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Harvard Hires an Anti-Semitic Apologist for the Islamic Republic

Harvard University’s Kennedy School recently gave a semester-long journalism fellowship to one Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian blogger committed to defending the regime in Tehran—who is also fond of looking for signs of malignant Jewish influence. To add insult to injury, the Kennedy School is falsely billing Derakhshan as a dissident. Sohrab Ahmari explains:

Derakhshan has spent years viciously assailing real dissidents, and he has a long record of public statements in support of the [Iranian] regime, its leadership and security apparatus, and its conspiratorial and anti-Semitic worldview.

Start with the anti-Semitism. In December 2015, amid the popular frenzy over Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Derakhshan took to his English-language Twitter account to note that the villain of the movie was identified as the “supreme leader,” which is also the title of Iran’s ruling theocrat. Wrote Derakhshan [about the film’s director]: “A supreme leader in the new Star Wars? What is the very pro-Israel J.J. Abrams hinting at?”

The tweet played on the canard, rampant among Iranian Islamists, that Jews use Hollywood influence to plant pro-Israel and anti-Iran messages in the minds of global audiences. In the real world, there is no evidence that J.J. Abrams is “very pro-Israel”—other than his Jewish last name, of course. . . .

Then there are the odes, published on his blog, to the Iranian regime. In June 2007, Derakhshan declared that “I’m proud to be Iranian, not because of Cyrus [the Great], but because of Khomeini, a true anti-colonial leader who created the only true postcolonial state in the world, [the] Islamic Republic of Iran.” That would be Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, who executed thousands of secular dissidents, issued a death fatwa against the British novelist Salman Rushdie, and transformed Iran into an Islamist totalitarian state. Derakhshan has similarly warm feelings for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the U.S.-designated Iranian terror army that, among other things, has been spearheading the slaughter in Syria on behalf of Bashar al-Assad. . . .

Most egregiously, Derakhshan has accused prominent Iranian dissidents and thinkers of spying for the U.S.—while the regime imprisoned these figures.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Harvard, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs

 

Hannah Arendt, Adolf Eichmann, and the Jews

Feb. 23 2018

In 1963—a year after Adolf Eichmann’s sentencing by an Israeli court—reports on the trial by the German-born Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt appeared in the New Yorker and were soon published as a book. This “report on the banality of evil,” as the book was subtitled, outraged many Jews, including many of her erstwhile friends and admirers, on account of her manifest contempt for the entire preceding, her disgust for the state of Israel, her accusation that a wide array of European Jewish leaders (if not the majority of the victims) were complicit in their own murder, and her bizarre insistence that Eichmann was “not a monster,” or even an anti-Semite, but a mindless, faceless bureaucrat. While extensive evidence has been brought to light that Arendt was wrong both in her claims of Jewish passivity and her evaluation of Eichmann as the head of the SS’s Jewish section, her book remains widely read and admired. Ruth Wisse comments on its enduring legacy:

When Arendt volunteered to report on the Eichmann trial, it was presumed that she was doing so in her role as a Jew. . . . But Arendt actually traveled to Jerusalem for a deeper purpose—to reclaim Eichmann for German philosophy. She did not exonerate Nazism and in fact excoriated the postwar Adenauer government for not doing enough to punish known Nazi killers, but she rehabilitated the German mind and demonstrated how that could be done by going—not beyond, but around, good and evil. She came to erase Judaism philosophically, to complicate its search for moral clarity, and to unseat a conviction [that, in Saul Bellow’s words], “everybody . . . knows what murder is.”

Arendt was to remain the heroine of postmodernists, deconstructionists, feminists, relativists, and internationalist ideologues who deny the stability of Truth. Not coincidentally, many of them have also disputed the rights of the sovereign Jewish people to its national homeland. Indeed, as anti-Zionism cemented the coalition of leftists, Arabs, and dissident minorities, Arendt herself was conscripted, sometimes unfairly and in ways she might have protested, as an ally in their destabilizing cause. They were enchanted by her “perversity” and were undeterred in their enthusiasm by subsequent revelations, like those of the historian Bernard Wasserstein, who documented Arendt’s scholarly reliance on anti-Semitic sources in her study of totalitarianism, or of revelations about her resumed friendship with Martin Heidegger despite his Nazi associations.

At the same time, however, the Arendt report on the Eichmann trial became one of the catalysts for something no one could have predicted—an intellectual movement that came to be known as neoconservatism. A cohort of writers and thinkers, many of them Jews from immigrant families who had turned to leftism as naturally as calves to their mother’s teats, but who had slowly moved away from the Marxism of their youth during the Stalin years and World War II, now spotted corruption and dishonesty and something antithetical to them in some of their very models of the intellectual life.

They and their Gentile colleagues had constituted the only European-style intelligentsia to flourish in America. Most of them were only one generation removed from Europe, after all, so what could be more natural than for them to serve as the conduit of European intelligence to America? Arendt’s ingenious twist of the Eichmann trial showed them how Jewish and American they actually were—and how morally clear they aspired to be.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Adolf Eichmann, Hannah Arendt, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Neoconservatism, New York Intellectuals