clear
Friday, 17 May 2019
'High-minded culture' is now rife with antisemitism
Share
clear

High-minded well-known literary types have the chattering classes in thrall with Jew hatred which has, octopus-like, permeated every nook and cranny of what was formerly considered “high” culture.

by Phyllis Chesler 


Scene fron Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

People say that it is usually calm before a storm but I feel uneasy, unbalanced, uprooted, and set adrift in a dangerously familiar sea.

An American rabbi put it this way: “I never thought it could happen here. The Pittsburgh shooting made me angry. The San Diego shooting made me afraid.”

Wherever I turn, Israel and the Jews are being falsely accused, defamed, and attacked. Some of us cover the campuses, others cover the media, the internet, national and international politics, the Islamic world, and increasingly, the local attacks on American Jews who are visibly Jewish.

Tragically, those American Jews who are not, have not sprung to the defense of the haredi Jews who are being thrown to the ground and pummeled by young men, usually men of color; or shot down on the Sabbath while at prayer by white supremacists.

As for myself? I cover what high-minded literary types as well as feminists have to say. Doing so never fails to break my heart or strengthen my resolve. Jew hatred has, octopus-like, permeated every nook and cranny of what was formerly considered “high” culture.

The London Review of Books (LRB) and the New York Review of Books (NYRB) almost always have at least one anti-Israel/pro-Palestine piece. Here’s something by Adam Shatz in the May 9, 2019 edition of the high-toned LRB. Shatz is a contributing editor to the LRB, a contributor to the New York Times and the New Yorker, and the former literary critic of The Nation. Titled “Trump’s America, Netanyahu’s Israel” Shatz opens with this:

"Israel’s legislative elections on 9 April were a tribute to Binyamin Netanyahu’s transformation of the political landscape. At no point were they discussed in terms of which candidates might be persuaded by (non-existent) American pressure, or the ‘international community’, to end the occupation. This time the question was which party leader could be trusted by Israeli Jews – Palestinian citizens of Israel are now officially second-class – to manage the occupation, and to expedite the various tasks the Jewish state has mastered: killing Gazans, bulldozing homes, combating the scourge of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS), and conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism. With his promise to annex the West Bank, Netanyahu had won even before the election was held. It wasn’t simply Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that sped the incumbent on his way; it was the nature of the conversation – and the fact that the leader of the opposition was Benny Gantz, the IDF commander who presided over the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, in which more than two thousand Gazans were killed."

Almost every point is a lie. For example, “killing Gazans” should read: “fighting back in self-defense against thousands of rocket attacks launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists.” 

The rest of Shatz’s piece is largely not factual, lacks context, has little historical memory, and is, quite simply, vicious. Here he is in the same piece on anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism:

“Is there an antisemitism of the left? Certainly. Antisemitism, like anti-black racism, is a virus in Western society. But it is one thing to acknowledge its existence in movements that want to see an end to Israel’s occupation – which tend to be left-leaning – and another to claim that it is their defining feature. Israel has recast antisemitism in such a self-serving way that it has become difficult to distinguish between those who take Israel to task as a Jewish state, and those who criticise it as a Jewish state: as an exclusionary ethnocracy and an occupying power."

Israel is not an “exclusionary ethnocracy” or an “occupying power.” There are far better ways of describing the situation, the “matzav.” in Hebrw. Hamas-controlled Gaza is an “exclusionary ethnocracy” as well as a barbaric tyranny. You won’t hear that from Shatz.

A 2019 April issue of the New York Review of Books has a review of “Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History” by Nur Masalha. Titled “The Many Lives of Palestine,” the reviewer, G.W. Bowersock, Professor Emeritus of Ancient History at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, damns the Balfour Declaration, insists on the absolutely false statement that an “ancient Palestine” once existed and that it “embraced some of the old territory of the Phoenicians.” Bowersock faults Masalha for not focusing more on the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish, “the truly great poet of the Palestinian people...(and from whose poetry) one learns what it meant, and still means, to be a Palestinian with cultural roots that reach far back in time.”

Bowersock condemns the “appropriation of Arabic place names after 1948” (actually mostly biblical) and finally praises Masalha for “striving to keep alight the flame of Palestinian culture that despite every attempt to snuff it out, still burns brightly in the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish and in the world he never left behind.”

My point: These boldly biased reviewers are both Mandarins, and are the gate-keepers of High Culture. Although that Culture now traffics in gutter “tropes,” the professional chattering classes remain in their thrall.

First published in Israel National News

clear
Posted on 05/17/2019 4:46 AM by Phyllis Chesler
Comments
No comments yet.

Available on Amazon US
and Amazon UK


Available on Amazon
and Amazon UK.


Amazon donates to World Encounter Institute Inc when you shop at smile.amazon.com/ch/56-2572448. #AmazonSmile #StartWithaSmile

Subscribe

Categories

Adam Selene (1) A.J. Caschetta (6) Alexander Murinson (1) Andrew Harrod (2) Bat Ye'or (6) Brex I Teer (7) Brian of London (32) Christina McIntosh (861) Christopher DeGroot (2) Conrad Black (418) Daniel Mallock (4) David P. Gontar (7) David Solway (78) David Wemyss (1) Dexter Van Zile (74) Dr. Michael Welner (3) Emmet Scott (1) Eric Rozenman (3) Esmerelda Weatherwax (9317) Fergus Downie (1) Fred Leder (1) Friedrich Hansen (7) G. Murphy Donovan (59) Gary Fouse (117) Geert Wilders (13) Geoffrey Botkin (1) Geoffrey Clarfield (319) Hannah Rubenstein (3) Hossein Khorram (2) Hugh Fitzgerald (20795) Ibn Warraq (10) Ilana Freedman (2) James Como (17) James Robbins (1) James Stevens Curl (2) Janice Fiamengo (1) Jerry Gordon (2504) Jerry Gordon and Lt. Gen. Abakar M. Abdallah (1) Jesse Sandoval (1) John Constantine (119) John Hajjar (5) John M. Joyce (388) Jonathan Ferguson (1) Jonathan Hausman (4) Joseph S. Spoerl (10) Kenneth Lasson (1) Kenneth Timmerman (25) Lorna Salzman (9) Louis Rene Beres (37) Marc Epstein (7) Mark Anthony Signorelli (11) Mark Durie (7) Mary Jackson (5066) Matthew Hausman (39) Michael Curtis (539) Michael Rechtenwald (2) Mordechai Nisan (2) Moshe Dann (1) NER (2586) New English Review Press (22) Nidra Poller (73) Nonie Darwish (5) Norman Berdichevsky (86) Paul Weston (5) Paula Boddington (1) Peter McLoughlin (1) Philip Blake (1) Phyllis Chesler (45) Rebecca Bynum (7165) Richard Butrick (24) Richard Kostelanetz (16) Richard L. Benkin (21) Richard L. Cravatts (7) Richard L. Rubenstein (44) Robert Harris (84) Sally Ross (37) Sam Bluefarb (1) Sha’i ben-Tekoa (1) Springtime for Snowflakes (4) Stephen Schecter (1) Steve Hecht (25) Ted Belman (8) The Law (90) Theodore Dalrymple (823) Thomas J. Scheff (6) Thomas Ország-Land (3) Tom Harb (3) Walid Phares (29) Winfield Myers (1) z - all below inactive (7) z - Ares Demertzis (2) z - Andrew Bostom (74) z - Andy McCarthy (536) z - Artemis Gordon Glidden (881) z - DL Adams (21) z - John Derbyshire (1013) z - Marisol Seibold (26) z - Mark Butterworth (49) z- Robert Bove (1189) zz - Ali Sina (2)
clear
Site Archive