How a radical new form of anti-racism can save Labour

Daily Express

JVL Introduction

A perceptive analysis by sociologist Keith Kahn-Harris, published in the Guardian today.

Kahn-Harris has long pioneered an independent yet critical approach to understanding the diversity of Jewish life in Britain today.

This article includes a critical view of JVL. Though we will contest what he says about us, we welcome the friendly spirit and the wider context in which it is cast.  There is an important debate to be had which we are keen to contribute to: how to develop a genuine anti-racism when some of the people you are called on to defend espouse a politics one you really are not in sympathy with…

Thoughts and contributions welcome.


How a radical new form of anti-racism can save Labour

The row over antisemitism in the party has gone from bad to worse. There’s only one way out of the impasse

Keith Kahn-Harris, Guardian
29 May 2019


An announcement by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) that it is launching a formal investigation into antisemitism in the Labour party is one more sign that the controversy cannot be addressed by internal procedures alone. Was it ever solvable through the party’s own efforts? There was a time when I thought it might be.

Even before Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour party in September 2015, there was deep disquiet in sections of the British Jewish community about what was perceived as his tolerance for Islamist terrorist groups. Following his election, repeated instances of antisemitic comments in the burgeoning Corbynite grassroots further stoked alarm. The attempted coup against Corbyn’s leadership in June 2016 deepened the problem, with non-Corbynite Jewish party members (and those within the Jewish Labour Movement in particular) becoming the focus of anger from some who supported Corbyn’s transformation of the party.

There has been no shortage of efforts to address this situation. There was the Chakrabarti inquiry in June 2016 and repeated statements by Corbyn and others condemning antisemitism. There have been meetings, both confidential and announced, between Jewish communal leaders and the Labour leadership. There have been rule changes and bureaucratic restructuring intended to improve the party’s disciplinary procedures.

For years I’ve been advocating dialogue as a way to address the crisis generated by antisemitism within Labour. For a long time my working assumption was that hardcore, unrepentant, unredeemable antisemites in the party were a tiny minority, but there was a much bigger group that fell into antisemitic language occasionally or out of ignorance. The first group could not be dialogued out of existence – only expelled – but the larger group might be open to education. What was crucial was to engage those Corbynites who had no history of antisemitism and might be able to exert influence on others. I did have some hope that, through hard work and trust-building, it might be possible to reach some kind of understanding between those who lead the Labour party and Jews concerned about antisemitism.

Not only has nothing worked, but efforts to fix things have themselves deepened the controversy. Meetings between Corbyn and Jewish community leaders have been tense and incomprehending affairs. Institutional investigations and reforms are either seen as a whitewash from the Jewish side (as with the Chakrabarti report) or as an unacceptable compromise with them (as in the 2018 adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism by the Labour party national executive committee).

Now, with Jewish support for Labour dropping like a stone and accusations that the party is institutionally antisemitic, antisemitism in the party has not gone away and the political dispute over it is worse than ever. There is no reason to think that the EHRC will end the dispute, whatever its findings – things are just too far gone for that.

So what next? There is a way back, but it’s going to take a radical rethinking of what anti-racism means

We got into this mess in the first place because sections of the left have never been able to reconcile themselves to the fact that the majority of British Jews are Zionists in some shape or form, either self-identifying as such or supporting the principle of Israel as a Jewish state. That fundamental bewilderment, that sense that Jews should know better, has been combined with a love of that significant minority of Jews who are not Zionists. Groups such as the Corbyn-supporting Jewish Voice for Labour, which is largely made up of Jews who reject Zionism, tacitly encourage the sentiment: “Why can’t all Jews be like that?”

Given that the divisions between Jewish Zionists and anti-Zionists are very much out in the open, it is all too easy to pick and choose the Jews one listens to and to damn the rest.

The only way out of this impasse is to recast anti-racist solidarity so that it is completely decoupled from political solidarity

I am not one of those Jews who would argue that members of Jewish Voice for Labour are not really Jews and should be shunned by non-Jews. But there is no way around the fact that, intentionally or unintentionally, they encourage the fantasy that all you need to do to oppose antisemitism is to draw close to those Jews with whom you are in sympathy. This fantasy has exposed under-discussed questions about how anti-racism should express solidarity with minorities who are subjected to racism: what happens when those minorities, or significant sections of them, hold to politics with which you don’t agree? And what happens when those minorities treat those politics as non-negotiable parts of their identity?

Too often, anti-racism on sections of the left is predicated on wilful ignorance about what the victims of racism actually believe. Jews have a way of forcing the issue: our overwhelming (but by no means total) embrace of Zionism has been so public that it cannot be avoided. This has presented a quandary to those who see themselves as supporters of the Palestinians: how can the victims of racism be racists themselves? The way out of that has sometimes been to deny that Jews today constitute a group that can suffer racism at all (other than perhaps at the hand of good old-fashioned Nazis); we have been subsumed into white privilege. The result has been that progressive movements increasingly find it difficult to include Jews who do not renounce Zionism, as the controversy surrounding antisemitism in the Women’s March in the US has shown.

The only way out of this impasse is to recast anti-racist solidarity so that it is completely decoupled from political solidarity. Anti-racism must become unconditional, absolute, and not requiring reciprocity. Anti-racism must be explicitly understood as fighting for the right of minorities to pursue their own political agendas, even if they are abhorrent to you. Anti-racism requires being scrupulous in how one talks or acts around those one might politically despise.

This isn’t just an issue that applies to Jews and antisemitism. We are beginning to see the strains in other forms of anti-racism too, when minorities start becoming politically awkward. The opposition from some British Muslim groups to teaching LGBT issues in school is one example of this. Yet opposition to Islamophobia is as vital as opposition to homophobia and one must not be sacrificed on the altar of the other.

The anti-racism that I suggest is a kind of self-sacrifice. Anti-racists must acknowledge but restrain how they really feel about those who must be defended against racism. Doing so involves a constant balancing act: supporting the right for Zionist Jews to live free from abuse and harassment while, at the same time, fighting for the right of Palestinians to live free from oppression. Creating that balance involves teeth-gritting; choosing not to pursue the most unbridled forms of political warfare when it involves ethno-religious minorities such as Jews.

It sounds like a horrible, frustrating and maddening process. But who said that anti-racism was going to be easy? Well, it isn’t easy and the fantasy that it is got us into this predicament in the first place.

This, then, is what a solution to the Labour party antisemitism crisis will have to look like, now that dialogue and conflict resolution have proved to be dead ends: an acknowledgment from the anti-Zionist left that anti-racist solidarity with those seen as despicable Zionist Jews must be unconditional. This is what I call “sullen solidarity” – and it is the most powerful form of solidarity there is.

Paradoxically, the first step in cultivating this sullen solidarity should be restraining love for those Jews with whom one is most in sympathy. The Labour leadership needs to stop its repeated expressions of support for particular Jewish traditions; its Passover messages about social justice and its invocations of the battle of Cable Street. As a leftwing Israel-critical Jew, I myself honour and respect some of the traditions with which Corbyn empathises, but I don’t need my way of being Jewish to be validated by anyone. Anti-racism should not be a reward for being culturally interesting or politically sympathetic; it should require no justification.

I am totally uninterested in whether the Labour leadership like Jews or what sort of Jews they like. I care only that they will refrain from expressing love for certain kinds of Jews and distrust of others, and that they will defend all of us from antisemitism, however unlikable they might find us.

Keith Kahn-Harris’s book Strange Hate: Antisemitism, Racism and the Limits of Diversity is published by Repeater Books on 11 June

Comments (18)

  • dave says:

    Sorry but this article is not on.

    “The only way out of this impasse is to recast anti-racist solidarity so that it is completely decoupled from political solidarity.”

    This is what we do. This:

    “We got into this mess in the first place because sections of the left have never been able to reconcile themselves to the fact that the majority of British Jews are Zionists in some shape or form, either self-identifying as such or supporting the principle of Israel as a Jewish state. ”

    is just not true.

    “I am totally uninterested in whether the Labour leadership like Jews or what sort of Jews they like. I care only that they will refrain from expressing love for certain kinds of Jews and distrust of others, and that they will defend all of us from antisemitism, however unlikable they might find us.”

    No – we don’t get on with some Jews because of their political views not because they are Jewish. The mistake Keith is making is to think that a majority of Jews are necessarily political friends apart from Zionism.

  • Kenny Fryde says:

    “Anti-racism must become unconditional, absolute, and not requiring reciprocity”. This is of course true. But I’m not sure quite what world Keith is inhabiting. In my world the anti-Zionist left (apart from a deranged few) has ALWAYS proceeded on this basis. The problem – for the thoroughly Zionist Jewish establishment – is that now we have a measure of power within the party that will likely form the next government. It’s intolerable to them. My fear is that the moral blackmail they are wielding will provoke a backlash among the wider public, making it that much harder to hold together the wider cross-community alliances upon which we all depend.

  • Sara says:

    The whole stupid never ending witch hunt thing was never about ‘anti semitism’ at all, the term hijacked by zionists as it’s meaning applies to Arabs as well as Jews and the crimes against Muslims which they have repeatedly completely ignored, it’s really all been about a politically motivated right wing and Blairite Media circus campaign to stop Jeremy Corbyn and a true socialist leader getting anywhere near power. I recently watched moving ceremonies marking the invaluable Russian contribution to ending the Holocaust and the millions of Russian lives lost to ensure victory against the Nazis. This important day was disgracefully ignored by the Western media and even countries that were liberated and helped have removed mentions of this in their real history like Poland. The Israeli government cosies up to Neo Nazis white supremacist hate mongers but then bullies pacifist poverty campaigners. It’s never been about racism it’s all about keeping power away from ordinary individuals, stopping restribution of the country’s wealth and keeping the shocking suffering of the Palestinian people away from public scrutiny and suppressing reporting of their appalling plight.

  • Liberty says:

    As John Pilger said many years ago ‘Palestine is still the Issue’.

  • TP says:

    The whole basis of this article is totally wrong. It’s the TRUTH that needs saving from the bloody biased media and their establishment backstabbing puppets from within the Labour Party who are allowed to spout lies and smears all over the place.

  • Michael Westcombe says:

    I am a committed anti-racist of 65 years old, brought up in South Africa. I am finding the above remarks very hard to deal with. In any other forum, I would have to call them dishonest. Sorry.

  • S H says:

    This one is for the JVL Watch trolls. Read it and Weep fools.
    NELSON MANDELA:
    We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.
    Extracted from Mandela’s speech at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

  • John says:

    Kahn-Harris is simply advocating retaining the status quo, i.e. continuing zionist domination and repression of the Palestinians.
    The same approach was advocated by the defenders of apartheid South Africa.
    Kahn-Harris’s approach will be no more successful than were the attempts by the apologists of apartheid in South Africa.
    If he is sincere about anti-racism, why is he not calling out the Likud racist laws?

  • Ian Hollingworth says:

    “We have been subsumed into white privilege” – there’s a lot to this.

    “Decouple anti-racist solidarity from political solidarity”..”anti-racism must become unconditional”.

    But unconditionality does not exist in a vacuum. “Unconditional but critical support” is the maxim I was brought up with.

  • Mike Scott says:

    I’m glad it isn’t just me who thinks this article is complete nonsense – with friends like this, who needs enemies?

    In effect, he’s saying that JVL is a large part of the problem and that we should support the right of Jews to act in a discriminatory way and deny Palestinian human rights even though we totally disagree with them! This is dangerously close to a permanent “get out of jail free” card for Zionists, allowing them to do anything they like simply because they’re Jews – the mirror image of antisemitism and just as unacceptable.

  • Dr ALAN MADDISON says:

    As a non Jewish person who has researched this topic, I find this article unhelpful in resolving the alleged ‘antisemitism problem’ in the Labour Party.

    The author fails to recognise the overwhelming evidence that, concerning the genuine fight against antisemitism, there is no justification for singling out Labour. In fact antisemitism is probably less prevalent amongst Labour members than in other political parties and wider society.

    We can’t hope to resolve this problem if we fail to identify the key drivers.

    Had the relentless and disproportionate right-wing attacks, relayed almost daily by the media, been about the small pockets of genuine antisemitism in Labour, which are indeed being managed effectively internally, they would have ceased by now.

    But they are not.

    It is clear that this antisemitism campaign against Labour is now largely motivated to stifle legitimate and constructive debate on Israel’s illegal actions and violations of Palestinian human rights, and to prevent Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister.

    No internal measures adopted by Labour will be enough for its critics, only the removal of Jeremy Corbyn (” that he must be sacrificed!!”) or his prevention in winning the next GE, will satisfy most of those behind this destructive and dishonest campaign.

    In my experience JVL focus is not on diferentiating between the good/ bad Jews, but this has been the narrative of the supporters of the pro Israel JLM and CAA who have requested the EHRC investigation.

    My fear is that, given the profiles of those involved in the EHRC investigation, more damage will be inflicted on Corbyn and Labour, free speech on the Israel – Palestine conflict will be further compromised, and attention will once more be distracted from the other 99% victims of hate crimes and the far right perpetrators.

  • Diana Neslen says:

    He seems to be saying that anti racists need to accept that zionism is part of the identity of Jews and therefore disregard those Jews who do not agree as we are a small minority and recognise that to be racist is to attack that part of the Jewish identity that is zionist.
    This is his reply to someone who asks what about Palestinians who think that zionism is racist
    I would make a distinction between Palestinians living in Palestine and neighbouring countries, and supporters of the Palestinians in UK and similar countries. The latter have anti-racist obligations towards Jews as fellow citizens in diverse societies.

    Clearly the obligation involves closing one’s eyes to the acceptance of Israeli racism by those who have constructed their identity around zionism. This is indeed a contradiction in terms.

  • Linda Edmondson says:

    I have several objections to Kahn-Harris’s piece. Firstly, he distorts the narrative about the ‘Corbynites’ and their response to antisemitic accusations, for example, by portraying Corbyn’s accusers as acting in good faith, when in fact they are opposed to everything he stands for and won’t accept that a leader of the Labour Party could possibly support Palestinians against the actions of the israeli government.

    Secondly, Kahn-Harris states that the majority of British Jews identify with Israel. I don’t see how anyone can know this. We can say that the majority of Jews affiliated to a synagogue identify with Israel, though this excludes the significant number of Haredim who don’t accept the existence of the Israeli state. But how can anyone quantify what Jews like me, entirely secular and belonging to no Jewish collective (apart from JVL), think of Israel? I don’t identify as Jewish on census forms or questionnaires, unless I am specifically asked, and neither do many of my Jewish friends. Yet our identification or the absence of it must be counted for Kahn-Harris’s statement to be valid. If I ‘identify’ with Israel at all it is as a fierce critic and anti-Zionist. In other words, I do care more about the actions of Israel towards the Palestinians than I do about other nations’ oppression of populations it has displaced and colonised (even though I am horrified by these oppressions too), simply because I am Jewish.

    Thirdly, he claims that Jewish support for Labour is dropping like a stone. There are and have been for decades many Jews in this country who have never supported Labour. There are members of my own family who vote Tory or Lib Dem and I know plenty of other British Jews whose views are distinctly right of centre. It is a sentimental delusion to claim that Jews have always supported the Labour Party. Plenty have done (and there were plenty of Jews in the Communist Party too, including my own parents before 1956), but Jewish support for left politics has never been dependable. Corbyn’s most energetic accusers in the ‘Jewish community’ are frequently conservative in outlook and politics.

    Fourthly, Kahn-Harris is being disingenuous in his criticism of Corbyn and his allies for their ‘repeated expressions of support’ for Jews and Jewish culture. Is Corbyn supposed to remain silent when being accused of antisemitism? I personally would have preferred him to be more outspoken on this matter, but it has been clear for at least the past three years that whatever he says will be twisted and turned against him. I don’t think he’s a saint and I’m sure that if he ever becomes prime minister he will make many mistakes. But his enemies (the non-Jewish ones exploiting his supposed antisemitism for their own purposes, which have nothing to do with philosemitism) are determined to destroy him and his colleagues and will use any weapon they can find to do so.

    Finally, I have no intention of ceasing to dislike and distrust fellow Jews whose actions and words I find despicable. And I don’t expect non-Jews to make allowances for obnoxious Jewish politicians such as Netanyahu or Lieberman simply because they are Jewish. His article suggests that Kahn-Harris would have all the non-Jews on the left in Britain refrain from praising or criticising Jewish politicians, even when their words and deeds are admirable or despicable. This is absurd.

  • A poem by Simon Lynn says:

    A blues for the other Jews

    Some Jews like the status quo or go with the flow
    but give me the other Jews
    dissenters, poets and revolutionaries

    So here’s to the other Jews
    who build no boundaries around their humanity

    Give me Emma Goldman against the American way,
    Osip Mandelstam sticking pins in Stalin
    and Isaac Rosenberg against the British ruling class

    Give me Primo Levi and Szmul Zygielbojm against forgetting,
    Marc Bolan when things get too serious and red
    Rosa when things are not serious enough

    Give me Erich Fromm to show us how to love

    Give me Baruch Spinoza against Jewish orthodoxy,
    Albert Einstein against the bomb,
    Jews, Gypsies and Arabs creating flamenco in the Andalucian sun

    Give me Abe Meeropol writing Strange Fruit for Billie,
    and dead in a Mississippi summer
    remember James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman

    Give me Ruth First alive and Jews against Apartheid
    Listen to the Jazz blues sound of Jewish London town, Amy Amy Amy

    So here’s to Palestinian liberation
    and to Yesh Gvul reservists who refuse to serve in the Israeli army of occupation
    (and to Ta’ayush, Gush Shalom, Bat Shalom and Anarchists Against the Wall)

    My heart goes out to a proud, despairing Walter Benjamin dying at the Spanish border
    On the cliffs above Port-Bou throw my ashes to the wind and waves

    We are internationalists or we are nothing,
    so hold up the Bund’s two fingers to Zionism
    Stand on society’s border rather than in its middle (said Michel Warschawski on trial)

    At our best we are routed cosmopolitans and planetary humanists (for Paul Gilroy)

    When I was younger I gave my father Under a Clear Blue Sky by Edward Said and he gave me From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters — m.a.d
    We have no choice but to choose differently
    So here’s to the black liberators who include us — to Audre Lorde with love
    and to the Palestinian liberators who include us — to Afif Safieh with love

    ‘There is no hierarchy of oppression’
    So tear down the wall
    Israelis face Palestinians
    naked like Allen Ginsberg

    (and to all the others)

    Simon Lynn

    Published in Jewish Socialist #68, Spring 2015

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    I salute JVL for publishing this article in that spirit of open debate on antisemitism which is so threadbare in publications like the Guardian (which instead, privileges contributions that assume Labour’s prevalent antisemitism). However, it doesnt stop the article itself being built on shoddy foundations. It shares the prevailing wisdom that a) Labout has a major and profound a/s problem which it has b) failed to deal with – and both these problems are related to Corbyn’s ascension and leadership. If you dismantle these assumptions, the rest of the article falls apart.

  • Mike Scott says:

    Well, reading all the contributions, it’s pretty clear what we think! Having lots of degrees certainly doesn’t mean you’re more likely to be right than the rest of us.

    And it’s also worth pointing out that being Jewish is only one part of our identity, not the be-all and end-all. I was recently reminded of this when reading the excellent “East End Jewish Radicals”, by William Fishman and remembering my grandad, who spent his life working for a series of appalling Jewish capitalists in various sweatshops in the east end of London. I don’t think being Jewish brought him any special favours from his employers!

  • Dr Brian Robinson says:

    Where I think most discussion of racism / antiracism is lacking is in ignoring, when not being actively hostile to, an Evolutionary Psychology perspective (a discipline much more nuanced and sympathetic to the Left than the unpleasant Sociobiology out of which it emerged, and from which it distanced itself).

    EP has advanced considerably from the days when it was often justly criticised as resorting simplistically to ‘Just So’ stories. In advance, I hope I’m forgiven for citing CG Jung, so unattractive a figure in so many ways, but he was right when he stressed, about us humans, “We are not of today or yesterday”.

    There are very good reasons for thinking that what is rightly unacceptable to us today was essential to the survival of our ancestors in their harsh, brutal, unforgiving environments. To understand this is neither to condone it nor endorse it, but simply to recognise that in the areas of social psychology, as someone once wrote, “Our modern skulls house stone-age brains”. Just as, for example, if you wanted to design a robust, trouble-free back for bipeds, you wouldn’t start where we had no alternative to starting, from our common ancestors to chimps and bonobos. Fine for quadripeds, dodgy for the rest of us. (Not to further detail any number of physical and psychological problems we’re lumbered with.)

    From a quite different perspective, there’s I think another reason why it’s simply unhelpful to yell across streets (although readily understandable why we want to do so) at unreconstructed racists and bigots, “Yah-boo, filthy scum” etc, without denying for a moment that they indeed *are* filthy scum. (Try sharing a railway carriage with a Neandertheal or a Denisovan!)

    Human beings, being animals devoid of life-directing instincts in a dangerous world, are uniquely vulnerable, and that not least because we’re blessed, some say cursed, with conscious self-awareness, and worst of all, rumbling away moideringly just beneath the surface, a knowledge of life’s finitude: something that explains much human behaviour, including the sacrifice of life to ensure (at an unconscious level) more life. Paradoxical of course.

    Surely (we say) we must be more than worms that are food for worms. Something must distinguish us from (the other) animals, and our ancestors found it long ago. It’s what we call culture in its widest meaning and forms, including religious belief, social customs, everything from high art to cookery to football matches and boxing bouts.

    We need normal, non-pathological narcissism, what we usually call self-esteem. If I believe that the world is such-and-such a way, and if in a powerful way I am what I believe and those around me believe the same thing, if that helps me to feel relatively strong and secure in a threatening world, then what happens if I meet someone, or some group, that believes something totally incompatible with my Weltanschauung? Some group with a very different culture?

    If he and they are right, say in religious belief, then I’m wrong. But we want to feel that our lives have significance in a world of meaning. And if over a relatively short time period we are confronted by others with a completely different take on the universe, that can threaten to destroy the illusions that keep us, or significant numbers of us, sane in a crazy world.

    I can respond to this threat in a number of ways. I can disparage the other, vilify him and her, smear them with falsehoods that bolster my challenged self-esteem. And if that doesn’t work, I can perhaps try to change the way they view the world (the way missionaries used to do.) And if nothing else works, I can kill them.

    I’ve taken most of this from two books by the late anthropologist Ernest Becker, “The Denial of Death” and “Escape from Evil”, as well as from the writings of the late psychotherapist, Otto Rank, who was one of Freud’s foremost disciples and assistants before he broke away with his own — largely much better — ideas.

    The answer, amongst many others, should be education in the broadest sense, including the getting hold of feelings of empathy, why does she believe as she does, why does he think this way, how can we reach them across barriers of prejudice? As Bertrand Russell once put it, “I appeal to my fellow human beings, remember your humanity, and forget the rest”.

    And beneath it all, of course, lie economics and the overall political ethos. We may or may not be innately aggressive, but there’s certainly a psychobiological basis for aggressive behaviour, and one sure way to activate and mobilise it, is through social injustice and inequality. So it’s not just EP and Rankian, existential philosophy, and although it’s probably nor Marx either, it certainly has to be fairness, justice and, in the end, realising that for all our superficial differences, we really are in the same boat. One that’s in danger of sinking fast if we don’t do something radical about it.

  • Dr Brian Robinson says:

    I should have made clear that this is how I see the Zionist / nonZionist / antiZionist controversies. Jewish Zionists get their identity, specifically their Jewish identity, sense of significance, meaning in the world through merging, as it were, with a larger whole. Non Zionist or antiZionist Jews do not, but get their cultural identities in other ways.

    The American psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton (who wrote, amongst a vast oeuvre, ‘The Nazi Doctors’ and a study of Hiroshima survivors) coined the term ‘symbolic immortality project’ to convey the idea that we deal with our half-suppressed awareness of mortality by devising symbols through which, in some sense, we go on living after our deaths.

    These symbols can be biological, directly through descendants, but also through creativity of all kinds, charitable donations, the hoarding of money to give a personal sense of power, political activity as sharing in a noble cause some way towards eternity, and so on.

    One reason Zionists feel it so personally, and get so angry about it, when Israel is criticised is simply that they can’t help feeling the criticism is of them, so identified with the country are they. Condemnation of Israel, objectively so justified, is for them subjectively and in most cases at a subconscious level, a threatened negation of their symbolic immortality project — as if not merely killing them, but annihilating their existence and all memory of it forever.

    I think it’s one reason why it’s so difficult to try to argue Zionists out of their Zionism. In that respect, it’s no different from other cases far removed from Zionism and having nothing to do with Jews. It’s a very general problem, having to do with our human awareness of finitude, what social psychologists have dubbed ‘Terror Management Theory’.

    Another reason, of course, may be some feeling that Hitler killed the Jewish God and so a new one had to be invented, hence the rise of an Israelocentric Judaism into which people may project everything they want from a personal god. (Having all the idolatrous and blasphemous characteristics that Neturei Karta and other such groups accuse it of having.) False consciousness of course, but human beings do seem to need illusions to carry them through.

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