Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ezra Nawi, Jailed And Fined

I have written about Ezra several times before. The verdict is now in. Read it and weep.

Apropos the grim realities of occupation, which many American Jews refuse to view apart from their sense of the Jews' suffering at the hands of European others, yesterday's snipe at me by Jeffery Goldberg comes on the heels of his column celebrating Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds." As it happens, my wife, the Hebrew University literary critic Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, wrote the following letter to the Atlantic in response, which they chose (at the last minute) not to publish. She wrote this:

I find Jeffrey Goldberg’s interview with Quentin Tarantino (“Hollywood’s Jewish Avenger,” September Atlantic) troubling because it unapologetically valorizes stereotypes of Jews to, of all people, Jews.

The enduring image of the victimized Jew in Western culture was indeed earned by a long history capped by the Holocaust, but the reality of Jews exercising power—financial, cultural and, in Israel, political and military—is what has defined Jews in the last fifty years. Yet we are being asked, in the film and in Goldberg’s presentation of it, to accept that the most adequate expression of Jewish power is vengeful and brutally violent. As if the Elephant in the Room is not the fact that Jews actually use sovereign power, among other things, to maintain a settlement regime and an occupation.

Tarantino claims that all his Jewish friends love the film. Goldberg acknowledges fantasizing that “when I came out of the screening room…I was so hopped up on righteous Jewish violence that I was almost ready to settle the West Bank—and possibly the East Bank.” What kind of dots are being connected here? Are we really being asked to believe that the daily humiliation of Palestinians is somehow belated revenge for Nazi atrocities? Does Goldberg not know better?

Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Jerusalem, Israel

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The enduring image of the victimized Jew in Western culture was indeed earned by a long history capped by the Holocaust, but the reality of Jews exercising power—financial, cultural and, in Israel, political and military—is what has defined Jews in the last fifty years."

I would sure love some clarification on how the term "capped" is being used here. I guess it could be used in the sense of "setting an upper limit to" or "climaxing with," but it sounds awfully like "concluding with" when paired with this notion of Jewish post-persecution power.

Have we forgotten the "rootless cosmopolitan," the Kielce pogrom, and all the other gifts the USSR gave to the Jews after the Holocaust? Have we forgotten the Jewish exodus from Muslim lands?

And as for Jews living in prosperity in the United States, don't forget how the assimilated German Jew felt in the 1920s. We tend to have short memories.

I remember reading an old National Geographic from 1917 assessing the condition of the European Jew. It came to the conclusion that anti-semitism is essentially over. Well, that's good news.

Y. Ben-David said...

Anonymous-
Add to that those non-Nazis who quietly applauded Hitler on coming to power saying "he won't really implement antisemitic measures...the Jews are too important for the German economy."
Or how about that other golden oldie "Hitler won't go to war..IT IS NOT IN HIS ECONOMIC INTEREST TO DO SO!" (I guess Dr Avishai's "entrepeneural class" in 1930's Germany didn't think they we thinks they should have and as he thinks the Palestinian version thinks today.)

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