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The self-delusion of secular Jews The quest for assimilation will always be futile

(JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

(JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)


December 7, 2023   6 mins

What can we Jews not accomplish? There were three years between the ovens of Auschwitz and the foundation of the Jewish State. And then the Israelis transformed the wasteland between the River and the Sea into an agricultural phenomenon, supplying much of Europe’s produce. Jews even wrote the world’s greatest Christmas songs: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” by Mendelssohn, a converted Jew (a “Jew”), and “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin.

One of Berlin’s first hits was the 1911 “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”, whose lyrics were rewritten during the Vietnam War. “You can hear a bugle call like you never heard before / So natural that you’ll want to go to war.”During the Vietnam War, Berlin rewrote the lyric: “So natural you’ll want to hear some more.”

I recall, similarly, how the lyrics of the old Ashkenazi melody about Hanukkah — “One [candle] for each night, they remind us of fights” — were updated for delicate baby-boomer ears: “One for each night, they shed a sweet light”. Hanukkah, however, is a commemoration of the Jewish martial victory, in 168 BCE, over the Syrian armies of Antiochus Epiphanes, who desecrated the Temple.

In 1883, the Hebrew Union College, the first Reform Seminary in America, graduated its first class of Reform Rabbis. The ceremonies concluded with a banquet of lobster, shrimp and pork: the famous Trefa Banquet. What were the Rabbis celebrating? A commencement, we know, means the beginning of a new thing. The new thing here was not the commencement of a life of service to the Jews — but of freedom from Judaism’s constraints.

The Reform Movement began in 19th-century Germany among those members of the despised race who were honoured by their admittance, and intent on maintaining the exemption. What is it that Jews cannot do? We can’t stop passing for white. Instructive here is Nella Larsen’s masterpiece, Passing (1929), which tells the story of several light-skinned black women facing the conundrum of racial identity and solidarity versus wider opportunity. The women’s dilemma is not only practical, but social, as, however they may pass among white people, they cannot escape their content in being black among black people. They meet in white society, recognise each other, and exchange advice and sympathy. But everyone in the black community, sympathetic or not, knows they are black. The novel’s women neither think they are, nor desire to become, white. Their blackness is not a curse, but an ineluctable identity.

Among us Jews, however, it is quite different. Like the new lyrics of the Hanukkah song and the emergence of the Hanukkah Bush, Reform Judaism itself and its dedication to an antisemitic Democratic Party are attempts at self-delusion.

In “Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)”, a hit Christmas song from 1959, the little heroine wants only red ribbons for Christmas. Nothing else will do, so the mother prays hard enough for the unnamed power to relent and supply them on Christmas morning. The assimilative urge of Jews is the prayer for Scarlet Ribbons. First, they ain’t a-coming. Second, if they did, we would tire of them instantly. And lastly, who, then, would “believe”, let alone feel awe, for a deity which concerned itself with our prayers for ribbons?

Since the readmittance of Jews into Germany, and our success there, we have been praying to be spared the weight of Judaism. The impulse dates from our Exodus from slavery. We were free, Moses went up the mountain to receive the Law from God, and we, at the foot of the mountain, began our preemptive counterstrike: the creation and worship of an inanimate object. We feared the Word we knew Moses was bringing us, rioted, and called our panic Reason. Just as we do today.

The assimilated Jewish worship of Good Works and Right Thinking has been requited, for 2,000 years, by our slaughter. Implicit in our murderers’ worldview was the belief that “you can fool yourselves, but you can’t fool us”. For the Jew Haters were and are neither interested in our “accomplishments” nor outraged by our supposed misdeeds — but only interested in killing us.

The assimilative urge is thus a delusion: since we can’t actually fool ourselves, how in the world might we fool our enemies? This delusion can only persist through a universalism that holds our murderers actually aren’t our enemies, but are misunderstood, or abused, or legitimately angry — and, thus, finally, not subject to the same laws and expectations as the rest of humanity. Further, as we see in today’s “pro-Palestinian” demonstrations, the aggressors are understood as incapable of sin. What being is capable of violence but incapable of sin? Only an animal. This is how the anti-Jewish Left understands Hamas’s murderers — as animals untainted by conscience.

Inseparable from this is the notion that something must have inspired this hatred. What, the assimilated Jew thinks, could this be? And then he answers: other Jews. These, the trouble-provoking Bad Jews, were anathema to the assimilated. Their outlandish old-world practices drew notice to all Jews, and, thus, endangered the tenuous-as-factitious emotional security of the assimilated.

“Look,” the Reform Western Jew traditionally held, “I deserve consideration for my sacrifices. I have sacrificed my ‘Jewish’ name, my practice of prayer, of Kashrut, of endogamy, of religious instruction of the young: what more could anyone want?”

The answer, of course, is: “Your lives.”

Which brings us back to the basic question: why? Christians often ask me why the Jews are so hated. The traditional Western Jewish answers are, however, a finessed attempt at exculpation. They describe various antisemitisms as the result, however misguided, of our enemies’ human reason and aspiration. But the true, horrific, Biblical answer is that they are the work of the Devil.

We are told, in the Torah, that Amalek — the ineradicable force of Evil — is with us in every generation. But how can this be, and how can a modern man actually state it in a world we know is based upon human reason? I can state it, because I observe it; and I do not observe the rule of reason most anywhere — neither about me, nor in history. We human beings are cursed with the capacity for thought, which means for self-delusion. (For how little else is it ever employed?)

Western Jews have traditionally voted for liberalism, which is to say for inclusion in some imaginary coalition of the right-thinking. We support the United Nations, a Potemkin village of remittance men hired to denounce Israel, and we elect politicians who kowtow to murderous antisemites. We send our children to elite universities, which teach antisemitism and support anti-Jewish demonstrations, and then advise them to “stay safe”. Can you name another group which behaves similarly?

After the liberation of Dachau, citizens of Munich were marched through the camp and forced to look. The 45-minute Hamas-filmed montage of bestiality should be aired continuously on all media, so that no one can say: “I didn’t realise.” Shelby Steele said that his beloved fellow black citizens have been confused by 400 years of slavery. As have my fellow Jews, since the eradication of the Temple, by life on sufferance.

Slavery creates a slave mentality — to survive or die. Black Americans survived the Middle Passage, chattel slavery and segregation through reliance on the family and religion; the Diaspora Jews had our cultural contiguity and The Torah. But that necessary and inescapable cohesion was shattered by the bright promises of acceptance; and our reference to religion as a guide broken by the Enlightenment (the Haskalah) in the 19th century.

Afterwards, the re-establishment of the Jewish State in the Levant offered a home to the tortured remnant of European Jewry, but their return exacerbated the antisemitism of the Arab world, and did nothing to expunge the seed of slave-thinking in the diaspora. The seed also flourished in a largely secular Israeli Jewish Left, still concerned with a curious inversion of reason called “fairness”. The utter fatuity of this view was seen on October 7.

Mike Tyson remarked that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the nose. Diaspora Leftist Jews have tried to escape punishment by staying out of the ring — and acknowledging our enemies’ right to an opinion, and our responsibility as Jews to defend that right at whatever cost to our interests. The American Civil Liberties Union stands up for the right of protestors to demonstrate — that is, to “act out” — in favour of genocide, much as their co-religionary Aaron explained to Moses: “What could I do? They took the gold and threw it in the pot and this calf came out, and we worshipped it.”

Jews were not instructed to worship fairness (a human concept, incapable of absolute determination), but to worship God and keep his ordinances. Indeed, a devotion to God and the Word of God is the sole protection we poor weak humans have against doing evil. Our devotion will not protect us from the evil others do, however — and that’s why we have armies.

© 2023, D. Mamet


David Mamet is an American playwright, film director, screenwriter and author. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Glengarry Glen Ross.


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David McKee
David McKee
7 months ago

Mamet has given us a fascinating insight into his thinking. The word ‘fear’ occurs only once, in the context of the Ten Commandments. Yet his piece is suffused with fear.

Fear is not a great ally of rational thought. He draws no distinction between the Cossacks and peasants who formed the Black Hundreds in the Russian Empire, and the overwhelming majority of Unherd readers. Which is, frankly, insulting.

In Mamet’s universe, there are the Jews and everyone else, where everyone else wants to kill the Jews. Not only is this not true, it can’t possibly be true. As a moment’s thought will confirm.

Simon S
Simon S
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Thank you. I am absolutely fed up with Unherd’s tireless one-sided Zionist bloodlust.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

I agree with you in that the Unherd posts are extremely one-sided; the situation in Palestine/Israel is far too complicated to offer a facile solution one-sided solution.
People have been writing about these Arab/Jewish/Zionist issues since at least 1909 when the Young Turks revolt took place. Before, everything had been controlled by the Sultan in Constantinople but then came a vacuum.
The problem was that the western world (Britain and France) tried to train the (mainly) Muslim populations to be just like them. Political parties were created and they collapsed because Shar’ia law was considered to be fine as a government so why have political parties and elections?
The same is true today. You can’t just impose democracy if the people don’t want it. So who can negotiate for the Palestinians in a meaningful way? Of course, the Israelis know the answer to this question – they can’t negotiate a meaningful peace because it will not last. So, they have to demonstrate using more and more force – which is unacceptable to young minds, minds which haven’t had much education. So young people support the underdogs and the pro-Palestinian marches in the UK are mainly full of people who are not muslims – just people who support the underdogs.
And which side represents the ‘underdog’ depends on how far you go back in history.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago

Well-said about young people and their poor education. It’s not only history – obviously they lack basic arithmetic skills. When you compare how many Jews and how many Muslims live in the Middle East or in the whole world, it is easy to say who the “underdog” is.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Yes, you might also say that they lack reading skills. Why wade through a thick, ‘boring’ book if you can watch a 10 minute presentation on YouTube? As a bonus you learn to speak with a trendy American accent.
To be boring, as I say elsewhere in the stream discussing campus horrors, I recently read an interesting article about Palestine/Israel which presented the war as a series of media bulletins. The writer tried to say that getting the ‘correct’ media reaction (for the young, I think) was far more important than the truth. He predicted that the winner would be the one with the best media outlets.
To be deliberately provocative, it would not be surprising if comments on UnHerd were always labelled as far-right or reactionary because they (the comments) are not dressed for youthful media consumption. They we can be dismissed as ‘old fuddy-duddies’ and ignored.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
6 months ago

I am in my 70s and literate but I would say that the comments on Unherd are largely quite far on the right of the political spectrum.
It is unreliable to suggest that if people disagree with opinions on the right the right, those people are uneducated and/or incapable of critical thought.

jane baker
jane baker
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Well it’s not the shoot to kill with the most up to date weaponry supplied by USA ones who claim a God most of them don’t believe in wrote them title deeds in a work of Bronze Age literature. What would Jesus Do. He’d be healing PALESTINIANS

Jim M
Jim M
7 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Palestinians seem to be animals that can’t take care of themselves and that makes you white saviors quiver with sympathy.

D. Adams
D. Adams
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim M

“can’t take care of themselves”
Yeah, if only those pesky Palestinians could learn from the righteous, independent, self-sufficient Israelis. Of course, $3.31 billion a year and $260 billion since WWII from the USA might make them quiver a bit less, no?

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
7 months ago

Let’s talk complexity only after a sincere condemnation of the depraved Hamas attack of 10/6. Then explain how an openly stated intent for genocide fits with “but on the other hand” reasoning. After all, complexity must excuse depravity?

jane baker
jane baker
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Holmes

Organised,planned, funded and enabled by the CIA.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago

I have two friends who went on that march – one a leftist of Jewish origin, one of Muslim origin but atheist. One of them told me that the greatest majority on the march comprised Muslim families.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
7 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

OK. I hear you.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
3 months ago

Education, even when coupled with having reached biological maturity isn’t enough* though.
People need to have experienced significant failure, sorrow, doubt to develop humility necessary to learn, to gain insight, even common-sense.

* See Clare O’Neil, Australia’s Minister for Cyber Security & Home Affairs (no less). Ms O’Neil is 40+yo with stellar qualifications yet no insight, no common-sense, no conscience. Her proud displays of cluelessness would be hilarious, if the stakes weren’t so high.

Howard S.
Howard S.
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

So go back to reading the New York Times and viewing RT.com and al jazeera on the web. I’m sure you will be quite happy there.

Simon S
Simon S
7 months ago
Reply to  Howard S.

The NYT? You must be kidding! A DNC agenda-driven propaganda sheet.

All I seek is balanced coverage and nuanced information from all perspectives not designed to whip up anger and hatred and to continue to divide us.

Hamas’s evil is our evil.

I look to Jonathan Cook ex Guardian who until recently lived in Israel, I appreciate Thomas Fazi, Chris Hedges and others.

I am not in the slightest anti-semitic (I utterly reject the false conflation with being anti Zionist that is now being invoked). Our son was at a Jewish montessori and many years on his girlfriend is a very spiritual Hebrew-speaking Jewish girl whose father was born iin Israel.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

I’m sure some of your best friends are Jews.

Ryan K
Ryan K
3 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Yes, why even Virginia Wolfe married a Jew… good to have Jewish cover for one’s hate.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

Zionist Bloodlust? You really let yourself down with a comment like that.
Before the war, most European Jews thought the idea of a Jewish State in Israel was laughable. The majority had no desire to travel to the Middle East to try and build a new life in a desert. But after several generations of European Jews were exterminated in the camps, many of the survivors realised that there was no other way of protecting themselves from the abiding and centuries-long hatred of Jews, than to build a nation that Jews, themselves, could defend. They could no longer pretend the era of pogroms was past – they could no longer rely on anyone but their own to protect them.
Genuinely, no decent human being, whatever their sympathies for Palestinian refugees and Gazan children, can look at the history and fail to see that the Jewish people faced (and still face) a unique and abiding hatred, and they have a right to protect themselves, a right to live. Any civilised person must be able to recognise that there is an inarguable, undeniable reason for a Jewish homeland to exist.
If you do not, then Shame on you.
The problem that Palestinians (and much of the wider Arab world) have with Israel is not about land. It is not about borders. It is not about resources. It is because it is a Jewish State. No amount of trading away land for peace would resolve the problem – it’s been tried by the Israelis many times – because the problem is with the very existence of Jews.
If Israel was a Christian state in the Holy Land, if that same piece of land had been set aside in 1948 as a Communist state, if it was given to Odin-worshipping Vikings, any other state than a Jewish state, the problem would have been resolved in short order. Displaced people from the land would have been incorporated into surrounding Arab lands and the hatred of whatever that country might have been called would not exist.
Anyone who talks about the disputed ownership of the land being the cause of the problem is either ignorant or is being dishonest. The problem is entirely because they are Jews.
Through the last 100 years who do you think has been the impediment to peace? Jews who want a homeland, or their neighbours who wished to see all Jews exterminated?
Terrorists are seemingly given a free pass in their desire to annihilate Jews, meanwhile Israel is condemned when they try and stop the terrorists from killing their people? It is unconscionable.
It falls to decent people everywhere to stand in solidarity with Jews, regardless of where any of us might be on the political spectrum.
Just be a mensch.

Last edited 7 months ago by Paddy Taylor
Simon S
Simon S
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

You are refusing to make a distinction between between being anti-Zionist and being anti Israel as a state. Zionism and Israel are two separate things. Many Israelis and many non-Israeli Jews abjure Zionism.

Andrea Vickers
Andrea Vickers
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

Perhaps, for the benefit of those of us that are ignorant of the distinction, you’d like to explain your understanding of what Israel is, if it’s not what Zionism represents, which I thought was a desire for a Jewish nation state. I’ve never received a cogent, consistent response to this question. Why are they at odds?

As a postscript, I absolutely support the rights of Jews to their own homeland, free from persecution, and I’m not Jewish.

Simon S
Simon S
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Vickers

Zionism has a long history but its essence is that Jewish people have the exclusive right to the area “between the Sea and the Jordan” as the manifesto of Likud, Netanyahu’s party, put it in 1977. 
Supporting Israel’s right to exist does not make us Zionists. We long for a state that, after many hundreds of years of Jewish people suffering ethnic and religious intolerance and persecution, is a shining example to the world of ethnic and religious tolerance and conciliation. 
That means finding a way to live with the Arab population who were there before the state of Israel was created. And we should remember that prior to Israel’s creation, by and large Arabs and Jews lived happily side by side (see for example https://www.972mag.com/before-zionism-the-shared-life-of-jews-and-palestinians/)
Unfortunately, however, and for many reasons, Israeli politics have moved relentlessly in the opposite direction. Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995 is perhaps the most dramatic example of the division in Israel between those who seek a state of tolerance and conciliation, and those who seek the opposite.
The religious-political term Zionist describes those who seek the opposite – those who espouse an absolutist doctrine whose longterm goal is the complete removal of the Palestinian people from “between the Sea and the Jordan.” 
I am not in that camp.
But I am a supporter of the existence of the state of Israel and I nurture the hope it will liberate itself from Zionism’s fastening grip.
I hope this helps.

Ryan K
Ryan K
3 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

Too much Edward Said and Al Jazeera and Guardian for you. The Arabic speaking population of the FBMOP say they have the exclusive right…they said so in 1924 and say so in 2024. They are the fanatics. They are the racist. They practice apart hate.

Simon S
Simon S
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Vickers

Zionism has a long history but its essence is that Jewish people have the exclusive right to the area “between the Sea and the Jordan” as the manifesto of Likud, Netanyahu’s party, put it in 1977.

Supporting Israel’s right to exist does not make us Zionists. We long for a state that, after many hundreds of years of Jewish people suffering ethnic and religious intolerance and persecution, culminating in the Holocaust, is a shining example to the world of ethnic and religious tolerance and conciliation.

That means finding a way to live with the Arab population who were there before the state of Israel was created. And we should remember that prior to Israel’s creation, by and large Arabs and Jews lived happily side by side (see for example https://www.972mag.com/before-zionism-the-shared-life-of-jews-and-palestinians/)

Unfortunately, however, and for many reasons, Israeli politics have moved relentlessly in the opposite direction. Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995 is perhaps the most dramatic example of the division in Israel between those who seek a state of tolerance and conciliation, and those who seek the opposite.

The religious-political term Zionist describes those who seek the opposite – those who espouse an absolutist doctrine whose longterm goal is the complete removal of the Palestinian people from “between the Sea and the Jordan.”

Like many, many Jews in Israel and across the world, I am not in that Zionist camp.

But I am a supporter of the existence of the state of Israel.

I hope this helps.

Last edited 7 months ago by Simon S
Jonathan Jacobson
Jonathan Jacobson
5 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

Zionism is the Jewish right to self-determination within a Jewish state in their historical homeland. Within that there is a wide spectrum of beliefs regarding politics & religion as to how to implement this idea.
You have bought into an understanding of it which is tainted by Israel hate propaganda similar to the demonising way many antisemites define Jews or Judaism. You have evoked blood libel type rhetoric which associates Jews with evil. The vast majority of Jews are Zionist as per the definition I have provided.

Ryan K
Ryan K
3 months ago

very concise response that sums this matter up….if only a few more people disposed to hate Israel could actually let your comment sink in.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

Anyone who can write that is a liar or a fool, or possibly a bit of both.

You might suggest that that there’s a difference between anti-semitism and anti-Zionism … I’d struggle to believe you at this point, but there’s at least an argument to be made.

But you simply cannot suggest you can be anti-Zionist without being anti-Israel. It’s self-contradictory

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

Zionism surely is just the project to make a Jewish state in Palestine .in fact many of the early zionists considered other places for a state . Israel is a nation that came about out of the Zionist project . There are Arab Israelis too .

Ryan K
Ryan K
3 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

Note that Argentina, an island off of Niagara Falls and a plot of land in Kenya were all rejected because none of these places resonate with Jews as Historic Israel.

Jonathan Jacobson
Jonathan Jacobson
5 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

?

Ryan K
Ryan K
3 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

In 2024 to make the case that anti Zionism is not anti Israel (or antisemitic) is hollow and senseless. Denying the Jewish inalienable right…even if you’re a Jew or an Israeli Jew….and you’re correct some are this insane….does not give this anti Zionism cover for what it really is…Jew Hate.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I am not sure. The muslims were not that keen on a christian state in the Holy Land the last time there was one. Nor would they I think, considering what the Koran says about polytheistic idolaters, be heavily into an odinistic state.

jane baker
jane baker
7 months ago

Nobody knows,because they make as sure as they can that we don’t know,but historically and well into the early 20th century much of “Palestine” was Christian. There are many villages that were once wholly Christian and some have ancient mosaics and Christian art.
Due to violence,pressure and persecution,the numbers of Christian Palestine have dwindled but we are WRONG to ignorantly equate “brown skin + Arab” to Muslim.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

As it happens I went to a concert of Christian Arabic music at St Martin in the Fields last year. It is an ignored demographic.

Lindsey Thornton
Lindsey Thornton
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Thank you Paddy, well put. As you say, shame on those who refuse to stand in solidarity with Jews and the Jewish State. David Mamet’s view is forthright and to some may appear one-sided but is evidently and horrifyingly justified. I am reminded of the distinguished Jewish historian Saul Friedlander, who focusses on Nazi Germany and formulated the term ‘redemptive antisemitism’ as unique to that period in history. He is a member of the Peace Now group in Israel promoting a two-state solution … is this really possible now, have Hamas even surpassed Nazis antisemitism? 

jane baker
jane baker
7 months ago

I’ll take that SHAME.

Jim M
Jim M
7 months ago

You mean the “Suicide Now” group in Israel. They seem to be a bunch of self-loathing leftists.

jane baker
jane baker
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I don’t care. I don’t want to STAND WITH THE JEWS just to get a pat on the head from the likes of you.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
7 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

There are so many different views. Everyone takes a particular piece of history and runs with it, whatever the comments.
I have just been reading about the year 1492 when tens of thousands of Jews were massacred in Spain, basically because they didn’t fit in. There is the constant reminder in history about Jews being selected as scapegoats, killed or enslaved, having property taken away. The Catholic Church persecuted the Jews between about 1830 and 1940, mainly because they (the Jews) were liberals and liberals were not popular with the Church. Then there was the holocaust.
So there is a lot of collective guilt hanging in the air. But I agree with you that this doesn’t mean that Israel can do absolutely anything. There is almost a palpable fear on UnHerd of saying anything apart from the straight anti-Hamas stuff.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
7 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

So you openly admit to Jew hatred on a public platform? Seriously?

You don’t have to agree with the founding of Israel – but to suggest you don’t believe they have a right to a homeland, when you must surely recognise the history of Jew-hatred, makes you seem utterly callous.

After an horrific massacre, you won’t even offer them your support?

Fair enough that you didn’t want ‘a pat on the head’, but like it or not you have my contempt. Shame on you.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“_If Israel was a Christian state in the Holy Land, if that same piece of land had been set aside in 1948 as a Communist state, if it was given to Odin-worshipping Vikings, any other state than a Jewish state, the problem would have been resolved in short order. Displaced people from the land would have been incorporated into surrounding Arab lands and the hatred of whatever that country might have been called would not exist_”

As long as it was not an apartheid state

Jim M
Jim M
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

People need to realize that no one really cares about your ethnic group except other members of your ethnic group. You either have your own nation that represents your group or you are at the mercy of strangers.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim M

Jewish people of the liberal kind prove you wrong – there are more than a few dead in swamps in Mississippi because of their support or African American civil rights.
Of course they had also been targeted by the Klan – and still are.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jane Davis
Ryan K
Ryan K
3 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

WOW….what a great response. Let people in NYC and London actually read the hamas “covenant.” Even a non Jews on America’s largely very left leaning MSNBC, Joe Scarborough just said on his broadcast morning show that the Oct 7th atrocities are a war against the 15 million Jews of the World.

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

Your anti-Semitism is unwelcome here. Zionism is simply the belief that the Jews like every other ethnicity deserve a country of their own. It’s not a dirty word. Bloodlust, literally lust, was what we saw on October 7th.

Simon S
Simon S
7 months ago

Please see my earlier comments. And I find your phraseology “unwelcome here” peculiarly mob-like. That, of course, is a direct result of the bloodlust being whipped up among us as many, many thousands of Gazans (15,000?) perish in a campaign constituting illegal collective punishment and amounting to ethnic cleansing which is and always has bee expliciitly embraced by the Zionists including Netanyahu.

Last edited 7 months ago by Simon S
Jack Altman
Jack Altman
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

As a Jew I can tell you that your ignorance and perception of anything related to being Jewish and the experience of living as a Jew, is palpable even from far here in America, so you better off staying quiet. If you have a need to be heard and call attention , find something you have at least a tiny bit of culture in and leave the issue of our Jewishness and Jewish assimilation to for us to debate.

Simon S
Simon S
7 months ago
Reply to  Jack Altman

Jack, I live in the USA, my son attended a Jewish montessori and his girlfriend is a very spiritual Hebrew-speaking Jewish girl whose father was born in Israel.

I note the threatening tone in “you better off staying quiet”. Many Jews who disagree with your position are facing very unpleasant recriminations by people like you, which is very sad.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

And still you haven’t got a clue.

Keith Merrick
Keith Merrick
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

Simon, above, Andrea Vickers asked you to clarify your distinction between anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist that you seem so keen on but so far you haven’t done so. Could you do so now?

Last edited 7 months ago by Keith Merrick
Simon S
Simon S
7 months ago
Reply to  Keith Merrick

I did please see above

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
7 months ago
Reply to  Keith Merrick

I’ll try.
Zionism was an aspirational philosophy. Now that the Jews have a defensible homeland (since 1948) the original philosophy is out-dated.
Marxism was also an aspirational philosophy. Once it became manifest, in the USSR, China, etc, it also became out-dated.
In both cases the original philosophy was overwhelmed by human nature. Marxism became totalitarianism and Zionism became a chauvanistic land grab similar to the settling of the American West. That form of “Zionism” is what some of us object to. Very few decent people object to the existence of the State of Israel. Many of us celebrate it and what it means to our Jewish friends and neighbors and their children.
Unfortunately many of the Arabs feel differently.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

How is it that there are Arabs living freely in Israel, yet you talk of ethnic cleansing?

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago

because Netanyahu intends to get all the Palestinians out of Gaza into surrounding Arab countries. It is that or be killed by IDF. He has exploited his poor command response to the Oct 7th atrocity to do this.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jane Davis
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
7 months ago

Amen to that! Anyone who can’t perceive the difference is simply not worth wasting time on.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
7 months ago

Anti Zionism is only antisemitic if you believe that every other ethnicity have a right to a state. If you believe that states in general should not be ethnical, it is quite logical to extend that idea to Israel, without there having to be any antijewish animosity.

Last edited 7 months ago by Micael Gustavsson
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
7 months ago

Do you have a problem with Arabs, Chinese and Japanese for example having nation states? Or is it just the Jews you have a problem with?

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
7 months ago

I never said I had a problem with Jews having a state of their own. I merely clarified the point that denying an ethnic state to Jews is only antisemitic if you think every ethnicity has a right to a state.
You could for example believe that all states should be like the USA with birthright citizenship that doesn’t consider the citizens ethnicity. Or be an anarchist that is against states in general. Or believe that existing states have a right to exist due to already existing, without the ethnicities involved to matter. Or some other belief.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
7 months ago

Being critical of Israel isn’t the sane thing as being antisemitic, and trying to conflate the two in an attempt to shut down discussion is simply lazy

jane baker
jane baker
7 months ago

Facilitated by America. USA.

Keith Merrick
Keith Merrick
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

You may be right that Unherd’s pieces since 7 Oct have been almost exclusively pro-Israel, as I would hope any decent outlet’s pieces would have been pro-Britain at the outbreak of WWII. It isn’t always necessary to balance pro- and anti-pieces since it’s a rare thing that blame can be equally apportioned. In fact I’d say that is never the case.
It also depends what you mean by even-handed. I would say that up until 7 Oct most mainstream news outlets (Guardian, NYT, BBC etc.) were pro-Palestine. Rather than trying to persuade these outlets to be more even-handed with their coverage (something that simply hasn’t worked), maybe it’s better for a different new to counter this general pro-Palestine bias with it’s own pro-Israel bias. After all, reading an article in Unherd doesn’t prevent you from reading another article in the NYT or the Guardian. This way you can get the alleged balance you crave.

Jim M
Jim M
7 months ago
Reply to  Keith Merrick

Yeah, we should get Hamas to write a few articles here explaining October 7th.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

What has the Muslim/Arab World done to reduce violence since the late 1930s?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
6 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

“Zionist bloodlust”. How utterly ludicrous. Talk about one sided!

Jonathan Jacobson
Jonathan Jacobson
5 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

There’s no bloodlust. There is, however, the age-old blood libel spewing from your vile mind.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

There was a big distinction between the venomous antisemitism of Julius Streicher, Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Eichmann, and the attitude of typical German citizens. And there was an enormous distinction between the Nazis and those Germans who fancied themselves as sophisticated rational thinkers, the Unherd readers of their day. But most of Europe’s Jews were murdered all the same. Mamet’s point is that no Jew is truly safe in a country run by non-Jews. They may want their creativity, enterprise and intellect for a while. But they always remember they are Jews, no matter how assiduously Jews may attempt to assimilate, and they always turn on them in the end. And when that happens, experience tells us that the only people who will fight for Jews are other Jews. There may be other minorities in a similar position, but that has been the experience of the Jewish diaspora, throughout history, and across the world. If you have much to fear, then fear is an ally.

L Easterbrook
L Easterbrook
7 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Great post, but I would dispute your point that the only people who will fight for Jews are other Jews. Throughout Europe, there are so many instances of non-jews laying down or risking their lives Jews. Abbé Pierre in france, the danish government evacuating their Jews to Sweden, the Bulgarian foreign minister refusing to deport Bulgaria’s Jews and huge numbers of ordinary and elite Greeks who risked all for their Jewish neighbours (look up Jews if zakynthos and how hard the Greeks of Thessaloniki tried to save their Jewish population).

I agree with yours and mamet’s main point; Jews must always keep looking over their shoulder for the next moment of danger. However, I still think it should be looked into more why some countries and individuals in those countries in WW2 behaved so differently to others regarding protection of their Jewish citizens – religion, ethnic and national feelings, language, politics and culture all seem to play a part, but its hard to find a single answer.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  L Easterbrook

Remind me, how many Jews were murdered during the holocaust? Yes, there were a few who saved Jews but the vast majority of people were complicit just as the vast majority of Gazans support Hamas.

Charles Joseph
Charles Joseph
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You got downvoted. I wonder what part of your answer triggered the Jew hate bone.

Paul Monahan
Paul Monahan
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

this is the most salient post I’ve seen on this subject

L Easterbrook
L Easterbrook
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

6 million were murdered as we all know, although I’m sure you didn’t need reminding. There were many more than a few who saved Jews, as I pointed out, whole institutions in some countries either did or tried to save Jews.

In terms of complicity of Europeans, the vast majority were complicit in doing nothing and allowing evil to triumph. Considering the repercussions of aiding Jews, it is still incredible that so many Europeans risked everything to help their Jewish populations. My main point is that their are still many non Jews today who will fight for jews. Like in WW2, today there are many more who will do nothing.

Your last point about Gazans and Hamas and complicity does not to me appear to have any bearing on the points I made about Europeans fighting with or for jews- these are completely different topics. My main point, again, is that there are many non Jews who will fight/ have fought for Jews. I am interested in why this was the case in WW2 and why it is the case today (what encourages or compels people to take thay stand) , as it can shed light on how to fight antisemitism and ensure Israel is not left alone amongst a sea of hostile nations.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

How many Israelis do you believe would fight for the (nominally) Christian countries of Europe if a major conflict broke out in the future? I’d wager not many so you can’t really complain about Europeans not wanting to risk execution to help Jews in the past

L Easterbrook
L Easterbrook
7 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

There’s a major difference. In the past, Jews were fellow citizens of those countries; they had demonstrated their loyalty by joining and building the institutions of their given country, they had fought for their countries and on average, gave more to those countries than their fellow citizens as they wanted to demonstrate their gratitude.
Synagogues in France declared loyalty during their services to Republican values and in the UK synagogues have had prayers for the royal family for hundreds of years. As loyal citizens, why should Jews not expect their fellow citizens to have done more to protect them, much as they should expect protection today from countries in which they are fellow citizens.
Israel is a separate country and therefore does not expect this type of reciprocal loyalty. However, as they have passed on much intelligence that has directly saved many lives throughout the West, they only expect allies to behave accordingly and understand that they are a tiny country surrounded by hostile elements.
A better question to ask is how many Jews in the diaspora would fight for the countries they currently live in. My bet, based on past events, would be equal to if not higher than the average of other ethnic groups.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
7 months ago
Reply to  L Easterbrook

Wasn’t the argument earlier that Jews can only depend on Jews to defend them . Now you say Israel is a small country and needs, if not depends on , the support of the west . Which is it ?

L Easterbrook
L Easterbrook
7 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

I haven’t argued that Jews can only depend on Jews to defend them. My first post disputed “that the only people who will fight for Jews are other Jews” and I argued that many Europeans have defended Jews in the past and still do so today. I also acknowledge that Israel does depend on countries like the USA – to me that is obvious, especially when you look at 1973 war and US ammunition deliveries.
Others argued that only Jews can rely on each other to defend each other – I did not.
In the post you’re referring to, I was discussing the question of loyalty and the difference in expectation Israel has from other countries and what the Jewish diaspora expects in their country of birth. As I said, they are two different, although arguably not wholly unrelated, issues.

Last edited 7 months ago by L Easterbrook
jane baker
jane baker
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

At least the German people + others could claim they “didn’t know” even if they were lying. Now they tell us on TV and radio all the time and make us complicit.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
7 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Yes, it is fired at us day and night and we don’t question it. Only the young don’t feel the collective guilt and they join the marches.

Jim M
Jim M
7 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

The young hate the West they grew up in. They’ll live in a dictatorship.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
7 months ago
Reply to  L Easterbrook

Albanians saved all their Jews…
That still doesn’t change the very long history of Jewish persecution.

L Easterbrook
L Easterbrook
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I never said it changed the very long history of persecution, but I stand by my original point that large numbers of non Jews fought to protect Jews in the 20th century. Their political or spiritual descendants are still with us today, fighting tooth and nail against modern day antisemitism

Kayla Marx
Kayla Marx
7 months ago
Reply to  L Easterbrook

I am an American of David Mamet’s generation. Although I’ve always accepted that antisemitism existed in individuals, I never dreamed I would see antisemitism resurrect itself as it has currently, in my lifetime (or ever). And it has been profoundly shocking to me. So, although I’m not Jewish, I can understand somewhat, I think, the tone of Mr. Mamet’s essay. Today’s political left is also profoundly and aggressively anti-Western and anti-feminist/misogynistic. Today’s young woman demonstrators offer themselves up as handmaidens to the largely male-driven, woman-despising trans-activist movement, and as disciples for the older misogyny of the Middle-Eastern Islamic countries that denies women both legal rights and any agency whatsoever. That these two streams of misogynistic hate have come together and joined themselves to a resurgent mass antisemitism is truly terrifying. And certainly evil. So, yes, I am profoundly shaken, and, not completely without hope, but fearful about the future.

Last edited 7 months ago by Kayla Marx
L Easterbrook
L Easterbrook
7 months ago
Reply to  Kayla Marx

As I said in my original post, I also agreed with Mamet’s tone, as I feels Jews must always look over their shoulders for any approaching danger. I always felt that antisemitism of this kind would come back, as the history if Jewish persecution suggested that Jew hatred would just evolve and manifest itself differently – in all the ways you have explained.

I disagreed with Stephen Walsh that only Jews will fight for Jews as the late 19th and 20th century have shown this not to be the case. For some hope, we have to look to the actions in the past and the actions today of non Jews who fought/ are fighting for Jews to find how that can help beat back this latest scourge of antisemitism. If we follow Stephen walsh’s logic of only Jews will fight for Jews, then Israel will find itself alone amongst a sea of hostile nations, and that cannot be allowed to happen

Last edited 7 months ago by L Easterbrook
Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
7 months ago
Reply to  Kayla Marx

THIS!!!!! Yes, a weird convergence of women hating men are driving this.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago

I have to concur. Which is again why peace will depend on Palestinian and Israeli women pushing for it.

Jim M
Jim M
7 months ago
Reply to  Kayla Marx

From Only Fans to Isis Brides. That would be an interesting story.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim M

what a piece of work you are, Sir

Anna Heyman
Anna Heyman
7 months ago
Reply to  L Easterbrook

Could I also add the Battle of Cable Street in London.

L Easterbrook
L Easterbrook
7 months ago
Reply to  Anna Heyman

To an extent, yes, but I was more looking at those countries where the repercussions of saving Jews were much more severe. For a WW2 British perspective, it is more illuminating to look at what happened to the Jews on the occupied channel islands. There was little resistance to their deportations – there are arguments that many of the Jews were not locals but recent arrivals (so reducing the chance of people saving friends) or there were too many German soldiers. However, I would still point to zakynthos and the islanders brabe behaviour as a comparison.

Even if you argue nothing could have been done for the Jews of the channel islands, there were many examples of Europeans taking an arguably futile but courageously moral stand against nazi behaviour, which was notably absent on the channel islands from most people and institutions.

David McKee
David McKee
7 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

“No Jew is truly safe in a country run by non-Jews…”

I agree. But then, no one is truly safe, ever. Life is just like that. The answer is eternal vigilance. It is when we attempt to give ourselves absolute safety, that we end up making things very unsafe for everyone else.

Peter Samson
Peter Samson
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

As far as I know, David Mamet is a Reform Jew and lives in the U.S.

Paul
Paul
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Samson

It sounds like he’s a work-in-progress, like many people.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
7 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Mamet, in the tradition of Judaism and the study of The Talmud, is a learned and questioning person.

Charles Joseph
Charles Joseph
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Samson

and therefore?

Peter Samson
Peter Samson
7 months ago
Reply to  Charles Joseph

He’s somewhat of a hypocrite. He trashes Reform Judaism and seems to say that the only place Jews can be safe is in Israel.

Gayle Buhler
Gayle Buhler
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Samson

Have you not looked around and noticed what is going on in both the US and the UK?

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Samson

Israel is the big safety net for Jews. Every Jew in the World can have Israeli citizenship.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago

It couldn’t possibly take the entire diaspora population – there isn’t the room.
Plus the existence of Israel depends for its international clout on America. Without the US, it is nothing and would be ignored.
Plus Jews are not safe from antisemitism within Israel because the pronounced tension between Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi and associated political allegiances.
If I far right gov came to power in the UK (something continually work against) I would rather take shelter like Anne Frank or join a resistance group here than go to Israel.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
7 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

The rise of antisemitism in Europe recently has precisely nothing to do with the so – called far right . It is the confluence of mass migration of Muslims and of woke ideology spreading through the education system . Indeed left wing Jews have been extremely supportive of mass migration and are also mainstays of woke ideology

Lindsey Thornton
Lindsey Thornton
7 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

I see where you are coming from now, the classic internationalist left is right, anything else is wrong. You say you would ‘take shelter like Anne Frank’. How can you even frame what happened to Anne Frank in terms of ‘taking shelter’? Did Anne Frank have the option to join a resistance group as you say you would? Shame on you for bringing her name into this in such a way.

Mitchito Ritter
Mitchito Ritter
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Samson

More recent Hebrew muck-raking press reports find NOT a failure of Military Intel gathering by Israeli state security agencies. Rather, a failure of Command.
Or, the elements of this rapacious radical right wing most fascistic Israeli political coalition and Bibi Netanyahu cabinet, blessed by Trumpf and Daddy Warbucks in the modern nation’s his\herstory failing to act or even mobilize with AMAN or Military Intel well in advance on Hamas plans to “Show them.”
“…the Intelligence Section”), often abbreviated to Aman (Hebrew: אמ״ן), is the central, overarching military intelligence body of the Israel Defense Forces. Aman was created in 1950, when the Intelligence Department was spun off from the IDF’s General Staff.”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/nov/28/israeli-military-had-warning-of-hamas-training-for-attack-reports-say
To your point, Peter Samson in replying to David McKee “As far as I know, David Mamet is a Reform Jew and lives in the U.S.”:
Hence Mamet’s over-compensating Neo-Con Daddy Warbucks boilerplate. Thanks for calling out his Chanukah Rubber Chicken attempt at Maccabee nee Chicago ward walking tough talk.
I recall the intramural bullying of Betar-nicks at plenty militant circa 1960’s street protests around UN in New Yawk. Betar bullies weren’t serving in the IDF or state security services either. Nor were they walking anti-crime gang, anti-drug Lower East Side streets as Guardian Angels would decades later, multi-ethnic Guardian Angels who were the street violence battle hardened and relentless organizers among screwed workers by corrupt city and Wall Street funded political machines. Political machines fine with the Wage Stag-Nation and Food Stamp Nation of the past century of quantified wealth concentration.
In major urban centers like Chicago or NYC these were primarily Democratic Corrupt Political machines that featured no shortage of often still Orthodox corrupt or blessed aldermen and machine functionaries in their nice shul suits complete with symbols of rabbinic hashgacha and stubborn resistance to the inevitable assimilation of being seen in a shleppers’ work clothes.
Many with sermons and banquet speeches like Mamet’s here went on to make tidy profits working or marketing within Daddy Warbucks. Always selling to anyone on any side of a shooting war. Brokers of footwear with army boots to sell for on-the-ground remote occupation of frigid, muck & mired terrain. Or, filing\filling the lobbying machinery to keep the profits humming as too many Jews did after WW I believing the fascist movement couldn’t live without including wealthy Jews within their Select Club of the Supreme Yiddishe Kupf.
All branded themselves kosher, strictly OU or Union of Orthodox Rabbis certified. I went to their day schools (yeshivoth) and see all the doctors and dentists produced filling the finer western gated communities visiting Israel faithfully. They that can support a failed coddled Philadelphia IDF wannabe soldier and self-styled Bid-Net success in retail furniture like Bibi Netanyahu. Not like his brother Yoni Netanyahu, truly a brother in arms who died in the IDF elite raid on Entebbe:
https://www.timesofisrael.com/yoni-netanyahus-heroism-related-to-his-emotional-distress-researchers-say/
Seleucid Greek imperial revival in the Eastern Mediterranean, anyone? Jest askin’
Mitch RitterParadigm Sifters, Code Shifters, PsalmSong Chasers
Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa (Refuge of Atonement Seekers)
Media Discussion ListLookseeInnerEarsHearHere

Last edited 7 months ago by Mitchito Ritter
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Samson

And Mamet left the Democrat Party some time ago….for myriad good reasons, one of which is its intolerance for religion and religious peoples. It’s the party of ‘Atheism’.

Last edited 7 months ago by Cathy Carron
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
7 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

According to an aggregate or simplified reckoning, sure. But the extreme right has many nihilists too. And of the last two presidents elected: Who is a more genuine Christian, Grandpa Joe Churchgoer or Donny Upside-Down-Bible?
I realize this is further off topic than your comment but given the totality of your posts, I wonder if you think that Donald Trump–the de facto head of the Republican Party–is anything but a materialist or nihilist.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Well said.

Gayle Buhler
Gayle Buhler
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Samson

Yes, but as has been demonstrated by the vile demonstrations in the US and especially at Harvard & other elite institutions, that situation is an endangered one. Jews, such as Mamet, need Israel to exist so they have a place to call their own.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Samson

He wrote a book in 2011, called “Secret Knowledge”, how he basically got disillusioned with “Liberal” America. It is a huge turn around in his life and he is also back attending his local Synagogue.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Yeah, sure, it’s very common to drag people into gas chambers, happens every day. No one is truly safe from the ovens. Gee Why didn’t I think of that? Your comment is one of the sickest things I have ever read. Your moral compass is off, by a lot. You give false equivalency a whole new meaning. Life is just like that, are you out of your mind!

David McKee
David McKee
7 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

Mr. Greco, from your phraseology, I would guess you are American. Beyond that, I can’t think of any other explanation for your intemperate reaction other than fear.
Rather than me guessing, would you care to explain, sir?

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

” … no one is truly safe, ever. Life is just like that. “
Really? You want to equate the chance that you might get mugged, or knocked down by a bus, with the existential danger that faces Jews, simply for being Jews?
If people were targetting you, David McKee, for no other reason than for your (presumably) Scottish heritage, I wonder if you’d be quite so sanguine.
I wonder if, in the face of a fatwah, you’d still say, ‘Well, life is just like that”

Anna Heyman
Anna Heyman
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

My test would be whether a country’s institutions would ‘allow’ a Jew to become its most senior politician. Ukraine passes this test with Zelensky, as did Britain in the 19th century with Disraeli.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago
Reply to  Anna Heyman

It is notable that Disraeli was called Hebrew behind his back continually and that there has never been a Jewish premier since – in spite of many high level Jewish politicians. Ed Miliband was smeared by the Daily Mail and successfully sued them for articles they wrote about his father.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
7 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

They can always go to Israel – they have a country now…if they feel unsafe in USA/Europe…etc.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jeremy Smith
Charles Joseph
Charles Joseph
7 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

The Unheard readers are not going to here this. They think surely you jest. They won’t get it because they can’t get it.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Charles Joseph

How do you know what Unherd readers get and don’t get, and you might want to spell check.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
7 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

I completely disagree with your comment about only Jews fighting for other Jews. The irony is that today’s leftist, cultural Jews have become the most useful idiots in world history. The secular left has unveiled their hatred of Jews and it is the Christians who will fight for Jews, who are our predecessors. Despite Mamet’s unfounded belief that Christians hate Jews because of killing Christ, a biblical Christian only has reverence for the Jewish people Christ himself was Jewish for heaven’s sake!
It is one thing for the “liberal” Jewish diaspora to have sown the seeds of their own destruction by naively trying to assimilate with those who hate you, which Mamet clearly articulates above, it is quite another, however, to water, fertilize and nurture it!

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
6 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

An excellent comment; thank you.
I am constantly amazed how few people know that Christ was killed by the Romans.

jane baker
jane baker
7 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

One:they voted them in power. Two: in the 1960s Satire,biting funny cruel satire changed society,pulled down the rich and privileged and raised up the poor but able. Mockery destroys POWER. Just like the same sort of political satire brought down the Nazis in Weimar Germany. And now we’re not ruled by Eton boys anymore
Yeah,right.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

There was a big distinction between the venomous antisemitism of Julius Streicher, Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Eichmann, and the attitude of German citizens who considered themselves sophisticated rational thinkers, the Unherd readers of their day. But most of Europe’s Jews ended up murdered just the same.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Julius Streicher, loathsome as we was, played no executive role in the slaughter of the Jews.
Nor should he have been condemned at Nuremberg for what was essentially a ‘thought crime’.

Last edited 7 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
7 months ago

Dehumanising other people has real life consequences.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
7 months ago

Perhaps. But Streicher was undoubtedly guilty of inciting the Holocaust.

Incidentally, his name translates to “Strider” In English.

Which is the nickname given to Aragorn in Bree. Hence the clownish first translation of the Lord of the Rings into German, gave Aragorn the (unfortunate) nickname Streicher !

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

Incitement is one thing, execution another.
I have always believed in “sticks and stones may break my bones………….etc”.

Did JRRT see that initial translation? I can’t decide whether he would have laughed or cried.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago

….”but words and names won’t hurt me”. Perhaps not you, Charles, but that certainly doesn’t apply to most people.

Dengie Dave
Dengie Dave
7 months ago

Interesting, exactly the same debate around antisemitism is going in US at the moment as principals of top three US universities were hauled before Congress and asked whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated their rules on harassment and bullying. None of the principals could answer with a simple “yes.” Instead they argued, variously, that it depended on whether an individual was targeted, in which case it could be bullying and harassment. The principals also differentiated between “free speech” and whether calling for genocide translated into “conduct.” In other words, saying it was OK, doing it not so good. With this mindset, if Julius Streicher, were in the dock today in the US he would be acquitted. One wonders how the principals would would have reacted to genocidal statements about other minority groups, such as black people, Muslims, trans and LGBT, or indeed mis-gendering. Apparently, it seems that mis-gendering with wrong pronouns, although only speech, counts as harassment and bullying and is elevated to “conduct,” and is sanctionable, yet calling for the genocide of Jews is merely speech, and doesn’t reach the threshold. Explain that!

Last edited 7 months ago by Dengie Dave
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago
Reply to  Dengie Dave

The mealy-mouthed equivocation of those smirking women being questioned in Congress was truly disgusting.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

These mealy-mouthed women were just another ‘miss’ for women & feminism which are really chalking up misses as of late; Members of the so-called Squad were reluctant to condemn the use of rape & violence, a Hamas tactic, this week as well.

Kat L
Kat L
7 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

I’m coming to the conclusion that 95% of women holding positions of power are either worthless or utter failures.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago
Reply to  Kat L

And your 5 per cent are?

Eriol 0
Eriol 0
7 months ago
Reply to  Kat L

Many are clamouring to hire women, regardless of their merit, so they can be DEI.

starkbreath
starkbreath
7 months ago
Reply to  Kat L

Same as the men, unfortunately. So much for the idea of a world being run by women being a better one. Women haven’t done as much evil in the world as men have because they haven’t had a chance to.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Have to agree with you on this. I’m furious about it.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Yes, indeed. It was a violation of our collective human right to hear/witness some of those historically hypocritical comments. The woman from Harvard should be fired immediately.

Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
7 months ago
Reply to  Dengie Dave

By splitting hairs, the defenders of virulent antisemitism throughout the Left try to hide their extremism. Yes, theoretically discussing whether genocide can ever be justified is an exercise in free speech. Actually rallying to promote genocide is inciting terrorism, quite different. and is probably illegal. It’s certainly abhorrent.

Robert Taylor
Robert Taylor
7 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

How was a disarmed Europe supposed to do this fighting back?

Rosie Brocklehurst
Rosie Brocklehurst
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

I so agree Mr McKee. I cannot deny Mamet his fear. It is palpable. But I do not want to believe it all. Is it psychosis? Is it a condition rooted in a history? How can I make him less afraid when a) I support lots of other oppressed peoples around the world including the abused and slaughtered Palestinian civilians b) I admire clever Jewish leftwingers who resist c) I believe Jewish people have contributed brilliantly to every scientific, artistic and philosophical discipline d) I loathe Netanyahu and Ben Givr who are doing more to destroy Israel than Hamas ever did or could. e) the fact of the Holocaust and my study of it changed me – to make want to love and protect Jewish peoples. f) I find Iran’s oppression of its people and its executions of youngsters and rape of women for not wearing a scarf is insanely evil. Jihadism and Sunni politico-religious extremism is the most evil thing can think of next to Putin.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago

thanks, Rosie, that is appreciated

Charles Joseph
Charles Joseph
7 months ago

Your not wanting not to believe doesn’t make it not so. You can’t even try to make him or me less afraid by concentrating on us for one brief moment without singing your own praises for admiring left wing Jews who resist (what is that?), I guess other Jews don’t deserve your admiration, talking about your selective support for abused and slaughtered people you deem abused by Jews and no other peoples. Is it possible you are the problem? Are you really trying to make him feel safe?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
7 months ago
Reply to  Charles Joseph

Does it bother you to encounter people less afraid than you are? For Jews in particular, is the paralyzing “virtue” of fear some kind of situational duty?
Ms. Brocklehurst’s tone mightn’t be a model of humility, but neither is yours (or mine). Given that she concludes with a heightened condemnation of Jihadism, I don’t see how her comment confines the blame for civilian deaths in Palestine to Jews alone.
Fears may be understandable, even warranted, and serve as a first spur to action in a dangerous moment. Dwelling in fear, however–and making it one’s constant, tightly clutched companion–helps no one.
Words like alertness or preparation, even vigilance are not close synonyms for fear.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Your lack of empathy is unbelievable. There aren’t many Jews on this planet who are not afraid after the Oct 7th massacre and the world’s reaction to Israel defending itself and destroying Hamas, a terrorist organization. Just yesterday the presidents of America’s most distinguished education institutions could not answer the simple question. “Is calling for the genocide of Jews against their student conduct policies”, it was a context specific situation. Killing Jews and standing by while people slaughter Jews is an age-old tradition. Your nit-picking is frankly insulting.

Charles Joseph
Charles Joseph
7 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

we aren’t going to get anything else, left or right. It’s back to the future, same as it ever was.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

“Not only is this not true, it can’t possibly be true.”
I would say 49% of the world population’s is happy to kill the Jews, the other 49% is happy someone else is doing it for them. Only 2% of the world really doesn’t care.
That said, Jews now have a homeland. They can all move to Israel. Or convert and become a Westerner (French Catholic, English Protestant, American Baptist, etc.)

Sundaramani Krishnan
Sundaramani Krishnan
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam etc included in this world?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

What a jaded outlook you have.

Charles Joseph
Charles Joseph
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Then why does it ring true? Do your best to avoid anti semitism in your response.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Harold Pinter did it first.
Mamet(speech) said, “In my family, in the days prior to television, we liked to while away the evenings by making ourselves miserable, based solely on our ability to speak the language viciously. That’s probably where my ability was honed.”[

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

That might be because he sees no distinction between the Cossacks and peasants who formed the Black Hundreds in the Russian Empire, and the overwhelming majority of Unherd readers an indeed defines himself in opposition to the Christian West

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Mamet’s is not ‘fear’ but rather ‘resignation’.

Last edited 7 months ago by Cathy Carron
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

I don’t think that’s quite right. David Mamet is pointing out the historical truth that Jewish people have always been at risk from those that want to kill them. Not from everyone, as you suggest, but from enough quarters to leave Jews fearing for their safety. Even in “civilised” English-speaking countries the desceration of Jewish cemetaries, attacks on Jewish schools, daubing of swastikas and now the open and unrestrained calls for the killing of Jews by Palestinian supporters must leave every Jew considering emigration to Israel. And even there there is no safety, as October 7th makes all too clear.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

When I was a teenager we lived next to an old Jewish couple. Very Mittle-european. They kept packed suitcases in the coat closet; ready to flee at a moments notice. After what they had been through, my older sister explained, they didn’t trust us (goyim) to protect them if things got ugly again. I found that terribly sad and, “…frankly, insulting.”
Now, after what happened since October 7, I finally understand.

J Rose
J Rose
7 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

That is not what he is saying. His point is that as Jews seek assimilation as a means of “protection” the leave themselves open to antisemitism in soft form which leads to antisemitism in hard form, ultimately unprotected. IN this state the only protection is maintaining the Jewish identify as distinct and prominent.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
6 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

I don’t think Mamet is saying every single non Jew is anti Semitic. But the double standards applied to Israel compared to every other conflict in the world – often much more bloody, over which complete indifference is shown – show it to be extremely widespread – even if often self deluding and unconscious.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
7 months ago

Rousseau used to refer to the noble savage as the primitive individual who had avoided the fall from grace brought about by technological life in moder society.
Now certain groups in the West simply celebrate the savage under the banner of what they take to be an appropriate left-wing cause.
That is how far we have regressed in our idea of innocence and morality. Too much alienation by virtual information technology has brought out the savage in too many, atomised out of ethical accountability.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
7 months ago

“ into an agricultural phenomenon, supplying much of Europe’s produce”

I’d need a fact check on that one.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
7 months ago

Yes, that claim is utterly risible!!!
Spain (and Italy, France) are the great fruit/vegetable producers of Europe.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Look at the difference in sizes of the countries and then read the comment again. It said much and not most.

Charles Joseph
Charles Joseph
7 months ago

So if we did, then you would like us? Oh, please like us.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
7 months ago
Reply to  Charles Joseph

Who is this is we you speak of? Are we supposed to treat all Jews as a homogeneous bloc, irrespective of class and nationality?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
7 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The problem is that they ARE treated like a homogenous bloc.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago

Quite

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
7 months ago

Comments like Charles’ would imply they want to be treated as a homogeneous bloc however

Anna Heyman
Anna Heyman
7 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I think Charles was being sarcastic.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
7 months ago

In my opinion, ‘The Spanish Prisoner’ was the very best Mamet film ever made, David. Thank you for your work! It denotes the futility of money, power, women, intrigue, fame, and so on, and tames man’s heart to ask himself, “What truly matters?”

 

 

Now to consider this article: ever since Abraham opened the four doors to his tent to give, and not to take, it has been a Jewish trait to focus almost exclusively on giving, rather than taking. Our own rights are small in our eyes, we weep over our enemies’ fate.

 

So why did God insist that the Jews conquer and keep the land promised to Israel? Perhaps because if not for this command, the Jews, ever mindful of others’ rights and feeling, would take no land at all, in any place. Kindness would be mistaken for placidity. No one compliments the sheep for its peaceful acts; they arise from its peaceful nature. A lion that is tranquil is to be admired, however; as it defies its own nature.

 

When the Jews remember the commands of God, ALL the commands of God, perhaps then the world will be at peace. May this happen in our day.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
7 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

He’s responsible for ‘The Spanish Prisoner’? I was roped into going to see that, and I was totally hooked! I loved it.

David, if you’re reading the comments, thank you for that movie!

Jeremy Sansom
Jeremy Sansom
7 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Shalom: may God have victory over his enemies in your life.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

“The futility of women?”

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
7 months ago

I am going to suggest James Howard Kunstler’s short, accessible essay “The Jewish-American Dilemma” as a complement, if not entirely a counter-point, to David Mamet’s essay. Both essays share some parallel constructions.
https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-jewish-american-dilemma/
“If they really want to repair the world, it’s time for Jewish Americans to get out of the Democratic Party and re-assimilate into an American common culture — a consensus about reality — that is consistent with running a successful, orderly, and just society.”

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
7 months ago

I could not work out what Mamet’s conclusion was. The piece was sub titled “the futility of assimilation” and ended stressing the importance of the Israeli army. Does he mean that all Jews should give up on the West and move to Israel? I hope not. As he points out, the Jewish contribution to Western culture has been immense. In any case, I am not sure that is what he really thinks even if his rhetoric seems to point in that direction. Maybe the essay just depicts his conflicting sentiments without coming to a conclusion.

David George
David George
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

“I could not work out what Mamet’s conclusion was.”
To be.

Last edited 7 months ago by David George
Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
7 months ago
Reply to  David George

I think most of us would prefer “to be” rather than the alternative. It is possible, however, to be a little more specific.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago