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Op-Ed: Don't Cry for Hitchens, He was an Anti-Semite

Hitchens had a serious problem with Jews, Israel and anti-Semitism.
Published: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 9:37 PM


The universal encomia for the departure of Christopher Hitchens, the most celebrated atheist in the world, has been matched only by the earlier demise of Apple’s guru, Steve Jobs.

Some of Hitchens’ praise is deserved, since he had been an exception in the leftist debacle after 9/11.

But Hitchens had a serious problem with Jews, Israel and anti-Semitism. Despite the well known fact that the journalistic superstar boosted a deadly Judeophobic propaganda, Hitchens was given a pass by many US Jews for the anti-Semitic cheap shots about Israel just because he was a member of "the club".

Celebrated Jewish personalities such as Hitchens, George Steiner, the late Tony Judt and Alan Ginzburg, Noam Chomsky or Susan Sontag, all of them friends of Mr. Hitchens, have not just criticized Israel for its policies, they have depicted it as a “racist, vicious, inhumane entity”.

In 1987, at age 38, Hitchens discovered that he was Jewish. In the mid-1970s, a “Jewish settler” in Hebron told Hitchens his authority to dwell there came from God.

“This was where I began to feel seriously uncomfortable,” Hitchens wrote in his memoir. “Some such divine claim underlay not just ‘the occupation’ but the whole idea of a separate state for the Jews in Palestine”.

In the online magazine Slate, Hitchens not only depicted Israel as “stupid, messianic and superstitious”, he published an article entitled “Israel’s Shabbos Goy”, evoking the canard of a Jewish conspiracy manipulating US policy.

“Why does the United States acquiesce so wretchedly in its own disgrace at the hands of a virtual client state?”, asked Hitchens. He validated the Hitlerist stereotype of the Jews as preternaturally crafty, hypocritical, manipulative, supremacist, animalistic, and morally diseased creatures who, with the help of their corrupt talents, set themselves to exploiting Gentiles for financial gain.

The Christian Science Monitor, in memoriam, printed 10 of Hitchens' “more memorable quotes,” including: “I am an anti-Zionist. I’m one of those people of Jewish descent who believes that Zionism would be a mistake even if there were no Palestinians”.

In his atheist best-selling jeremiad, “God is Not Great”, Hitchens describes Judaism and Israel as both “genocidal”.

He rhetorically asked Israelis, in Slate: “Without God on your side, what the hell are you doing in the greater Jerusalem area in the first place?”, a question which would have been expected of Helen Thomas and the worst kind of anti-Jewish bigots.

Hitchens downplayed the sufferings imposed by terrorists on Israel. Concerning, for example, the 2003 terrorist bombing of the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, Hitchens wrote that “the worshippers were not killed for building a settlement in the West Bank: they were members of a very old and honorable community who were murdered for being Jews”.

So, according to Mr. Hitchens, the killing spree againstf the “settlers”, like the recent Fogels and the Palmers, or a bus blowing up in Tel Aviv, was perfectly acceptable.

Hitchens named as his “beloved guide in the superior sense of that term” the late Israel Shahak, who asked the Jews to cease to be racist and evil by divesting themselves of Judaism and Israel.

Hitchens’ self-anti-Semitism had the same intensity of the Jewish philosopher Otto Weininger. And as Weininger’s suicide in 1903 was regarded by some assimilated Jews of that time as the only “honorable” way for Judaism to cleanse the world of his existence, Hitchens’ kind of Jews are asking the Israelis to commit suicide by dismantling their “settler entity”.

Contrary to what Hitchens thought, there is much more Jewish truth in a bullet proof bus going to Gush Etzion than in a Martini party in Manhattan.