Paul Gottfried, the Jewish Intellectual Godfather of the Alt-Right

A retired history professor, the child of refugees from pre-World War II Europe, a life-long secular Jew, a graduate of Yeshiva University, a critic of “white nationalism,” and a disciple of the New Left philosopher Herbert Marcuse, Paul Gottfried is not the man most would expect to be the leading theorist of the self-styled “alt-right.” But Gottfried claims to have “co-created” the term with his erstwhile disciple Richard Spencer, now famous for shouting “Hail Trump!” at a Washington, DC conference. (Spencer insists he invented the term independently, when composing a title for an article by Gottfried.) Jacob Siegel writes:

Paul Edward Gottfried was born in 1941 in the Bronx, seven years after his father, Andrew, immigrated to America. Andrew Gottfried, a successful furrier in Budapest, fled Hungary shortly after Austria’s Chancellor Dollfuss was assassinated by Nazi agents in the “July putsch.” He had sensed that Central Europe would be squeezed in a vise between the Nazis and the Soviets and decided to take his chances in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the family moved shortly after Paul was born. . . .

[As a student at Yeshiva University in New York], Gottfried was put off by his “bright” but “clannish” outer-borough Orthodox Jewish classmates. New York was farther from Connecticut than he’d imagined. His fellow students, [in his words], “seemed to carry with them the social gracelessness of having grown up in a transported Eastern European ghetto.”

It used to be common among assimilated Americans Jews from Central European backgrounds to look down on what they saw as the poorer, more provincial Jews from the Russian empire. . . . When Gottfried goes after the mostly Eastern Europe-originating Jewish “neocons” and “New York intellectuals” whom he blames for kneecapping his career and refusing to give him his intellectual due, it’s not just the actual injury that wounds him, but the indignity of being laid low by his inferiors.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Alt-Right, American politics, Conservatism, Immigration, Politics & Current Affairs

Why Arab Jerusalem Has Stayed Quiet

One of Hamas’s most notable failures since October 7 is that it has not succeeded in inspiring a violent uprising either among the Palestinians of the West Bank or the Arab citizens of Israel. The latter seem horrified by Hamas’s actions and tend to sympathize with their own country. In the former case, quiet has been maintained by the IDF and Shin Bet, which have carried out a steady stream of arrests, raids, and even airstrikes.

But there is a third category of Arab living in Israel, namely the Arabs of Jerusalem, whose intermediate legal status gives them access to Israeli social services and the right to vote in municipal elections. They may also apply for Israeli citizenship if they so desire, although most do not.

On Wednesday, off-duty Israeli soldiers in the Old City of Jerusalem shot at a Palestinian who, it seems, was attempting to attack them. But this incident is a rare exception to the quiet that has prevailed in Arab Jerusalem since the war began. Eytan Laub asked a friend in an Arab neighborhood why:

Listen, he said, we . . . have much to lose. We already fear that any confrontation would have consequences. Making trouble may put our residence rights at risk. Furthermore, he added, not a few in the neighborhood, including his own family, have applied for Israeli citizenship and participating in disturbances would hardly help with that.

Such an attitude reflects a general trend since the end of the second intifada:

In recent years, the numbers of [Arab] Jerusalemites applying for Israeli citizenship has risen, as the social stigma of becoming Israeli has begun to erode and despite an Israeli naturalization process that can take years and result in denial (because of the requirement to show Jerusalem residence or the need to pass a Hebrew language test). The number of east Jerusalemites granted citizenship has also risen, from 827 in 2009 to over 1,600 in 2020.

Oddly enough, Laub goes on to argue, the construction of the West Bank separation fence in the early 2000s, which cuts through the Arab-majority parts of Jerusalem, has helped to encouraged better relations.

Read more at Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

More about: East Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs, Jerusalem