The Jewish Question tormented Europe for centuries. How do emerging nations deal with a state-within-a-state, a people who have been ghettoized and have a corporate sense of themselves as distinct? Jewish difference and exceptionalism (Jewish "genius," as Commentary puts it) played into the question. Jews were restricted to certain jobs. In the late 1800s Jews began to predominate in the modern professions in Vienna, Berlin, Budapest, Prague. Marx was a raving antisemite on the Jewish question, and Hitler had the murderous final solution.
My blog is about the contemporary Jewish question: Jews are principals in the U.S. establishment and yet Jewish leadership is devoted to supporting another country. These two strains cannot be reconciled. Something has to give. As Mike Desch has pointed out to me, Zionism is based on the idea that Jews are unsafe in western society. Therefore they need a Jewish state to go to as a haven. But as things have worked out, the Jewish state has required the unwavering support of American Jews, most of whom have never been there, even as they visit Tuscany and the Galapagos. Jews who are doing incredibly well in this golden land. And who carry an insurance policy, by rationalizing everything the Jewish state does, out of the holdover belief that Jews are unsafe here… A conundrum.
I keep waiting for the mainstream press to address these issues in light of the Iraq War, which had a strong component of Protect Perfect Israel From the Savage Arabs. Well, in today’s Times, in an attack on Douglas Feith, Maureen Dowd suggests that the neocons were motivated by the Holocaust to find Hitler in Iraq.
Feith’s disdain for diplomacy and his credo that weakness invites
aggression were shaped, [Tom] Ricks reported, by personal history: “Like
Wolfowitz, Feith came from a family devastated by the Holocaust. His
father lost both parents, three brothers, and four sisters to the
Feith told Jeffrey Goldberg in The New Yorker that “My
family got wiped out by Hitler, and … all this stuff about working
things out — well, talking to Hitler to resolve the problem didn’t make
any sense to me. The kind of people who put bumper stickers on their
car that declare that ‘War is not the answer,’ are they making a
serious comment? What’s the answer to Pearl Harbor? What’s the answer
to the Holocaust?”
What’s the answer to bin Laden? According to Feith, it was an attack on an unrelated dictator.
Maureen has always hinted this kind of stuff about the Iraq War. We’re grownups; we believe in free speech. It’s time to have the conversation plainly.