Two weeks ago the New York Times Magazine ran a glowing profile of the writer Cynthia Ozick, 88, as a moral crusader that did her the service of leaving out her racist views of Palestinians. No mention, for instance, of this prejudiced statement: “By replacing history with fantasy, the Palestinians have invented a society unlike any other, where hatred trumps bread. They have reared children unlike any other children, removed from ordinary norms and behaviors.”
Tomorrow’s New York Times Book Review gives up another page to Ozick to propound her views. Nor surprisingly, many of these views involve the treatment of Jews as the central historical experience of the west.
Q. What’s the last great book you read?
Ozick: “Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition,” by David Nirenberg. Not about anti-Semitism per se, this landmark study in the history of ideas is also, and stunningly, a history of how the tendentious workings of imagination have shaped not merely Christian and Islamic religious dogma but the entire span of secular philosophy. An indispensable book that left me in irredeemable despair…
Q. If you had to name one book that made you who you are today, what would it be?
Ozick: A book that Kafka also read, and that electrified me when, at 17, I discovered it on a bookshelf in Newark, N.J.: the six-volume “History of the Jews,” by Heinrich Graetz, first published in 1891, translated from the German…. [I]t taught me that a writer lacking history, however gifted, is an empty sack…
Q. If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
Ozick: “History of the Jews,” by Heinrich Graetz.
The Times writes about the late Elie Wiesel and ignores his racism. They write about Ozick and ignore her racism. Obviously they have made a conscious choice to lionize these two and ignore their anti-Palestinian racism. If they did discuss it, it would raise the obvious point that concern for anti-semitism has in some people morphed into anti-Palestinian racism. We really can’t think of another case where this happens. But if the liberal mainstream ever acknowledged how concern for antisemitism has morphed into a new form of racism in many cases, it would shoot down nearly all the remaining arguments people make to distract attention from Israel’s crimes.