Scientist James D. Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA and a Nobel Prize winner, says anti-Semitism is justified, in a recent magazine interview.
The ADL called Dr. Watson’s remarks about Jews “disturbing” and is asking Watson to clarify them.
Watson, 78, who lives in Cold Harbor, N.Y., tells Esquire magazine in its January edition that anti-Semitism, in some circumstances, is justified.
In an interview profile for the magazine Watson asks rhetorically, “Should you be allowed to make an anti-Semitic remark?” He answered: “Yes, because some anti-Semitism is justified. Just like some anti-Irish feeling is justified. If you can’t be criticized, that’s very dangerous. You lose the concept of a free society.”
Apparently a firm believer in eugenics, Watson also feels “Ashkenazi Jews” – Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities in the area of Germany – have higher intelligence than other people.
“I’ve wondered why people aren’t more intelligent,” Watson says. “Why isn’t everyone as intelligent as Ashkenazi Jews? And it may be that societies work best when there’s a mixture of ability – the bright people would never be an army.”
Watson’s remarks were part of the magazine’s January cover story, which consists of interviews with famous and notable people who reveal “What I’ve Learned” from life. Included are interviews with Katie Couric, actor Peter O’Toole and magicians Penn & Teller, among others.
Ken Jacobson, the deputy national director of the ADL, reacted strongly to Watson’s statements.
“Those are very strange comments coming from an individual like that,” Jacobson told NewsMax. “At the very least I think he needs to clarify his remarks. It sounds like he was trying to make some general comment about political correctness. He makes a reference that groups can be criticized, that not to be able to criticize a group isn’t right. That’s not to say you can’t make comments about Jews, but anti-Semitism is a very specific statement, not just criticism, but a specific type of statement.”
Jacobson not only objected to Watson’s “disturbing” endorsement of anti-Semitism, but also objected to Watson’s statement that Ashkenazi Jews are more intelligent than other people.
“That also is a genetic stereotype,” Jacobson said. “We believe that if Jews have succeeded in a certain field, it has been due to Jewish traditions, culture, and the valuing of education. We don’t get into all the genetic stereotyping.”
Jacobson added, “Obviously, the impact of anti-Semitism through the century has been devastating to Jews, and I would hope that’s not what he really meant. In and of itself, the statement that some anti-Semitism is good is a disturbing statement. He needs to clarify it.”
Watson also holds some strong political views. For example, he labels President Bush and Sen. Bill Frist “rich trash.”
He suggests the rich have “used their money to buy the presidency.”
About Frist, he continued: “And Frist isn’t an innocent bystander, with his own family fortune – hundreds of millions. The piece of sh–, I hate him.”
Watson says his own politics have evolved from the left to libertarianism. He said he “turned against the left wing” because “they don’t like genetics, because genetics implies that sometimes in life we fail because we have had bad genes.”
Watson complains that the poorer classes are having more children than the richer, more intelligent classes.
“I think now we’re in a terrible sitution where we should pay the rich people to have children.” He says if we don’t encourage procreation of wealthier citizens, IQ levels will most definitely fall.
As for Watson’s own genetic lineage, his biography posted on nobelprize.org says his mother was of Scottish and Irish heritage and his father, a Chicago businessman, had ancestors of English descent.
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