Home How Buying Guns for Oppressed Jews Built the American Jewish Establishment
Home How Buying Guns for Oppressed Jews Built the American Jewish Establishment

How Buying Guns for Oppressed Jews Built the American Jewish Establishment

Ben Carson’s comments that armed Jews might have saved lives in the Holocaust by resisting Nazi terror have been met with condescending mockery from the left. The Jewish establishment, a network of wealthy non-profit organizations that claim to represent Jews without ever being chosen by them and while working against their interests, has reacted in the same way as their liberal brethren.

But this establishment has forgotten that it was built on providing guns to Jews.

Historical revisionism is what the left does best. American Jewish history in the last century is a revisionist history in which the heroes are the “establishment”. The truth lies buried in old papers and lost documents. And it’s a deeply compelling truth of how the left suppressed Jewish self-defense.

The Jewish Defense Association was the first time that uptown establishment German Jews and downtown Eastern Jewish immigrants came together. The JDA’s goal had little in common with the empty rubber chicken dinner agendas of what the establishment that grew out of it would become.

Instead the Jewish Defense Association’s mission was simple. Buy guns for Jews.

Its agenda, as reported by the New York Times was, “New massacres are preparing. Our people must be possessed of arms to defend themselves and their honor.” 

The year was 1905. The slow bloody beginning of the Russian Revolution was underway. Much like the Syrian Civil War, brutal militias aligned with different factions from the left to the right would arise out of the violence. Like the Christians in Syria, the Jews were an isolated minority. Xenophobia allowed both Communists and Czarists to score populist points by massacring the Jews in violent pogroms.

The Jewish Defense Association responded with a call to arms. Its motto took a part of Hillel’s credo, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me.” Its membership encompassed the left and the right, Zionists and anti-Zionists, religious and secular Jews.

A march of 200,000 Jews to Union Square included 5,000 former Russian soldiers, the volunteer Zion Guards in blue uniforms carrying rifles and the young men of the Manhattan Rifles, begun in the Lower East Side’s Educational Alliance as the Alliance Cadets, which had been formed in imitation of the Jewish Lads Brigade, a group that had put thousands of Jewish boys in the UK through military training.

The final resolutions declared that, “Eternal vigilance is the price of the Jew's life, and that we urge our people to take up arms against their assailants, and if need be to sell their lives most dearly.”

It concluded with the ringing challenge, "We call Jews everywhere toward the defense of the Jewish people."

In the words of the New York Times, "A ripple went through the crowd like wind rising to a hurricane which roared "Aye!"

It was undoubtedly the most heavily armed Jewish rally in American history. The sight of all those guns, not to mention early versions of the Israeli flag, would give any modern establishment leader a fit.

And yet the JDA included key establishment figures like Judah Magnes and Louis Marshall. Branches of the organization quickly emerged around the country from Los Angeles to Cincinnati showing how popular the message of Jewish self-defense was.

"In underlining the word ‘Self’ it expresses its conviction of the futility of all kinds of Jewish demonstration which appeal to others," Rabbi Israel Friedlander, a co-founder of Young Israel who would later be murdered by Communist thugs, wrote.

"The modern Jew, who is otherwise ready to boast of his liberalism… anxiously watches every nod of a king and every smile of a prime minister. The old ‘Shtadlan’ still exists in the form of the ‘influential Hebrew’ who on the backstairs often begs what as a representative of a free nation he ought openly to demand. In times of danger the modern Jews...  appeal to the Spirit of Humanity, Modern Civilization or Brotherhood of Mankind, without themselves moving a finger in their defense."

"Attacks of bloodthirsty beasts cannot be beaten back by appeals to Humanity and Civilization,” he wrote.”Surely the Self-Defense of the Jews will not at once stop all further bloodshed. Some Jews may still be slain, be destroyed and be beaten. But they will certainly not be put to shame. They will meet violence with violence and teach their enemies the value of a Jewish life."

But of course it was not to be.

The “Shtadlans,” the institutional establishment figures who had taken over the JDA, would abandon and dismantle it, recreating its corpse as the American Jewish Committee. The AJC would default to exactly the kind of aimless political begging that Rabbi Friedlander had condemned because that made power brokers like Marshall and Magnes feel important. Their goal was not to empower Jews, but to disempower them. The establishment robbed Jews of their power and offered them a chance to donate to a corrupt network of organizations whose only real purpose was making their leaders feel important.

 Meanwhile the leftists tore apart the JDA by refusing to work with the Jewish “religious and capitalist elements” of the JDA.

Leading the charge against the JDA were the Bund, an anti-Jewish Marxist organization, and the Forward, a radical left-wing paper that continues to spread hate against Jews and Judaism today.

While the Bund and the Forward’s mendacious Abe Cahan had initially supported the JDA in order to take advantage of Jewish outrage over the pogroms, the Bund’s position firmly opposed self-defense along “national lines” as a distraction from class consciousness and class warfare. And armed Jews, especially Zionists, might end up shooting some of the Bund’s favorite “workers mobs” at a pogrom.

Jewish self-defense threatened the Marxist agenda. The Marxists were willing to exploit Jews through front groups, but were determined to deny them any ability to defend themselves. For its Communist collaboration, the Bund earned the dubious honor of being the last non-Bolshevik Jewish organization allowed to operate on Soviet soil. Eventually it was purged and its members were shot. Others found their way into the Yevsektsiya, the Communist Party’s Jewish Section, tasked with wiping out Judaism by shutting down synagogues and Jewish institutions, and organizing the murder of Rabbis and Zionists.

Despite the interference of the Marxists, Jewish self-defense groups in Russia, such as the Giborei Zion (Heroes of Zion), assembled their own weapons or smuggled them in to resist attacks.

The Communist takeover led to the end of Jewish self-defense groups in Russia. Those who stayed behind were shot or sent to gulags. Many others made their way to Israel where they helped defend Jews against Muslim terror and fought for the independence of the Jewish State. Others played a key role in the resistance to Nazi occupation during WW2 in the Warsaw Ghetto and elsewhere.

The self-defense organizations that had failed in Russia, succeeded in Israel. They did it even though the establishment continued to undermine them by entering into a shameful collaboration with the USSR.

The JDC and the establishment spent most of its money on Soviet agricultural colonies in which Russian Jews were supposed to find a “new life” and a “happy future”. Newspapers were filled with glowing accounts of how happy the resettled Jews were. The scam eventually collapsed when the Communists had gotten enough money out of their useful anti-Zionist idiots. Those Jews who had been resettled, were murdered by the Nazis. Local JDC employees were shot or imprisoned.

At a crucial period, the establishment had starved Jewish settlers of funds that could have been used to dramatically transform Israel. But the pro-Communist left had its own agenda. The eagerness of the JDC to collaborate with the Communists could be found in their cover-up of the murder of Rabbi Friedlander.

Rabbi Friedlander, who advocated Jewish self-defense, had been in the Ukraine as a JDC emissary. He and two other Jews were murdered by the Red Army. The Forward feverishly engaged in a cover-up while the JDC stayed silent to avoid offending the Bolsheviks and their fellow travelers at the Forward.

Jewish self-defense was popular with Jews, but unpopular with the establishment and the far left. The establishment wanted Jews to be dependent on their political access, but refused to use that access to protect Jews by challenging the left, whether that meant standing up to the USSR over its persecution of Jews or to FDR over the Holocaust.

The far left had done everything in its power to suppress a “national solution” to the Jewish question. That is still what it is doing today. Its fight against Israel has nothing to do with the fake nationhood of the “Palestinian” terror groups, but is part of a longstanding campaign to shut down any independent Jewish consciousness because that might interfere with its class consciousness and class warfare.

American Jews are blamed for their apathy to the Holocaust or to Israel. But the good intentions of ordinary Jews were hijacked and continue to be hijacked by a corrupt establishment for its own political agendas. The establishment put FDR first and the left put Stalin first. Today it puts Obama first. It is a parasitic entity that hijacked Jewish self-defense and concerns while costing countless Jewish lives.

Armed Jews alone would not have stopped the Holocaust, but the awareness rising in Jewish circles in 1905 could have led to a movement that would have built a secure Israel and evacuated Jews from danger zones long before the Holocaust. Guns are only the final element of self-defense. Self-defense begins with awareness and mobilization. It’s what you do to prepare for the worst that really counts.

Very little has changed today. The establishment continues to undermine Israel, pursuing left-wing causes at Jewish expense, while pretending that it cares about the Jewish State, even as it undermines its efforts at self-defense. The left wants to destroy Israel. And the establishment helps make it happen.

The establishment ridicules the idea for which those 200,000 Jews gathered, armed and unarmed, over a century ago. Such contempt is fashionable in liberal circles. And yet that old message continues to resound today. “Our people must be possessed of arms to defend themselves and their honor.” 


  1. At Texas A&M (where Hillel was founded, by the way), students go to the gun range every year or so in an outing called Jews With .22's.

  2. As a youth, I had the pleasure to attend an average, (very) ordinary suburban high school, on designated days, carrying my .22 cal. target rifle, peep sights and all, for after school going to the range for practice, target shooting, for proficiency, and the fun of it, kind of like using old fashioned “light sabers”.

    We a bit later, of legal age, could and did buy from the DCM (a very wise agency, called the Director of Civilian Marksmanship)(All not terribly unlike the incredible program the Swiss use to arm all people, more or less), a new condition 1911-A1 .45 for $15.00 (I was very proud to have owned it, freely yet, no BS checks of my record, or any other BS), (my record was and still is impeccable, BTW), and could have likewise obtained a fine, .30 cal. M1 carbine, as well.

    How very much I miss the intelligence, wisdom, and maturity of both the government and all the people in general, of those days (the greatest generation?), who are now replaced with brainless, dangerous leftist liberals afraid of their own speech (like dictatorial professors, with big leftist, stained, marxist like beards, who pee in their baggy pants), let alone avoiding the killing fields that they have set up, of the schools above all, and where ever they have designated "no gun zones" as free fire zones of unlimited killing, with edged weapons, clubs, or projectile weapons (notice how cleverly I included all the weapons on the planet, practically, that are today being used, and inside America, as well as elsewhere?)

    Texas has just taken a step back to the future, of intelligence, and trust in the people, however imperfect such people are, on occasion. Go Big Star State, and to the FREE students, carry your guns well! I could say much more, but that shall suffice, for now.

  3. Anonymous13/10/15

    Jack IAm, you can thank Ted Kennedy and his pals for the demise of DCM.

  4. I've been wondering about that question, as Jack IAm. There’ll be no thanks from me, I’ll have all know. Not for anything, involving them. Thanks for the heads up, anon, I can believe it, after all, only the mafia, and certain forefather relatives need the Tommy Guns, eh? sarc/off

    I had thought the DCM was one of the best, wisest things America had going for it, at the time. And still do. And the future will illustrate that fact, grotesquely before too long coming, I suspect, now that the radicals have had their hour at the top-down.

    I may not be along for the full ride, but hope to see it all shoveled into the oh-so-holier-than-thou faces of the radicals of all ilk, including the anti-Judeo-Christian, anti-strength ones, as well, but surely not only that style (starting with hildebeast, sanders, ho, ad-nauseam, etc.).

    It is sad to contemplate the collateral damage of innocents, needlessly, that ignorant radicals, and fifth column’s damage to America's non-imperialistic, might, right, and strength, will have brought about, which is already showing up, overseas so far. Putin would not have behaved so, as a hot shot bully, but against a pantywaist.....Although, sadly, given the reality, if Putin actually destroys "is the pious", assad is by a measure, the better of the bad choices to save his a**, to bring some relief to the victims of atrocity. (The alternate event, if any “other” action is taken, is to leave the too well known power vacuum for the purist of evil, the “is pious” “mohammad ladies” (extremesicksarc/off), to wreak their deepest atrocities, far worse than assad.)

    The Book scribes that the righteous shall be saved, but it doesn't mean it has to happen sooner, than later.....Nor is there any suggestion inscribed that we should wish to speed it up, as the ignorant and the enemy does. Intelligence and strength could yet apply to forestall horrific events, without yielding to evil. G-d help us, may we all “take a knee”, not bend to our knees!

    Ben Carson, MD, seems to know the enemy well, very. And is a far smarter man than the msmedia has a clue. I pray voters understand him well. Clearly, he is far smarter than just a specialist brain surgeon. Could Carson be a Reagan, whose edge sharpens with time? With a background that is all that ho never was, never could have been.

    If Carson were to become so, it would be a phenomenon of G-d’s mysterious work, for Carson’s background to lead to further greatness? I have listened to many Carson video talks and interviews, to make such remarks, and I had the honor to shake Ron’s (R) hand, once, and a little more good, unsaid.

  5. Where did you come up with this wonderful and highly interesting piece of history again?

  6. Zionist youth groups in the interwar years were practically paramilitary in organization. Betar and Dror and others supplied the manpower for the resistance and ghetto uprisings, military self defense actions that the establishment did a lot to suppress. My father was Betar. When he escaped Bialystok in 1932 he maintained his ties, and worked as a Zionist through the war and after. As a child I was sent to a summer camp: Camp Betar in the Adirondack Mountains. In 1956, this 4 year old boy was in 8 weeks of sleep-away camp with this bunch of Zionists, who taught me riflery, among other survival skills. I was a "Jew with a .22" also, before people on this side of the world got so soft.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Anonymous14/10/15

    My cousin a nice Jewish man, is kind of a big deal in the Republican party in of all places, Boca Raton Fl. {I guess that's called being a big fish in a small pond]..
    He was also valedictorian of his class in college, earned his money honorably, served his country, and is very patriotic..My husband is a retired Marine, Jewish, and a life long Republican, who is much like his cousin.
    They both descend from the 'uptown' group, their ancestors came here long before the Civil War. Both are ardent supporters of Israel.
    Their children are mostly conservative. As a non Jew, my question is; how many generations does it take for people to come to their senses? I have almost given up on 'my gang', the Irish Catholics. The way my group supports the Democrats and still shows up for communion, is a testament to their ability to compartmentalize.

  9. Anonymous14/10/15

    Agree with your piece, but I think "historical revisionism" is far too mild and bland a term for what it is usually applied to. How about, "telling lies about the past"?

  10. Since the Left's goal is to establish a socialist police state here in America and around the world, the Left wing ridicules anyone who wishes to defend himself or herself. Disarming people has always been a key objective of 'wanna be' tyrants.

    If the Left can accomplish that goal, the Jews are on the Left's list for slaughter as are the rest of us who believe in freedom and individual rights.

  11. Self defense is one thing, but as a Jew myself I believe we never need to like it, and we never need to renounce our commitment to the very Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (healing the world). Hate is a problem that threatens all peoples. How can all people work to end genocide, racism and other forms of oppression? Sometimes taking up arms may be necessary, but should only be a lost resort, and never used as an excuse to become the Haters our oppressors were towards us."Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. " says the Torah time and time again. There's a lot to focus on beyond watching out for people who hate us, and if this is to be our main focus it would make all our lives short poor nasty and brutal.

  12. "Ben Carson’s comments that armed Jews might have saved lives in the Holocaust by resisting Nazi terror have been met with condescending mockery from the left"

    I guess we could find some survivors, and ask them if they would have liked to have guns when the nazis came. Personally, I'd be afraid those 80 year olds would explode with anger.

    "jews with .22s" Good one. 22s are quiet, and you can cheaply stockpile and easily carry a lot of ammo. You can also easily afford to practice a lot and get very good with it. I've shot mine in the house before, no-one noticed.

  13. Anonymous14/10/15

    "Ben Carson’s comments that armed Jews might have saved lives in the Holocaust by resisting Nazi terror have been met with condescending mockery from the left".

    I relayed an article about this subject to a lifelong friend of mine. His parents survived the camps and came to America. He went off on some screed about Carson being awful, an anti-semite blargle blargle blah blah. How DARE Carson use the Holocaust as a prop for his campaign! His reaction was reminiscent of the vaudville act "Niagara Falls! Slooowlly I turnnneddd!" where the reaction was more a parroted response then reasoned. I don't care for Carson for several reasons, but to call him anti-semitic for pointing out the obvious was a real stretch. (I doubt he read the article.)

    - The Gentle Grizzly

  14. Anonymous15/10/15

    Francine Allen your goal to heal the world is ridiculous and full of egotistical self-importance. Jews are maybe 12 million in a world of some 7 billion and Jews can't even heal themselves. Self-righteous moral posturing feels good but the sugar rush is ultimately suicidal. To even think of ending racism shows you have no experience of China, Africa, Eastern Europe, South America and all the other parts of the world far more racist than here.

  15. Anonymous15/10/15

    A Jewish friend, whose entire family was destroyed by the Nazis, once said that had the Hungarian Jews been allowed guns things would have turned out quite differently.

  16. Anonymous16/10/15

    @Michael Gersh

    Your story about Camp Betar is most reminiscent, in the 21st century, of the training "palestinian" children are getting in Gaza. I wonder what kind of training is going on at the various islamic terrorist training camps located all over the US now (e.g. in or near Islamberg, NY).

  17. Anonymous21/10/15

    Thanks for shedding light on what I had thought was cognitive dissonance, but you point out as being deliberate. This is what it looks like.

    See http://washingtonjewishweek.com/10376/study-puts-habonim-dror-to-the-test/wjw-guides/camps/

    With overwhelming interest and involvement in the conversation regarding developments in Israel, progressive Zionist values shine. Within the realm of issues surrounding Israel, an astounding 66 percent of alumni respondents “agree to a great extent” that Israel should freeze the expansion of settlements on the West Bank.

    Based on that data, 62 percent of alumni respondents disapprove of the way Benjamin Netanyahu is handling his job as prime minister, along with 8 percent who approve and 30 percent of respondents who are not sure.

    “factories for Jews with strong values and a passion for critical thinking and social engagement.”


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