Sunday, February 8, 2009

David Duke, "Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening to the Jewish Question”

David Duke’s “Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening to the Jewish Question” is another installment in the pseudo-academic literature which seeks to justify anti-Semitism. The author, however, asserts that the label of “a leading anti-Semite” granted to him by the media is unwarranted. In fact, Duke spares no effort to try to chisel an image of himself as a human rights activist, an anti-colonialist, an anti-imperialist, and someone who respects the heritages of others. To see whether this self-imagine is borne out by the narrative, one will do well by beginning to read this book from the end which contains Duke’s diatribe through which Duke "edifies" the reader about how the European culture would have done well without the Jews. It is important to note that Duke understands “European culture” as the cultures of non-Jewish Europeans particularly those of whom Duke considers himself a descendant. The purported virtues of this vaguely delineated group continue being extolled throughout the narrative. It is his belonging to this group and the group’s purported centrality to the establishment of what today is the United States which lie at the core of Duke's beliefs presented in this narrative. While extolling the virtues of “his” group, Duke tells us stories of horror of the Jewish terrorism which led to the creation of the state of Israel without ever mentioning the fact that great atrocities on a far larger scale were perpetrated by “his” group during the conquest of what today is the United States and countries of Latin and South America and the Caribbean. Duke fails to mention to the reader that “his” group is responsible for the fact that there is not a single native Haitian alive in Haiti today. Mentioning such facts, however, would have amounted to a balanced academic study of conquest which is not something Duke is interested in. If Duke’s book has no academic value, why then bother reading it or commenting on it? The importance of being familiar with this type of literature cannot be underestimated for a variety of reasons. One, regardless of the way anyone might feel about it, it does exist and must be acknowledged as such. Two, it does contain references to events which did occur and for which – in more cases than not – there is no universally accepted version of what had transpired. Three, Duke does purport to present his research in an academic format which readers not well-familiar with the standards of credible academic research might mistake for what it is not. Duke is not an academic. He holds a Ukrainian degree which he routinely refers to as “Ph.D.” in English and which does not bear the same name in the original, nor does its acquisition bear the requirement of novelty which is part and parcel of Ph.D. acquisition in the US. Most of Duke’s audience is not aware of these important nuances. Nor may such audience be necessarily aware of the fact that most Ukrainians seek to enter US Ph.D. programs while David Duke went the other way which makes one wonder what compelled him to disregard the quality programs in history in his home state of Louisiana and head out to a country with a struggling system of education and enroll in one of its few private universities, the one known for its penchant for anti-Semitic literature. To those aware of the nature and origin of Duke’s “Doctorate”, it is of no consequence. However, to many of those outside the US academia, the title of “Dr.” which Duke now attaches to his name gives him the academic credibility which he so ardently seeks in his quest to deliver the “incontrovertible truth” to the “people of the European descent”. For the sake of accuracy, it must be noted that, as Duke himself asserts, every quote in his narrative is referenced to the source which means that neither the Talmudic references, nor the controversies which to date exists around the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, nor the exact number of those who perished in the Holocaust, nor the fact that a substantial number of American intellectuals is of Jewish ethnicity. While outlining these events Duke, however, conveniently forgets about the wealth of arguments and statements which have been made to the contrary of what he prefers to believe. You will not see any of these arguments or facts in this book. If you are not familiar with the subject-matter, however, and are not aware of the fact that Duke cites a largely discredited publication or something for which amendments have been made and agreed upon by the majority of “mainstream” scholars (the “4 million” memorial plaque on the gates of Auschwitz which was subsequently replaced with the one saying “1.1 million” is the case in point), it is easy to take Duke’s narrative as groundbreaking while it is old news in the academic circles. Duke chooses not to inform the reader of this and instead uses it as evidence of distortions about the Holocaust. He does the same thing in several other cases. It is important to understand these details of Duke’s narrative to fully appreciate the credibility of his arguments and make a determination of whether Duke’s postulations about hundreds of years of Jewish conspiracy against the Gentiles have foundation. At times Duke shows the reader that he is prone to believe that all Jews in the world grow up to have an allegiance to the state of Israel and animosity toward the Gentiles and other times he believes that it is only the Jewish neo-cons who do that . Inexorably, however, Duke thinks of the Jews as a monolithic force assembled to undercut the Gentiles’ efforts at cultural development. A reader with insufficient exposure to -- or without such altogether -- the Jewish community of the United States might be prone to take Duke’s argument at face value. None of those who are familiar with the finer facets of the Jewish community and the diversity and secularism which presently exist will find Duke’s perception of such community credible. This, once again, shows that a reader will do well if he or she familiarizes himself or herself with the mainstream academic literature of the matters discussed by Duke prior to the reading of this book. The freedom of speech the lack of which Duke decries in this book but which nonetheless allows him to publish his books and pamphlets, make speeches and run a website (unlike it is the case with Salman Rushdie whose death warrant was issued by the Iranian government, a government which gets a lot of praise in Duke’s recent speeches) unharrassed by the US government gives everyone a forum in this country without regard to race, ethnicity or religion. This, however, does not mean that the media are under any constitutional mandate to put Duke’s “research” on the front page, be the media outlet owned by a person of Jewish descent or not. If Duke believes that he is “hounded” by Jewish organizations and "the Jew-dominated media" in the United States, in his next book he should probably try to explain to us how the Iranian “freedom of speech” has managed to result in a fatwa against Rushdie and the "Jew-dominated media and government" in the US have not even attempted to ban David Duke's vitriol as hate speech leave alone restrict his personal liberty or declare his assassination fair game, as it was done by the Iranian government in Rushdie's case.