Monday, September 16, 2013

GK Chesterton: Anti-Semitic Zionist

"Readers of this column may possibly know already that I am devoted to GK Chesterton, the creator of Father Brown, the clerical detective." (Greg Sheridan, The Forum, The Weekend Australian Magazine, 14/9/13)

As the Australian media's most vocal Zionist, The Australian's foreign editor might be interested to learn that the GK Chesterton [1874-1936] to whom he is "devoted" was a self-confessed anti-Semite.

This revelation may be found in Chesterton's book The New Jerusalem (1920) - the product of a Zionist-sponsored rambamming in 1919:

"There is an attitude for which my friends and I were for a long period rebuked and even reviled; and of which at the present period we are less likely than ever to repent. It was always called Anti-Semitism; but it was always much more true to call it Zionism. At any rate it was much nearer to the nature of the thing to call it Zionism, whether or no it can find its geographical concentration in Zion."

Anti-Semitism is Zionism?! Perish the thought! How can this possibly be?

"The substance of this heresy was exceedingly simple. It consisted entirely in saying that Jews are Jews; and as a logical consequence that they are not Russians or Roumanians or Italians or Frenchmen or Englishmen." 

IOW, Jews didn't really belong in Europe.

Chesterton elaborates:

"During the war the newspapers commonly referred to them as Russians; but the ritual wore so singularly thin that I remember one newspaper paragraph saying that the Russians in the East End complained of the food regulations, because their religion forbade them to eat pork. My own brief contact with the Greek priests of the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem did not permit me to discover any trace of this detail of their discipline; and even the Russian pilgrims were said to be equally negligent in the matter."

The fallacy here, of course, is Chesterton's assumption that just because these East End Russians, unlike other Russians, were averse to pork that somehow made them not Russian.

He continues:

"The point for the moment, however, is that if I was violently opposed to anything, it was not to Jews, but to that sort of remark about Jews; or rather to the silly and craven fear of making it a remark about Jews. But my friends and I had in some general sense a policy in the matter; and it was in substance the desire to give Jews the dignity and status of a separate nation. We desired that in some fashion, and so far as possible, Jews should be represented by Jews, should live in a society of Jews, should be judged by Jews and ruled by Jews. I am an Anti-Semite if that is Anti-Semitism. It would seem more rational to call it Semitism." (pp 264-265)

So, not belonging in Europe, Jews needed a land of their own - outside Europe.

And blow me down if the father of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl, in response to such anti-Semitic logic as Chesterton's, didn't come to the exact same conclusion as that of the great British writer: "Everything tends, in fact, to one and the same conclusion, which is clearly enunciated in that classic Berlin phrase: 'Juden Raus!' (Out with the Jews!)" (The Jewish State, 1896, Dover Publications, p 86)

And so it is that Herzl's Zionism and Chesterton's (or anyone else's) anti-Semitism are really just two sides of the same coin.

Speaking of which, a penny for your thoughts on the subject, Greg.

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