Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

13 Cheshvan 5768 - October 25, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











The World of the "Other" Jews

By Arnon Yaffeh, Paris

Recent years have seen the emergence in the West (including Israel) of an anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli school of thought, espoused by Jews of indistinct identity and background. In France, they are termed "Alter Jews" (which translates roughly as the "Other Jews") which is the name of one of the extreme leftist anarchist and anti-free-trade organizations. A new book authored by several Jewish researchers analyses the phenomenon of these present day anti-Jewish Jews, trying to establish their ideological underpinnings and the source of their deep anathema towards their ancestral religion and people.

In Israel, they note, these activists have assumed very modern, strange sounding Israeli names, nothing like ordinary Jewish names. In London for example, the leader of a leftist Alternative group that is active among organizations that boycott Israel, is known as Shir Chaver. Such strange names abound in their circles. Psychiatrist Muriel Darmon discusses the link between the names and their owners' hatred of Jews and Israel. She maintains that these names play a role in their revulsion for their Jewish identities. They are "others," different, as their very names demonstrate. Whether their parents were trying to be original in naming their offspring, or whether they assumed invented names that expressed their feelings of hatred and estrangement, is not known.

In France they are seen as a collection of intellectuals, journalists and political or human rights activists, of Jewish background. Their Jewish identity is hollow. Most of them were raised in gentile society but the sole purpose of their political and intellectual activity is to attack Israel and other Jews, their writings expressing sharp, vulgar criticism. Jews are portrayed as forming a narrow community, enslaved to Zionism and to Israel's interests, in contrast to those "Other Jews," who supposedly raise aloft the banner of universalism.

While entertaining strong hatred of real Jews who identify with the Jewish community, they channel the thrust of their animosity into contesting Israel's right to exist. To their gentile colleagues they pose as the true Jews, thus implicitly condoning any and every instance of left wing antisemitism.

Eve Kinawi cites the examples of the Jewish Trotskyite, Daniel ben Sa'id, scientist Lauren Schwartz (who has died in the meantime), historian Vidal Nakeh (who also apparently died), Edgar Muran, whose hatred of Jews outdoes them all, Ronny Bronman, head of organization of human rights and Eyal Sivan (the last two are former Israelis). Every few months the members of the group sign a declaration accusing Israel of "manipulating the memory of the Holocaust and representing the victims of antisemitism, while carrying out crimes against the Palestinians."

Kinawi writes that despite their alienation from Judaism they have the audacity to dictate an alternative Jewish agenda and seek to impose it upon the mainstream Jewish community. They exploit the circumstances of their Jewish origins, which has no content or meaning for them, simply in order to spread hatred and arouse protest against other Jews and Israel.

What motivates these Jews to express their hatred and/or animosity towards the Jewish people and their admiration of its most fanatical enemies? This is a question that has been under discussion for years.

Psychiatrist Kenneth Levin suggests that the centuries of persecution that the Jews suffered forced them to find responses, one of which emerges as the perversion of Jews identifying with the accusations leveled against them and taking up their persecutors' cause. His conclusion is that the "Other Jews" personify the classic self-hatred of the Jew who has become detached from his Jewish identity, lacking Torah and mitzvos. No wonder that detached Jews gravitate towards this movement, that is steadily growing.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.