Foolish Jewish masochism

How absurd to regard the espousers of hate with sympathy and the espousers of love with suspicion


When she was pregnant, Gwyneth Paltrow apparently told Jay Leno: "The Jewish part of me is superstitious about talking about it. So when people ask, 'are you going to find out about the sex of the baby?' or 'do you have weird food cravings?' I don't want to answer those questions." Oh, those superstitious and fearful Jews!

According to Dr Brooke "Belle de Jour" Magnanti, the reason she became a sperm receptacle was because: "I have a pathological aversion to being in debt. My mother's family are Jewish; there's this hoarding thing, saving, being prepared - if you're in debt somebody could come and knock at your door and take it all away tomorrow." And there was me, foolishly admiring the way that Jewish women, even as penniless immigrants, rarely chose to rent their bodies out by the hour.

Why am I irritated by this foolish self-knocking? As a more-or-less lifelong philosemite, I expect Jews to be cleverer, cuter and more creative than non-Jews, be they Aryan or Arab. A lot of my belief is based on a) their enormously disproportionate Nobel Prize success and b) enormously disproportionate Jewish male physical attributes --- which you would think pretty much covers the waterfront and thus could be taken as a compliment. But, no, there's always someone whining that being liked is just as bad as being loathed.

Recently in the Independent, Anne Karpf displayed a fine example of this illogical view in a piece responding to the publication of statistics recording the highest annual total of antisemitic incidents for more than two decades - an increase of nearly 70 per cent from 2008. Despite this, Ms Karpf has nothing but understanding for those who attack her people: "The main reason for the surge… was the unprecedented number of antisemitic incidents recorded in January and February 2009, during and after the Israeli invasion of Gaza… It didn't help that during Israel's 2006 war with Lebanon, the Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: 'I believe that this is a war that is fought by all the Jews.' If the Israeli government (wrongly) elides Israel with all Jews, it's hardly surprising if antisemites do too."

Yes, but there's always some excuse to beat up a Jew, isn't there? As Amos Oz famously said: "Out there, in the world, all the walls were covered with graffiti: 'Yids, go back to Palestine,' so we came back to Palestine, and now the world shouts at us: 'Yids, get out of Palestine!'"

Not content with cuddling up to those who hate her, Ms Karpf went on to have a nasty poke at Little Me (and at the Tory politician Michael Gove), who wishes the Chosen nothing but happiness. Get this: "We live in post-modern times where some of what looks like antisemitism isn't but, conversely, some of what doesn't look like antisemitism in fact is. Consider the 'philosemitism', for instance, of Julie Burchill. Burchill's philosemitism is a form of antisemitism, I'd suggest, because it bunches all Jews together, as though we were a single, uniform entity. The idea that all Jews are wonderful is little different from all Jews being hateful: in both cases Jews are stripped of individual characteristics, and are nothing except Jewish - a view to which most racists happily subscribe."

I have never said that all Jews were perfect. And if I was ever in doubt that Jews can be masochistic and stupid, all I would need is Anne Karpf's Indy piece placing my admiration on a par with violent Islamist attacks. He Hit Me and it Felt Like a Kiss is an old girl-group shlock-song whose sentiments we now rightly see as beyond the pale. How strange and sad to see a Jew bring them into political discourse.

    Last updated: 4:51pm, May 21 2010

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