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Arts and Culture

Zachary Karabell on ‘Capitalism and the Jews’

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Posted on Jun 10, 2010
capitalism and the jews

By Zachary Karabell

It’s hard to imagine a more provocative title than “Capitalism and the Jews.” In fact, as I was reading the book, it was striking how many people glanced at the title and gave an ever-so slight but discernible double take. But Jerry Z. Muller’s recent book is neither a polemic nor a setup for a bad lounge joke but is instead a compelling, sober essay about an elephant that has been sitting in the middle of Western history for the past two centuries at least: Jews have been inextricably woven into the history and evolution of capitalism.

The title of Muller’s provocative series of essays comes from Milton Friedman, the apostle of free markets who for decades ruled over the economics profession from his perch at the University of Chicago. But Muller—himself a professor of history at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.—has a wider range by far. Friedman was interested mostly in the conundrum of why Jews, who had profited so much from the rise of free-market capitalism, were so often the leading critics of it. Muller is compelled by the multiple facets of Jewish influences on and attitudes toward capitalism. Jews were central to the formation of capitalism before the 19th century. They have been central to its defense, and they have been central to movements that have rejected it, communism in particular. They have embraced it, and rejected it, nurtured it and fled from it. It is anything but a simple relationship.

There’s no question that Jews have excelled in free-market societies over the past two centuries. Their places of prominence in the Western world reads like a conspiracy manual composed by zealous anti-Semites: In German on the eve of World War I, Jews composed upward of 40 percent of the corporate elite. In Hungary in the 1920s, Jews accounted for 54 percent of the owners of commercial establishments and 85 percent of bank directors. Jews for the entire 20th century were massively overrepresented proportional to their numbers in academia, medicine and finance and as lawyers, architects and engineers. In the 1980s, according to Forbes’ annual survey of the richest Americans, Jews made up a quarter of the list even though they accounted for only 3 percent of the population. They constituted one-fifth of the faculty of elite universities, and of the 38 Nobel winners for economics between 1970 and 2008, 22 were Jews.

 

book cover

 

Capitalism and the Jews

 

By Jerry Z. Muller

 

Princeton University Press, 272 pages

 

Buy the book

But Muller is intrigued that with such unequivocal success came not triumphalism but ambivalence. Jews in Western society have attracted unwanted attention because of that success, and many Jews responded either by rejecting capitalism or rejecting Judaism and attempting to assimilate. Before the rise of capitalism, Jews were often the moneylenders and the money-changers in Europe, because of the long-standing prohibitions against usury among Christians. They often occupied similar positions in the Muslim world. They also excelled as merchants, both because their outsider status led to strong familial networks that were essential to trade in an era before modern banking and because Western aristocrats disdained making money from trade. As the Western world became more secular and more capitalist in the 19th century, Jews had an edge, but that in turn was often turned against them.

Many of the formative thinkers of the 18th and 19th centuries—ranging from Voltaire to Marx to Max Weber—pointed to the Jews as central to the character of capitalism, and not in a good way. Marx assailed the Jews for having one god: “Money.” Others were more complimentary, especially Friedrich Hayek, who lauded the dynamism of both capitalism and the Jews. He dismissed the traditional animus toward the Jews as the result of ruling elites who were seeing their position in society undermined by modernity resenting the success of the Jews in taking advantage of the Industrial Age. But Hayek’s views were hardly representative, and were overwhelmed in the first half of the 20th century by the waves of anti-Semitism that reached an apex with Nazi Germany.

Muller makes a compelling case that the embrace of communism by some European Jews was a catastrophe. On the one hand, that link supported all sorts of conspiratorial anti-Semitism; on the other, it backfired as Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and Russia turned against the Jews. In Hungary, Jews were at the vanguard of the Communist movement, led by Matyas Rakosi both after World War I and then again after World War II. While most Jews were lukewarm about communism and in fact more focused on Zionism and creating a new Jewish state culminating with Israel in 1948, there were enough who turned to communism to create the perception of a strong bond between Jews and the international Communist movement. Because Jews suffered from a backlash against their success at the practice of capitalism, many Jews sought alternatives that would allow them to live more securely, either in their own state, or by assimilating, or by the pursuit of a post-capitalist system of equality promised in theory by communism. But in Eastern Europe, anti-Semitism proved a deeper force, and all that the embrace of communism ultimately accomplished was to give majority populations one more excuse to blame the Jews for societal ills and punish them accordingly. Jewish Communist leaders were everywhere purged by the early 1950s.

Muller offers no neat or satisfying conclusion, other than to briefly synopsize the work of Ernest Gellner, who wrote insightfully about the dilemma of Jews as a “Diaspora community” that found great success in a manner that in turn produced great peril. The success of the Jews was not much different than other Diaspora groups, such as ethnic Chinese throughout Asia, but unlike the Chinese, the Jews had no homeland. That was seen as a critical weakness, and one reason for the creation and avid defense of Israel. As Israel became a beacon of international Judaism, it also absorbed much of the criticism that Diaspora Jews used to receive—though it is also true that Europe Jews were decimated by the Holocaust and hence no longer as prominent in European society.

But the Jewish question lives on in different ways in the United States, a subject beyond the scope of Muller’s work.  Jewish support of Israel evolved in the 1960s and 1970s into a core aspect of American grand strategy, with evangelical Christians in the United States just as adamant about that policy as any Jewish group and with the U.S. foreign policy establishment turning Israel into a key pillar of American strategy in the Middle East. It’s unlikely that the currents of conflict that these policies have created will have the same consequences for American Jews that the endorsement of either capitalism or communism did in Europe a century ago. That may be the fear, but there’s scant evidence that the present is about to recapitulate that past—the emotional tenor of any discussion about Jews and Israel notwithstanding. Muller’s essays are compelling primarily as a work of history, a look at the links between the formative ideas of the modern world and the role of a small but disproportionately important minority in determining that trajectory. It’s a fascinating history, but its message for our present is modest at best.

Zachary Karabell is president of River Twice Research and a commentator on CNBC. He is the author of several books, including, most recently, “Superfusion: How China and America Became One Economy and Why the World’s Prosperity Depends on It” (2009).


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By kalpal, June 12, 2010 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

Joh Ellis writes: The Dead Sea Scrolls were written in a Hebrew dialectic. 

There’s quite difference between dialect and dialectic. You should look both up.

Misusing words makes one look pretentious which you appear to be by trying to become an Eminence Grise of this thread.

Jews never translated any greek version of the bible into Hebrew. The vulgate bible indicates that it was meant for the common citizen, the vulgata in latin indicates commoners. To behave like a commoner is to be vulgar.

As I noted previously, I have not read “good” translations of the bible. This assumes that my modern native Hebrew is adequate to the task of translating such old language.

Ir once took me 8 hours to translate a quatrain of old Yemenite Hebrew. I had to recreate the possible meanings of idiomatic expressions that long ago faded from use. It is vey difficult work and can be hard on your peace of mind since no one of that era exists to help check your work.

Anyone who has worked on translating the bible will be able to tell you that it was written by various people who spoke different dialects and used various vocabularies, syntaxes and grammars. It was not written by any one person at any single specific time. This applies to both the old and new testaments.

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By Spooky-43, June 12, 2010 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

By kalpal, June 12 at 1:06 pm #

“Since you have obviously never worked as an interpreter I must point out that lack any ability to comment on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Once again ignorance speaks volumes louder than knowledge. Unfortunately ignorance gets very little if anything right.

If you think the dead sea scrolls were written in English, wow!

Can you read Middle English, merely a thousand years old? I feel certain you are unlikely to be able to read any semitic scripts that are more than 2,000 years old.

I suggest suing the board of education of the school you attended. Clearcut case misuse of educational funds in your case.”
——————————————————————————-

Number 1.  Pretty presumptuous of you to decide what I can read and can’t read.

Number 2.  40% of the scrolls were of OT existing biblical texts in Hebrew which had already been translated for a pretty long time.  They only confirmed the accuracy of present copies. 

Number 3.  I only used the Scrolls dating to confirm my point of the age of the writings.  Because the scrolls were the earliest partial texts known of the OT, I could be assumed correct in saying that the words I was referring to regarding Jews and Arabs were undoubtedly commited to writing over 2000 years ago.  That was my point. 

I was making no other judgement of the balance of original texts or how long it may have taken translators to interpet them, and whether they may or may not have done a good job of it.

Frankly I don’t give a shit about translators and their bogus interpretations.  As I have said, a believed myth is more powerful than an unbelieved truth. 

So what the texts actually say is not as important as what some Arab or Jew thinks they say in 2010.  Because what they think is what motivates them, and what they think is what they have always thought, and it is probably more accurate than your bogus, intellectual interpretations anyway.

Remember, “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” 

 

Your statements were prejudiced and bigoted IMO.

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By CC, June 12, 2010 at 9:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wrote a comment yesterday that seems to have vanished into hyper space.

What ever happened to the book and the review? The words “Jews” and
“Capitalism” are just being used as jumping off points for a lot of ranting, some
of it nastily anti-Semitic, much of it irrelevant and uninteresting.

Hello, the book has absolutely nothing of relevance about the flotilla incident,
and almost nothing at all about Israel - there’s one entry in the index
“Israel:economic history of, 122-24.”

It’s a shame that no one who’s writing comments seems to have read the book,
or even, for that matter, the review. As I wrote in my comment on Thursday,
the review is a fair report on the book.

No one here interested in history? No one interested in intellectual arguments
using your own brains, using evidence and references, taking the writers -
Karabell and Muller seriously?

READ the book!

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By Spooky-43, June 12, 2010 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

Hey, John Ellis,

Is it my imagination, or is it everytime someone renders an opinion on something, you log it as “darkiness” and feel compelled to tell your version as “light”.

I was just wondering who declared you the keeper of all the lights? 

Especially when a lot of your lights are darker than the darkness, and just flat untrue, as well. 

Such as:

“LIGHT
But, do the Jews love money more than the laboring class I grew up with in the slums of Milwaukee, Minneapolis and LA?  Hardly, for never have I seen any laboring man give a dime to the homeless.”

Having been in charge of raising a lot of money for the United Way, I can say that both the Jews of America and the laboring classes of America are extremely generous when it comes to giving away their hard earned money.  And that is a fact. 

And also”

“LIGHT
Capitalism is a competition based dictatorship run by the highest achievers, with everyone having control over those who supply their business with goods or labor, with everyone in absolute submission to those who consume their goods or pay their wages.”

Capitalism, without government intervention, has no ability to dictate or to hold anyone in absolute submission.  Individuals sell themselves to capitalism out of their own free will.  You can walk away anytime you like, as many, many have. 

It is intervening governments who dictate and cause absolute submission for the purpose of maintaining their power.  Government colludes with Money to control the citizenry.  Do away with big, greedy, intervening governments, and capitalism becomes just another free choice system.

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By Ed Harges, June 12, 2010 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

The US and Israel have made each other worse.

After the upheavals of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War, there
was a cultural moment when the United States was doing a lot of soul-
searching, and it seemed on the verge of becoming a better country, less
egotistical and violent, more tolerant and peaceable and fair.

But then along came the neoconservatives, who merged with the pro-Israel
Democrats, and a belligerent new Israeli-American consensus was born. The
dominance of self-righteous pro-Israel Jews in the Democratic party, combined
with the dominance of religious/patriotic chauvinism in the Republican party,
breathed new life into the briefly dormant monster of arrogant American
militarism.

The post-Vietnam moment of healthy doubt, that chance for the USA to
become a better, more peaceful country, was lost.

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By kalpal, June 12, 2010 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Spooky 43 writes: Actually kalpal, I am speaking of words which have not been translated or interpreted for over 2000 years, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls.  You do not need to translate or interpret.  The writing is clear and has been in existence for well over 2000 years intact, untranslated, unedited and uninterpreted. 

Since you have obviously never worked as an interpreter I must point out that lack any ability to comment on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Since it took decades to interprete and translate what they think these scrolls say, you are totally wrong in your imaginingg that there is anything straightforward here.

Once again ignorance speaks volumes louder than knowledge. Unfortunately ignorance gets very little if anything right.

If you think the dead sea scrolls were written in English, wow!

Can you read Middle English, merely a thousand years old? I feel certain you are unlikely to be able to read any semitic scripts that are more than 2,000 years old.

I suggest suing the board of education of the school you attended. Clearcut case misuse of educational funds in your case.

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By Spooky-43, June 12, 2010 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

By rosross, June 12 at 7:02 am #

“Spooky43, Prophecies can be self-fulfilling. Have these prophesies come true or do believers find evidence for them being true.”

You missed the point. 

If someone writes something down, true or untrue, over 2000 years ago, and the writing is discovered intact in the original language, and the writing states things will happen regarding the sons of Abraham, and then 2000 years later these things are happening, is that self-fulfilling prophecy?  Who self-fulfilled it?

You don’t exactly have to be a believer or a prophet to see that many of the things which were written down thousands of years ago about the Jews and Arabs are actually happening right before our eyes.

By kalpal, June 12 at 10:25 am #

“Spooky-43 -  It is not the long ago written words that count but rather who interprets/translates them and why they chooose such an interpretation.”

Actually kalpal, I am speaking of words which have not been translated or interpreted for over 2000 years, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls.  You do not need to translate or interpret.  The writing is clear and has been in existence for well over 2000 years intact, untranslated, unedited and uninterpreted. 

I am not a religious person, but I am a person who attempts to find out what the motivations are for people’s behavior before I judge them.  Whether something is true or not, is not as much of a concern to me, as where the motivation comes from for them to believe that it is true.  Especially when believing can actually result in your death.  such as a suicide bomber. 

As I said before, A believed myth is more powerful than a unbelieved truth.  Truth we could argue forever, but beliefs are exhibted right there before our very eyes.
 
In my last post I asked the question, “are the Jews and Arabs a product of the stories, or are the stories a product of the Jews and Arabs?”  That is too much of a “chicken and egg” question.

Instead, the question could be:  Since the Jews and Arabs apparently have had the motivation and power to keep their fight going since their stories were originally written, what are the possibilities that they will be able to keep it on script for the duration of the story? 

If prophecy can indeed be self-fulfilled by some mysterious force, then what are the possibilities that the prophecy of Revelation is actually starting to unfold now? 

I am only asking to see if I can get any insight from what others believe and what motivates them.

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By Arabian Sinbad, June 12, 2010 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

With the intent of spicing-up what seems to be a very seriously unpleasant conversation about an eternally unpleasant subject, take a break please to read the following piece of humor!
=================================== 
“Two beggars are sitting side by side on a street in Rome.

One has a cross in front of him the other one the Star of David.

Many people go by and look at both beggars, but only put money into the hat of the beggar sitting behind the cross.

A priest comes by, stops and watches throngs of people giving money to the beggar behind the cross, but none give to the beggar behind the Star of David.

Finally, the priest goes over to the beggar behind the Star of David and says, ‘My poor fellow, don’t you understand? This is a Catholic country; this city is the seat of Catholicism…  People aren’t going to give money if you sit there with a Star of David in front of you, especially when you’re sitting beside a beggar who has a cross. In fact, they would probably give to him just out of spite.’

The beggar behind the Star of David listened to the priest, turned to the other beggar with the cross and said: ‘Moishe, look who’s trying to teach the Goldstein brothers about marketing?”

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By Ed Harges, June 12, 2010 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

re:By kalpal, June 12 at 10:42 am :

Kalpal writes: “The major matter with Israel is a conservative bent picked up
somehow from USA.”

At last I find myself in at least partial agreement with kalpal. What has happened
more precisely in my opinion is a pernicious cross-fertilization in both directions.
The two countries have developed a poisonous hybrid ideological brew that
combines the worst ideological tendencies of each.

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By kalpal, June 12, 2010 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

The major matter with Israel is a conservative bent picked up somehow from USA.

I have seen no evidence in the USA that conservative legislators ever bother to offer any legislation that is not intended to make the rich richer and to ignore or harm teh poor and middle class.

I have lived in the USA nearly 48 years. At no time have I noted any action on the part to aid the middle class or poor. The conservatives have obstructed all legislative attempts to remove unfair advantages held by the rich. In fact they have tried to make sure that more unfair advantages were offered and supplied to top 1%.

When Israel began to accept the lip service and lies offered by conservatives it began to slide downwards. No country with a conservative government and legislature ever enhances the lives of its average citizens. By winnig a few elections and losing after failing to make improvements, Isarel’s politics somehow manged to move center and rightward. This is a bad mistake

I believe it was during the Reagan administration that the phrase, Trickle down,” reared its ugly head. The notion that making the rich much richer will somehow improve life for anyone else is utter and complete balderdash and has not the slightest bit of fiscal, logical or historical proof behind it.

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By Arabian Sinbad, June 12, 2010 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

The symbolism of the “Golden Calf” mentioned in the Bible and confirmed later on in the Qur’an as fact and historical event, must be taken into consideration to explain why historically the Jews love money and practically worship Mammon and exalt its power.

The Qur’an says about this: “And indeed Moses came to you with clear proofs, yet you took the Golden Calf as an idol of worship; and in so doing you were wrong-doers. And further remember when WE (i.e. God) took your covenant and WE raised above you the Mount, saying, “Hold firmly to what WE have given you and hear OUR WORD!” They said, “We have heard yet decided to disobey.” Thus, their hearts were made to imbibe and absorb the worship of the Golden Calf because of their disbelief.” (Qur’an, 2:92-93)

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By kalpal, June 12, 2010 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

Spooky-43 -  It is not the long ago written words that count but rather who interprets/translates them and why they chooose such an interpretation.

Since this country and certainly the christian churches insist on keeping the citizens ignorant you will find much foolishness being passed off as religious insight of long ago.

As a native speaker of Hebrew I can tell you that the translations of the bible I have seen are quite poor. I can also read Aramaic as written in Hebrew script. I do not know any Greekand am unable to translate the new testament gospels which were written after everyone involved in the crucifiction was already dead.

I am fully cognizant that knowledge was not ransmitted in written form very often since few knew how to read and writing was not inexpensive. Learning stories by heart or verbatim was the customary method. It works but far from perfectly.

In the case of the Koran, it was compiled about 6 years after Mohammad had died. He was illiterate and recited his poetry to many who remembered it as best they could. Some of his followers webt about and had it repeated to them by anyone who claimed to have heard it and remembered it. Eventually a version was agreed upon and it became frozen in one form.

The commanment not to murder was translated in English as forbidding killing. This is an error but those who made teh error were unwilling to make the change. The only error that was quickly changed was the version that failed to forbid adultery.

When Dennis the Short calcualted the number of years since the deah of Jesus,it gave rise to millenial insanity. As the year 1,000 came near the apacolypse appeared sure to occur and many prepared for the end of days. (Dennis did his best but who knows how long it had really been.) 

Since the year 1,000 many have claimed to know for a certainty the fill and true meaning of prophecies of the bible in whichever translation they accepted a being valid. There have been hundreds of groups who readied themselves in the past to rise to heaven based on some preacher’s calculations that time will screech to a halt in just a few months or years.

Taking seriously religious leaders is about worthwhile as investing in perpetual motion machines. All foresee a future filled with a few deserving and many undeserving, strangely enough their flock seems to be among the most deserving.

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By george szabo, June 12, 2010 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

Spooky 43
Thanks for a great articulation of some of my ideas. Check out some of the radical
literature of the 60’s , mostly by some of the black radicals of the time, ie.
Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton,,, etc. for more enlightening insight into what the
hell is wrong with humanity including the Capitalist - Socialist - Religious
systems of today. Everything old is New…. Try Humanism as an alternate….

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By kerryrose, June 12, 2010 at 4:15 am Link to this comment

A point that bothers me:

Jew did not practice money lending in Europe because of Christian usury laws.  They did so because it was illegal for a Jew to own a business or land and property of any sort.

Money lending was a creative solution to discrimination.

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By rosross, June 12, 2010 at 3:02 am Link to this comment

spooky43, Prophecies can be self-fulfilling. Have these prophesies come true or do believers find evidence for them being true. I certainly don’t find the truth as you do but then I am not religious and I don’t come from a religiously based society.

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By rosross, June 12, 2010 at 3:00 am Link to this comment

marshall,
I would add, some European countries are doing badly but many are not. Most are doing better than the US. Australia is doing best of all. The US has been hit hardest because your system is the least regulated.
And no, government is not the answer but it is a part of the answer. Another American first and it is unique is that Americans are the ONLY citizens of a developed nation to both hate and fear their government. Think about that. Other nations have successfully combined socialism and capitalism to give their average citizen a far better quality of life than any American could imagine.

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By rosross, June 12, 2010 at 2:57 am Link to this comment

Marshall,
I don’t know where you have travelled. I am Australian but have lived in the UK, Europe, Canada and spent long periods in the US.

My assessment of the ‘living standards’ of the average American is based on available statistics and these are comparisons with other developed nations including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK and some European countries:
the US has a very poor healthcare system;  highest levels of semi-illiteracy emanating from a poor education system (for average citizens); Highest levels of crime; highest levels of incarceration; one of the lowest of basic wages (Australia’s basic wage is nearly treble the US and a dollar there buys pretty much what a US dollar buys); the poorest welfare safety nets (because of American paranoia about socialism.. read communism and a society where the rich have the power and the poor are considered to be responsible for their poverty); highest levels of poverty; highest levels of working poor and greatest wealth/poverty disparity. Clearly these things alone… and there are other US ‘firsts’, mean the average American has a poorer quality of life to the average citizens of other developed nations. It is also the most religious of the developed nations and it is a fundamentalist religion which is self-serving and unkind. Religion in essence cripples justice and the chance of a good quality of life for most Americans. That and your unweildy political system. The statistics speak for themselves and given that 80 percent of Americans do not possess passports… either because they are too poor to travel or too insular… Americans have no idea they are so ill served.

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By Spooky-43, June 12, 2010 at 2:28 am Link to this comment

I have often thought that if the biblical writings were myth, how could they possibly have the power that they do amongst modern cultures.  Outrageous fictional stories generally become toilet paper in short time. 

How could stories committed to writing well over 2000 years ago, (possibly much longer) forsee the rise of the two sons of Abraham into two opposing modern forces, positioned to start the war capable of eliminating 1/3 of mankind, as the story goes. 

The ancient texts tell of blessings given to Abraham’s sons, to become two great nations, one from Isaac and one from Ishmael.  The Jews and the Arabs.  But it is actually groups of nations.  The Arab nations and the Judaeo/Christian nations.  In practice, these act as two opposing groups. 

The Jew was to primarily bring the “Messiah”, the “King of the Jews”, “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah.”  The empires of the world would continously attempt to eliminate every Jew, as they did eliminate the “King of the Jews.” 

But the riches of the world were promised primarily to the other tribes of Jacob/Israel, mostly Joseph and his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.  Those tribes have lost their ancient identities, but they have become very, very numerous on the face of the Earth, and rich, if the stories are true.  Some of them think they know who they are.

The Arabs were said to remain in constant conflict with their half brothers. 

For some reason, the world does not see the God of Islam as quite the threat that the God of the Jew and the “King of the Jews” is, though Islam has more radical intolerant views.  That is a mystery to me.

And another mystery is that words written thousands of years ago could have so much impact today?  Is it just by chance that a Jew, Jesus Christ, could have so much influence in virtually every nation of the earth today? 

It is very, very easy to see how the Jew and the Arab could hold their various accounts of Abraham to be real.  And it is amazing that these stories are the motivation behind so much of what is happening in the world today, whether the stories are true or not.  A believed myth is more powerful than a non-believed truth.

At this point, whether the stories are historically true or not, is not even critical to the discussion.  And the fact that the Jew is generally more successful, more wealthy, more competent and more hated than all others should not be a surprise either, given the narrative.

But the real mystery is this; are the Jews and Arabs a product of the stories, or are the stories a product of the Jews and Arabs? 

P.S. If the Jews brought us capitalism, so what.  Capitalism is not evil.  Greed is evil.  Capitalism is not greed, but it can be practiced by evil, greedy men, as can communism and socialism and religion.  If progress is to be made in the world of men, then the men themselves must be reformed, not their institutions.

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By Marshall, June 12, 2010 at 2:19 am Link to this comment

By rosross, June 12 at 1:24 am #

“the life of the average citizen is dramatically poorer than that in all other
developed nations”

Ros - not sure where this statement comes from but it bears little resemblance
to the reality i’ve experienced in my travels and those of many others I speak to
as well.

In any case, one testament to the success of US capitalism is the far reaching
effect of our current economic condition.  Europe is now hitting the skids as
the result of global recession triggered by the US as well as Europe’s habit of
“moderating” capitalism through profligate social spending.

The fallacy of your regulation argument is the belief that government is
somehow “above” the private sector; more honest, altruistic, and even more
prescient.  Quite the opposite is true as we see with public’s complete lack of
trust in politicians as well as government’s failure in its regulatory duties -
indeed collusion with the very entities it is charged with regulating. 
Unfortunately, the market is simply representative of human nature and will
therefore always have inherent flaws, which can unfortunately become
leveraged into hugely damaging flaws.  But government is not the answer.  It is
essentially a giant corporation with even less accountability, a captive
consumer base, and no competition.  This is not the savior of capitalism we’re
talking about here.

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By Palindromedary, June 11, 2010 at 10:02 pm Link to this comment

Bill,
It’s not “ethnicity” that I have a problem with. It’s organized superstitions: Religions, that are the problem. Once you start inventing mythical superstitions and convincing people that they should subscribe to them and that non-believers in your particular brand of superstition will go to hell..and in many cases deserve to die and then go to hell…it takes very little to get that group of people to commit mass murder….because “God ordered it”. The God of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and all their derivations and cults are wicked and terribly mentally deranged…which is why so much energy is spent by religionists to use whatever rhetoric and “smoke and mirrors” linguistics to cover up what is written in the “holy” books about this God. When you follow the ravings of a mythical god you become mad yourself. You do evil and terrible things against your fellow man. You believe you have the right god who justifies your actions in the name of that god and you can not only cheat and steal but you can murder and torture and feel right about it. It is an insidious form of insanity. I have no problem with anyone believing in the flying spaghetti monster, if he/she so wishes, just as long as he/she doesn’t come knocking on my door and telling me that I will go to hell if I don’t believe they way they do. But these religions, if they aren’t outright proselytizers, then they at least have some sects that do proselytize. I always thought more highly of the Jews because they didn’t proselytize…although I think some Jewish sects might. At least they haven’t knocked on my door like some pain-in-the-ass Christians or Mormons have. What high-and-mighty tight-assed phrumps these arrogant shits have in thinking they have the answer and that I will burn in hell! I believe that there are a lot of Jews around the world, as well as in Israel, who are terribly ashamed of what their government has done in their names. Just as I am terribly ashamed at what the Bush administration, and now, the current administration is doing in the middle east…what he has done against the common average working class citizen in the US by favoring the rich and two-timing those who voted for him. The damn criminals, war criminals and otherwise, have taken over the world.

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By rosross, June 11, 2010 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment

John,
Capitalism is like any system. It has positives and negatives. Idealistic systems like communism and religion don’t take human nature into account but then neither does capitalism really and therein lies the problem. Capitalism has been a driving force behind creating societies with a better quality of life for more people but there are also costs. In the US, where capitalism has been turned into something of a ‘god’... therein lies the idealism… and certainly as a system been entrenched more completely, the life of the average citizen is dramatically poorer than that in all other developed nations. Other first world countries have maintained varying levels of socialism along with capitalism and that has meant the excesses of capitalism have been curbed to far greater degrees than they have in the US. The enconomic meltdown has punished the US far more than any other first world nation because capitalism was practised to excess. All systems need regulation and the US ignored that principle to its cost. It is not that capitalism (nor communism, religion etc) per se: is bad, but how it is practised or put into practice. All systems will fail when driven by addiction. Communism failed because it was drive by delusional idealism; religions fail because they are driven by fear and capitalism fails when it is driven by greed. But any of these systems have merit if used sensibly and if they are well regulated.

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By rosross, June 11, 2010 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

Ed, yes I think it would make catholics less safe if that were the case just as Israel is a threat to Jews. And of course, the United States gives christianity a bad name. The US is the most religious of all developed nations… sadly, a biblical, fundamentalist christianity which is as paranoid and rabid in nature and which is seen to be behind the US refusal to act honourably in regard to Palestine. The ‘christian’ US is justly ‘hated’ around the world, particularly by Moslems whose followers are constantly being murdered and maimed by American bullets, missiles and bombs. I would clarify, I don’t condone or support hatred… I just understand why Moslems in particular hate christian America given the war crimes and atrocities perpetrated in the invasion and occupation of Iraq; the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (to prop up the US puppet government); the murdering and maining of Pakistanis who ‘get in the way’; the propping up of the distasteful Saudi and Egyptian governments; the prior arming and supporting of the distasteful Saddam Hussein and generally the actions of the christian US in condemning so many Muslims to miserable lives without freedom because it suits American interests. And of course the Palestinians… the list gets longer… christian America lets Israel subjugate, abuse and colonise Palestine; drop bombs on its neighbours… murder thousands of Lebanese and litter that country with American-made cluster bombs and America wonders why they are hated. Yep, America gives christianity a very, very, very bad name just as Israel gives Jews a very, very, very bad name.

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By Ed Harges, June 11, 2010 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment

Re:By rosross, June 11 at 11:59 pm:

Indeed, it’s a paradox: Israel is supposed to make Jews safer. Good luck with that
plan!

Gee: if the Catholic Church were still a major military power, waging wars of
aggression with its own formidable army, would that make Catholics everywhere
less safe from prejudice and hostility, less likely to be suspected of loyalty to
a foreign government?

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By rosross, June 11, 2010 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Bill, thanks for the link. I suspect there are many Jews who think Israel gives them a bad name. In that respect Israel is dangerous for any followers of Judaism whether practising or not. And you have to question why those who don’t practise continue to call themselves Jews. My ancestors didn’t but a lot do. With one eighth Jewish inheritance I should have a Nobel Prize. Or is it because I have an eighth Protestant or a sixteenth Catholic or a sixteenth Baptist or an eighth Anglican or is it just because none of it really matters.
This one is also interesting.As William Blum says, ‘the holocaust was the worst thing which happened to Jews and Israel was the second.’

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25694.htm

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By - bill, June 11, 2010 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

Ed - I’ll second that.

kalpal -

While a few sentences from both Palindromedary and average Joe made me wonder a bit about their potential ethnic bias, a lot of what they said I wholly agree with.  Israel lost a friend (along with my respect) when it turned hard right after the Rabin assassination, thereby ensuring that the assassin obtained exactly the result that he wished for.  Since then, its actions have earned my active enmity (just as my own country’s similarly-reprehensible actions in the aftermath of 9/11 have).

For those whose minds aren’t completely closed on the subject of Israel’s recent behavior and attitudes (including Jewish attitudes) toward it, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jun/10/failure-american-jewish-establishment/ has some interesting observations.

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By rosross, June 11, 2010 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

And one of the reasons that Jews may be over-represented in certain areas is that the religion is tribal whether members are practising or not. They give preference to their ‘own.’ This isn’t particular to Jews. Many tribalistic religions or societies do the same thing. The Chinese do it. Just have a look at Chinese communities in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia etc. The Parsees (originally Persian) do it in India. Any group which sets itself apart and which sees itself as superior will do this. It’s not that Jews or Chinese make better writers, publishers, lawyers, film-makers, politicians, or wherever they predominate…. it is because they will always ‘employ’ their ‘own kind’ first. Equally talented non-Jews or non-Chinese just don’t get a look-in because the ‘system’ is rigged to a religious or racial definition.
For those who don’t think there is any truth to this then just take a look at how well countries do where they don’t have the Jewish ‘hold’ as Americans do or the Chinese ‘hold’ as Singapore does. There’s nothing which makes any race or religion more clever than any other, apart from educational opportunity so these ‘bubbles’ of excellence if you like must always be assessed by taking into account the environment in which they exist.

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By rosross, June 11, 2010 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

I have not read the book but unfortunately it is likely to be more of the ‘aren’t Jews just so clever; clearly smarter than anyone else’ myth. I am happy to retract this if the book deals with ‘what is a jew.’ The Nobel Prize numbers for instance are boosted because, a. they are done on a religious definition which is Jewish and no doubt christians would outperform everyone because christians make up most of the developed world, and b. because it includes people who are fully Jewish or part-Jewish. For someone who is a half, quarter, eighth or sixteenth Jewish (and they are not actually Jewish unless it runs through the maternal line) does the ‘cleverness’ come from the small Jewish inheritance or the christian, moslem, hindu, German, Indian, American, English, Dutch, Russian etc. etc? Again, if the Nobel prizewinners were classified according to whatever minor christian or muslim inheritance they had… how would this change things?
Unfortunately it is hard to see how such a book serves any good purpose for Jews because ‘goys’ see it as them once again blowing their own trumpet; or for anyone in general because I doubt very much that the ‘statistics’ are based on absolute Jewishness. Do all Nobel prizewinners contain a sixteenth christian inheritance?

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By ThomasG, June 11, 2010 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

kalpal, June 11 at 7:53 pm,

The National Socialist Party was the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Fascist Nazis of Adolph Hitler, had nothing at all to do with socialism for the non-Aryan populace and was selective socialism for the fascist Nazis by way of fascist extermination and the use of everyone else that was not exterminated as a slave labor force that were forced to provide the fascist Nazis with the benefit of their labor; socialism for the Nazis at the expense of their victims.

This type of socialism for the Right-Wingers at the expense of the populace is the same type of socialism that is practiced by the Conservative Right-Wing EXTREMIST Republicans at present in the United States and is socialism as a subjective trope.

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By Ed Harges, June 11, 2010 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

To the management:

Please put the Jesus thread back on the top rotation, so Mr. “LIGHT” can go play
with his religious friends and leave the grownups to have a discussion.

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By Peter Knopfler, June 11, 2010 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment

Great comment Glider So lets fly right on in. All cultures accumalate information and pass it on. Blind faith religions, place less importance to the present and their goal to a life hereafter stops information coming in and going out. If I accumulates more info over 3560 years more and placed a here and now importance you would be then called the people of the book, printing press, cell phone etc.Another layer. Equality especially for Women.go by the oldest first, Hindu says We are all equal in silence, meditation is the path to silence. Buddhist is similar in silence and do no harm, be still. The Hebrew-Jew, says we are all born not knowing, we are all born ignorant, equality through not knowing. This not knowing of equality gave you or one the responsibility to Know, yourself, your comunitee, your country, your world learn then go home go to work at what you know never stop learning people of many books. The christian believes in Heaven, and the the road to heaven is suffering we are all equal in suffering, everyone knows suffering, the Rabbi on the cross symbol of suffering. Islam, Hamas says We love death as much as you love life. Kill a jew go to paradise! Death, everyone is equal when dead. In the end its personal choice and what you are willing to live with, notice the pattern the younger the more violent, older the less voilent older in time to accumalate a lifestyle. Blind faith is dangerous to everyone and for those who believe, G_D never wanted to hide anything G-d wants you to know ALL, there is nothing that G_D does not want you to know!

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By CC, June 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow. A book review of a thoughtful scholarly series of essays about Capitalism
and Jews prompts a number of anti-Semitic rants, not that anyone, heaven
forbid, is actually an “anti-Semite.”

Has anyone besides me, who commented earlier, actually read the book?? Or
even the review?

It’s disgusting to me that there are readers of Truthdig who are spewing this
garbage. No one is referring to the book. No one is taking specific intelligent
issue with with any of Muller’s arguments or analysis. His book says nothing of
the politics of Israel, by the way. He writes a few pages on the economic history
of Israel and some on Zionism.

So using this book review to bash Israel and Jews is just shameful, and utterly
irrelevant to the book.

Hey guys, I assume you’re mostly guys, read the book. Use your brains. Take
yourselves and others seriously.

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By PatrickHenry, June 11, 2010 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

Average Joe, I think you hit on many good points in your letter.

I have never been an advocate for proactive apathy but I see why one could be given our media, politics and finance.

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By kalpal, June 11, 2010 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

average USA Joe, the conclusions you have reached are based on an old but true saw, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

Like a fish you have been hooked by a fake fly.

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By kalpal, June 11, 2010 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

The unquenchable need to villify Jews amuses me.

I suppose this need arises out of envy, jealousy and refusal to accept one’s own lacking character and low intellect.  In part it is based on poor education.

Palindromedary makes claims that are so patently bogus they have a certain audacity but they rest firmly in the realm of sick fantasy arising out of National Socialist desire to cleanse its own psychopathic personalities and absolve them from their horrific yet banal evil.

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By ThomasG, June 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

Kicking the Jews is not the solution to Privatized Capitalism, but I do see Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism as a solution to Privatized Capitalism.

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By Palindromedary, June 11, 2010 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

I used to be taken in, also, by the Jewish, propagandist, sympathy PR artists who would hold up the Holocaust as a reason why we should all let certain things slip in their favor. But over the years I have seen a number of things from like the 1967 Jewish strike on USS Liberty killing 34 and wounding over 100 US Sailors to the current Israeli strikes on the aid flotilla. I have seen the cruel and inhumane (almost Nazi-like) treatment of the Palestinians. Then I read this book by John Sack called “An Eye for an Eye” which tells about how the Jews, under the umbrella of the Russians after the Russians drove the Nazis out of Poland, set up more than a hundred concentration camps of their own and imprisoned, beat, tortured, raped, and killed many 10s of thousands of Germans that the Jews suspected of being Nazis or Nazi sympathizers. In some respects, I don’t blame the Jews for such a reaction. But it goes to show that the Jews were not a gentle lamb of God. And then again one wonders…after reading in the Bible about that Jewish God who commaned the Israelites to murder all the men, women, and children of Canaan…steal the land (and history repeated it self in 1948)...and all of the other atrocities that the mentally unstable God unleashed upon mankind…that those who follow that same God today…the Jews…the Muslims…and the Christians are all delusional and can cause great harm upon his fellow mankind by believing in such a crazy and idiotic concept…the mythical, probably due in large part to the copious numbers of hallucinogenic mushrooms they consumed to see such a god.  But I digress…..

A lot of Jews, living in Palestine, and around the world do not necessarily believe in what the Israeli government has done in their name. A lot of Christians may not like it either. They are probably in the same position that the rest of us are in…that powerful governments…or governments controlled by powerful, wealthy interests are making the world into the way THEY want it. And the rest of us can not do much to avoid it unless we were all united against the powers and worked to bring sanity into the world again.

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By Ed Harges, June 11, 2010 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

Of course, no part of the gigantically disproportionate Jewish presence in high
finance, law, medicine, media ownership, academia, and all other elite spheres
of society could possibly be due to nepotism or ethnic favoritism practiced
by Jews who reach positions of power in those fields, could it?

Could it be that at the same time Jews have been preaching against ethnic
discrimination, where it works against them, they have all along been practicing
it, where it works for them? Wouldn’t the state of Israel appear to be the
ultimate manifestation of this phenomenon? “Pay no attention, folks, move right
along, nothing to see here - and watch out for those awful, ethnically
discriminating WASPs!”

Of course, it’d be virtually impossible to track pro-Jewish discrimination by Jews
in the US with hard numbers, because Jews lobbied successfully to have
themselves removed as an ethnic category in US census forms and other public
statistics starting in, I believe, the 1940s. It used to be something publicly kept
track of, as we keep track of numbers concerning hispanics, American Indians,
blacks, etc.

Now isn’t it awfully convenient that we don’t keep track of this any more?

Why do Jews claim not to be a separate ethnic category in the US (“Don’t be
silly! It’s an antiquated 19th century racist concept! We’re just white people!”),
while militantly defending the existence of a state devoted to discrimination on
the basis of the very ethnic category which, according to their own wishes,
officially doesn’t exist in the United States?

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By NIKHILANANDA, June 11, 2010 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

if 25% of the forbes list of richest americans in the 1980’ were jewish, then SEVENTY-FIVE percent were NOT JEWISH. ... once again, thanx to israeli’s right-wing government, ALL jews are condemned…. anti-semitism is alive and well on trughdig and in america….. ya woll…....

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By glider, June 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

Hey Peter Knopfler,

Interesting commentary.  I am not rejecting your points completely as I find them very interesting, but do you really think it is legitimate to quantify passed down human knowledge with the creation dates of these various fictional religious books?

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By Palindromedary, June 11, 2010 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

Atheists “have no homeland” either. Maybe we should all invade Tulsa, Oklahoma….destroy Oral Roberts U. and bulldoze all the “Christians” or other religionist’s homes and businesses, olive trees, and the like…and build a wall around the city and keep out all of the religious riff-raff. It wouldn’t take long for the previously displaced to declare a jihad against us. Of course, the problem is that we atheists don’t own all the banks, the news media, and everything else it would take to keep the rest of the population in the world stupid about what has really happened. We probably wouldn’t find another super power that would support us and supply us with tons of nuclear weapons.

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By average USA Joe, June 11, 2010 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

a couple questions…

greenspan, bernanke, madoff, goldman sachs and most in investment banking, wolf blitzer and most in msm and hollywood, and so many in gov’t, on the supreme court (+kagan), etc, etc…  aren’t they all jews?

I can already hear all the antisemitism accusations…  but isn’t there anything to it?  or do you persist in trying for us to swallow whole that blue is really red?

This is an open letter to all jews:

I’ve been reading a lot of things here and there and have finally decided to contribute my two cents’ worth.

Not so long ago I had a lot of sympathy for jewish people.  And with all the holocaust movies and what not, I even thought that, if I ever were in a situation like WWII where I could help or hide some jews to protect them, kind of like in a movie, even at considerable risk to myself…  I thought to myself then that I would do it, it’s the right thing to do.

Today I am not so sure.  Now Come on, I am not anti-Semitic.  I am NOT suggesting that we exterminate or even hurt the jews.  It’s just that after everything israel has done, I feel that it has lost not only credibility but also legitimacy.  I mean, if this is the way you treat people whose land you did steal (I am sorry, that is indisputable: many of them do have deeds of trust, not vague biblical claims), ethnically cleansing them and starving them in Gaza and elsewhere, how can you expect me to come to any other conclusion?  How could you of all people recreate a ghetto and inflict upon others the horrors that were inflicted onto you?  I just can’t understand that.  I know, you’re gonna throw the terrorism bogeyman card but this terrorism bit is wearing thin.  I did look it up: for example, there was a cease fire with Gaza, israel broke it and provoked Hamas.  And in any case, white phosphorous and civilians in hospital and UN compounds for a couple of firecrackers?  You have lost any and all legitimacy.  Actually, I would be hard pressed to even argue that by your barbarity and crimes against humanity, you have not forfeited your right to exist.  It’s not the way I feel but, intellectually, and if I am honest, how could I argue that?  I can’t.

So yes I am utterly disgusted with israel and jews in general, and please, don’t bug me with the jewish and zionist differentiation.  I know there are good jewish people, I know some of them.  But jews, even if they are not israelis, have a special responsibility…  No duty…  to speak and act against the racist monster israel has become.  Jew, zionist, yeah, I know, I should see the difference, but I don’t… let God sort them out.

And you see what is really sad is the following: How I would have protected you even putting my family at risk in the past…  All that goodwill.  Today I won’t lift a finger for you.  Don’t ever come knocking on my door, whether zionist or just plain jewish, it will remain shut.

So no, I will not advocate for, nor condone, nor partake in the coming pogroms against jews, but I won’t do a thing to help them either.

Coming pogroms against jews? For every action, there is a reaction.  You’ve gone too far. It’s inevitable, it is the way of history, the pendulum swings.  And it seems to be the jews’ destiny throughout history, always getting too cocky and pushing the envelope too far and then getting major blow back.

I wish it were different, but it’s really your own doing, and I got my own country and my own family to take care of.  So please, change NOW or get the hell out of other people’s country.  Palestine, but also out of America.  Get a hold of your aipac and all these j street pressures.  I want my country back.  Palestinians do too.

Otherwise don’t complain when blowback hits and, when it does, don’t expect me to give any assistance whatsoever.  You brought it upon yourselves.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 11, 2010 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

The answer to the author’s and reviewer’s fundamental question about “Why…..?” can be answered in four words:

Knowledge is portable wealth.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 11, 2010 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

malakyah, June 11 at 12:18 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

The Jew are anti-American ..never forget that Fact!
*******************************************

That’s why there are so many Magen Davids among the crosses in the American Cemetery at Normandy.

BTW, I reported your post.

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By CC, June 11, 2010 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can tell from the comments that most have not read the book nor hardly even
the review.

The review is a good and fair description of the book. I read it a few months
ago and found it provocative and thoughtful. It’s not a polemic, nor should
anyone read it as such. The four essays, each about 50 pp long, in a small
volume that measures about 4.5X8.5 inches, are

“The Long Shadow of Usury: Capitalism and the Jews in Modern European
Thought”

“The Jewish Response to Capitalism: Milton Friedman’s Paradox Reconsidered”

“Radical Anticapitalism: The Jew as Communist”

“The Economics of Nationalism and the Fate of the Jews in Twentieth Century
Europe”

The introduction is 14 pp.

And for the record, Muller teaches at Catholic University but there is every
suggestion from the dedication to the introduction to his CV that he himself is
Jewish. He did his undergraduate work at Brandeis and his graduate work at
Columbia. But it’s the text not the biography that counts.

For anyone with a passing interest in European history anywhere from the 15th
to the 21st century Muller’s essays are full of insights and new ways of
presenting information that is familiar to most of us. I particularly enjoyed the
final essay on nationalism and the ideas of Ernst Gellner. It helped me to
understand a lot of 20th century history that doesn’t necessarily have anything
to do with the Jews. Wars, population exchanges, continuing struggles over
minorities etc etc.

Read the book. Then comment. Or at least take the review seriously. After the
book was reviewed in the NY Times Sunday Book Review there was a letter from
someone complaining the Muller had no standing to write this book, the
assumption being, I guess, that he was an anti-Semite and likely Catholic.
Couldn’t be that the correspondent had read the book.

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By V, June 11, 2010 at 10:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hmm, Malakyah, so all Jews are anti-American? That’s a
FACT, eh? You know what else is a FACT? All people who
post online that all Jews are anti-American are dumber
than the bottom of my shoe.

Oooh, it’s a contradiction, and one of the statements
much be false. This is probably over your shaved head.
Take a nap and consider it later, while you’re trying
to figure out how to use your toaster.

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By kalpal, June 11, 2010 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

A book review generates a massive amount of racism, bigotry, anti-semitism and paganistic omen seeking.

I guess what the book has to say is not a as important as the opportunity to spew bilge against “the other” who does not conform to the usual paganistic schismatics.

How wonderful of Truthdig to supply this venue to less than sane full-time obsessed haters. Keep up the good work, guys. American needs truth divulging intellects like you to show them the gratifying aspects of a lack of education and inability to think in a critical fashion.

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Peter Knopfler's avatar

By Peter Knopfler, June 11, 2010 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

You see that what this is all about, John Steinsvold
suggested a great site, sharing knowledge is fun,
thankyou for ATHENAEUM Reading Room, where I found this
Quote… The Human Race has improved everything,except
the Human Race   Adlai Stevenson… very well said
thanks John S.

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By ssg13565, June 11, 2010 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

And what about the Knights Templar that did much of the financing of the Christian Crusades?  Because of their wide ranging network, they were able to take deposits in one place and pay out cash in another.  Pretty modern banking stuff for the time.

The church came to dislike them for the power that they wielded.  I don’t think they were a Jewish organization.

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By kalpal, June 11, 2010 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

Jacob, I was sabra who was born in Haifa and grew up there. I am quite familiar with Israel, Zionism and Judaism. I grew up in a coutry where to be a Jew is and was to be very much the norm, just one of the guys wherever you went, rather than a Jew who lives in a Jewish neighborhood in a city of Christians or Muslims.

When I came to the USA I saw things I had never seen in Israel. I saw a man lying passed out on the street in Manhattan who was being ignored by the pedestrians. I had never seen such indifference to another human being and was appalled by it. I was upset that my own relatives who were just as indifferent. I asked why no one called an ambulance and was not to get involved.

callousness and indifference was to me the hallmark of being a big city Christian. It was nothing I saw inthe people I grew up with. It has gotten worse and never get better. Israelis spend far too much learning the worst parts of being an American.

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By V, June 11, 2010 at 9:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My last point—look at the cover of this book. The
word Capitalism and Jews is in red.

Red is the color used to denote something scary,
dangerous, bloody, etc.

The cover makes a clear statement that this book is
NOT an unbiased historical account, or a sober look
into economics as it relates to a particular group.

Anyone with a brain in their head will know that a
cover like this suggests that capitalism and Jews are
a threat.

Wake up, people. It’s the same as its ever been.

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By John Steinsvold, June 11, 2010 at 9:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

An Alternative to Capitalism (which we need here in the USA)

The following link takes you to an essay titled: “Home of the Brave?” which was published by the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:

http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/steinsvold.htm

John Steinsvold

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By balkas, June 11, 2010 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

‘Jews’[means an multiethnicity with a peculiar cult]can get rich only in two ways: by robbing people or by divine guidance.

And not to many people wld recognize the latter as valid. And, thus hatred for these crooks.

They have reaped what they have sown. And they will never admit to being robbers, but always blame us goyim and shout how innocent they are!
Good news is that a lot of americans are now onto them and not just slavs and germans.

In parting, i note that not all ‘jews’ see it as i and many goyim do. tnx

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By V, June 11, 2010 at 8:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hm I somehow got cut off while I was writing . . .

What I was saying is that the statement in this
article beginning with “The Jewish question” has a
nazi ring to it. It’s in the same dark, airless room
as the “The Jewish problem” and begs for a
“solution.”

Jewish people are very, very, very, very sensitive to
anti-semitism for one reason: The anti-semites know
it’s not okay for them to say what they really think,
so they try to hide behind certain statements and
phrasings.

In other words, unless you are stone-brained neo-nazi
from Montana with a swastika tattooed on your
forehead, if you don’t like Jews you will try to hide
it, but you will let it be known in many more subtle
and indirect ways.

Jews are very tuned into this, just as black people
are tuned into the same kind of veiled racism.

So, this article made my radar (Jewdar?)go off,
especially at that line . . The Jewish question . . .

Hey buddy, I’m Jewish and I don’t feel like a
question. Like millions of other Jews I practice
Tikkun Olam. I run a non-profit organization that
teaches children how to grow food, I run a business
that sells organic garden products, I continue my
education and seek to uplift society.

Jew hating nazi scum like nfamous are the true
scourge of the world, they are pathetic creatures who
have no power of their own because they just dirt-
level dumb, so they seek the “enemy” wherever they
can, in Jews, black people, homosexuals, whoever they
can attack, and will perpetrate vengeful violence in
mobs where the aggregate IQ is about 74.

Support these cretins at your own peril.

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By Jacob, June 11, 2010 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

Kalpal should keep in mind that the Jews are a people and not just a group with the same religion.
  Zionism was and is, the movement of national liberation of the Jewish people. It was founded by secular Jews, motivated by nationalism. And, against all odds, the movement succeeded to reestablish the independent nation-state of the Jewish people, in the place of its origin.

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By Peter Knopfler, June 11, 2010 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

Let me try to help, Zionism is very simple, A JEWISH
STATE FOR JEWISH PEOPLE, YES because they were
mistreated for thousands of years by hundreds of
countries, The City of DAVID, 3500 year old capital
of a Jewish State drop them all off in the desert
where they came from, and then, years, thousands of
years of collective group consciousness, oranges in
the desert. Nothing more to Zionism but to secure a
home for the homeless JEW, THAT is it nothing, we do
not wish to dominate the world like Islam and the
Pope, give us peace we give you technology, leave us
alone we give you music, smile with us and we will
show you more than you ever thought. Zionism is not
N.Korea.

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By malakyah, June 11, 2010 at 8:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Jew are anti-American ..never forget that Fact!

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By kalpal, June 11, 2010 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

“The end is almost here and you morons still don’t see it, unless these posts are Jewish plants like on many web sites these days.” quoted from NFAMOUS(?)

One is reminded of an old chinese saying, RATS KNOW THE WAY OF RATS.

The person who wrote that statement which begins this post must surely be a moron to suggest that those who fail to achieve his intellectual heights are inadequate.

Must nice to bask in the warm glow of racism and bigotry. Probably works especially well on cold nights.

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By kalpal, June 11, 2010 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

To try and differentiate between Zionism and Judaism is to try and create a schism between Jesuits and catholicism and/or christianity. Do remember that Jesus was never anything besides a Jews. It was his less intelligent followers who discarded Judaism.

Without Judaism there would never be zionism. Admittedly the most ardent zionists were not exactly devoutly practicing jews but rather Jews who were frustrated with and sick of living where being a second class citizen constantly under jeopardy was the best they could ever hope for. 

Anyone who thinks that stamping out Zionism is any solution to the world’s ills should try cavorting around without oxygen for a few hours.

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By Jacob, June 11, 2010 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

nfamous is as racist as he can be. That post, especially the Holocaust denial is an outrage, Why would the moderator allow it?
Can nfamous name the 130 countries from which the Jews were expelled. His ignorance and bias are limitless. The Jews originated in the Middle East some 3500 y ago, as archeology, history and recent genetic studies have proven.
  No doubt nfamous will be welcome to the many anti-Semitic groups flourishing in the Web.

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By ricardo, June 11, 2010 at 8:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Interesting sounding book. I am surprised the reviewer did not mention that the primary critic of capitalism, Karl Marx, was of Jewish heritage. I have read many of Marx’s books and don’t recall reading the reference to the God of Jews being money. Marx did say that religion is the opiate of the masses.

The comment above from nfamous is outrageous and ridiculous. Sounds like a paid provocateur.

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By Wounded and Dangerous, June 11, 2010 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

You are always going to get the kind of conversation that you are witnessing between Peter Knopfler and nfamous when it comes to these kinds of issues. That is why I decided to go tame on the issue. I know that it is inherently controversial. The real enemy as I understand things is Zionism. Jews and their capitalism are like the rest of us, namely controllable under the right circumstances. However, things are currently not so controllable and I think you can point in the direction of Zionism for part of your answer. And, yes, most influential Zionists just happen to be Jews. Maybe not religious Jews as we understand the term, but Jews nevertheless.

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By kalpal, June 11, 2010 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

Once again ignorance rears its ugly head and bigotry tries to dance in the streets.

Jews became what each culture they lived in permitted or forced them to become.

There were no free choices to make about which craft guild to apply to or which artisan to apprentice with.

Jews kept being pushed around, threatened, harrassed and murdered since they were always the minority and the killers were heartilty backed by clerics and royals in each society who needed scapegoats to deflect failures.

Jews tried every avenue open to them even if those avenues were narrow, garbage filled alleys since the rest of the world was closed off to anyone who might show some variation of exceptionalism or excellence.

At some point someone will lay out why Jews were pushed and shoved into undertaking their current standing in society. It must also be pointed out that Israel since its inception lived in a neighborhood where its survival was threatened every day. Arab radio made no bones about the intention to push the Israelis into sea and watch them drown. Based on those persistent promises, Israel undertook to insure its safety. Knowing full well that giving its neighbors any quarter would bring about massacres as was status quo in the past.

Anyone who believes that Israel’s neighbors would be gracious in victory also believes that the moon is made of cheese and we need merely bring it to earth in pieces and feast to our hearts’ content. 

Jews will remain exceptional and will continue to fight for survival against those are cerain that this world will become utopian if only all Jews were dead. Surely if Jews died then the Taliban will cease harming women and girls. Al Qaeda will no longer resent imperialism and christian presence on islamic conquered lands. The Hutu and Tutsi’s will become bosom buddies. The Muslims of Sudan will no longer go forth and murder the Fur tribes on their lands, Darfur.

All this world needs is the elimination of Jews and zionists to become a suburb of heaven. Bah humbug!

The anti-semites, bigots and other racists will keep on being the hateful people they were taught to be by those people who are their relatives and mentors. Hatred must be kept alive and nurtured to be white hot and boiling or one may be forced to acknowledge inheernt failings and inadequacies.

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By Peter Knopfler, June 11, 2010 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

The NOT FAMOUS….nfamous above says that the Holocaust
is or was a MYTH, What a creep, My parents are camp
survivors I am from Vienna 1949, I wish I could shake
your hand THE HOLOCAUST A MYTH, now you see why Israel
is the way it is , people like nfamouse I grew up with
that so called Myth, Love to see in person mr.nfamouse.

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By Paul_GA, June 11, 2010 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

I wonder if Muller’s book mentions the Austrians—like Mises, say, or Rothbard? Or Hayek? They were Jewish, and they had something to say about capitalism, too.

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By Peter Knopfler, June 11, 2010 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Well I`m inspired to get the Book by J.Muller,
historical Jewish history is also a theme for me.
Without reading the book, here is a little thought
ejection Look carefully at the record of TIME Jewish
calendar is 5770 where as Christian 2010, and Islam
1430, there is a vast amount of collected information
in 3760 years more than double the information
stemming from Christianity and Quadruple, yes 4 times
the information of Islam,  the Jew 4340 years older,
therefore a vaster pool, of greater time to
accumulate more information. As we doubled our
information in shorter periods of time, that Jewish
pool of information grew faster than the Christian
and Islamic cultures, because so much more in the
beginning. The Jewish information increases on size
and depth and length and therefore many Nobel prizes
go to Jews, physics to farming, Math Chemistry Media,
etc, had not been for the Holocaust where Jews lost
the majority of its collective brain, to Nazi
ignorance and world neglect, yet the information Pool
survived and thrived, out pops the cell phone as the
printing press before 14 million Jews world wide and
for a small population we Jews have the most
influence because we have more thousands of years
more accumulated knowledge. So hate the Jew for being
around so much longer a capitalism, Marxism is also a
Jewish Idea. ITS JUST TIME AND MONEY, More time to
think, more time to do 5770 years of accumulated
collective consciousness, is very powerful no matter
how little our population is, Read Albert Einstein
“Why I AM A JEW”! I will get Jerry`s book.If YOU had
4000 years more to make more money, how many people
do you need?! 14 million is the answer. Holocaust
took the HEAD Israel became the body, and the head
found it`s body time to get adjusted to being
attacked every 7 years. If it wasn`t for the
crusades, Inquisition, holocaust, there would be as
many JEWS AS CHRISTIANS, Christians 2.3 Billion
people, 7 million Jews in Israel, Shameful how the
world has treated Jews and so what do you expect now!

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By just a perception for now., June 11, 2010 at 6:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Milton Friedman economic policies where used in this country for the last 30 years along with Ayn Rand
belief of survival of the fittest. This policies were enforced by Alan Greenspan. Then when it came to the bailout,the largest beneficiaries are Greenberg of AIG, Blansfein of BofA ,and Rubin of Citibank, Add to that Goldman Sachs. Who aided them? Tim Geithner, Summers and Bernanke. These are the same people who did not want to cap CEO’s Salaries of course that had to have the approval of Rahm Emmanuel.

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By gabrielle agachiko, June 11, 2010 at 6:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Perhaps i missed it, but is there a correlation between the fact that historically jewish people were more or less FORCED into money lending & gem trading.  as i understand it, jews throughout history in europe lived in ‘ghettos’ where they practiced the trades and crafts that were allowed them.  they were not ALLOWED into other craft guilds and societies.  they WERE allowed to lend money.  they WERE allowed to trade in gems and gold, as those things were considered to be sinful things for ‘good christians’ to do; not withstanding the fact that most European kingdoms would not have been able to maintain without constant loans and propping up from loans from jews, and more often than not, when unable or unwilling to repay, the ghetto where the money lender lived would then be put to the sword or fire.  these practices went on for hundreds of years and MUST be considered as part of the equation.  i think.

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By ralph, June 11, 2010 at 6:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is there a relation here among Israel, USA, lobbying, and capitalist Zionists?

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By eso, June 11, 2010 at 6:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

...Muller makes a compelling case that the embrace of communism by some European Jews was a catastrophe…...................

Quite an error this statement by the author if one presumes (and there is a lot to support that presumption) that the Jews are of the same stock as the Cathars, Bogomils, Waldensians, Johns Children, Lollards, etc. The latter were all repressed by Catholicism, the secular version of religion. Incidentally, this secularism is manifest by the fact that the Church sent Jesus to Heaven, while John who preceded Jesus was of Earth. In any case, the Jews survived because they were most likely a caste of tax collectors for the king and thus protected by the king. When secular Christianity began to terrorize the earlier version of Christianity, the terrorized naturally “converted” to Judaism.

There is nothing wrong with the people of Earth embracing communism, not capitalism, the latter a secularist oriented belief system. Of course, perverted communism as that of the 20th century was could not work, but this does not make egalitarian and communitarian ideas unworkable.

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By ssg13565, June 11, 2010 at 5:47 am Link to this comment

This subject had to come up sooner or later.

What with Lehman Brothers, Goldman-Sachs, Bear Stearns, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Paul Krugman, ... I was wondering how long it would take.

“but its message for our present is modest at best.”

Dream on.  People will make a connection whether we want them to or not.

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By Wounded and Dangerous, June 11, 2010 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

This is a broad category for discussion and I would not know where to start.

” Capitalism and the Jews ” is the opening statement. What are we supposed to do with this?

Why not ” Capitalism and the Christians.”?

Or, ” Capitalism and the Chinese “?

Capitalism is everybody’s game. Some are just more successful at it than others. We shouldn’t actually care who the winners are in the game of capitalism and the acquisition that accompanies it. What we should focus on as a society is protecting everybody from its abuses - which are many. And, if we are going to maintain the system of capitalism then we must find ways where the majority of the people will benefit from the system itself. Anything less is a failure of ourselves and those politicians who represent us. The current problem is of course, that our politicians do not represent us to the degree that they should. Maybe capitalism does that - and then again, maybe it doesn’t.

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By Jacob, June 11, 2010 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

Marx was born to Jewish parents who converted. In fact, his mother converted after his birth.
  His statement that the one God of the Jews is “money” is as racist as it can be, typical   anti-Semitic in nature.

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By ofersince72, June 11, 2010 at 4:33 am Link to this comment

Won’t read it, don’t care
OVER AND OUT OF HERE,
good luck to all you TDers

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By P. T., June 10, 2010 at 11:45 pm Link to this comment

Hostility to capitalism did not come from Jewish capitalists.  One place animus came from was from Jews working in sweatshops in such businesses as the garment industry.

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