Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Where Are All the Jews?

Of course, the real joke about this whole thing is that money has gone wrong and the Jews are on holiday  - well, not me, but I'm only half way there. Truly we are doomed. 


  1. Ive seen a few comments from Muslims this morning about how the Jews are planning to sink the world economy in order to buy it up cheap at auction prices.

    They have a plan apparently, as we speak they are trying to build up a bigger theory with the inclusion that GWBs apparent unwillingness to sanction an Isreali strike on the Mad clerics is the reason the jews are flexing their muscles, nudge nudge wink wink. There seems to be a pattern in those tea leaves.

  2. Yesterday I went to my writers' group at the Ethical Society building in Philly and was treated to a full service for Rosh Hashanah happening in the auditorium when I walked in. Very touching to see the faithful gathered in their yarmulkes singing to Hebrew with the cantor.

    The anti-Semiticism I see sometimes on British blogs really just astonishes me. In America, when you get to the upper echelons of any institution or industry -- academe, journalism, entertainment, finance, law, science -- you encounter very brilliant people and more than half of them are Jewish. I am not Jewish, but I revere the love of education, family, community among the Jews I know. Two of my best friends (as the saying goes) are members of the tribe. Both are astonishingly well informed about politics, law, the arts, and baseball. Both have tremendous senses of humor, too.

    Hence, when I see the anti-Semitic comments among British intellectuals, I think you guys have really confused the Israelis with the Jews. Almost all Israelis are Jews, but most Jews are not Israelis. Come spend some time in NYC, Philly, Washington, or Miami and you will see what I mean.

  3. Hang on, Susan, are you accusing ME of anti-semitism? I'm a frigging jew for God's sake

  4. Not you, Bryan, but many other commenters I've seen. Obviously not you! And not so much here, but on other blogs. Henry Gee (who is Jewish) of Nature mag. has spoken eloquently about this on Petrona.

  5. "I'm a frigging jew for God's sake"

    You've let your guard down Bryan, a real Jew would not write or say the word "god"

  6. Good G-d, bit of a shocker, that one Susan. Not sure if it's more patronising to Jews or Brits.

  7. For my part I am glad to see that Bryan did not waver from the correct use of an apostrophe in his evocation of a supreme being.

    Susan, I am not sure what bought on your comment but I'm not aware of this antisemetism to which you refer. Irony yes. I don't buy it that Brits are antisemitic or anti-Jew. Not on my watch, certainly.

  8. Antisemitism, sorry for typo.

  9. Does this help?


    I have seen a great deal of it in my readings, and my encounters with British academics. I cannot believe you haven't met up with it. And, Maxine, on your own Petrona thread there was a long discussion between Henry Gee and Philip Amos on precisely that subject. I get irony, but I don't think their discussion was mainly ironic.

    Brit, I'm sorry if you see me as patronizing. I was in Europe this spring and I saw anti-Semiticism on the rise. If you are Jewish (and your spelling of G-d is the key), you are lucky not to have felt it.

  10. Hope you will check out that link; I couldn't get it to light up, but it's by a member of the House of Commons who headed a committee that did a survey last year of anti-Semiticism in Europe and Britain. It is WAY up, as the number of hate crimes against Jews -- not the words, mine or anyone else's -- show. And as he points out, anti-Semitic discourse is a regular part of "modish London." To discuss Israel's right to exist or to protect itself against Palestinian extremists at most hip dinner parties would be bad manners indeed.

    Personally, I feel bad for the Palestinians (so much for patronizing Jews, Brit), but I heartily endorse lively discussions about the Middle East. What happens there (as we have seen these last years) has implications for every other place in the Western world.

    I have regular fights with my Jewish friends over the militancy of ISRAEL. But, to me, it's the actions of the Israeli gov. I find appalling, not the people. Not Judaism.

    America's greatest problem, IMHO, is racism against blacks. Your greatest problem is an even older one: anti-Semitism. George Orwell knew whereof he spoke all those years ago. Don't let it happen again, my friends.

  11. Susan: Personally, I can happily say God to my heart's content. God God God!

    I'm just amazed that you think that:

    (a) anti-Semitism is a big problem in this country (it isn't, though you could make a better case for Islamophobia), and

    (b) us Britons need to be told that Jews can be "astonishingly well informed about politics, law, the arts, and baseball", not to mention capable of possessing "tremendous senses of humor".

    Well gee whizz, you mean they're just like us normal humans?

    I think a valid point that you're trying to make somewhere under there is that anti-Semitism has shifted from being a right-wing thing to being a left-wing thing - primarily because of Israel-Palestine.

    The key is to stay away from left-wing anti-Israel blogs.

  12. One of my fascist associates is half-Jewish. He and two other fascists apparently like to get drunk and lurch through London with a traffic cone for megaphone, booming: "Bring out your Jews." Strange folk, fascists.

  13. Sorry, Brit, that did sound patronizing (about my friends, I mean). I think I was all het up cause it was Rosh Hashanah and I'd just heard some other people I know condemning Jewish financiers for the stock market crash. I was writing as if I had to defend Jews from their attackers.

    But I think MacShane does indeed make some excellent, and rather indisputable (as they are backed by stats) points. No one on here who is Jewish (other than Bryan, who is only half there and certainly does not identify as such -- he's Catholic) has made a single remark. Why, do you suppose?

  14. As passer by's comment indicates, the antisemitism tends to get disguised as opposition to Israeli foreign policy. Though again, as his post also indicates, that is often itself so ludicrously over-the-top as to be unmistakable for what it really is. I doubt if antisemitism is more prevalent in Britain than elsewhere, but it is definitely out there and, if not exactly tolerated, is ignored to a degree that is worrisome.

  15. Susan, there are lots of hate crimes against lots of groups, everywhere in the world. That debate between Henry and Philip Amos on Petrona should not be generalised to a general Brit antisemitism. Sorry, but we have to disagree on this one. England is a pretty tolerant society. Possibly looking at it through the media and blogs is not giving a realistic picture of daily life over here.

  16. Susan - another (Christian, possibly?) Brit in action here - I don't notice if someone is Jewish and neither do I care, it's all about the person.

    What matters to me is the values that come from religion, and here, I think we share. Ditto for my friend in Canada who is Muslim. We all share the same God; it's interpretation and the following that cuts the dividing line.

    Let's find the bigger route and not the dividing line, for a better world.

  17. I tell you what Susan, if you think anti-semitism is bad here you ought to try Tehran. I recently sold a property to become a Jewish school in Manchester. The estate agent was Jewish and it was in the area where Jack Rosenthal, Howard Jacobson, Alan Yentob (and very many notable others) hail from. I, a curious and sympathetic lapsed RC, was told they've found the community growing again due to more coming here from the Continent (nervous about trends in those countries). Britain ain't so bad, and I'm certain most of my Jewish acquaintances would concur.

  18. Bryan, I commend www.jewornotjew.com to you.

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