Was Friedrich Nietzsche an Anti-Semite?

The late-19th-century German philosopher made his fair share of disparaging remarks about Jews and Judaism in his published and unpublished writings; far harsher, however, were his judgments about anti-Semites, Germans, and Christians. In a review of Nietzsche’s Jewish Problem, by Robert Holub, Brian Leiter defends the philosopher against the charge that anti-Semitism was integral to his thought:

Nietzsche’s target is obviously not the [Jewish or Christian] religion or the adherents [of either], but the values they embrace—the “ascetic” moralities . . . that denounce lust for sex, wealth, cruelty, and power, moralities characteristic of all the world’s major religions but unfamiliar in the ancient Greek and Roman world with which Nietzsche was deeply familiar. . . . Nietzsche, in fact, uses Judaism and Christianity interchangeably throughout the Genealogy of Morality: “everything is being made appreciably Jewish, Christian, or plebian (never mind the words!).”

He equates the “slave revolt” in morality—the overturning of the values of Greek and Roman antiquity with the values we now associate with “Judeo-Christian” morality—with the New Testament, with the Reformation, and with the triumph of the Catholic Pope in Rome. . . .

In his concluding chapter, Holub acknowledges that the real question is whether Nietzsche’s alleged Judeophobic comments are “concerned with issues of philosophical import” and thus should affect how we understand his philosophy. To answer this question, though, we need to be clearer . . . about what counts as objectionable Judeophobia. Surely it is wrongful to attack certain people based on negative stereotypes related to the religion they practice. . . . But is it similarly objectionable to be critical of a morality associated with Judaism (and Christianity, Islam etc.)? If so, then Nietzsche is not only a Judeophobe but a Christophobe, an Islamophobe, and so on. His entire corpus is an attack on values endorsed by the world’s major religions that he argues have pernicious psychological effects.

Read more at New Rambler Review

More about: Anti-Semitism, Christianity, Friedrich Nietzsche, History & Ideas, Morality, Philosophy


Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy