Words of the Week

“If you were truly concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people there would be one, just one, resolution to address the thousands of Palestinians killed in Syria. And if you were so truly concerned about the Palestinians there would be at least one resolution to denounce the treatment of Palestinians in Lebanese refugee camps.”
–Ambassador Ron Prosor, Address to the United Nations General Assembly on the Question of Palestine

“‘Broadly speaking, most New York Jewish intellectuals tend to be anti-Israel, and I disagree with a lot of my friends on this,’ [playwright Kenneth Lonergan] said. ‘Someone asked me recently if I was pro-Israel. I said, “Well I’m not pro-Hamas!” The standard comment is, yes we know they’re terrible, the Islamic extremists and anti-Israel factions in the Middle East, but—and then they go on about how horrible Israel is.’ He said he felt that this common posture was a sort of liberal racism, ‘where you have an overly benevolent and understanding position toward non-white cultures that behave just as appallingly as white cultures that you are very quick to jump on and condemn. That’s a very common feature of the atmosphere I grew up in. It accounts for quite a lot of the strange bias that you hear in left-wing circles and it fits the pattern just as well as the clearly racist xenophobia that you hear in right wing circles.'”
–Kenneth Lonergan, quoted in Tablet magazine.

“What is certain is that, for Jews who make their lives in intellectual and academic circles, the growing prevalence of anti-Israel discourse is making things very uncomfortable.”
–Adam Kirsch, “The Great Jewish American Liberal Academic Anti-Anti-Zionist Freak-Out” (Tablet magazine)

4 thoughts on “Words of the Week

  1. ellen says:

    Thank you Erika for reminding your readers of that absolutely crucial point — Reality. As an American, I have seen and experienced it all during the 30 years I lived and worked in Israel, raised my three great children there, and was privy to all the ins and outs of Israeli and Palestinian and Bedouin feelings, worries and political or religious issues. (See my autobiographical book — with names changed to avoid spending years in legal quandries, and to protect my children — “Suspensions of Touch – An Israel Chronicle” — by author Ellen McCarty –E/R Publications.) Your website, and all the professional work you put into helping others, is a bright spot for your readers. Cheers from Denmark!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Ellen, thank you so much for introducing yourself. I will look up your work.

  2. The “liberal racism” that Kenneth Lonergan describes in the Tablet article captures what makes me uneasy not only about the complex and painful situation in Israel, but the simplistic conversations about Ferguson and other recent conflicts that are so polarizing and reductive.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Barbara, you know, I’ve always sided with complexity over reductionism. But this week, while reading Yossi Klein Halevi’s memoir, I ran across this line, in which the author imagines a rebuke, and I have to admit that it made me stop for a moment: “I imagined Krup’s rebuke: ‘Very good, Klein. So now you realize the world is complex. But people who appreciate complexity aren’t people who DO; they think, they write books, and they live the dirty work of making history to those who aren’t complex, who aren’t as noble as they are. And then they complain about the evil that others do and write beautiful poetry about human suffering.'”

      It’s not about to make me abandon complexity, by any means. But, as I say, it did make me pause.

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