Another Tack: The Otto Weininger syndrome

Suicide can be individual or collective. In either manifestation it can share similar attributes and arise from parallel psychological anomalies. It can be perversely popular.

In early 20th-century Vienna, for example, a spate of high-profile suicides triggered a pseudo-romantic fad. There seemed to be something dashing in taking one’s own life in a grand gesture that apparently made a statement. Pivotal in sensationalizing the fashion was 23-year-old philosopher Otto Weininger who shot himself in 1903 in the same hotel room where Beethoven died (presumably to enhance the dramatic effect).

Weininger’s intense auto-anti-Semitism loomed large among his motivations. Born Jewish, he converted to Christianity in his last year but obviously found no salvation. His book Geschlecht und Charakter (Gender and Character) testifies to boundless self-loathing. Weininger lambastes modernity as “Jewish” and asserts that ”women and Jews are pimps; their goal is to make man guilty. Our era is not only the most Jewish, but also the most feminine of eras” which “no longer has a single great artist, a single great philosopher. It has the least originality and the biggest hunt for originality.”

Moreover, Weininger makes hair-raising “anthropological observations,” even embracing notions that “Jewish hair… points to the Negro, and the completely Chinese or Malaysian skull shapes, which one so often finds among the Jews – who frequently have a yellow complexion – point to partly Mongolian blood.” Harrowing stuff.

Unsurprisingly Weininger’s most ardent posthumous fans were the Nazis, foremost Hitler himself who reportedly said he “had only encountered one decent Jew, Otto Weininger, who killed himself when he realized that the Jew thrives on contaminating the authentic folk bloodlines of others.”

Weininger’s suicide was regarded by Third Reich ideologues as the only “honorable” way for a Jew to cleanse the world of his existence.

Repulsive as this undeniably is, it’s hardly irrelevant. The noxious Weininger syndrome still afflicts certain Jews. The mental aberration Weininger took to extremes is still being taken to extremes by his torchbearers. But there’s one very significant difference. Latter-day Weiningers look out quite nicely for their own well-being. Their self-abhorrence is channeled onto the Jewish collective. They promote national Jewish suicide, not their own personal demise.

A CASE in point is Noam Chomsky who, despite his pristine Hebrew forename, misses no opportunity to castigate the Jewish state and idolize its most fanatic and implacable foes (most recently Hizbullah chieftain Hassan Nasrallah).

Trailing behind Chomsky is a whole ragtag retinue of homegrown Israeli ultra-leftist professors, authors, filmmakers and self-congratulating artistes, who profit quite handsomely by undermining and demonizing the rest of us – pro forma their compatriots, but in reality the objects of their expediently projected self-detestation.

Some “new historians” and serial provocateurs have achieved renown. These international celebrities, who gain fame and fortune by trashing their own country and people, have avid audiences overseas, where delegitimization of Israel is eagerly lapped up and where tradition has conditioned minds to anti-Jewish bias (to put it mildly).

Toeing the line of self-hating Jews/Israelis who had reaped success from aversion to their own kind are wannabes who persistently pursue comparable glory. Dror Feiler is one. His latest antic was organizing the supposedly humanitarian flotilla to break the supposedly inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Feiler never mentioned the facts that Israel regularly (and quite dementedly) supplies Gaza with goods, electricity, fuel and water, whereas Gaza uses its resources to subjugate its masses and stockpile weapons of mass destruction.

Feiler either justifies or omits from discourse Gaza’s many and flagrant sins. He grotesquely exaggerates Israeli responses and willfully wrests them out of all context. Feiler delights in painting Israel as intrinsically and irredeemably evil. He’s chummy with Swedish reporter Donald Bostrom who accused Israel of deliberately killing Palestinians to facilitate illicit organ-harvesting. Don’t look for Jewish empathy or a soft spot for the old homeland in Dror. That would contradict his upbringing. That’s not where he comes from.

He’s a loyal unquestioning chip off the old block – his mother, Pnina Feiler, who spent a lifetime championing Palestinian causes and defaming Israel with relish. She hails from Yad Hanna, Israel’s sole communist kibbutz. It was named in 1950 after heroic World War II parachutist Hanna Szenes, whose memory and legacy have of late been targeted by artsy left-wing iconoclasts. Self-sacrifice for a Jewish cause and Zionist dedication had become unbearable in their enlightened milieu.

Among other groups, Pnina Feiler was active in the pro-Arab Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (in her professional capacity as a nurse). In May 2001, after Arabs sadistically bashed the skulls of two hooky-playing schoolboys near Tekoa, PHR-Israel’s founder, psychiatrist Ruchama Marton, reacted angrily toward the underage victims. “The settlers,” she seethed, “raise little monsters.”

That’s the moral wellspring from which Dror drank. That’s the intellectual and ideological pool in which he waded and where he learned that pools of Jewish blood form an aesthetic background against which to highlight the glorified features of Hanadi Jaradat, who blew herself up next to a baby in her buggy at Haifa’s Maxim Restaurant in 2003 (murdering 21, among them three generations of two separate families).

A few months post-atrocity, Dror, a naturalized Swedish citizen, and his Scandinavian wife created the Stockholm-exhibited “work of art” that presented Jaradat as “Snow White” sailing in a red-liquid lake. The image goaded Israel’s enraged then-ambassador Zvi Mazel to sabotage it.

Dror exuded the same artistic orientation which had earlier inspired a gloating art show in Nablus featuring bloodied pizza slices and a baby stroller inside a model of Jerusalem’s Sbarro eatery after the 2001 terrorist blast (which killed 15 innocents, including nine children and five members of a single family). Nevertheless, Dror enjoyed unstinting succor and friendly publicity. His sanctified suicide bomber starred boldly in giant advertising posters all around greater Stockholm.

The text which accompanied Dror’s masterpiece argued that Jaradat’s homicidal ardor was kindled by grief over a brother and cousin the Israelis slew. Swedes, like other supercilious Europeans, love Jews who – like Dror – love their enemies. Jews are required to show compassion toward those who, with genocidal malice aforethought, still keep trying to annihilate them. Jews are sentenced to solitary confinement on the moral high ground, where no other nation is remotely expected to go. Jews are obliged to turn the other cheek. Jews have no right to avenge.

So when Dror Feiler now postures as a humanitarian, we need to remember that he also rationalizes the zeal for blowing us up to smithereens. That makes him even less ethically tolerable than Weininger, who merely fired a bullet into his own private chest.

Both Weininger and Feiler boosted pernicious Judeophobic propaganda. Both gave comfort and ostensible vindication to their people’s enemies, yet Weininger only took his self-hate to its logical conclusions personally. Thus, warped as he doubtlessly was, he emerges more moral than Dror Feiler, in so far as the word moral is at all applicable here.

3 thoughts on “Another Tack: The Otto Weininger syndrome

  1. Having read the Jerusalem Post online over the past few days, heavy criticism by journalists and readers is directed at the Israeli authorities for their delay in showing the clearest images of the attacks on the soldiers as they rappelled onto the flotilla. Here in China where I work, the English news channel CCTV 9 initially ran reports of the “attack” by Israeli soldiers, and the second day of reports centered on an al-Jazeera journalist who was on one of the ships. The reports on the Israeli point of view consisted of the Israeli government’s resistance to an inquiry.

    Until Israel does a better job of presenting the full story immediately, world public opinion will inevitably set against it. I do realise that there are those who believe that many news agencies wouldn’t present a balanced view regardless of what material they were given, but I don’t think that that Israel is giving the potentially neutral ones much to go on. It is left to individuals who are interested in all sides of the argument to search for articles such as yours, and such as the Russian journalist Yulia Latynina’s “Would my Flotilla to Khodorkovsky Be Shot?” ( to get an indepth presentation of the other side.

  2. The case can be made that all of Israel’s goodwill gestures,kindness,their retreat from South Lebanon and Gaza,all great efforts showing a desire for peace with the neighbors has in fact had the very opposite effect.

    The humanitarian aid coming into Gaza from Israel has been counterproductive as we see with the latest move by Turkey.
    They don’t respect anythign but brut force your neighbors.
    The world no longer needs to see Israel’s humanity ,it needs to see Israel’s bad side.
    When the enemies learned terror and fear Israel had peace.
    The menatal disorder of liberalism that infects Israel has turned the Lion into a hunted mouse on the run.
    The question I have for the L’Chaim tribe is ;
    What will it take for the Lion’s of Judah to return and the fearful,running mice to be banned forever from Israeli politics forever ?
    The Road Map era has been tragic for Israel as it has shown the enemy Israel’s lack of red lines and willingness to suicide the nation for a sham peace.
    It does seem that the nation as a whole is suffering from the Weininger ,Feiler Syndrome if they go along with the 2 state final solution,land for dead Jews AND NO PEACE after what happened with Israel’s retreat from Gaza.
    If you don’t derail the Road Map you are as bad as Weininger.

  3. A Jew is not required to love a Nazi, an Islamist – or to save their lives as Israel dementedly does with the latter monsters. Why keep them alive? Any human being with a healthy sense of self preservation knows when someone comes to kill them, it is common sense (as well as a moral imperative) to kill them first. The Otto Weiningers of our century won’t hear of Israel defending itself from its enemies. By saving jihadists, Israel’s government shows contempt for Emil Fackenheim’s injunction not to grant Hitler a post-humous victory.

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