SHAMIR ON THE JEWISH QUESTION
Israel Shamir, PaRDeS: an etude in
2004-2005) 192 pp. $12.99 ISBN 1-4196-0601- 8
Reviewed by Tom White
My coming upon the Internet writings, a
couple of years ago, of Israel Adam Shamir of
Reading Pound—poetry and prose—I suddenly realized that here was someone who knew all the questions nagging away at the back of my mind—and often enough sitting right up front in it—and he was supplying answers that were so good that they seemed like a drink of cool water on a broiling hot day.
Pound answered for me the question: What was wrong with the world economic system that seemed to almost break my father’s spirit in the 1930s? And perhaps did kill his body; he died at 57 in 1941.
Shamir answers for me the question: What is wrong in the world that our nation is collapsing—or at least getting ready to collapse—in a welter of monstrous, unpayable debt, illegal and unwinnable wars, pornographic “entertainment,” grossly corrupt government, ruinous taxation, and totalitarian-style police-state encroachments on the activities of everyday people, all the while no one seems to be able to do anything to stop any of it?
Pound’s political and economic writings, which were a career sideline for a man who was a superb if sometimes difficult poet, are still politically incorrect, because he thought the chief architects of the extreme folly of the two great European World Wars, which wrecked Christendom and murdered millions of human beings, were the money men and munitions men, the giant usurers in their role as warmongers. Pound made plain that he thought—nay, he knew—that a lot of the biggest of them were Jews.
Shamir comes now with even more serious accusations, and reporting, if you will, from the inside, to contend that “the Jews” (defined below) are engaged in a monstrous scheme of world control and world government that is within an ace of carrying the day.
Shamir’s sensibility, if I am any judge, is a deeply poetic one, like Pound’s (whom he cites in Pardes). A man without some appreciation of the poetic, a man who cannot credit, for example, the fact that religion is the supreme poetry of the human race—poetry risen to the level of the living Truth—is unlikely to credit either Pound or Shamir.
Both writers are cordially hated by what Shamir calls the Mammonites, who, insofar as they pay any notice to either man, about equally detest, in each of them, both the poet and the brilliant observer and critic of contemporary madness, an observer who is uncannily right about what is wrong.
Shamir is himself a fairly recent convert to (Orthodox) Christianity. I find everything that he writes (that I have so far read) illuminated by a fine intelligence, a good heart, massive knowledge of world history, a truly Christian humility, tremendous sophistication, considerable humor, and a determination to speak his piece no matter what.
primary focus is on the injustice to
is the model of the world the Americans want to achieve. It has peasants and
their flocks dying of thirst, and on the hilltop there are villas and swimming
pools for the chosen folk, It has a huge army and it has many labourers without
any rights. In order to turn all the world into
that Shamir says “what the Americans want.” The sad fact is that what
Shamir makes a vital distinction early on in Pardes between a Jew or Jews and “the Jews” or Jewry. Plain Jews are like thee and me, people of an ethnicity but not defined by it. Plain Jews, like plain people everywhere, are willing to go about expecting no special favors and quite willing to identify themselves with their host country rather than the one they or they forbears left some years ago, or, in the case of the Jews, Israel.
Shamir on distinguishing a Jew from “the Jews”:
... a Jew rarely knows or understands what the Jews want from themselves and from bewildered mankind. This lack of understanding causes many fine men and women to proclaim their support (or opposition) to the body politic called ‘the Jews.’ Being born and raised a Jew does not help at all, just as belonging to the elite troops does not provide you with an understanding of the General Staff plans. . . .
Our goal is to understand and explain what ‘the Jews’ want. This task is a hard one, for the Jews have no obvious central command. It is hard to swallow that the Jews can have a strategy but no strategist; and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are popular precisely because they posit such a supreme (if obscure) strategist. However, ‘the locusts have no king, yet they attack in formation’ (Proverbs 30:27) and devastate whole countries as if by plan.
It is possible there are no (or almost no) Jews who fully understand what the Jews want. The term ‘The Jews,’ as used in this article, is meant to denote a spiritual persona of higher rank, relating to individual Jews like the Catholic Church is related to an individual Catholic, or a beehive to a bee. Thus, there is no subjective personal guilt associated with individual Jews, unless their specific actions or inaction are criminal per se. Thus, this discourse should help an individual to decide whether he wants to be a Jew or not, in the same way one may choose whether one wants to be a communist or a Quaker. (Page 7)
In a sense this book, although offered to the world at large (and available on Amazon), is a book by a Jew for Jews, having as a chief goal to persuade them to drop their “Jewishness”—their determined separateness—and rejoin the human race. Shamir, like Simone Weil, contends that the idea that Jews are today still the specially “chosen of God” (in exactly the same way Jews and Christians hold them to have been in Moses’ time) is a truly mistaken idea, a truly poisonous idea, especially poisonous for Jews, but poisonous for the whole world, too. A lethal archaism of racial politics.
Shamir’s political position on the Israel-Palestine contest is that the Zionists—in his eyes clearly the aggressors, the invaders—should dismantle their racist state, end their murderous hatred of their Palestinian neighbors (who it must be admitted return the favor), and proceed to melt into the population of Palestine, becoming the friends and neighbors of Palestinians.
The Jews should agree with the Palestinians to devise a single state with all on both sides of the present impasse equal and welcome—one person, one vote—and end all talk of any group’s being the chosen of God with special claims on “The Holy Land.”
two-state plan the U.S. has favored will please no one in the end; it will move
inexorably toward an apartheid state, of which the symbol is the new and
hideous wall through Palestine that the Israelis are now building, and I
suppose the U.S. is paying for. (Our contributions to
you can well imagine, Shamir’s contentions are calculated to make American
Jewish and Christian Zionists, the chief supporters of
In the May issue of Culture Wars, Paul Eisen, director of Deir Yassin Remembered, in his article “Speaking the Truth to Jews,” sets out the case against Israel’s treatment of Palestine over the entire period of Zionist invasion of the Holy Land as coolly and accurately as I have ever seen it done in any publication. All praise to Culture Wars for carrying this article, first published in a 2004 book, Speaking the Truth About Zionism and Israel. The book is available from Amazon.
My purpose in mentioning this here is to highlight one problem Eisen suggests we all have in the West in trying to make sense of things Jewish: we have mostly felt we need to speak in codes, or in circumlocutions, or simply keep silent on matters Jewish, to avoid “being cursed as an antisemite,” as Eisen puts it.
The “antisemitic” thing is like a thrall thrown down by some magician to make us speechless and stupid. I know I have felt its power, and even though I have been trying to work my way out of it for years, I still approach an article like this with a certain nervousness. And you have to ask why, because I am old and (relatively) poor and beyond the reach of any presumed Jewish malevolence. Still, the power of the magician’s tricks is there, and one looks over one’s shoulder. I know I am not “antisemitic”; I have any number of Jewish culture heroes, starting with the Lord Jesus Christ; but ... but ...
have never been so secure or so empowered [as now], yet many Jews feel and act
as if they are a hair’s breadth away from Auschwitz. ... Jews, individually and
collectively, use their political, economic, social, and moral power in support
Eisen’s whole article destroys the claim of Israel to exist as it now does,
because it is a religiously (that is, racially or tribally) exclusive state, a
clear instance of apartheid, a cruel, genocidal oppressor of the Palestinians,
whom it has killed, shoved out, or shut in, and an illegitimate rogue state if
there ever was one. (With ourselves, the
detested and hounded by
That, when you reflect on it, is a most astonishing statement to come from anyone, Jew or Christian, after what the world has been through in the last century. It is however, what a Christian is bound to believe if he is an honest Christian. What other fate can one want, in charity, for a “disaffected one”? But let there be no coercion. God does not coerce; man should not coerce. “There are no righteous wars.”
of political correctness, I recognize that this article violates the prevailing
politically correct canon most grievously. I am writing favorably about a
writer who has been generously smeared by his fellow Jews, which is supposed to
put the kibosh on him good and well. Also I, a goy, am talking about the Jews.
That is not supposed to happen. I am free to talk about Patagonians, Samoans,
Germans, Amerindians, and residents of the
The big bugaboo that has to get shattered—maybe has already been shattered or is in the way of being presently shattered—is the cold pox of fear that settles around the possibility that one could be called—“Oh my God, my heart! my heart! I’m fainting!”—an ANTISEMITE.
This is presently a far worse social sin than being called an anti-Christian. In fact, that might get you some plaudits; it certainly would not get you much active criticism. What’s to like about Christ for right-thinking modern people? But to be called an antisemite is to crumble into a nothing, become an unman, prove oneself a worthless troll, commit a bummer, remove oneself from the ranks of civilized people, etc., etc., etc. At least it’s that kind of disappearing act that the people slinging the smears really want to help you achieve more or less permanently.
The term antisemite is flung around by the smear artists despite the fact that it doesn’t really mean anything. (Arabs are semites, for heaven’s sake.) And biological antisemitism, that is, objection to Jews because of real racial prejudice, is virtually non-existent, and everybody knows it. The objection is to the manifestations of that “Judaic tendency” that Shamir (and Jones) are chronicling and which is a real threat to all peaceful life on this globe.
Any non-Jew who makes this point can expect to be vilified, precisely by other non-Jews. Shamir quotes Otto Weininger: “The Aryan of good social standing always feels the need to respect the Jew; he is displeased when Jews [like Shamir] make revelations about the Jews, and he who does so may expect as few thanks from that quarter as from over-sensitive Jews.”
Shamir continues (page15): “His [Weininger’s] words are even more relevant now; with the Rise of the Jews, it is the burden of people with Jewish roots to undo Jewry.”
To repeat: “... it is the burden of people with Jewish roots to undo Jewry.” The thing is quite hopeless if the Jews won’t do it themselves. Remember the dominical statement that “salvation is of the Jews.” And keep in mind, too, that “Jewry” for Shamir is synonymous with “the Jews,” not all Jews, but those possessed of the Pharisaic, that is, the “Judaic” spirit, that was evident at the trial of Christ 2,000 years ago. For Shamir it is the spirit of Mammon, the evil spirit that Christ said was “the other choice.” One may serve God or Mammon, not both.
Without Shamir and the great cohort of Jews and non-Jews (in which group I include the editor/publisher of this magazine) battling so steadfastly against the overwhelming spirit of Mammon that rules this age in these ruins of Christendom where we dwell, I should feel discouraged indeed. But I do not feel discouraged. There is clarity emerging at last. I do think the Mammonites (Shamir’s term for all—Jews and gentiles—who advance the “Judaic tendency”) will fail ultimately despite the present seeming.
For long years I have been in the same case as Omar, as reported by Fitzgerald in The Rubayat: “There was a Door to which I found no Key;/There was a Veil past which I could not see.” I do not pretend even now to great wisdom and certainly not to great learning, but I do think the Key has presented itself, and the Veil is lifting.
I have been rereading the first few chapters of the Gospel of John in recent days and it has, newly for me, the air of a dispatch from the front lines. The issue was joined back then; it is apparently to be settled fairly soon.
Pardes is a short, deep book. I think anyone interested enough to have read this article or to have received this magazine should own the book and read and reread it. It is cheap enough to mark up. I have only skimmed over a few of the points it makes. It, like good poetry, requires frequent rereading and meditation. The first section, PaRDeS proper, the “study in Cabbala,” is described (page 16) thusly:
what is the Judaic tendency and why should it be undone? Jewish exegesis offers
four escalating levels of penetrating into the deep meaning of Biblical verses.
The four levels are abbreviated as PaRDeS
The 101 pages devoted to “the designs of the Jews,” follow this schema and are packed with facts and theses of astonishing range and novelty—and one might add, potential for outrage among the close-minded. The rest of the book consists of six essays of great brilliance and intense moral and social insight. For example, the essay, “A Study of Art,” that Shamir wrote with his wife Alice, will tell you more about the world of international High Art than I have ever seen set down on paper before, and I assert, from some knowledge of the field, that every word of it is true. It is the complete explanation of why, in the words of poet Edwin Arlington Robinson, “art’s a vagrant, now on the town.”
Let me close with an extended quotation from Pardes as an example of Shamir’s scope and penetration. It was hard to make a selection, so many passages offered unique insights. The passage I chose is the close of the essay, “Zeno’s Arrow (Or How to Argue Your Case with Jews)”:
Conclusion: In the present war, Jewry is a belligerent party; this polity decided to wage war on too many enemies at once. Individuals of Jewish origin could be good or bad; but the organization is hostile to us. The victory over it is possible, but we have to pierce its Stealth shield manufactured by many skilled hands in many arguments.
Shamir’s Pardes is a whole quiver full of arrows designed to pierce that shield.
This review was published in the September, 2005 issue of Culture Wars.
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