…by Jonas E. Alexis and Vladislav Krasnov
“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.” Joe Sobran
Vladislav Krasnov graduated from Moscow State University with a degree in history and anthropology. He has a Master’s degree in Slavic languages and a Ph.D. in Russian literature from the University of Washington. He taught at numerous institutions, including the University of Texas (Austin), Monterey Institute of International Studies, the Hoover Institution (Stanford University), etc. He was formerly a visiting scholar at Sapporo University, Japan.
Krasnov is the author of Solzhenitsyn and Dostoevsky: A Study in the Polyphonic Novel (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1980), Soviet Defectors: The KGB Wanted List (Stanford: Hoover Institution, 1985), and Russia Beyond Communism: A Chronicle of National Rebirth (New York: Westview Press, 1991). He is the president of RAGA, Russia & America Goodwill Association.
Jonas E. Alexis: The late columnist Joseph Sobran was an American patriot because he had the moral and intellectual insight to take the Zionist ideology by the bull and strip the gangsters of their political pedestal. Sobran, unlike political prostitutes like Ann Coulter and Dinesh D’Souza, knew that he had to fight. And fighting in the culture wars means that you have to specifically and methodically name the people who are actually dragging America and much of the West into a political sinkhole. Sobran once wrote:
“Talking about American politics without mentioning the Jews is a little like talking about the NBA without mentioning the Chicago Bulls. Not that the Jews are all-powerful enough; and their power is unique in being off-limits to normal criticism even when it’s highly visible. They themselves behave as if their success were a guilty secret, and they panic, and resort to accusations, as soon as the subject is raised.
“Jewish control of the major media in the media age makes the enforced silence both paradoxical and paralyzing. Survival in public life requires that you know all about it, but never refer to it. A hypocritical etiquette forces us to pretend that the Jews are powerless victims; and if you don’t respect their victimhood, they’ll destroy you.”
This is not an anti-Semitic assertion. We know by now that Jewish scholars are saying the same thing. Sobran again wrote: “An ‘anti-semite’ in actual usage, is less often a man who hates Jews than a man certain Jews hate. The word expresses the emotional explosion that occurs in people who simply can’t bear critical discourse about a sacred topic, and who experience criticism as profanation and blasphemy.”
Sobran, a commentator on the CBS Radio and a syndicated columnist with the Los Angeles Times, was himself labeled an anti-Semite by Jewish Neoconservative Norman Podhoretz. And he was eventually fired from the National Review, which has been a Neoconservative flagship since the beginning of time. In fact, National Review, as Murray Rothbard himself argued, was a CIA front.
“James Burnham, one of the founders of National Review, worked for the [Congress for Cultural Freedom, which was established by the CIA]. He was also a former Trotskyite and a CIA agent. Also associated with the CCF was the father of neoconservatism, Irving Kristol.”
National Review, as E. Michael Jones points out, “was created to destroy isolationist conservatism. People who criticized America’s march to empire from the conservative oint of view were to be demonized and decertified. NR has shown undeviating consistency in this regard, the most recent example being David Frum’s diatribe against the paleoconservatives…”
It was no surprise that the usual suspects sent their pawn, William F. Buckley, to attack Sobran and to say weird things. By 1955, Buckley was already a CIA agent.
“Rothbard says that Buckley was directed to the CIA by Yale Professor Wilmoore Kendall, who introduced him to James Burnham, a consultant to the Office of Policy Coordination, the CIA’s covert-action wing…virtually everyone associated with the founding of National Review was either a former CIA agent or someone in the pay of the CIA. In addition to Buckley, Kendall, and Burnham, that included William Casey, who would go on to become head of the CIA.”
National Review progressively became a covert operation which sought to manipulate Catholics in America for the Neoconservatives. This became very clear during the events leading up the war in Iraq. One critique of National Review, Chris Manion, knew this. “If they [Catholics] don’t by that [weapons of mass destruction],” he said, after seeing what National Review writers were doing, “we’ll threaten to brand them with dark and subterranean and totally unprovable anti-Semitism.” This became very clear when Buckley posited the claim that some of Sobran’s columns were “contextually anti-Semitic.”
Buckley knew that this wasn’t true. In fact, when Podhoretz said that Sobran’s entire journalistic style was ontologically anti-Semitic, Buckley responded by saying that only a few of his columns were anti-Semitic. “By this I mean that if he had been talking, let us say, about the lobbying interests of the Arabs or of the Chinese, he would not have raised eyebrows as an anti-Arab or an anti-Chinese.”
Well, we are facing with a problem here, aren’t we? If it is possible to talk about Arabs or Chinese without being anti-Arabs or anti-Chinese, why can’t that principle be applied to Jewish ideologues like Podhoretz? Are Jews above criticism?
In any event, Buckley was the man who actually was working for the masters of the universe. He told Sobran to “stop antagonizing the Zionist crowd.” What probably isolated Sobran even more was his view on the so-called Holocaust. He declared:
“I am not, heaven forbid, a ‘Holocaust denier.’ I lack the scholarly competence to be one. … 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.”
Sobran also blamed the “Jewish-Zionist powers that be in the United States” for the destruction of the Middle East and the chaos in much of the West. Sobran also argued that Communism is essentially a Jewish phenomenon. For those reasons, he was a full-blown anti-Semite.
But not a single Jewish scholar and historian can refute what Sobran wrote about here. In fact, Jewish academics are bragging about how Jewish subversive movements have turned much of the West upside down. Consider for example Yuri Slezkine of the University of California.
At the very beginning of his study The Jewish Century, Slezkine writes: “The modern age is the Jewish Age, and the twentieth century, in particular, is the Jewish Century.” Slezkine has more interesting things to say: “Modernization,” he continues, “is about everyone becoming Jewish.” Similar sentiments have been echoed by Benjamin Ginsberg, J. J. Goldberg, Nathan Abrams, Josh Lambert, etc.
So, it is foolish to say that Sobran was an anti-Semite. But one person who knew Sobran personally is my dear friend and colleague Vladislav Krasnov. Here he is going to briefly assess Sobran’s project.
Attitude toward Jews
“Are you anti-Jewish?” I asked him point blank. “Goodness no,” Joe replied.
“I am aware that Jews played a prominent role in Russian revolution. I know how prominent they were in the antiwar and civil rights movement here. Many of them were pro-socialist and pro-Soviet. They never raised the issue of human rights in Russia, Eastern Europe, or China. At that time, they were anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and anti-American. They were not particularly pro-Israel.
“But I also know Jews who are as American as can be. They are not just my personal friends. They are allies in a struggle against militant Zionists who equate U.S. national interests with those of Israel. I am intellectually indebted to my Jewish friends, and I’d never turn against a Jew simply because he is a Jew.”
Joe made it clear that his case transcended his person. What he endured was indicative of a dangerous social malady — stifling all debate in favor of political shibboleths. Joe asked me if I remembered seeing how the Prime Minister of Israel was received by the joint session of Congress. I did. After the speech was over, the camera showed everybody standing up and applauding, not knowing when to stop and afraid to be the first to sit down. “Didn’t that remind you of the country from which you defected?” Joe asked.
Our conversation ranged over the period from the late 1960s to the fall of communism. We discussed the Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the ‘60s, a book written in early 1990s by Peter Collier and David Horowitz, two former editors of the New Left magazine Ramparts, in which they admitted their philosophy then was “we murdered to create.” Alas, David’s enlightenment did not last long. He became a right-winger, racist, and avowed pro-war Zionist.
In 2004, Horowitz and Collier even published the Anti-Chomsky Reader. David’s life curve was typical of many American Jews who, on the road to Damascus, switched from the anti-war radicalism of the 1960s to today’s pro-war propaganda, believing that the war now is in Israel’s best interests.
Religion and Politics
Joe and I met several more times, but eventually we each became immersed in our own daily routines. I knew that he ran as a vice presidential candidate for the U.S. Taxpayers Party (which changed its name to the Constitution Party) in 1999. However, he dropped off the ticket in most states in the spring of 2000.
Joe and I never discussed the role of religion in foreign policy. The separation of the state and religion has served this country well. Why let religion back into affairs of a state composed of people of different confessions? The Bible has already been abused by narrow-minded people, like Christian Zionists, in support of Israel’s claim to the land, including Jerusalem, on strictly religious grounds.
This approach clearly impinges on the freedom of conscience of the majority of Americans, whether religious or not. Joe certainly would not have wanted to see U.S. military adventures slide to religious wars at home and abroad.
Paul E. Gottfried, Joe’s friend and intellectual ally, wrote, “Joe’s fate did not have the consequence that the neoconservatives intended…. Joe’s outrageous reduction to a pariah generated resistance to the bullies who had gone after him…. The young admire him for having fought back, not only against the American global democratic empire but against the neoconservative commissars of the present conservative movement.” [Paul E. Gottfried, The Inspiration of Joe Sobran]
Jon Utley’s eulogy for Joe is just as forceful. As the son of Arkady Berdichevsky, a Russian Jew executed in 1938 during the mass purges of Trotskyites, Jon knows well what it meant to be smeared “anti-Soviet” for no reason but political expediency. That is why he feels special compassion for Joe, who was smeared as “anti-Semite.” [Jon Basil Utley. 2005. “Vorkuta to Perm:Russia’s Concentration-Camp Museums and My Father’s Story.” The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty, July-August]
Israel Shamir, a former Soviet dissident, immigrated to Israel in 1969 and served as an Israeli Defense Forces paratrooper in the 1973 war. Now he is a tireless champion of equal rights for the Palestinians. Lamenting Sobran’s death, he posted one of Sobran’s early articles, entitled “For Fear of the Jews.” One phrase in the article encapsulates what happened in Joe’s life and in the life of America in the past 50 years: “Zionism has infiltrated conservatism in much the same way Communism once infiltrated liberalism.”
Joe Sobran now joins the roll call of honorable people, living and dead, who were smeared as “anti-Semites”:
- Professor Albert Lindemann, for his book, Esau’s Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews
• Professors John Mearsheimer and Steve Walt, for their 2008 book, The Israeli Lobby
• Karl Marx, for his youthful idealist condemnation (too harsh, in my opinion) of “the practical religion of the Jews” as the belief that money rules the world
• John Sack, for his book, An Eye for Eye: The Untold Story of Jewish Revenge Against Germans in 1945
• Norman Finkelstein, for his 2000 book, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering
• Alexander Solzhenitsyn, for portraying Dmitry (Mordko) Bogrov, the assassin of the Russian Prime Minister and reformer Peter Stolypin, as a Jew, which he was
• Fyodor Dostoevsky, a Russian novelist, for arguing that revolutionary theories and sentiments attracted a disproportionate number of Jews and for warning, correctly, that the revolution will harm both Jews and Gentiles
• Lev Tolstoy, a prophet of nonviolence, for refusing to condone the violence of Jewish revolutionaries, even while condemning government violence
• George Steiner, a Jewish scholar, for criticizing Jewish nationalism and Israel
• Mahatma Gandhi, for converting Tolstoy’s principle of non-violence to an effective political strategy and censuring the violent foundation of the Jewish state
• Albert Einstein, for calling the founders of Israel “fascists”
• Patrick Buchanan, an adviser to President Reagan, for stating that the Republican party was taken over by the neocons
• Israel Shahak, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for being an outspoken critic of the Israeligovernment
• Shlomo Sand, a professor of history at Tel Aviv University, for his book, The Invention of the Jewish People
• Jimmy Carter, U.S. President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, for stating in his 2006 book,Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, that Israel’s control and colonization of Palestinian land have been obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement
• Cynthia McKinney, a former six-term U.S. Congresswoman, for her fight for the rights of Afro-Americans in the U.S. and of Palestinians in the Middle East.
Many others deserve to grace this list, and I apologize for its brevity and apparent randomness. It is important, though, to note that the majority of Sobran’s intellectual pals are Jewish.
I’d like to nominate Michael Joseph Sobran to be proclaimed an honorary Jew. He was right in the prophecy that the war in which we are engaged, while wreaking death and destruction in the countries for which we are self-proclaimed benefactors, would do nothing good for either Israel or the United States.
Like many Jews, he suffered persecution and ostracism, and his prophecy was wholly consistent with the Biblical tradition of a Quixotic man standing alone against the mighty rulers and their numerous sycophants. “I would much rather be in the tradition of great American cranks like Thoreau, Ambrose Bierce, Lysander Spooner, and H. L. Mencken,” Joe wrote in the preface to his Shakespeare book, “than belong to the mass of scholars who, ever mindful of tenure, promotion, grants, and that last infirmity of ignoble minds, respectability, never deviate from scholarly consensus.” Even though Joe lived and died as a faithful Catholic, I am sure he would not mind the title of honorary Jew.
I also propose to declare the words “anti-Semite” and “anti-Semitic” to be outdated, hyper-inflated, and unfit for modern use. Incompatible with his dignity, these words should be buried in a cemetery far removed from that of Joe Sobran. Or perhaps they should be cremated and literally turned to dust. Any substantive content found in this dust should be archived for the benefit of future generations.
But won’t we thus deprive English of its richness and expressiveness? As any Shakespeare scholar would vouch, we can still find ample use for such words as anti-Zionist, anti-Judaic, or Jew-hater. Only the first would partially apply to Joe Sobran. He was a person of great integrity; kind, clever, civil, and quietly courageous. He was a positive man of peace. The only “anti” he deserved was anti-extremist.
 Joe Sobran, “For Fear of the Jews,” Sobran’s, September 2002.
 Joe Sobran, “In Pursuit of Anti-Semitism,” National Review, March 16, 1992.
 See E. Michael Jones, “Manipulating Catholic Support for the War: The Black Operation Known as ‘Conservatism,’” D. Liam O’Huallachain and J. Forrest Sharpe, eds., Neo-Conned!: Just War Principles: A Condemnation of War in Iraq (Norfolk, VA: IHS Press, 2007), kindle edition.
 Michael McDonald, “Wills watching: A review of Outside Looking In: Adventures of an Observer by Garry Wills,” The New Criterion, June 2011.
 Yuri Slezkine, The Jewish Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), 1.
 See Benjamin Ginsberg, The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993); J. J. Goldberg, Jewish Power: Inside The American Jewish Establishment (New York: Basic Books, 1997); Nathan Abrams, The New Jew in Film: Exploring Jewishness and Judaism in Contemporary Cinema (Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2012); Josh Lambert, Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews, and American Culture (New York: New York University Press, 2013).
Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the new book, Kevin MacDonald’s Metaphysical Failure: A Philosophical, Historical, and Moral Critique of Evolutionary Psychology, Sociobiology, and Identity Politics. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.