“MRW, whenever somebody says they “speak for all Jews” a little voice always whispers to me: “Trefa banquet”.”
But one sees many high-profile Jews making this claim all the time — to be speaking for “the Jews” or “the Jewish people” — starting at the top of the Jewish establishment with Benjamin Netanyahu and including many Commentary Magazine neoconservatives.
Why do they do it?
I can’t remember ever hearing an American claim to speak for “the Irish people” or “the English people” — the attitude and language would be too bizarre and bombastic to contemplate.
I am as curious as ever about what factors — psychological, cultural or otherwise — drive this behavior.
During the 1930s, Nazis claimed to speak for “the German people” and Italian Fascists claimed to speak for “the Italian people” — those are the historical precedents that come to mind. During that era, many Germans and Italians were in the grip of mystical, messianic and militant ethnic collectivism.
Many Americans — especially Christian evangelicals — have been persuaded by an endless stream of propaganda that Benjamin Netanyahu is in fact speaking for “the Jewish people.” It is going to be extremely difficult to undo this belief.