4 Mar 2007
The article is good, and strong, but not strong enough. That is, the writer accepts a few lies along the way, including the most successful one, the one that began after the Six Day War, in which local Arabs were transmuted into the "Palestinian people. " Given that most people know nothing, and are at the level of "well, there's a Palestine, and there's this Palestinian people" so I guess "Palestine must belong to those Palestinian people" -- knowing nothing of the history of the area, nothing of its fate under Arab and then Ottoman rule, nothing about the treatment of the Jews under Muslim rule, in "Palestine" and outside (from Morocco to Yemen), have some vague notions that Jews were "well-treated" under Islam -- an idea belied by the fact that 9/10ths of the world's Jews were living outside that supposedly "tolerant" Muslim world by the beginning of the last century, and none are left, save for the tiniest remnant, anywhere in Dar al-Islam, nothing of the cadastral or demographic facts about that area which, if one bothers to find out, make the case even stronger.
I don't want to quibble with Orson Scott Card, however. He deserves praise. He understands, as many Americans do -- far more than do non-Jews in other places -- that it is not enough not to be an antisemite. Given the incredible history of the Jews, and the incredible behavior of so much of the world, and given the stakes now, there is an affirmative duty, as the lawyers say, imposed on all those non-Jews who have managed either to remain unaffected by antisemitism or, by dint of their own efforts, to throw off all bits and pieces of it, and that duty requires them to make a point of pointing out what contributes to, or what reveals, antisemitism wherever it may be. Some think too much is made of this pathological mental condition, a condition that has nothing to do with Jews but with mental states of the possessors. On the contrary. Not enough is made of it, and it is not recognized often enough as the explanation for attitudes and a quickness to accept the most absurd of lies, big and little. Orson Scott Card belongs to the Camp of Those Who Won't Have It, Won't Have Any Of It. And that is the only Camp to belong to, for intelligent and decent non-Jews everywhere. It is not enough for them to be non-carriers of the mental virus. They have a duty to help to diagnose, and then inoculate, others.