Archive for crypto-Judaism

A Cypto-jew and the Nazi underground movment “The Believer”

Posted in Essential Reading, Media Watch with tags , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

thebeliever_lRyan Gosling stars as Danny Balint, a Nazi youth whose influential way with words and speeches has earned him high regard amongst the underground movements in New York City. He has the ability to attract the right kind of attention to get where he wants to go; if Hitler had a reincarnation, this just might be it. But something else is troubling Danny, something rather unexpected: he himself happens to be of Jewish heritage. We see it not so much in words as we do in actions: during the breaking and entering into a synagogue by his neo-Nazi group, he is hesitant to destroy. When the time comes for him to prove himself by taking the life of a Jew, he backs down. Upon meeting Carla (Summer Phoenix), the daughter of a Fascist group leader (Theresa Russell), he does not try to dissuade her from learning the Hebrew language in order to read the Talmud.

somewhere near the end of the movie Danny is asked by his yeshiva childhood friends after stating their present occupations (Rabbi, Hebrew teacher, etc.) “What about you? What are you doing? Something strange, l bet. Uh,… No, it’s kind of an underground thing. Like an artist? No.Uh, like a private business.” indicating in my opinion that he was following the natural cores of his Talmudic teachings he received as a child. Even the scene opens with a Rabbi saying the line “The TaImud teaches us…”

download and watch here or here


Religious doubt leads to violence in this slice-of-lifer that won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival — now finally making tentative steps in general release.

Jewish self-hatred is an interesting foundation for a film, if only because it’s a subject never explored by an industry still apologizing for the Holocaust. The lengths to which someone will go to redefine and prove themselves a member of the enemy circle are certainly compelling. But when the main character in question dives between extremes without a single clear definition of his motives, the strength of the narrative suffers. A double life can only work when you are aware of some of the triggers that push some semblance of reality into the character in question.

Danny’s (Ryan Gosling) Jewish schooling has apparently left him with so many doubts, that the only cure for his intellectual suffering is the impenetrable wish to kill them all. Jews run and own everything anyway, so this will be a popular new sport to reset society, right? Finish what Hitler started!

Danny is encouraged along this bastardly streak by a Fascist circle he easily, miraculously even, finds on the Internet, headed by Curtis (Billy Zane, Titanic) and Lina (Theresa Russell, Black Widow). These two folks don’t have the passionate quality that Danny has when he speaks, even though they have the intellectual capacity to back themselves in a fight, which Danny can’t. With each prank Danny pulls, they edge him towards public speaking for fundraising, while their daughter Carla (Summer Phoenix) finds ways to uncover Danny’s Judaism and sleep with him.

Danny’s brutality is acceptable because that is how we first see him. His mindset is a little hard to swallow, because an intelligent 26-year old could definitely find better pursuits, even when approaching his internal boiling point. His struggle as he is received farther into the Nazi underworld is nicely portrayed with poignant undertones. Danny’s internal battle is compulsively watchable once these theorems are digested, like taking a geometry course.

The problem becomes why he all of the sudden feels an affinity for his previous life, seemingly just by looking at Torah scrolls. It’s one thing to fake missing a gunshot because actually killing another person takes more mental preparation than you bargained for. It’s another to begin vandalizing a synagogue, only to stop in the middle of it because the Torah has been uncovered. These quick changes of behavioral pattern are rampant throughout the film, and hurt the overall quality of pain Danny is experiencing.

And, unfortunately, due to stodgy, soap opera-ish dialogue, the rest of the cast comes across as stick figures reading lines from a TelePrompTer. For all of the assumptive commentary spoken by Danny’s elders and leaders, not one of them holds an emotional link to their words that makes them believable. Maybe this is supposed to complement Danny’s rapid mood swings, but instead leaves each scene boringly predictable in terms of interaction and outcome.

The Believer is a good idea at its base. If Danny’s journey between despising and affirming his background had been better plotted, it could even be used to discuss religious questioning with those institutions that are always complaining about the apathy of the young, no matter what the denomination.

The above article can be found at: The-Believer

Transcript of the mentioned excerpt above: The TaImud teaches us… – May we peeI oranges on Shabbos? – Yes, but… ..peeI them immediateIy. – If you see a… – Is it permitted… – (many voices overIap) – Danny? Danny? – (voices continue) – Danny! Hey! Stuart. Schoenbaum. Shlomo. – Shlomo. – Danny. God! God, it’s… it’s been years. – How you doin’? How are you doin’? – l’m doing great. l’m at the rabbinic program up at JTS. JTS. What about you? What are you doing? Something strange, l bet. Uh,… No, it’s kind of an underground thing. Like an artist? No. Uh, like a private business. Hey. You remember Miriam? Yeah. Hey. Hey. She’s at Yale Law now, interning for the District Attorney. We’re getting married next spring in Jerusalem. That’s great. Maybe Danny’d like to come to the minyan for Rosh Hashanah. That’s a great idea. We’re davening with a group from the seminary. Guess who comes? Avi! You two can go at it like you used to. Danny and Avi used to argue about everything. Talmud, Torah, politics,… – ..girls. Always ended in a fist-fight. – l remember. l always won. The arguments, anyway.

The Believer script-transcript

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A Cypto-jew and the Nazi underground movment “The Believer”

Hitler a Crypto-Jew?

Posted in Etc., Media Watch with tags , , , , on March 22, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

300px-gi-jew-movie-customIsrael Today
January 02, 2007

“Hitler was a Jew who helped found Israel.” It might seem preposterous to many, but recent comments made by Mohammad-Ali Ramin, a top advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seem to indicate otherwise.

In a recent interview with an Iranian website, Ramin said that Adolph Hitler was a Jew from his mother’s side and his actions to found the State of Israel stemmed from his Jewish connections and came as a result of cooperation between him and Britain in light of their joint wishes to rid Europe of all Jews.

Ramin explained Hitler’s hate towards the Jews because his mother was a Jewish prostitute and he developed a loathing towards her and her ethnic background. “At this time he both felt disdain and connection to the Jewish faith, and this ambivalence effected his treatment of the Jews,” Ramin said.

According to Ramin, on one hand, all of his family and friends were Jewish including his lovers and his personal doctor. “On the other hand,” Ramin added, “he welcomed the expulsion and extermination of the Jews because of the rich Jews’ plans to establish a Jewish government in Palestine.”

This article can be found at:

Advisor to President Ahmadinejad claims Nazi leader was Jew who conspired with USSR and Britain to establish Jewish state

January 02, 2007

Just when you thought the Iranian leadership could stoop no further: MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) reported that a top advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed in an interview with Iranian website Baztab that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s parents were both Jewish and that Hitler himself was one of the founders of the State of Israel.

In the interview, translated by MEMRI, Mohammad-Ali Ramin, a chief aide to Ahmadinejad, told Baztab that Hitler’s paternal grandmother was a Jewish prostitute and his father even kept his Jewish name until finally changing it to Hitler when he was 40.

Ramin also claimed that the reason Hitler developed such an aversion to Judaism was because his Jewish mother was a promiscuous woman. Hitler therefore, says Ramin, tried to escape his religion.

Ramin cites a 1974 book by Hennecke Kardel titled ‘Adolf Hitler: Founder of Israel’, which alleges that Hitler strived to create a Jewish state as a result of being influenced by his Jewish relatives and his cooperation with Britain – which also wanted to drive the Jews out of Europe.

Ramin claims in the interview that Hitler both identified with his Judaism and was disgusted by it. It is these ambivalent feelings, said Ramin, that formed the basis for his treatment of Jews.

According to Ramin on the one hand Hitler’s relatives and the friends who brought him to power, as well as his mistresses and personal physician, were all Jewish.

On the other hand he welcomed the expulsion of ambitious and influential Jews from Europe to the British Mandate of Palestine.

This article can be found at:,2506,L-3347309,00.html

Hitler a Crypto-Jew?

Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers

Posted in Media Watch with tags , , , , , on March 22, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

righitUniversity Press of Kansas
May, 2002

On the murderous road to “racial purity” Hitler encountered unexpected detours, largely due to his own crazed views and inconsistent policies regarding Jewish identity. After centuries of Jewish assimilation and intermarriage in German society, he discovered that eliminating Jews from the rest of the population was more difficult than he’d anticipated. As Bryan Mark Rigg shows in this provocative new study, nowhere was that heinous process more fraught with contradiction and confusion than in the German military.

Contrary to conventional views, Rigg reveals that a startlingly large number of German military men were classified by the Nazis as Jews or “partial-Jews” (Mischlinge), in the wake of racial laws first enacted in the mid-1930s. Rigg demonstrates that the actual number was much higher than previously thought–perhaps as many as 150,000 men, including decorated veterans and high-ranking officers, even generals and admirals.
Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers the Documentary

As Rigg fully documents for the first time, a great many of these men did not even consider themselves Jewish and had embraced the military as a way of life and as devoted patriots eager to serve a revived German nation. In turn, they had been embraced by the Wehrmacht, which prior to Hitler had given little thought to the “race” of these men but which was now forced to look deeply into the ancestry of its soldiers.

The process of investigation and removal, however, was marred by a highly inconsistent application of Nazi law. Numerous “exemptions” were made in order to allow a soldier to stay within the ranks or to spare a soldier’s parent, spouse, or other relative from incarceration or far worse. (Hitler’s own signature can be found on many of these “exemption” orders.) But as the war dragged on, Nazi politics came to trump military logic, even in the face of the Wehrmacht’s growing manpower needs, closing legal loopholes and making it virtually impossible for these soldiers to escape the fate of millions of other victims of the Third Reich.

Based on a deep and wide-ranging research in archival and secondary sources, as well as extensive interviews with more than four hundred Mischlinge and their relatives, Rigg’s study breaks truly new ground in a crowded field and shows from yet another angle the extremely flawed, dishonest, demeaning, and tragic essence of Hitler’s rule. Mugshot Style Pictures of Anton Mayer righitmugshotsSide and front photographs of “half-Jew” Anton Mayer, similar to those that often accompanied a Mischling’s application for exemption. To see more photographs from the book, click here.

“Through videotaped interviews, painstaking attention to personnel files, and banal documents not normally consulted by historians, and spurred by a keen sense of personal mission, Rigg has turned up an unexplored and confounding chapter in the history of the Holocaust. The extent of his findings has surprised scholars.”–Warren Hoge, New York Times

“The revelation that Germans of Jewish blood, knowing the Nazi regime for what it was, served Hitler as uniformed members of his armed forces must come as a profound shock. It will surprise even professional historians of the Nazi years.” –John Keegan, author of The Face of Battle and The Second World War

“Startling and unexpected, Rigg’s study conclusively demonstrates the degree of flexibility in German policy toward the Mischlinge, the extent of Hitler’s involvement, and, most importantly, that not all who served in the armed forces were anti-Semitic, even as their service aided the killing process.”–Michael Berenbaum, author of The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust

“Rigg’s extensive knowledge and the preliminary conclusions drawn from his research impressed me greatly. I firmly believe that his in-depth treatment of the subject of German soldiers of Jewish descent in the Wehrmacht will lead to new perspectives on this portion of 20th century German military history.”–Helmut Schmidt, Former Chancellor of Germany

“An impressively researched work with important implications for hotly debated questions. Rigg tells some exquisitely poignant stories of individual human experiences that complicate our picture of state and society in the Third Reich.”–Nathan A. Stoltzfus, Florida State University, author of Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany

“An impressive work filled with interesting stories. . . . By helping us better understand Nazi racial policy at the margins–i.e., its impact on certain members of the German military–Rigg’s study clarifies the central problems of Nazi Jewish policies overall.”–Norman Naimark, Stanford University, author of Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe

“An illuminating and provocative study that merits a wide readership and is sure to be much discussed.”–Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado College, author of Tannenberg: Clash of Empires

“An outstanding job of research and analysis. Rigg’s book will add a great deal to our understanding of the German military, of the place of Jews and people of Jewish descent in the Nazi state, and of the Holocaust. It forces us to deal with the full, complex range of possible actions and reactions by individuals caught up in the Nazi system.”–Geoffrey P. Megargee, author of Inside Hitler’s High Command

“With the skill of a master detective, Bryan Rigg reveals the surprising and largely unknown story of Germans of Jewish origins in the Nazi military. His work contributes to our understanding of the complexity of faith and identity in the Third Reich.”–Paula E. Hyman, Yale University, author of Gender and Assimilation in Modern Jewish History and The Jews of Modern France

“A major piece of scholarship which traces the peculiar twists and turns of Nazi racial policy toward men in the Wehrmacht, often in the highest ranks, who had partly Jewish backgrounds. Rigg has uncovered personal stories and private archives which literally nobody knew existed. His book will be an important contribution to German history.”–Jonathan Steinberg, University of Pennsylvania, author of All or Nothing: The Axis and the Holocaust 1941-1943

“An original, groundbreaking, and significant contribution to the history of the Wehrmacht and Nazi Germany.”–James S. Corum, School of Advanced Air Power Studies, author of The Roots of Blitzkrieg and The Luftwaffe

“Rigg’s work has discovered new academic territory.”–Manfred Messerschmidt, Freiburg University, author of Die Wehrmacht im NS-Staat (The Wehrmacht in the Nazi State)

“Rigg’s bracing and unintimidated study lays bare the contradiction, confusion and expedience that governed Mischlinge policy and the maiming cost to those whose lives were burdened by anxiety, guilt and collusion. In the end we must be grateful for his book, a penetrating light cast on some of the murkier corners of the human psyche.”–Michael Skakun, Aufbau

“Rigg has opened brand new territory for historians and students of war, offering new insight into the Nazi mentality on race.”–World War II Magazine

“Rigg has done a very significant piece of historical research and writing.”–Milt Rosenberg, WGN Radio, Chicago

“Rigg has written a truly important history. It is original, it has outstanding scholarship, and there is plenty of it!”–James F. Tent, author of In the Shadow of the Holocaust: Nazi Persecution of Jewish-Christian Germans

“A brilliant and extremely disturbing work of masterful historical research. A must read for everyone. It raises more moral dilemmas than one can answer.”–Steve Pieczenik, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and co-creator of the best selling novels and TV series OP-Center and Net Force

BRYAN MARK RIGG received his B.A. with honors in history from Yale University in 1996. Yale awarded him the Henry Fellowship for graduate study at Cambridge University, where he received his M.A. in 1997 and Ph.D. in 2002. Currently Professor of History at American Military University, he has served as a volunteer in the Israeli Army and as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. His research for this book has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and London Daily Telegraph. For more information on Bryan Rigg, view his web site at

The above article can be found at:

The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military

On the murderous road to “racial purity” Hitler encountered unexpected detours, largely due to his own crazed views and inconsistent policies regarding Jewish identity. After centuries of Jewish assimilation and intermarriage in German society, he discovered that eliminating Jews from the rest of the population was more difficult than he’d anticipated. As Bryan Mark Rigg shows in this provocative new study, nowhere was that heinous process more fraught with contradiction and confusion than in the German military.

Contrary to conventional views, reveals that a startlingly large number of German military men were classified by the Nazis as Jews or “partial-Jews” (Mischlinge), in the wake of racial laws first enacted in the mid-1930s. Rigg demonstrates that the actual number was much higher than previously thought–perhaps as many as 150,000 men, including decorated veterans and high-ranking officers, even generals and admirals.

Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers the Documentary

Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers

Portrait of a Crypto-Jew — I.F. Stone, a.k.a. Isador Feinstein

Posted in Outing Liars with tags , , , , on November 28, 2008 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

if_stone-customCelebrated American journalist I.F. Stone, who died in 1989, is best remembered for his “‘journalistic integrity” and supposed willingness to speak truth to power. Yet few of his readers ever realized he was a committed Zionist Jew — real name Isador Feinstein — as can be seen in this 2006 book review by Christopher Hitchens.“Because so many bonds attach me to Israel, I am ready to condone preventive war; I rejoiced when my side won,” the talentless Hitchens quotes Stone as saying about Israel’s martial victories.

The phenomenon of crypto-Judaism, by which Jews adopt gentile names and downplay their origins, is hardly new. But in the case of Stone — or Feinstein, rather — one has to ask: what do these people — so often prominent journalists and influential opinion-makers — have to hide?

Hitchens is a paid spokesman for the Zionist establishment and a piss-poor writer to boot. Nevertheless, his 2006 review of an I.F. Stone autobiography — originally published in Vanity Fair magazine (below) — blatantly alludes to the prize-winning reporter’s crypto-Judaism.

The review also touches on the following points, worthy of note: Stone’s blatant anti-gentile assumptions (“twice as dense as the normal gentile”); his contempt for the anti-Communist Joseph McCarthy and the notion of “loyalty oaths”; his seeming sympathy for the (Jewish-run) Soviet Union; and his support for US intervention in the Second World War.

The complete text of Hitchens’ review follows:
I. F. Stone’s Mighty Pen
By Christopher Hitchens

Reading a new biography of the fiercely independent and incorruptible I. F. “Izzy” Stone, the author recalls how, with a one-man kitchen-table weekly, the late great reporter blazed the way for a generation of bloggers, became a legend Washington journalists still worship, and set a standard few can meet.

Vanity Fair
September 1, 2006

Hearing aid, notebook, and Coke-bottle glasses, was squinting and cupping his hand at the G.O.P.’s Nixonian cheerfest in Miami Beach in 1968:

“It was hard to listen to Goldwater and realize that a man could be half Jewish and yet sometimes appear to be twice as dense as the normal gentile. As for Agnew, even at a convention where every speech seemed to outdo the other in wholesome clichés and delicious anticlimaxes, his speech putting Nixon into nomination topped all the rest. If the race that produced Isaiah is down to Goldwater and the race that produced Pericles is down to Agnew, the time has come to give the country back to the WASPs.”

This could have been H. L. Mencken or Murray Kempton on his best day, but it was written by the great Isador Feinstein, always called “Izzy” but in 1937 amending his byline to I. F. Stone. This unusual American humanist didn’t really believe in “race” at all, could easily have quoted at length from both Isaiah and Pericles, sometimes in the original, and, as you readily see, could in a wry way make you laugh. He could also make you weep:

“Since every man is a microcosm, in whose heart may be read all that sends armies marching, I must admit I am no better. Because so many bonds attach me to Israel, I am ready to condone preventive war; I rejoiced when my side won. Though I preach international understanding and support for the UN, I found all the excuses for Israel that warring nationalisms always find to excuse breaches of peace … And this is how it always is and how it starts, and I offer the mote in my own eye.”

There’s always something faintly but definitely phony, to my ear, in the praise of one journalist for another. Our craft saturates itself in testimonial dinners, awards, and — when the career is over — lavish obituaries. “Superb professional”; “Wrote like a dream”; “Unforgettable colleague”; “Fearless on dateline and deadline.” The speeches or articles are customarily laced with pseudo-modest anecdotes about that time when he/she and I pulled that terrific scoop. What do the readers make of this self-regard?

When I. F. Stone was finally offered a dinner in his honor, at the National Press Club in Washington in 1981, he told the organizers that (a) he had resigned from the joint in 1941 in protest of its refusal to allow him to entertain a black guest; (b) he had not at the time been able to collect the mere 25 signatures necessary to support his protest; and (c) he would not attend unless or until the club’s committee found that insulted black guest and invited him back. (The man, William H. Hastie, later a judge, turned out to have become the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands.) With these conditions fulfilled, Stone upped his demands and insisted that a Palestinian Arab, Edward Said, be invited to the top table as well.

These days, practically everybody in the journo racket in Washington, D.C. wishes they had been, or wishes to be, or in extreme cases believes they actually are, I. F. Stone. But it was not always thus. Richard Dudman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recalls inviting Izzy to a dinner party in 1954 and being taken aside in his own kitchen by an outraged guest who worked for the U.S. Information Agency. “How could you invite me to your house with I. F. Stone? I could lose my job!” Stone himself was impervious to all such career anxiety, because by launching a kitchen-table one-man sheet called I. F. Stone’s Weekly he had declared independence and blasted the way that is now too easily followed by a throng of self-publishers and blog artists.

all_governments_lie_265x400 Myra MacPherson’s lovely biography of the man, “All Governments Lie! The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I. F. Stone,” is ideally timed for the moment when reporters in Washington are once again rightly (and too late) flailing themselves, either for being spoon-fed information by the White House and the Defense Department or for swallowing the alternative pabulum put out by the CIA. When I moved to Washington, in 1982, to do the job he’d once done for The Nation, Mr. Stone helped give a reception for me — I’m no pack rat or hero-worshipper, but I still keep the spare invitation cards — and gave me some terse advice: Don’t go to briefings. Don’t have lunch with people in power. Go and read the original transcripts and papers, because the government doesn’t always lie to itself. And take a few minutes to read The Washington Post, because “it’s a great paper. You never know on what page you will find a page-one story.” Despising journalistic sycophancy, he noted of Theodore White’s moist “Camelot” prose that “a man who can be so universally admiring need never lunch alone.”

By these means, Izzy kept himself honest and tried to set an example. And, because he was right about Indochina and the FBI and the civil-rights movement, many people assume that there was a natural match between his integrity and his prescience. But in point of fact and interpretation, he was naïve about the Soviet Union for most of his life (dying just as it was about to do so itself, in 1989), mistaken about the Korean War, simplistic about both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and unable to see the diminishing returns of the New Deal tradition. This does not matter. Izzy could be as interesting when he was “wrong” as when he was “right.”

My second-favorite anecdote about him, after the National Press Club story, is this. He had expressed endless contempt for Senator Joseph McCarthy, and for all the wicked rubbish about “loyalty oaths” and the rest of the 1950s inquisition. Some little time after McCarthy was censured by the Senate and fell into disgrace and eclipse and alcoholism and dereliction, Izzy was up on the Hill, demanding a fresh tranche of paper from the Congressional printing office. He was astonished to be approached by the tramp-like figure of the once terrifying McCarthy, who continued to haunt the halls. “He put out his hand and I refused it and turned my back,” Stone told me. “I later felt really lousy and I still do. He was powerless and a bum, and even when he’d been powerful he had let me alone.”

Izzy’s last book was The Trial of Socrates, for the writing of which he taught himself ancient Greek. He was determined to discover how a democracy had sentenced its greatest dissident to death. I won’t try to summarize the argument, but I hope you know that Socrates believed that he himself had a daemon or daimonion: an inner critic and voice that warned him when he was being unfair or dishonest or proud. Izzy had his own daemon. Cranky — and even nasty — as he could be, he always tried to make restitution. On the few occasions when he was on the winning side, he distrusted himself. He joined the Socialist Party, as he put it, only “when everyone else was leaving.” Having fought for the right of everyone else to have a passport without being asked dumb questions by the State Department, he was furious at himself for signing a denial of Communist Party membership in order to be allowed on a reporting trip overseas in 1956. Finally facing the facts about Stalinism in the same year, he wrote: “I hate the morass into which one wanders when one begins to withhold the truth because the consequences might be bad.” Later in that same year, he wrote the mea culpa about Zionism that I excerpted above. His internal moral compass meant much more to him than any allegiance, or any piece of triumphal muckraking.

To say that he occasionally disliked or suspected himself is not at all to accuse him of self-hatred, let alone of that self-hatred that is sometimes suspected in Jews. Name change or no name change, he was invariably and affirmatively a Jew, and in my opinion would have gotten off the Soviet fellow-traveling train many years before he did had not the USSR falsely claimed to have outlawed anti-Semitism. But when he wrote his book “Underground to Palestine,” celebrating the birth of Israel, and was offered a vast publicity budget if he would take out the part where he recommended a bi-national state, he stoutly refused. For these and other reasons, I am utterly sure that the recent allegation from the crackpot, Ann Coulterish right, of his having been on the KGB payroll, is false. Myra MacPherson rips the “evidence” of these people to shreds, but I would simply say that here was a man who was not interested in being bought or sold. (I have to admit, though, that I can’t quite see why a man who wouldn’t lunch with a Pentagon official would deign to break bread with a Soviet Embassy goon. Probably it was just because he wasn’t supposed to.)

MacPherson makes the slightly glib assumption — as do the editors of the excellent companion volume, The Best of I. F. Stone — that, if he were around today, Izzy would be as staunchly anti-war and anti-Bush as she is. Having known him a bit, I am not so absolutely sure. That he would have found the president excruciating is a certainty. But he had a real horror of sadistic dictators, and would not have confused Slobodan Milosevic or Saddam Hussein with the Vietcong. He would have been appalled by the disclosure that CNN had soft-pedaled what it knew about Saddam’s regime in order to keep its access to the Iraqi Ministry of “Information.” Nor would he have regarded the forces of al-Qaeda as misguided spokesmen of liberation theology: he could scent anti-Semitic bigotry from miles away. Most important of all, he was very ready to quarrel with the left about isolationism. Defending the Spanish Republic in 1937, he wrote:

“If it were possible to insulate the United States from the world, to retire into our shell, to plow our fields and write our books and raise our children untouched by quarrels across the sea.… I would be for isolationist neutrality legislation.… But I do not believe insulation and isolation possible.… Must we play nursemaid to the world? I am afraid so.”

At a time when most of his friends were opposed to any American “entanglement” in the Second World War, he was a strong advocate of aid to Britain, and at a time when the left was generally hostile after the war, he supported Truman’s Marshall aid program. To Izzy, the consummate internationalist, the distinction between “over there” and “over here” was mainly imaginary. Finally, I think he would have waited for some more documents to surface, and helped unearth them himself, before making any conclusive judgments about weapons programs or terror connections in Iraq. His analysis of the Roosevelt administration’s shameful cover-up of the Pearl Harbor catastrophe remains a masterpiece of lucidity, exposing the government’s incompetence and dishonesty so comprehensively as to leave no room for conspiratorial speculation.

imagesj-f-stone-smallHowever, it is an absolute moral certainty that he would have repudiated any official pretext for bullying or invigilating American citizens in wartime. One of his most excoriating scoops was printed — not without great trepidation on the part of the editor — mid-war in The Nation, in July 1943. It exposed the secret FBI guidelines for spotting subversive tendencies among government workers. The bureau’s official list of questions to ask about a suspect ran, in part: “Does he mix with Negroes? Does he seem to have too many Jewish friends? Does his face light up when the Red Army is mentioned? Is he always criticizing Vichy France? Does he buy out-of-town newspapers? Do you think he is excessive in opposing fascism or Nazism?” (The Vichy question is, I think, the gem of that little collection.) This seemed like no way to fight a war against Hitler, but for exposing it, and for declining to identify his inside source even to his editor, Stone earned himself constant surveillance from an already hostile FBI until the foul racist and pervert J. Edgar Hoover finally turned into carrion on a full-time basis in 1972.

I possess a fairly full set of I. F. Stone’s Weekly, as well as all his books and several anthologies of his essays, and rereading them lately has made me morose as well as exhilarated. Some of the old battles now seem prehistoric: as it happens, Izzy never believed that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were innocent, and as it happens he was as right about that as he was wrong about the Hitler-Stalin pact. I recognized my own middle age in his confession of angst about the writer’s life: “The perpetual gap between what one would have liked to get down on paper and what finally did get itself written and printed, the constant feeling of inadequacy.” I also moaned with shame at the current state of the profession. Even the slightest piece written by Izzy was composed with a decent respect for the King’s English and usually contained at least one apt allusion to the literature and poetry and history that undergirded it: an allusion that he would expect his readers to recognize. Who now dares to do that? Who would now dare to say, as he did as an excited eyewitness, that there was still something “saccharine” about Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” oration? The rule of saccharine rhetoric and bland prose is now near absolute, and one could almost envy Izzy the sad deafness and myopia that allowed him to tune out the constant bawling from electronic media. I once had the honor of being the I. F. Stone fellow at Berkeley (where his old typewriter is enclosed in a glass case: probably the most hagiography he could have stood), and I told my students to read him and reread him to get an idea of the relationship between clean and muscular prose and moral and intellectual honesty. Perhaps I could invite you to do the same, if only to get an idea of what we have so casually decided to do without.
This article can be found at:

Portrait of a Crypto-Jew — I.F. Stone, a.k.a. Isador Feinstein

Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero

Posted in Media Watch with tags , , , , , on September 25, 2008 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

The Jewish Daily Forward
March 19, 2008

The history of comics has been big recently, and there’ve been a number of books and articles about it. Because so many Jews were there at the creation of both the comic book and the great superheroes who served as the main attraction, you have to ask the obvious question: What, if anything, does it mean that the industry was so heavily populated by Jews?

Your answer to this will depend on what you think “comic books” really do. In “Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics and the Creation of the Superhero,” Danny Fingeroth seems to assume that the most important comics tell tales of superheroes. He is mostly interested in what he calls “The Golden Age” — from 1938 until the end of the Second World War — when caped crusaders and men of steel patrolled the streets of Gotham City and the skies of Metropolis. Fingeroth, a former comics editor at Marvel, also gives due attention to the “Silver Age” of the 1960s and beyond — the heyday of oddball heroes, like Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four. Unfortunately, the narrative he constructs leads him to breeze over what happened to the comics between the golden and the silver ages, to the fact that after the war, comic book buyers got bored with the squeaky-clean defenders of the innocent. They were more interested in Wonder Woman’s breasts.

As David Hajdu points out in “The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America,” overt sex sold, horror reigned and the villains stole the stage from the superheroes. Magazines suddenly sported racy titles, like “Crime SuspenStories,” “My Secret Life” and “The Crypt of Terror.” These, too, were created by Jews. As far as Hajdu is concerned, you need to look at the whole industry — at both “Superman” and “The Crypt of Terror” — to understand what the comics mean. Hajdu demonstrates that the comics’ particular meanings and their particular forms of Jewishness cannot be divorced from their specific — and distinct — histories.

Fingeroth admits that it’s “hard to tell” where the comics themselves are properly Jewish. It probably is. Superman presents a relatively easy case: Jules Feiffer has argued that the Man of Steel really came “from the planet Poland,” while Gerard Jones, in his excellent 2004 book “Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book,” suggested that Superman quite literally embodies the Jewish immigrant’s dilemma (he has to pretend he fits in, while knowing that he has special, unseen and potentially unappreciated powers). The “secret” of Superman’s success also rests on the fact that his is the dilemma of every geeky and not-so-geeky kid. A hero on the inside, he’s prime bully bait on the outside. So Superman’s dual identity fits a number of important bills. DC Comics, Superman’s publisher, profited from all of them.

But what about Batman? Hardly an immigrant and definitely not Jewish. And the rest of that alliterative and hardy crew of caped and costumed heroes who bashed the bad guys all through the early 1940s? Again, hard to tell. Nevertheless, Fingeroth wants to tell. The trouble is that he has to hyperextend in order to tease out what he calls “shreds of Jewish meaning” from the superhero comics. Unfortunately, that’s all they are: shreds.

According to Fingeroth, some heroes are stand-ins for Moses, some for survivors. Because comics script writers were ambivalent about not being professionals themselves, they created heroes who were established professionals in their day jobs. (Sorry, Mom.) You get the idea. Perhaps the oddest of Fingeroth’s claims is that Captain America’s writers were particularly Jewish in that they wanted every story to be “universal.”

In “The Ten-Cent Plague,” Hajdu makes the interesting case that postwar comics were the first shot in a coming youth revolt. By the early 1950s, cities were banning comics. Prodded by their parents, kids were burning them. The Senate was investigating them. Hajdu indicates that the sex and mayhem stories that caused such a ruckus represented the flip side of the superheroes’ adventures. He suggests that we see them as expressions of a particularly Jewish — though likely unconscious — mistrust of assimilation, of its enforced conventions and unavoidable authority. So if DC’s Superman appealed to the nerd in all of us, the sleazy comics peddled by companies like EC spoke to an inchoate but increasingly independent youth culture.

This new buying public of rebels without a cause — the same kids who would turn Elvis into a superhero of a different kind — scared the daylights out of their parents. Even though there was no overt proof, psychologists, politicians and the chief crime fighter in the land, J. Edgar Hoover, claimed that reading comics led directly to juvenile delinquency. In 1954, psychologist Frederic Wertham published his most famous work, “Seduction of the Innocent,” which made it sound as if he wanted to protect our children from the pernicious influence of the comics. But Hajdu makes an excellent case that the anti-comics brigades wanted protection from our children. The seduced, it seems, resembled other paranoid fantasies of the Cold War: all those fifth-columnists in the State Department and the communist dupes in the schools, those invasive germs in the kitchen and the brainwashed automatons lurking in the streets.

While Hajdu explicitly refuses to draw a parallel between McCarthyism and the attacks on the comics industry, they are linked by a common fear of contagion and subversion. And, though Hajdu won’t go this far, it would be fair to guess that there was more than a touch of latent antisemitism in the comic book affair. The Catholic Church, the American Legion, towns without many Jews and towns with too many Jews all ganged up on the comics. Jewish comics editors and publishers like Bill Gaines (hopped up on amphetamines and aggression) came up before televised committees of such manifestly upright, proudly non-Jewish lawmakers as Estes Kefauver and Robert C. Hendrickson (and, as Michael Chabon shows in “Kavalier and Clay,” the Jews did not come out so well). In an era when the most famous American traitors were a pair of down-at-the-heel communist Jews, it’s hard to imagine that the great comics scare was not a sideshow in the even greater Red Scare.

Hajdu’s book winds up in the mid-1950s with the exemplary case of EC’s Mad magazine. Mad’s caustically anarchic humor — sometimes gross, and often puerile — matched up Jewish snarkiness with adolescent rebellion. It was a hit. Having incurred the anger of the powers that were, EC turned Mad into a “real” magazine, upped its price and found a different distributor. EC and Mad lived to fight another day.

In the glory days of the depression and World War II, millions of people read about Superman, Batman and the scores of other superheroes who rode in on their cape-tails. Though a lot fewer people now buy comics, Fingeroth is right to say that these heroes still saturate our culture — if mostly at the movies. In the final chapter of “The Ten-Cent Plague,” R. Crumb is quoted as saying that he never got over “Mad.” We have never gotten over Superman, either.

For better and for worse, the comics, cranky and grandiose as they frequently are, really do express the various fantasies of American Jews. What’s more — and this is absolutely critical to their success — they seem to reflect the fantasies of everyone else. Of course Jews and non-Jews sometimes dream of different things, but that might be the most important point. The comics can mean so much because they can skillfully coordinate so many dreams.

The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America
By David Hajdu
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 448 pages, $26.

David Kaufmann, cultural critic for the Forward, teaches English at George Mason University.

This article can be found at

Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero

“Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream”

Posted in Media Watch with tags , , , , , , on September 3, 2008 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

For anyone who disputes the fact that Jews run Hollywood, this obscure little documentary film is a must-see.

“Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream” is a mainstream production and therefore contains a number of exaggerations and falsehoods. It does, however, make one important concession: namely, that Hollywood — and the industry it spawned — was “largely the product of six movie studios… run for over 30 years by a group of Jewish immigrants” with “strikingly similar backgrounds.”

The 1hr/42m film goes on to explain how these studios, under exclusively Jewish ownership, spent the next several decades using their new medium to create an artificial “American Dream.” As the narrator explains in the introduction: “This is the story of the founders of Hollywood; the story of the idea that became their America — and ours.”

Quoting a host of Jewish film experts, “Hollywoodism” answers the contentious question of Jewish influence on the movie industry straight from the horse’s mouth: as Author/Historian Aljean Harmetz states: “I’m not sure that there was an ‘American Dream’ before the Jews came to Hollywood and invented it.”

Based on Neal Gabler’s best-selling book, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, the film tells the story of a small group of Jewish immigrants who transformed the technological novelty of moving pictures into the most influential art form of the twentieth century.Adolph Zukor, founder of Paramount, Carl Laemmle of Universal; Louis B. Mayer, of MGM; William Fox of 20th Century Fox, and Harry Cohn of Columbia; were all immigrants (or children of immigrants) who reinvented themselves as Americans. In the process, they transformed America.

“Modern America first saw light on a Hollywood screen,” the documentary begins. “It was largely the product of six movie studios, established in the 1920s, and run for over 30 years by a group of Jewish immigrants” with “strikingly similar backgrounds.”

The moguls — virtually all of them Jewish — included Harry Warner of Warner Bros., born in Poland; Samuel Goldwyn of MGM, also born in Poland; Carl Laemmle of Universal Pictures, born in Germany; Louie B. Meyer of MGM, born in Russia; Adolph Zukor of Paramount Pictures, born in Hungary; and William Fox of 20th Century Fox, also born in Hungary. Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures was born in New York to German-Jewish parents.

Author/Critic Neal Gabler states: “All of these men who founded Hollywood were born within a 500-mile radius of one another — and all of them wound up within 15 miles of one another in Los Angeles.”

The Jazz Singer (1927), starring Al Jolson, epitomizes in cinematic terms the conflict of the Jew in America. The elderly cantor of a synagogue on the Lower East Side of New York City assumes that his only son will follow in his footsteps and retain the orthodox traditions. But the son would prefer to be an entertainer and goes against his father’s wishes. Years pass and Jakie Rabinowitz, the cantor’s son, has become Jack Robin, a nightclub singer. The crisis comes when the elder Rabinowitz cannot sing the “Kol Nidre” on Yom Kippur and the congregation pressures the young jazz singer to fill in for his father. But Jack’s Broadway opening happens to be the same night.

As Gabler describes this situation: “Jack’s quandary is that he can bring Judaism to show business, but he cannot bring show business to Judaism Ö which is to say that Judaism cannot be reinvigorated or revitalized in America or by America. It is alien to it.”

The Jazz Singer has a happy ending. Jack’s producers allow his Broadway premier to be postponed a night so he can sing the “Kol Nidre” in the synagogue. Then, in his show business triumph, the young Jewish entertainer appears in blackface, “one minority disguised within another,” singing “Mammy” to his mother seated in the enthusiastic audience. The son of the immigrant gets the best of two worlds.

The film explains how, in the late 19th century, these men immigrated to the USA from Eastern Europe, where Jewish populations allegedly faced persecution at the hands of the Russian czar. No doubt exaggerating the extent of Jewish suffering, the narrator explains how, “without warning, death could come crashing down on the defenseless schtetls, reminding the Jews that, as a people, they were permanent outsiders — vulnerable and powerless.”

The future founders of Hollywood came to America with little money, “but they brought with them a new vision of America,” the narrator states. “Hollywood was a dream, dreamt by Jews fleeing a nightmare.”

In 1912, after a brief stint in New York (where, according to the film, the movie business was “monopolized” by bad-guy Thomas Edison), this small band of determined Jews set up shop in California, where they met with instant success. By 1920, they had established their own film studios and began producing hundreds of movies every year.

Interestingly, “Hollywoodism” — while stating that the moguls first came to America “with little money and few belongings” — does not explain how these monumental business ventures were initially financed.

[The 800lb. Gorilla poses this thought: perhaps the six studios, all set up simultaneously by Jews of “strikingly similar backgrounds,” were all financed by the same source — i.e., Rothschild — from the very beginning. This certainly appears to have been their modus operandi in most other industries, where so-called “competitors” are actually controlled by the same forces from behind the scenes.]

By the 1920s and 1930s, “seventy-five percent of all Americans went to the movies at least once a week,” the film explains, while movie houses had become “temples of the new Hollywood religion — Jewish values made kitsch.”

“Actors became the gods and goddesses of the new American religion. And where there are new gods there must be new idols, so the studio heads began a movie guild with the lofty title of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” the film explains. “It was Meyer’s brilliant idea to create the Oscars, where the movie moguls could honor themselves by giving each other awards. In this way, they went from being a group of immigrant Jews to award-winning American producers.”

The Jewish moguls, however, did more than just establish a superficial and self-serving Hollywood cult (which has never boasted more devotees than it does today). According to sources quoted in the documentary, they also used their new medium to create an American “mass culture” based on self-gratification and consumerism — that which would later become known as the “American Dream.”

“I’m not sure that there was an ‘American Dream’ before the Jews came to Hollywood and invented it,” Author/Historian Aljean Harmetz states in the film. “What you had…was an idea of freedom, but you didn’t have what we have today, which is a popular culture that creates dreams — a dream factory.”

[For more on the transformation of America into a gratification-based society through the medium of advertising — also at the hands of a small clique of East European Jews — see Adam Curtis’ brilliant, four-part BBC documentary, “Century of the Self.”]

Film Critic Gabler states: “They created their own America — an America which is not the real America… But ultimately, this shadow America becomes so popular and so widely disseminated that its images and its values come to devour the real America.”

“The grand irony of all Hollywood is that Americans come to define themselves by the shadow America that was created by Eastern European Jewish immigrants…,” Gabler adds. “One could say that the American Dream was really founded in Eastern Europe.”

“Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream” — Download it HERE

“Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream”