By Jenni Frazer
October 19, 2009
"I'm unambiguously hostile to Israel because it's a mendacious state." Thus, according to the writer Anne McElvoy, is the position of the editor of the London Review of Books, Mary-Kay Wilmers.
A long profile of Wilmers appeared in the Sunday Times magazine this weekend, ostensibly for the purpose of flagging up Wilmers' new book, The Eitingons: A Twentieth Century Story, which is the history of Wilmers' own Russian-Jewish family and their role in assassinating Trotsky. The LRB, of course, was the publication of choice in which Walt and Mearsheimer claimed that the "Israel lobby" ran American foreign policy; and many and frequent have been the complaints about the LRB attitude to Israel. Now we understand why.
According to McElvoy, Wilmers' hostility to Israel, which she has visited "briefly, a few years ago" is based on her feeling as a Jew. "My people," she told McElvoy, "have a responsibility. I feel a particular right to speak out on this because of my background."
Well, Mary-Kay, my people aren't anything like your people, and unlike you, I don't have the arrogance to believe I know all the answers. Do, by all means, promote your historical book, but don't imagine that you are even faintly representative of my people. Mendacity, you might find, cuts both ways.