Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chic literary disgust

A friend sent me this translation of an interview with Nicole Krauss in the Tel Aviv daily Yediot Ahronot: “American Jewish writer Nicole Krauss offers her insight on Israel: ‘I cannot help but to react furiously to the policies of [Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin] Netanyahu and of his anti-democratic ministers; they are almost fascists. . . . I get physically sick when I see the inhumanity of Israeli policy which is incompatible with Jewish or democratic values and pushes the country to the brink of existential abyss.’ ”

Judith Butler is not alone in using her Jewish identity as a human shield for attacks upon Israel. An entire generation of Jewish writers has but one connection to the Jewish people: a chic literary disgust for the Jewish state. What they don’t seem to understand is that the very existence of Israel, and its willingness to defend and take them in as Jews, makes their attacks easier and less costly—to themselves. The final shield is the Jewish state.

13 comments:

AJ said...

So no one may criticize Israel?

D. G. Myers said...

I get physically sick when I see the inhumanity of Israeli policy which is incompatible with Jewish or democratic values and pushes the country to the brink of existential abyss.

That isn’t criticism (what “policy,” exactly? which “Jewish values”?). That is preening for the anti-Zionist left.

AJ said...

I prefer an Israel where there are mystical Rabbis and Prophets who can perform miracles.

D. G. Myers said...

I prefer an Israel where ordinary Jews can lead ordinary lives—without fear that they or their children will be murdered in their beds by Arab terrorists.

Anonymous said...

AJ apparently feels that Jews and the Jewish state are unfit to exist unless they measure up to his romantic notion of what they should be.

AJ, Jewish tradition discusses who holds the power of prophecy after the destruction of the Temple. Given your comments at 9.56 and 11.14, one could almost think that you are trying to persuade people that you qualify.

Hamayveen yaveen (the discerning will understand).

- Ahad Ha'moratsim

AJ said...

Anon,

I a sorry you feel that way. I have every right to prefer a mystical Israel without you attacking me for it by claiming that I am some sort of an Israel basher.

forcheville said...

I get physically sick when I see the bightest young Jewish American writers so lacking in wisdom.
Still, Krauss is speaking as a sort of Obama-ite Zionist, who feels that that the only hope for Israel is to make nice with her enemies.
Butler seems more like a sort of Bundist, with academic high theory replacing Yiddish as the putative authentic culture of the Jews.

D. G. Myers said...

Forcheville,

A Bundist prior to 1947, you mean. (Which would make Butler an anachronism.) And without Yiddish. (Which would make her a non-Jewish Bundist, or simply a Marxist.) An anachronistic Marxist—that seems to get Butler about right.

Krauss’s anti-Zionism is sentimental and self-important.

David Gruber said...

Dear DG,

I don't know if you read Yaacov Lozowick's blog, but in the last couple of days he's posted two good entries on why he is against J Street, an organization which, in Lozowick's view (and mine), reflects an attempt to pressure the US government to action rooted in the kind of Jewish anti-Zionism that we see in Krauss's comment.

Lozowick's first post is here: http://yaacovlozowick.blogspot.com/2011/03/contra-jeffrey-goldberg-lozowick-is.html

and the second is here: http://yaacovlozowick.blogspot.com/2011/03/checked-again-still-anti-j-street.html

Lozowick's blog is one of the best out there on Israel (and from Israel). His book on Israel's wars is also very good.

David

PMH said...

Examining history, I don't think that I'd expect any nation that has been under attack for every moment of its existence to fit a wealthy American liberal's idea of how it should conduct its domestic or foreign policy.

First there must be the pledge of security and then a good faith mediated negotiation by all parties.

Even a cursory examination of the various "players" reveals that Israeli security is impossible with the absence of force. Extremist elements seem much more dedicated to fomenting instability than seeking stability for anyone.

In this unbelievably complex mess I trust Israel the most for the simple reason that it alone is self-determined. Israelis choose their leaders in response to a situation that they know much better than I in relatively peaceful America.

One other thing. Krauss raises a philosophical issue when she places Israel at an "existential abyss." I'm afraid, by definition, she (like everyone) stands at that abyss. It is hardly a matter of policy or the mixing of metaphors.

AJ said...

"Examining history, I don't think that I'd expect any nation that has been under attack for every moment of its existence to fit a wealthy American liberal's idea of how it should conduct its domestic or foreign policy.

First there must be the pledge of security and then a good faith mediated negotiation by all parties."


The fact is that Israel has the most powerful army in the region. Israel has, according to Wikipedia, over 300 F-16s, the largest such fleet outside of only the U.S. Also, Israel will be the only nation in the region to get the F-35 stealth fighter. Israel also has ICBMs that can reach targets in North America. So your argument that Israel is not safe are absurd.

Margaret said...

Ms. Krauss will love the photo on the front page of the New York Times Sunday April 3. It shows peaceful, praying Palestinians lined up to a row of Israeli soldiers. What a pice of agitprop.

PMH said...

To AJ:
Two quick things that do not necessarily support each other (perhaps they are "absurd" not in the way you meant it but in the manner of the "existential abyss"):
1. Israel's military is not in proportion to its security, but in indirect proportion.
2. I think that an examination of the Middle East from any point of view might reveal how often "security" is divorced from "power."

To my mind, security cannot be attained without peace.

Peace is the challenge.