Joseph Sobran: Far Worse than a Holocaust Skeptic


Joe Sobran, anti-Semite


As I’ve noted before, the death of a bigot presents a problem for obituary writers. Politeness dictates that we skimp over the misdeeds of the dead while honesty requires a fuller reckoning with the past.

Joseph Sobran, onetime National Review editor, died earlier this week. Outside the circles of the far right, Sobran was known, to the extent he’s known at all, as someone who made repeated statements about Jews that were so embarrassing that his mentor William F. Buckley had to upbraid Sobran in the pages of the magazine they both edited. Eventually, Buckley’s magazine severed its ties with Sobran over the Jewish question.

Here is how William Grimes of the New York Times dealt with the controversial aspects of Sobran’s career:

Mr. Sobran’s isolationist views on American foreign policy and Israel became increasingly extreme. He took a skeptical line on the Holocaust and said the Sept. 11 terror attacks were a result of American foreign policy in the Middle East, which he believed that a Jewish lobby directed. Not surprisingly, he spent much of his time defending himself against charges of anti-Semitism.

“Nobody has ever accused me of the slightest personal indecency to a Jew,” he said in a speech delivered at a 2002 conference of the Institute for Historical Review. “My chief offense, it appears, has been to insist that the state of Israel has been a costly and treacherous ‘ally’ to the United States. As of last Sept. 11, I should think that is undeniable. But I have yet to receive a single apology for having been correct.”

I hate to nitpick another journalist’s work, but this does seem to me to be remarkably mealy-mouthed. The fact is, Sobran did more than “take a skeptical line of the Holocaust.” Sobran, to be blunt, became a Nazi fellow-traveler. Most readers of the Times won’t know what the Institute for Historical Review is. The name is certainly benign enough. It is in fact an organization devoted to Holocaust denial and other forms of Nazi apologetics. (At a recent talk Mark Weber, director of the Institute, argued that had England made peace with Nazi Germany the result would have been “an Axis-dominated Pax Europa … [which] would have been prosperous, socially progressive, politically stable, and technologically advanced, with an extensive, continent-wide transportation and communications network, conscientious environmental policies, and a comprehensive healthcare system. At the same time, the continent would have remained ethnically and culturally European. Large scall immigration of non-Europeans would have been unthinkable.”)

Leaving aside the issue of Holocaust denial, anyone who takes the time to read Sobran’s writing will immediately notice that he shared many of the ideas of the European far right from the early 20th century, in particular the belief that Jews are an alien, nearly monolithic and subversive force whose main goal is to destroy Western Civilization. I usually avoid emotive language but there really was a Nazi thread in Sobran’s thinking (combined of course with many other arguably related threads like his defense of the Confederacy, his anti-feminism, and his belief in all sorts of conspiracy theories).

From Sobran’s essay 1999 essay “The Church and Jewish Ideology”:

In intellectual life, Jews have been brilliantly subversive of the cultures of the natives they have lived amongst. Their tendencies, especially in modern times, have been radical and nihilistic. One thinks of Marx, Freud, and many other shapers of modern thought and authors of reductionist ideologies. Even Einstein, the greatest of Jewish scientists, was, unlike Sir Isaac Newton, no mere contemplator of nature’s laws; he helped inspire the development of nuclear weapons and consistently defended the Soviet Union under Stalin.

Jews have generally supported Communism, socialism, liberalism, and secularism; the agenda of major Jewish groups is the de-Christianization of America, using a debased interpretation of the “living Constitution” as their instrument. When the Jewish side of an issue is too unpopular to prevail democratically, the legal arm of Jewry seeks to make the issue a “constitutional” one, appealing to judicial sovereignty to decide it in defiance of the voters. Overwhelming Jewish support for legal abortion illustrates that many Jews hate Christian morality more than they revere Jewish tradition itself. This fanatical antagonism causes anguish to a number of religious, conscientious, and far-sighted Jews, but they, alas, are outside the Jewish mainstream.
History is replete with the lesson that a country in which the Jews get the upper hand is in danger. Such was the experience of Europe during Jewish-led Communist revolutions in Russia, Hungary, Romania, and Germany after World War I. Christians knew that Communism — often called “Jewish Bolshevism” — would bring awful persecution with the ultimate goal of the annihilation of Christianity. While the atheistic Soviet regime made war on Christians, murdering tens of thousands of Orthodox priests, it also showed its true colors by making anti-Semitism a capital crime. Countless Jews around the world remained pro- Communist even after Stalin had purged most Jews from positions of power in the Soviet Union.

Anyone who is familiar with the ideological roots of National Socialism will understand that in this passage Sobran is echoing the major arguments of Nazi anti-Semitism. As should be clear, Sobran’s views on Jews have nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with the ideas that Jews are inherently alien and destructive wherever they live, which is the classic basis of anti-Semitism.

I understand the impulse to not speak ill of the dead and I’m told that Sobran had family and friends who loved him dearly and mourn his death. But those who don’t know the man personally have no reason to grieve or to be shy about describing him in accurate terms. He spent much of his life articulating evil ideas, which deserve to exposed and opposed as much now as when he was alive.

Post script: a friend made the point, which I agree with that I cought to have been more explicitly critical of this line in the obituary: “He took a skeptical line on the Holocaust…”

A “skeptical line on the Holocaust”: What does that mean? Scepticism is in general a good thing, a sign of a curious mind. All good scholars are to some degree sceptical of prior research, wanting to push knowledge farther. But the pose of scepticism that Sobran adopted towards the Holocaust (and for that matter towards Darwinian biology and the Shakespeare authorship question) was not truly a scholar’s scepticism: rather Sobran’s pseudo-scepticism was a persona he adopted in order to debunk the standard and accurate view of a subject and promote his own counter-narrative (that the Jews got what was coming to them because they were undermining Western civilization, that the Book of Genesis rather than Darwin offers a true account of the origins of species, that Hamlet and King Lear were written by Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford). Sobran’s “scepticism” was not the honest scepticism of a mind who wants to check the evidence of all the competing theories but rather a dishonest rhetorical stance of agnosticism, designed to befuddle the innocent into believing that things that are true should be considred as open questions. This is a standard technique among Holocaust deniers, so it’s much more accurate to call Sobran a Holocaust denier rather than accept his own account of himself as a sceptic.

61 thoughts on “Joseph Sobran: Far Worse than a Holocaust Skeptic

  1. It’s hard to tell if Heer is a moron or just a run-of-the-mill knave. Peretz of the New Republic can openly imply with impunity that Palestinians are somewhat subhuman, but Sobran is roasted for stating opinions that are factually grounded.

    Yep, Einstein helped developed the nuclear bomb. Too bad he lacked the wit to understand its implications until too late. And surely no one will dispute that American Jews tend to lean liberal in their politics and outlook, an analogue to the heavy over-representation of European Jews in various radical “isms.” So far so factual. But when did facts ever matter to witless bigots such as Heer?

    Sobran was correct about Communism and its efforts to destroy anything Christian. So what’s Heer’s beef here? That many Jews were (or are) softer on Communism and its little brother Socialism than one might expect, given their persecution by tyrannical governments? Exactly how is the description of reality an instance of bigotry?

    The effortless debunking of Heer’s acerebral rant could go on and on, but let’s take just one more example: Sobran’s “defense” of the Confederacy. Heer means to join defending the Confederacy with defending slavery, which the latter Sobran never did. He did point out Lincoln’s unconstitutional actions, the innate right of secession (which is how America got started anyway, should Heer need to brush up on his history), and the needless slaughter Lincoln brought about to preserve what had become a “divinely” ordained indissoluble Union (rather than a compact between states).

    Certainly one may disagree with Sobran on a slew of topics, but hardly ever has a writer argued so well, and in a manner so unexpectedly thoughtful as to stop one in his train of uncritical thought, as did Sobran. I learned to be anti-war from his essays, which distinguishes me from both modern conservatives and liberals. I expect nothing but brain-dumping banalities from today’s scribbling buffoons, and in Heer I’m not disappointed.

  2. Thank you, Jeet. Wm. F. Buckley’s intolerance for the intolerant, sadly, is missing from American politics and media these days.

  3. @Ross Nelson. I don’t think you can say I have double standard on these issues since I’ve strongly criticized Martin Peretz’s racism:

    If you don’t see the overlap between Sobran’s arguments and Nazi ideology, I can’t help you. Please read some histories of the early 20th century.

    And if you defend the Confederacy you are also ipso facto defending slavery. The whole reason for the Confederacy existing is slavery.

  4. Intolerance created the Holocaust. It’s everywhere (even in a comment here). Captured German war records prove that millions of innocent Jews (and tens of thousands of others) were systematically exterminated by Nazi Germany – mostly in gas chambers. These facts have been proven repeatedly through countless thesis and dissertation research papers. Virtually every PhD in the world will stake their career on these known Holocaust FACTS. Despite this knowledge, Holocaust deniers ply their mendacious poison everywhere, especially with young people on the Internet. The deniers have only one agenda – to distort the truth in a way that promotes antagonism against the object of their hatred (Jews), or to deny the culpability of their ancestors and heroes.

    Whenever we stand up to those who deny or minimize genocide we send a critical message to the world. As we continue to live in an age of genocide and ethnic cleansing, we must repel the broken ethics of our ancestors, or risk a dreadful repeat of past transgressions. A world that continues to allow genocide requires ethical remediation. We must show the world that religious, racial, ethnic and gender persecution is wrong; and that tolerance is our progeny’s only hope. Only through such efforts can we reveal the true horror of genocide and promote the triumphant spirit of humankind.

    Charles Weinblatt
    Author, Jacob’s Courage

  5. Jeet, more of an observation than a criticism, but I don’t think you have to apologize for writing a critical obit – part of the charm of reading Hitchens, Steyn, and yourself on different notables is the fact that you don’t pull any punches. You’re a thoughtful gadfly, not a hack grinding out filler: full speed ahead, and damn the torpedoes!

  6. Can I call @Ross Nelson a twerp?
    For one, Einstein did help create the bomb and knew full well the implications. Great. Of course, in context, his fear was that the Nazi’s would develop it first and so he had his motivations. The conservapedia downplays his theory of relativity too, even though GPS wouldn’t work without it.

    Second, Jews were involved in the formation of communism. True. But you must add that they were also key developers of capitalism, being the hated outcasts who were the only ones allowed to charge interest back in Medieval times and that was the start of it all. For this, jews are still hated more, even by capitalists than for communism.

    Third: Get over your categories. All the above “jews” were individuals whom you’d like to cast into a group — this is the socialist/communist/national-socialist outlook. You are owned by your group and not seen as individuals.

    And finally, Freud. Read his notes — he invented neural networks along with a now, passe form of therapy. The newer, more effective form of therapy, cognitive therapy has another jew, Albert Ellis as it’s founder. See his “Guide to Rational Living”. Might help you.

    1. Einstein, who was no Einstein when it came to extrapolating, came to regret having anything to do with the A-bomb. That rather contradicts the notion that he was solely concerned with the Germans getting it first. It seems he saw the horror of what he’d helped birth and changed his mind.

      To say we cannot speak at all in categories because we’re all individuals is nonsense. We can state of smokers that they’re more prone to lung cancer than others. We can say of serial murderers that they’re likelier to be single white men than any other single demographic. And we can certainly say that Jews were greatly overrepresented in murderous ideologies, such as Communism. If this be racism, make the most of it.

  7. You only discredited everything else you said with your standard and ridiculous leftist understanding of the Confederacy.

    Well said Ross Nelson. Anyone wishing to read perhaps one of the best two or three pieces of essay writing in the second half of the 20th century on genuine conservatism (as opposed to the phony neo variety that passes today and which unfortunately captured NR eventually) should check out Sobran’s piece “Pensees” in the New Year’s Eve ’85 issue of National Review. Phenomenally insightful writing, particularly his positing of the question, “In what kind of a society would the progressive consider himself a conservative?”

    It’s fair to describe the later Sobran as displaying unfortunate tendencies towards anti-semitism and irresponsible associations; it’s nothing but slander to call him a holocaust denier, but to be expected from a leftist.

  8. Sobran was, as Murray Rothbard said, a victim of the neocon smearbund. I thought that given the demonization job that Norman Podhoretz and Buckley did to him, he’d not do anything to make it worse, but he was a stubborn person and he chose to talk to the tax collectors and sinners at the IHR. Certainly he wasn’t a denier — I will contradict you on this point — but guilt by association is an effective rhetorical technique. As for whether association with pariahs is a serious character flaw, since I’m also an anarchist, I say that Sobran’s neoconservative political enemies are much MUCH worse people. They actually do evil in the world.

    I am glad you posted the Church and Jewish Ideology essay. I have recently seen a couple of his others that had an un-pc sentence or two but this one trespasses against taboos more thorougly. In an honest world we ought to be able to criticize Jews as much as the Church or Islam, which are demonzied to the point of banality, but maybe in the interest of protecting the Jews, the world will not be ready to relinquish the double standard for a long time. Still, a few of us can handle taboo subjects and I thought the essay was interesting and has a lot of observations worth debating.

    PS – I have read and enjoyed your commentaries on Leo Strauss in the past.

  9. I’d like to add that what got Sobran fired was not embarrasing comments about Jews. It is easy to extrapolate backward and imagine that is what happened. What got him betrayed and fired was repeated criticism of Israeli influence on US foreign policy, and a few jabs at Buckley for his shift from early conservatism to neoconservatism.

    I extrapolate forward from his NR stance to his later output. I see the later seemingly more cringeworthy items (they don’t make me cringe but I understand how they affect other people) as an expression of the betrayal and ostracism he dealt with as a result of not backing down from his earlier position.

  10. If you want a real anti-Semite (of the non-biological variety, like Sobran) check out E. Michael Jones:
    “What is the thesis that has gotten Jones in all this hot water? He says that throughout the past two thousand years, whenever there has been a major movement opposed to the Catholic Church, the Jews have tended to side with those movements, whether religious, social or political. … Now the question: why should this thesis be considered anti-Semitic? The answer: I have no idea. Are Jones’ critics claiming that the Jews have always agreed with the Catholic Church? … Jones makes a case that the Church has had to defend itself on more than one occasion from revolutionary movements in which the Jews played a part, small or large, and the Jews consequently faced the resentment of Christians afterwards. … But the really hot stuff is his discussion of the neo-conservatives. Eyebrows will go up. However, here and throughout the book, his research and analysis is comprehensive and calm. The veins never bulge from Jones’ neck; if there is Jew hatred here, it is immensely cunning. I would hope that Jones’ critics would give him a fair reading rather than continuing to arrange to have his public appearances cancelled. They’re not helping their own case – whatever that case is. It’s really hopeless when anyone who tries to discuss the Jews is instantly accused of being anti-Semitic if his conclusions point out any Jewish misbehavior.” Bradley Rothstein, Gilbert Magazine.

  11. Wait…this review is better:
    “… to the mortification of decent Jews like myself, Jews are often on the vanguard when it comes to trashing Christian mores and human dignity, and creating dysfunction whether its undermining gender and marriage or peddling promiscuity, pornography or abortion. … Organized Jewry has sought to portray man as inhabiting a mechanistic universe devoid of inherent design and meaning. In this view, God is an impotent fool who neglects His creation, and Christianity is fogbound superstition. … Organized Jewry has used our idealism to deceive us with Socialism, Communism and Zionism. But to warn Jews of this deceit now constitutes ‘anti-Semitism.’ Surely, Jewish leaders who start wars are the real anti-Semites. They create anti-Semitism to keep ordinary Jews in line. … Jones is the foremost scholar of our time and predicament. This is because he studies the masterful Masonic-Jewish takeover of Western civilization now almost complete. … For a complete history of the New World Order from its inception over 2000 years ago, I recommend The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit.” Henry Makow, Ph.D.,

  12. @ICR. Thanks for the link. Yes, Jones offers a parallel example of an anti-Semite who frames history as a battle between the sacred Catholic church and un-Godly (or even anti-Godly) Jews. If that isn’t anti-Semitism, nothing is.

    @Brian. I think Israel is a side issue since there are many critics of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians who don’t share in Sobran’s framing of history as an epic battle between the natives (Christians) and the aliens (Jews). These critics of Israeli policy include many Jews (Chomsky, Finkelstein, Weiss) as well as people like me (non-Jews who are opposed to anti-Semitism).

    For the same reason, I think the neo-cons are a side issue. Very few people have been as critical of the neo-cons as I have, but, again, that doesn’t prevent me from disagreeing with Sobran’s view of history.

    The core issue is, as I said above, Sobran’s repeatedly stated view that Jews are an alien, nearly monolithic and subversive force whose main goal is to destroy Western Civilization. This belief made Sobran something worse than a Holocaust skeptic or denier. It made him a Nazi apologist.

    Sobran’s writings on the Holocaust try to shift away from the historical issue of what happened by making the shifty argument that most of us don’t have the historical expertise to know. That in and of itself is a form a Nazi apologetics, whether we want to call it Holocaust denial or not.

  13. Jeet Heer, if that qualifies as “anti-semitism”, then anti-semitism must objectively be a very healthy thing.

    In reality, such a position is simply NON-semitism. Men such as Sobran and Jones hold a position that; “we are ethnic-Europeans, we are Catholics, we are going to seek out and support our own group interests”. Jews do exactly the same thing for their own ethno-religious group, but in a much better organised and hawkish way. So how does this make us anti-semites, but not you, anti-gentilites?

    Sobran isn’t arguing, “march the Jews into the gas chambers” or even “strip them of their civil rights”, his position was simply that his country should not be used as a Zionist play-toy and its foreign policy defined by the interests of a foreign nation thousands of miles away. But rather it should be used in the interests of the majority.

    Its undeniable that many if not most Jews are hostile to Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. We’re not all so stupid , some of us have noticed this. I am a goyim, between my legs are these things called balls; why should I let you put them under your kippah, just because I want to seek out the socio-economic prosperity and self-determination of my own people and partipate in the Catholic religion without compromising to any largely Jewish-initated fronts (abortionism, feminism, gay lobbyism, cultural Marxism, etc)?

    Its about time Jewish ethno-chauvinists grew up. Name-calling just doesn’t cut it any more. There is no logical reason as to why Jews should be allowed to persue their own ethno-religious interests in a ruthless and hawkish manner as possible, while we can’t at all.

  14. The Jew hates the Catholic with a special fury, because we know your ways better than anybody. We knew it in ancient times when you turned Emperor Nero against us through his wife, we knew it during the Early Middle Ages when the Jews opened the borders of Ostrogoth Hispania to let in the enslaving Mohammedan hordes, we knew it in the Late Middle Ages/Early Modern period when the Jew was given all the toleration he could ever wish for in Catholic Poland only to turn out the most demonic and radically anti-Catholic theology in world history, we knew it when Bela Kun and the Lenin Boys were mowing down the Catholics in Hungary, we knew it when the NKVD and Milton Wolff at the head of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade were raping the nuns and burning the priests during the Spanish Civil War. We knew you then and we know you now.

  15. Is it possible to narrate a history of ideas, along with the ethnic/cultural identity of those who espoused them, without being “anti-Semitic”?

    This is not a rhetorical question. I would enjoy hearing your response.

  16. @ Unapologetic Catholic. I rest my case.
    @ Justin. The answer to your question is yes. The vast majority of history of ideas discuss the ethnic/cultural identity of intellectuals and only a few of these books are anti-Semitic. The ones that are anti-Semitic are so not because they discuss the fact that Marx, Freud or Einstein is Jewish but because they see Jewishness as being an inherently alien condition and the Jews as the perpetual enemy of decent people. See the post by Unapologetic Catholic for an example.

    1. Hmmm . . . are you saying, then, that the Talmud and the teaching of the Rebbes over the ages has been one that has encouraged Jews to tolerate and mix with non-Jews? Are you saying the Jews have been exiled by the goyim rather than being kept in the ghetto by the Talmud? Give Princeton Professor of Judiac Studies Peter Schafer’s new book a read, “Jesus in the Talmud.” I think you’ll find it interesting, especially Chapter 6 —

  17. No surprise that Jeet dodged answering the question, because it is impossible to do so without appearing as a hypocritical bigot. Apparently there are two basic kinds of people (if we are so bold to give the goyim a role above mere animals) according to Jeet;

    *Good Jews, ie – racial supremacists Jews awaiting their false messiah the Anti-Christ, whom they hold will give them sovereignty of the entire material earth and all that is in it. The Jews who are currently preparing a war with Iran.

    *Anti-Semites, ie – Gentile opponets of Jewish racial supremacism, philosemites (a Jew once told me, “a philosemite is an antisemite who respects Jews”!) and self-loathing Jews (dissidents who balk at th whole chauvinistic destruction of all other cultures thing).

    If these are the battle lines, then Anti-Semites of the world unite!

  18. Thanks for posting the excerpt from Sobran’s “The Church and Jewish Ideology.” Every single word of it is devastatingly accurate. Of course you can’t rebut the truth… you’re just angry that the man laid it out so clearly. We need more Joe Sobrans.

  19. If merely pointing out that Joseph Sobran was historically correct in asserting disproportionate Jewish representation in Communism, liberalism and the like is Nazism fellow-traveling, then I guess by your swamp gas lights I am a Nazi. I might have thought that one would actually have to consider Jews to be inferior, or favor their mass annihilation, to be considered a Nazi or bigot, but alas, in Heer world, a dispassionate examination of theirs or any race is facially racist.

    As did Lord Acton, we may distinguish between slavery and the Confederacy. Few confederate soldiers were slave owners; they primarily fought because their homes were invaded. Slavery was an important cause of the Civil War, but then so were tariffs. Even Lincoln thought maintaining the inviolacy of the Union far more important than abolishing slavery. So I guess that makes him, Acton, and moderns like Sobran automatically racists by your dim lights.

    It really is pathetic what passes for grounds for calling others racists. Having lived in New York City and Milwaukee, I can frankly and empirically say that if you encounter a pack of nuns exiting a church at night or a bunch of young black men and consider the threat level the same, you are a complete moron. But by your reasoning (sic), I’d have to be a bigot to think this way. Pathetic.

    1. A case must be made before it may be rested. Juvenile name-calling, sputtering indignantly, making leaps in logic (criticism of Jews=gas chambers?), and copping a superior attitude on such a basis do not constitute a case for anything.

      1. Nowhere did the original author say that criticism of Jews equalled putting them in gas chambers.

        What he did say, very clearly, is that Sobran promulgated the view that Jews were an alien, subversive, and harmful element in whatever societies of which they became part.

        How else do you interpret Sobran’s statement, “History is replete with the lesson that a country in which the Jews get the upper hand is in danger.” So where might this train of thought lead? That it’s a good idea to keep Jews from immigrating to your country? That Jews ought to be subject to special restrictive laws that bars them from certain occupations or from holding office? That Jews ought to have to register their ethnicity or wear special clothing so that everybody can identify (and then presumably avoid) them?

        Exactly as the author pointed out, Sobran is saying pretty plainly that he views Jews as the enemy of good society and decent people; and, as such, that Jews are basically to be considered potentially harmful and suspect until they prove themselves otherwise. That is anti-Semitism.

  20. Re: the Jewish sympathy for Bolshevism, Communism, and Marxism:

    Yeah, there were a lot of Jews (ethnic, not so much religious) among the Bolsheviks. But let’s not forget how persecuted the Jews had been under the czars. Let’s not forget that there were 630 laws in Imperial Russia that applied only to Jews, mostly restricting what they could do and where they could go. And these were aimed at ethnic Jews, regardless of whether they really practiced Judaism. Is it any wonder, then, that many of the people wanting to overthrow the Czarist regime were Jews?

    And don’t forget that there were groups of Jews who also opposed Bolshevism. The Jewish Bund in Russia supported the overthrow of the czars but opposed the Bolsheviks coming to power.

    As far as Marx being a Jew, he was ethnically born one, but his father had him baptized and Marx’s family was trying to shed its Jewish origin. Marx himself had no love for Jews, writing an anti-Jewish tract accusing them of being money grubbers.

  21. Heer writes:

    Leaving aside the issue of Holocaust denial, anyone who takes the time to read Sobran’s writing will immediately notice that he shared many of the ideas of the European far right from the early 20th century, in particular the belief that Jews are an alien, nearly monolithic and subversive force whose main goal is to destroy Western Civilization.


    The ones that are anti-Semitic are so not because they discuss the fact that Marx, Freud or Einstein is Jewish but because they see Jewishness as being an inherently alien condition and the Jews as the perpetual enemy of decent people.

    Yours is a one-sided view, favorable toward jews and unsympathetic to those they live amongst. Inter-ethnic alienation is usually mutual, and jews are not at all shy about venting theirs. Here is a little about Freud’s alienation and jewish identity. No doubt jews would long ago have ceased to exist as a group if not for some “inherently alien condition” that causes them to self-identify as “the jews” despite pitiful images of themselves as “the perpetual enemy of decent people”.

    That particular flourish of rhetoric, by the way, is an especially melodramatic inversion of reality at this moment in history. It is Whites, not jews, who begin life guilty of “racism” and “hate” and are expected to prove our decency through selflessness and non-group-identification. We are expected to defer to everyone else, but first and foremost to jews. We are regularly lectured and hectored and libelled as a group for robbing, enslaving, and genociding others in the past, and for fantasizing about doing so now. This anti-White attitude permeates mainstream media, academia, and politics. It is telling that those who notice jews lending such a strong hand to this, and other jews abruptly disassociating themselves from being “white” to escape blame, are the ones most commonly and viciously demonized as the worst enemies of decent people, in precisely those terms.

    I’d like to see quotes from someone who has actually taken the time to read Sobran that support the assertion that he believed jews are “nearly monolithic”, or where he discussed their “main goal”. It sounds to me more like the distortions jews typically resort to in response to even mild criticism of jews.

    Are you jewish?

  22. I’m tempted to say, again, that I rest my case: or to put it another way, it would be interesting to hear from a defender of Joseph Sobran was wasn’t 1) a White nationalist 2) a believer in the idea that Jews are the eternal enemy of Christendom or 3) a fan of the Confederacy.

  23. You always know you are dealing with a semi-educated person when he dumps the Confederacy in with Neo-Nazis, anti-semites and white nationalists. Just as a beginning, you should note that the first Jew to hold a cabinet rank office in this country was Judah P. Benjamin who held two positions in the Confederate cabinet. Such uninformed bigotry puts you in the same class as Sobran at his worst.

  24. I’m not sure that the historical difference between Nazi Germany and the Confederacy are relevant here since we’re talking about the contemporary uses of these ideologies: however they might have differed in the past, in 2010 there is a strong overlap between White nationalism, neo-Confederate thinking and neo-Nazi ideology. You only need to spend a little bit of time on a neo-Nazi website to see that. For that matter, it is hardly a coincidence that Joe Sobran was both a neo-confederate and a fellow traveller of Holocaust deniers.

  25. I am a thrice published crime novelist (St. Martin’s Press) and the book I am currently working on deals with the white supremacist movement in this country. Considering the amount of research I have done, I would say that I probably know as much about contemporary white supremacist thought and action as you do. You did not make the distinction you are making now; you merely said “a fan of the Confederacy.” You did not say “a fan on neo-Confederate thinking.” If you do not want someone to point out the differences between the Southern Confederacy and Nazism, don’t link them in the first place.

  26. By the way, Brother Heer: I am in agreement with you about the reality of American imperialism as you have expressed it here:

    I have also used the Kipling quote to the same purpose.

    You just need to do a bit more research about the Southern Confederacy and the causes of the American Civil War.

  27. Jeet
    These anti-Semitic buffoons are the scum of the earth. I don’t know why you provide them a space to have their ranting read by those actually interested in informed discussion. There are plenty of web sites with names taken from Marvel’s Thor comics at which they can punch their keyboard while stroking their members.
    To those who imagine that Jews are somehow protected from attack speech in today’s society, can you imagine any other racial or religious group asked to defend ANY member, however tenuous his/her membership, from ANY period in history, who was alleged to have performed SOMETHING which the author of the attack finds offensive, no matter if such alleged activities were directly contradictory (eg Jews are money grubbers. AND commies! Jews separate themselves from our society. AND they get elected too much! Jews are overreprented in the leadership of murderous ideologies. AND urrrm… who were the Nazis again?)
    Jeet- you deserve praise for trying to engage with those of opposing viewpoints but you waste your time when you don’t see that some of those lie outside rational discussion.
    It is however, pretty fun that the same people attack you for defending Jews and for criticizing the Confederacy, and then followed up with”besides, whats the connection between racism and the Confederacy?”

  28. Brother Sachs, you are beyond doubt a gentleman and a scholar. I mean with so much documented evidence in your post. Truly you make an argument worthy of Socrates himself. And you taught college American history for how many years? Probably many more than I who only got in ten years before I became a novelist. No doubt my knowledge of the Civil War period is inferior to yours. I bow humbly before your masterful scholarship.

  29. Not at all. One of my oldest and best friends is a rabbi in Dallas. We are like brothers. It is simply that your post was little more than an invective-filled rant. If you want to attack anti-Semitism there are better ways to do it. And the Civil War was far more complicated than the Good Guys (the North) against the Bad Guys (the South).

    1. Milton, I’m not disagreeing with anything you say, nor did I have your posts in mind in my invective filled rant. There is a time for invective filled rants, and responding to anti-Semites is such a time. I do not argue your point that the Civil War was a far more complex affair than superficial cultural portrayals nowadays. I think Jeet would agree with this, though I won’t speak for him.
      I do think you were a little overly sensitive in jumping on that point when all Jeet said “there really was a Nazi thread in Sobran’s thinking (combined of course with many other arguably related threads like his defense of the Confederacy…” This is far from equating Nazism with the confederacy, and I think Jeet explains well that this throwaway line can be explained by the connection in modern thought between the various threads of modern white supremacy.
      However, if you simply cannot stand by while any point on the Confederacy is made which can be misunderstood to equate Nazism with Confederacy, then I get where you’re coming from too.
      On the other had, I find it strange that you would attack Jeet for making such a mild point, and me for using invective against anti-Semites while only asking of the anti-Semitic ranters… “Was Wolff really a murderer?”
      I guess everyone has their bugaboos.

  30. I will refer you to my earlier post in which I said: “You did not make the distinction you are making now; you merely said “a fan of the Confederacy.” You did not say “a fan on neo-Confederate thinking.” If you do not want someone to point out the differences between the Southern Confederacy and Nazism, don’t link them in the first place.”

    As for my question about Wolfe, it was honest curiosity. I do not buy into the romantic myth of the anti-fascists in the Spanish Civil War. Had the Loyalists won they would have had their purges and executions just like the Franconistas did. And in 1960 Spain would probably have been a Stalinist dictatorship not unlike Bulgaria. It was six of one and a half dozen of the other. Hemingway drew the ire of both sides because he told the truth in his book. So I was just curious about Wolfe.

  31. The American left as represented by like “The Nation” has either been strangely silent about Stalinist/Maoist murders and genocides or they have tried to gloss them over as “regrettable historical necessities.” On the other hand, the American right has been all too comfortable with the atrocities of various neo-fascist dictators in South America and the Far East. All of which is further proof that the human race is, by and large, simply no damned good.

  32. Jeet, Since you know Sobran’s work better than I do, I wonder if you notice an evolution from (occasionally) anti-Israel with a Catholic slant (the 80’s) to anti-semitic, redolent of European Old Right?(later, after being fired as a more or less direct result of Midge- Norman campaign?) Or were the latter tendencies there before, and Midge and Norman just especially prescient in sniffing them out before others sensed them? My off the cuff impression is that there is nothing Joe wrote in the 80’s that I (and maybe you) would find over the rails now, and that the descent began sometime later –when he was broke and without mainstream outlets. Intellectual history is, as you know, can be a matter of associations and jobs as much as the progression of ideas which exist in all their independent purity. But as I said, I don’t the body of work well enough to have an informed opinion.

  33. @Scott. That’s a very interesting point, deserving of an extended essay. I’ll try and see what I can say briefly.

    I’ve read virtually everything Sobran wrote for National Review and the Human Life Review from the mid-1970s till the early 1990s. While there is much there that I disagree with of course, I don’t recall anything that seemed more than even mildly anti-Semitic in these essays. In the 1970s he wrote quite favorably about neo-conservatism and indeed even wrote an essay that suggested that Norman Podhoretz would make a great President (which seems sadly ironic now on any number of levels).

    Having said that, these articles only represent a small portion of Sobran’s writing. He was also writing a regular column, which I haven’t seen although I’ve been told it was much more blatant about racial issues than his National Review writing. But even the the snippets I’ve seen of these column suggest a traditional old fashioned American anti-Semitism, comparable say to some of the off-the-record remarks of a Harry Truman or a Richard Nixon, rather than a full-fledged ideological anti-Semitism of the sort that we can see in Sobran’s writing from the last decade.

    I would also add that throughout Sobran’s writings in the 1980s he had a habit of dividing political culture into the “natives” (by which he did not mean aboriginals but rather white Christian Americans) and “aliens” (i.e. any religious or ethnic minority including Jews, blacks, gays). Now, there is an obvious sense in which Sobran was right that these sort of identity issues are the great fault line of American politics. The Republicans are the party of the white Christian plurality, the Democrats the party of minority groups. But by making an undifferentiated and blatant “nativism” (as he explicitly called it) the touchstone of his politics, Sobran started on a path that led him astray.

    So, to sum up, I don’t think the Sobran of the 1980s was the same as the man he became after in 2000 and after, a fellow traveller to Nazism. And it’s always a danger in history to read backwards into the past future developments. But some of the seeds of Sobran’s undoing were there in the 1980s, they just needed the right climate and watering to start growing.

  34. @Milton Burton. I don’t want to get side-tracked into a debate about the Confederacy or the Spanish Civil War so I’ll simply re-iterate that the historical complexity of the actual Civil War needs to be kept distinct from the ideological appropriation of this history by contemporary neo-Confederates, which is why I think it is arguably fair to link the Sobran who spoke at the Institute for Historical Review with the Sobran who painted the Civil War as a black and white affair, with the Confederacy as the good guys. (For that matter the Institute for Historical Review has also published some neo-Confederate articles along with their usual fair of Holocaust denial).

    As for the Spanish Civil War, I will simply note that their is no evidence to support the accusation made by the poster Unapologetic Catholic that Martin Wolfe was guilty of QUOTE raping the nuns and burning the priests during the Spanish Civil War UNQUOTE. On the day of judgement, I would much rather stand with Martin Wolfe than with Franco and his allies, some of whom spoke German and Italian.

  35. Heer: I will agree with most of your points, but I don’t know enough of Milton Wolff to say whether or not I would rather stand with him of Franco. I would probably prefer to stand on my own. My point was that you simply in your earlier post said supporters of the Confederacy and did not make the distinction between the original Confederacy and the illicit use to which it and its symbolism has been put by white supremacists in modern times.

    As for the Spanish Civil War, I find little to admire among the leadership of either side. I note that Wolff, like Pete Seeger, was a Young Communist, and in that time the American Communist Party toed the Stalinist line completely, something for which Seeger has offered a half-assed apology. I do not romanticize the supporters of totalitarianism whether they be on the right or the left. I believe in civil liberties for all and the rule of law.

  36. David Sachs writes:

    can you imagine any other racial or religious group asked to defend ANY member, however tenuous his/her membership, from ANY period in history, who was alleged to have performed SOMETHING which the author of the attack finds offensive, no matter if such alleged activities were directly contradictory (eg Jews are money grubbers. AND commies!

    More typically jewish distortion. Who here asked for such a defense? Can you cite someone, somewhere who has asked for this? You blame others, but it actually reflects your own sensitivity, your ethnocentrism. It is your responsibility that you feel the duty to make such a defense.

    Speaking of contradictions…why should anyone feel the need to offer any defense from viewpoints they say are ranting and irrational?

    It’s no coincidence that jews talk about “anti-semites” in the same way they imagine “anti-semites” think of jews. It’s projection. You put a person in a box labeled “anti-semite” and that entitles you to put words in their mouth, thoughts in their head, and regard them as subhuman. Jews act as if it is their distinct privilege to behave this way. Whites who do anything similar are pathologized as “racist”.

    Heer, I haven’t read more than a few snippets of Sobran’s. That’s why I asked you to substantiate the claims I quoted above. I assume you didn’t because you can’t.

    From what I can see Sobran’s “native” and “alien” categories are what sociologists call in-group and out-group. This is perfectly normal human behavior. Sobran recognized that he was not a jew and jews had no business compelling him or his group to serve jewish interests. Jews are upset that he considered them alien. The truth is that men like Sobran are just as alien to jews. In most cases it’s not even necessary to write things like Sobran did to trigger that alienation. Just look at the alienated anti-White bilge that pours out of the judaized mainstream media.

    Sobran’s problem was that jews arrogate the drawing of lines to themselves. Anyone else who tries it they label “nazi” and attack. Before jews swindled and harangued and elbowed their way into power over our media and culture White folk used to just call people like Sobran normal. Much worse than he said can and has been said about jews. That’s how in-group/out-group works. It’s obvious from the way you all talk about “anti-semites” here that you know exactly what I’m talking about.

  37. Sympathy and identification with the Confederate cause – or more generally “states rights” – naturally springs from any White desire for self-determination and self-government. To the extent people with such desires realize that today organized jewry presents the most vehement opposition to their desires, sympathy and identification with National Socialist Germany is also triggered. When White people anywhere agitate for self-determination, who’s out there in front calling them “nazis”? Jews. Why? Because White self-determination and self-government isn’t what’s jews think is what’s best for jews.

    What is difficult for anti-“anti-semites” to explain is that even non-White racialists can be found identifying with National Socialist Germany. This is “implausible”, according to Time, but it actually makes perfect sense. What makes no sense is that according to anti-“anti-semites” every group of people across space and time who have come into conflict with jews do so because the non-jews are flawed. They’re born with some irrational hatred for jews. The one common factor, jews themselves, isn’t the problem. It’s the factors that are different every time, the non-jews whoever they are, who are to blame. LOL!

    But let’s set those excuses aside. Now that Israel exists, which is to say now that jews have what myself and White folk like me want, the resolution is clear. If you don’t like uppity White people then don’t live among us. Stop pathologizing us. Stop telling us what to do. Go live among your own kind. If you don’t want to do that, why in the world should we?

  38. For those of you who don’t know, Tanstaafl is a blogger who wants a white-only ethnostate that excludes anyone with Jewish DNA. That would include his kids, because his wife’s father was a Jewish convert, IIRC. So Tanstaafl’s unreasonable hatred of Jews extends to the point of dreaming of a white-only country that would exclude his own children. Chew on that for a moment.

    Tanstaafl claimed, “To the extent people with such desires realize that today organized jewry presents the most vehement opposition to their desires, sympathy and identification with National Socialist Germany is also triggered.” Ha. I’m white and of Polish/Urkanian descent. I have trouble believing that white Poles have any “sympathy” for National Socialism. Or white UK people. Or white French people. National Socialism wasn’ t just bad for the Jews, it was bad for a lot of “pure” whites too. This is not to absolve Stalin or his fellow travelers, by the way. There was another monster. But just because Hitler opposed Stalin doesn’ t mean Hitler was the “lesser” of two evils.

  39. If Coulter truly thought that Sobran was “the world’s greatest writer” as she claimed in that article, then she really does have her headquarters firmly installed in her hindquarters.

  40. By the way: I have it on good authority that Rush Limbaugh is not human. He is, in reality, a giant, shape-shifting dung beetle from the Klingon System.

  41. This will be the last comment on this post. I will automatically delete any subsequent comment. When I wrote a critique of Joseph Sobran, I expected that I would get anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi comments, and I haven’t been disappointed. These comments reinforce the argument I made in my original post about the Nazi provenance of the ideas Sobran promulgated in the late part of his career. So I’ve allowed these anti-Semitic comments to stand, since they give a fair idea of what Sobran’s fan club is like. But I don’t think it serves any purpose to allow more anti-Semitic comments to appear on this blog, nor do I think it serves any useful purpose to argue with Holocaust deniers, since engaging them in debate creates the false impression that they are arguing in good faith and making arguments that are worthy of a rejoinder. So I hereby declare this discussion closed. Any subsequent comment on this matter will be automatically deleted.

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