Sunday, April 24, 2011

Howard Jacobson: For Anti-Zionists, Israel is Proof Jews Didn't Learn Lessons of The Holocaust

The Promise depicts 'soft-eyed Palestinians'
victimized by 'hard-faced Jews'. 

"...the Holocaust becomes an educational experience from which Jews were ethically obliged to graduate summa cum laude, Israel being the proof that they didn't." 

Once again Howard Jacobson puts it like no other: "Anti-Zionists can assure me all they like that their position entails no harm to Jews – only witness how many Jews are themselves anti-Zionist, they say – I no longer believe them. Individually, it is of course possible to care little for Israel and to care a great deal for Jews. But in the movement of events individuals lose their voice. What carries the day is consensus, and consensus is of necessity unsubtle. By brute consensus, now, Israel is the proof that Jews did not adequately learn the lesson of the Holocaust."

Here is Jacobson in a scathing rebuttal to the British independent broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom's, refusal to countenance complaints by viewers of the heavy-handed bias of a recent TV docudrama, The Promise, in which Israel is portrayed as doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to them:

“Forget Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial is old hat. The new strategy – it showed its hand in Caryl Churchill's Seven Jewish Children, and surfaced again in Channel 4's recent series The Promise – is to depict the Holocaust in all its horror in order that Jews can be charged ("You, of all people") with failing to live up to it. By this logic the Holocaust becomes an educational experience from which Jews were ethically obliged to graduate summa cum laude, Israel being the proof that they didn't. "Jews know more than anyone that killing civilians is wrong," resounds an unmistakably authorial voice in The Promise. Thus are Jews doubly damned: to the Holocaust itself and to the moral wasteland of having found no humanising redemption in its horrors.
“It matters not a jot to me that the writer/director of The Promise is a Jew. Jews succumbing to the age-old view of them and reviling what's Jewish in themselves has a long history. Peter Kosminsky would have it that his series is about Israel, not Jews, but in The Promise Israel becomes paradigmatic of the Jews' refusal to be improved by affliction.
“In a morally intelligent world – that's to say one in which, for starters, Jews are not judged more harshly than their fellows for having been despatched to concentration camps – The Promise would be seen for the ludicrous piece of brainwashed prejudice it is. Ofcom's rejection of complaints about the drama's partiality and inaccuracy was to be expected. You can't expect a body as intellectually unsophisticated as Ofcom to adjudicate between claims of dramatic truth and truth of any other sort. And for that reason it should never have been appealed to. That said, its finding that The Promise was "serious television drama, not presented as a historical and faithful re-creation", is a poor shot at making sense of anything. You can't brush aside historical re-creation in a work of historical re-creation, nor can you assert a thing is "serious television" when its seriousness is what's in question. A work isn't serious by virtue of its thinking it is. Wherein lies the seriousness, one is entitled to ask, when the drama creaks with the bad faith of a made-up mind.”
Read the whole thing here.
Read a critical review of The Promise in CIFWatch

3 comments:

  1. I agree. Some people, as the saying goes, will never 'forgive the Jews for the Holocaust.' And if they do, the Jews must atone for it by being an exemplary people.

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  2. It takes guts to be a Jew and call out Zionism as the ruthless ethnic cleansing project carried out by violent thugs that it clearly is.

    So we can't be too hard on old Howard. (His brainwashed comment is a classic case of projection.)

    ReplyDelete

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