The Samson Option: Kneejerk Leftist Politics Drive Jews to Harm Israel and Fuel Anti-Semitism

By John Zmirak Published on May 24, 2024

Too many American Jews in positions of influence stay silent about, or even actively enable, the vicious Jew-hatred and genocidal rhetoric (“From the river to the sea!”) that’s washing over our college campuses. It’s particularly galling to see such crass displays of ignorant, “Arab street” racial hatred and jihadi intolerance on campuses partly funded by the generosity of Jewish donors, whose names have not (yet) been sandblasted off the buildings.

In case you think I’m exaggerating, check out this representative snapshot from a North American university, up in Toronto — where “hate speech” laws threaten Christians with prison for quoting Leviticus on the subject of same-sex activities:

Why aren’t Jewish progressives responding to such provocations rationally by moving toward the political center, or even the Right? Why will a majority of American Jews still vote for a Biden regime that wants to withhold weapons from Israel, import more jihadi Muslims in order to elect more jihadi congressmen, and let Iran develop nukes?

And they will vote that way, it’s virtually certain, by solid margins, regardless of anything Biden or Hamas does. Even in New York, where openly anti-Semitic rioters hound Jewish students off campus at Columbia University, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs notes:

Trump’s support among Jews in New York is … slipping, decreasing from 53 percent in a February poll by Siena College to 38 percent in a survey conducted between April 15 and 17, 2024.

A Jerusalem Post columnist confidently asserts:

Most Jewish voters strongly oppose the Republican approach on issues like health care, social security and Medicare, education, the economy, church-state separation, guns, abortion, LGBTQ+ rights, racism, foreign policy, and immigration. And on nearly all of those, the differences are so stark as to be determinative.

What Would It Actually Take?

If (God forbid!) our unhinged Left sent American Jews to internment camps, what percentage would send absentee ballots for the Democrats who sent them there?

  1. 0 percent
  2. 51 percent
  3. 78 percent
  4. 93 percent

That’s not just a morbid joke, but a serious question. I doubt there was comparable support for Franklin Roosevelt among interned Japanese-Americans. So if you’re a friend to the Jews, as both the Bible and common decency demand, you have to ask yourself why Jews keep voting … crazy, in the same mournful spirit you’d wonder why your old high school buddy drinks so much and keeps crashing his car into telephone poles. Understanding his reasons, and even helping him to accept them, might do some good — or not. But either way, you can’t help thinking it through.

I gave my best answer, based on decades of reading deeply in European history and decades of friendship with highly educated American Jews, in a brief and blunt email I sent to one of those friends — who doesn’t suffer from this Progressive derangement himself. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll just clean up that pungent email and flesh it out a little.

A Self-Defense Strategy That Long Outlived Its Usefulness

Jewish liberalism is the deeply engrained self-defense strategy that many assimilated, irreligious Jews have adopted in the past 150 years or so, especially in Reformed subcultures which discarded strict observance of ritual laws and Biblical morality in favor of political activism — as part of assimilating from shtetls to cities, then suburbs.

I call it “self-defense” because in many relatively homogenous, culturally and legally Christian societies, Jews have been persecuted — long before the Nazi pagan Holocaust. For centuries, Jews in triumphantly Christianized Europe were isolated and viewed with suspicion, hobbled by unjust laws — condemned by the Church, but granted a certain “protected” status by bishops and popes with sneaking guilty consciences. They lived like Christians in modern-day Syria, dependent on the goodwill of the government amidst a culture that feared and despised them. The monarchs frequently relied on these powerless Jewish communities as bankers and tax collectors.

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Periodically, in one country after another, the monarch would lose a war, go bankrupt, or face a revolt by the peasants — and in one country after another, he’d respond by expelling the Jews. That amounted to a short-term tax-cut-and-loan-forgiveness scheme, which proved wildly popular among both bigoted peasants and feckless, indebted aristocrats. Expelling the Jews often saved those monarchs’ thrones. The Jews — duly robbed of their property — would then shuffle off into exile, and the king would find a new set of tax collectors and bankers, as Hannah Arendt observed in her classic The Origins of Totalitarianism.

England, France, the small German states — each one expelled the Jews until they found relative tolerance in enlightened medieval Poland (which is why so many Jews were living there when Hitler conquered it, and why so many extermination camps were built there). The Renaissance popes kept Jews living in ghettos; Martin Luther called for his followers to drive them out of Germany.

When secular nationalism began to replace Christian faith as the organizing principle in Europe after the French Revolution, many versions of that nationalism carried over the hatred of Jews and even intensified it, creating the more virulent, exterminationist racial antisemitism that drove the Holocaust.

The Complex PTSD of an Entire People

If your community’s collective experience, across a dozen countries and seven centuries, is that a cohesive Christian or homogenous national community and government is going to marginalize you, persecute you, rob you, or even kill you, you’ll draw certain conclusions. You’ll develop defensive habits. You’ll respond like someone who grew up in an abusive home or a violent refugee camp by developing what we’d now call “Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” (CPTSD). You’ll take the instincts and engrained responses that were appropriate in your previous hellish environment and keep on relying on them even in new, friendlier settings.

I call this understandable but tragically self-destructive response the Samson Option, since it entails destroying yourself along with your enemies. It’s particularly poignant to see this Option keep driving the political choices of Jews in places and times that are actually not hostile, such as the United States of America. Or post-World War II Europe, where shame over the Holocaust forced most Christians to renounce antisemitism.

The best and brightest Jews have gravitated toward political movements of the Left. For their own infernal reasons, such movements seek to make such societies less ethnically homogenous and less Christian. A side effect of that can be that the society is, for a time, safer and friendlier to Jews (as an ethnic group, not a religion — the Left hates Orthodox Judaism as much as it hates traditional Christianity). You might see legal equality for Jews, and more cosmopolitan policies, for a while.

But — and there’s a big but — those leftist movements don’t stop there. They keep pushing such societies toward fragmentation and secularism, sometimes even toward totalitarian systems such as Communism. Or they push for mass, indiscriminate immigration. Or radical sexual freedoms and the atomization of the family. Or legal abortion.

The Left’s Train Doesn’t Stop at Moderate Liberalism. Turns Out It’s the Hamas Express

Sadly, too many Jews don’t hop off the train at “religious freedom” and “cosmopolitan tolerance.” They stay on it, promoting gay rights, open borders, Marxist economics, and mass immigration for Muslims, and end up profoundly harming their societies. This in turn feeds into antisemitism, and is used to justify the most reactionary, hateful stances toward all Jews — even the many who never joined the radical left. (For a turgid, 1200-page distillation of Christian resentment at Jews that cites their progressivism as pretext, see E. Michael Jones’s The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History. Lest you mistake this citation for an endorsement, see this column where I exposed Jones for appearing on Iranian state TV to call the Holocaust a “myth.”)

It’s not just professional antisemitic agitators who recognize the Samson Option and its effects. Some politically sane and thoughtful Jews who are rightly concerned about the current plague of antisemitic hate are talking about it. (See this thoughtful essay at The Tablet which diagnoses a perverse love affair with victimhood among leftist Jews.)

Now, a Spain which once had the Inquisition or a France that had expelled all its Jews might in some sense “deserve” for Jews to promote anti-Christian and anti-nationalist movements, in a very rough-justice kind of way. But America of all places welcomed and protected Jews, back when we were much more homogenous and officially Christian. Our dominant Protestant culture, which derived from philo-Semitic Puritans, demanded that.

America’s status as the friendliest place Jews had found anywhere for centuries didn’t stop the “best and brightest” of irreligious Jews from joining such radical movements. Paul Singer, one of the biggest pro-Israel donors, is also a major funder of the trans movement. If you looked at the leaders of feminist, pro-abortion, LGBT, and even Marxist movements in America, you’d see a pattern. Likewise a highly disproportionate percentage of the early Bolsheviks were ethnic (but irreligious) Jews. They mistakenly thought they were somehow building a more tolerant society. But the chaos and hatred that far left movements have in their DNA ended up savaging Jews in the Soviet Union, and now the same evil is coming to harm American Jews — many of whom still refuse to see it.

As someone who values Jews in particular (as Christ’s cousins) and religious liberty in general, I would like to convince American Jews to break this self-destructive habit, and urge conservatives to understand the reasons behind it. Don’t scapegoat Jews — but stay focused on the evils of the Left, which tempts men of every religion … including Regime evangelicals like Biden supporter David French, and our globalist, socialist, open-borders pope.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or coauthor of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. His newest book is No Second Amendment, No First.

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