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No Greeks or Germans Allowed:
Yoram Hazony’s Anglo-Hebrew Nationalism

Horatio Greenough, George Washington

1,547 words

Israeli scholar Yoram Hazony wants to define nationalism for the entire West.

And that nationalism leaves no room for our classical heritage.

Counter-Currents readers are probably familiar with Hazony, his book The Virtue of Nationalism, and his “National Conservatism” conferences. Greg Johnson’s recent series on Hazony’s book is recommended (parts one, two, three, and four).

This essay covers another aspect of the Israeli political theorist: his emphasis on Jewish scripture as the root of the West and the source for “authentic” nationalism. Hazony curiously ignores the West’s classical heritage and is hostile towards Rome (both the ancient state and the Church) and Germany. In Hazony’s imagination, everything good in the West flows from Judea and the Protestant Reformation.

There are commendable aspects about Hazony’s thought, but its main goal is to impose a kosher nationalism on Europe and America. Those who violate Hazony’s framework are cast out to the dark abyss of “racialism,” which is apparently very different from nationalism.

Throughout his writings, Hazony makes it clear that the Talmud and Torah are far more important to the West than any Greek. In The Virtue of Nationalism, Greco-Roman antiquity only earns three semi-positive mentions: he notes that Greek political philosophy paid close attention to the ideal state, cites Athens as an exemplary free state, and mentions that Polybius praised the Maccabees for their unified national state. Hazony criticizes the Greeks for their inability to form a nation and sees the Romans as sinister imperialists. Apparently, neither ancient people offers any positive value to nationalists . . . unlike the Hebrews.

The Old Testament invented the good nation-state that sought only to rule itself and not conquer its neighbors. That’s a strange claim considering the Bible calls the Hebrews God’s chosen people, a claim to superiority that belies Hazony’s arguments. Hazony argues that Europe rediscovered the virtue of nationalism with the Protestant Reformation and its emphasis on the Old Testament. The Israeli sees England and the Netherlands as his model nations due to their appreciation for Hebrew scripture. The Holy Roman Empire is the great evil and Hazony argues its imperialist vision inspired Hitler’s evil.

The book is profoundly anti-Catholic and anti-German. The Roman Church is an imperialist institution that doesn’t pay enough respect to the Hebrew Scripture. Germans, according to Hazony, “never cultivated an Old Testament conception of themselves as an independent national state, as the English, the Dutch, and the Americans did.” Catholics can only be good nationalists if they afford the Torah its proper stature; Hazony seems to think Germans can never be good nationalists.

Even though Hazony wants Westerners to pick up the Bible, he barely hides his animosity toward Christianity. The worst form of imperalist hate is Christian anti-semitism. The New Testament has an imperialist message. Only the Old Testament, which is shared with Jews, can make Christians good.

The main purpose of Hazony’s book is to make westerners support Israel. He states that Israel is his first concern and dedicates large portions of the book to the Jewish state’s plight. His goal is made easier when he argues that the Torah provides the only basis for solid nationalism.

In other writings, Hazony credits Hebrew scripture as the best source for conservatism and republican government. He co-wrote an American Affairs article with fellow Israeli Ofir Haivry on the real roots of conservatism. Spoiler: It’s Hebrew scripture.

Haivry and Hazony aim to separate conservatives from John Locke and offer an alternative lineage for the American founding. They find it in a strain of obscure English political theory influenced by Jewish texts. According to the writers, what makes the Anglo-American heritage unique is its “powerful ongoing identification with Hebrew Scripture.”

Here is their ideal form of nationalism:

The Anglo-American tradition harkens back to principles of a free and just national state, charting its own course without foreign interference, whose origin is in the Bible. These include a conception of the nation as arising out of diverse tribes, its unity anchored in common traditional law and religion. Such nationalism is not based on race, embracing new members who declare that “your people is my people, and your God is my God” (Ruth 1:16).

Your nationalism must follow the Old Testament to earn their approval.

Haivry and Hazony lionize John Selden, a largely forgotten English philosopher of the 17th century, as one of the founders of conservatism. It’s not hard to see why–Selden was a scholar of Jewish law who relied heavily on Hebrew texts to support his arguments. Haivry and Hazony love that Selden offered the Talmud as the best source for natural law.

In his Natural and National Law, Selden explains that this natural law has been discovered over long generations since the biblical times and has come down to us in various versions. Of these, the most reliable is that of the Talmud, which describes the seven laws of the children of Noah prohibiting murder, theft, sexual perversity, cruelty to beasts, idolatry and defaming God, and requiring courts of law to enforce justice. The experience of thousands of years has taught us that these laws frame the peace and prosperity that is the end of all nations, and that they are the unseen root from which the diverse laws of all the nations ultimately derive.

While Selden and other obscure English writers receive much attention in this essay, the Greeks and Romans are ignored entirely. This is odd since the republican tradition–the usual alternative theory to America’s Lockean founding–owed far more to classical sources than the Old Testament. Yet, that tradition is given short shrift to Haivry and Hazony’s Talmudic republicanism.

In a 2012 First Things article, Hazony argued that republican forms of government comes from the Old Testament, not the Greeks. “The Hebrew Bible can be seen as going further in the direction of endorsing democratic principles than any of the classical texts of Greek philosophy,” he writes.

Curiously, he positively cites the Bible’s similarity to the thought of Locke and Hobbes, two thinkers he now denounces. The 2012 article was written in the Tea Party era and championed limited government. Back then, Hazony needed to make sure libertarianism stayed kosher; now he’s focused on nationalism.

Hazony made it clear where nationalism comes from at the 2019 National Conservatism Conference, as Harper’s writer Thomas Meaney reported:

Launching out against a hundred years of historiography, Hazony claimed that, no, nationalism was not about forgetting things in common or sharing a mistaken view of the past; it was about keeping a covenant with God. For Hazony—founder of the Princeton Tory, onetime confidant of Netanyahu, and chief Talmudist of National Conservatism—nationalism began with the Hebrews. Donald Trump might speak in slogans, but he was also speaking the Torah. The Hebrew God “doesn’t say go out and conquer all the nations of the world. He says, You stay behind your border.” You can have this patch of land for your people, and it will become great; other peoples can do the same on their patches. And so, after a break of a few thousand years, the Dutch, the English, and finally the Americans all copied the original.

While Hazony ignores the West’s classical heritage, he isn’t shy about expressing his hatred for all things German. He loves to point out that the Holy Roman Empire was German, the worst Enlightenment thinkers (such as Kant) were German, and the European Union is too German-dominated. He particularly hates German intellectuals.

Much of Hazony’s thought resembles Carl Schmitt’s ideas. For instance, Hazony criticizes universalists for their inability to tolerate the particular and desire to wipe out all opposition to its claims to represent all of humanity. This is similar to Schmitt’s critique of a world state that would seek to exterminate the particular as the enemy of humanity. Both Hazony and Schmitt are critics of liberalism.

However, Hazony wants no one to read Schmitt because he deems Schmitt (and Martin Heidegger) irredeemable Nazis.

Instead of these incisive anti-liberals, the Israeli scholar wants us to read his approved “Counter-Enlightenment” thinkers. In a PragerU video, Hazony offered Selden, David Hume, Adam Smith, and Edmund Burke as his imposing list of Enlightenment critics. Hume and Smith are Enlightenment thinkers and Selden wrote before the Enlightenment. Hazony makes no mention of Joseph de Maistre, Vico, Nietzsche, Schmitt or any continental European. The Counter-Enlightenment becomes a purely Anglo phenomenon that owes most of its ideas to Hebrew scripture. (Hazony does quote Herder in The Virtue of Nationalism.)

Hazony’s book offers some sound arguments for nationalism and his popularity demonstrates the growing power of Dissident Right ideas. Hazony knows the future favors nationalism and wants to occupy the driver’s seat. Ultimately, Hazony should not be trusted. His main goal is to make himself the intellectual guru of western nationalism and expunge all elements who don’t accept his Anglo-Hebraic framework.

The most important thing to remember is that Hazony’s main concern is with Israel, not America or Europe. His worldview is fundamentally different from ours.

 

22 Comments

  1. Alex
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    “The Israeli sees England and the Netherlands as his model nations due to their appreciation for Hebrew scripture. The Holy Roman Empire is the great evil and Hazony argues its imperialist vision inspired Hitler’s evil.”
    This is only true overtly and only is expressed because English and hollandic diaspora is cooperating with Zionism. But in fact Israeli citizens are blood and soil nationalists who are completely willing to be illiberal de-jure nationalists, to the most part. And the emphasis here is on citizens, and not the academic/political/media class.
    Source: I’m a natural born IL citizen.

    • Alex
      Posted February 14, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      And for the record – I claim that there is a dissonance between the outward and inward expression of Israeli ideology. I do not imply that Israelis are based and redpilled allies of the Eurocentric right wing.

  2. Kiwi Expat
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    The occulted agenda behind Trump and Brexit: peeling off the Anglosphere from the rest of Europe – and the world – because the Anglosphere is the very last culture where Zionism is acceptable.

    Frankly, it’s not even particularly occulted but has been rather obvious since 2001, for those who cared to notice and were not blinded by ideological fixations. The presidency of Obama represented a neo-liberal pushback against right-wing Likud Zionism, which was itself a follow-up realignment of the faction behind the Iraq War Study group led by anti-Zionist Republican and Bush family consigliere James Baker. Both represented attempts by the neoliberal establishment to claw back American foreign policy from the neo-conservatives.

    Two key events where the agenda became overt: first, the recruitment of the so-called “Evangelicals” by the Trump campaign. It’s important to note that the average voter who was an Evangelical was already supporting Trump for the same reasons that non-Evangelical voters were supporting Trump: crypto-white identity politics and populism economics, with a side helping of weariness of two decades of Zionist wars.

    The recruitment of Evangelicals by the Trump campaign was more about preventing the Evangelical institutions of rallying around a Ted Cruz type or otherwise depressing the votes of Evangelicals. The behind-the-scenes pressure put on Jerry Falwell Jr. by Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen was the main pressure point of this campaign

    The second event where this agenda became clear was when the so-called “Reagan Battalion,” right after the election, moved to exclude Milo Yiannopoulos – and by extension, the “Alt-Lite” and “Alt-Right” – from CPAC, the Republican establishment’s flagship event.

    The old 1980s Zionist-Evangelical alliance, first created by Jerry Falwell Sr., was far more important institutionally to the Zionists than the internet libertarian upstarts represented by the likes of Yiannopoulos and the Alt Lite/Right, many of whom were still “infected” by Ron Paul-style suspicions of Zionist warmongering.

    Fortunately, this is a rear-guard action by the Zionists because the “Evangelicals” of the 1980s Jerry Fallwell era basically do not exist anymore. The fact that the Trump-hating DC Evangelical establishment were simply ignored by “their” voters, along with the fact they haven’t won a single battle, ever, proves it.

    Similarly, the efforts to co-opt the Anglosphere “Five Eyes” for Zionism is similarly doomed to fail. Australia and New Zealand have almost zero interest in Israel, Canada offers almost nothing strategically, and the UK is too compromised by its Muslim population and the City of London’s reliance on Arab finance to stay in the Zionist camp much longer.

    The USA, including both its right and its left, is increasingly ambivalent about Zionism, its subservience to Israel more a result of institutional inertia than anything.

  3. Kolya Krassotkin
    Posted February 12, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    The fact alone that Hazony is from a people with a proven history of duplicity, lies and dishonesty going back millenia automatically tells me not to trust anything he states without objective verification. (Not every snake who crosses your path is venomous, but just to be on the safe side, always best to treat them all us such.)

    Let Hazony join Charley Kirk’s traveling circus or hie himself back to the reservation created for his people and leave the rest of humanity in peace.

  4. Petronius
    Posted February 12, 2020 at 3:30 am | Permalink

    The English and the Dutch were HUGE imperalists, if anyone has forgotten.

    • John Scroggins
      Posted February 18, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Of course, it should be rather obvious that Hazony’s text is based on outright lies.

      In my view, the choice of Anglo nationalism for Hazony’s preferred strain of nationalism has very little to do with the historic course charted by England (which was highly racialist, though admittedly not particularly anti-Semitic) and a whole lot more to do with Britain’s position as a vanquisher of Nazi Germany.

      Hazony wishes to set up a contrast between good nationalists and bad nationalists, one built upon the crux of anti-Semitism. In doing so he can convince the Anglos to stick to “bulldog and spitfire” anti-German nationalism, and not pursue a pan-European nationalism. Such a distinction can also be brought against continental Europeans too, though obviously there it lacks the appeal of History.

      This whole thing is based on lies of course. The British soldiers in the Second World War were fighting in defence of Britain (or what they believed to be her defence) they were not fighting for civic nationalism.

      I will conclude by making my wishes known: this dichotomy between Anglos and other Europeans is wholly false, it is created by our enemies to police our politics, and keep us from one another.

      I dearly await the day when us Britons will be welcomed with open arms by our European brothers, for our deeds in the service of European man, and – heaven grant – that day will come soon.

    • gkruz
      Posted February 19, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      A mere coincidence that they were also the two greatest jew-worshipping, New Israel Protestant bible-huggers in Europe, no?

  5. Fredrik
    Posted February 12, 2020 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    The jewish neocon obsession with the reformation is strange, same goes for goyische murkan christians like evangelicals and baptists. If one actually reads Luther’s own writings, such as his cathechism or Table Talks it becomes apperant that Lutheranism is catholicism without the pope, anyone who’s been raised properly Lutheran in Scandinavia or Germany will tell you this, little seperates lutheran mass from the catholic one. And then there’s Luther’s infamous views about the jews, his remarks that even made the pope blush…

  6. Crom Cruach
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone told him that the Reformation started in Germany?

  7. nineofclubs
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    This essay covers another aspect of the Israeli political theorist: his emphasis on Jewish scripture as the root of the West and the source for “authentic” nationalism. Hazony

    I wonder. Does any nationalism really develop out of a written text? Or, for that matter, from an idea – or even a culture?

    If we understand nations to be organic groups of people (1) descended from a common historical population (2) with a shared culture and (3) shared history in (4) a geographic homeland, then the extended family tree is surely the basis – or the ‘root’ – of all nations.

    This extended family, over time, evolves a culture and accumulates a shared history in a common homeland. This shared culture, history and homeland is what differentiates people who are genetically similar. The English and Scottish nations are uniquely identifiable because they have different cultures (including ways of speaking), homelands and history, despite being closely genetically related.

    But the basis, or the root, of a nation is its common descent from a historical population. All the other elements of nationality are derived from this basis.

    If we value nationalism which is based on the Torah, or the Bible, or the American constitution, we concede that ideas are a legitimate basis for the nation. This is essentially civic nationalism.

    If we see nationalism as primarily cultural, then we accept that any person who adopts our language, customs and cultural heritage is – in fact – one of our nation. Is that logical? No. It’s still flawed because it ignores the fact that culture evolves over the history of a nation – it does not precede or define the nation. It’s a product of the nation, not its root. Cultural nationalism confuses cause and effect.

    So, we might celebrate Greek antiquity for it’s cultural achievements. We might acknowledge it’s genesis of the republican form of government. But it’s not the basis of nationalism any more than the Torah.

    .

  8. Guy Frowney
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Hazony is a Zionist frog who’s beginning to notice that the water’s getting hot. The fact that a book like this exists and is being pushed hard by the Kosher conservative establishment is proof that there is no joy in Jewville. What were once internal discussions among jewish nationalists have been made public for anyone with a discerning eye to see. Those of us who can peel back the layers of Zionist propaganda are met with a bold declaration of jewish supremacy. That’s why I think that, despite the vile content, this book is ultimately a whitepill.

    That said, I think this book is strategically brilliant. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call Hazony the Goebbels of Zionism, he is a master propagandist whose song rings sweet to many white Christian conservatives. That’s why it’s so important to figure out a way to reach out to whatever percentage of them are still salvageable. This might not be a job for Counter Currents, but there are Christian white nationalists out there who should take the time to deconstruct Hazony’s arguments and present their analysis to those of their ilk with ears to hear.

    • anon
      Posted February 12, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      well said

    • Alex
      Posted February 14, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      “Hazony is a Zionist frog who’s beginning to notice that the water’s getting hot.”
      Exactly true

  9. c matt
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    The Roman Church is an imperialist institution that doesn’t pay enough respect to the Hebrew Scripture.

    Ha, that’s rich. If Hazony paid enough respect to Hebrew Scripture he would be Catholic.

    • James J OMeara
      Posted February 11, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Yes, because the OT is fulfilled in the NT. Hazony is counting on his audience (Evangelicals) being too ignorant to know that the Talmud replaced the OT in Diaspora Judaism (based on the teachings of the Pharisees), in a deliberate attempt to sidestep that fact.

  10. HamburgerToday
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Hazony exudes a confidence bourne of never having to debate any ‘anti-Semites’. While often sublimated to the IQ (‘Israeli Question’), the JQ is alive among Fuentes/America First branch of White Identitarianism. If some other kind of nationalism were not advancing, it would not be necessary for Hazony et al to try to jump at the front and pretend to be leading.

  11. Vehmgericht
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    One must be cautious in reading the Talmud. Not for nothing was the study of this massive accumulation of doctrine, lore and rabbinical opinion once barred to gentiles, for there is much therein that may appear repugnant in tone and content to those accustomed to the smooth and urbane discourse of Plato or Cicero.

    How fortunate then that this Hazony has appeared as our interlocutor! Now that The Classics are overthrown and the writings of the learned rabbins are to take their place in our schools, we shall certainly be needing his wise counsel and honeyed apologetics.

  12. Franklin Ryckaert
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    The idea of ancient Israel as a prime example of an ideal “non-imperialist” nation is difficult to maintain. First of all it was created by genocide and ethnic cleansing, if we are to believe the Book of Joshua. Then it was expanded by King David until it contained present day Israel, Jordan, half of Lebanon and most of Syria, if we are to believe the Book of Chronicles. The Maccabees (167-37 BC) liberated Judea from Seleucid rule, but then conquered nearby territories and converted their non-Jewish inhabitants by force to Judaism. Modern day Israel conquered more territory in 1948 than it was originally allotted. In 1967 it occupied the West Bank and the Golan Heights of Syria, which was annexed by Israel in 1981. The other day Israel has annexed part of the West Bank and the whole of the Jordan Valley.
    In short the Jewish state throughout history has always been “imperialist”, though on a small, local scale.

    As for the Protestant English and Dutch countries, highly estimated by Hazony for their ideal nationalism, they have been global empires until quite recently. Protestant USA is presently an empire.

    Hazony’s theories don’t tally with history and we don’t need them for our own purposes. He wants to subjugate us to Jewish interests, and that is what all Jewish “thinkers” try to do.

  13. D.M.
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    What a self-serving–or should I say, tribe-serving–theorist Hazony is. I think of ancient Greece as the foundation of western civilization and its most brilliant and important part at that.

  14. Corday
    Posted February 11, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Hazony repeatedly suggests that biblical Israel is the perfect example of his nationalism. But doesn’t the conquest of Canaan and subsequent genocide of the Canaanites contradict this? Wouldn’t that make biblical Israel, particularly in the time of David, an imperialist power by his criteria? And, of course, modern day Israel occupies territory that didn’t belong to them historically – the Gaza strip and much of the surrounding area belonged to the Philistines.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted February 11, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Yes. Apparently Hazony starts his nationalist narrative after the conquest of Cannan and the genocide of its inhabitants.

      • James J OMeara
        Posted February 11, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Ironically, there is some justification for that, since modern scholars are pretty agreed that the Exodus and so-called conquest of Canaan never happened. But it sounds like his presentation is designed for the usual half-educated (or half-miseducated, as Shaw would say) Evangelical who identifies with some imaginary “Israelite” history.

        For example, the idea of yoking the OT and the Talmud is absurd (like “Judeo-Christianity”); the Talmud was written by Pharisees in Babylon to replace the OT, which had been “hijacked” by Christians, and the Temple, which had been razed by the Romans, and to serve as the basis for a new, specifically anti-Christian religion. Only the goyim think contemporary Judaism has basis in the OT.

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