Monday, January 01, 2007

The Wicked Son

David Mamet has written an intriguing little book called, The Wicked Son, sub-titled, Anti-Semitism, Self-Hatred, and the Jews. I didn't want to buy it, but after reading a few dozen pages at random standing in my favorite book story, I knew I had to have it. It will probably make more sense to you if you're Jewish, but if you're interested in the current rise in anti-semitism, and identification with "the Palestinian cause" among Jews, this is a book worth reading. It isn't easy. Mamet has quite a vocabulary. His arguments are not always linear. And - here it comes - the obligatory - I didn't agree with everything he says. He does make a lot of sense though.

The title comes from the character in the Passover Haggadah, out of the four sons mentioned (the other 3 being the wise, the simple, and the one who doesn't even know how to ask) he is the one who asks, "What does all this mean to you?" thereby separating himself from his family and community. It's an angry book. Mamet repeatedly scolds the wicked son (the self-hating Jew), referring to his hypocricy and the emptiness of his life without a clear moral center. He scolds the wicked son for his search for meaning everywhere but within the traditions he is heir to. He condemns those Jews who want to find out about every "exotic" religion, who give great respect to all other beliefs, but who have no curiosity about the beliefs of their ancestors and even less respect.

There have always been Jews who, like the Wicked Son, reject their Judaism. Some of the most vicious persecutors of the Jews during the Spanish Inquisitions were Jewish apostates. The kapos during WWII were Jews who worked for the Nazis, helping to ship fellow Jews on their final trip to the death camps and helping to murder them once in the camps. Today, their spiritual decendents call themselves "human rights activists" and work for Palestinian causes against the State of Israel without any regard for the truth.

I would like to offer two quotes from the book;
In my lifetime we Jews, mythologically, have served the cause of soft pornography. The world weeps at our being killed. What fun.

I wrote, years ago, that Holocaust films are "Mandigo" for Jews, and that the thrill for the audience, came and comes from a protected indulgence of anti-semitism: they get to see us killed and to explain to themselves that they feel bad about it.

The film, The Sum of All Fears has Tom Clancy putting the world itself at the brink of chaos because the dumb Jews have misplaced one of their atomic bombs. Further, as the film progresses, we find that the plutonium for the bomb was stolen from the United States. Where does the blame accrue?

Plucky little Belgium struggles against the Hun, but not Israel. Well.

What can we do? I believe we can do this: we can speak up. Many of us harbor fantasies about speaking up against the Nazi tyranny. How could the world not have spoken in 1933, in 1943, we ask? Were I alive then, we fantasize, I would have spoken . . . . But we were not, or not of an age of reason and we cannot "speak up" in the past. We can speak up now.

Don't let an instance of anti-semitism pass. Stand up for yourself and stand up for your people. It is possible to support the Palestinian cause without being an anti-semite, and there are people of goodwill who do so. But much of the pro-Palestinian feeling in the West is a protected example of anti-semitism, and, when and as it is such, it should be opposed.

And finally, he offers this bit of advice to the self-hating Jew, whether it be a son or a daughter:
We are the children of kings and queens, a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. We are the children of a mystery that has not abandoned us and that has come for us; it is both described and contained in the Torah.

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At 8:55 PM, Blogger Jeffrey said...

Thank you for your comments.

I have always wondered about the mindset of a Jew that hates his religious and cultural background. Most people with this condition would either convert out or just ignore their backgrounds. It must take a truly evil mind to identify as a member of a group that you despise. Maybe these self-haters get extra pleasure knowing that their hate gets extra mileage because they continue to identify themselves as a member of the Jewish people.

At 6:05 PM, Blogger Harry said...

I'm not sure if it's evil or delusional. Do they have an inferiority complex because they belong to a tiny group, but they long to be accepted by the BIG group? Is it out of fear of being trod upon by the BIG guys without enough spine to stand up against them? I don't really know, but I've been wondering for a long time.


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