John Mearsheimer responds to Jeffrey Goldberg
On Stephen Walt’s blog, John Mearsheimer responds to Jeffrey Goldberg’s accusation that “John Mearsheimer Endorses a Hitler Apologist and Holocaust Revisionist” (as noted on a lgf page).
Mearsheimer begins with a reasonable point.
Goldberg’s assault on me steers clear of criticizing Atzmon’s book, which is what I blurbed. In short, he falsely accuses me of lending support to a Holocaust denier and defender of Hitler on the basis of writings that I did not read and did not comment upon.
Fair enough. But isn’t Atzmon a “self-hating Jew”? Atzmon himself says he is. But Mearsheimer defends him on this point.
His main target, as he makes clear at the start of the book, is not with Judaism per se or with people who “happen to be of Jewish origin.” Rather, his problem is with “those who put their Jewish-ness over and above all of their other traits.”
Atzmon’s basic point is that Jews often talk in universalistic terms, but many of them think and act in particularistic terms. One might say they talk like liberals but act like nationalists. Atzmon will have none of this, which is why he labels himself a self-hating Jew. He fervently believes that Jews are not the “Chosen People” and that they should not privilege their “Jewish-ness” over their other human traits.
You see? Atzmon is not a racist. It’s the Jews that are racists which is why it’s OK to hate Jews. Hating
Jews sorry—“Jewish-ness”—is like the exact opposite of being a racist. Loving humanity requires hating everything Jewish.
For Atzmon’s part, he responds to Goldberg’s accusation that he is a Holocaust denier and Hitler apologist by saying that
since Goldberg is an ardent pro-war Zionist who openly and enthusiastically supports a Jews-only, racist, expansionist state, it is clear that he is actually the one who is an advocate of a distinctly Nazi-like ideology and practice.
I’m not sure whether Atzmon counts as a “Hitler apologist,” but if you poke around his page at the insane rense.com you will find more of the same. Thus Deborah Lipstadt’s fight against Holocaust denial prompts him to remark
how long will we let Yeshiva supremacist Ideology determine our vision of our past?
It is quite shocking to see a Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago so completely blind to Atzmon’s willingness to perpetuate a very traditional form of anti-Semitism.
Jeffrey Goldberg responds: A Mearsheimer Falsehood, and Other Reactions to Atzmon.