A fine article by David P. Goldman.
The world was anti-Semitic in 1944, when Ben Hecht wrote A Guide for the Bedevilled. The majority of educated, civilized, and rational people believed that the Jews in some fashion had brought their own problems upon themselves. Hecht began fighting anti-Semitism after an unsettling exchange with a New York hostess, who explained to him that Jews had to acknowledge their own responsibility in the matter of their persecution. This polite Gentile lady explained:
“The Jews complain. They suffer dreadfully, and they accuse. But they never stop to explain or to reason or to figure the thing out and tell the world what they, and only they, know…They are–how shall I put it–collaborative victims, a thing they refuse to see…The Germans are not a race of killers, fiends, of a special and different sort of sub-humans.”
Not that she approved of Nazi genocide, to be sure; she may not have known the extent of the butchery, but she knew that dreadful things were happening to Europe’s Jews. But she thought that the Germans must have had some kind of provocation to hate the Jews so deeply. Why else would the Germans hate Jews so much?
When did the old anti-Semitism return? For half a century the horror of a million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis stopped the mouths of the anti-Semites, but that memory has worn off. What Hecht’s interlocutor believed in 1944, most liberals believe today, not to mention the vast majority of Europeans. Yes, the Arabs hate Jews, and express this hatred in a barbaric way, they will allow, but that is because Israel has provoked the hatred.
Read the rest of the article here.
David P. Goldman is the columnist “Spengler” for Asia Times Online; his latest book is How Civilizations Die: (And Why Islam Is Dying Too). He is the Wax Family Fellow at the Middle East Forum.