Is the ‘Jewish Symptom’ Hereditary?



By Gilad Atzmon

As you no doubt realise, yours truly is not a biologist or a genetic expert and is not qualified to address this question.

However, an examination of the above question from a Jewish cultural perspective leads to some fascinating observations.

Jews frequently delight in associating themselves with Jewish brilliance: with the likes of Albert Einstein or Steven Spielberg. Naturally, Jews are much less enthusiastic about any association with people such as uber-criminal Bernie Madoff or serial paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Jewish tribalhood is an elastic concept.  Many Jews cling to biological determinism in the inheritance of Jewish talents but forcefully reject any biological cause in reference to any unsavory traits. Jewish folklore is wildly inconsistent in its biologist attitude toward the so called ‘Jewish traits.’

A few years ago,  American comedian Larry David produced a sophisticated and fascinating deconstruction of ‘Jewish biologism.’  In the fifth season of his TV Series, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ (2005) David tackles the subject of organ donation. Voluntarily presenting himself as the ultimate American eccentric and egotistical Jew, David is confronted with a serious dilemma. His best friend Richard Lewis (another Jewish comedian) suffers acute kidney failure. His survival is dependent on a kidney donation and, as you can predict, Larry David is a perfect match. David, who had until that point used his series to portray the definitive Jewish egotistical person of American popular culture, is reluctant to donate his kidney.

As the plot develops, David hires a private detective to discover who his real parents are and learns that he, David, was adopted. David meets his biological parents and discovers that he was not born a Jew. He was born a Christian of Scottish descent. David is very excited about his new ethnic identity and faith. Instantly, he becomes an empathetic person. His egotistic attitude disappears. He suddenly cares about others. He evolves into a sympathetic, boring, compassionate Goy. A few scenes later, David is attending Sunday services with his new ‘parents’ in their local Church. There he learns for the first time that ‘to give’ is ‘to receive.’

David doesn’t waste a second. He understands. He leaves the Church and takes the first plane to LA where he rushes to the hospital to give his kidney to his best friend. During David’s final preparation for the transplant operation, the nurse is overwhelmed by David’s devotion, kindness and conviction. Throughout this transition to Christianity, the Larry David that we see is the total opposite of the selfish Larry David we knew.

However, David’s heavenly inspired humanist metamorphosis doesn’t last long. As he is being wheeled into the operating room, already under heavy anesthetic, the private detective runs up to David. “Larry I made a mistake” he shouts, “you were not adopted.” In spite of the anesthetic, David immediately reverts to his prior self. David understands that he is a Jew. His Christian compassion evaporates instantly. His transition is inescapable: he is a Jew after all and Jews are not supposed to give their organs to others, not even to their best friends. David, who is now heavily anesthetized tries to resist, he wants to run away. But against his will, he is dragged into the theater.  He becomes a victim of his own temporary non-Jewish kindness.

Watch Larry David’s instant transition from kind Christian to Jew:

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Larry David’s message in the above episode is clear. Being a Jew is a state of mind. What seems to be David’s Jewish egotistical and narcissist collection of symptoms are neither biological nor genetic but a matter of Jewish identification. Jews, according to David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm,  are egocentric only because they identify with the ‘egocentric Jew.’

Larry David’s cultural take on the Jewish symptom received forceful support this week from The Forward. The NYC Jewish outlet brought to our attention the story of Krzysztof Gutkowski. “The Polish Hipster Who Found Out He’s Jewish-and Reclaimed Warsaw Building.”

Gutkowski was a hipster Goy until he discovered that he was a Jew, a revelation that made him instantly into a Zionist, Holocaust religion enthusiast and a well-off landlord.

“In recent years,” the Forward writes, “there has been an increasing number of stories about Polish Jews successfully reclaiming ownership of properties their families had owned before the Holocaust.” This is problematic because as the Forward admits; “to this day, some Poles are living in homes and apartments formerly owned by Jews, and they worry about the day when they may be asked to move out. This helps breed not only hostility but also anti-Semitism.” I am slightly disappointed with the Poles. One would have expected that unlike the Palestinians, Poles would look forward to being evicted by their new Jewish landlords.  The Forward reveals, “Polish media is now reporting more and more cases of assets being restored to Jews.”

Apparently Gutkowski is one of these new Jewish owners. He only discovered his Judaism a decade ago. “At the time, he was studying anthropology at the University of Warsaw and was interested in the city’s ‘alternative history.’ He was particularly drawn to the Jews who once filled the streets. When he told his mother about an article on young Poles who were rediscovering their Judaism, she took a deep breath and informed him that she was Jewish and her mother was a Holocaust survivor.”

Like Larry David who instantly transitioned into a new identity, Gutkowski was quick to buy into Jewish exceptionalism. “I was in shock, I felt like a chosen person,” he recounts.   Gutkowski searched for documents on his family at the Jewish Historical Institute, visited the Jewish cemetery of Warsaw looking for abandoned gravestones, and joined the local Jewish community.  Wealth was quick to follow. Gutkowski found that his Jewish ancestors had owned 62 Zlota Street, which has some 40 apartments and 80 tenants.

After becoming the property’s owner in 2014, Gutkowski discovered that the building is also a pilgrimage site for Holocaust tourists. Every day, hundreds of visitors fill the building’s courtyard and scramble to take pictures next to one of the last remaining remnants of the Warsaw Ghetto wall.

Was hipster Gutkowski’s transition into a tribalist determined by biology? I doubt it. It seems as if the lucky boy made a calculated choice based on identity. He doesn’t necessarily believe in God or want to study the Talmud. He clearly believes in the Holocaust and the property market.

The Forward and Haaretz (that initially published this story) were very excited by this little Jewish victory. In the Jewish universe claiming your ancestors’ property after 75 years is a kosher procedure. More so is claiming other people’s land  after 2000 years which seems to be most popular Jewish narrative ever.  Yet neither the Jewish Forward nor Haaretz nor any other Jewish institution seem to support the Palestinians’ right of return to their land, villages and cities. Apparently, within the Jewish universe, restoration is a Jews only procedure.

But there is a positive end to this ‘hipster’ tale for Jewish progressives.  Gutkowski doesn’t want to make aliyah.  “My grandmother could have left Poland and come to Israel, but she decided to stay…Today I honor her decision and feel that I also need to stay. The house (40 flats in the centre of Warsaw) is a prize for this choice,” he said.

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Author Details
Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli-born British jazz saxophonist, novelist, political activist and writer.

Atzmon's album Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003. Playing over 100 dates a year,[4] he has been called "surely the hardest-gigging man in British jazz." His albums, of which he has recorded nine to date, often explore the music of the Middle East and political themes. He has described himself as a "devoted political artist." He supports the Palestinian right of return and the one-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

His criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity, and Judaism, as well as his controversial views on The Holocaust and Jewish history have led to allegations of antisemitism from both Zionists and anti-Zionists. A profile in The Guardian in 2009 which described Atzmon as "one of London's finest saxophonists" stated: "It is Atzmon's blunt anti-Zionism rather than his music that has given him an international profile, particularly in the Arab world, where his essays are widely read."

His new book The Wandering Who? is now availble at


  1. The interesting thing is that the article does no tstate how the hipster came to be the owner. The article moans and wails how hard it is for Jews to force anyone to “gif it beck!” but it does not state how it came to pass that this hipster was (given) the property.

    If by the courts, why is it that Poles cannot claim property that was taken away from them by the communists? Rhetorical question, of course.

  2. the jewish problem is not that some jews are so bad, but that most jews are so good.

    e.g.. Gilad Atzmon.

  3. We are ALL sparks of the Creator and thus are creator beings. Visualize the world you wish to live in and you will find yourself in the act of bringing it into being.

  4. To answer the articles question. The “jewish Sympton” is only as long lasting as their control of the dollar. In time it will disappear, like everything else. Tossed out of over 70 nations. What?

    • Yep,, there is a point here,,, what Larry David and the Polish hipster portray is a deep attachment to power… Israel Shahak thought that this inclination was driven by the Talmud ,,, i am not sure,, After all i don’t think David or the Hipster are familiar with the Talmud or Judaism… it is attachment to power and a lot of it …

    • Its not just the Talmud its the whole accursed set of religions starting with that epileptic madman Abrahams attempt to slit the throat of his own son. Everything that comes after that singular demented act accepts the Jew as the vile god of Abrahams chosen people. The jew is just fulfilling his role in the scripture. He has been given the keys to the candy store so why not take all the candy? The Talmud is just a collection of teachings by various Rabbi’s and there is just as much wisdom to be found in it as bile, same goes for the Qabalah and the Midrash. It is to the jews eternal credit that he analyzes and interprets scripture unlike Christians and Muslims who seem to have an addiction to dogma. That’s why its just to easy to wind them up like little toy soldiers, which is exactly what is being done now, and set them to slaughtering each other. Good riddance and glory to the New Aeon the “Illuminati” will say when it is all over and all goes to plan, but they will soon learn the laws of Karma are unimpeachable.

    • And what of the Jew, fully aware of all this, who stood idly by counting his thirty pieces of silver (to use a Christian metaphor) for selling out the human race? That is my problem with the Jew, genetics has nothing to do with it, which is why I threatened The Rebel with lawsuit if he didn’t stop running my pieces. There are plenty of Jews out there, Gilad Atzmon and Norman Finkelstein come to mind immediately, fighting the good fight and ostracized by their own people for their troubles. I am at a loss to name a single Muslim or Christian but then again because of their addiction to dogma they have no idea…do they?

  5. This story if true denotes Jewish exceptionalism through the power Christian guilt. If the American indigonous people were afforded the same right every European, African etc. would be expelled from the USA. However, the rules of genocide are firm. This country would then be populated by about 10,000. How many USA citizens have ever met a true American Indian? Not many I wager.

    • Joetv,,, Chosenism or exceptionalism when adopted by the host nation is transformed into a lethal business as we see in Israel, NS Germany or Bolshevist Russia..This is why criticism of Jewish ID politics both Zionist and ‘anti’ is an elementary humanist approach…

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