The State of the Jews

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel. 


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How well are Jews—and non-Jews—doing with regard to the Jewish state? If the question focuses on the highbrow world, and particularly its predominant persuasion of liberalism (or what is still called by that name), the answer that emerges from Edward Alexander’s new book is—not very well.

The State of the Jews: A Critical Appraisal is not a seamless polemic but rather a far-ranging collection of articles and book reviews that, as Alexander himself allows, are “in flight from unity, as perhaps all collections of essays…must be in some degree.” That said, the book holds together sufficiently well, being consistently concerned with the theme of how a beleaguered people—and particularly its most articulate individuals—copes or fails to cope with hostility and defamation.

Alexander, professor emeritus of English at the University of Washington in Seattle and longtime pro-Israeli and pro-Jewish polemicist, begins with a look at some roots of liberal antisemitism and philosemitism in 19th-century England. Representing the former is the educator and author Thomas Arnold, who disliked Jews and would have allowed them to become English citizens only by converting to Christianity. Representing the latter are his son, poet and critic Matthew Arnold, who liked Jews and favored their integration in English society as Jews; and the philosopher John Stuart Mill, who extolled Jews’ contribution to civilization while not being overly fond of present-day Jews.

England, though, is one of the principal villains of this book, and by today not only has liberal English philosemitism vanished but, says Alexander, England has “declared war upon Zionism and the Jewish state and its inhabitants” and “become the most anti-Zionist and perhaps most antisemitic country in Europe….” And within that larger reality, it is “[English] Jewish Israel-haters” who “play an enormously disproportionate role in the blackening of Israel’s image and the relentless campaign to expel her from the family of nations.”

Thus Alexander exposes the demented anti-Israeli activities and statements of the likes of the academics Steven Rose, one of the initiators of English attempts to boycott Israeli universities, and Jacqueline Rose, who has turned her critical opprobrium on “those wishing to denigrate suicide bombers and their culture.” And British Jews of the Roses’ ilk are ably assisted by non-Jewish English Israel-haters like the poet (or “poetaster” as Alexander calls him) Tom Paulin, who among other infelicities told an Egyptian paper that Jews living in the West Bank “should be shot dead,” or Ted Honderich, a philosopher of “mind and logic” who persistently praises the virtuousness of Palestinian terrorism.

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  • Bruce O'H.

    The time is coming…the time when all must choose who they stand with. I don't understand Jews who side with Palestinians, perhaps I'm just not as smart as them, but I DO recognize savagery when I see it, which those anti-Israeli Jews seem unable, or unwilling, to do. I guess their false moral superiority is more important to them than little Jewish children in their kindergartens being targeted by Pali rockets.
    I stand with Israel.

    • Stan Lee

      Bruce O'H:
      Upon reading your comment, there is nothing left for me but to say "ditto." You're a man after my own heart!
      Those anti-Israeli Jews mentioned are not the people I'm concerned for, it's those who are proud of their nation, their faith, their historic culture, that's where my focus is concentrated. A few back-biters are insignificant. They too, shall pass! By the way, I never hear of Palestinians who'd side with Jews! The Islamic hate-campaign must have been totally thorough.

      • Sunbeam

        The Islamic hate campaign must have been totally thorough. This hate campaign start off at a very young age. Every child will be instill in this philosophy of hate and revenge while they were still very young and innocent not knowing what it is until when they are old enough to understand for themselves what it is. By then everything would have taken root upon the mind of the child. Mind and action speaks of the same. They are of one and an inseparable thing.

  • Chezwick

    Mike God, an article like this is like waving red-meat to our resident antisemite-extraordinaire. Schlomo will undoubtedly hyper-ventilate at the prospect of responding….believing all the while that what he writes will somehow make a difference in the grand scheme of things. In a small way, he's right; the rest of us are that much more enlightened to the twisted mindset of a hate-filled bigot.

  • Steven Schrier

    I live in England's heartland and regularly visit London where my business interests are. I do not recognise the Anti Semetic England that Alexander pictures. I am a high officer in several Conservative organisations as well as the local harbour board. My wife, who is protestant, and I run the chuch Fete and have been for over 15 years! I often make clear to nearly everyone I meet, my beliefs and background. Yes, many Jews and Gentiles are unhappy about what they read concerning our occupation of the West Bank. This is a country proud of it's free speech and welcome that it gives to all people. That should not be read as meaning the English support all the villains. But there is no question that we try and make money out of the oil rich countries..and succeed! I hear of Jews leaving France and the US because of persecution. But this is not happening here on any scale.

    • Malfleur

      I am an Englishman living in Asia and staunch in support of Israel. Although I have not lived in England since 1985, I do try to keep current and I also do not recognize the picture of England painted by Mr. Hornik.

      Please tell us Englishmen what we can do to reinforce our support for Israel.

      • Stern

        To reinforce your support for Israel, you can stand up and shout it loud and clear. When a British judge finds vandals not guilty because he "understands" their motivation for breaking and entering and destroying goods meant for Israel, you can write to your MP and your local newspaper and let them know how you feel. When British universities, trade unions, orchestras and ballet companies attempt to boycott Israel, you can rail against them in every public forum available to you.

        And Mr. Schrier, you can educate yourself about Judea and Samaria, the biblical names for the lands now referred to as "West Bank", a term invented by the Jordanians during their illegal occupation from 1948 – 1967 (incidentally, how on earth did those 19 illegal years ever come to trump 3,000 years of Jewish history?).

        You can read up about the San Remo Conference, the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and the United Nations Charter's Chapter 80. Also, google Dr. Jacques Gauthier, a non-Jewish French Canadian international lawyer who has spent more than 20 years studying the situation and who concludes in his doctoral thesis that far from being "occupiers", Israel has the best legal claim to the land.

        Incidentally, as this was Dr. Gauthier's doctoral thesis, he couldn't simply make things up. He had to provide references substantiating every conclusion and he had to defend the entire thesis. The fact that he was granted his doctorate is proof that he was successful.

        • Englishman

          "When a British judge finds vandals not guilty because he "understands" their motivation for breaking and entering and destroying goods meant for Israel, you can write to your MP and your local newspaper and let them know how you feel."
          –> ok, I do agree wholeheartedly that this was an outrageous verdict

          "educate yourself about Judea and Samaria, the biblical names for the lands now referred to as "West Bank", a term invented by the Jordanians during their illegal occupation from 1948 – 1967 (incidentally, how on earth did those 19 illegal years ever come to trump 3,000 years of Jewish history?)"
          –> you surely must be joking asking for something like that? If we would start the restitution of land based on previous ownership, we'd have to reconstitute the British Empire, including Palestine; after all, the British Empire ruled Palestine also for a fair amount of time. No, thank you.

          "Israel has the best legal claim to the land"
          –> you can rest assured that most people in the UK don't mean 'occupation' as a legal but as a practical fact. Israel has a stronger legal claim to the land, but the Arab inhabitants will need to have sooner or later their own state.

          • ziontruth

            "Israel has a stronger legal claim to the land, but the Arab inhabitants will need to have sooner or later their own state."

            The Arab nation already has over a score of those. It is in no danger of having its self-determination taken away from it any time soon. What's more, the Arabs know it only too well, which is why they cooked up the whole fictional "non-Jewish Palestinian nation" narrative from scratch to hide the ugly truth of their ambition to take self-determination away from the Jewish nation.

            The Arab colonists squatting on the Land of Israel, a.k.a. Palestine, the one and only land of the one and only true Palestinian nation, the Jewish nation, will have to evacuate their ill-gotten gains and leave for any of the states the Arab nation already possesses. It is only just and fair; no peace, no justice!

            In closing, I would like to mention that you as an Englishman have no obligation to support either of the sides; neutrality would be just fine. But anyone who supports the Arabs and their anti-Jewish imperialistic ambitions immediately becomes an enemy of the Jewish nation.

          • Bruce O'H.

            Well said Ziontruth !!

            As for me, if the Jewish and Christian Holy sites currently being desecrated in the parts of Jerusalem controlled by the Palestinians, were taken back and restored to the proper respect of their religions, I would not shed any tears for their displaced destroyers.

            Does that mean that I think that Israel should remove all enemies from her Capital city? Why not?

            Would the United States, my country, cede over large sections of Washington DC to Al Quida, because the world browbeat them into it? Would they sit idly by while the National Cathedral, and all churches and synagogues were destroyed and defecated in. Would they accept attacks on any Christian or Jew who dared venture to those sites holy to them.

            I think not.

          • Stern

            I must be joking? let's consider the facts.
            Prior to about 1964, there was no such thing as an Arab who called him/herself a "Palestinian". In fact, prior to 1948, if you said "Palestinian", you were understood to be referring to Jews.

            Prior to 1948, Jews lived all over what is now Israel, Judea and Samaria. During the war of 1948, Jews were ethnically cleansed from all of Judea and Samaria and from the Old City of Jerusalem. The same did not happen to the Arabs who remained in Israel. They become citizens of Israel.

            All that aside, though, your analogy of reconstituting the British Empire makes no sense at all. Legally, under international law as examined by Dr. Gauthier, the land belongs to Israel. It was given to them by the same Allied Powers, using the same process, that gave the Arabs all of Mesopotamia (Iraq), Syria and Lebanon. Deny the Jewish right to our lands and you have to deny the Arab right to their lands by the same token. Remember also that there were Jews living in those Arab lands. (In contrast, the British Empire has ceased to exist as a legal entity because it has given up its colonies. There's simply no comparison)

            ziontruth, thanks for tackling this as well.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Arabs have 57 regimes to return to.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Englishmoron,

            Ever since the UK/scotland released the convicted bomber of Pan Am 103, I have lost all respect for the UK/scotland.

            You can expect more 7/7/05s because the 5th column in the UK/scotland have their plans.

          • Kufar Dawg

            Since you like muslims so much, let them have yours.

        • Rothschild

          I'm going to try and get access to the Russian archives….if my wealthy Jewish relatives purchased lots of land in Judea and Samaria ..between 1860 to 1916, would I have a claim to it?

          With all the terrorism going on there; if I found in my research, that they did purchase a large portion of the West Bank…could I go a court in Israel, as a non-Israeli to evict the Palestinians?….and, then, I would have Judea and Samaria become the land of Israel.

      • Guest

        How you can help? By speaking out, by writing letters to the editors and authors, by challenging lies and slanders. The bad guys usually win because the good people are too polite to challenge them. lettling people get away with lies without challenging them is the reason why those lies now became the common knowledge.

        You have people, like zombies, repeating that Gaza is a concentration camp or like Warsaw ghetto, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Unchallenged, this slander became "the truth."

        • SCREW SOCIALISM

          Gaza is 1945 Berlin.

          The seat of Islamofascism.

      • PaulRevereNow

        You can protest the rabid anti-semitism at the London School of Economics.

    • Guest

      You are quite right. The British do not support all evil, just the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish one. But do not pretend that you have not noticed that attacking Israel is an every day occurrence, presenting Israel as Nazi state is considered normal, and defenders of Israel are being shouted down , marginalized and demonized.

      Of cause, you may fully agree with every statement describing Israel as neo-Nazi, apartheid state where evil "settlers" go around shooting defenseless "Palestinian" children who are being starved to death in concentrate camps, and do not consider any of it being remotely anti-Semitic.

    • Ghostwriter

      Mr. Schrier,there are Jews living in the US,but they're not leaving because of persecution. Some want to go to Israel. But most remain here. Most Americans support Israel. Unfortunately,we have our kooks,like Schlomotion,who bashes Jews in nearly every comment he posts here.

  • Dr. John

    In reply to the above gentlemen, some links for Robert Wistrich, one of the world's leading scholars of anti-Semitism, on the topic of England and anti-Semitism:
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Articl
    http://rslissak.com/content/antisemitism-embedded
    http://cifwatch.com/2011/06/17/professor-robert-w

  • http://vnnforum.com DeShawn

    The state of the jews? I can tell you that: they’re liars, thieves, murderers, con artists, devils, occupiers, supremacists, and christ killers. Did I miss anything? With jews, you lose!

    • ziontruth

      Oh, hi there DeSchickelgruber.

      "Did I miss anything?"

      Yeah—the fact that we Jooooooz are living in yer head rent-free.

      "With jews, you lose!"

      Unless you schmooze. If I had a dime for every rhyme, I could stay sane in the age of Hussein. As for you, I can only tell / you to go back to your homeland: Hell. And I can only just hope as I must, that I won't see you later, Ali Gator.

    • Zionista

      get back to your cage crazy little girl

    • Andy Lewis

      Did your mother have any kids that lived?

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      DeSHlTler,

      Happy Nakba!

      Germany Surrenders in Berlin, 1945 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-O8_L7ExrE

  • Schlomotion

    At a glance, one foul thing about the "State of the Jews" is that Israel does not recognize "Israeli" as a nationality. How weird is that?
    http://theonlydemocracy.org/2010/04/no-such-thing

  • scotsirish

    I would remind the world that the British government was once shamed into rethinking their treatment of the Jews. Would that the powers that be could be shamed in the US now. The ones in charge are hope-less. http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-exodus

  • judahlevi

    The state of the Jews is fine. We have always had Jews who were self-haters (such as Karl Marx) and the others mentioned in this book, and have survived everyone of them. Yes, we should certainly confront them on the intellectual battlefield, but they will always lose. Self-hatred is not a winning cause for anyone.

    Jews are the canary in the coal mine. When the world treats Jews, and Israel, with the same respect it treats every other people or country, then we will know that the world is beginning to grow up.

  • Rev. Roy Trepanier

    For DeShawn..Jesus said.."No man takes my life..I give it willingly". John 10:18..The Jews are not "Christ killers", that is such an old, cheap mantra. The Romans and a handfull of Jewish religious leaders conspired to do what God (Jesus) had pre-planned them to do.
    The record is clear for any 6 year old to discover all the achievements of the Jewish nation, including 185 Nobel Laureates from a world population of only 14 million. The 1.3 BILLION Arabs have only 7 Nobel Laureates, and one was Yasser Arafat. Only a fool, an ignoramus or an obsessed anti-semite would make the statements you did. Or maybe you are jealous. That is a common trait among anti-semites that they are very jealous that God would choose a special people unto Himself as proof that He exists.
    The record is that every nation from the beginning of time has done their utmost best to annhialte the Jew from the face of the earth, but they are still here, a strong and vibrant nation and all the others are dead and buried in the dust of history. C'mon now, DeShawn, don't let the facts discourage you. (See, you did miss something, the truth).
    Rev. Roy….<><

  • Ghostwriter

    Both DeShawn and Schlomotion are Jew haters of the worst order. They have no shame and deserve the condemnation that they get.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fkjuliano Fabio Juliano

    Os inimigos de Israel cairão por terra.

  • Sunbeam

    I don't hate Jews. They have been wrongfully accused for a very long time. In fact they're a patient lot refusing to retaliate even to the point when provoked unjustly. They've the right to be angry just like anybody else but they chose to remain cool and endure in the face of their enemies.

    • Bruce O’H.

      I wish all of the people of the world were Sunbeams !!