have been five times, but for the 
personal spite of sportswriters: in neither of his 
Triple-Crown seasons was he named MVP. He might well have 
hit over .400 two or three times, instead of his 
legendary once, had he played the five seasons the U.S. 
Government robbed him of.

     I was such a Williams fan that his lost seasons (and 
DiMaggio's) were not the least of my reasons for 
resenting World War II. I used to amuse myself by 
calculating what Williams's awesome lifetime record might 
look like with five more full seasons, at the rate he was 
hitting when he went off to war. I reckoned that his 
batting average would have been well over .350 (instead 
of .344) and his total home runs around 700 (instead of 
521). Such a colossal record would have left no doubt of 
his rank.

     His defiant personality might also have earned him a 
record for enemies, at least among the press; but other 
players always found him generous. His defiance also made 
him rise to every challenge, from the day he refused to 
preserve his .400 average by sitting out the last game of 
the 1941 season (he got six hits) to his last time at bat 
in 1960, when he said good-bye to baseball with a final 
home run. In between, he won two All-Star games with 
dramatic home runs.

     Williams's one signal failure was his bleak hitting 
in his only World Series, in 1946. His critics cited this 
as proof that he couldn't win the big games; he endured 
this charge for many years, refusing to make excuses, but 
the truth is that he was playing with an injured arm 
about which he told nobody. Unable to swing his bat 
properly and desperate for a hit, at one point he did 
what he almost never did: he dropped a bunt. So momentous 
was this felt to be that it nearly upstaged the game 
itself. A Boston newspaper headlined, "WILLIAMS BUNTS."

     By the time he died, Williams had long since ceased 
being controversial; he was universally loved, respected, 
venerated, and he returned the fans' affections with 
obvious warmth. Yet as soon as the eulogies began to 
abate, a new storm broke out when his son and business 
manager decided to have his body cryogenically frozen. 
Even dead, Williams was still making headlines.

Wartime Journal
(page 2)

     The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Cleveland's 
school voucher plan doesn't violate the U.S. 
Constitution's (imaginary) "separation of church and 
state." Of course it doesn't; more to the point, the 
Constitution permits the states to do all sorts of 
things, as long as they don't conflict with the specific 
powers assigned to the Federal Government. Which doesn't 
mean that vouchers are a good idea; they still force some 
people to pay for other people's schooling through 
taxation. This is a truth from which we should not be 
distracted by the fleeting pleasure of seeing the 
teachers' unions apoplectic.

*          *          *

     President Bush has come up with an elegantly simple 
peace plan for the Middle East: the Palestinians must 
achieve the impossible, and the Israelis, meanwhile, may 
continue to do as they bloody well please. At least 
that's what it boils down to. Not only must the 
Palestinians end terrorism; they must adopt American-
style democracy, separation of powers and all, and elect 
a new leadership acceptable to the United States. Then -- 
maybe -- they can have their own state and "self-

*          *          *

     Bush's War on Terrorism -- i.e., his plan to attack 
Iraq -- has less and less to do with Osama bin Laden and 
al-Qaeda (who are seldom mentioned anymore) and is ever 
more tenuously related to the events of last Septem-
ber 11. Its real purpose, clearly, is to assert and 
enlarge the prerogatives of American Empire, while 
angling for Zionist and fundamentalist Christian 
political support.

*          *          *

     Bush has reacted to the Wall Street scandals in 
typically spasmodic fashion. He has lectured CEOs on the 
need for "conscience" and promised to send a new Federal 
"SWAT team" to fight fraud. As with the War on Terror, he 
seems to assume he can solve the problem by grabbing new 
executive powers. And like most Republicans, he thinks 
the fate of "the economy" depends on how the government 
guides, or pampers, Big Business. Whether the cause is 
"building socialism" or "saving capitalism," we always 
seem to get more government.

*          *          *

     Haven't we had enough of Rudy Giuliani? Ever since 
the 9/11 attacks he's been feted as a national hero, and 
now he's featured in READER'S DIGEST as an authority on 
heroism. Pray, what brave deeds has he performed? Hogging 
the cameras and mikes? The faux association between Rudy 
and heroism threatens to become as indelible as that 
between the Kennedys and courage.

*          *          *

     Rudy has also wrapped up the messy divorce that was 
making him such a laughingstock until he became a hero. 
He'll be paying his ex, Donna Hanover, a cool $6.8 mil-
lion. Don't tell me he made all that money in public 
service! The court also found his open adultery "cruel 
and inhumane" to his missus. Yet conservatives have taken 
this worm to their bosoms. I believe the phrase is 
"defining deviancy downward."

*          *          *

     This year's Wimbledon men's finals were interrupted 
by a streaker, who was duly escorted off the court. 
Imagine -- streakers, at this late date! How passť. So 
awfully twentieth-century, what? The English are so 
stodgy, aren't they, Ducky?

Exclusive to the electronic version:

     Major League Baseball is headed for the pits. 
Another strike looms -- billionaire owners versus 
multimillionaire players, none of whom cares a whit about 
the traditions and integrity of the game. Witness the 
scandal of steroid consumption, which corrupts 
competition, threatens users' health, and cheapens the 
records. The only drug Babe Ruth ever needed was alcohol. 
Time for the fans to call a strike. A permanent one. 
Personally, I'm not going back until they clone Ted 

"For Fear of the Jews"
(pages 3-6)

[[ Text dropped or modified solely for reasons of space 
appears in double square brackets. Emphasis is indicated 
by the presence of asterisks around the emphasized 

     The news that I would be addressing the Institute of 
Historical Review came to some people as ... well, news. 
It was mentioned in the Jewish newspaper FORWARD and on 
the Zionist WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE. The editors of 
two conservative magazines called and wrote me to express 
their concern that I might damage my reputation, such as 
it is, by speaking to "Holocaust deniers."

     I'm not sure why this should matter. Even positing 
that I was speaking to a disreputable audience, I expect 
to be judged by what I say, not whom I say it to. I note 
that my enemies have written a great deal about me, yet 
they rarely quote me directly.

     Why not? If I am so disreputable myself, I must at 
least occasionally say disreputable things. Is it 
possible that what I say is more cogent than they like to 

     My enemies are always welcome to quote anything I 
say, if they dare. I would say the same things to them, 
and they may consider my remarks to the IHR as addressed 
to them too. I wasn't just speaking to "Holocaust 
deniers," but also to Holocaust believers.

     Because I've endured smears and ostracism for my 
criticism of Israel and its American lobby, some people 
credit me with courage. I'm flattered, of course, but 
this compliment, whether or not I deserve it, implies 
that it's professionally dangerous for a journalist to 
criticize Israel. That tells you a lot.

     But if I'm "courageous," what do you call Mark Weber 
and the Institute for Historical Review? They have been 
smeared far worse than I have; moreover, they have been 
seriously threatened with death. Their offices have been 
firebombed. Do they at least get credit for courage? Not 
at all. They remain almost universally vilified.

     When I met Mark, many years ago, I expected to meet 
a raving Jew-hating fanatic, such being the generic 
reputation of "Holocaust deniers." I was immediately and 
subsequently impressed to find that he was just the 
opposite: a mild-mannered, good-humored, witty, scholarly 
man who habitually spoke with restraint and measure, even 
about enemies who would love to see him dead.  The same 
is true of other members of the Institute. In my many 
years of acquaintance with them, I have never heard any 
of them say anything that would strike an unprejudiced 
listener as unreasonable or bigoted.

     It was his enemies who were raving, hate-filled 
fanatics, unable to discuss "Holocaust deniers" in 
measured language, without wild hyperbole, loose 
accusation, and outright lies. I began to wonder: if they 
can't tell the truth about "Holocaust deniers," how can 
they tell the truth about the Holocaust itself?

     Even if the Holocaust had really happened, as I 
assumed, maybe it should be studied with a critical 
rationality most of its believers obviously lacked. After 
all, even Stalin's crimes might be exaggerated, quite 
understandably, by his victims. As Milton puts it, "Let 
truth and falsehood grapple; who ever knew truth put to 
the worse in a free and open encounter?" Even those in 
error might have something to say, some marginal 
clarification to offer. Why stop our ears against them?

     Why on earth is it "anti-Jewish" to conclude from 
the evidence that the standard numbers of Jews murdered 
are inaccurate, or that the Hitler regime, bad as it was 
in many ways, was not, in fact, intent on racial 
extermination? Surely these are controversial 
conclusions; but if so, let the controversy rage. There 
is no danger in permitting it to proceed. It might be 
different if denying the Holocaust could somehow affect 
the course of events, as the denial of Stalin's crimes by 
the NEW YORK TIMES in the 1930s helped him to continue 
committing them. Why is the Institute for Historical 
Review notorious, while the TIMES, despite its active 
support of Stalin at the height of his power, remains a 
pillar of respectability?

     The Holocaust has never been a consuming interest of 
mine. But as I read the JOURNAL OF HISTORICAL REVIEW over 
the years, I found in it the same calm virtue of critical 
rationality I'd found in Mark himself. And it was applied 
to many other subjects besides the question of whether 
Hitler had tried to exterminate the Jews.

     [[ I'm especially indebted to one fascinating 
article on another taboo subject: Abraham Lincoln's long 
pursuit of the policy of sending former Negro slaves 
outside the United States. This completely reshaped the 
book on Lincoln I was writing. I realized that you can't 
understand Lincoln unless you grasp that he waged the 
Civil War with a dual goal: to prevent the political 
separation of North and South, while achieving the racial 
separation of whites and blacks. His dream was a united 
white America. He was by no means the color-blind 
humanitarian we have been taught to revere. ]]

     The IHR's mission can't be fairly summed up as 
"Holocaust denial." Its real mission is criticism of the 
suffocating progressive ideology that has infected and 
distorted the telling of history in our time. But of 
course its specific skepticism of the standard Holocaust 
story is regarded as blasphemy, and has earned it the 
dreaded epithet of "anti-Semitism."

     Not long ago the only label more lethal to one's 
reputation was that of child molester, but, as many men 
of the cloth are now discovering, there is this 
difference: a child molester may hope for a second 

     There is also another difference. We have a pretty 
clear idea what child molestation is. Nobody really knows 
what "anti-Semitism" is. My old boss Bill Buckley wrote 
an entire book called IN SEARCH OF ANTI-SEMITISM without 
bothering to define "anti-Semitism."

     At the time I thought this was an oversight. I was 
wrong. The word would lose its utility if it were 
defined. As I observed in my own small contribution to 
the book, an "anti-Semite" used to mean a man who hated 
Jews. Now it means a man who is hated *by* Jews.

     I doubt, in fact I can't imagine, that anyone 
associated with the IHR has ever done harm to another 
human being because he was Jewish. In fact the IHR has 
never been accused of anything but thought-crimes.

     The same is true of me. Nobody has ever accused me 
of the slightest personal indecency to a Jew. My chief 
offense, it appears, has been to insist that the state of 
Israel has been a costly and treacherous "ally" to the 
United States. As of last September 11, I should think 
that is undeniable. But I have yet to receive a single 
apology for having been correct.

     If I were to hate Jews en masse, without 
distinction, I would be guilty of many things. Obviously 
I'd be guilty of injustice and uncharity to Jews as human 
beings. I would also be guilty of willful stupidity. More 
personally, I'd be guilty of ingratitude to my 
benefactors -- which Dante, in his INFERNO, ranks the 
worst of all sins -- since many of my benefactors, in 
large ways and small, have been Jewish.

     Moreover, I would be becoming exactly the man my 
Zionist enemies would like me to be; a man like them, in 
whom ethnic hostilities take priority over all other 
values and considerations. I would justify them in 
treating me as an enemy. In fact I'd go so far as to say 
that I would be helping to justify the state of Israel. I 
consider that if I fight these people on their terms, 
they have already won.

	What, exactly, is "anti-Semitism"? One standard 
dictionary definition is "hostility toward or 
discrimination against Jews as a religious or racial 
group." How this applies to me has never been explained. 
My "hostility" toward Israel is a desire not for war, but 
for neutrality -- out of a sense of betrayal, waste, and 
shame. Our venal politicians have aligned us with a 
foreign country that behaves dishonorably. Most alleged 
"anti-Semites" would wince if Jews anywhere were treated 
as Israel treats its Arab subjects. Moreover, Israel has 
repeatedly betrayed its only benefactor, the United 
States. I have already alluded to the place Dante 
reserves for those who betray their benefactors.

     These are obvious moral facts. Yet it's not only 
politicians who are afraid to point them out; so are most 
journalists -- the people who are supposed to be 
independent enough to say the things politicians can't 
afford to say. In my thirty years in journalism, nothing 
has amazed me more than the prevalent fear in the 
profession of offending Jews, especially Zionist Jews.

     The fear of the label "anti-Semitic" is a fear of 
the power that is believed to lie behind it: Jewish 
power. Yet this is still pretty much unmentionable in 
journalism. It's rather as if sportswriters covering pro 
basketball were prohibited from mentioning that the Los 
Angeles Lakers were in first place.

     [[ In my 21 years at NATIONAL REVIEW, I had a front-
row seat. I watched closely as Bill Buckley changed from 
a jaunty critic of Israel to what I can only call a 
servile appeaser. In its early days, the magazine 
published robust editorials blasting politicians who 
sacrificed American to Israeli interests in order to 
pander to the Jewish vote; in those days it was con-
sidered risque to suggest that there was a "Jewish vote." 
Today Bill's magazine supports Israel with embarrassing 
sycophancy, never daring to intimate that Israeli and 
American interests may occasionally diverge. It has 
forgotten its own principles; today it would never dare 
to publish the editorials written by its great geopoliti-
cal thinker of those early days, James Burnham. ]]

     There has been a qualitative change that is 
downright eerie [[ -- not only in Bill Buckley and 
NATIONAL REVIEW, but ]] in American conservatism 
generally. The "fear of the Jews," to use the phrase so 
often repeated in the Gospel according to John, seems to 
have wrought a reorientation of the tone, the very 
principles, of today's conservatism. The hardy 
skepticism, critical intelligence, and healthy irony of 
men like James Burnham, Willmoore Kendall, and the young 
Buckley have given way to the uncritical philo-Semitism 
of George Will, Cal Thomas, Rush Limbaugh, and of course 
the later Buckley -- men who will go to any lengths, even 
absurd and dishonorable lengths, to avoid the terrorizing 
label "anti-Semite."

     It was once considered "anti-Semitic" to impute 
"dual loyalty" to Jews -- that is, to assert that most 
American Jews divide their loyalty between the United 
States and Israel. This is now passe. Today most 
politicians assume, as a matter of course, that Israel 
commands the *primary* loyalty of Jewish voters. Are they 
accused of "anti-Semitism" for doing so? Does this 
assumption cost them Jewish votes? Not at all! Dual 
loyalty nothing! Dual loyalty would be an improvement!

     Once again, it's a practical necessity to *know* 
what it would be professional suicide to *say.* No 
politician in his right mind would accuse Jews of giving 
their primary loyalty to Israel; but most politicians act 
as if this were the case. And they succeed.

     You can read Jewish publications like COMMENTARY for 
years, and you'll read interminable discussions about 
what's good for Israel, but you'll never encounter the 
slightest suggestion that what's good for Israel might 
not be good for America. The possibility simply never 
comes up. The only discernible duty of Jews, it seems, is 
to look out for Israel. They never have to choose between 
Israel and the United States. So much for the "canard" of 
dual loyalty.

     [[ The very word "anti-Semite" is reminiscent of the 
term "anti-Soviet." It serves a similar function of 
facilitating imputations of ill-defined guilt.

     [[ The strength of Western law has always been its 
insistence on definition. When we want to minimize an 
offense, say murder or burglary, we define it as clearly 
as possible. We want judge and jury to know exactly what 
the charge means, not only to convict the guilty but, 
also, just as important, to protect the innocent.

     [[ Clear definitions put a burden of proof on the 
accuser, and properly so. If you falsely accuse a man of 
murder or burglary, not only is he apt to be acquitted -- 
you may pay a heavy penalty yourself. As a result, few of 
us are afraid of being charged with murders and 
burglaries we didn't commit.

     [[ By contrast, the Soviet legal system left 
prosecutors with a wide discretion in identifying "anti-
Soviet" activities. Almost anything irritating to the 
Soviet state could qualify. An impossible burden of proof 
lay on the accused; guilt was presumed; acquittals were 
virtually nonexistent. To be indicted was already to be 
convicted. Since the charge was undefined, it was 
unfalsifiable; there was no such thing as a false 
accusation. As a result, the Russian population lived in 

     [[ The word "anti-Semitic" functions like the word 
"anti-Soviet." Being undefined, it's unfalsifiable. Loose 
charges of "anti-Semitism" are common, but nobody suffers 
any penalty for making them, since what is unfalsifiable 
can never be shown to be false. I once read an article in 
a Jewish magazine that called the first Star Wars movie 
"anti-Semitic." I was amazed, but I couldn't prove the 
contrary. Who could? And of course people in public life 
-- and often in private life -- fear incurring the label, 
however guiltless they may be.

     [[ If you want to distinguish between the innocent 
and the guilty, you define crimes precisely. If, however, 
you merely want to maximize the number of convictions, 
increase the power of the accusers, and create an 
atmosphere of dread, you define crimes as loosely as 
possible. We now have an incentive system that might have 
been designed to promote loose charges of "anti-

     [[ Silly as all this is from a rational point of 
view, the label of "anti-Semitism" is deeply feared. It 
does signify one thing: Jewish hatred. When I became a 
conservative as a college freshman, in 1965, nearly all 
Jews were liberals and Jewish intellectuals associated 
conservatism with "anti-Semitism." Bill Buckley was often 
depicted as a fascist or crypto-Nazi; given the smears he 
endured, it's understandable that he should go to great 
lengths to appear pro-Jewish, even if he somewhat overdid 
it by abetting smears of his fellow conservatives.

     [[ The situation changed somewhat when many Jewish 
intellectuals, upset by liberal criticism of Israel, 
became what were called "neoconservatives." This term 
implied no deep adherence to conservative principles, but 
only the adoption of a few ad hoc principles useful to 
Zionism, with no basic departure from New Deal liberalism 
insofar as it was useful to Zionism. "Neoconservatism" 
was really a sort of "kosher" conservatism.

     [[ A few incidents from my years at National Review 
may illustrate the point.

     [[ In the mid 1980s, the neoconservative Earth 
Mother Midge Decter, wife of Norman Podhoretz, accused 
Russell Kirk of "anti-Semitism." Kirk's offense? He had 
made a mild quip that some neoconservatives appeared to 
believe that the capital of Western civilization was Tel 
Aviv. Never mind that he had a point. Kirk had been a 
founding father of modern conservatism and a NATIONAL 
REVIEW columnist for many years, yet the magazine not 
only failed to rally to his defense against this smear -- 
it didn't even report the incident! Decter's attack was 
the biggest news of the season in the conservative 
movement, but Buckley was afraid to mention it. So was 
most of the conservative press.

     [[ At about the same time, Israeli troops shot up a 
Catholic Church on the West Bank during Mass -- a 
horrible sacrilege that sent worshipers fleeing for their 
lives and provoked an angry protest from the Vatican. 
(The congregation had planned a march after Mass to 
protest the beating of a Palestinian priest by Israeli 
soldiers.) I mentioned the incident to Buckley, a fellow 
Catholic, at an editorial meeting and gave him a news 
clipping describing the event in detail; as I expected, 
the magazine ignored this too. Even the violent 
persecution of Catholics by Jews was unmentionable -- in 
a "conservative" magazine owned and run by a Catholic.

     [[ When the Pollard spy case broke, the magazine 
called for the death penalty for Pollard -- but excused 
Israel for sponsoring him, on grounds that it's normal 
for friendly nations to spy on each other!

     [[ And so it went. I could have understood a 
favorable attitude toward Israel, having been pro-Israel 
for many years myself; but surely even this alliance must 
have occasional drawbacks. From time to time it's 
necessary to criticize even friends. If we criticized our 
own government every week, why not Israel once in a 
while? But the magazine consistently refused to find the 
slightest fault with Israel, and since I left in 1993 it 
has gotten much worse. Today it has become assertively 
slavish, to a comical degree.

     [[ By 1993 I'd had enough. I wrote a column 
correcting some of the things Bill had written about me, 
in which I mentioned his evident fear; I wrote that he 
was "jumpy about Jews." This was a pretty mild 
description of his terror, but the column got me fired, 
just as I expected. Since then it has become a 
neoconservative legend that I was fired for "anti-
Semitism," but the truth is that it was far more personal 
than that. Bill knew me too well to make such a charge. I 
was fired for making him look bad. He considered making 
others look bad his prerogative.

     Since then ]] I've noticed how eager and desperate 
mainstream conservatives are to avoid Jewish wrath. 
Again, they don't just speak favorably of Israel; they 
refuse to acknowledge any cost to American interests in 
the U.S.-Israel alliance. They treat the two countries' 
interests as identical; when they scold either 
government, it's always -- *always* -- the U.S. 
Government for failing to support our "reliable ally." 
They are in headlong flight from reality. They have none 
of the realism of James Burnham, whose writings and style 
of thought would be wholly unwelcome in today's 
conservative movement.

     They are frightened. You can sense this in their 
bluster, in the vicarious jingoism with which they 
address Israel. Their fear produces a peculiar 
intellectual thinness that pervades all their thinking on 
foreign policy. [[ Gone is the critical intelligence that 
used to set the tone for such earlier conservative 
writers as Burnham, Kendall, Kirk, Whittaker Chambers, 
Frank Meyer, Thomas Molnar, and the other distinguished 
names that used to grace the masthead of NATIONAL 
REVIEW. ]] Individualists have been replaced by 
apparatchiks. Zionism has infiltrated conservatism in 
much the same way Communism once infiltrated liberalism.

     [[ I notice that Bill Buckley's latest book is a 
novel about the Nuremberg trials. Over the past few years 
Bill has made a habit of commemorating the Holocaust with 
remarkable frequency. He has dropped references to 
Auschwitz into countless of his syndicated columns and 
interviews, as if compelled to banish the slightest 
suspicion that he has any doubts about the Holocaust or 
that he doesn't feel deeply about it. The Holocaust seems 
to have joined, or supplanted, the Gulag Archipelago in 
his historical memory.

     [[ Since I vividly remember the days when Bill 
regarded the Jews and Israel not with hostility, but with 
a healthy and playful irony -- the same attitude he 
brought to politics in general -- I find all this 
solemnity pretty cloying. ]]

     Here I should lay my own cards on the table. I am 
not, heaven forbid, a "Holocaust denier." I lack the 
scholarly competence to be one. I don't read German, so I 
can't assess the documentary evidence; I don't know 
chemistry, so I can't discuss Zyklon-B; I don't 
understand the logistics of exterminating millions of 
people in small spaces. Besides, "Holocaust denial" is 
illegal in many countries I may want to visit someday. 
For me, that's proof enough. One Israeli writer has 
expressed his amazement at the idea of criminalizing 
opinions about historical fact, and I find it puzzling 
too; but the state has spoken.

     Of course those who affirm the Holocaust need know 
nothing about the German language, chemistry, and other 
pertinent subjects; they need only repeat what they have 
been told by the authorities. In every controversy, most 
people care much less for what the truth is than for 
which side it's safer and more respectable to take. They 
shy away from taking a position that is likely to get 
them into trouble. Just as only people on the Axis side 
were accused of war crimes after World War II, only 
people critical of Jewish interests are accused of 
thought-crimes in today's mainstream press.

     So, life being as short as it is, I shy away from 
this controversy. Of course I'm also incompetent to judge 
whether the Holocaust did happen; so I've become what 
might be called a "Holocaust stipulator." Like a lawyer 
who doesn't want to get bogged down debating a secondary 
point, I *stipulate* that the standard account of the 
Holocaust is true. What is undisputed -- the massive 
violation of human rights in Hitler's Germany -- is bad 

     What interests me is the growth of what Norman 
Finkelstein has called "the Holocaust Industry." True or 
not, the Holocaust story has been put to many uses, some 
of them mischievous. It is currently being used to extort 
reparations and to blacken reputations, for example. 
Daniel Goldhagen is soon to publish a book blaming the 
Holocaust on the central teachings of the Catholic 
Church. This is only the most ambitious project of a 
school of thought, largely but not exclusively Jewish, 
that sees Christianity as the source of all "anti-

     So if you want to avoid being called "anti-Semitic," 
the safest course is to renounce Christianity. Whether 
this is a safe course for your immortal soul is a 
question Goldhagen doesn't address. The important thing 
is to avoid Jewish censure. Obviously this sort of 
thinking presupposes Christian fear of the Jews. Jews 
themselves are not unaware of Jewish power; some of them 
have rather exaggerated confidence in it.

     But the chief use of the Holocaust story is to 
undergird the legitimacy of the state of Israel. 
According to this view, the Holocaust proves that Jewish 
existence is always in danger, unless the Jews have their 
own state in their own homeland. The Holocaust stands as 
the historical objectification of all the world's 
gentiles' eternal "anti-Semitism." Jewish life is an 
endless emergency, requiring endless emergency measures 
and justifying everything does in the name of "defense." 
Jews and Israel can't be judged by normal standards, at 
least until Israel is absolutely safe -- if even then. 
Their circumstances are forever abnormal.

     But the daily news reports suggest that Israel may 
not really be the safest place for Jews. Theodore Herzl's 
original dream was of a Jewish state where Jews could at 
last live the normal lives they were denied in the 
Diaspora. Yet today it's Diaspora Jews who live 
relatively normal lives, at least in the West, while they 
must worry about the very survival of Israel. And far 
from being the independent state Herzl hoped for, Israel 
depends heavily on the support not only of Diaspora Jews 
but of foreign gentiles, especially Americans.

     Israel insists that its "right to exist" is nothing 
more than the right of every nation on earth to be left 
in peace. This right is allegedly threatened by fanatical 
Arabs who want to "drive the Jews into the sea," as 
witness the recent wave of Palestinian terror. But in 
truth, Israel's claimed "right to exist" is much more 
than it seems at first sight. It means a right to rule 
*as Jews,* enjoying rights denied to native Palestinians.

     We are told incessantly that Israel is a 
"democracy," and therefore the natural ally of the United 
States, whose "democratic values" it shares. This is a 
very dubious claim. To Americans, democracy means 
majority rule, but with equal rights for minorities. In 
Israel and the occupied territories, equal rights for the 
minority are simply out of the question.

     Majority rule itself has taken a peculiar form in 
Israel. The original Arab majority was driven out of 
their homes and their native land, and kept out. 
Meanwhile, a Jewish "majority" was artificially imported. 
Not only the first immigrants from Eastern Europe, but 
every Jew on earth was granted a "right of return" -- 
that is, "return" to a "homeland" most have never lived 
in, and in which none of their ancestors has ever lived. 
A Jew from Brooklyn (whose grandfather came from Poland) 
can fly to Israel and immediately claim rights denied to 
an Arab whose people have always lived in Palestine. In 
recent years Israel has been augmenting its Jewish 
majority by vigorously encouraging Jewish immigration, 
especially from Russia. Ariel Sharon has told a group of 
American senators that Israel needs a million more Jewish 

     [[ In recent negotiations, Israel has flatly 
rejected demands for a "right of return" for Palestinians 
exiled since 1948. It frankly gave as its reason that 
this would mean "the end of the Jewish state," since an 
Arab majority would surely vote down Jewish ethnic 
privileges. If Israel remained democratic, it wouldn't 
long remain Jewish.

     [[ This confirms the contention of hard-line 
Revisionist Zionists from Vladimir Jabotinsky to Meir 
Kahane that in the long run, Israel must be either Jewish 
or democratic; it can't be both. And in order to remain 
Jewish, it must reject the equal rights for its 
minorities that Jews everywhere demand where they are a 
minority. Israel must be the only "democracy" whose 
existence *depends* on inequality.

      [[ Put otherwise, Zionism is a denial of the "self-
evident truths" of the Declaration of Independence. To 
acknowledge those truths, and to put them into practice, 
would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. Again, 
honest and rigorous Zionists have always seen and said 

      [[ American gentiles, bemused by the propaganda 
claim that a beleaguered little democracy is fighting for 
its very right to exist, are vaguely baffled, unable to 
comprehend what is before their eyes. They still haven't 
figured out that Israeli "democracy" is essentially and 
radically different from -- even repugnant to -- what 
they understand as democracy. ]]

     With the verbal sleight-of-hand at which they are 
masters, the Israelis always appeal to the Holocaust. 
Maybe they have nuclear weapons, but their existence is 
threatened -- once more! -- by rock-throwing Arab boys. 
The Arabs are the new Nazis, repeating and perpetuating 
the eternal peril of the Jews. Israel is determined to 
prevent another Holocaust and must crush the Arab threat 
by any means necessary, including harsh measures.

     Israel without the Holocaust is hard to imagine. But 
let's try to imagine it.

     Suppose the Holocaust had never occurred, had never 
been alleged, had never been *called* "the Holocaust." 
Imagine that no great persecution had provided the Jewish 
state with a special excuse for oppressive emergency 
measures. In other words, imagine that Israel were forced 
to justify itself like any other state.

     In that case, Israel's treatment of its Arab 
minorities would appear to the world in a very different 
light. Its denial of equal or even basic rights to those 
minorities would lack the excuse of a past or prospective 
"Holocaust." Civilized people would expect it to treat 
those it ruled with impartial justice [[ -- like 
civilized states ]]. Special privileges for Jews would 
appear as outrageous discrimination, no different from 
insulting legal discrimination *against* Jews. The sense 
-- and excuse -- of perpetual crisis would be absent. 
Israel might be forced or pressured, possibly against its 
will, to be "normal." If it chose to be democratic, its 
Jews would have to take their chance of being 
outnumbered, just like majorities in other democracies. 
Nobody would suppose that losing elections would mean 
their annihilation.

     In short, the Holocaust has become a device for 
exempting Jews from normal human obligations. It has 
authorized them to bully and blackmail, to extort and 
oppress. This is all quite irrational, because even if 
six million Jews were murdered during World War II, [[ it 
doesn't follow that the survivors are entitled to commit 
the slightest injustice. ]] If your father was stabbed in 
the street, that's a pity, but it's not an excuse for 
picking someone else's pocket.

     In a peculiar way, the Holocaust story has promoted 
not only pity, but actual fear of the Jews. It has 
removed them from the universe of normal moral discourse. 
It has made them victims with nukes. It has made them 
even more dangerous than their enemies have always 
charged. It has given the world an Israel ruled by Ariel 

     Benjamin Netanyahu has written that Israel is "an 
integral part of the West." I think it would be truer to 
say that Israel has become a deformed limb of the West.

[This article is taken from a speech given by Joe Sobran 
at the IHR Conference held in Los Angeles, June 21-23, 


WHO NEEDS IT? Why should the Palestinians have their own 
state, anyway? Don't they have enough problems already? 
(page 8)

COME TO THINK OF IT: As an acute reader points out, the 
government that wants to root out corporate fraud is the 
same one that has given us Social Security and Medicare. 
(page 9)

ANONYMOUS GUEST EDITORIAL: "If God had wanted us to vote, 
He would have given us candidates." Even so, I'm still 
seeking the presidency. (page 12)

Exclusive to the electronic version:

REDEEMING QUALITIES: Say this much for "rogue nations" -- 
at least they aren't isolationist! 

ENOUGH ALREADY! As a remorseless Clinton-hater, I still 
say one has to draw the line somewhere. Listening to some 
conservatives -- Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, among 
others -- you get the impression that the Clintons not 
only bear responsibility for the Wall Street scandals and 
various natural disasters in the Southwest, but are 
virtually in cahoots with al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. 
Call me a squish, but I'm ready to give them the benefit 
of doubt on all these counts.

STILL A PAPIST after ALL THESE YEARS: The title of Garry 
Wills's latest book seems about three decades overdue: 
WHY I AM A CATHOLIC. Actually, it's a surprisingly warm 
and personal book, full of gratitude and affection. His 
impressive brain is matched by a big heart. True, his 
faith is somewhat eccentric, but it's by no means the 
watered-down liberal Catholicism I've mistaken it for. I 
can't resist reading a richly gifted writer who usually 
has more interesting reasons for being wrong than most 
sensible people have for being right.

BEHIND THE LENS: Your mental images of Winston Churchill, 
Bernard Shaw, Ernest Hemingway, and Laurence Olivier are 
very likely the product of the luminous photographic 
portraits of Yousuf Karsh, who has died at 93. His 
unforgettable bulldog portrait of Churchill captured what 
appeared to be the very soul of the indomitable wartime 
leader; in fact, Karsh himself was responsible for the 
famous scowl when, informed that he had been allotted but 
two minutes to take the picture, he snatched away the old 
man's beloved cigar. Generations of viewers have mistaken 
the resulting look of peevish annoyance for a 
determination to fight tyranny to the death. Karsh's 
stature in his profession was such that a wag once 
quipped that he was the only photographer who had never 
been slugged by Sean Penn.

ALIENS, BEWARE: I'm afraid my days as a cineaste are 
waning. My moviegoing these days is largely confined to 
films my grandchildren drag me to. All this is my 
sheepish preface to admitting that the latest movie I've 
seen is the silly, crude, offensive, and hilarious MEN IN 
BLACK II, reuniting Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith as the 
secret team of space-alien hunters. The deadpan Jones 
never fails to slay me. In one scene, Jones grabs a 
cigarette from the lips of a grotesque alien in a post 
office with the gruff rebuke: "No smoking in here."


* Rejoice! (June 20, 2002)

* An Announcement (July 2, 2002)

* Church, State, and School (June 27, 2002)

* On to Victory! (July 4, 2002)

* Ted Williams: The Sequel (July 9, 2002)

* State of the Union, Signs of the Times (July 11, 2002)


All articles are written by Joe Sobran

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