Agreeing with Norman Finkelstein on Charlie Hebdo/Der Sturmer

Norman Finkelstein used to disgust me back when I was an AIPAC Neocon groupie. As I turned more and more away from that crowd and indeed grew to turn my disgust on AIPAC itself instead, Finkelstein became irrelevant. Unlike some libertarian converts I never ended up loving the people I once branded as self hating Jews or otherwise anti Semites. I am still aware of the fact that something is seriously wrong with them. I just wasn’t bothered by them anymore.

So no, I don’t love Norman Finkelstein. But one thing he said a few days ago was actually pretty insightful. Or inciteful, depending on which side of the divide you fall on.

Remember Der Sturmer? That 1930’s anti Semitic magazine in Germany? In case you don’t:

Der Sturmer

Now, what if, some time before Krystalnacht in the 1930’s, 2 pissed off Jews armed with rifles stormed the offices of Der Sturmer and just shot and killed the whole staff?

Personally, had I lived in the 1930’s, I would have been happy. And admit it, you would, too. I don’t know if I would have celebrated, but I would be at least relieved. I would be horrified at “freedom of speech” rallies in support of the surviving Der Sturmer staff, and I would be really freaked out at millions of copies of Der Sturmer being sold in the aftermath on a 1930’s Ebay. I would certainly not wear an “I am Der Sturmer” button on my shirt.

Many will say that the Der Sturmer/Charlie Hebdo analogy doesn’t hold. I say it does, and perfectly so.


I am not Charlie. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Europe has its own anti Muslim Krystalnacht fairly soon.

And once again, no, they should not have been killed, and the murderers should be punished. But I’m not one to mourn the murder of Julius Streicher.


14 thoughts on “Agreeing with Norman Finkelstein on Charlie Hebdo/Der Sturmer

  1. Unfortunately we have in europe and especially in germany a mood like against jews in the WEIMARER REPUBLIK

    but now the victims are muslims.

    Right wing groups and fascists are intelligent enough to hide certain things
    they dont attack jews anymore but muslims

    people have learnt nothing

    If i talk to friends with that they do like it s a scandal

    But it is not

    we have a climate like Weimarer Republic 1918-1933

  2. The funny thing about watching your descent into the very worst of Rothbardian Paulnut idiocy is knowing that eventually your cognitive dissonance will crack and you’ll decide that your internet chums are right after all about the ZIONIST WAR MACHINE BANKING CARTEL and you’ll try to convince Feiglin who will call you an idiot and you’ll have some sort of nervous breakdown.

    Signed, an actual Misesian Jew.

      • Yes very pat. Read what one of your buddies has to say about Feiglin.

        The same people who smear indigenous Europeans who are upset about getting murdered by third world riff raff in what used to be their own country as proto-genocidairs …… also smear and hate Feigliin.

        The same people who claim, ludicrously, that Muslims are victims of imperialist oppression and that Islamism is an overblown problem …. also smear and hate Feiglin.

        The same people who, completely falsely, claim that Charlie Hebdo is a right wing anti Muslim magazine …. also smear and hate Feiglin.

        The same people who claim that Muslims are victims of violence and threats in Europe rather than overwhelmingly disproportionate practitioners of them …. also smear and hate Feiglin,

        The same people who claim, with utter disregard for simple chronology, that Islamic terrorism is a response to American foreign policy … also smear and hate Feiglin.

        The Venn diagram of Rothbardian Feiglin supporters includes precisely one person: you. There is a reason for that, because it’s a totally untenable position and you can only maintain it by believing both that the Rothbardians don’t really mean what they say about Israel and that Feiglin doesn’t really mean what he says about Arabs.

        One day this will come home to you and, I think, you will implode.

      • There are other Rothbardian Feiglin supporters, but even if I was the only one, it wouldn’t make a difference. I don’t believe the sky is blue because other people agree with me.

      • Gavriel, I don’t know what you mean by “Rothbardian”. I agree with most of Rothbard’s views, and I’m a Feiglin supporter. You think that everyone who agrees with most of his views is an Israel-hater? You need to get out more.

      • You are being obtuse and, though I realise that this is a coping strategy, this is important enough that I shall elaborate.

        1) To begin we must detail exactly how outrageous the entire premise of your post, namely the comparison between Charlie Hebdo and Der Sturmer, really is:

        (i) Charlie Hebdo is a left wing magazine that takes a pro-immigration editorial line and has specifically called for the banning of the National Front.
        (ii) Anti Islam/Mohammed cartoons represent a tiny fraction of Charlie Hebdo’s output.
        (iii) Charlie Hebdo has been as rude, or ruder, about many other religions and ideologies, including, to re-iterate, the French far right.
        (iv) Muslims in Europe are not a persecuted minority, but a persecuting minority, responsible for an disproportionate amount of both violent and petty crime, gang violence, political violence, pimping, sexual assault and rape.
        (v) Muslims in Europe are not a persecuted minority, but the beneficiaries of an ongoing ‘awareness lowering’ campaign by political elites. For example Muslims who commit crimes are almost invariably referred to as “Asian”, even when they are from Eritrea. They also maintain a very effective ‘frontlash’ designed to stigmatise any indigenous Europeans who object to the latest Muslim outrage as leading a non-existent Islamophobic backlash (your own post is a typical example). In addition, they disproportionately benefit from European welfare states.

        In sum, the comparison with Der Sturmer is utterly ludicrous for all the above reasons. To make it so soon after 12 people were gunned down in broad daylight with AK 47s in what used to be a first world capital, is moral idiocy of the first order. I should also note that you seem barely unable to acknowledge the murder of four Jews shortly afterwards.

        2) The next stage is to ask what could lead you to such detestable and foolish pronouncements. This is not difficult. In certain intellectual circles, it has become an article of faith to deny that Islamic fundamentalism is a major global problem, and to argue that, to the extent that it is, it is the fault of western, (mostly U.S.) foreign policy. The reason why people maintain this position is because (i) they oppose interventionist US foreign policy (ii) they are lazy. Whilst there are plenty of cogent arguments to be made against neo-conservatism that take due account of the questions it is designed to answer, these people cannot be bothered. and so simply deny there is any problem with Islamic fundamentalism, or Islam, at all.

        The problem is that Islamic fundamentalists continually embarrass their apologists by performing spectacularly indefensible acts, like bursting into a school in Pakistan and shooting a hundred kids, trapping an entire ethnic group up a mountain so they can kill them in broad daylight, or massacring the staff of an obscure liberal magazine because they published some poxy cartoons.

        The apologists therefore have to continually one up each other by coming up with ever more outlandish arguments, riding roughshod over whatever principles they started out with. Apparently oblivious to the fact they are making total fools of themselves, and breezily unconcerned with the moral sewer they are wading through, they plumb the depths patting each other on the back for the latest *incite*, of which your post represents a sort of nadir, at least as far as I know.

        3) Now we come to the last bit, the specific flabbergasting tomfoolery of you. Central to Islamist apologetic is, of course, pointing out all the things that Islamists have alleged good cause to be so very angry about. Now, the main thing Muslims the world over complain about (even more than the Iraq war) is West Bank settlers and people invading their precious Al Aqsa. This is why, with the exception of you and your nameless co-thinkers, all apologists for Islam make a point of demonising West Bank settlers and people who want to go up on the Temple Mount. A quick google search of “Libertarian” websites on the matter makes for grim reading indeed.

        But, in truth, they are on much better ground here than with Charlie Hebdo. Jewish settlers really are trying to settle land that is and has been for centuries majority Arab, and arguably violating international law, whereas the French cartoonists were just doing what, depending on how you look at it, has been legal in France, their own country, for two centuries (mocking religion) or forever (mocking Mohammed). Palestinians really are suffering unlike French Muslims who have no real grievances against a country that took them in and gave them a far greater standard of living than they could ever have forged for themselves. Thousands of Palestinians have died as a consequence of dispute ownership of Yesha, no-one has died because French people drew cartoons (unless we count all the people Muslims have killed over it).

        And here’s you, a Jewish settler who goes up on the temple mount, and therefore the chief object of loathing, both for a billion Muslims and their millions of Leftist and Libertarians supporters, brazenly dumping over the memory of French cartoonists in the most wildly hyperbolous manner possible in a pathetic (and, trust me, futile) attempt to suck up to the freak show internet cult which is the Ron Paul fanboy movement.

        More than that you imagine that implementation of the Feiglin plan will somehow mollify world Islamic opinion and make Israel less despised by Muslims and American Libertarians, a prospect so patently opposite to reality that one has to suspect you are already in the first stages of meltdown.

        It’s not too late for you to turn your brain back on, nor repent the appalling forays into the moral gutter you are making. It’s possible to maintain a belief in Misesian economics and Libertarian political theory without signing on to every extravagant and nonsensical canard you come across at All you need is a level head and some basic human decency.

  3. I think what Rafi is trying to say is “I may not be doing it for Muslims, I am doing it for me [refusing to be Charlie].” But it’s sadly true that many Muslims admire and talk with the believing Arians up North in Europe (Northern-er than Germany), and they simply don’t feel the implied despise coming from the “blondes” down to them just because they agree with blaming everything wrong in the world on the Jewish people. It’s sad, but Allah did give them eyes, but they decide not to see.
    Caricatures bear no sign of human intelligence in principle – if they mock something evil then they don’t take evil seriously, if they mock something divine then they don’t take goodness seriously, if they just mock for the sake of it then they are simply nothing.
    Actually the German drawing in the 30’s is not a caricature it’s a downright message and indication of blame, it’s filled with judging and it’s very serious. The joke was a cloth, a disguise, to make it spread easily in a “Jewish controlled europe.” I bet they even said the media was all Jewish – well, what was DerSturmer? not also media? Not to mention the name, der sturmer, means “the storm maker” (at masculine) I think, not? – with very serious nazi related significance.
    If right wing europe attacks both people coming from the Middle East, I will feel sorry for the Jewish people more, because I have met Muslims that dim who vote with LePen in France. Seriously? There was a saying about Allah not liking the stupid man, maybe Allah tells people what they need to do [and haven’t done].
    But if every man who says something the Muslim wants to hear it’s a djin and a truth-sayer to them, well?… Do they seek Heaven or just the witch’s mirror who marvels at everyone’s reflected perfection?

  4. Really bad analogy, and I’ll tell you why. First of all, if the Germans had only drawn nasty pictures of Moshe, that’d be mockery. It wouldn’t have implied any dangerous intent towards us. But they didn’t. They drew pictures of *Jews*. Similarly, if Charlie Hebdo had run cartoons showing Muslims in general with such hatred, then your analogy might be a little closer to the mark. But they didn’t. They ran cartoons of a single man who died 14 centuries ago.

    Furthermore, let’s please not forget that Germany wasn’t in a lockdown due to Jewish terrorists blowing up cafes and school buses.

    I’m so sick of hearing people compare the way Germans treated Jews to how *anyone* treats Muslims. If there’s a Krystallnacht in Europe, the Muslims are going to be on the breaking end. Not the broken one. Jews wanted nothing more than to be the best Germans they could possibly be. A lot of them *voted for Hitler*. To compare that to the lawless hordes coming out of Islam is ridiculous. It’s shameful, Rafi. It shows a real lack of perspective.

    These cartoons bear the same relationship to Islam as most Woody Allen movies do to Judaism.

    • I fully agree with you.

      Finkelstein’s analogy is cheap. It is like saying:

      “Replace ‘Norwegian Social-Democratic Youths’ with ‘Kadets in an SS-training-camp’ and ‘Anders Breivik’ with ‘Simon Wiesental.’ I wonder if you’ll be disgusted by the murder of ‘innocent youths’ then.”


      “Replace ‘ISIS’ with ‘1930s Spanish Republicans,’ and the ‘Peshmerga’ with the ‘Franco-led, Nazi-supported Fascists’. Then you would agree with me that Obama shouldn’t use his drones against ISIS.”


      “Replace the ‘2013 Boston Marathon’ with the ‘1936 Berlin Olympics,’ and the ‘Tsarnaev Brothers’ with the ‘Cohen Brothers.’ Would you condemn their actions then as forceful as you do now?”

      In the Finkelstein-case the situation with Social-Democratic-led France is equalled to that Nazi-Germany. If you really believe that those countries can be seen as comparative… well, then you need a huge history-lesson.

    • Thats the classical argument against minorities

      You should better know that you cannot compare some idiots with 1 billion of one Religion

      nazis did the same in the third reich. When HERSCHEL GRYNSPAN murdered a nazi in paris, after that there was kristallnacht in germany where unfortunately a lot of innocent people died

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