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