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Dina Porat, Netanyahu’s secret agent in his war on the ‘new anti-Semitism’

Israel/Palestine
on 89 Comments

Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman

A public outcry and a media storm have raged in recent months over a joint declaration issued by the prime ministers of Poland and Israel and read by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last June. The statement praised Polish resistance to the Nazis. It came on the heels of Poland passing a controversial law akin to Holocaust-denial that banned implicating Poles for crimes committed during the Holocaust, an offense punishable by a three-year prison sentence. When Netanyahu read the declaration, many criticized him over reaching a faustian detente with Poland.

Professor Yehuda Bauer, Israel Prize laureate and one of the world’s leading Holocaust scholars, deemed the joint statement “betrayal.”

In an interview on Israeli public radio, Bauer said that Israel had accepted the Polish narrative of the Holocaust. “The Poles have deceived us, they have us wrapped around the finger, and we agreed to this, because the State of Israel finds the economic-political-military relations with Poland more important that such a small business, the Holocaust,” he said.

Senior officials in the Netanyahu government, including Naftali Bennett, Minister of Education and Ayelet Shaked, Minister of Justice, also criticized the declaration.

The statement was drafted far from the public eye with support from a secret delegation of Netanyahu allies and former appointees, Yaakov Nagel and Yossi Ciechanover. According to reports by Israeli media, a meeting between the delegations was held at the Mossad offices. It came about in spite that this kind of historic declaration should be made after deep discussion involving experts and the public.

After the statement was made, Netanyahu revealed that “Professor Dina Porat, the chief historian of Yad Vashem was involved the drafting of the declaration.” However, Yad Vashem had already published their own unprecedented and sharp condemnation of the statement. It said the joint Israeli-Polish declaration contained “historical distortions” and was written without Yad Vashem’s involvement.

Porat would have liked to have some sections corrected, she explained in an interview with Kan radio and reported by Ynet. Yet, taken as a whole, she said “We can definitely live with it,” Porat clarified she was not paid for consulting on the declaration. “I was asked to give personal and discreet advice, I did not act as the chief historian [of Yad Vashem],” she said.

How was it possible that Porat acted behind the backs of both Yad Vashem and the Israeli public? Do political ends (such as bolstering Netanyahu’s attempt to have more embassies moved to Jerusalem) justify the means? Does that include the desecration of the memory of the Holocaust? Prima facie, Porat’s conduct was no fluke but a matter of worldview and priorities.

What is anti-Semitism? Depends on what’s in the Israeli government’s self-interest

“New anti-Semitism,” a vague term promoted by the Israeli government and its partners, regards the BDS movement and criticism of Israeli occupation policies as a form of anti-Semitism. While the Israeli right-wing often mocks the “peace industry,” it has formed its own industry under the assumption that new anti-Semitism is real and spreading. The government calls this fighting the “de-legitimization of Israel.” It is spearheaded by politicians who strive to gain personal capital, organizations on the right and extremist groups. This industry offers lucrative jobs and huge budgets.

While sporadic anti-Semitic elements in the boycott movement do occur and should not be tolerated, it makes no sense to sweepingly label this global, diverse movement as innately “anti-Semitic.” Many Jews in Israel and across the world support a full boycott of the State of Israel, or a boycott of Israeli settlements and those who profit from the occupation.

In spite of strenuous efforts by the Netanyahu government, a boycott of the State of Israel is still considered an integral part of the civil right to freedom of speech and conscience in many countries, even if the local governments oppose the boycott or do not support it. In reality, the Netanyahu government has used the fight against the “new anti-Semitism” to silence criticism of the occupation and its policies in the occupied Palestinian territories, to persecute left-wing and human rights groups, and to shrink the democratic sphere in Israel.

It comes as no surprise that the Netanyahu government’s fight against the boycott movement and the “new anti-Semitism” shifted gears in 2015, against the backdrop of the international nuclear agreement with Iran. A new existential enemy had to be found, around which the public in Israel could be rallied. To manufacture a public consensus as to the current “existential threat,” the Netanyahu government could not rely just on the fringe right wing. In this context, Porat became an important asset to the Netanyahu government by joining the campaign. For example, the Kantor Center at the Tel Aviv University, headed by Porat, publishes an annual report (of which she is the editor) on the status of anti-Semitism throughout the world. These reports pay close attention to the boycott movement and groups which campaign against Israeli policies. The reports also regard the labeling of Israel as “an apartheid state” as a manifestation of anti-Semitism. At a hearing of the Knesset’s Immigration and Absorption Committee in May 2015, Porat stated that “It’s obvious that anti-Israeliness and anti-Zionism are acquiring an increasingly anti-Semitic tone.” This means that in her view, anti-Zionism may amount to anti-Semitism.

When it comes to the “old anti-Semitism,” Porat seems more pragmatic. This was evident not just in her (professed) clandestine participation in the preparation of the joint declaration with the Polish government, but also in her approach to other regimes with a serious anti-Semitism problem. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has been waging a racist and anti-Semitic campaign for years, and has even expressed his personal support of Miklós Horthy, the country’s ruler during WWII who was directly responsible for the extermination of Hungary’s Jews. While the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington has condemned Orban sharply, and Elie Wiesel returned a medal he had received from the Hungarian government due to its whitewashing of the country’s Nazi past, we have not heard Porat’s criticism of this grave anti-Semitism in Orban’s party and government. In fact, the opposite is true – Orban visited Yad Vashem recently. It comes as no coincidence that Hungary is being coaxed by Netanyahu to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem.

Furthermore, we have not heard Porat’s critique as to Ukrainian legislation which, similarly to the Polish one, bans criticism of Nazi Germany’s Ukrainian henchmen during WWII. Nor have we heard her public voice regarding the integration of a neo-Nazi Militia, Azov, which uses Nazi insignia, into the national Ukrainian security forces. Once again, the converse is true: The Prime Minister of Ukraine visited Yad Vashem in May 2017, and met Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman to discuss arms deals. By contrast, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has campaigned against the militia’s efforts to recruit new members, and the United States Memorial Museum has strongly condemned the Ukrainian legislation. Nor have we heard Porat’s critique as to the recent visit by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who is responsible for the extrajudicial killing of thousands of suspected drug dealers and addicts. Duterte has also compared himself to Hitler and said he would gladly slaughter three million drug addicts similarly to Hitler’s slaughter of the Jews.

A dangerous stamp of approval

Porat published in Haaretz a response to an article by the Israeli writer Amos Oz, in which he claimed that Israel would not resolve its conflict with the Palestinians by using its military might, but only through negotiation, including with the Hamas terror organization. Porat criticized Oz strongly and cited an excerpt from his book “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” in which the guard from Kibbutz Hulda  says: “It’s not because they are a nation of murderers that we will shoot them (if they show up to shoot us), but only for the simple reason that we too are allowed to live and for the simple reason that we too are allowed to have a country, not just they.” Porat of all people should have known that the logic of this sentence has served to justify crimes against humanity and genocide in Guatemala, Rwanda, Bosnia, South Sudan, Burma and other countries.

Accordingly, we did not hear Porat’s voice when the Chairman of the South Sudanese Parliament, Mr. Anthony Lino Makana, visited Yad Vashem in December 2017, as crimes against humanity were being committed in South Sudan by the government’s security forces and allied militias, and the UN warned that the situation could escalate to a full genocide. Nor did we hear Porat’s voice when the head of the Burmese military regime visited Yad Vashem in September 2015, although the Burmese security forces under his command are responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Porat should have noted reports by the United States Holocaust Museum, regarding the minority Muslim Rohingya population, as to grave violations of human rights taking place in the country, with a serious threat of genocide. Israel has sold weapons to the above-mentioned states, and visits to Yad Vashem have been a part of the package deal.

Porat is surely not responsible for the decades-long policies of the Israeli government and Yad Vashem. But her stamp of approval to the Netanyahu government’s foreign policy illustrates the danger of politicizing the memory of the Holocaust and the Israeli right-wing’s cynicism. It seems that the more she deals with the “new anti-Semitism” bogeyman, the less she addresses the “old anti-Semitism.” If Porat is really more concerned with support for BDS in Ireland, which has enacted a law banning settlement products, than with Hungary, whose government erects statues honoring those who assisted in the elimination of Jews, and a senior extreme right-wing figure calls for the compilation of a “Jewish list” for national security reasons – She would do wisely in letting someone more qualified assume her position at Yad Vashem. Indeed, Porat has offered her resignation, but reportedly Yad Vashem did not accept it. If she does leave her post, she will be free to advise Netanyahu as personally and publicly as she wishes.

A version of this article was originally published in Hebrew by Local Call on July 14, 2018. 

Eitay Mack
About Eitay Mack

Eitay Mack is an Israeli human rights lawyer and activist who is active in increased transparency and public scrutiny of Israeli security exports.

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89 Responses

  1. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius
    September 28, 2018, 11:51 am

    “It came on the heels of Poland passing a controversial law akin to Holocaust-denial that banned implicating Poles for crimes committed during the Holocaust, an offense punishable by a three-year prison sentence. ”

    Are you sure that’s corrrect? My impression was that the law was aimed at banning the claim that the Polish state was complicit with the Holocaust, not that individual Poles might have been. I don’t think that consitutes Holocaust denial.

    ““New anti-Semitism,” a vague term promoted by the Israeli government and its partners, regards the BDS movement and criticism of Israeli occupation policies as a form of anti-Semitism.”

    In his 2003 book, “The Holocaust Industry”, Norman Finkelstein refers to the ‘new anti-semitism’. Surely at this stage it must be the new new new anti-semitism?

    BTW will a certain contributer be around soon to tell us that BDS really is no biggie and that the Israeli goverment isn’t bothered by it in the least?

    • pjdude
      pjdude
      September 28, 2018, 2:40 pm

      while i agree with you on how the new law was pitched and how i believe its written but the current government of poland has a strong fascist bent and is highly likely to misuse said law.

      this comes across as what i’ve seen in certain jewish people putting most of the blame for the holocaust on poland and not germany. I’ve seen people essentially state poland should have been willing to sacrifice every single polish life to save the jews in poland. many of them israeli so who knows what this is really about.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        September 28, 2018, 5:53 pm

        “I’ve seen people essentially state poland should have been willing to sacrifice every single polish life to save the jews in poland.”

        I spent quite a bit of time in Poland some years ago, and remember talking to several Poles who were mightily resentful of the above attitude. Granted, this could be due to residual anti-semitism – actual anti-semitism, not the invented variety – but given how immensely Poland suffered during the war, I can understand the Polish resentment at the ‘hierarchy of victims’, whereby Jewish victims were somehow more ‘sacred’ than common and garden Polish victims. Not to mention that anyone found hiding Jews (or anyone else sought out by the Nazis) risked not only being shot, but their whole family being shot too. So is it any wonder that few were prepared to do so? If the roles had been reversed, how many Jews would have done the same for their Catholic neighbours?

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        September 28, 2018, 9:10 pm

        Warsaw was destroyed by the Nazis. The Soviets murdered the army elite at Katyn.
        The Zionist narrative was invented after the war and is designed for an English speaking audience. The focus is the Jewish Holocaust but there was a bigger one involving Poland, Belarus, Russia where 27 million people were murdered and the Jewish agony was just a subset of the insanity.

        I am not surprised Poles don’t like the story. People in the West don’t know much about the war in the East. It was hell. For everyone.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      Stephen Shenfield
      September 28, 2018, 3:27 pm

      There was no Polish state during the period when the Holocaust took place. Poland was under direct military occupation. The problematic aspect of the law is the prohibition on implicating the “Polish nation.” This might be interpreted to mean, for instance, that it is illegal to claim that the majority of Poles hated Jews and approved of their killing. Perhaps such a claim would be unjustified, but making it illegal is bound to make historical inquiry into the issue a risky undertaking.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        September 28, 2018, 5:55 pm

        “Perhaps such a claim would be unjustified, but making it illegal is bound to make historical inquiry into the issue a risky undertaking.”

        I agree. However, several European countries consider Holocaust denial a crime. While I could understand such laws in the years immediately after the war, especially in Germany, at this point they are just an infringement of freedom of speech. The case for Holocaust denial is dismal, so why not let these idiots make fools of themselves by putting their ‘arguments’ to the test?

  2. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    September 28, 2018, 5:22 pm

    Here’s an article on Mondoweiss that endorses Yehuda Bauer as one of the world’s leading Holocaust scholars, but in the comments section when discussing the Kastner train, Bauer’s insight is never mentioned, instead independent (no scholarship) insight on that episode is the rule here.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      September 29, 2018, 12:07 pm

      “when discussing the Kastner train, Bauer’s insight is never mentioned”

      “Yonah”, you are just the man to rehabilitate Kastner. Keep stressing “Bauer’s insight”, it makes all the difference.

  3. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz
    September 29, 2018, 4:51 am

    As a Gentile (non-Jew) who’s family’s history was one of continuing resistance to occupation of Poland (we remember family members taking part in 1863 uprising against Russia, and that is just a start).

    My is the family of “terrorists” who’s members have streets named after them. (funny how Nazis viewed resistance fighters!).

    We were occupied and governed directly by Germans. 17 members of my Gentile family died in Auschwitz concentration camp. Others were hunted (and some caught and shot) for the crime of being educated, and having leadership potential.

    Nuns in my convent school were shot for spiriting jewish children away.

    I hate restrictions on free speech. From moderation on Mondoweiss about Jewish – Polish relations before second world war, to Holocaust denial laws.

    But the law passed by Polish Government makes it an offence to falsify history out of stupidity, ignorance or, worryingly, for the purpose of propaganda and malevolent wish to re-write history.

    There is no restrictions under the law on accusing individuals, or even groups.

    The defence is always factual evidence and scientific research.

    And yes, I feel mighty resentful for accusations that Poles did not risk their lives, and lives of their children enough to save their Jewish neighbours.Next line of my argument will mean that this comment will be moderated (see above) so lets skip it.145/157

    • Boomer
      Boomer
      September 29, 2018, 11:13 am

      Interesting. Your comments make me realize that I don’t know much about this part of history. (Of course, that’s true of so many, many, things. For example, It was only a week ago, when I saw “The Miniaturist,” that I learned some disturbing things about 17th century history.) I have noticed, and have been puzzled by some comments over the years (e.g., various references on “Big Bang Theory”) which seem to equate Poles with Nazis. Any suggestions on books, essays, or other sources?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 29, 2018, 8:12 pm

        What disturbing things were those? (History of any era has more disturbing things than we care to contemplate.)

        I don’t recall anything equating Poles with Nazis. I do recall that as soon as Poland was created (recreated?) after WW1 it started attacking its neighbours.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 1, 2018, 9:44 pm

        ” I do recall that as soon as Poland was created (recreated?) after WW1 it started attacking its neighbours.”

        Leaving Russia and Germany with very little choice but to try and counter Polish aggression?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        October 2, 2018, 1:13 am

        As far as I can tell, Germany did not have to counter Polish aggression. The Soviets did. Poland attacked Ukraine in 1920, starting the Polish Soviet War, and gained some territory in Belorussia and the Ukraine. Various complications in the war led to Poland making war on Lithuania as well. In 1938 Poland took a slice of Czechoslovakia.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        October 2, 2018, 2:37 am

        I should add that there was no apparent Polish aggression against the Soviet Union in 1939.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 2, 2018, 11:39 am

        “As far as I can tell, Germany did not have to counter Polish aggression.”

        Yes, but could Germany afford to become “encircled” by enemies?

      • pjdude
        pjdude
        October 2, 2018, 1:20 pm

        @roha
        most of the countries in the area started attacking their nieghbors. the war was about securing poland territory and regaining what was felt to be rightful polish territory. also they wanted to create a federation of states with them as the head loosely covering the old commonwealth to protect against russian and german expansion.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        October 2, 2018, 10:38 pm

        Many European countries wanted to regain what they thought was rightfully their territory. And some attacked other countries in order to do so. Poland was one of them. The federation idea failed because the other countries did not fancy having Poland as the head.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      September 30, 2018, 1:18 am

      I suppose it’s now clear that there is no “Poland passing a controversial law akin to Holocaust-denial that banned implicating Poles for crimes committed during the Holocaust”.

      So we have crass ignorance at best and deliberate Jewish-tribal propaganda at its probable worst. Yet again.

  4. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz
    September 29, 2018, 1:46 pm

    I would say, seek online translations to English of Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn’s “Two hundred years together”.
    Never translated and never published in English in remarkable act of self-censorship by publishing houses.

    Also google
    “glaukopis.pl and Mark Paul” &
    “glaukopis.pl and Stanislaw Zaborowski”

    and anything by YoniFalic that didn’t make it through the moderation here. (YoniFalic is a historian).

    The problem is that Poles have seen occupation of Poland as a tragedy of Poland (which was fabulously multicultural) and a tragedy of Poles, of whatever religion (part of my family was Evangelical-Augsburg Church), and Jews have seen it as a tragedy of Jews.

    Of course, these two viewpoints clash on so many levels! 146/158

    • Boomer
      Boomer
      September 30, 2018, 7:13 am

      Thank you.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      October 1, 2018, 5:51 pm

      Here is online access to a substantial part of 200 Years Together in free English translation: http://mailstar.net/Solzhenitsyn-200YT.html

      • Boomer
        Boomer
        October 2, 2018, 7:16 pm

        Thank you. Many of the comments on this thread are over my head. Troubled waters are not transparent. I’ve much to learn if I want to sort it out. No doubt a worthwhile endeavor when time permits, but not my highest priority at the moment.

  5. Talkback
    Talkback
    September 29, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Netanyahu lost this battle:
    Federal court blocks Arizona law excluding Israel boycotters from contracts
    https://www.jta.org/2018/09/28/top-headlines/federal-court-blocks-arizona-law-excluding-israel-boycotters-contracts

  6. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    September 30, 2018, 3:41 am

    I just think this shows how weak Israel is. Supporting human rights is obviously not anti Semitic . Allying with authoritarian regimes in Poland and Hungary because the public in say France and the UK are pro Palestinian is truly shit. About 25 years ago Israel was at a crossroad. Peace or Likud. Likud won. Look where Israel is now.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      October 1, 2018, 10:41 am

      Israel never wanted ‘peace’ on anything but its own terms, ie, dictating surrender terms to the Palestinians. Israel was always a racist construct and always will be. Slightly suprised that you think there could have been a ‘good’ Israel.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        October 1, 2018, 2:08 pm

        The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War scared the shit out of Israel and got it involved in the Madrid talks that became Oslo. Israel also absorbed 1 million Russians which was really stupid.

        There was a pragmatic wing that thought the occupation couldn’t go on forever. They lost.
        AIPAC and Likud won.
        The demographics are very different now and the population is more ignorant. Israel is fucked.

  7. Kay24
    Kay24
    September 30, 2018, 6:33 am

    Watch the new Malaysian PM’s speech on the Palestinians. Bin Mahathir has already been called an “anti semite” by Israel newspapers. Now they will start attacking him which is the usual zionist tactic. Predictable.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1341074135904679/?hc_ref=ARTqapWYhTWE-C1nvaV9oVMo5k-nhukV5GOlqV8gbD7hYyGZgEK9rFlHGR2Kso31D_4

  8. Elizabeth Block
    Elizabeth Block
    September 30, 2018, 10:38 am

    There were pogroms in Poland after the war, when Poland was no longer under Nazi occupation. I think any Jew who has visited Poland, and has let it be known that he or she is Jewish, knows that many, if not most, Poles are still anti-Semitic.
    I don’t think Israelis, and other Zionists, have actually been deceived by the Poles. They are just pretending to be. In the day of Netanyahu and Trump, that seems to be just fine.
    Faustian? Yes. Remember what happened to him?

    • Eva Smagacz
      Eva Smagacz
      September 30, 2018, 5:24 pm

      I don’t think anybody is denying that there were attacks on Jews in Poland after the war, and several hundred Jewish people died.

      But look at massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia by Ukrainian Insurgent Army which resulted in 40,000–60,000 Polish deaths in Volhynia and 30,000–40,000 in Eastern Galicia,

      Tensions and hostilities between different cultural, national, religious and racial groups are a part and parcel of any destruction of society, whether it took place in Poland in 1945 or in Iraq after 2003 where it was given name “sectarian violence”.

      So, yes, some Jews were killed in post war sectarian violence. Many Poles were killed in sectarian violence as well and many more Poles were imprisoned and killed in the process of occupation of Poland post war by the Soviet Russia (so called “Stalin years”).

      War is hell. Lets not grade victims by victimhood scores. It is shabby and trivialises suffering of some and not other casualties. 147/159

      • Keith
        Keith
        September 30, 2018, 8:03 pm

        EVA SMAGACZ- “War is hell. Lets not grade victims by victimhood scores. It is shabby and trivialises suffering of some and not other casualties.”

        Spot on! And it is not just war either. Divide and rule. The US helped a lot of Nazis and neo-Nazis escape Eastern Europe for the US, Canada, and South America where they were transformed into anti-communist freedom fighters. And then there are the Zionists who have weaponized history to present a false tale of eternal and irrational Gentile anti-Semitism.

      • Nathan
        Nathan
        September 30, 2018, 9:43 pm

        Keith – Antisemitism is, indeed, irrational (despite your claim to the contrary). I’d be curious to hear why you believe that it is rational and that it makes sense to you.

      • catalan
        catalan
        September 30, 2018, 10:35 pm

        “false tale of eternal and irrational Gentile anti-Semitism”.keith
        I read that 76 percent of non-orthodox Jews in the US marry outside of the faith. So basically every extended family of Jews also has non-Jews (Christians, atheist, etc). That’s also my experience as well. It also seems to me that quite a few American Jews do not like Israel much at all. I don’t see how you see this hatred of gentiles when virtually every family with a Jewish person also has non-Jews in it.

      • pjdude
        pjdude
        September 30, 2018, 11:37 pm

        @nathan but jewish bigotry against the palestinians and gentiles is perfectly rational and morally upstanding right?

      • Keith
        Keith
        October 1, 2018, 12:04 am

        NATHAN- “Antisemitism is, indeed, irrational (despite your claim to the contrary).”

        Therefore, Gentiles are inherently irrational? Forever and always? Born into sin? The 99.8% of the world’s population have an irrational hatred of Jews because they are Jews? Jeez, Nathan, how did the overwhelming majority of the world’s population get so f***** up? Go ahead, Nathan, defend your anti-Gentile hatred.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        October 1, 2018, 4:58 am

        Nathan

        Religious driven antiSemitism is irrational but is that all that there ever is?

        Is there never any cause?
        Are we all supposed to give the Ariel Sharons of this world a free pass?

        Ben Gurion used to say that it is not about what the goys think. It is about what the Jews do.

        And sometimes it is about both.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        October 1, 2018, 8:01 am

        It’s possible to define (say) Anglophobia either in a neutral or in a value-loaded way – ‘negative attitudes towards English people’ or ‘unreasonably negative attitudes towards English people’. In the second case anything reasonable falls outside the category. In the first case a critique that is reasonable can still be Anglophobic.
        The term ‘English’ can be meant in its extension, the set of people who are English, or in its intension, the very idea of ‘what it is to be English’ – anyone using a definition of this kind should say whether extension, intension or both are in question. Moreover the extension can be either general, all English people, or particular, some of us.
        If you have a neutral definition with particular extensional reference you are almost bound to find that some cases that on this showing are clearly cases of Anglophobia are indeed justified – hardly conceivable that things seriously wrong are never done by any people who are English.
        If you have a negatively loaded definition and complain of the same phenomena then the logical outcome is different: the very fact that your complaints are justified removes them from the category of Anglophobia.
        I understand Keith to be using a negatively loaded definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ and to be saying that myths about the eternity and omnipresence of this unreasonable and unjustified sentiment, by definition incapable of reasonable and justified forms, are being propagated. That doesn’t exclude the idea of some justified objection to some of the ideas and behaviour of some people who are Jewish.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        October 1, 2018, 9:01 am

        MHughes, Nathan’s grasp of logic seems to be as feeble as his grasp of morality, so I suspect your neat analysis will be beyond him.

      • Nathan
        Nathan
        October 1, 2018, 9:12 am

        Gee, Keith, you’re quite a strange person. You mentioned that it’s “a false tale” that antisemitism is irrational. I didn’t express any opinion beyond the generally accepted notion that antisemitism is, indeed, irrational – but I’d be curious to hear your logic. What’s the rationale behind antisemitism?

      • Boomer
        Boomer
        October 1, 2018, 12:55 pm

        William Faulkner’s observation applies in so many contexts around the world. “The past is not dead. It’s not even past.” Nowhere is that more evident than at this site. But there comes a time to bury the dead, move on, and to remember L. P. Hartley’s observation that “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”

        I was reminded of that some time ago while reading Annette Gordon-Reed’s “The Hemingses of Monticello.” For that matter, I’m old enough to be reminded of it by the daily news.

        If done in a certain way, with constructive motives, remembering the past can be constructive, conducive to a better, more harmonious world today. If done in another way, it has just the opposite effect.

      • Keith
        Keith
        October 1, 2018, 2:32 pm

        CATALAN- ” I don’t see how you see this hatred of gentiles when virtually every family with a Jewish person also has non-Jews in it.”

        Why do you feel the need to misrepresent what I say? For starters, my original comment refered to Zionists weaponizing history through the false tale of eternal and irrational Gentile anti-Semitism. Did I mention intermarriage? Did I mention hate? This mythology is inherently anti-Gentile, however, hatred is much too strong a term. Why twist what I say?

        The rest of your comment is ludicrous. What effect has the intermarriage rate had on the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations? On AIPAC? On Sheldon Adelson and the other Jewish fat-cats who support Israel? This love of non-Jews you profess is not reflected in your comments, nor those of other Jewish Zionists. What I see is the phenomenon of gilded victimhood, whereby the successful and relatively powerful continue to claim victimhood. A good example of this is highly successful playwright David Mamet who, nonetheless, sees himself as a victim. “The world hates the Jews. The world always has and will continue to do so.” https://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Son-Anti-Semitism-Self-hatred-Encounters-ebook/dp/B000SEH8R6

      • Keith
        Keith
        October 1, 2018, 3:18 pm

        NATHAN- “You mentioned that it’s “a false tale” that antisemitism is irrational.”

        No I didn’t. I said that “Zionists who have weaponized history to present a false tale of eternal and irrational Gentile anti-Semitism.” The depiction of Gentiles as forever and always INHERENTLY anti-Semitic is a false tale, one which posits an eternal population of inherently irrational Gentiles. Such a myth history is itself irrational and an example of anti-Gentilism.

        “Two central dogmas underpin the Holocaust framework: (1) The Holocaust marks a categorically unique historical event; (2) The Holocaust marks the climax of an irrational, eternal Gentile hatred of Jews. Neither of these dogmas figured at all in public discourse before the June 1967 war, and although they became the centerpieces of Holocaust literature, neither figures at all in genuine scholarship on the Nazi holocaust. On the other hand, both dogmas draw on important strands in Judaism and Zionism.” (p41,41, “The Holocaust Industry,” Norman Finkelstein)

        Since you brought it up, let us explore the notion that hatred is inherently irrational. Is it irrational for members of an oppressed group to hate the members of the group oppressing them? Is it irrational for the people of Gaza to hate the Zionist Jews killing and tormenting them? To hate the American Zionist Jews who support and justify their torment? The American empire which provides critical support for their oppression? The history of the Jewish economic role in Europe and of medieval versus modern anti-Semitism is a complex issue bearing little relation to the simple-minded Zionist dogma of eternal and irrational anti-Semitism.

      • catalan
        catalan
        October 1, 2018, 3:28 pm

        “This love of non-Jews you profess is not reflected in your comments, “ Keith
        Well all my friends and acquaintances are not Jewish. I live in New Mexico – not too many Jews and the few I know I avoid. Indeed, reading Mooser’s comments actually makes me feel like antisemitism is not “irrational” at all.

      • jon s
        jon s
        October 1, 2018, 4:04 pm

        Keith,
        The greatest 20th century Jewish historian, Salo Baron, came out against what he called “the lachrymose conception” of Jewish history.

        See here:
        https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/ajs-review/article/revisiting-barons-lachrymose-conception-the-meanings-of-violence-in-jewish-history/2ACA85264350A0E96FD8CEEA19351151

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 1, 2018, 4:45 pm

        “I read that 76 percent of non-orthodox Jews in the US marry outside of the faith.”

        Yup, and only about 24% of Jews are Zionist enough to marry within the religion-ethnicity-race (take your pick).

        So there you go, “catalan”, that should give you a good idea of just how far American Jews are willing to go in supporting Zionism.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 1, 2018, 4:53 pm

        “The greatest 20th century Jewish historian, Salo Baron, came out against what he called “the lachrymose conception” of Jewish history.”

        Oh, absolutely, baby! Just stand back and watch our dust, that’s all I ask, just watch our dust.
        All the trends are straight up and vertical.
        And with a great project like Zionism inspiring Jews all over the world, we are set for the greatest era of Jewish unity yet achieved. No trauma ‘long us, baby. We have mastered the principles of violence.

      • catalan
        catalan
        October 1, 2018, 7:23 pm

        “So there you go, “catalan”, that should give you a good idea of just how far American Jews are willing to go in supporting Zionism” Mooser
        I know that many American Jews don’t care much about Zionism or Judaism for that matter. There are many decent people who dislike Israel without diminishing the Holocaust or engaging in pseudo science on “Slavoturks” or accusing Jews of being selfish or running the world and so on. You can be against Israel and be a wonderful person. It just so happens that this absolutely does not describe you or most of the regular posters here. You can also be Nazi and dislike Israel.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 1, 2018, 9:01 pm

        “I know that many American Jews don’t care much about Zionism or Judaism for that matter.” “Catalan”

        You sure do know it, from personal experience:

        “Well all my friends and acquaintances are not Jewish. I live in New Mexico – not too many Jews and the few I know I avoid.” “catalan”

        And that my friend, is exactly why Zionism is failing. You just gave a perfect example. No real national or even any ethnic feeling. You don’t even like being around us.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 1, 2018, 9:57 pm

        “You can also be Nazi and dislike Israel.” “catalan”

        I suppose you could, but the original Nazis liked Zionism, and the neo-Nazi groups today admire Israel (and make no threats nor take any action against Zionists) as a good example of an ethno-state.

        So chances are a Nazi will have about the same opinion of Israel as a Zionist will – it’s where all the Jews should go, and they don’t belong anywhere else.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 1, 2018, 10:17 pm

        “There are many decent people who dislike Israel without diminishing the Holocaust or engaging in pseudo science on “Slavoturks” or accusing Jews of being selfish or running the world and so on.”

        So you think there are certain kinds of propaganda, argument and persuasion that Israel and Zionism are exempt from? This is the game of international colonization and controlling the narrative the Zionists wanted to play.

        And yes, as awful as it may be, the Holocaust will be interpreted in the light of Israel, just as Israel was supposed to be interpreted in light of the Holocaust.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        October 2, 2018, 5:57 am

        76% marriage outside the religion is whopping. I suppose excessive concentration has led to schmucks like Naftali Bennett. A lot of GOP voters hate NAFTA.

      • catalan
        catalan
        October 2, 2018, 10:42 am

        “It is shabby and trivialises suffering of some and not other casualties.” Eva
        So you are upset that Jews seem to think more about the Jewish victims than, say Polish ones. Fair enough. But why doesn’t Poland commemorate and build monuments for the victims of the Dresden bombings in Germany? Why indeed not commemorate the story of the Germans who were cruelly expelled after the war. In general, why do countries seem to commemorate their own history much more than that of others?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 2, 2018, 12:03 pm

        ““But why doesn’t Poland…Why indeed not…In general, why do…

        Why don’t you wash your blond child’s hair in dead champagne as they do in France?
        Why not wear violet velvet mittens with everything?
        Why don’t you tie black tulle bows on your wrists?

    • pjdude
      pjdude
      September 30, 2018, 11:35 pm

      This is what im talking about. that the polish are inherently antisemitic. that gentiles are inherently anti semitic. yes their were pogroms after the the nazi occupation( though the soviet one was still on going) but the nazis being kicked out didn’t magically rebuild the country. didn’t magically replace the 20% of the country population that was murdered. im not saying it shouldn’t be a national shame it should but its more far more complicated that hey lets kill jews for being jews because thats not really how it was. alot of the anti semitism in post war poland and hell pre war poland was due to jews being viewed as pro communist which was viewed as being pro russian. it doesn’t excuse anything but hey these people possiblely helped the people who wanted to commit genocide against us lets get them before they get us is alot different than all jews need to die for being jewish

  9. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz
    October 1, 2018, 10:01 am

    Racism (anti-semitism included) is irrational.

    But hostility to a distinctive racial/cultural/religious/national group may not be.
    It really depends on what that group is doing or was doing throughout history to social group one identifies with. There is even name for it: Dominant Minority.

    Dominant minorities (present or long gone) may have come to being by wars in the past, colonisation, deliberate policy of the past governments to set up ruling classes to be distinct from local societies (typical to the way Ottoman Empire operated). 148/161

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      October 1, 2018, 10:57 am

      Yes, in another post I mentioned a book written by Amy Chua in 2003 called “World on Fire”, which is all about ‘market dominant minorities’ and the bad feeling – often murderous hatred – they engender in the rest of the population.

      I don’t agree with all of her book – especially her bog-standard dismissal of Palestinian resentment of Israelis as basically being jealousy of their ‘economic success’ – but she does make several good points. She herself is a member of such a minority – she comes from an ethnic Chinese family living in the Philippines, where, despite being less than 1% of the population, they control over half of the wealth. Her aunt was murdered by her Filipino driver in a fit of rage, and there have been sporadic pogroms against the similarly disproportionately wealthy Chinese minorities in Indonesia and other parts of Asia too. Indians in Uganda and other parts of West Africa were hated for similar reasons, and arguably the Rwandan genocide might have been partly driven by resentment at the Tutsi minority’s relative wealth. And while Chua is more circumspect in her language when it comes to Jews (of course!) she fully agrees that Russian Jews were a classic example of a ‘market dominant minority’.

      None of this in any way excuses violence of course. But it does put it into context, which is an improvement on the nonsense of ‘irrational hatreds’.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        October 1, 2018, 3:00 pm

        Good point. Lebanese in West Africa as well.

      • Eva Smagacz
        Eva Smagacz
        October 1, 2018, 3:10 pm

        It doesn’t excuse violence. It doesn’t excuse racism. But it explains hostility.
        Unless you understand something, you cannot fix it. 149/162

  10. jon s
    jon s
    October 1, 2018, 5:02 pm

    There have been attempts to explain ant-semitism in rational terms, especially as emanating from economic causes: the economic functions performed by the Jews which led to competition and resentment. There probably is a measure of truth in those quasi-Marxist notions, yet they don’t tell the whole story, There’s still the irrational fear -which evolves into hatred – of a minority which obstinately insists on the right to be different.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      October 1, 2018, 5:52 pm

      “There’s still the irrational fear -which evolves into hatred – of a minority which obstinately insists on the right to be different.”

      Oh, I don’t know, I’d hardly call a minority allying itself with one class or cohort of people to take exploit another “the right to be different.”

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      October 1, 2018, 6:22 pm

      “– of a minority which obstinately insists on the right to be different.”

      Odd, isn’t it how the Jewish obstinance to “be different” is reduced in almost exact proportion to how “different” non-Jews think Jews are. Funny, that.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      October 2, 2018, 2:33 am

      “There’s still the irrational fear -which evolves into hatred – of a minority which obstinately insists on the right to be different.”

      Depending on how different the minority chooses to be, the fear is not necessarily irrational.

      Societies function by agreement. There are agreed values and agreed ways of interacting. People appear not to share those values are suspected of being enemies of society. People who do not follow those ways are, by their non-compliance, destroying the social order.

      Societies can survive very minor acts of individual non-compliance (such as wearing brown shoes at a funeral), but non-compliant groups present a greater danger. Depending on the extent and type of non-compliance, it can be perfectly rational to fear such groups.

    • eljay
      eljay
      October 2, 2018, 7:45 am

      || jon s: … There’s still the irrational fear -which evolves into hatred – of a minority which obstinately insists on the right to be different. ||

      You’re right: “Jewish State” supremacists in Israel sure do seem to hate the non-Jewish Israelis who insist on the right to be different.

    • Keith
      Keith
      October 2, 2018, 10:28 am

      JON S- “There’s still the irrational fear -which evolves into hatred – of a minority which obstinately insists on the right to be different.”

      And what was the attitude of the Jews to the surrounding Gentile community, and in particular, the peasants?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 2, 2018, 2:08 pm

        “And what was the attitude of the Jews to the surrounding Gentile community”

        The attitude of which Jews “to the surrounding Gentile community”?
        Careful, “Keith” when you say “the Jews” , you might just set off a ‘which’ hunt.

      • catalan
        catalan
        October 2, 2018, 4:04 pm

        “And what was the attitude of the Jews to the surrounding Gentile community”” Keith
        Like Mooser, Catalan and Phill Weiss, all Jews have precisely identical beliefs: we are all very suspicious of the gentiles, particularly the blond and attractive ones. You just don’t know when one might take you for a ride.

      • Keith
        Keith
        October 2, 2018, 4:29 pm

        MOOSER- “The attitude of which Jews “to the surrounding Gentile community”?”

        Classical Judaism was not a debating society with multiple and frequently divergent opinions. No Zionists versus anti-Zionists. I am referring to the attitude of the community as a whole as reflected in the writings of the leadership.

        “Everywhere, classical Judaism developed hatred and contempt for agriculture as an occupation and for peasants as a class, even more than for other Gentiles – a hatred of which I know of no parallel in other societies. This is immediately apparent to anyone who is familiar with the Yiddish or Hebrew literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.” (p53, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion,” Israel Shahak)

        “A series of contrasts is set in the mind of the shtetl child, who grows up to regard certain behavior as characteristic of Jews, and its opposite as characteristic of Gentiles. Among Jews he expects to find emphasis on intellect, a sense of moderation, cherishing of spiritual values, cultivation of rational, goal-directed activities, a “beautiful” family life. Among gentiles he looks for the opposite of each item: emphasis on the body, excess, blind instinct, sexual license and ruthless force. The first is ticketed in his mind as Jewish, the second as goyish.” (Mark Zborowski and Elizabeth Herzog, quoted in “The Jewish Century,” Yuri Slezkine, p107)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 2, 2018, 8:20 pm

        ” I am referring to the attitude of the community as a whole as reflected in the writings of the leadership.”

        And what could be more definitive than that? So much for a ‘which’ hunt.

      • Keith
        Keith
        October 3, 2018, 10:31 am

        CATALAN- “Like Mooser, Catalan and Phill Weiss, all Jews have precisely identical beliefs: we are all very suspicious of the gentiles, particularly the blond and attractive ones.”

        Although Jews do ongoing polling of Gentile attitudes towards Jews, searching for any hints of anti-Semitic attitudes, apparently it is unacceptable for a Goyim to inquire as to Jewish attitudes towards non-Jews?

      • Keith
        Keith
        October 3, 2018, 10:39 am

        MOOSER- “And what could be more definitive than that? So much for a ‘which’ hunt.”

        So you think that the attitude of Jews to non-Jews is irrelevant to the discussion and that I am out of line even broaching the subject?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 3, 2018, 11:55 am

        ” I am out of line even broaching the subject?”

        Sorry if I wasn’t clear. You have, of course, every right to expound on the subject.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 3, 2018, 12:01 pm

        “Everywhere, classical Judaism developed hatred and contempt for agriculture as an occupation.”

        That is a bud libel! Sukkoth was just a little late this year.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 3, 2018, 1:01 pm

        “Although Jews do ongoing polling of Gentile attitudes towards Jews, searching for any hints of anti-Semitic attitudes, apparently it is unacceptable for a Goyim to inquire as to Jewish attitudes towards non-Jews?”

        Maybe that’s why we like to marry non-Jews so much! No, wait, on second thought, that is not a good basis for 76% of Jewish marriages.

      • Keith
        Keith
        October 3, 2018, 4:37 pm

        MOOSER- “Maybe that’s why we like to marry non-Jews so much!”

        Perhaps not excluding 98% of the population provides additional choice.

        MOOSER- “No, wait, on second thought, that is not a good basis for 76% of Jewish marriages.”

        Curious that this high rate of acceptance of intermarriage by non-Jews hasn’t lessened the charges of anti-Semitism, which seem to have risen alongside the intermarriage rates.

        MOOSER- “You have, of course, every right to expound on the subject.”

        And you, characteristically, belittle the importance of Jewish attitudes towards non-Jews. What is the Zionist ideology if not the framing of Jewish attitudes towards non-Jews in support of Zionism and Israel? This reality is so rather obvious that I suspect that you object to the messenger as someone not born to the discussion.

        “Therefore, the real test facing both Israeli and diaspora Jews is the test of their self-criticism which must include the critique of the Jewish past. The most important part of such a critique must be detailed and honest confrontation of the Jewish attitude to non-Jews.” (p103, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion,” Israel Shahak)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 4, 2018, 5:25 pm

        “Among Jews he expects to find emphasis on intellect, a sense of moderation, cherishing of spiritual values, cultivation of rational, goal-directed activities, a “beautiful” family life. Among gentiles he looks for the opposite of each item: emphasis on the body, excess, blind instinct, sexual license and ruthless force. The first is ticketed in his mind as Jewish, the second as goyish.”

        Okay, that’s fine, people are different, but when do we get to the bad stuff about Goys?

      • catalan
        catalan
        October 4, 2018, 6:22 pm

        “Among gentiles he looks for the opposite of each item: emphasis on the body, excess, blind instinct, sexual license and ruthless force”. Keith
        Well at least we can agree on the source of these high intermarriage rates.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 5, 2018, 11:50 am

        “catalan”, you little weasel, the quote is not from “Keith”.

        “Keith” is quoting a book: “Mark Zborowski and Elizabeth Herzog, quoted in “The Jewish Century,” Yuri Slezkine, p107”.

      • Keith
        Keith
        October 5, 2018, 2:24 pm

        CATALAN- “Well at least we can agree on the source of these high intermarriage rates.”

        Indeed, some sort of the “Forbidden Fruit” syndrome is undoubtedly involved, however, it may be more serious than that. Perhaps it also represents the coming to fruition of the long ago predicted “Portnoy Rebellion.” Should it also include a “Princess Revolt,” it would be a real game changer.

      • Keith
        Keith
        October 5, 2018, 2:30 pm

        MOOSER- “Okay, that’s fine, people are different, but when do we get to the bad stuff about Goys?”

        Obviously these shtetl urchins never met Roha. Or me.

      • Keith
        Keith
        October 5, 2018, 2:34 pm

        MOOSER- “catalan”, you little weasel, the quote is not from “Keith”.

        What’s this? A break in kinship solidarity? Up to this point, you two were in such sweet harmony.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 5, 2018, 5:23 pm

        “What’s this? A break in kinship solidarity?” “Keith”

        “Keith”, a few years ago, the people of Washington passed initiative I-502. You should take advantage of its benefits.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 5, 2018, 5:59 pm

        “Indeed, some sort of the “Forbidden Fruit” syndrome is undoubtedly involved. Perhaps it also represents the coming to fruition of the long ago predicted “Portnoy Rebellion.” “ “Keith”

        And she can cook, too! (BTW, you must fill us in on who predicted the “Portnoy Rebellion” (so long ago) and what it is. Never knew you were such a balmalocha on this.)

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        October 6, 2018, 2:37 am

        Keith, do you mean I’m one of the bad guys?

        Cool!

      • Keith
        Keith
        October 6, 2018, 11:06 am

        ROHA- “Keith, do you mean I’m one of the bad guys?”

        One of the worst, you uppity rascal.

      • Keith
        Keith
        October 6, 2018, 11:17 am

        MOOSER- “BTW, you must fill us in on who predicted the “Portnoy Rebellion” (so long ago) and what it is.”

        Dr. Spielvogel, of course. The reference is obvious. Early onset dementia, or overindulging in the fruits of I-502? I must confess to being tempted to partake in “High Tea” without going to Victoria. Enough of this social media crap. I’m off this thread.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 6, 2018, 1:12 pm

        “Dr. Spielvogel, of course. The reference is obvious. “

        I had to Google it. Never read “P’s C”.

        ” Enough of this social media crap. I’m off this thread.”

        Wait, don’t go, we were just getting to my favorite part. That’s when you write comments about your deleted comments. Always makes me wonder if your modem has a loose connection.

  11. bcg
    bcg
    October 2, 2018, 11:05 am

    Incidentally, there is this book “Why the Germans? Why the Jews?: Envy, Race Hatred, and the Prehistory of the Holocaust” by Gotz Aly – check it out on Amazon (I have only read a review of it in the New York Review of Books) – this is the Amazon blurb and explains his theory pretty succinctly:

    Why the Germans? Why the Jews? Countless historians have grappled with these questions, but few have come up with answers as original and insightful as those of maverick German historian Götz Aly. Tracing the prehistory of the Holocaust from the 1800s to the Nazis’ assumption of power in 1933, Aly shows that German anti-Semitism was―to a previously overlooked extent―driven in large part by material concerns, not racist ideology or religious animosity. As Germany made its way through the upheaval of the Industrial Revolution, the difficulties of the lethargic, economically backward German majority stood in marked contrast to the social and economic success of the agile Jewish minority. This success aroused envy and fear among the Gentile population, creating fertile ground for murderous Nazi politics.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      October 3, 2018, 10:04 am

      That book looks really interesting – thanks for the mention. I guess it’s only now possible for an author – especially a German author – to write such a ‘controversial’ book. I had to laugh at one of the critics in the Amazon review section – “you should read the work of real historians, such as Daniel Goldhagen.” Lol.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 5, 2018, 6:06 pm

        There were about 500,000 Jews in Germany in 1933, and by 1938, it was down to about 250,000 (aprox.)

  12. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz
    October 7, 2018, 6:44 am

    Portnoy’s rebellion has been described in Portnoy’s complaint,
    I have read about the book, but not the book itself.
    Still, even reviews were hilarious.
    To my outsider eye there was (?is) a sense of humour divide between Israel and Diaspora.

    17 April 1969 Christopher Wordsworth reviews Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint for the Guardian:

    Excerpts having appeared in American periodicals, some shockwaves from Portnoy’s Complaint have already reached these shores. It is the most scabrous and disgraceful piece of living tissue since Henry Miller, and just possibly the most outrageously funny book about sex yet written. Also and curiously, far from being offensive it is positively and humanly endearing. It should be suspended by a hair, preferably pubic, as a warning, over the desks of those novelists who brandish their current sex-licence like a rattle. Rather than toil in Roth’s wake they might be persuaded to reapply their talents and leave sex to a master of the field.

    Newark-bred, mother-stifled, father-exasperated, Alexander Portnoy – “Portnoise” when inventing a New Orleans pedigree for the goy girls who infest his growing fantasies, “Portnose” when his proboscis threatens to give the game away. “Portnoy-oy-oy-oy” when Jewishness grabs his wincing psyche by the short and curly – is talking to his analyst (Punchline after pouring out the vials of his pullulating ululating sex life, “So. Now ve may perhaps to begin, Yes?”).

    Father, martyred by constipation later matched by son’s hyperacidity, sold insurance to blacks and Puerto Ricans; you could eat your dinner off mother’s floors; when good, Alex is the apple of her eye, naughty he is guilty of unspeakable crimes against Jewry and his toiling parents; the guilt sticks, confusion abides. He identifies with the male: kicking his mother in an early tantrum is partly filial: “You schmuck, I kicked her for you.” Years later, laying the Pilgrim-stock niece of his father’s employer is a small revenge for dad’s years of exploitation.

    Morality is the stoat, he the bad rabbit, furtively engaged in the bathroom when mother shouts about his bowels through the door; stilted by Superego even when he picks up a whore for a threesome with his mistress, a lass of unparallelled and unmentionable appetites. “Believe me, doctor, I’m not trying to slither out of my slime, I’m trying to slither into it.”

    He may sit on august committees and be Assistant Commissioner for Human Opportunity, but a Jewish boy with parents alive is a 15-year-old “until they die.” So, the eternal reproach, no nice Jewish wedding, no grandchildren; the shadow of the barmitzvah over all that gentile-screwing; the fascination of all those secretions and apertures, American apertures; and the built-in Jewish homily calling to order; guilt at the prow, rebellion at the helm, the sheepish Id in irons still aboard the not-so-Jolly Roger. Any blonde who quibbles at his more peculiar requirements is discriminating racially: the model who sees him as her Yiddish Ivanhoe he sees as the ultimate, liberating wallow: his very first Jewess, a sabra in Israel, “where we are the WASPS,” lectures him, butts him expertly and shrinks his ardour. […]

    151/164

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