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Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.

Mostrando postagens com marcador antissemitismo. Mostrar todas as postagens
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quarta-feira, 9 de agosto de 2017

Tribunais de direitos humanos - Ian Buruma (NYRBooks)

Fools, Cowards, or Criminals?
The New York Review of Books,

The Memory of Justice

a documentary film directed by Marcel Ophuls, restored by the Academy Film Archive in association with Paramount Pictures and the Film Foundation
available on HBO
AFP/Getty ImagesNazi leaders accused of war crimes during World War II standing to hear the verdict in their trial, Nuremburg, October 2, 1946. Albert Speer is third from right in the back row of defendants; Karl Dönitz is at the far left of the same row.


The main Nuremberg war crimes trials began in November 1945 and continued until October 1946. Rebecca West, who reported on the painfully slow proceedings for The New Yorker, described the courtroom as a “citadel of boredom.” But there were moments of drama: Hermann Göring under cross-examination running rings around the chief US prosecutor Robert H. Jackson, for example. Jackson’s opening statement, however, provided the trial’s most famous words:
We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants today is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well. We must summon such detachment and intellectual integrity to our task that this Trial will commend itself to posterity as fulfilling humanity’s aspirations to do justice.
How well humanity lived up to these words, after a good number of bloody conflicts involving some of the same powers that sat in judgment on the Nazi leaders, is the subject of The Memory of Justice, the four-and-a-half-hour documentary that has rarely been seen since 1976 but is considered by its director, Marcel Ophuls, to be his best—even better, perhaps, than his more famous The Sorrow and the Pity (1969), about the Nazi occupation of France, the Vichy government, and the French Resistance.
Near the beginning of The Memory of Justice, the violinist Yehudi Menuhin declares that the barbarism of Nazi Germany can only be seen as a universal moral catastrophe: “I proceed from the assumption that every human being is guilty.” The fact that it happened in Germany, he says, doesn’t mean that it cannot happen elsewhere. This statement comes just after we have seen the Nazi leaders, one after the other, declare their innocence in the Nuremberg courtroom.

We also hear a former French paratrooper recall how the French in Algeria systematically tortured and murdered men, women, and children. There are gruesome images of the Vietnam War. And Telford Taylor, US counsel for the prosecution at Nuremberg, wonders how any of us would cope with the “degeneration of standards under pressures.” Later in the film, Taylor says that his views on Americans and American history have changed more than his views on the Germans whom he once judged.
Such juxtapositions are enough to send some people into a fury. The art critic Harold Rosenberg accused Ophuls in these pages of being “lured…into a near-nihilistic bog in which no one is guilty, because all are guilty and there is no one who is morally qualified to judge.”1 Ophuls, according to Rosenberg, “trivialized” the Nazi crimes and “diluted” the moral awfulness of the death camps.
This is to misunderstand what Ophuls was up to. The film never suggests that Auschwitz and the My Lai massacre, or French torture prisons in Algiers, are equivalent, let alone that the Vietnam War was a criminal enterprise on the same level as the Holocaust. Nor does Ophuls doubt that the judgment on Göring and his gang at Nuremberg was justified. Ophuls himself was a refugee from the Nazis, forced to leave Germany in 1933, and to flee again when France was invaded in 1940. Instead he tries, dispassionately and sometimes with touches of sardonic humor, to complicate the problem of moral judgment. What makes human beings who are normally unexceptional commit atrocities under abnormal circumstances? What if such crimes are committed by our fellow citizens in the name of our own country? How does our commitment to justice appear today in the light of the judgments at Nuremberg? Will the memory of justice, as Plato assumed, make us strive to do better?
Ophuls does not dilute the monstrosity of Nazi crimes at all. But he refuses to simply regard the perpetrators as monsters. “Belief in the Nazis as monsters,” he once said, “is a form of complacency.” This reminds me of something the controversial German novelist Martin Walser once said about the Auschwitz trials held in Frankfurt in the 1960s. He wasn’t against them. But he argued that the daily horror stories in the popular German press about the grotesque tortures inflicted by Nazi butchers made it easier for ordinary Germans to distance themselves from these crimes and the regime that made them happen. Who could possibly identify with such brutes? If only monsters were responsible for the Holocaust and other mass murders, there would never be any need for the rest of us to look in the mirror.
It is true that Ophuls does not interview former Nazis, such as Albert Speer and Admiral Karl Dönitz, as a prosecutor. His role is not to indict, but to understand better what motivates such men, especially men (and women) who seem otherwise quite civilized. For this, too, Rosenberg condemned him, arguing that he should have balanced the views voiced by these criminals with those of their victims, for otherwise viewers might give the old rogues the benefit of the doubt.
There seems to be little danger of that. Consider Dönitz, for example, who makes the bizarre statement that he could not have been anti-Semitic, since he never discriminated against Jews in the German navy, forgetting for a moment that there were no known Jews in Hitler’s Kriegsmarine. When Ophuls asks him whether he really believes that there was no connection between his ferociously anti-Semitic speeches and the fate of the Jews under the government he served, the admiral’s tight little mouth twitches alarmingly before denying everything in the harsh yelp of a cornered dog. This speaks for itself, and needs no “balancing” by another voice.
Ophuls is a superb interviewer, polite, cool, and relentless. His tone is often skeptical, but never moralistic or aggressive. This allows him to get people to say things they may not have divulged to a more confrontational interlocutor. Albert Speer was responsible for, among other things, the ghastly fate of countless slave laborers pulled from concentration camps to work in German armaments factories. Responding to Ophuls’s quiet probing, this most slippery of customers speaks at length about the moral blindness and criminal opportunism that came from his ruthless ambition. Unlike most Germans of his generation, Speer believed that the Nuremberg trials were justified. But then, he could be said to have got off rather lightly with a prison sentence rather than being hanged.
Where Dönitz is shrill and defensive, Speer is smooth, even charming. This almost certainly saved his life. Telford Taylor believed that Speer should have been hanged, according to the evidence and criteria of Nuremberg. Julius Streicher was executed for being a vile anti-Semitic propagandist, even though he never had anything like the power of Speer. But he was an uncouth, bullet-headed ruffian, described by Rebecca West as “a dirty old man of the sort that gives trouble in parks,” a man one could easily regard as a monster. The judges warmed to Speer as a kind of relief. Compared to Streicher, the vulgar, strutting Göring, the pompous martinet General Alfred Jodl, or the hulking SS chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Speer was a gentleman. What saved him, Taylor recalls in the film, was his superior class. When Ophuls puts this to him, a ghostly smile flits across Speer’s face: “If that’s the explanation…, then I am only too pleased I made such a good impression.” In the event, Speer got twenty years; Dönitz only got ten.
Ophuls said in an interview that it was easy to like Speer. But there is no suggestion that this mitigated his guilt. The historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, who also interviewed Speer at length, called him “the true criminal of Nazi Germany,” precisely because he was clearly not a sadistic brute but a highly educated, well-mannered, “normal” human being who should have known better than to be part of a murderous regime. This is perhaps the main point of Ophuls’s film as well: there was nothing special about the Germans that predisposed them to become killers or, more often, to look away when the killings were done. There is no such thing as a criminal people. A quiet-spoken young architect can end up with more blood on his hands than a Jew-baiting thug. This, I think, is what Yehudi Menuhin meant by his warning that it could happen anywhere.


Far from being a moral nihilist who trivialized the Nazi crimes, Ophuls was so committed to his examination of guilt and justice that The Memory of Justice had a narrow escape from oblivion. The companies that commissioned it, including the BBC, did not like the rough cut. They thought it was far too long. Since the film was to be based on Telford Taylor’s book Nuremberg and Vietnam: An American Tragedy (1970), they wanted more on the Vietnam War and less on Nuremberg. Rejection only made Ophuls, who never took kindly to being told what to do by the men in suits, stick more stubbornly to his own vision. He was less interested in a specifically American tragedy, or indeed a German tragedy, than in man’s descent into barbarousness, wherever or whenever it happens.
Ophuls was locked out of the cutting room in London. The producers put together a shorter version of the film, with a different spin, which was sold to ZDF television in Germany. Ophuls then traveled all over Europe to save his own version. A German court stopped ZDF from showing the shorter one. The original edit was smuggled to the US, where a private screening reduced Mike Nichols to tears. Hamilton Fish, later a well-known publisher, managed to persuade a group of investors to buy the original movie back and Paramount to distribute it. It was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1976, and then in New York and on college campuses, as well as on television in many countries. But for the cussed perseverance of Ophuls and the help of his American backers, The Memory of Justice would never have been seen. In Fish’s words, “You needed his type of personality to make such a film. He took history on personally.”
After its initial run, however, the movie disappeared. Contracts on archival rights ran out. The film stock was in danger of deteriorating. And so a documentary masterpiece could easily have been lost if Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation had not stepped in with Paramount to put it all back together again, a labor that took ten years and was completed in 2015.
Much has changed, of course, since 1976. Germany is a different country now, geographically, politically, and culturally. When Ophuls talked to Dönitz, the West German establishment was still riddled with former Nazis. Most of the wartime generation masked their dirty secrets with evasions or shabby justifications. The history of the Third Reich, in the words of Eugen Kogon, a Holocaust survivor and the first German historian to write about the camps, was still “the corpse in the cellar.”
Quite ordinary people, like the smiling man encountered by Ophuls in a small town in Schleswig-Holstein, still remembered the Third Reich with great fondness as an orderly time when people knew how to behave and there was “no problem of crime.” Ophuls happened to meet this friendly burgher while he was trying to track down a female doctor who had been convicted at Nuremberg for murdering children in concentration camps by injecting oil into their veins, to name just one of her grisly experiments. After she was released from prison in 1952, she continued for a time to practice as a family doctor. She was, it appears, well respected, even friendly.
When Ophuls finally managed to find her, she very politely declined to be interviewed, since she was in poor health. Another former concentration camp doctor, Gerhard Rose, did agree to talk, however, but only to deny any guilt, claiming that his medical experiments (infecting victims with malaria, for example) served a humanitarian purpose, and that the US Army performed experiments too. Ophuls observes, quite rightly, that American experiments were hardly conducted under the kind of circumstances prevailing in Dachau and Buchenwald. But the hypocrisy of the Western Allies in this matter might have been better illustrated by pointing out that German and Japanese doctors who committed even worse crimes than Dr. Rose were protected by the US government because their knowledge might come in handy during the cold war.2
Perhaps the most disturbing interview in the movie is not with an unrepentant Nazi or a war criminal, but with the gentlemanly and highly esteemed lawyer Otto Kranzbühler. A navy judge during the war, Kranzbühler was defense counsel for Admiral Dönitz at Nuremberg, where he cut a dashing figure in his navy uniform. He later had a successful career as a corporate lawyer, after defending the likes of Alfried Krupp against accusations of having exploited slave labor. Kranzbühler never justified Nazism. But when asked by Ophuls whether he had discussed his own part in the Third Reich with his children, he replied that he had come up with a formula to make them understand: if you were ignorant of what went on, you were a fool; if you knew, but looked the other way, you were a coward; if you knew, and took part, you were a criminal. Were his children reassured? Kranzbühler: “My children didn’t recognize their father in any of the above.”
Dominique Nabokov: Marcel Ophuls, Neuilly, circa 1988
It was a brilliant evasion. But Kranzbühler was no more evasive than the French prosecutor at Nuremberg, the equally urbane Edgar Faure, who had been a member of the Resistance during the Nazi occupation of France. Ophuls asked him about French war crimes during the Algerian War of Independence, when torture was systematically applied, civilians were massacred, and prisoners were thrown out of helicopters, a practice that later became widespread under South American military regimes. “Well,” said Faure, “events do get out of hand. But you can’t really criticize politicians who have the difficult task of running the government.” Edgar Faure was prime minister of France during part of that war.
The 1970s were a critical time in Germany. There were still people, like the son of the former Waffen SS officer interviewed by Ophuls, who believed that the Nazi death camps were a lie, and it was the Americans who built the gas chambers in concentration camps. But the postwar generation had begun to question their parents amid the student revolts of the 1960s. Just a year after The Memory of Justice was completed, radicalism in Germany turned toxic, when members of the Red Army Faction murdered bankers, kidnapped industrialists, and hijacked planes, all in the name of antifascism, as though to make up for their parents’ complicity with the Nazis.
German families were torn apart by memories of the war. Ophuls includes his own not uncomplicated family in the film. His German wife, Regine, the daughter of a Wehrmacht veteran, speaks openly to American students about her own childhood under the Nazis. One of their teenaged daughters talks about the need to come to terms with the past, even though their mother finds seventeen a little too young to be confronted with images of concentration camps. Then Regine says something personal that cuts to the core of her husband’s life and work. She wishes sometimes that Ophuls would make films that were not about such dark matters. What kind of films? he asks. Lubitsch films, she replies, or My Fair Lady all over again. We then hear Cyd Charisse singing “New Sun in the Sky” from The Band Wagon (1953), while watching Ophuls in a car on his way to find the doctor who murdered children in concentration camps.
This is typical of the Ophuls touch, show tunes evoking happier times overlapping with memories of horror. The motive is not to pile on cheap irony, but to bring in a note of autobiography. His father was Max Ophuls, the great director of Liebelei (1933), La Ronde (1950), and Lola Montès (1955). Max was one of the geniuses of the exile cinema. Memories of a sweeter life in imperial Vienna or nineteenth-century France are darkened in his films by a sense of betrayal and perverse sexuality.
Nostalgia for better days haunted his son, who spent his youth on the run from terror with a father whose genius he always felt he couldn’t live up to. He would have loved to direct movies like La Ronde. Instead he made great documentary films about the past that won’t let him go, about Vichy France, or Klaus Barbie, the Gestapo butcher of Lyon, or Nuremberg. The true horror stories are mixed in all his work, as in a collage, with songs from pre-war Berlin music halls and Hollywood movies.
One of the most unforgettable examples of the Ophuls touch is a scene in a film that has almost never been viewed (another bitter fight with producers). November Days (1991) is about the fall of the Berlin wall. One of the people he interviews is Markus Wolf, the former East German spy chief, whose father, the Communist writer Friedrich Wolf, had known Max Ophuls in pre-war Berlin. While Markus dodges every question about his past with blatant lies, we hear music from one of Max’s movies slowly swell on the soundtrack as Marcel thinks out loud to himself how lucky he was that his father decided to move west instead of east.


In the second half of The Memory of Justice, the focus shifts from east to west, as it were, from Germany to France and the US. Daniel Ellsberg, speaking of Vietnam, says that “this war will cause us to be monstrous.” We hear stories from men who were there of American soldiers murdering civilians in cold blood. We hear a Vietnam veteran talk about being told to shut up by his superiors when he reports a massacre of civilians ordered by his commanding officer. We hear Ellsberg say that no one higher than a lieutenant was ever convicted for the mass killing of Vietnamese civilians by US soldiers in My Lai.
On the French side, stories about summary executions and the use of torture during the Algerian War (1954–1962) are followed by a crucial question put by Ophuls to Edgar Faure, the former Nuremberg prosecutor and later prime minister of France: Did he, Edgar Faure, think the French would have accepted an international commission that would judge, on the basis of Nuremberg, what the French did in Algeria? No, said Faure, after a pensive suck on his pipe, since one cannot compare the invasion of another country to the actions taken by a sovereign state in its own colony.
Sir Hartley Shawcross, the British prosecutor at Nuremberg, speaking to Ophuls in his elegant country house in Sussex, remembers how much his American colleagues had believed in justice and the rule of law. Like other British officials at the time, he took a more cynical view: “All law is created by the victors for the vanquished.” What mattered in his opinion, however, was not who made the laws, but whether the principles were right. About this he had little doubt.
Looking back, Otto Kranzbühler shared Shawcross’s memory of American idealism. But he believed that as a model for the future, Nuremberg had been a failure. The trial, as he saw it, presupposed a united world community in which wars would be a thing of the past. This illusion did not last long.
In fact, the trial was tainted from the beginning, not only because among the men who judged the Nazi leaders were Soviet veterans of Stalin’s bloody show trials, but also because Allied war crimes could not even be mentioned. A former British officer involved in the wartime bomber command had no doubt that the destruction of Dresden was a war crime.
If The Memory of Justice has a weakness, it is that this second half of the film, concentrating on French and American war crimes, is not quite as gripping as the first half about the German legacy of Nuremberg. Perhaps Ophuls’s heart was not in it to the same extent. Or perhaps no matter what one thinks of My Lai or Algiers, they are overshadowed by the sheer scale and savagery of the Nazi crimes.
Then again, pace Rosenberg, Ophuls doesn’t suggest that they are equivalent. What is comparable is the way people look away from, or justify, or deny what is done in their name, or under their watch. The wife of a US marine who died in Vietnam, living in a house stuffed with flags and military memorabilia, simply refuses to entertain the idea that her country could ever do anything wrong. More interesting, and perhaps more damning, is the statement by John Kenneth Galbraith, an impeccably liberal former diplomat and economist. His view of the Vietnam War, he tells Ophuls, had been entirely practical, without any consideration of moral implications.
Vietnam was not the Eastern Front in 1943. My Lai was not Auschwitz. And Galbraith was certainly no Albert Speer. Nevertheless, this technocratic view of violent conflict is precisely what leads many people so far astray under a criminal regime. In the film, Ellsberg describes the tunnel vision of Speer as “controlled stupidity,” the refusal to see the consequences of what one does and stands for.
This brings to mind another brilliant documentary about controlled stupidity, Errol Morris’s The Fog of War (2003), featuring Robert McNamara, the technocrat behind the annihilation of Japanese cities in World War II and the escalation of the Vietnam War in the 1960s. To him, the deliberate killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians was a mathematical problem. Only many years later did he admit that if the US had lost World War II, he could certainly have been indicted as a war criminal.
Even more chilling is another documentary by Morris, which received less attention than The Fog of War. In The Unknown Known (2013), we see Donald Rumsfeld, another gentlemanly technocrat, shrug his shoulders about Vietnam, commenting that “sometimes things just don’t work out.” When, as the result of another war in which he was even more intimately involved, Baghdad was convulsed in anarchic violence, he notoriously remarked that “stuff happens.” This is what Hannah Arendt called a “criminal lack of imagination.”
Perhaps the US in 1945 set its ideals too high. But it is a tragedy that the same country that believed in international law, and did so much to establish the norms of justice, has done so little to live up to them. The US is not even a signatory to the International Criminal Court, a flawed institution like the Nuremberg tribunal, but a necessary step in the right direction. No one can hold the greatest military power on earth accountable for what it does, not for torture rooms in Abu Ghraib, not for locking people up indefinitely without trial, not for murdering civilians with drones.
For Germans living under the Third Reich it was risky to imagine too well what their rulers were doing. To protest was positively dangerous. This is not yet true for those of us living in the age of Trump, when the president of the US openly condones torture and applauds thugs for beating up people at his rallies. We need films like this masterpiece by Ophuls more than ever to remind us of what happens when even the memories of justice fade away.
  1. “The Shadow of the Furies,” The New York Review, January 20, 1977; see also the exchange between Rosenberg and Ophuls, The New York Review, March 17, 1977.  
  2. The most notorious case was that of Surgeon General Ishii Shiro of Unit 731, the biological warfare unit of the Imperial Japanese Army, who tortured countless people to death in Manchuria in the course of his experiments. He was shielded by US authorities from prosecution as a war criminal in exchange for data from the experiments. 

domingo, 3 de maio de 2015

O mito Rothschild: 200 anos desde Waterloo, o antissemitismo persiste - Brian Cathcart

The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
The Independent,  Sunday 03 May 2015

Thirty years after the dust had settled on the fields of Waterloo, a poisonous anti-Semitic pamphlet circulated in Europe, claiming the Rothschild family had accrued its vast wealth on the back of Wellington's triumph. The 'facts' were entirely made up

 In the summer of 1846, a political pamphlet bearing the ominous signature "Satan" swept across Europe, telling a story which, though lurid and improbable, left a mark that can be seen to this day.

The pamphlet claimed to recount the history of the richest and most famous banking family of the time – the Rothschilds – and its most enduring passage told how their vast fortune was built upon the bloodshed of the battle of Waterloo, whose bicentenary falls this year.

Here is the story that "Satan" told.
Nathan Rothschild, the founder of the London branch of the bank, was a spectator on the battlefield that day in June 1815 and, as night fell, he observed the total defeat of the French army. This was what he was waiting for. A relay of fast horses rushed him to the Belgian coast, but there he found to his fury that a storm had confined all ships to port. Undaunted – "Does greed admit anything is impossible?" asked Satan – he paid a king's ransom to a fisherman to ferry him through wind and waves to England.

Reaching London 24 hours before official word of Wellington's victory, Rothschild exploited his knowledge to make a killing on the Stock Exchange. "In a single coup," announced the pamphlet, "he gained 20 million francs."

Beyond all doubt this tale was anti-Semitic in intent. Satan was in reality a left-wing controversialist called Georges Dairnvaell, who made no attempt to hide his loathing for Jews –and the Rothschilds in particular. Though they had been little known in 1815, by 1846 the Rothschilds had become the Rockefellers or the Gateses of their age, their name a byword for fabulous wealth. Nathan himself had died in 1836 and so could not rebut the claims.

Every aspect of Dairnvaell's tale – the ruthlessness, the guile, the greed – represents a derogatory racial stereotype, and he was writing at a moment when such attitudes were having one of their periodic surges of popularity in Europe.

The story was also false: Nathan Rothschild was not at Waterloo or even in Belgium at the time. There was no Channel storm. And he made no great killing on the stock market.

Yet the Satan pamphlet, translated into many languages and reprinted many times, gave this legend such a grip on history that, albeit often in modified or diluted forms, references to it can still be found today both in popular culture and in scholarly works.

Versions appear in a Hollywood film of 1934 and the 2009 Sebastian Faulks novel A Week in December; in past editions of the Dictionary of National Biography and Encyclopaedia Britannica; in Elizabeth Longford's acclaimed 1970s biography of the Duke of Wellington; and (with a very different analysis) in Niall Ferguson's authorised history of the Rothschilds. Perhaps more predictably, the story provided the plot for a Nazi film of 1940 entitled The Rothschilds: Shares in Waterloo, and the tale can be read on many anti-Semitic websites.

How does a crude racist smear endure for so long? More importantly, how has it survived as a supposed sub-plot of history – towards which even the most respected writers have felt obliged to nod – when it is one of those myths that, on being challenged with inconvenient facts, simply adjusts its form? For example, when it was finally accepted that Nathan Rothschild was definitely not at Waterloo, the story changed: the banker was in London, but had made elaborate preparations to get the news first, either by special messenger or pigeon post. An additional twist was added. Once he knew Wellington had won, Rothschild was said to have deliberately provoked a collapse of the stock market by spreading false rumours of a defeat, so allowing him to pick up shares at rock-bottom prices and double his profits later, after official news of the victory had sent the markets soaring.
Nathan Rothschild was a German banker, businessman and financierNathan Rothschild was a German banker, businessman and financier

Was there any truth to this revised version, or to any of the other variants that have surfaced over the years? We will come to that.

The legend has had innocent uses – for example, the former CIA chief Allen Dulles repeated it in a 1963 book on espionage as he wanted to illustrate the value of early information. Other writers have adopted the tale simply as a good yarn, without any anti-Semitic intent.

Even the Rothschild family, always deeply uncomfortable with the story, has tried to domesticate it. Their preferred version glosses over any alleged profits and stresses that Nathan's first action on hearing of the victory had been that of any good citizen of the time: he informed the government. (This was the version Elizabeth Longford embraced.)

All the while, error and trickery were hampering attempts to separate the myth from the facts. What apparent evidence was there? For many years, historians cited a line from the London Courier newspaper dated 20 June 1815, two days after the battle and a day before official news of the victory arrived. It stated simply: "Rothschild has made great purchases of stock."

On the face of it, this supported the legend, but there is a problem: those words do not appear in surviving copies of that day's Courier. Instead, it now appears that the purported quotation originated in the writings of a Scottish historian, Archibald Alison, in 1848 – two years after the Satan pamphlet was published.

Further backing for the legend came in the form of an entry in the 1815 diary of a young American visitor to London, James Gallatin. On the day of Waterloo, he writes of great public anxiety over events in Belgium, adding: "They say Monsieur Rothschild has mounted couriers from Brussels to Ostend and a fast clipper ready to sail the moment something is decisive [on the battlefield] one way or the other."

Once again, this is not what it seems. The Gallatin diary was exposed in 1957 as a fake cooked up late in the 19th century – long after the Satan story had gained currency.

The 1846 Rothschild pamphlet written by Satan

The first modern attempt to challenge the myth was made in the 1980s by a Rothschild – Baron
Victor, a retired scientist and public servant who wrote a book about his ancestor Nathan. It was Victor who identified the powerful role played by the Satan pamphlet, and he debunked many of the dafter allegations.

But he also discovered in the Rothschild archives a document that muddied the water.This was a letter written to Nathan Rothschild by a bank employee in Paris about a month after Waterloo, and it included the statement: "I am informed by Commissary White you have done well by the early information which you had of the victory gained at Waterloo." Proof, it seemed, that the legend had some foundation in fact. There matters have stood since the 1980s, and in those years the old legend has enjoyed a new lease of life online, while historians and writers have continued to pay it lip service.

But fresh evidence has now surfaced which allows us finally to put this story in its proper context. Newspapers published in the week of Waterloo make it clear that the first person to bring authentic news of the victory at Waterloo to London was not Nathan Rothschild; rather, it was a man who had learnt of it in the Belgian city of Ghent and made a dash to England.

This shadowy figure, identified only as "Mr C of Dover", was telling his story freely in the City from the morning of Wednesday 21 June – at least 12 hours before the official news arrived. It was published in at least three newspapers that afternoon. We also know that a news report written that Wednesday evening referred to Nathan Rothschild receiving a letter from Ghent reporting a victory and passing his news to the government – though this was noted alongside reports of two other, similar letters.

So, while it is confirmed that Rothschild had early news, he was not the only one.

Did Rothschild have time to buy shares? Apparently, but in the thin market of the period, it could not have been enough to accumulate holdings sufficient to earn him the millions that Dairnvaell wrote of. Nor did he manipulate the market to double his gains, for, contrary to legend, there was no slump in prices that Wednesday.

Nathan Rothschild may have "done well" from his purchases when stocks rose sharply following the confirmation of the victory, but his gains were dwarfed by those of numerous rival investors who, without any advantage of early information, had bought key government securities earlier, more cheaply and in quantity.

Two hundred years on from Waterloo, then, not much is left of Satan's tale. It's just possible to see the factual elements upon which a vivid myth was built: Nathan Rothschild did have early information and it seems he did buy shares. But it was only by taking these facts out of their relatively humdrum context and adding a heap of falsehoods on top – relays of horses, storms in the channel, pigeon post, market manipulation – that a narrative of any interest was fashioned.

There is no doubt why that was done: to smear the Rothschilds and Jews generally. Perhaps this bicentenary year of Waterloo would be a good time to recognise that smear for what it is.

Brian Cathcart is professor of journalism at Kingston University London and the author of 'The News from Waterloo' (£16.99, Faber)

terça-feira, 8 de abril de 2014

O perigo judeu: o velho e sordido antissemitismo - Michael Walzer

Imaginary Jews


In 1844, Karl Marx published his essay “On the Jewish Question.” This wasn’t an engagement with Judaism, or with Jewish history, or even with the sociology of German Jews. Its occasion was the contemporary debate about Jewish emancipation, but its real purpose was to call for the overthrow of the capitalist order. The call was expressed in a language that is probably not surprising to readers today and that was entirely familiar to readers in the nineteenth century. Still, it is a very strange language. Capitalism is identified by Marx with Judaism, and so the overthrow of capitalism will be, he writes, “the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.” The argument is worth quoting, at least briefly:
Hermitage, St. Petersburg/Bridgeman Art Library
Rembrandt: Portrait of an Old Jew, 1654
The Jew has already emancipated himself in a Jewish way…not only insofar as he has acquired financial power, but also insofar as, through him and without him, moneyhas risen to world power and the practical Jewish spirit has become the practical spirit of the Christian peoples. The Jews have emancipated themselves to the extent that the Christians have become Jews.
“Through [the Jew] and without [the Jew]”—mostly without him: as Marx certainly knew, Jews made up a very small part of the moneyed elite of England, the most advanced capitalist country, and an even smaller part of the “rising” German bourgeoisie. His own father had converted to Protestantism in order to facilitate his entry into bourgeois society, where Jews were not welcome in the early nineteenth century.
What Marx is doing here, David Nirenberg argues in his brilliant, fascinating, and deeply depressing book Anti-Judaism, is exactly what many other writers have done in the long history of Western civilization. His essay is a “strategic appropriation of the most powerful language of opprobrium available to any critic of the powers and institutions of this world.” That sentence comes from Nirenberg’s discussion of Martin Luther, but it applies equally well to Marx. Still, we should be more surprised by Marx’s use of this language than by Luther’s, not only because of Marx’s Jewish origins but also because of his claim to be a radical critic of the ideology of his own time. He might, Nirenberg says, have questioned the association of Judaism and capitalism and written a critical history aimed at making his readers more reflective about that association. Instead, he chose to exploit “old ideas and fears about Jewishness.”
Consider another famous use of this language of opprobrium, this time not in support of but in fierce opposition to revolutionary politics. In his Reflections on the Revolution in France, published in 1790, Edmund Burke compared what was going on in France to previous revolutions (like England’s in 1688) that were led by noblemen “of great civil, and great military talents.” By contrast, he wrote, the revolutionary government in Paris is led by “Jew brokers contending with each other who could best remedy with fraudulent circulation and depreciated paper the wretchedness and ruin brought on their country by their degenerate councils.”
In Burke’s case, the choice of this language was probably not “strategic.” The choice was structural—anti-Judaism was a feature of the worldview with which Burke was able to recognize what Marxists later described as a “bourgeois” revolution. “Given the complete absence of Jews from the actual leadership, whether political, pecuniary, or philosophical, of the French Revolution,” Nirenberg writes, the line about “Jew brokers” (and also Burke’s proposal to help the revolutionaries by sending English Jews to France “to please your new Hebrew brethren”) may, again, seem very strange. In fact, it is utterly common; only Burke’s ferocious eloquence is uncommon.
Friendly writers have worked hard to exonerate Burke of anti-Semitism. Nirenberg says only that they miss the point. Burke certainly knew that Danton, Robespierre, Saint-Just, and their friends and enemies among the revolutionaries were, all of them, Catholics and lapsed Catholics (plus a few Protestants). They were only figurative Jews, imaginary Jews, who came to Burke’s mind, and to many other minds,
because the revolution forced him…to confront basic questions about the ways in which humans relate to one another in society. These were questions that two millennia of pedagogy had taught Europe to ask in terms of “Judaism,” and Burke had learnt the lesson well.


Nirenberg’s book is about those two millennia and their pedagogy. It isn’t a book about anti-Semitism; it isn’t a history of the Jewish experience of discrimination, persecution, and genocide; it isn’t an example of what the historian Salo Baron called the “lachrymose” account of Jewish life in exile; nor is it an indictment of contemporary anti-Zionism or a defense of the state of Israel. The book is not about Jews at all or, at least, not about real Jews; it deals extensively and almost exclusively with imaginary Jews.
What Nirenberg has written is an intellectual history of Western civilization, seen from a peculiar but frighteningly revealing perspective. It is focused on the role of anti-Judaism as a constitutive idea and an explanatory force in Christian and post-Christian thought—though it starts with Egyptian arguments against the Jews and includes a discussion of early Islam, whose writers echo, and apparently learned from, Christian polemics. Nirenberg comments intermittently about the effects of anti-Judaism on the life chances of actual Jews, but dealing with those effects in any sufficient way would require another, and a very different, book.
Anti-Judaism is an extraordinary scholarly achievement. Nirenberg tells us that he has left a lot out (I will come at the end to a few things that are missing), but he seems to know everything. He deals only with literature that he can read in the original language, but this isn’t much of a limitation. Fortunately, the chapter on Egypt doesn’t require knowledge of hieroglyphics; Greek, Hebrew, and Latin are enough. Perhaps it makes things easier that the arguments in all the different languages are remarkably similar and endlessly reiterated.
A certain view of Judaism—mainly negative—gets established early on, chiefly in Christian polemics, and then becomes a common tool in many different intellectual efforts to understand the world and to denounce opposing understandings. Marx may have thought himself insightful and his announcement original: the “worldly God” of the Jews was “money”! But the identification of Judaism with materialism, with the things of this world, predates the appearance of capitalism in Europe by at least 1,500 years.
Since I want mostly to describe Nirenberg’s argument (and, though without the authority of his erudition, to endorse it), let me note quickly one bit of oddness in it. One could also write—it would be much shorter—a history of philo-Judaism. It might begin with those near-Jews, the “God-fearers” of ancient Rome, whom Nirenberg doesn’t mention. But the prime example would be the work of the Christian, mostly Protestant, Hebraists of the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, who searched in biblical and rabbinic texts for God’s constitution and produced books with titles like The Hebrew Commonwealth. Many of these writers studied with Jewish scholars, chiefly from the Netherlands, but (with some notable exceptions) remained in most of their references to contemporary Jews conventionally anti-Semitic.
Nirenberg writes about these Christian Hebraists with his usual learning, but they don’t fit neatly into his book. They were looking for an ancient, biblical Judaism (with the rabbis of the talmudic age as helpful interpreters) that they could learn from, even imitate. Nirenberg’s proper subject is a hostile understanding of Judaism, early and late, reiterated by writers of very different sorts, with which the social-political-theological-philosophical world is constructed, enemies are identified, and positions fortified. Philo-Judaism is aspirational; anti-Judaism claims to be explanatory.
What is being explained is the social world; the explanatory tools are certain supposed features of Judaism; and the enemies are mostly not Jews but “Judaizing” non-Jews who take on these features and are denounced for doing so. I will deal with only a few of Judaism’s negative characteristics: its hyperintellectualism; its predilection for tyranny; its equal and opposite predilection for subversive radicalism; and its this-worldly materialism, invoked, as we’ve seen, by both Burke and Marx. None of this is actually descriptive; there certainly are examples of hyper-intellectual, tyrannical, subversive, and materialist Jews (and of dumb, powerless, conformist, and idealistic Jews), but Nirenberg insists, rightly, that real Jews have remarkably little to do with anti-Judaism.


Speaking to German students in May 1933, a few months after the Nazis took power, Joseph Goebbels proclaimed that “the age of rampant Jewish intellectualism is now at an end.” Goebbels was a third-rate German intellectual (the word is unavoidable: he had a Ph.D.; he wrote articles; Nirenberg suggests that we think of him as an apostate intellectual). But he was making an argument that had been made by many less infamous, indeed, more worthy, figures. It begins in the Gospels, with the earliest attacks on the Judaism of the Pharisees. Christian supersessionist arguments—i.e., arguments about what aspects of Judaism had been superseded by Christianity—were based on a set of oppositions: law superseded by love, the letter by the spirit, the flesh (the material world, the commandments of the Torah, the literal text) by the soul. “I bless you father…,” writes Luke, “for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children.”
The Pharisees were indeed learned and clever, as were their rabbinic successors; the discussions and disputations of the Talmud are a particularly revealing display of learning and cleverness. By comparison (it’s a self-description), the early Christians were naive and innocent children to whom God spoke directly, evoking the faith that brought salvation (which law and learning couldn’t do).
The difficulty here is that the Christians very quickly produced immensely learned, clever, and disputatious theologians of their own, who were then accused, and who accused each other, of Judaizing—thinking or acting like Jews. The earliest Christian writers, Paul most importantly, were engaged with actual Jews, in some mix of coexistence and competition that scholars are still trying to figure out. Nirenberg writes about Paul with subtlety and some sympathy, though he is the writer who sets the terms for much that comes later.
By the time of writers like Eusebius, Ambrose, and Augustine, the Jews had been, as Nirenberg says, “a twice-defeated people”—first militarily by the Romans and then religiously by the imperial establishment of Christianity. And yet the threat of Judaism grew greater and greater as the actual Jews grew weaker and weaker. According to their triumphant opponents, the Jews never gave up their hostility to Jesus and his followers (indeed, they didn’t convert). They were endlessly clever, ever-active hypocrites and tricksters, who mixed truth with falsehood to entice innocent Christians—in the same way that those who prepare lethal drugs “smear the lip of the cup with honey to make the harmful potion easy to drink.”
That last charge is from Saint John Chrysostom, who was such a violent opponent of “the Jews” that earnest scholars have assumed that Judaism must have posed a clear and present danger to Christianity in his time. In fact, Nirenberg tells us, there was no such danger; the people mixing the poison were Christian heretics. If Saint John feared the Jews, “it was because his theology had taught him to view other dangers in Jewish terms.”
Bridgeman Art Library
The cover of a French edition of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, circa 1940
The critique of Jewish cleverness is fairly continuous over time, but it appears with special force among German idealist philosophers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, who repeat many of the supersessionist arguments of the early Christians. Kant understood the heteronomy he sought to overcome—action according to moral law externally imposed rather than freely accepted by the agent—in Jewish terms, but he was himself considered too Jewish by the philosophers who came next, most importantly by Hegel. Kantianism, Hegel claimed, was simply a new version of “the Jewish principle of opposing thought to reality, reason to sense; this principle involves the rending of life and a lifeless connection between God and the world.” According to Hegel, Abraham had made a fateful choice: his rejection of the world in favor of a sublime God had alienated the Jews forever from the beauty of nature and made them the prisoners of law, incapable of love. (Needless to say, Schopenhauer, in the next generation, thought that the academic Hegelians of his time were “Jews” and followers of “the Jewish God,” but I shall stop with Hegel himself.)
It isn’t Nirenberg’s claim that any of these philosophers were anti-Semites. Indeed, Hegel defended the rights of Jews in German universities and thought that anti-Semitic German nationalism was not “German-ness” but “German-stupid-ness.” Nor is Nirenberg arguing for any kind of intellectual determinism. He doesn’t believe that Goebbels’s attack on Jewish intellectualism was the necessary outcome of the German philosophical identification of Judaism with lifeless reason—any more than German idealism was the necessary outcome of Christian claims to supersede Pharasaic Judaism or of Lutheran claims to supersede the Judaizing Catholics. In all these cases, there were other possible outcomes. But philosophers like Hegel used the language of anti-Judaism to resolve “the ancient tension between the ideal and the real,” and their resolutions were enormously influential. The idea of Judaism as the enemy of “life” had a future.


Judaism’s associations with worldly power and subversive rebellion are closely linked, for what is rebellion but an effort to seize power? So Jewish bankers can rule the world and Jewish Bolsheviks can aspire to overthrow and replace the bankers. In some alcoves of the Western imagination, the two groups can almost appear as co-conspirators. The populist anti-Semitism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (what August Bebel called “the socialism of fools”) has a long history. One very early example is Saint Ambrose’s response to the emperor Maximus, who punished the leaders of a Christian mob that burned a synagogue in the Mesopotamian city of Callinicum: “That king,” Ambrose said, “has become a Jew.” What made Maximus a “Jew” was not that he defended the Callinicum Jews but that he ranked enforcement of the law over the demands of the spirit (and the religious enthusiasm of the mob).
Often in the Middle Ages, Christian rulers were accused of Judaizing by populist rebels; the accusations had a curious doubleness. Tyranny was, first of all, imagined as a feature of Judaism, both when there were Jews at court (as physicians, advisers, tax collectors, and money-lenders) and when there were no Jews at court. The Jewish “seduction” of princes was one common way of understanding tyranny. Of course, Jewish seduction was often princely exploitation: the Jews were allowed to collect interest on loans to the king’s Christian subjects so that he could then “expropriate a considerable share of the proceeds.” It was a kind of indirect taxation, at a time when the royal power to tax was radically constrained. The indirectly taxed subjects resented the Jewish money-lenders, but, Nirenberg stresses, the resentment was politically acted out, again and again, in many times and places, though Jews rarely predominated in royal financial affairs “and then only for short periods of time.”
Anti-Judaism also had a second and rather different political usefulness. Jews were imagined not only as tyrants or the allies of tyrants but at the same time, and more realistically, as oppressed and powerless. Given their rejection of Jesus Christ and their complicity in his death, the oppression of the Jews was justified; but when a tyrannical ruler oppressed his Christian subjects, he could be accused of trying “to make a Jewry” out of them, which obviously wasn’t justified. “We would rather die than be made similar to Jews.” That last line is from a petition of the city council of Valencia to King Peter in 1378. So tyranny was twice understood in Jewish terms: a Judaizing prince treated his subjects like Jews.
Populist rebels obviously did not think of themselves as Jews; the construction of subversion and rebellion as “Jewish” was, and is, the work of conservative and reactionary writers. Among modern revolutionaries, the Puritans actually were Judaizers (focused far more on the Old than the New Testament), though with their own supersessionist theology. The use of the tropes of philo- and anti-Judaism during the English civil war made some sense, even though there were no Jews in England in the 1640s. The French revolutionaries were neither Jews nor Judaizers, though Burke and others understood them by invoking the “old ideas and fears.” But it was the Bolsheviks who, more than any other group of rebels, were widely understood as “Jewish.” It is true that many of them were Jews, though of the sort that Isaac Deutscher called “non-Jewish Jews.” Judaism had nothing at all to do with Bolshevism and yet, if Nirenberg is right, the Bolsheviks would have been explained in the language of anti-Judaism even if there had never been a Trotsky, a Kamenev, or a Radek among them.


The identification of Jews with merchants, money-lenders, royal financiers, and predatory capitalists is constant in Nirenberg’s history. I will focus on one moment in that history, Shakespeare’s England and The Merchant of Venice, which will give me a chance to illustrate the difference between his anti-Judaism and the anti-Semitism that is the subject of more conventional, but equally depressing, histories. Anthony Julius’s Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in Englandincludes a long and very intelligent discussion of Shakespeare’s play.1 Julius callsThe Merchant of Venice an anti-Semitic drama that is also a dramatization of anti-Semitism and the beginning of its literary investigation. Shakespeare, as always, writes from opposing perspectives, but he clearly leans toward Shylock’s enemies.
Shylock himself is the classic Jew: he hates Christians and desires to tyrannize over them; he loves money, more than his own daughter; he is a creature of law rather than of love. He isn’t, indeed, a clever Jew; in his attempt to use the law against his Christian enemy, he is unintelligent and inept. (A modern commentator, Kenneth Gross, asks: “What could [he] have been thinking?”) But in every other way, he is stereotypical, and so he merits the defeat and humiliation he receives—which are meant to delight the Elizabethan audience.
Julius doesn’t ask Nirenberg’s question: What put so many Jews (like Shylock or Marlowe’s Jew of Malta) on the new London stage, in “a city that had sheltered fewer ‘real Jews’ than perhaps any other major one in Europe”? His answer—I can’t reproduce his long and nuanced discussion—is that London was becoming a city of merchants, hence a “Jewish” city, and Shakespeare’s play is a creative response to that development, an effort to address the allegedly Judaizing features of all commercial relationships, and then to save the Christian merchants by distinguishing them from an extreme version of the Jew. But the distinction is open to question, and so the point of the play is best summed up when Portia asks, “Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?” The play is about law and property, contracts, oaths, pledges, and promises. Shylock is the Jew of the gospels: “I stand here for law.” But he is defeated by a better lawyer and a more literal reading of the law: Portia out-Jews the Jew—which is surely an ironical version of Christian supersession.
So Shakespeare understands the arrival of modern commerce with the help of Judaism, though he knew no Jews and had never read a page of the Talmud. He knew the Bible, though, as Shylock’s speech about Jacob multiplying Laban’s sheep (Act 1, scene 3; Genesis 30) makes clear. And Paul and the gospels were a central part of his intellectual inheritance. Shylock emerges from those latter texts, much like, though the lineage is more complicated, Burke’s “Jew brokers” and Marx’s “emancipated Jews.” The line is continuous.


Nirenberg’s epilogue addresses one major theorist’s denial of that continuity. In the preface to The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt mocks what she calls the doctrine of “eternal antisemitism” (this could serve, Nirenberg writes, “as an ironic title for my own book”) and insists that the “specifically Jewish functions” (banking and finance) in the capitalist economy made the Jews partly “responsible” (her word) for the hatred they evoked.2 This is much like Marx’s claim that “the Jews have eagerly contributed” to the triumph of their “worldly cult,” “Haggling,” and their “worldly God,” “Money.”
Arendt actually draws on the statistical work of Walter Frank, a Nazi economist, who headed an Institute for the History of the New Germany, to support her account of the role of the Jews in the German bourgeoisie. It can’t be the case, she argues, that the Nazis, who had “to persuade and mobilize people,” could have chosen their victims arbitrarily. There has to be a concrete answer, a local socioeconomic answer, to the question: Why the Jews?
Nirenberg agrees that the choice of the Jews was not arbitrary; nor does he find Arendt’s argument surprising—though he rejects all the usual hostile explanations: her assimilationist childhood, her long relationship with Heidegger, and so on. He does think it remarkable that Arendt “clung” to her argument about Jewish responsibility “even after the full extent and fantastic projective power of Nazi anti-Semitism (including its vast exaggeration of the Jews’ economic importance) became clear.” But his whole book is a kind of explanation for why she found it so easy to connect Jews and finance: the connection was one of “the a priori ideological commitments that structured her selection and interpretation of ‘facts’ about the Jews.”
The disagreement with Arendt nicely sums up Nirenberg’s book. His argument is that a certain view of Judaism lies deep in the structure of Western civilization and has helped its intellectuals and polemicists explain Christian heresies, political tyrannies, medieval plagues, capitalist crises, and revolutionary movements. Anti-Judaism is and has long been one of the most powerful theoretical systems “for making sense of the world.” No doubt, Jews sometimes act out the roles that anti-Judaism assigns them—but so do the members of all the other national and religious groups, and in much greater numbers. The theory does not depend on the behavior of “real” Jews.
Nirenberg’s history of anti-Judaism is powerful and persuasive, but it is also unfinished. It never gets to the United States, for example, where anti-Judaism seems to have been less prevalent and less useful (less used in making sense of society and economy) than it was and is in the Old World—and where philo-Judaism seems to have a much larger presence. The modern state of Israel also makes no appearance in Nirenberg’s book, except for one sentence on the next-to-last page:
We live in an age in which millions of people are exposed daily to some variant of the argument that the challenges of the world they live in are best explained in terms of “Israel.”
So we have a partial discontinuity (the US) and an unexplored continuity (contemporary Israel) with Nirenberg’s history. There is still work to be done. But here, in this book, anti-Judaism has at last found its radical critic.
  1. 1
    Oxford University Press, 2010, pp. 178–192. 
  2. 2
    Harcourt, 1968, pp. 5–7, 9. 

segunda-feira, 19 de março de 2012

Matando judeus na Franca, se preparando, talvez, para fazer o mesmo, na Venezuela

No momento em que crianças são assassinadas na França, talvez unicamente pelo fato de serem judias -- do contrário, qual o perigo que representam crianças, de qualquer religião, ou "raça", para qualquer crença política, qualquer movimento, qualquer causa estratégica? -- lembrei-me de uma recente manchete de um jornal venezuelano, já preparando o terreno dos futuros enfrentamentos contra os "perigosos judeus".
Eis aqui o que temos ao nosso lado, aliás sócio estratégico no Mercosul, aliado dos companheiros...
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

Do blog de Marcos Guterman, Estadão, 16/03/2012

Kikiriki, apesar do nome engraçado, é um dos mais antigos jornais de esquerda da Venezuela – ou seja, não é um mero acidente marrom. Esse semanário chavista publicou a manchete acima, que, numa tradução elegante, pode ser lida como “Capriles Radonski é o candidato deles. Se os judeus chegarem ao poder, estamos ferrados”. Era uma referência ao candidato de oposição à Presidência venezuelana, Henrique Capriles – que se diz católico e cujos avós por parte de mãe eram judeus, mortos no campo de concentração nazista de Treblinka.
Não é a primeira vez que as hostes chavistas apelam ao antissemitismo explícito para atacar o adversário de Hugo Chávez. Em outra oportunidade, um desses intelectuais acusou os “sionistas” de dominarem a mídia, os bancos e os governos ao redor do mundo. No caso do Kikiriki, o jornal nem se deu ao trabalho de disfarçar o ódio aos judeus a título de crítica aos “sionistas”. O máximo de “sutileza” foi ter colocado uma foto com a legenda “Menino palestino após um bombardeio israelense”. Ou seja: era uma advertência aos venezuelanos sobre do que os judeus são capazes.
Mas isso é só a Primeira Página do periódico. As páginas internas reservam material ainda mais didático sobre a imaginação dos antissemitas venezuelanos que militam no chavismo. Um dos textosdiz que Capriles é vinculado à TFP, que por sua vez é “associada” do “lobby judaico” – ao qual oKikiriki atribui a propriedade dos principais bancos, meios de comunicação e indústrias tecnológicas e bélicas do mundo, com poder para nomear os principais ministros dos governos mais poderosos do mundo.
O melhor, no entanto, é o editorial. O texto questiona “por que a palavra Israel aparece milhares de vezes (na Bíblia), de ponta a ponta, e por que Deus prometeu umas terras e os nomeou (aos judeus) os membros eleitos sobre este planeta”. A resposta, afirma o editorial, é que “quem escreve a história se coloca como protagonista e como vencedor”, e a Bíblia é obra de judeus. E então o Kikirikiarremata:
“É preciso falar disso porque os judeus sionistas se apoderaram do dinheiro do mundo e de suas grandes corporações, bancos e empresas, assim como dos meios de rádio, TV e jornais e agora puseram os olhos na Venezuela. Capriles Radonski, bilionário, é filho de pai judeu e de mãe judia, razão pela qual é preciso estudar suas conexões internacionais e aprofundar sua história. Estaremos fodidos se os judeus chegarem ao poder – e quem tiver dúvida disso, que pergunte aos palestinos e aos árabes”.
Caso encerrado.

segunda-feira, 14 de junho de 2010

O Itamaraty e o antissemitismo ordinario - uma nota de rodapé

Um leitor habitual deste blog, Paulo Araújo, deixou um comentário sobre a minha postagem "Dois diplomatas que foram contra suas respectivas chancelarias".
Considero que o valor destas informações não poderia ficar restrito a uma simples nota de rodapé, de forma que o comentário foi imediatamente promovido a post integral e full scope.
Ainda que eu nem sempre concorde com certos exemplos de "história revisionista" -- bem mais condizentes com o espírito de nossa época do que com as condições e circunstâncias da época a que se dirigem, e portanto projetando valores do presente no passado -- creio que o trabalho da pesquisadora mencionada é sério e merece ser destacado.
Houve tempo, sim, em que o Itamaraty, seguindo nisso quase toda a elite brasileira -- e um e outro eram indissociáveis, ainda que o Itamaraty, pela vivência no exterior, pudesse ser mais aberto -- praticou o mais ordinário antissemitismo, que era, digamos assim, moeda comum na sociedade brasileira, e em outras sociedades, na primeira metade do século 20.
Nem por isso se deve deixar de mencionar esses pontos negros, essas passagens obscuras na vida de alguns diplomatas que não tiveram a coragem de nadar contra a corrente, e de lutar contra tendências nefastas de sua época que simplesmente representavam a diferença entre a vida e a morte para milhares de pessoas.
Nosso dever é o de apontar essas passagens sombrias de nossa história.

Caro Paulo Roberto Almeida

A historiadora Maria Luiza Tucci Carneiro tem uma importante obra de pesquisa solidamente fundamentada em fontes primárias sobre o anti-semitismo de Estado no Brasil.

De acordo com a autora, Osvaldo Aranha, em sua gestão como Ministro do Exterior, emitiu circulares secretas anti-semitas e não impediu o processo administrativo que afastou a bem do serviço público o embaixador Luiz Martins de Souza Dantas, o grande (e desconhecido) brasileiro reconhecido como um dos justos no memorial Yad Vashem.

Um pouco sobre os estudos de Tucci Carneiro
Uma entrevista da historiadora na revista da FAPESP


E um artigo que vale a pena ler para conhecer o trabalho da pesquisadora

A Muralha anti-semita
“Existem pelo menos 24 circulares secretas anti-semitas emitidas pelo Itamaraty entre 1937 e 1948, além da primeira “ordem permanente de serviço”, que antecipava o teor racista da já citada circular nº 1.127 (7 de junho de 1937 e anterior à gestão de Aranha). Este conjunto de proibições tinha conseqüências imediatas na vida daqueles que procuravam fugir das perseguições nazistas que culminaram, em 1945, no fim da Segunda Guerra Mundial, na morte de 6 milhões de judeus, além de milhares de ciganos, testemunhas de Jeová, deficientes físicos e dissidentes políticos. Ao negar vistos aos judeus interessados em emigrar para o Brasil, o governo Vargas deixou de salvar milhares de vidas.”