No Escape from the Cohen
Hop Wechsler, MondoWeiss, Mar 28 2016
British journalist, Chomsky detractor, Iraq war supporter, and fanatical opponent of fanatical Islamism (the “fascism (and possibly Leninism) of our age”) Nick Cohen has re-outed himself as a Jew (sort of). In an Opinion column in Mar 19’s Garanduin, Cohen recounts how, growing up with a mother who wasn’t Jewish and a father who abandoned his Judaism:
Still there was no escaping the “Cohen”. … I assured anyone who asked (and some who did not) that despite appearances to the contrary, I wasn’t Jewish … I sounded like a black man trying to pass as white, or a German arguing with the Gestapo that there was a mistake in the paperwork.
The more I think about this quote, the more bizarre it seems. Does he mean a German Jew arguing with the Gestapo? And if so, why wouldn’t he use the word Jew (in this column of all columns)? Otherwise, why would a German non-Jew argue with the Gestapo that there was a mistake in the paperwork, unless there really was a mistake in the paperwork? Is the black man trying to pass as white likewise having difficulty passing, but actually white? In any case, it seems clear that Cohen was a literal “self-hating Jew,” though that term is currently applied to opponents of Zionism who are also Jews, rather than to Jews like Cohen who actually hated being Jewish. Reading Cohen’s account of his wilderness years (hat tip to Richard Nixon), one begins to wonder whether he was really this abject in his tribal alienation, or whether for example the “friend” he had to call to ask what on earth “mazel tov” meant warrants the same level of scepticism as Ben Carson’s hammer (“I would get so angry–!”). Of course, Nick Cohen is British, which means he’s especially concerned with the anti-Semitism that has spread so far from the extreme Left into the mainstream that it now threatens to poison the Labour party, which translates as “Jeremy Corbyn” (He Who Must Not Be Named, though Cohen later names him). However, the cause of Cohen’s “conversion” appears to be not party politics and its discontents, but rather (quelle surprise) liberal hypocrites, who profess tolerance of different cultures and “identity politics,” but not-so-secretly hate Jews for their projected Protocols of the Elders-like power. Maybe, pace Peter Viereck, anti-Semitism is the true anti-Semitism of the intellectual. The rest of Cohen’s column is exemplary in its recycling of liberal-who’s-been-mugged-and-you-will-be-too canards, rants, and empty threats, from:
- “The Left is just a politer version of the Nazi party”; to
- “Anti-Zionism” = “calling for the total destruction of the world’s only Jewish state” (almost a verbatim quote, with the targeted legal “destruction” of Judaism as the basis for citizenship that defines anti-Zionism casually being reworded to suggest the simultaneous physical and existential “destruction” of actual Jews); to
- The conflating of the Labour Party and UKIP (the British version of the “Sanders and Trump are both populist outsiders too extreme for the mainstream” argument); to
- The slur against Sweden’s Margot Wallström undermined by Cohen’s own link to the actual story (according to the NYT, Wallström didn’t blame the Paris attacks on the ZOG, but rather mentioned Plastelinans as one example of the “root causes of radicalizations” during a 15- to 20-minute TV interview, which is hardly proof of “racial conspiracy”); to
- Vague ominous pronouncements about the “growing darkness on the left” (Koestlerian nods to the (non-Mosaic) God that failed?).
Nonetheless, despite becoming a Jew, and encouraging us non-Jews (by which he means either actual non-Jews, or merely non-Jewish Jews) to become Jews so that we can truly see anti-Semitism for what it is and understand why it always leads to despotism and despair, Cohen admits:
I was and remain an atheist who knows that communalist and identity politics crush individuality.
In other words, Cohen is not religiously Jewish but only culturally Jewish, by which he means not that he is “lox and bagels and a vague duty to repair the world,” but rather that he is David Horowitz. Which still isn’t news, of course, since Cohen wrote more or less the same exact column in 2009 (Replace “Jeremy Corbyn” with “Ken Livingstone,” rewrite, resubmit):
brought up with no connection to Judaism … the modern Left succours and indulges radical Islam … I would no longer protest that I wasn’t Jewish … when Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel it had declared war and had to accept the consequences … etc
Where his 2009 Jewish Chronicle column began by confessing, “My name is Nick Cohen, and I think I’m turning into a Jew,” his 2016 Granduria column begins, “It took me 40 years to become a Jew.” And yet … Nick Cohen’s Jew is a universal Jew whom we all can become, provided we recant our soft anti-Semitism, defend Zionism but not tribalism, stop blaming Israel and the West, and never vote Labour. It’s a mystery, this. Is Nick Cohen too Jewish, or not Jewish enough?