Although this evasion is predictable, it’s quite remarkable to see a more or less open admission from two allegedly masterful historians that they don’t possess facts sufficient to dispel the very “myth” they set out to challenge. To describe any such presentation of facts as a “futile attempt” seems intellectually flaccid; a concession of the weakness of one’s case.
But what is really presented here, of course, is the standard structure of Jewish historiography: avoid the facts, downplay them if concession is absolutely necessary, and move the discussion into abstractions and sophistry. Taking a page from the ADL playbook, Browning mewls coyly that “a small kernel of truth underpinned the stereotype of the Jewish Bolshevik,” but insists, regarding Communism, that “the Jew as “the face of the revolution” was a “culturally constructed” perception.” We therefore arrive at the familiar position where facts don’t matter and everything Jews don’t like is triumphantly declared a mere construct. . . .
Jewish economic competition in the modern period is caricatured as an irrational “image,” and Jewish war profiteering is simply an “accusation.” Epithets, images, accusations, and the passive and innocent Jew. In sociological-psychological terms this is classic Freud and Frankfurt School, and in historiography it is classic Langmuir.
As with Langmuir’s sophistry, such assertions require a significant amount of either duplicity or cognitive dissonance, or perhaps both. The number of texts covering historical Jewish black-market activity alone is astonishing. We know from one Stanford-published history, for example, that in France in 1941, 90% of black market traders in one province were Jews. Similarly, in Mark Roodhouse’s Oxford-published Black Market Britain: 1939–1955, it is remarked that Jews were massively over-represented in prosecutions for black-market activity in London during the 1940s. . . .
We’re again in very familiar territory: when you feel you can’t avoid a fact (“Jews were invariably disproportionately represented”), and you can’t downplay it, then explain it by way of prejudice (“they were not welcome”). The problem with snapshots of history like this, as I’ve explained many times before, is what I’ve come to term a “cropped timeline explanation” — something that is extremely common in all Jewish and philosemitic historiography concerning anti-Semitism. When faced with an uncomfortable and unavoidable fact involving Jewish behavior (Leftism, usury, financial crime, pornography, etc.) one starts with assumptions of anti-Jewish prejudice and works from there. Jews are on the Left? It must be because they were excluded from the Right. Problems begin to arise when the question is asked why Jews were excluded or viewed as socially or culturally oppositional in the first place. Here, “irrational prejudice” is the last resort, but beyond it, when faced with further interrogation of that idea and the even deeper historical context, nothing is there. One is confronted with blank stares, rhetorical dead ends, and a factual wasteland.
By now I was already getting the sense that Browning was drowning in his own review, under the sheer weight of his own evasions and contortions. The questions, for any reader, were surely multiplying. Were Jews over-represented in Communism or not? If yes, how is the idea of Jewish leftism a myth? If the ‘myth’ can’t be debunked with facts, how can it be debunked by a work of academic sophistry that labels it a cultural construct? The contortions only worsen. . . .
Thus, we are treated to a review of Gerrits by Eliezer Ben-Rafael of Tel-Aviv University, who asserts that Gerrits tackles “the myth of Jewish Communism” by presenting “the fascinating stories of Jewish Communism and Jewish Communists.” If debunking ideas with proof of their veracity wasn’t enough, it’s explained in one banal revelation that the myth combines “anti-Semitism and anti-Communism,” and has a link to reality in the fact that “in effect, many Jews were prominently involved in Communism not only in Russia, but also in the Hungarian and Bavarian revolutions of 1917 and, after the Second World War, in Czechoslovakia, Romania, Lithuania, Poland, and Bulgaria.” Jewish Communism is thus clearly a myth because Jews were prominently involved in Communist revolutions in several countries over several decades. Right. . . .
An excellent example of evasion along these lines is Hanebrink’s discussion of Béla Kun. Hanebrink argues [p.25] that there was “nothing meaningful at all” about Kun’s Jewish background while elsewhere [p.16] noting that of the 47 people’s commissars gathered by Kun for the 1919 Hungarian Soviet regime, 30 were fellow Jews. Clearly feeling that his own arguments are unconvincing, Hanebrink follows up his earlier surrender on the issue of facts with [p.25]: “Truly understanding the hopes, fears and motivations of any particular Jewish revolutionary in all their irreducible complexity is ultimately a task best undertaken by a biographer.” . . .
Paul Hanebrink’s A Specter Haunting Europe is, ultimately, an extremely strange book, but all too typical of contemporary writing on Jewish history. It is thick on promises and thin in substance. It is characterized by glaring omissions and a deeply insincere analysis accompanied by a cloying philosemitism. Interestingly, the text lacks any semblance of intellectual confidence, and one feels that Hanebrink, who is presumably not himself Jewish, is surely aware of what he is creating: a blatant pro-Jewish apologetic. The reasons why a White academic might want to produce something like this are not difficult to surmise. As with Christopher Browning, such endeavors are massively incentivized. Despite being unoriginal, low on facts, and poor in analysis, Hanebrink, associate professor of history at Rutgers, has written a book published by a prestigious academic publisher (perhaps the most prestigious) and has been lavishly praised in the major organs of the mainstream media. The message from our latter-day commissars is clear: “Sell out and we’ll make you a star.”