Post by Eli Grubman Post by Bfirstname.lastname@example.org Post by Eli Grubman
On Wed, 11 Jun 2008 22:13:09 -0700 (PDT), jgarbuz
Post by jgarbuz Post by jgarbuz Post by HHW
Yes, he did say that. Apparently the concern is that public opinion
doesn't determine Israeli policies.<
Just like everyplace else. Leaders are elected, and then do what they
can away with.
Were I Jewish and a Zionist such as you, I would probably not have
The main difference between democracy and dictatorship,
Post by jgarbuz
is that under democracy, leaders have to occasionally leave power and
make room for the next one in line. Politicians make promises to get
elected, and then break them. Unfortunately, that's the best we can
do. The alternative is either total chaos or dictatorship.
From among politicians statesmen occasionally arise. Israel's
statesmen have been few to none.<
Really? I think Abba Eban was a statesman. I think Menachem Begin was
a statesman. I think Shimon Peres is a statesman. For a tiny country,
Israel has produced many statesmen in the past, but I agree the rank
politicians have taken over.Israel absolutely does need a statesman
No, Abba Eban was the only one of the three resembling a statesman.
Begin was a terrorist and Peres is an a"h.
The jews needed to attain their financial acumen in order to survive
in a hostile world"
He didn't say why the world was "hostile" to the jew.
That's a taboo subject which can be discussed only to blame
Babylonians, Romans, Christians and Muslims. Hillel, for example will
not discuss whether anti-semitism has some of its roots in Jewish
culture, Jewish behavior.
Post by Eli Grubman Post by Bemail@example.com
"Acumen" - Shrewdness, quick to grasp.
He is also credited with coining the expression "there's no business
like shoah business."
Here is an interesting economic review of "The Holocaust Industry" by
A Review of Norman Finkelstein's
The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on
the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering
by James A. Montanye
The suffering of European Jews during the 1930s and 1940s gave rise to
a stock of moral capital that was a measure not of exceptional moral
actions by Jews as a group, but of acts committed by their Nazi
oppressors. The holocaust label evokes that suffering and those acts.
The Holocaust, distinguished by initial capitalization (a distinction
I maintain throughout this review), is an ideology that has grown up
around these interactions. The holocaust created moral capital. A
"Holocaust Industry" exploits it by making a market in the suffering
of "needy holocaust survivors."
The disadvantages of moral capital are that it is less productive than
most other forms of capital and that its value depreciates quickly as
memories fade and the public sense of guilt and compassion wanes. Its
highest value lies in its capacity to be transformed into more
enduring political (rent-seeking) capital. The transformation process
requires entrepreneurship as an input and spawns an industry that
produces entrepreneurial returns for its creators and patrons.
These points are the foundations of historian Norman Finkelstein's
slim volume, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation
of Jewish Suffering. The book complements a short list of recent works
by Jewish scholars (several of which Finkelstein critiques) that
reflect on the upturn of interest in books, movies, and television
documentaries about the holocaust and that ask (some skeptically):
"Why here, and why now?" (See, for example, Peter Novick, The
Holocaust in American Life [Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999].)
Finkelstein argues, against the grain, that this interest is "a
tribute not to Jewish suffering but to Jewish aggrandizement" (p. 8).
He documents economic exploitation by the Holocaust Industry, which he
calls an "outright extortion racket" (p. 89). He also documents the
U.S. role in facilitating the extraction of holocaust rents (which he
inexactly terms "profits"). He argues that the Holocaust Industry
would not exist without international bullying by the United States,
which is why this country is not a target of rent extraction despite
having a record on holocaust issues that is scarcely distinguishable
from that of the recently extorted Swiss.
A positive economic analysis of this aspect of postwar economic
behavior has yet to emerge. Not even the "revisionist" literature
analyzes the public economic behavior of Zionist groups and other
Jewish factions. This lacuna is puzzling. Economists have tackled
other aspects of religious organization using the positive method of
industrial organization and public choice (see, for example, Robert
Ekelund and others, Sacred Trust: The Medieval Church as an Economic
Firm [New York: Oxford University Press, 1996]). Surely the existence
of Holocaust rents has not entirely escaped the notice of economic
historians and theorists. It may be that the holocaust's enhanced
presence today represents nothing more than market maturation. But
without a positive theory with which to examine the industry's
structure, conduct, and performance, it is impossible to know.
Finkelstein's book will probably disappoint readers hoping for an
economic analysis along the lines of that by Ekelund and others.
Finkelstein uses a historical approach that is like descriptive
political economy. Accordingly, he develops no positive theories whose
implications can be tested against the anecdotal evidence he has
amassed. The result in places is a patchwork of ad hoc explanations
leading to conclusions that are not obviously superior to those he
criticizes. Nevertheless, the book is provocative and brimming with
recent historical detail. With a bit of luck, it will attract the
interest of academic economists.
The gravamen of Finkelstein's argument, which is shared by an
increasing number of Jews and others worldwide, is that "the current
campaign of the Holocaust Industry to extort money from Europe in the
name of 'needy Holocaust victims' has shrunk the moral status of
martyrdom to that of a Monte Carlo casino" (p. 8). Although such
blasphemy would normally be attacked as an anti-Semitic diatribe,
Finkelstein escapes such treatment as the son of Jewish Auschwitz
survivors. Even so, he reports being called a "garbage man," an "anti-
Zionist," and a "notorious ideological opponent of the State of
Israel" (pp. 65-66) at various times in his scholarly career. Critics
disparage his book, however, by associating it with those allegedly
anti-Semitic officials and private individuals who express agreement
with the author's brief. These sympathizers include, among others,
citizens of western European countries who see themselves as being
extorted by the Holocaust Industry, even as the Palestinian victims of
Zionism remain uncompensated for their continuing loss of life, land,
and liberty after decades of subjugation and subordination. Occasional
proposals to compensate Palestinians out of Holocaust Industry rents
wither quickly and die quietly. (Palestinians simply lack the
entrepreneurial skills to press their claims successfully.) The author
reports the fear in some quarters that Holocaust Industry activities
will provoke a dangerous wave of bona fide anti-Semitism.
Finkelstein notes that the threat of indiscriminate, ad hominem
slanders for alleged anti-Semitism has long been an effective
deterrent to the public discussion of Holocaust Industry issues, which
may help to explain the lack of a robust economic literature in this
area. A few countries (Canada, France, and Germany, for example) have
adopted laws that limit or otherwise chill public discussion. Several
U.S. states presently require "approved" holocaust studies in public
schools. The value of these public policies, from the industry's
perspective, lies in preventing uninhibited discussions that would
dissipate Holocaust rents. Holocaust Affairs offices within the White
House and the Departments of Justice and State, staunch political
support in Congress, and U.S. support at the United Nations are
further indicia of successful rent seeking by the Holocaust Industry.
Viewing history through an economic lens shows how "the Holocaust" has
become a proprietary trademark. The murder of between three and six
million Jews (industry estimates usually exceed historical estimates)
was not intrinsically unique to a century that witnessed the wholesale
slaughter of many ethnic groups, including the Nazis' systematic
killing of Gypsies, homosexuals, and physically and mentally disabled
individuals. The twentieth century's body count ran into the hundreds
of millions, with many victims in the latter years being killed by
Israeli-made weapons. Even so, the Holocaust Industry has created a
property right in the "uniqueness" of the holocaust. This right is
defended aggressively. Every application of the Holocaust label to
other large-scale atrocities, most recently to the systematic killing
of Muslims in Kosovo, is actively opposed. (Governments that sponsor
atrocities also oppose the application of this label in order to
soften the public perception of their actions.) Xerox opposes the
generic labeling of document reproduction as xeroxing for exactly the
The aggressive defense and maintenance of the Holocaust brand have
been so successful that even a few gentiles have gained wealth and
notoriety by masquerading as Jewish holocaust survivors-an ironic
example of chutzpah. Watchdog groups are alert for outsiders' poaching
Holocaust rents in this fashion. Some Jews also capture Holocaust
rents by masquerading as holocaust survivors, usually winning industry
praise rather than condemnation for their efforts.
Finkelstein singles out Elie Wiesel, a concentration-camp survivor and
celebrity commentator on moral issues, for his role as an industry
insider. He "is the Holocaust" (p. 55), according to Finkelstein. It
was Wiesel who systematically applied the word holocaust to the Jewish
experience. He subsequently gained recognition and fortune by
lecturing about the holocaust, commanding speaking fees that
Finkelstein reports to be upward of $25,000 plus a limousine.
Finkelstein criticizes the fuzzy aphorisms Wiesel uses to characterize
the holocaust — "noncommunicable," "we cannot talk about it," and "the
truth lies in silence" — noting that Wiesel and others have made
personal fortunes by talking and writing about it (p. 45).
The lack of a positive theory to explain industry behavior causes
Finkelstein's analysis occasionally to go astray. He dates the
Holocaust Industry from the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. That date clearly
represents an important point in the industry's development, as he
demonstrates, but it represents a point of inflection rather than a
true beginning. The industry's creation, in the most encompassing
sense, occurred more than twenty years earlier. Holocaust
entrepreneurship and rent seeking played the determining role in
creating the modern state of Israel, a series of events that
Finkelstein dismisses as unrelated to the industry per se. By
contrast, these events were comprehensively documented early on by the
historian Alfred Lilienthal, whose work anticipated the logic of
public-choice analysis (see, for example, What Price Israel? [Chicago:
Henry Regnery, 1953]). Lilienthal, almost uniquely among Jews of that
period, wrote and spoke against the creation of Israel, opposed
charitable U.S. policies toward it, and coined the term
Holocaustomania to characterize the use of Holocaust rhetoric to
stifle public debate. He documented the opportunistic postwar actions
of entrepreneurial Zionist organizers who manipulated, for essentially
private purposes, both the postwar sensitivities of national
governments and the anguish and misery of Jewish concentration-camp
survivors. Lilienthal's scholarly efforts were rewarded with anonymous
death threats and several years of FBI surveillance.
Finkelstein's presentation implies that Zionist goals no longer
motivate the exploitation of holocaust survivors. He argues directly
that today's Holocaust Industry is not truly concerned with obtaining
compensation for "needy holocaust survivors," noting that very little
of the recently extracted "compensation" has reached its nominal
beneficiaries. Instead, the industry's concern today lies with winning
compensation for law firms, consultants, politicians, Holocaust
organizations, and industry elites. "When Jewish elites rob Jewish
survivors no ethical issues arise; it's just about the money" (p. 87).
Finkelstein's focus on 1967 as the creation date of the industry
causes him to overlook the competition for the Jewish vote that
characterized the 1948 Truman-Dewey presidential campaign and other
elections for state and national offices (see, for example, John
Snetsinger, Truman, the Jewish Vote, and The Creation of Israel
[Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Institution Press, 1974]). Incumbents and
challengers competed wildly to outdo each other's campaign promises in
support of Zionism. Politicians at all levels accepted speaking fees
from Zionist and other Jewish groups. Truman summarized his developing
position in 1946 by telling a gathering of diplomats: "I have to
answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of
Zionism; I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my
constituents" (qtd. in William Eddy, FDR Meets Ibn Saud [New York:
American Friends of the Middle East, 1954], p. 37). The concentration
of Jewish voters in a small number of U.S. cities made the political
"collective-action" problem relatively easy to overcome: Lilienthal
reported census data showing that 42 percent of American Jews lived in
the five boroughs of New York City, and 75 percent were concentrated
in just fourteen cities.
A victorious President Truman made good on his campaign promises in
several significant ways: by supporting the creation of modern Israel
over the vehement objection of Secretary of State George Marshall; by
supporting financial aid to Israel that (by Lilienthal's calculation)
was nearly seven times greater per capita in 1952 than the amount
given to Europe under the Marshall Plan; and by authorizing, over
State Department objections, U.S. fund-raising and lobbying visits by
self-confessed Zionist terrorists, including at least one future
Israeli prime minister, Menachem Begin.
Finkelstein's book, by comparison, merely documents the methods by
which today's politicians support the industry while in office and
then earn substantial legal and consulting fees by representing its
interests when out of office.
The weakness of Finkelstein's descriptive historical approach is most
apparent in his explanation of the U.S. decision to authorize
construction and federal funding of a Holocaust memorial and museum on
the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The National Mall is a hallowed
piece of ground otherwise reserved for commemorating episodes in U.S.
history. Finkelstein asserts that the memorial's ulterior purpose is
to demonstrate that a holocaust could not occur in the United States,
thereby camouflaging the country's actual treatment of its imported
African and native populations. This explanation may have a satisfying
feel to it, but it lacks a positive foundation and almost certainly is
off the mark. A positive theory in this context would examine the
memorial's presence in terms of its value to the Holocaust Industry,
the process and effect of lobbying by powerful factions, and the
political calculations made by Congress and the Carter White House.
Finkelstein documents each of these considerations, but his conclusion
ignores their significance.
The author clearly is sensitive to the economic aspects of his
subject, even though he does not develop his thesis along positive
lines. However, by documenting the legacy of systematic exploitation,
extortion, and de jure political correctness with regard to the
holocaust, he opens the door to positive analysis of this unique but
culturally and politically sensitive aspect of postwar economic
behavior. In addition to the book's virtues as a provocative and well-
documented case study, this achievement makes The Holocaust Industry
both a worthwhile read and a valuable reference.
James A. Montanye
Falls Church, Virginia