Shortly after Nathan Cofnas published his first article on Kevin MacDonald’s Culture of Critique in 2018,Cofnas, N. (2018). Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy: A critical analysis of Kevin MacDonald’s theory. Human Nature, 29(2), 134–156. I spent a few weeks sketching out a quite extensive ‘skeleton’ for a rebuttal I intended to flesh out and publish at The Occidental Observer. The speed and extent of replies from MacDonald,MacDonald, K. (2018a). Reply to Nathan Cofnas The Unz Review (March 20, 2018); MacDonald, K. Second Reply to Nathan Cofnas, Revision of April 19, 2018 and, later, Ed Dutton, eventually made me think that my own effort would appear belated and redundant, and so I abandoned the idea even though I felt that some of my own criticisms hadn’t really been touched upon by either MacDonald or Dutton. Afterwards, a number of more minor exchanges and replies took place between these figures, but the repetitive and intransigent nature of Cofnas’s replies, even when faced with clear examples of the weakness of his “default hypothesis,” only increased my apathy and deterred me from getting involved.
It would appear, however, that Cofnas intends to milk as many publications as he can from a single set of poor ideas, as demonstrated by the fact he has now yet again essentially republished his original article, with some very minor tweaks, in Philosophia: Philosophical Quarterly of Israel (!), a poorly ranked and little regarded journal that, unsurprisingly, appears to have accepted Cofnas’s paper without hesitation. What follows is my perspective on the work of Nathan Cofnas, stripped of the usual academic pleasantries, in the hope that it will offer readers a more clear-sighted insight into the matters under discussion.
Does Kevin MacDonald Omit Contradictory Data and Misrepresent His Sources?
The most obvious methodological problem with the articles produced by Cofnas thus far on the work of Kevin MacDonald is that they are historiographically illiterate. In neither his original 2018 article, nor the 2021 rehash, does Cofnas cite a single volume of serious thematic history on the Jews and their relations with Europeans, or demonstrate in any way that he has consulted one. In none of his essays does he explore in any fashion the second, and most historiographically intensive, of MacDonald’s three volumes, Separation and Its Discontents (SAID) (although he does claim [absurdly] that his critique of The Culture of Critique (CofC) also refutes SAID). Nor does he demonstrate anywhere in his work that he has in fact read it. The expected rejoinder would be that Cofnas is merely a philosopher concerned with biology and ethics, to which one can only respond that while Kevin MacDonald is a professor of evolutionary psychology, he still managed to consult and integrate around two hundred historical monographs when he decided to explore the historical trajectory and behavioral traits of the Jews.
Cofnas, who cites himself and webzines more than monographs, has attempted to escape from having to rely on historiography, much of which is quite frankly damning of everything he’s written, via two primary strategies. The first is that he simply rubbishes MacDonald’s use of historiography, accusing MacDonald of relying on “systematically misrepresented sources and cherry-picked facts.” For such a bold statement, however, Cofnas merely references his own original article as supporting evidence for it, and spends only one paragraph in that original article attempting to prove its veracity, with one of its central pillars being the claim that MacDonald omits evidence that might run counter to his theory of a group evolutionary strategy. In his 2018 article, for example, Cofnas writes of Culture of Critique,
Nowhere in the book does he acknowledge that a great deal of Jewish involvement in politics across time and place has been decidedly opposed to narrow Jewish interests, including Israel. The most influential Jewish radical in history, Karl Marx, held extremely anti-Jewish views.
The implication here, somewhat muddled, is that MacDonald is willing to refer, for example, to Karl Marx as a Jew and a radical socialist, but not as an anti-Semite. It’s an unfortunate example offered by Cofnas, however, because MacDonald does in fact do the latter right at the beginning of his chapter (3) on Jews and the Left. In MacDonald’s own words,
Marx himself, though born of two ethnically Jewish parents, has been viewed by many as an anti-Semite. His critique of Judaism (“On the Jewish Question”) conceptualized Judaism as fundamentally concerned with egoistic money seeking; it has achieved world domination by making both man and nature into saleable objects. Marx viewed Judaism as an abstract principle of human greed that would end in the communist society of the future.
And there is a long footnote to this passage discussing some of the claims made by various scholars regarding Marx’s Jewish identity, the point being that Cofnas’s bald assertion that Marx was an anti-Semite is historically illiterate. So much for “nowhere in the book.” It’s difficult to imagine a clearer and more succinct enunciation and summary of the anti-Jewish aspects of Karl Marx’s thought, which MacDonald then clearly and thoughtfully addresses. Citing Jacob Katz (and as an owner of several volumes by Katz I’ve checked for accuracy), perhaps the foremost mainstream 20th century scholar of Jewish-Christian relations between the medieval and modern periods, MacDonald astutely qualifies his summary of Marx’s anti-Semitism by stressing that “Marx argued against the idea that Jews must give up their Jewishness to be German citizens, and he envisioned that Judaism, freed from the principle of greed, would continue to exist in the transformed society after the revolution.” Cofnas not only doesn’t have a response to this fact, or the source material, his article merely dissembles that it doesn’t exist, or that MacDonald in any case doesn’t make reference to it. Again, this is in the context of Cofnas’s accusation of “misrepresented sources and cherry-picked facts.” Who is really misrepresenting sources in this instance?
The specific accusation that MacDonald had misrepresented and cherry-picked facts had particular resonance for me because the wording was very similar to an old exchange I’d read on H-Net over a decade ago when I first encountered MacDonald’s work. Of the trilogy, I had read Separation and Its Discontents first, and found it nothing less than remarkable. I quickly ordered the other two volumes, and after that began reading ‘around’ the books, as is my inescapable habit with any text, by consulting available scholarly criticism. During this process, I came across the complaints of several Jewish scholars, most prominent among them David I. Lieberman (then, like Cofnas, a doctoral student—in musicology), who would later belatedly admit of MacDonald’s trilogy “I was able to complete a thorough reading and critique of only volume one and some skimming of the other two.” Cofnas, of course, openly admitted in his first essay to not even considering the first two volumes.
Nevertheless, despite evidence of only the most superficial reading, Lieberman and a handful of others made enough accusations (as with Cofnas, these were only rarely or pedantically substantiated) of manipulation of sources in CofC for me to engage in a few days of detective work. I was more or less encamped in my college library at the time and, while I couldn’t consult all of the works listed by MacDonald in SAID and CofC, I was able to find most of the historical works, and ended that few days of research satisfied that MacDonald’s use of the scholarly sources was both accurate and appropriate. I don’t know anything about Cofnas’s methodology in preparing his critique of MacDonald’s work, although it looks like no more than a couple of afternoons spent on the internet, but I can say that what he has written is most certainly not original, at least not to anyone remotely familiar with the extensive (and around 20-year-old) H-Net exchanges. In fact, Cofnas comes across as a very pale and embarrassing echo of Lieberman. Has Cofnas simply “borrowed” Lieberman’s accusations of source misrepresentation and cherry-picking, assuming them to have more substance than they in fact do? This is anyone’s guess, although I’m fairly certain of my own opinion on the matter.
I think it would be beneficial to closely examine at least one of the major original H-Net “manipulation/omission” accusations in order to explore more deeply the way these Jewish students have approached both MacDonald and the source material. In a 2001 post titled “MacDonald’s citations and silences,” Lieberman focuses heavily on MacDonald’s discussion of Jewish support for communism in Poland between 1939 and 1945. In fact, the vast majority of his discussion of putative source manipulation concerns this one narrow area. Lieberman writes,
Kevin MacDonald’s discussion of Jews in Communist Poland [“Jedwabne,” 16 Feb 2001] continues to exhibit the tendencies I explore in my Occasional Paper on his citations to Jaff Schatz: principally, MacDonald bases conclusions on isolated quotations drawn from his sources, ignoring contradictory data that appears in those same sources. MacDonald’s conclusion: “Jews were correctly perceived as more welcoming of the Soviets after the 1939 invasion and as more loyal to the Communist regime after 1945.” I have already noted that MacDonald’s generalizations about Jewish group loyalty to the postwar Communist regime in Poland rest heavily on his omission of large-scale Jewish emigration as a factor in assessing Jewish loyalty. Schatz reports figures that show a decline in the Jewish population of some two-thirds between 1945 and 1949, information MacDonald withholds from his readers. (Schatz, 1991, 203, 207, 208). [emphasis added]
The first problem with this critique should be obvious. Here we have Lieberman accusing MacDonald of lifting quotes out of context, who then, without the slightest hint of irony, proceeds to refer to just a single, context-less sentence from MacDonald. Cofnas performs much the same charade, and it is as tedious as it is pathetic. In CofC, MacDonald in fact spends ten pages discussing Jews and Polish communism, in which there is much nuance and several streams of argument, which Lieberman would have us dismiss because the Jewish student is unhappy with the way in which MacDonald summarizes some of it. If we read Lieberman’s critique more closely, we see that his problem is not with the first half of the sentence, since on that matter Lieberman has nothing to say. And nor should he have something to say, since it is scholarly consensus (not to mention common sense) that Polish Jews in 1939, temporarily or otherwise, found the communists the better option between the more anti-Semitic National Socialists and the equally anti-Jewish Polish Nationalists. The problem then, is with MacDonald’s assertion that Jews remaining in Poland after 1945 were correctly perceived as more loyal to the Communist regime. Here, Lieberman makes the case that this is incorrect because MacDonald hasn’t taken into account Jewish emigrants. Again, to be absolutely clear, Lieberman is unhappy that in a discussion of loyalty to the Communist regime among Jews in Poland, MacDonald is not discussing Jews who emigrated. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence sees no contradiction in MacDonald’s treatment of the subject here. MacDonald’s argument is primarily that Jews are highly ethnocentric and are flexible strategists in pursuing their interests. The majority of Polish Jews after 1945 saw their group and individual interests better served in emigrating, primarily to Israel. And here we have a repetition of Cofnas’s “nowhere in the book” howler, because contrary to Lieberman’s accusation of omission, MacDonald clearly refers to, and explains, the emigration of “most Polish Jews” to Israel in the course of his discussion of Polish Jews and communism, at the bottom of page 66 (paperback edition).
The accusation of omission, like that of our new Lieberman-lite in relation to Marx, is simply bogus — the result either of blatant lies or of mere “skimming” of the texts these students pretentiously attempt to critique. This just leaves us with the commonsense idea that those Jews who remained and did not emigrate would have likely possessed a particular loyalty to the Communist regime. Lieberman offers no argument to this assertion. And so we see that behind big, bold accusations of source misrepresentation and omission we find nothing but poor reading comprehension and an incomplete study of the texts on the part of the student critics.
This pattern is repeated for all of Lieberman’s accusations, as I discovered more than a decade ago, and which sparked my first correspondence with MacDonald. Where MacDonald is accused of “ignoring contradictory data” we most often find that MacDonald has in fact included the contradictory data and that it has been ignored or missed by critics. In other instances, we find that the ignored “data” is simply the subjective opinion of a historian which MacDonald is by no means obliged to agree with. Lieberman’s charade lasted around two years. Sleepy Nathan Cofnas, with his single paragraph, seems to be attempting a similar challenge but is noticeably “low energy” when compared to his predecessor. Cofnas’s similarly sleepy attempts to challenge MacDonald on post-World War II Poland were discussed extensively in MacDonald’s first (pp. 28–30) and second reply (pp. 31–32).
The “In Default” Hypothesis
Nathan Cofnas has made much of his ‘default hypothesis,” which leaves so much unsaid that it would be more accurately described as the “in default hypothesis.” Cofnas argues that, predominantly due to a higher than average IQ and a tendency toward urban living, Jews will naturally be over-represented in all intellectual movements and activities that are not overtly anti-Semitic. As such, while Jews may be overrepresented in pro-immigration, pro-pluralism organizations and movements, the default hypothesis insists that they will also be overrepresented in nationalist, anti-immigration or restrictionist movements (that are not anti-Semitic) also. There is an inherent implication that these overrepresentations will be, more or less, to the same degree, since Cofnas refuses to discuss the matter in any serious way that might allow for, or explain, why any potential divergence in over-representation might occur.
I tested this hypothesis almost three years ago in a survey of pro-immigration and anti-immigration bodies titled “Jewish Involvement in Contemporary Refugee and Migrant Organizations.” The senior staff directories of the three most prominent anti-immigration think tanks currently in operation in United States were consulted—are the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), NumbersUSA, and Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). At FAIR, four of 52 senior staff members are Jewish, including President Dan Stein, Media Director Ira Mehlman, and Board members Sarah G. Epstein and Paul Nachman. This is a Jewish representation of approximately 7.7%. Across all three major anti-immigration organizations, Jews occupy 5.13% of senior roles. This is a modest over-representation of Jews relative to their proportion of the population compared to many other areas, but may in fact be a very generous figure to settle on as an approximate broader working figure, because Jews were totally absent from the senior levels of every smaller organization consulted. For example, no Jews were/are listed on staff at similar but smaller groups such as American Immigration Control Foundation, California Coalition for Immigration Reform, ProjectUSA, or American Patrol. There is thus a very real possibility that Jews are not over-represented at all in terms of involvement in anti-immigration politics. As well as quantitative data, qualitative data should also of course be considered, especially where it sheds light on the motivations of Jewish members/leaders and how these match, or diverge from, the motivations and goals of their non-Jewish counterparts. One FAIR insider, for example, has remarked of Dan Stein,
FAIR has been described by former board members as “Dan Stein’s 401(k) plan.” It scarfs up most of the immigration patriot money available, especially from timid Establishment foundations, does essentially nothing and spends a lot of its time undercutting and blocking potential rivals. Stein has been running FAIR since 1988, i.e., has presided over a period of continuous defeats for the immigration patriot movement. Activists seriously debate whether he is a mole.
Working within MacDonald’s theoretical framework, in which concerns about anti-Semitism will be primary among Jews of all political hues, a reasonable prediction would be that Jewish representation in anti-immigration movements would be both exceptional in the larger picture of the immigration debate, and, rather than being concerned about traditional America as a whole, will be focused almost exclusively on the exclusion of those immigrants or refugees perceived to be anti-Semitic, especially Muslims from the Middle East. In other words, such representations will be based on what might be termed renegade, minority, or abnormal perceptions of Jewish interests, rather than shared concerns or earnest sympathies with the greater mass of the native population.
In this regard, Ira Mehlman and Stephen Steinlight are especially interesting figures. In a 2012 interview with Peter Beinart, Mehlman is unambiguous in telling his interviewer: “current mass immigration policies are harming the interests of American Jews. … Mass immigration is introducing large numbers of new people to American society who hold far less favorable opinions of Jews.” Similarly, in 2001 Steinlight penned an essay for the Center for Immigration Studies bluntly titled “The Jewish Stake in America’s Changing Demography.” In the course of the essay, Steinlight condemns earlier periods of nativism and restrictionism in the United States, and strongly promotes pluralistic and multicultural ideals. In fact, Steinlight’s only apparent grievance with existing immigration structures is that they have resulted in the fact at some point in the next 20 years Muslims will outnumber Jews, and that Muslims with an “Islamic agenda” are growing active politically through a widespread network of national organizations. This is occurring at a time when the religion of Islam is being supplanted in many of the Islamic immigrant sending countries by the totalitarian ideology of Islamism of which vehement anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism form central tenets.
Such sentiments are essentially neoconservative, itself of course a largely Jewish ideological movement in conflict with native interests, and are entirely predictable within the basic theoretical framework offered by MacDonald, while doing little or nothing to corroborate the default hypothesis offered by Cofnas. Steinlight and Mehlman are primarily concerned by potential increases in anti-Semitism and a decline in Jewish political clout, and not with any broader implications of pluralism, multiculturalism, or White demographic decline which are the primary concerns of the vast majority of White anti-immigration activists. The point here is that MacDonald’s thesis does not require every Jewish academic to cynically use his or her discipline to advance Jewish interests, but that it does advance the idea that Jews will overwhelmingly see support for pluralism and mass immigration as being in their interests. This idea was then tested in relation to Jewish representation in refugee and pro-immigration organizations.
In contrast to a generously assumed overrepresentation of Jews in anti-immigration groups (around 5% at absolute maximum), Jews are nothing short of prolific in influential senior roles in contemporary refugee, asylum, and pro-migration organizations. Significantly, Jews occupy the leadership of all four of the largest and most influential (and nominally secular) organizations active in America today, the International Rescue Committee (President and CEO David Miliband), Refugees International (President Eric P. Schwartz, formerly of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society [HIAS]), International Refugee Assistance Project (Director Becca Heller), and Human Rights Watch (Executive Director Kenneth Roth, and Deputy Directors Iain Levine and Fred Abrahams). The International Rescue Committee works closely with the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Division of Refugee Assistance, which was reported in August 2018 as quietly removing its staff directory page. Consultations with the Internet Wayback Machine revealed the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement to be one Carl Rubenstein, an alumnus of Tel Aviv Law School. In 2017, the IRC, in conjunction with Rubenstein’s ORR, resettled more than 51,000 migrants to the United States. Jews are very prominent in the leadership of the IRC. In addition to President and CEO David Miliband, there are at least 30 Jews in senior positions within the organization including
Morton I. Abramowitz (Overseer), Madeleine Albright (Overseer), Laurent Alpert (Board Member), Clifford Asness (Board Member), Betsy Blumenthal (Overseer), Alan Batkin (Chairman Emeritus and Board Member), Michael W. Blumenthal (Overseer), Susan Dentzer (Board Member), Evan G. Greenberg (Overseer), Morton I. Hamburg (Overseer), Leila Heckman (Overseer), Karen Hein (Overseer), Marvin Josephson (Overseer),Alton Kastner (Overseer and former Deputy Director), Henry Kissinger (Overseer), David A. Levine (Board Member), Reynold Levy (Overseer), Robert E. Marks (Overseer), Sara Moss (Overseer), Thomas Nides (Board Member), Susan Petricof (Overseer), Gideon Rose (Overseer), Thomas Schick (Chairman Emeritus and Board Member), James Strickler (Overseer), Sally Susman (Board Member), Mona Sutphen (Board Member), Merryl Tisch (Board Member), Maureen White (Board Member), Jonathan Wiesner (Chairman Emeritus and Board Member), William Winters (Overseer), and James D. Wolfensohn (Overseer).
The Board of the IRC is comprised of 30 individuals, 12 of whom are Jewish, giving a Jewish representation at senior board level of 40%. The Board of Overseers consists of 78 individuals, of whom at least 25 are Jewish, giving a Jewish representation at this level of just over 32%. Since Jews occupy the position of CEO at the IRC, as well as 40% of the senior board and 32% of the lower board, it would be reasonable to assert that they enjoy a dominant role within the organization. This dwarfs any Jewish representation seen in anti-immigration groups, and creates a significant problem in attempting to apply Cofnas’s default hypothesis.
The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) came to national prominence when Director Becca Heller brought a class action suit against Trump’s January 2017 travel ban on individuals from certain Muslim countries. Heller, who has described herself as an “intensely neurotic Jew,” was active from the very earliest airport detentions, and was assisted by former Yale law professor Michael Wishnie, also Jewish and a former member of Jews for Economic and Social Justice. The case was later also supported and taken up by the Immigrant’s Rights division of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) at the direction of its two Deputy Directors, Lee Gelernt and Judy Rabinowitz, both of whom are Jewish. At IRAP, there are three Jews on the board of the International Refugee Assistance Project: Jon Finer, David Nierenberg, and Carl Reisner. The board consists of 12 members, giving a Jewish representation of 25%. Aside from the board, other influential positions in the organization are held by Jews, including Deputy Legal Director (Lara Finkbeiner), and legal fellow (Julie Kornfeld). Again, this is significantly greater than any Jewish representation seen in anti-immigration groups.
Refugee organizations are also reliant to a great extent on legal assistance provided by “immigrant’s rights” organizations. Here too, Jews appear to be overrepresented by a large margin. For example, Jews comprise just over 14% of overall listed staff at the National Immigrant Justice Center, and dominate the most senior positions. These include Director of Policy (Heidi Altman, former legal director for the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition), Associate Director of Legal Services (Ashley Huebner), Director of Litigation (Charles Roth), and Associate Director of Litigation (Keren Zwick). Maria Blumenfeld, a former senior lawyer for NIJC departed the group for another, almost identical organization, named Equal Justice Works, the Director of which is David Stern, also Jewish. Another interesting organization is the Immigrant Defense Project. Of the 15 listed senior staff, at least four are verifiably Jewish (Development Director Ariadna Rodenstein, Senior Staff Attorney Genia Blaser, Supervising Attorney Marie Mark, and Supervising Attorney Andrew Wachtenheim). This is a Jewish representation at senior level of over 26% — significantly greater than any Jewish representation seen in anti-immigration groups.
At the National Immigration Law Center, 18.5% of its staff lawyers are verifiably Jewish, and the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project is under Jewish Presidency (Ty Frankel) and 26% of its board is Jewish (Frankel, Ira Feldman, David Androff, Nathan Fidel, and Andrew Silverman). The Immigrant Legal Resource Center was founded mostly via the efforts of Jewish lawyer Mark Silverman, described here as “one of the very first movement lawyers helping DREAMers.” Its board is under Jewish chairmanship (Lisa Spiegel), and its Executive Director is Eric Cohen, also Jewish. Another organization providing legal support for the pro-immigration lobby is the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Right’s Under the Law. Of its six most senior staff, three are Jewish (Jon M. Greenbaum, Lisa Bornstein, and Samuel Weiss). At the Asylum Advocacy Project, two of the five members of the advisory board are Jewish (Dani Isaacsohn and the above mentioned Michael Wishnie), and its list of donors appears to be at least 40% Jewish.
The Director of Refugee Council USA is Naomi Steinberg. The Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union is the Jewish feminist Donna Lieberman who includes among her ongoing activities “resisting the Trump regime’s attack on immigrant children and refugees,” while its Legal Director is Arthur Eisenberg. The American Immigration Council is under the Jewish Directorship of Beth Werlin, its Research Director is the Argentinian Jew Guillermo Cantor (see a great example of his propaganda here), and its Policy and Media Director is Royce Bernstein Murray. The area director for Refugee Services of Texas in Austin is the Jewish Erica Schmidt-Portnoy. Meanwhile, another Portnoy, Diane Portnoy, Jewish founder and CEO of The Immigrant Learning Center, has demanded that Massachusetts should welcome more Syrian refugees. A similar organization is the Open Avenues Foundation, which has the stated goal of “helping foreign nationals build their unique path to thrive in the United States.” The founder and executive director of Open Avenues is Danielle Goldman, also Jewish.
None of the above takes into account the equally prolific presence of Jews in what might be termed the “propagandistic” elements of the unfolding era of mass migration (e.g., the media), or areas of activism in which Jews act explicitly as Jews (e.g., HIAS, the ADL). There really is no comparison between Jewish involvement in anti-immigration politics, and Jewish involvement in pro-immigration politics. In fact, the only place on earth where one might find ample evidence of the former is Israel – a fact that damns the Cofnas default hypothesis rather than supporting it.
Argument by Anecdote
As one might suppose given the extensive range of data provided above, testing the Cofnas default hypothesis on contemporary involvement in immigration took a number of months to carry out, and involved a thorough survey of very many organizations and individuals. It was labor-intensive, but stands as an accurate and easily verifiable record of the role of Jews in contemporary American demographic and cultural change. It’s really quite remarkable, then, to see how lightly Cofnas appears to take his own hypothesis, since he refuses to subject it to any intensive testing at all. In fact, as with his brief and inaccurate accusation of MacDonald’s putative misrepresentations and omissions, there is a palpable air of laziness in all of Cofnas’s work in this area. Rather than conducting surveys of organizations, movements, or activities, Cofnas favors a kind of “argument by anecdote,” in which he simply tries to find one or two exceptions to a rule, amplifies their importance, and then reclines to bask in the dubious published glory afforded to him by co-ethnic journal editors.
One of Cofnas’s favorite anecdotes is the first American Renaissance conference, something Cofnas made much of in his original article, and which he has returned to in his 2021 rehash for Philosophia. He writes,
When given the opportunity, Jews have been overrepresented in non-anti-Semitic white nationalist movements, as MacDonald and Joyce inadvertently acknowledge. The one major white nationalist organization in the US that is not explicitly anti-Semitic is American Renaissance. Four-out-of-ten invited speakers at the first American Renaissance conference in 1994 were Jewish (Lawrence Auster, Michael Levin, Rabbi Mayer Schiller, and Eugene Valberg) (American Renaissance 2017), and many of its most prominent supporters were Jewish.
I have to begin with Cofnas’s habit of inserting claims into the mouths of others. Nowhere have I “inadvertently acknowledged” that Jews have been overrepresented in non-anti-Semitic White nationalist movements. In fact, I find the idea laughable and entirely lacking in evidence. What Cofnas is doing here is twisting MacDonald’s citing of my work, without actually consulting the original piece. Cofnas writes,
MacDonald (2016) says that “there is a historical pattern where Jews have entered putatively nationalist movements and directed them towards positions that make them ‘safe for the Jews’, at the expense of developing a true sense of ethnic interests.” He quotes his protégé, Andrew Joyce: “That Jews would try to co-opt, or attempt to derail, a potentially damaging movement does have many historical precedents.” Joyce goes on to say that “Jews attempted to take key roles” in the German nationalist movement in 1860–1880 until, under the influence of non-Jewish leaders, the “movement adopted an ‘Aryan clause.’” So if Jews want to join white nationalist movements as equals, they are accused of scheming to make the movements “safe for the Jews” and driven out. Then white nationalists ask why Jews don’t support their movements. Haven’t they answered their own question?
In a word, no. As stated above, Cofnas suffers from a serious deficit in understanding the importance of qualitative as well as quantitative data. In brief, if Cofnas can find a Jew in a nationalist movement, even if they’re proven to be subversives, half-Jews, quarter-Jews, or even anti-Semitic Jews, everything else can be discarded. The problem is that biography is absolutely crucial to testing both MacDonald’s thesis and that of Cofnas, and yet Cofnas seems entirely unconcerned with it — a good example being Cofnas’s claiming of Hans Eysenck as a Jewish hereditarian scientist, even though Eysenck was only half-Jewish in parentage, wasn’t raised within Judaism or a Jewish milieu, and made a point of explicitly denying any affinity or connection to Jewishness.“Hans Eysenck’s Controversial Career,” The Lancet, Vol. 376, August 7 2010, 407. If Cofnas was in fact familiar with the case of Victor Adler and Heinrich Friedjung, referred to above, who competed for leadership of the German nationalist movement in Austria at the end of the nineteenth century, he would be aware that both were promoting a heavily diluted, left-leaning, and multicultural nationalism unrecognisable to those non-Jewish nationalists around them. This is not only a historical fact, but a matter of overwhelming consensus in the relevant historiography. Steven Beller, one of the foremost historians of the Jews of central Europe during this period, described Adler and Friedjung as part of a Jewish intellectual grouping that possessed its own “goals of social and cultural change.” Beller writes that Adler’s politics was inflected through a Jewish liberal lens, in which “socialism, universalist and secularist, [was viewed as a] possible answer to the antisemitism of the other parties. … Adler early on decided to stick to the rules of Austrian constitutionalist politics to bring about the revolution peacefully.”S. Beller, The Habsburg Monarchy (Cambridge University Press, 2018), 177. Adler, who had in any case earlier described nationalism as “tactless”, “madness,” and “based chiefly on envy, misunderstanding, and irrationality,” became an out and out Marxist overnight after leaving the nationalist organization, proving in one stroke the total insincerity of his Austrian “nationalism.”S. Beller, Vienna and the Jews, 1867-1938: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, 1989), 162. See also A.G. Whiteside, Austrian National Socialism before 1918 (Martinus Nijhof, 1962), 67; and also J.M. Fischer, Gustav Mahler (Yale University Press, 2011), 344. Friedjung, meanwhile, ostensibly a historian, was later castigated as a fraud not only for his putative political beliefs, but for producing texts based on inauthentic historical materials. Along with Adler, Friedjung was viewed as promoting a republican, anti-aristocratic, anti-clerical, and multiethnic nationalism that diverged significantly from the Austrian nationalism of non-Jews.R.S. Wistrich, The Jews of Vienna in the Age of Franz Joseph (Plunkett Lake Press, 2019). The eventual adoption of an Aryan Clause by Austrian nationalists was a response to the dilution of nationalism promoted by Adler and Friedjung and their very Jewish social circles (as well as Jewish movement predecessors like Ignaz Kuranda and Moritz Hartmann). To celebrate the removal of these influences, leading Austrian nationalist Georg von Schönerer published a new nationalist newspaper titled Undiluted German Words. The title says it all.
In short, Jews have been accused of “scheming” to subvert nationalist movements because they are very often proven to be doing just that. The problem with Cofnas is that he insists that these figures should still be considered nationalists, and that we have to ignore all evidence that they associated predominantly with Jewish milieus and often explicitly professed to seek after Jewish interests. Unfortunately, Cofnas doesn’t provide any meaningful reason for doing so, resorting repeatedly only to anecdotes like that of the first American Renaissance conference. In any case, what is the real substance of this anecdote?
Cofnas remarks that “four-out-of-ten invited speakers at the first American Renaissance conference in 1994 were Jewish (Lawrence Auster, Michael Levin, Rabbi Mayer Schiller, and Eugene Valberg) (American Renaissance 2017), and many of its most prominent supporters were Jewish.” He furthermore argues that this is evidence that “Jews have been overrepresented in non-anti-Semitic white nationalist movements.” But the logic here surely breaks down when given even the briefest of considerations. These speakers were not representational, but invited. Their mere presence at the conference reflects in large part the tastes, preferences, and, I would argue, anxieties of the person or persons who invited them. In this regard, I believe it’s been a longstanding position of Jared Taylor that he not be seen as anti-Semitic, and Taylor has himself on many occasions expressed hostility to anti-Semitism. In his own words, Taylor has maintained that “American Renaissance has taken an implicit position on Jews by publishing Jewish authors and inviting Jewish speakers to AR conferences.” Could his selection of these speakers have been an over-compensation to fend off accusations of American Renaissance being anti-Semitic? I believe so. Does the skewed representation of 40% at this one conference indicate that Jews are necessarily over-represented in non-anti-Semitic white nationalist movements? Only a fool would think so. Which brings us finally to biography, that important facet so often neglected by Cofnas. Auster, of course, was an adult convert to Christianity, which doesn’t prove anything conclusively but does suggest a weakened attachment to Jewishness. Moreover, Auster, despite acknowledging the Jewish role in the transformation of America, vigorously condemned MacDonald. All four figures are primarily concerned with race and IQ, a preoccupation of the almost explicitly philo-Semitic Jared Taylor (and one I personally find both distracting and overplayed in the context of broader civilizational collapse), rather than having ties to broader White nationalist ideology. Schiller was an almost comical inclusion given his lack of academic credentials and attachment to certain crackpot fringe ideologies. As for Cofnas’s claim that “many of [AmRen’s] most prominent supporters were Jewish,” I note that he provides no names or data for the claim, or any evidence that such support would amount to an overrepresentation commensurate with his default hypothesis.
Critics might accuse me of picking at a weak spot here in Cofnas’s work, but the point I’m trying to make is that, to Cofnas, the 1994 American Renaissance is a trump card that he sees as worth repeating every time he publishes a critique of MacDonald. I’m not highlighting the conference — Cofnas is, and quite shamelessly.
It’s my belief that Cofnas makes his arguments in bad faith, and I’m led to this belief primarily due to the slowly shifting sands of Cofnas’s own position and the fact he regularly makes claims unsubstantiated by evidence. Without any kind of broad or detailed survey, for example, Cofnas claims that “Jews have also been represented in the leadership of non-anti-Semitic right-wing movements.” Which movements? Which leaders? In which countries? Relative to what? In what time period? We don’t get any such information, just the claim. And where Cofnas does attempt to bridge the gap between claim and evidence, the result is nothing short of laughable. Take the following, from his 2021 Philosophia rehash:
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is leading the charge to censor politically incorrect speech, but the most prominent pro-free speech organization in the US—the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)—was founded by Jews (Alan Charles Kors and Harvey Silverglate).
It’s worth remarking first that there’s no evidence suggesting that FIRE is the “most prominent pro-free speech organization” in the US, relative to other groups like the Institute for Free Speech, which wasn’t founded by Jews, has no Jewish board members, and does not restrict itself to higher education. FIRE is also certainly not more prominent than the American Civil Liberties Union, which also advocates on free speech issues. The more obvious problem, of course, is once again qualitative in that many “pro-free speech” groups dovetail ideologically with the ADL in many areas, and a lot of these organizations are inherently left-wing dating back to periods in which they fought against the censorship of pornographic or homosexual material (e.g. the Free Speech Coalition), for drug use, or for the rights of students to protest on campus. It goes without saying that the ADL is absolutely in favor of this kind of “free speech,” and that its primary concern is with White nationalist, and similar, content — something FIRE, or any of these groups, have yet to defend. Cofnas’s use of the anecdote of FIRE is interesting because of the (by now predicable) lack of biography for Kors and Silverglate (e.g., do they see a Jewish interest in free speech?), and the total lack of nuance or context in making a comparison between the ADL and FIRE. As with other examples produced above, we simply have an “argument by anecdote” in which an organization is inflated in prominence so that its small number of Jewish founders or members can be raised to the purely rhetorical position of overrepresentation, behind which there is no meaningful substance. The biography and intentions of these Jews doesn’t matter to Cofnas, nor does the huge disparity in Jewish support, material and/or ideological, between them and the ADL. It certainly doesn’t seem to matter to Cofnas that Silverglate is a lifelong leftist married to a dedicated Jewish feminist and AIDS activist. The only significant example of Kors engaging in racial issues is when he came to the defense of a University of Pennsylvania student accused of making racist remarks to a group of Black students. That student’s name was Eden Jacobowitz. Is Kors a dedicated conservative free speech activist? Or is he an ethnocentric Jew “looking out for his own”? Ultimately, when contrasted with Jewish wealth and support behind the ADL (unlike FIRE, an explicitly Jewish organization), it doesn’t really matter, because FIRE is utterly dwarfed by the Jewish behemoth and its unrelenting campaign to smother the freedoms of White Americans.
As stated above in relation to the so-called “default hypothesis,” Cofnas argues that, predominantly due to a higher than average IQ and a tendency toward urban living, Jews will naturally be over-represented in all intellectual movements and activities that are not overtly anti-Semitic. While Jews may be overrepresented in pro-immigration, pro-pluralism organizations and movements, the default hypothesis insists that they will also be overrepresented in nationalist, anti-immigration or restrictionist movements (that are not anti-Semitic) also. There is an inherent implication that these over-representations will be, more or less, to the same degree, and Cofnas, for the most part, refuses to discuss the matter in any serious way that might allow for, or explain, why any potential divergence in over-representation might occur. In his new piece for Philosophia, however, Cofnas inserts a minor qualification: “In recent history, Jewish involvement in politics has skewed left because a higher proportion of right-wing than left-wing movements were overtly anti-Semitic.” He also adds that his overall thesis
should not be misinterpreted as a claim that Jews are exactly the same as white gentiles, or that they’re just like high-IQ, urban white gentiles. All groups differ from each other in interesting ways, reflecting their evolutionary and cultural histories. But, in general, anything unusual about Jewish political behavior is mostly a predictable reaction to their historical circumstances.
From my discussion of Jewish involvement in refugee and migrant organizations, it should be clear that Jewish involvement in U.S. politics hasn’t merely “skewed” left, but has been overwhelmingly encamped in the left, at least since the late nineteenth century. That being said, there are clearly other questions arising even from this one sentence. What are the parameters of “recent history”? Since 1900? Since 1800? In what countries? Other questions quickly surface. Why is Jewish political involvement still “skewing” left even though we are constantly fed narratives of leftist anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism? Most important of all, the sentence marks a departure from Cofnas’s earlier statement that Jews would avoid specific movements due to anti-Semitism, and towards the implication that Jews are suspicious of right-wing movements in general over fears surrounding anti-Semitism on the Right — a concession that would all but render the “default hypothesis” redundant in any political or cultural context, and require several more layers of explanation. Any attempt to insist that Cofnas is still referring to the avoidance of specific movements would need to answer why Jews remain under-represented in non-anti-Semitic right wing movements like the NRA and the gun rights movement, as well as the pro-life movement and attempts to prevent same-sex marriage.
The tiny Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) has a membership of just 7,000 with no paid staff and annual revenue of less than $130,000. Since members are not required to be Jewish, it would be reasonable to assume that the organization boasts fewer than 7,000 members in a Jewish population of 6 and 7 million. In other words, a Jewish crusade for gun freedom in America resonates with less than 0.1% of American Jews. The National Rifle Association has had only one Jewish President (Sandra Froman) since it was founded in 1871, and, as one commentator put it “the vast majority of American Jews and much of the organized Jewish community consistently support gun control measures. Hadassah, B’nai B’rith, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the American Jewish Committee and others have been essentially “blacklisted” by the National Rifle Association on its website.” There are apparently no Jews on the NRA Board of Directors. Interestingly, Froman, the NRA’s only Jewish President, could hardly be described as strongly identifying with Judaism or Jewishness. She told one interviewer that “her parents didn’t emphasize her Judaism. … She doesn’t remember the denomination of the synagogue near San Francisco where her family occasionally attended services and where she was married the first time. She speaks freely both of her respect for the Jewish spiritual tradition and of her lack of meaningful connection with it.”
By contrast, Jews are dominant in the fight to increase gun control. Jewish lawyers Robyn Thomas and Nina Vinik, executive director and senior counsel, respectively, of the Legal Community Against Violence, are quite prominent in lobbying for gun control legislation, and Thomas also acts as executive director for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Within these groups there’s often a crossover between lobbying for gun legislation and lobbying for hate/speech legalization, as evidenced by Giffords Law Center’s Ari Freilich, a Jewish lawyer who acts as State Policy Director and as a specialist in “hate crimes.” The strongest supporter of gun control measures in Connecticut in recent years is Jewish Senator Richard Blumenthal. The biggest gun control group in Pennsylvania is CeaseFirePA. The board of CeaseFirePA is dominated by Jews (around 80-90%) and includes such figures as Nancy Gordon, a member of the Jewish Social Policy Action Group, and Shira Goodman, Che Saitta-Zelterman and Fred Kaplan-Mayer. In New York, Michael Bloomberg formed and financed Everytown, a new gun control organization, and pledged $50 million to the cause of making it harder for citizens to purchase arms and ammunition. The Huffington Post reports that in California Dianne Feinstein has “long been one of the Senate’s strongest advocates for gun control.” In Michigan, Jewish Senator Carl Levin has been at the forefront of gun control efforts, earning him an “F” score from Gun Owners of America.
Again, in line with his “argument by anecdote” approach, Cofnas would likely balance this with the 0.1% Jews in the JPFO (“Jews are leaders in the pro-gun movement too!”) and insist that Jews have merely “skewed” left. Since no evidence has been brought to light that the gun freedom movement has been historically anti-Semitic, the “default hypothesis” is entirely inadequate to explain the balance of Jewish representation inside and outside the gun rights movement. The only reasonable conclusion would be that Jews are overwhelmingly suspicious of this predominantly White right-wing movement with strong roots in small-town and rural America—if not openly and intensely hostile to it and its members, and are correspondingly to be found in much larger numbers in those movements that restrict the freedoms or otherwise harm the interests of the White demographic (e.g., gun control and hate speech laws), than those movements that seek to improve them.
Similarly stark disparities can be found in other contemporary right-wing political and cultural movements with no history of anti-Semitism. Studies from the Pew Research Center show that Jews overwhelmingly (83%) support abortion rights (compared with 57% of the general population). In fact, Jews support abortion at a higher rate than any other religious group in America. The National Council of Jewish Women, a 126-year-old organization that helped establish some of the first birth control and abortion clinics across the country, considers reproductive rights a cornerstone issue and has publicly condemned the strict abortion bans recently handed down in Alabama and Mississippi. Cecily Routman, the founder of the tiny Jewish Pro-Life Foundation, the only such group within the American Jewish community, has said that her position is essentially “counter-cultural” within Judaism and that, after being horrified by a radio show on the details of abortion, was prompted to examine the Jewish role in what was happening in America.
“I knew very little, she said, “but what I learned horrified me. And I realized in my heart that it was a ghastly business and I didn’t understand how Jewish people had gotten so involved in it.” Jews were not only outspoken in favor of the right to choose, she said, but were also “charitable donors for Planned Parenthood, and hosting fundraisers for Planned Parenthood. I did not understand that.”
In the area of same-sex marriage, Pew Research Center found that 77% of Jews were in favor/strongly in favor, while a further 5% were not opposed. Even accounting for the explicitly Christian nature of many, but not all, of the major bodies opposed to abortion and the marriage of gays, no Jewish leaders or board members could be found in their ranks.
The fact that Jews don’t just “skew” left on social, cultural, and political issues like this, and in fact overwhelmingly take up dominant positions within the left while being almost totally absent from meaningful positions on the right, has a direct relation to Cofnas’s argument that Jews have avoided right-wing movements because of historical anti-Semitism. As mentioned above, there is no historical anti-Semitism in the gun freedom, anti-abortion, and anti-gay marriage movements. What Cofnas in fact appeals to with such a claim is a kind of chicken-and-egg scenario in which anti-Semitism is always said to precede Jewish political attitudes and activity when actually, as in the case of the subversives Adler and Friedjung mentioned above, the opposite is the case. In this light, the most surprising thing about Jewish activity against gun freedom, and on behalf of abortion and gay marriage, isn’t the simple fact of Jewish overrepresentation, but that this overrepresentation hasn’t already led to an increase in anti-Semitism on the American Right.
Cofnas’s attribution to Jewish political “skewing” is also an example of a common approach in Jewish apologetics within historiography and scholarship more generally — a tactic I’ve described as the “cropped timeline explanation.” When faced with an uncomfortable and unavoidable fact involving negative Jewish behavior (Leftism, usury, financial crime, pornography, etc.) the reader of the apologetic is encouraged to begin with assumptions of anti-Jewish prejudice, and to work exclusively from there. Jews are on the Left? The only explanation offered is that they were excluded from the Right. In historiography, we are often subjected to a process of historical gerrymandering. This most often involves beginning and ending all explanations for anti-Jewish animosity with a timeline most befitting the idea of blameless Jewish victimhood and predatory Europeans. Problems begin to arise, however, when the question is asked why Jews were excluded or viewed as socially or culturally oppositional in the first place. Here, “irrational prejudice” is the last resort, but beyond it, when faced with further interrogation of that idea and the even deeper historical context, nothing is there. One is confronted with blank stares, rhetorical dead ends, and a factual wasteland. The essays of Nathan Cofnas offer nothing more than this, which sits extremely uneasily alongside his admission that groups differ in “interesting ways, reflecting their evolutionary and cultural histories.” By reducing all nuances in Jewish political activity to the aggression of non-Jews, Cofnas makes the remarkable argument that where Jews are seen to cluster in a “positive” manner it is simply because they have a IQ and high ability, but where they cluster “negatively,” it is purely due to exclusion or prejudice. In either case, the assumption seems to be that Jews ultimately have no individual political inclinations of their own. By advancing such an argument, Cofnas is firmly within a dubious, and quite shamelessly deceptive, Jewish scholarly tradition.
Cofnas rests his argument against MacDonald on three grounds: (a) the evidence suggests Jews are not particularly ethnocentric, (b) liberal Jews typically advocate similar policies for Jews/Israel and gentiles/gentile countries, and (c) the West was on a liberal trajectory with or without Jews, and Jews were not responsible for mass immigration to the US. All three arguments are fundamentally flawed, and are characterized in Cofnas’s presentation by the very features he claims to have found in MacDonald’s work, especially omission of contradictory evidence.
In regards to Jewish ethnocentrism, Cofnas is almost exclusively concerned with the subject of intermarriage. This is an important but not exclusive aspect of ethnocentrism, and Cofnas demonstrates no awareness of either the history of Jewish intermarriage and its impact on Jewish ethnocentrism (for example, by referencing a text like Todd Endelman’s Princeton-published Leaving the Jewish Fold, which I’ve reviewed here), or any of the major sociological studies of contemporary Jewish demography (for example, Oxford’s very comprehensive 2014 T he Social Scientific Study of Jewry: Sources, Approaches, Debates, or even Keren McGinty’s 2009 NYU-published Still Jewish: A History of Women and Intermarriage in America). In fact, Cofnas does not appear to have undertaken a serious survey of any of the relevant available scholarly literature, the most important of which is surely Bruce Phillips’s 2013 article in Contemporary Jewry “New Demographic Perspectives on Studying Intermarriage in the United States.”Phillips, B.A. New Demographic Perspectives on Studying Intermarriage in the United States. Cont Jewry 33, 103–119 (2013). Phillips examined intermarriage data like that cited by Cofnas and found that
The study of Jewish intermarriage has largely ignored the measurement conventions prevalent in the field of demography such as using first marriages (as opposed to current marriages) and not controlling for mixed parentage. I re-analyze the NJPS 2000–2001 using first marriages and controlling for parentage and find evidence that intermarriage has leveled off among single ancestry Jews [as opposed to mixed-ancestry Jews]. Jewish intermarriage is placed in an American context by (1) putting in Kalmijn’s conceptual schema and (2) using the odds-ratio to compare intermarriage in controlling for group size. Single ancestry Jews are surprisingly endogamous compared with other groups in America. [emphasis added]
Nor is Cofnas concerned with the actual lived experience of intermarriage and its relationship to ethnocentrism, since he focuses only on a limited set of raw numbers and ignores a number of pieces of research on intermarried Jews that essentially contradict his argument by insisting that Jewish continuity is certainly not in danger.See, for example, Sasson, T., Aronson, J.K., Chertok, F. et al. Millennial Children of Intermarriage: Religious Upbringing, Identification, and Behavior Among Children of Jewish and Non-Jewish Parents. Cont Jewry 37, 99–123 (2017). Cofnas, for example, argues that
The anti-Jewish narrative says that liberal Jews are highly ethnocentric compared to other groups, particularly white gentiles. This claim is not supported by Jews having an intermarriage rate that, combined with low fertility, will lead the liberal Jewish population to nearly disappear in another generation or two.
Essentially, the argument made by Cofnas is that (American, liberal) Jews cannot be ethnocentric to a stronger than average degree because they are manifestly breeding themselves out of existence. The first issue here is that MacDonald’s thesis of the transformative effects of Jewish influence documented in CofC depends on showing that particular intellectual or political movements were dominated by individuals who identified as Jews and saw their activities as advancing Jewish interests; he notes that ethnic networking (a proxy for ethnocentrism) was highly characteristic of these movements. The percentage of intermarrying Jews in 2021 or any other period is completely irrelevant to his thesis. Nor is it relevant to understanding ethnic commitments, including intermarriage, of the activist Jewish community at different historical periods which is what a serious account of Jewish influence would focus on. As Endelman has pointed out, in many contexts and periods, Jews have often witnessed “drift and defection” from Judaism and the Jewish community by sections of the community. Over historical time, however, it’s clear that this has not harmed Jewish continuity and may actually, by shedding less committed elements, have strengthened the ethnocentric core of the group.
Complaints about intermarriage aside, the overall demographic picture of the Jewish Diaspora is one of growth. With Israel acting as a magnet for the most ethnocentric Jews, it should come as no surprise that Pew estimate that “over the next few decades, Israel [where intermarriage is essentially outlawed] is projected to pass the United States and become, by a sizable margin, the country with the largest Jewish population.” Attempting to discuss Jewish intermarriage in the context of ethnocentrism without taking into consideration the Jews as a whole, or the role of Israel, is simply disingenuous. As MacDonald noted in his first reply to Cofnas, a major goal of Zionism during the early decades of the twentieth century was to prevent intermarriage and assimilation (Separation and Its Discontents, Ch. 5), a program which has indeed been successful in Israel (e.g., Pew Research, 2016). Shulamit Reinharz, for example, in Jewish Intermarriage around the World, has stressed that, in the context of Jewish intermarriage, “the growth of Israeli society constitutes a significant factor in recreating a Jewish ‘ethnic core’ characterised by very low frequencies of intermarriage.”Sergio DellaPergola (ed), Jewish Intermarriage Around the World (Routledge, 2017). And whatever American Reform Jews think about marriage, they constitute only around three percent of Israeli Jews.
Crucially, however, Pew insist that at least 37% of the world’s Jews will continue to live in North America — hardly the near disappearance suggested by Cofnas. In fact, Pew predict only a modest decline for Jews in America: “both in total number (from 6 million in 2010 to 5.9 million in 2050) and as a share of the region’s population (from 1.8% in 2010 to 1.4% in 2050).” For the sake of comparison, the White share of the youth population in America has declined 70% since 1990. Although not quite at replacement level, the fertility level of Jewish women in America (1.9), remains higher than that of White women (1.6). Pew note that even in Europe, “Jews have a slightly higher fertility rate than Europeans overall.” The correct way of looking at the bigger picture of Jewish intermarriage may be that while ethnic drift and miscegenation are becoming increasingly common for all ethnic groups under the weight of globalism, Jews have been remarkably insulated from its most damaging effects through cultural cohesion, the nature of Jewish identity, and their possession of an ethnically defined nation-state.
It should be added that intermarriage eludes simple or generalized interpretations, such as that offered by Cofnas. At the risk of falling into Cofnas’s habit of using anecdotes, one need only look at the intermarriage of Sacha Baron-Cohen and Isla Fisher on the one hand, and that of Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan on the other. In the first instance, Baron-Cohen is a strongly identified Orthodox and Zionist Jew, who married an ethnically European woman. Fisher, however, was made to undergo the full conversion process, with the understanding that any children in the marriage would be raised as strongly identified Jews. Baron-Cohen continues to maintain an active role with the ADL, and to lobby for speech laws and the censorship of technology. One of the ADL and Baron-Cohen’s frequent targets is Mark Zuckerberg, who is presumably viewed as a weakly identified Jew because of his Reform upbringing and his marriage to an Asian Buddhist who did not undergo a conversion process, as well as Zuckerberg’s perceived laxity in suppressing pro-White content on Facebook and associated platforms. The point here is that intermarriage can have very different real-life expressions, ranging from a relaxing of Jewish identification to the continuity of very intensive Jewish identity. It is also worth pointing out that in both cases, Jewish males have taken non-Jewish wives, a direction that dominates the overall picture of intermarriage in North America.See, for example, Brym, R., & Lenton, R. (2020). Jewish Religious Intermarriage in Canada. Canadian Jewish Studies / Études Juives Canadiennes, 30, 67–82. See also, Sergio DellaPergola (ed), Jewish Intermarriage Around the World (Routledge, 2017). Since Jewish identity is traditionally perceived as following the maternal line, it should be clear that this tendency is yet another factor mitigating intermarriage somewhat from the perspective of Jewish ethnocentrism.
It goes without saying that Cofnas omits almost every other aspect of ethnocentrism, perhaps most important of which is a sense of ethnic pride. Pew, for example, found that “94% of U.S. Jews (including 97% of Jews by religion and 83% of Jews of no religion) say they are proud to be Jewish. Three-quarters of U.S. Jews (including 85% of Jews by religion and 42% of Jews of no religion) also say they have “a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people.””
To conclude this section, we can only disagree with Cofnas’s assertion that “the evidence suggests Jews are not particularly ethnocentric,” because his evidence is either thin or non-existent. Rather, we must agree with Phillips, and MacDonald for that matter, that “single ancestry Jews are surprisingly endogamous compared with other groups in America,” and, furthermore, that Jews are surprisingly endogamous and ethnocentric compared with other groups globally.
Cofnas’s rhetorical footing on the issue of liberal Jewish hypocrisy seems equally unsteady. It’s worth reflecting first on the fact that Gallup have identified American Jews as “the most liberal of any major religious group we identify.” As discussed above, American Jews have been dominant in leading the cause of multiculturalism and immigration, abortion, and gay marriage. By contrast, however, these same Jews have overwhelmingly supported Israel, despite its oppressive actions against minorities, and also despite immigration policies that uniquely favor the migration of those with Jewish ancestry. Gallup point out that
The available data shows that about nine in 10 American Jews are more sympathetic to Israel than to the Palestinians. (That compares to about six in 10 of all Americans.) Additionally, 95% of Jews have favorable views of Israel, while 10% have favorable views of the Palestinian Authority — significantly more pro-Israel than the overall national averages of 71% favorable views of Israel and 21% favorable views of the Palestinian Authority. Research conducted in 2013 by Pew showed that 76% of Jews (identified by religion) said they were at least somewhat emotionally attached to Israel. In addition, almost half said that caring about Israel is an essential part of being Jewish (with most of the rest saying it is important although not essential) and nearly half reported that they had personally traveled to Israel.
Cofnas makes much of literature produced by the Union for Reform Judaism, and claims that it is working to “diversify” the Jewish community. As one example he quotes the following:
We’re a global, multiracial people that’s growing more racially and ethnically diverse through interfaith and interracial marriage, conversion, and adoption. In the United States, February is Black History Month. It is one among many opportunities for us to acknowledge and reflect upon our collective racial and ethnic diversity, and learn more about the experiences of Jews of African-American descent in particular.
The problem, of course, is that this is simply rhetoric, and Jews of all denominations have for centuries tried to present themselves as a religious rather than an ethnic group. The simple fact of the matter is that Jews promoting diversity in the United States, or Europe, will first and foremost have their greatest impact in that locality. Quite frankly, what they have to say about Israel, whether sincere or not, is of little consequence to Israel, and is unlikely to have serious effects there. This is especially the case when their financial, political, and moral support for Israel remains, for all intents and purposes, unconditional. To put it another way, Jews universally promoting diversity, so long as they are in a society they want to see ethically diluted and not Israel itself; this will produce more gains than losses.
Cofnas disputing the issue of hypocrisy, highlights some American Jewish support the case of the Ethiopian Jews in Israel, and refuses MacDonald’s contention that since the Ethiopians “constitute only a little over 2% of the population … [they] may not be seen as a serious threat to the demographic status quo.” Cofnas insists that this would be like “a Jewish organization want[ing] to bring seven million Ethiopians to the US. … Seven million constitute only a little over 2% of the US population, and thus may not be seen as a serious threat to the demographic status quo.” Certainly, if looked at purely in terms of percentages, one could make some kind of argument of equivalence, though it’s clear that in any context an influx of seven million and an influx of around 125,000 are still significantly different in short-term and long-term consequences. Even aside from that, however, Cofnas ignores certain crucial aspects of the issue under discussion. First, American Jews have not been as supportive of Ethiopian Jews as Cofnas suggests [it’s also worth remarking he produces no numerical or polling data at all on this subject]. The Jerusulem Post, for example, has pointed out that “the 14,000 Beta Israel remaining in Ethiopia … have not received one penny from Jewish Federations to help them resist the onslaught of the coronavirus. Not one penny. And it is impossible to ignore race as a factor.” The piece continues,
The Jewish Federations has not had a serious discussion of the community at its general assembly for the past 10 years. The Conference of Presidents travels all over the world on its yearly jaunts; it has yet to visit Ethiopia. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, American Jewry’s institutional relief organization, says it runs programs for Jews in 70 countries. But there is not a single dollar, not a single program for the Beta Israel, even though JDC provides assistance in Ethiopia to non-Jews. (By way of contrast, the Jewish Agency recently donated funds to for anti-coronavirus activities in Ethiopia). No official representative of the major Orthodox, Conservative or Reform communal or rabbinic organization organizations visit Ethiopia over the past two decades, a stunning contrast to the many rabbinic figures who visited Soviet Jews in the 70s and 80s.
Again, the point here is that, rhetoric aside, in terms of tangible action American Jews are intensely involved in lobbying for migration and liberalism within the United States (“a nation of immigrants!”) where Jewish activism has played a major role in around 65 million immigrants having arrived since the 1965 immigration law— while being completely unconcerned with ensuring the same “values” are embraced in Israel (“the Jewish nation!”). American Jews overwhelmingly support Israel even when it embodies those things most hated when expressed among Whites (ethnocentrism, patriotism, militarism, protectionism, and pride of history and identity). American Jews are not dominating migration bodies dedicated to opening Israel’s borders to refugees. American Jews are not creating organizations everywhere with the goal of disarming Israel’s citizens. American Jews are not pressuring tech giants to restrict the ability of Israelis to speak their minds freely. All of these actions are taking place in America, and as long as this disparity in action remains in place, not even the most flowing rhetoric will disguise the hypocrisy of America’s ‘liberal’ Jews.
We come finally to the issue of multiculturalism and liberalism. Cofnas insists that “the West was on a liberal trajectory with or without Jews, and Jews were not responsible for mass immigration to the US.” He denies that “Jews were a “necessary condition” (to use MacDonald’s phrase) for the triumph of liberal multiculturalism.” Rather, Cofnas insists that “many of the ideas [MacDonald] attributes to Jews were given their modern formulation by Rousseau and other gentile intellectuals in the eighteenth century, and first implemented in the (gentile-led) French Revolution. The origins of race denial, blank slatism, Noble Savage envy, and socialism go back centuries or even millennia.”
This represents a general confusion of concepts and a kind of counter-factual history. A “liberal trajectory” need not have resulted in mass immigration or mass demographic decline on one’s own nation, for example. The Enlightenment may have given rise to hostility towards monarchy, but it also gave rise to race science. The modern multicultural state that we see today cannot be neatly traced to the ideas of Rousseau, or to socialism; indeed, any serious analysis of the trajectory of American liberalism must deal with the period of ethnic defense from around 1890 through the 1924 and 1952 immigration laws (the latter law passed over President Truman’s veto by well over two-thirds of Congress) (pp. 291–304 of MacDonald’s Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition). And it must evaluate the effectiveness of the intense Jewish opposition to those laws and the role of Jewish activism in enacting the 1965 law.
Rather, there have been successive legal as well as philosophical changes across the West over a number of centuries which have cumulatively resulted in the widening of the concept of citizenship, the end point of which has been the emergence of the bureaucratic state in which belonging is dictated solely by a passport. The historical record is fairly clear that in terms of these legal changes, Jews have very often been the cause or instigators of legal changes designed to introduce “tolerance” into the law. Following the French Revolution, for example, the most radical change in the make-up of French society was the admission of the Jews to French citizenship. This admission followed a period of assessment during which a ‘Grand Sanhedrin’ of Jewish notables gave dishonest answers to Napoleon’s chief advisor.E. Benbassa, The Jews of France: A History from Antiquity to the Present (Princeton University Press, 2001), p.89 Overnight, what constituted a “Frenchman” suddenly changed, with repercussions first throughout the French Empire and, later, through Europe and America.
Similarly, in relation to nineteenth-century Britain, Dennis Grube remarks on “how strongly the conservative British establishment clung on to what it considered to be the Protestant national character. To make British laws, one had to be British in more than citizenship.”Grube, D. (2007), Religion, Power and Parliament: Rothschild and Bradlaugh Revisited. History, 92: 21-38. On this topic see also, Jarin, Alexander W. “Granting of Political and Human Rights: A Comparison of Jewish and Catholic Emancipation in the United Kingdom.” (2015); Wendehorst, Stephan, ed. The emancipation of Catholics, Jews and Protestants: minorities and the nation state in nineteenth-century Europe. Manchester University Press, 1999. This changed fundamentally with Lionel de Rothschild’s attempt to enter Parliament in 1847. When the attempt created a national debate about the desirability of Jews having full legal rights on a par with Englishmen, the Anglo-Jewish elite threw its weight and influence behind “Dissenter” groups and lobbied for “Catholic Emancipation” in an effort to broaden the concept of citizenship enough that “Jewish Emancipation” would be brought a step closer. Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786), often held up as the first “assimilated” European Jew, was one of the first true open borders advocates when he asked, “For how long, for how many millennia, must this distinction between the owners of the land and the stranger continue? Would it not be better for mankind and culture to obliterate this distinction?”M. Mendelssohn, “Anmerkung zu des Ritters Michaelis Beurtheilung des ersten Teils von Dohm, über die bürgerliche Verbesserung der Juden,” (1783), Moses Mendelssohn gesammelte Schriften, ed. G. B. Mendelssohn (Leipzig, 1843), vol. 3, 367. But it was the method of the Anglo-Jewish elite in the middle of the nineteenth century that began in earnest a pattern of Jewish support for what would become known as “multiculturalism” in order to smooth their own access to influence and to improve their feeling of security. Nowhere is this more starkly apparent than in the case of the British-Jewish politician Barbara Roche, “a descendant of East End Jews,” described by Douglas Murray in The Strange Death of Europe as a chief architect of multicultural Britain under Tony Blair. Roche dismissed all her critics as “racists,” “criticised colleagues for being too white,” and “believed that immigration was only ever a good thing.” After ten years of her highly influential immigration reforms, Roche beamed to an interviewer: “I love the diversity of London. I just feel comfortable.”
Kevin MacDonald’s work has clearly demonstrated that Jewish groups organized, funded and performed most of the work aimed at combating America’s 1924 and 1952 immigration laws, toppling them finally in 1965. Brenton Sanderson has shown that Jewish intellectual movements and ethno-political activism were pivotal in ending the White Australia policy — a policy change opposed by the vast majority of the Australian population. Jews were conspicuous in the dramatic changes in Britain’s citizenship, race, and speech laws from the 1950s to the 1980s. A Jewish Minister for Justice transformed Ireland’s citizenship process, opening the country up to Africans and Pakistanis. Today, Jews dominate the mass migration NGO scene, demonstrably holding executive roles at the International Rescue Committee, International Refugee Assistance Project, the Immigrant’s Rights division of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), National Immigration Justice Center, Equal Justice Works, The Immigrant Defense Project, National Immigration Law Center, Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, the Asylum Advocacy Project, Refugee Council USA, the New York Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, The Immigrant Learning Center, the Open Avenues Foundation, the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project, Central American Legal Assistance, Halifax Refugee Clinic, and the UK Refugee Law Initiative. The migration policy advisor for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (Sara Feldman) is not a Catholic, but a Jewish woman.
The modern Open Borders movement is demonstrably Jewish in leadership and origins, beginning in the early 2000s with the publication of British-Jewish intellectual Steve Cohen’s No One Is Illegal: Asylum and Immigration Control, Past and Present (2003). Cohen, who died in 2009, had by then worked for three decades as an immigration lawyer in Manchester, where he set up the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, and participated in Anti-Deportation Campaigns. He was a member of the International Marxist Group (IMG) from 1968 until the end of 1974, though he appears to have been very publicly engaged in Far Left politics until he was beaten unconscious by British Nationalists who broke up one of his meetings in 1976. Thereafter his public involvement appears to have lessened and took on a more reclusive aspect. Cohen was a member of the Jewish Socialist Group for most of his life, and he was a quintessential Jewish intellectual in that he was both prolific and intense, writing books, manifestos, and pamphlets about anti-Semitism, socialism, immigration, borders and the welfare state. In his 2003 No One Is Illegal manifesto Cohen asserted that immigration controls “are inherently racist in that they are based on the crudest of all nationalisms — namely the assertion that the British have a franchise on Britain.” Far from declining with the death of Steve Cohen, the Jewish prominence in the Open Borders movement has perhaps become even more acute in recent years. The range of theory underpinning the effort has also slightly diversified. George Mason University professor Bryan Caplan is the founder of openborders.info and is the most visible North American figure calling for an end to immigration control. Caplan even wrote an article for TIME in which he argued that “instead of redoubling our efforts to curtail immigration, we should return to the historic American policy of open borders—admitting everyone eager to come build a better life for themselves.”
Did Cohen or Caplan ever advise the same things for Israel that they recommended for Britain and America? Not once.
Much more can be said about Nathan Cofnas’s errors, omissions, and distortions, but they all more or less follow the patterns outlined above. We should remember, of course, that Cofnas is an ethnocentric Jew engaged in the denial of ethnocentrism in an effort to defend his people. He claims, in his own way, to represent a kind of authentic ‘race realism.’ Like so many antecedents, however, he’s just a familiar fly in the ointment whose defense of his group ultimately boils down to blaming White oppression for the political peculiarities of his co-ethnics. As far as Jewish apologetics go, his work is far from the best I’ve encountered, and its repetitiveness is probably due more to an attempt to improve his publication count in the hopes of securing academic employment rather than genuine conviction. And what easier way to get published than bashing “anti-Jewish narratives” in an Israeli journal? I suppose we should congratulate him, though, on finally getting his doctorate. A newly minted Jewish PhD making his mark by condemning anti-Semitism — just what the world needs.
 Cofnas, N. (2018). Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy: A critical analysis of Kevin MacDonald’s theory. Human Nature, 29(2), 134–156.
 MacDonald, K. (2018a). Reply to Nathan Cofnas The Unz Review (March 20, 2018); MacDonald, K. Second Reply to Nathan Cofnas, Revision of April 19, 2018
 “Hans Eysenck’s Controversial Career,” The Lancet, Vol. 376, August 7 2010, 407.
 S. Beller, The Habsburg Monarchy (Cambridge University Press, 2018), 177.
 S. Beller, Vienna and the Jews, 1867-1938: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, 1989), 162. See also A.G. Whiteside, Austrian National Socialism before 1918 (Martinus Nijhof, 1962), 67; and also J.M. Fischer, Gustav Mahler (Yale University Press, 2011), 344.
 R.S. Wistrich, The Jews of Vienna in the Age of Franz Joseph (Plunkett Lake Press, 2019).
 Phillips, B.A. New Demographic Perspectives on Studying Intermarriage in the United States. Cont Jewry 33, 103–119 (2013).
 See, for example, Sasson, T., Aronson, J.K., Chertok, F. et al. Millennial Children of Intermarriage: Religious Upbringing, Identification, and Behavior Among Children of Jewish and Non-Jewish Parents. Cont Jewry 37, 99–123 (2017).
 Sergio DellaPergola (ed), Jewish Intermarriage Around the World (Routledge, 2017).
 See, for example, Brym, R., & Lenton, R. (2020). Jewish Religious Intermarriage in Canada. Canadian Jewish Studies / Études Juives Canadiennes, 30, 67–82. See also, Sergio DellaPergola (ed), Jewish Intermarriage Around the World (Routledge, 2017).
 E. Benbassa, The Jews of France: A History from Antiquity to the Present (Princeton University Press, 2001), p.89
 Grube, D. (2007), Religion, Power and Parliament: Rothschild and Bradlaugh Revisited. History, 92: 21-38. On this topic see also, Jarin, Alexander W. “Granting of Political and Human Rights: A Comparison of Jewish and Catholic Emancipation in the United Kingdom.” (2015); Wendehorst, Stephan, ed. The emancipation of Catholics, Jews and Protestants: minorities and the nation state in nineteenth-century Europe. Manchester University Press, 1999.
 M. Mendelssohn, “Anmerkung zu des Ritters Michaelis Beurtheilung des ersten Teils von Dohm, über die bürgerliche Verbesserung der Juden,” (1783), Moses Mendelssohn gesammelte Schriften, ed. G. B. Mendelssohn (Leipzig, 1843), vol. 3, 367.