Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Twelve points

An excellent article by Howard Jacobson in The Independent argues the obvious rationally, humanely and, of course, articulately. Some points from it:

In the matter of Israel and the Palestinians this country has been heading towards a dictatorship of the one-minded for a long time; we seem now to have attained it. Deviate a fraction of a moral millimetre from the prevailing othodoxy and you are either not listened to or you are jeered at and abused, your reading of history trashed, your humanity itself called into question. I don’t say that self-pityingly...

...My first challenge is implicit in the phrase “the fighting in Gaza”, which more justly describes the event than the words “Massacre” and “Slaughter” which anti-Israel demonstrators carry on their placards. This is not a linguistic ploy on my part to play down the horror of Gaza or to minimise the loss of life. In an article in this newspaper last week, Robert Fisk argued that “a Palestinian woman and her child are as worthy of life as a Jewish woman and her child on the back of a lorry in Auschwitz”. I am not sure who he was arguing with, but it certainly isn’t me...

...Rhetoric is precisely what has warped report and analysis these past months, and in the process made life fraught for most English Jews who, like me, do not differentiate between the worth of Jewish and Palestinian lives, though the imputation – loud and clear in a new hate-fuelled little chamber-piece by Caryl Churchill – is that Jews do. “Massacre” and “Slaughter” are rhetorical terms. They determine the issue before it can begin to be discussed. Are you for massacre or are you not? When did you stop slaughtering your wife?

I watched demonstrators approach members of the public with their petitions. “Do you want an end to the slaughter in Gaza?” What were those approached expected to reply? – “No, I want it to continue unabated.” If “Massacre” presumes indiscriminate, “Slaughter” presumes innocence. There is no dodging the second of those. ...

...And Israel? Well, speaking on BBC television at the height of the fighting, Richard Kemp, former commander of British Troops in Afghanistan and a senior military adviser to the British government, said the following: “I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare where any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of civilians than the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) is doing today in Gaza.” A judgement I can no more corroborate than those who think very differently can disprove....

And so on.

Language is the point. Slaughter, massacre, extermination, holocaust, being called a Nazi is the point. Jacobson writes apropos the abhorrent sounding Caryl Churchill play where the claim is made that Jews (Jews, not Israelis) are deliberately bred with hatred towards Arabs. Once bad people tried to exterminate them, now they are trying to exterminate another people. Exterminate, you realise. So let them not dare upbraid the world with their holocaust when we can see who the real culprits are now. Perhaps they should have been exterminated. Er, controlled.

Language is vital and it is being determined in what I used to think of as liberal media, the BBC and The Guardian and the Independent too. The first word was disproportionate (though no one as far as I am aware explained what a proportionate response would be). It is from there we proceeded from disproportionate, to slaughter, to massacre, to genocide, to extermination.

The terms stick irrespective of any proof to the contrary. The bombed school that was not bombed, the Jenin massacre that wasn't a massacre, the shot boy who was not shot by Israelis. None of that matters. The fact that Israel left high-tech greenhouses and factories behind in the Gaza Strip which were immediately destroyed by Hamas, counts for nothing. You would think Gaza City was tents and rubble. It is a modern city. Check the photographs on Google Earth.

Deaths there were, and a great assault, that is undeniable and terrible. The rockets weren't going all one way, of course but the ones pointed at Israel were ineffective. They were pointed at population centres but didn't get there. Maybe there should have been no retaliation at all. Maybe there was another way. Maybe it is possible to negotiate with Hamas whose charter demands Israel be wiped off the face of the earth. Maybe they don't mean it. As long as there's a maybe maybe one should work with it.

But the language mounts.

Let me suggest a possible shape of things to come.

1. Universities are pressured by both UCU and students to boycott Israeli universities. The words massacre, slaughter, genocide and extermination will play a powerful part in this. (This last sentence should be repeated at the end of each suggestion);

2. Jewish academics will be asked to sign documents distancing themselves from Israel, that is to say from half the Jewish population of the world;

3. If they don't they will be forced out by psychological and other means such as whispering campaigns, secret blackballing, blocked promotions and so forth. They will be excluded from all representative committees;

4. Jewish Societies will not be allowed to operate or invite speakers, unless they sign up to conditions as above, if not they will be physically intimated by acts that university authorities will overlook;

5. In the press there will be an increasing plethora of negative stories involving people who may or may not be Jewish but about whom rumours will be allowed to circulate. The word 'Jewish' will not be used but some kind of Zionist link will be hinted at;

6. As the financial crisis deepens - and it will - it will be those bankers, financiers and economists who are Jewish whose names will be mentioned and whose names will stick;

7. There will be pressure on editors to restrict the number of articles written by journalists with suspected Zionist sympathies and in the papers themselves there will be more hooked Stars of David and pictures of Jews with hooked noses on display;

8. The cultural press will find more Mearsheimer and Walt style articles / conspiracy stories. The LRB and the TLS will run with these and others will follow;

9. Jewish characters will be villains in the new wave of European then Hollywood films; Synagogues will be burned down. Jewish children will be ever more frequently beaten up in London streets, some arrests will be made but news of these will occupy ever less space in the press.

10. Jews will be blackballed out of clubs, both social and sporting; there will be calls for the entry of Jews into higher education, culture, the press and finance to be restricted;

11. Either Iran nukes Israel or Israel is finally eradicated from the earth by military, combined with political, pressure, no-one will want Israeli refugees. A genuine massacre of Israeli citizens will take place, but these will be called reprisals, condemned but understood;

12. Jews go back to being periodically persecuted minorities.

You think this is paranoid. Some of this is being attempted, has already happened, and goes on happening. Do go on with your talk of massacres, slaughters and exterminations. And of course I am paranoid. I was born that way. It's in the genes, you know.

ps It is worth checking the replies to Jacobson's article and asking how many of them address anything he actually says.


Will said...

George -- the direct link is this:

George S said...

Thank you, Will

James Hamilton said...

No, not paranoid, although I hold some hope in that the bulk of non-metropolitan Brits don't have a great deal of time for this, and might find more room for refugees than might seem the case now. Some hope. And I remain optimistic that a nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel might be avoided. I'm not optimistic about avoiding a return of overt anti-semitism to British life, though: I've personal experience as to the way abstract political beliefs can transform themselves into actual, justified violence against persons. I note "Will" commenting a moment ago.

You missed a stage out, btw; the one in which the British left exonerates itself from the last acts of the play.

Mark Granier said...

Thanks for that article by Jacobson George. I have bookmarked it.

I have always liked HJ. I attended a reading he gave in Listowel a few years ago, of his book Kalooki Nights. Wonderfully, blackly funny. I thought Roots Schoots was marvelous, both the book and the TV series. I sympathise with his passion and his clarity. And Churchill's play (which I had never heard of before) does sound like a crock of shit.

Too late to get into discussing Gaza. But regarding number 11 on your 12 point list, I really REALLY doubt that Iran would ever get near to nuking Israel. Israel ALREADY possess the more sophisticated weaponry, including nukes, and so would have either taken out Iran's nuke plants or, as a last resort, nuked Iran in a first strike.

George S said...

James, spot on. There is a history there, of course.

Mark, I wonder what the world reaction would be if Israel launched a pre-emptive strike? I don't rule it out, of course. I just suspect Iran's religious leadership and the enthusiasm of surrounding nations, taken together with the capacity in some of them for suicide bombing, might make that a little more likely.

Religious enthusiasm is a swine everywhere. Including Israel, of course. I am very happy to live in a generally secular country. It is one of the few reasons to be cheerful.

Billy C said...

George, thank you for this article. And Will, thank you for that link. If food for thought were an exact science, that piece by Howard Jacobson should sate our appetite for a long time. To those with open minds that is. That Jewish/Israeli/Palestinian summary is one of the finest I have read and I shall use it whenever I am arguing the case for a balanced appraisal of the Gaza 'situation'. And the Jewish/Isreali 'situation'.

George, you end your last comment by saying, "I am very happy to live in a generally secular country. It is one of the few reasons to be cheerful."

Alas, that is no longer the case. It was when I was a young man some, almost, seventy years ago. What I see now in my society is a slow, but ever-quickening progression back into our past; to a society of religious intolerance, diminution of the freedom of speech and a general subservience of the populace. I wonder how long it will be before free-thinkers are not allowed freedom of thought and before utterance of anything that disturbs the servilty of the nation will be tantamount to treason.

It is that which worries me most and is the one thing I shall fight tooth and nail against, until my last breath, to preserve for my grandchildren. It really is that important.

But you know that. Its those who can't think for themselves who don't. And those who have an agenda against freedom of the individual for their 'greater cause'. And those who want to be seen as 'having an opinion' because it makes them feel good.

George S said...

Yes, I agree with all that, Billy. The old Joni Mitchell lines are all too often appropriate:

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till its gone.

Good that some things should go of course. But even better to think and weigh up what should go.

Mark Granier said...

"Mark, I wonder what the world reaction would be if Israel launched a pre-emptive strike?"

Considering the evidence, I don't imagine Israel would care all that much about how the world might react if it really believed the threat was imminent. But my point is that Israel is unlikely to let Iran develop a viable nuke, and I am not thrilled about such a prospect myself.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"Maybe there should have been no retaliation at all."

George, what is the logic in such a non-response?

An antisemite's nightmare is the sight of Jews having a good life, fun, sun, beautiful women, days in the beach. The antidote for such a nightmare is the wishful imagining of dead Jews. I get the impression that many critics of Israel would be much happier if only there were more, many more, dead Jews in Sderot. Their main beef is that so few Jews were actually killed while their enemy methodically perseveres in the attempt to wipe them out. Such an inapt kind of genocide, wouldn't you say. Hamas and Hizzbulla may sound like Hitler but unfortunately, Hitler they are not. They do not have the industrial infrastructure to sustain their programme. The argument, then, taken in its literal translation, should read like this: Israel, of course, should calibrate its response to the Hamas level of sophistication. In other words, Israel should wait until they get enough weaponry and skill to carry out a more successful campaign of liquidation, and ONLY THEN attempt to stop them. Give them a chance at least to carry out a little genocide, for God's sake; it's the fair and decent thing to do.

And while Israel is waiting for them to acquire better weapons and get better at mass destruction, it is only a humanitarian basic that Israel should feed and care for the Hamas's people, ease the suffering of Palestinians so that Hamas does not have to worry about these inconsequential demands. Hamas must be allowed complete freedom from the petty concerns and selfish demands of their own population, and from the business of governing and providing for their people in order to be able to pursue their higher purpose of genocide and destruction, undisturbed and uninhibited.


Among these “Leftists” I count some of "the best" as snoopythegoon diplomatically put it in his blog. These "best"'s support for Israel was so half-hearted that, with the absence of enough Jewish "killees", it could not maintain a principled support for Israel’s right of self-defence.

The power of the pictures is irresistible, you said elsewhere. Perhaps it was a mistake for Israeli media to suppress the images of the aftermath of suicide bombings, mutilated lynched bodies, and such like. No one ever plastered them on the front pages of papers or showed them on TV news.

There is a pornographic aspect to human pity which cannot be waved aside when things get to this stage. When an image of a little girl's severed head impacts the minds of reasonable intellects, and not just what is called "The Arab street", then maybe it is time to reconsider the uses of such pornographic titillation of the pity muscle.

Poet in Residence said...

I stopped reading early on at the q. "who is Robert Fisk fighting...?" Perhaps, I thought, he's fighting to preserve the truth from from the effects of Zeitgeist and sugar on the pill.
I say this because I noticed yesterday that "the war on terror" has now become "the so-called war on terror". Perhaps Fisk fears that it won't be long before the "the so-called war on terror" is also too strong an expression. I think it's the use of expressions like "collateral damage" that disturbs him and me.
Now back to the good read...

Poet in Residence said...

Obama promised if Iran nukes Israel he will nuke Iran. Iran will therefore not nuke Israel. Not in the next 8 years anyway.

You've seen how fast this new President works. Hilary is already doing the rounds including in the world's most populous muslim country Indonesia which is being set up to become the role model muslim country.
In 2008 the Austrian film "die Fälscher" won an oscar. So it's not doom and gloom in the Kinowelt either.
I see some very positive signs. A few teething troubles perhaps like dealing the new right-wing Israeli governemt in waiting. But I think Netanyahu will have to change his tune. He won't be able to short change Obama like he did Bush. If tries any of his old tricks you can best he'll lose his US aid package just quick as you like. T new Yanks in the White House are in no mood for Israeli funny business.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"He won't be able to short change Obama like he did Bush."

Please don't let any easily checkable and verifiable fact interfere with the momentum of your argument:

Benjamin Netanyahu (1996-99)
Ehud Barak (1999-01)
Ariel Sharon (2001-06)
Ehud Olmert (2006- )


GEORGE W. BUSH 2001-2009

George S said...

My hypothetical 'maybe's were just that, Noga. Hypothetical. It would be unsustainable in the real world not to retaliate. But these are just the sort of hypotheticals the world asks and demands. Unfairly? Yes. But that is the world. It wants every maybe and maybe and maybe before it is confronted - as it will be, every time - by the sight of dead babies.

And surely, there is nothing surprising about that? I read the comments columns of The Times (the article on the French judge calling for an end to compensations for Holocaust victims), and, of course, The Independent. Some of that is the lunatic fringe, the proto-fascist fringe, the anyone-but-Israel-and-America fringe, but some of it is just people looking at dead babies. They don't intend to become anti-Semites. They would be - and are - horrified should you suggest that that is what they are becoming. But they don't understand. They are driven mad by dead babies. Dead babies stop their ears and minds, and even their pretty reasonable (most of the time) hearts.

If you remember, I said somewhere at the time of the fighting that a day or two's lay-off would be good for PR. Bad militarily, granted, but maybe, not that bad. And worth a great deal in terms of the rhetorical annihilation that Jacobson was talking about. Such gestures are worth a great deal more than you might think.

There is a fearsome herd instinct in people. When everyone runs one way they must run along or feel abandoned. But talk to them in the privacy of their rooms or in a cafe and they are not mad, or only a little bit.

And dead babies, are, well, dead babies. Really dead, really babies, and, more to the point, really there. Death in Sderot would also be real, of course, but the momentum, which is building, is against the realising of their reality, because, at the moment, the moment when the dead babies are freshly dead, they are not there.

You could perhaps console yourself with the thought that if British or American bombardment had produced the same images elsewhere, there would have been an outcry. Not as shrill and as venomous as the current one - for all the reasons you and I know all too well - but an outcry all the same.

Eva Hoffman, a good friend, believes that, in psychological terms, hatred of Jews is an act of projection. What people hate in themselves they are free to hate in the Jews. People don't want to be associated with dead babies - though God knows, in any history of warfare there are dead babies enough on both sides - therefore Jew = dead baby.

Out of strength - even relative strength - comes vulnerability. And terrible isolation.

Courage and kindness are what matter most. They keep us human, or at least, make us tolerable.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"You could perhaps console yourself with the thought that if British or American bombardment had produced the same images elsewhere, there would have been an outcry."

I'm not sure I agree with this, George. The records do not support this very reasonable assumption.

"The refugees believed they found safe haven. They were wrong. The air strike didn't spare their lives. Over 100 were killed. This is not an account of the tragic bombing of the UN school in Gaza. This is the story of the bombing of Korisa in the former Yugoslavia, the strikes carried out by NATO planes, which took place nearly 10 years ago on May 13th 1999. There are other accounts of this type of catastrophe. On April 12th NATO planes killed, accidentally of course, 12 civilians. April 14th saw the death of 70 refugees. On April 27, 16 civilians were killed. On May 1st, 23 civilians were killed when a bus was bombed. On May 6th, 16 were killed by a cluster bomb. On May 19th, a Belgrade hospital was bombed, 3 dead. May 30th saw 11 die when a bridge was bombed. On the very same day an old age home was hit and 20 residents were killed. The next day 11 more died. About the same time, the Chinese embassy was bombed, and a misdirected missile flew 30 miles off course and hit the Bulgarian Capital of Sofia. "It was a mistake, sorry" was the NATO spokesperson's standard response.

This is what happens during war. It is sad and lamentable. Europeans are not called upon to cast their memory all the way back to the bombing of Dresden; all they need is to look back to events that happened less than a decade ago, ere they start wagging their admonitory finger at Israel. Because Israel has not killed, nor will it kill, even a tenth of the number of innocent deaths incurred by European democracies in just wars."

Poet in Residence said...

Mr Centrist, I was thinking back to the White House Dinner of 2003 and the famous Bush U-turn as outlined Felischer's press statement. Bush didn't have the bottle to make it himself. Ari was sent out to the jackals. Netanyahu was on the plane back to Tel Aviv. Something along those lines. Checkable? Certainly it is.

The Contentious Centrist said...

I'm a slow thinker, and didn't immediately cotton on to PIR's ruminations in the following three quotes:

"In 2008 the Austrian film "die Fälscher" won an oscar. So it's not doom and gloom in the Kinowelt either."

"But I think Netanyahu will have to change his tune. He won't be able to short change Obama like he did Bush."

"die Fälscher" is known in English as "The Counterfeiters". here is the tagline:

"It takes a clever man to make money, it takes a genius to stay alive

A genius con artist put to work by the Nazis. A survivor's tale you've never seen before."

And what do you know, it's a film about a Jewish conman, who puts his talent at the service of the Nazis in return for his life. He manufactures for them counterfeit money.

Money. Funny money. Cheating money.

"shortchange" the dictionary tells us means:

1. To give (someone) less change than is due in a transaction.
2. Informal To treat unfairly or deceitfully; cheat.

Money, again, allied to cheating.

"If tries any of his old tricks you can best he'll lose his US aid package just quick"

Again, money!

Funny how Netanyahu's "shortchanging" Obama follows hard on the heels of "die falscher" and the next relished thought is how money will be withheld from the conniving Netanyahu's grasping greasy hands: "he'll lose his US aid package just quick".


So a film about the Holocaust won an Oscar and this, PIR tells us, is a reason for hope that antisemitism is not so bad. And some cold comfort it is, coming from a presumably thoughtful poet, whose his own discourse, in the span of just a short and offhanded comment on the Internet, is so heavily laced with antisemitic undertones?


I note he has not returned to apologize for misleading readers about the charge of Netanyahu's shortchanging Bush, nor has he bothered to explain exactly what the deception was. I wonder where he got this piece of false information and why he believed it so readily that he could insouciantly repeat it.

This is a gift for PiR. It's an address by Christopher Hitchens about freedom of speech. Some parts of it are pertinent to this discussion:

The Contentious Centrist said...


I posted before I saw your response. Sorry for that.

Still, I see no explanation of what the deception was. Though I do notice another bestial term, referring, I presume, to American pro-Israeli Jews: "jackals".

You are quite incontinent in your loathing.

I would appreciate it if you backed your anecdote with a link. It was you who alluded to the story. Up to you to support it. That is, if you want to be believed.

BTW, it is MS. Centrist.

The Contentious Centrist said...

I am trying, based on the scant information you provided, PiR, to find the episode you mentioned. In doing so, I came across this quote, which I thought might be pertinent, considering what I said in my previous comments:

"If you talk to people who use anti-Semitic clichés without knowing what they are doing, they are shocked that somebody would think they were anti-Semitic. But it's everywhere. It's in print. It's dinner party conversations. When a dozen Israeli kids are killed because somebody throws a bomb in order to kill Israeli kids, then it's regrettable. If Israel kills a dozen kids as collateral damage when they try to kill a murderer who hides among children, then this is a war crime."

Oscar Bronner - publisher and editor of Der Standard, a major Austrian daily newspaper, August, 2002

The Contentious Centrist said...

George, I almost missed this one:

"Jewish characters will be villains in the new wave of European then Hollywood films;"

The latest Bond movie, with the delectable Daniel Craig, already started the trend. If you don't pay attention you miss it, because the reference is so fleeting. The film takes a little swipe at Israel claiming one of the three arch-villains is ex-Mossad.

I was wondering whether it was done to please Craig, who is an avowed Robert Fisk admirer. It's just the sort of detail that would make Fisk very happy. I saw Craig last Saturday playing, again, the character of a Jew (the first time was in "Munich"), this time a Jewish partisan in "Defiance". I wonder about this combination.

Poet in Residence said...

Ms Centrist, When you say that I am "quite incontinent" in "My loathing" do you mean that I am "quite incontinent" in "my loathing" of "colleteral damage" and other wishywashy terminology that disguises violence against civilians, in which case you are right.
I mention Die Fälscher because on George's list he is concerned that there will be a series of anti-semitic films being released. Die Fälscher, and I have seen it, is the contrary.
As for my predictions about the Obama - Netanyahu relationship we'll just have to wait and see.
The word "jackals" has nothing to do with your interpretation of it. It's a common words that means dogs, and in the context that I have used it it obviously refers to the White House Press Corps.
You seem to be under the misapprehension that I am some kind of anti-semitic poison. I can assure you that I am nothing of the sort. As O. Henry rightly points out, we are all brothers, including the people in the bend of the Kaw River. But you my friend Centrist have previously called me out for my views haven't you?
And out of respect for George, and so as not to abuse his blog, I didn't reply to you, but this time you have gone beyond the pale.

JuliaMazal said...

Excuse me for barging in, but
a) #12 "Jews go back to being periodically persecuted minorities". Erm... I recognize (and am proud) that Jews are politically active, contributing members to society, and have the State of Israel, but even so, the 'periodic persecution'(from a historical/world-wide perspective) has never ceased.
b) @Centrist: "Israel, of course, should calibrate its response to the Hamas level of sophistication."
I couldn't help but picture Israel suddenly loading up thousands of imprecise Kassams. I wonder what the media would say to that?
c)@George: Eva Hoffman is your friend? Her books have had a profound impact on me. Please thank her for me!

Please forgive the fangirl gushing, I'll go back to lurking now...

George S said...

Actually I imagine both Goldfinger and Blofeld in the earlier Fleming books are Jewish stereotypes, Noga, and certainly Márai, whose books I have been translating for about five years, has a number of such: the moneylender in Conversations in Bolzano, the pawnbroker in The Rebels. I wrote to Knopf at the time worrying about it. They weren't bothered.

On the other hand Márai wrote in support of persecuted and deported Jews in Hungary and, I seem to remember that his wife was Jewish (I could be wrong.) The Jewish moneylender / pawnbroker in Márai is the equivalent of the witch-doctor in films and stories about voodoo. Such stereotypes are all-pervasive in the pre-war period.

Stereotypes are unavoidable in many respects and both the Márais above are hideous. But there are equally hideous figures in Márai who are not Jewish.

In thinking of film consider the clever sadistic Germans in the Indiana Jones films (and everywhere else), the dumb, brutalised, eye-rolling black servants and railway attendants of most Thirties films, the snooty unfeeling English, the avaricious Scots, the villainous Mexicans or Spaniards, etc

The degree of hostility felt, sometimes quite unconsciously and without any desire to harm, towards these stereotypes depends on times and conditions. I personally am not set on looking for offence. I am, however, determined to resist the resort exclusively to stereotype and the offloading of hate on it.

That is the danger, Noga. The rest is just life. I don't feel - most of the time - that I have to defend Jews as a discrete class. Jews are as good and as bad as everyone else. There are villainous Jews as much as there are villainous non-Jews.I don't intend to be particularly sensitive about them. I just want the same proof of their villainy as I would of anyone else's.

Having said that, the climate now is particularly awful and does not look like getting any better in the near future.

George S said...

Julia, very nice to hear from you. I imagine you will allow that there are better and worse periods for persecution. I wouldn't confuse the latent with the overt, the intended with the unintended, the boot with the the slip of the tongue, etc etc. There are distinctly periods when Jews have been more persecuted than other times.

And yes, I consider Eva Hoffman a very good friend. Her Lost in Translation is one of the genuine classic books of the last century.

The Contentious Centrist said...

George, the list of cinematographic and otherwise literary Jewish stereotypes you listed is in the past and I have been living under the impression that all "that" is over and done with.

It comes from living the best part of life in Israel, where we did not worry so much about antisemitism but about much more pressing existential difficulties. A child educated in the Israeli school system learns about the Holocaust as the tremendum after which persecution of Jews anywhere seems impossible, incomprehensible. You can imagine my surprise when I arrived in Canada twenty years ago and found out that the stories I heard as a child were still holding true. And they have grown more widespread over the years. It didn't take much, some 12 years ago, for a synagogue in Outremont to be vandalized, after some public spat with the Chassidic community that lives there. I remember a conversation I had with my then academic advisor, in which I naively said that it is a good thing that people who don't like Jews for one reason or another have a chance to ventilate their grievances in the media. She insisted that it doesn't take more than a few such "ventilations" to get the dynamic to move from the merely rhetorical to physical assault. And she was proven right by the subsequent events.

Having said that, there is a vast difference between the moneylender stereotype and the Mossad agent one. Moneylenders are despised. Shylock is hated. Not because of his money lending, which he did in a very useless way. He is hated because he had temporarily acquired enough power, through his bond, to inflict actual existential harm on Antonio.

The Contentious Centrist said...

PiR: I notice you have not stepped up to the plate and provided some context for your comment about Netanyahu "short changing" Bush. Some link to a report of an actual event that would actually support your story and its interpretation.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Could we, please, leave Blofeld, my favorite villain of all times, out of the discussion? Or should I start shouting anti- you know what?

George S said...

Snoopy, your photo never ages. How do you keep so young?

Poet in Residence said...

Centrist, It was quite a famous televised White House Press Conference where Bush chickened out and sent an unconvincing Ari Fleischer "up to the plate" as you call it. For the record, I believe I saw it on cnn.

Nicole said...

For those who don't know the story, Ian Fleming named the evil Goldfinger after the Hungarian Jewish architect Erno Goldfinger, who built some much reviled London landmarks, although he is back in favour now. Ian Fleming was no longer welcome at Erno's fine modernist house in Hampstead after that.

George S said...

I wonder if I knew that, Nicole. If I did I had forgotten it, so thank you.

My dad met Goldfinger. In fact he worked on one of his buildings as part of a heating, plumbing and ventilation firm.

Did Goldfinger look like Gert Frobe? That is the question on everyone's lips. My lips, at any rate.

Nicole said...

The answer to the question on everyone's lips, George, is that, Erno was not like Gert Frobe at all, but dark-haired and handsome. I have just learned that he 'sensed antisemitism' and sued Fleming. There is an interesting article about him here:

bob said...

12. Jews go back to being periodically persecuted minorities.
And then the left can like us again.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

"go back"?