The Council has voted, the tribe has spoken and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.
One of the fascinating things about the blogosphere is the exchange of ideas that occurs. Someone writes something, other people respond and it leads somewhere else..sometimes with interesting results.
This week’s winner, Joshuapundit’s Why Europeans Will Never Forgive The Jews For Auschwitz is an example of how this can work. I used the phrase in an article I wrote about growing anti-semitism in France in particular and in Europe in general. In response, I got a couple of e-mail asking me whatever I meant by that and the resulting explanation became this essay. Here’s a slice:
In yesterday’s piece on the out of control rise in anti-semitic attacks in France, I referenced this essay I wrote back in 2006 on why Jews should seriously think about leaving most of Western Europe. After quoting it briefly and saying that there’s very little of it I would change today, almost 7 years later, I finished by saying that a lot of Europeans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.
That phrase caught the attention of a couple of long time readers who asked what I meant (and in one case, took issue with it).
Here’s exactly what I meant, and my explanation may perhaps be of some interest.
Simply stated, Hitler didn’t operate in a vacuum. And it wasn’t just Germans, as you find when you actually take a little time to study the Holocaust, a unique event in history for a number of reasons although to observe how it’s constantly tossed around freely at every conceivable occasion you’d never know it.
Unlike America, Europe was historically and officially anti-semitic. While we certainly had and have Jew hatred here, it was never government sanctioned, it was never de jure, legal. As a matter of fact, George Washington and most of the rest of the Founders were almost philo-semitic. Washington even made the point of sending a remarkable letter to the congregants of the Truro Synagogue in Rhode Island ( first and largest in America) telling them that ‘the children of Abraham’ would be welcome to live in America in peace as full citizens. He was telling them they need not fear the political change would result in their having to pull up stakes again.
It was different in Europe.
To give you an idea of how remarkable Washington’s letter of assurance was, in ‘enlightened’ Britain, Jews had only been allowed to live there as recently as 1656, when Oliver Cromwell readmitted them after they had been expelled from England in the 13th Century. Even then, Jews were not allowed to serve in Parliament or in government positions until much later, 1829. They weren’t legally allowed to live in Sweden until 1715, Norway until 1850, and not allowed for many years per se in Spain, Portugal, or any of their colonies in Africa or the New World after the expulsion of 1492. In places like the German states, Poland and Russia, their status was marginal and subject to the whims of whomever was in power. So George Washington’s letter was a very big deal.It defined the entire relationship between Jews and the American Republic.
A lot of Jew hatred in Europe came courtesy of the Catholic Church and Martin Luther, whose history was somewhat like Mohammed’s, believe it or not. In the beginning, Luther said a a great deal about tolerance and used the Church’s anti-semitism as a talking point against them, figuring that the Jews would come flocking in to become Lutherans and Protestants. But like Mohammed, when most of the Jews said no thank you, he became one of the most violent anti-semites in history.
When Hitler came to power, Jew hatred was an established mainstream thread in a lot of Europe. There was no secret as to what was going in Germany during the 1930′s but frankly, the people who gave a damn were in the minority…and that was by no means limited to Germans and Germany. Few countries would give German Jews visas to emigrate, unless they had influential friends or were someone like Einstein who might be useful.
That included America, by the way. Avowed Jew Haters like Father Coughlin were major public figures, the Ivy League had strict quotas on admitting Jews, and many neighborhoods, clubs and even hotels boasted covenants that barred Jews. The State Department, then as now, had a decent quotient of anti-semites and delayed and avoided issuing visas to Jews fleeing Germany even when they were available…although there were some Americans who risked quite a lot in order to do what they could, just as there were in other countries.
Britain did its bit to expand the death toll of the Holocaust by defying international law and the terms of the Palestine Mandate by closing off Palestine to all Jewish immigration in 1938, when Jews were desperately trying to flee. Needless to say, very few of them were welcome in Britain. Later, in 1944, the British stonewalled a deal Himmler offered to the allies to exchange a million Jews bound for the concentration camps for a few trucks, some soap, and some coffee.
As Hitler gained control of Europe, a number of countries reacted in surprising ways. Some countries (Finland, Denmark, Italy, Bulgaria, the Serbs) tried to save as many Jews as they could. In countries with a high incidence of long standing Jew hatred, there were some incredibly heroic and decent people, but a lot of the locals not only turned their backs while their neighbors were dragged off to the camps, in many cases ( Norway, Austria, France, Poland,the Baltic States, the Ukraine, Romania, Croatia for example) the natives were downright enthusiastic and actually helped round the Jews up and turn them over to the Nazis, even though they had a damned good idea of what was in store for them. In Poland, for example, Cardinal Glemp was actually telling the Poles that it was the Jews fault the Nazis were in Poland and that it was a good thing that the Nazis were getting rid of them.
In our non-Council category, the winner was Andrew McCarthy with Are We Still At War? submitted by Joshuapundit. It’s a trenchant examination of exactly where we are in this 12-year-old conflict that isn’t peace and somehow isn’t a war. As McCarthy shows, we remain a nation in peril…but we do not act or conduct ourselves even remotely like a nation at war. Do read it.
OK, without further ado, here are this week’s full results. Only Gay Patriot was unable to vote this week, but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty:
- *First place with 4 1/3 votes! Joshuapundit –Why Europeans Will Never Forgive The Jews For Auschwitz
- Second place*t with 1 2/3 votes – VA Right! – CPAC’s Skewed Priorities: Progressive Liberal RINO Bob McDonnell Invited – GoProud Shunned
- Second place *t* with 1 2/3 votes – The Razor- The New Scientist Admits Political Bias
- Third place *t* with 1 1/3 votes – The Noisy Room-An Islamic Coup in India – Mughalistan
- Third place *t* with 1 1/3 votes – The Political Commentator -In death, how do you measure a life?
- Fourth place with 1 vote – Rhymes With Right-HuffPo Columnist Calls For Obama Dictatorship!
- Fifth place with 2/3 vote – The Colossus of Rhodey-Question of the Day
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote – Simply Jews – Pakistan: where it’s a blasphemy to be against the blasphemy laws
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote – The Right Planet –CNN Freaks Out Over ‘Draconian’ Sequester Cuts, Like the ‘Asteroid’ Video
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote – GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD –Iwo Jima Day