What an outstanding essay.
Really lovely. I absolutely adore my philosemitic gentile peeps and you all know who you are!
"I suspect there is something even deeper than this at work, some
fundamental recognition of goodness at the heart of philo-Semitism. Here we get into regions not conducive to measurable proofs."
time I was a child in a not-particularly Christian home, I was strongly
drawn to Jews and mystified by anti-Semitism. I fell in love with Fiddler on the Roof
when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Everything about it—the splendid
music, the kvetching humour, the grumpy piety, the loving, agonistic
family bonds—all spoke to me powerfully if somewhat inexplicably given
my very different family background. I did not know any Jews and yet I
somehow knew Jews. In junior high school I developed an interest in the
Holocaust that gripped me for years. I did a major project in the tenth
grade on the development of antisemitism in Germany and another in
twelfth grade on the role of literature in purveying anti-Semitic
stereotypes. I still did not know many Jews, but I admired and suffered
with them. Although I never doubted anti-Semitism’s existence, it always
seemed extraordinarily bizarre. Other forms of prejudice I could
understand, if deplore—but hatred of Jews, that people of light and
energy and genius … What was there not to love?"
"It may be that my initial love of Jews, based as it was on little more
than a feeling, an impression, could be said to have been as irrational
and inexplicable as the Jew-hatred that many feel who have themselves
known no Jews (as Solway reports
is the case in Japan and South Korea, for example). On the contrary, I
believe it was quite explicable and defensible, and has been abundantly
confirmed as I have come to know Jews: it was a simple recognition of a
brilliant, resilient, life-affirming people whom it is abundantly good
to have in the world. I cannot help but feel now that Jew hatred is a
perverse recognition of that fact—that Jews are indeed a source of
light, and that some people hate the light."
Non Jews singing Yiddish Jew song!