Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Anti-Semitism vs Philo-semitism



  1. Hhaha ! you are reading tablet magazine now! My friend at work is about to do an internship in NYC at Habitus magazine incidentally.

    Anthony Julius is a very interesting man actually - aomeone lent me the Trials of the Diaspora book and I'm still only a chapter in. Its good though because Julius is rigorous and writes with detailed references like an academic/lawyer that he is. Definately one of the better books, especially historically.

    THis comment I found interesting, as I have visited this place and had a strong reaction to it:

    "Or the Jewish kitsch on sale in many Eastern European cities, which Ruth Ellen Gruber writes about? Lodz, in Poland, was once a great Jewish metropolis, and then one of the most lethal Nazi ghettoes. Today it is home to a restaurant called Anatevka, after the shtetl in Fiddler on the Roof, where you can be served matzoh by a “waiter dressed up in Hasidic costume, including a black hat and ritual fringes.” Gruber is rather indulgent toward this kind of thing, seeing it as a byproduct or precursor of a genuine rebirth of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. Seen in a colder light, this Jewish kitsch, like many of the phenomena on display in Philosemitism in History, might seem to call for a paraphrase of Oscar Wilde: Not “each man kills the thing he loves,” but each man loves the thing he killed."

    In Poland there is a little Jewish area with Jewish restaurants/shops. It is entirely for tourists because there is not a single Jew still living in Poland. The restaurants are run by Poles, and they do pretend to be Jewish. It is like a Jew theme park and it is really creepy. I think there is a lot of truth in the statement we love what we have killed, although I do not think that this area is an expression of philo-semitism so much as canny cynical business.

    And obviously phil = anti in many respects when it comes to race. I am always bristle when I hear of these women who marry into Masai tribes for eg. although I totally sympathise with the fantasy and would be somewhat guilty of it myself.

  2. Yeah I saw something on TV about that place as well, looked really disturbing. Does the same apply to an Anglophile or Francophile? Maybe not, because there aren't really anti-anglo's I guess.