A Czech academic is being taken to court over a book on Jews that critics say is potentially more dangerous to today’s Jews than “Mein Kampf.”
“Taboos in Social Sciences,” by the Czech psychologist Petr Bakalar, includes the theory that Jews who left Europe before the Holocaust were more intelligent than those who stayed behind.
The chapter “Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy” also refers to differences in intelligence among racial and religious groups and the influence of Jews in Hollywood, the U.S. media and the academic world.
Czech Jewish leaders expressed concern that the book may be just an excuse to present anti-Semitic ideas under the guise of scholarship.
“Bakalar is taking the book into areas and raising questions which are quite scandalous,” said the chairman of the Prague Jewish community, Tomas Jelinek, who made the comparison to “Mein Kampf,” Hitler’s autobiography. “He talks, for instance, about racism and refers to an advertisement which appeared in 2001 in our Jewish monthly looking for a deputy of Jewish origin for the rabbinate office.”
A Prague-based sociologist, Tomas Kamin, is taking Bakalar to court, arguing that the book is both anti-Semitic and racist. Kamin said the author simply ignores facts that do not fit in with his own theories.
“The book is more dangerous than ‘Mein Kampf’ because when somebody reads ‘Mein Kampf’ they already know what happened,” he told JTA. “The main danger is that this book purports to be a scientific work but in reading it, you can either acquire or reaffirm opinions or prejudices against minorities.”
Bakalar denies there is a hidden agenda to his work, claiming that he is merely presenting ideas for discussion. He told JTA that research on IQs had shown that Ashkenazi Jews had higher IQs than other Jewish groups, and that Eastern European Jews had higher IQs on average than the general population, while Israeli Jews did not produce above-average results.
Asked about IQs in relation to the Holocaust, Bakalar replied that “it is logical that the Jews who left Europe before the Holocaust were more intelligent than those who stayed behind.” The “pogrom theory,” he said, argues that citizens who are able to survive an oppressive era are more intelligent than those who fail to discern the danger.
Describing himself as a “rebel,” Bakalar said he “would invite anybody, especially from the Jewish community, to give their opinions on the hypotheses in the book.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.