Extracts from the Jul 2003 Journal
'Here's One We Invaded Earlier' could have been an account of the Wehrmacht's conquest of Poland which Goebbels commissioned after the fall of France. In fact, it was a Channel Four reportage on Afghanistan 18 months after the defeat of the Taliban and screened six weeks after the fall of Baghdad. The snappy title suggested that Britain and America were involved in committing serial aggression against smaller countries simply to assuage their collective aggressive impulses. [more...]
Was der Jude tut ist einerlei/In der Rasse liegt die Schweinerei (What the Jew does is irrelevant/It's his race that makes him a swine). This dictum of Hitler's mentor Schönerer has been dragged out of the lumber room of history by the veteran Labour MP Tam Dalyell, who combines extreme pacifism - he has opposed every single British military action since the Falklands War - with extreme bellicosity. [more...]
Andrew Kaufman, AJR Chairman, opened the 62nd Annual General Meeting of the Association of Jewish Refugees by commenting that the AJR was 'on the move in more ways than one!' [more...]
The phrase 'beyond the pale' - i.e. unacceptable, intolerable - derives from Anglo-Irish history. Medieval Ireland was physically divided by a palisade into an English-ruled enclave around Dublin and a much larger tribal area whose Gaelic-speaking inhabitants were considered uncivilised, 'beyond the pale'. [more...]
Extracts from an address by Dr Stephen Smith to the Annual General Meeting of the AJR at Beth Shalom
In 2045, 100 years from the end of World War II, the Holocaust will truly be history - confined and condemned to the past and only accessed through reflection, analysis and representations. In 1945, here in Britain, we had just fought a most draining conflict and were now lumbered with joint policing and reconstruction duties on mainland Europe. Somehow we quickly lost touch with the Holocaust. It wasn't our problem; we had enough of our own. [more...]
What do Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson, Walter Sickert, Barbara Hepworth and Edward Burra have in common with the Ben Uri Art Gallery (BU)? You've guessed: they're all at the BU's Making Waves exhibition and not one of them is Jewish. Not a hint of Auerbach, Lucian Freud, or Kossoff, although one Bomberg lurks towards the back. And this is London's major Jewish art house in its new Boundary Road premises, whose Jewish works remain largely in storage. Why are we served up twentieth-century masterpieces when many talented contemporary Jewish artists struggle to be shown? The answer is written on the BU's walls and implies rejection of the ghettoisation of Jewish artists in favour of their twentieth-century British contemporaries who breathed the same air and were influenced by the same passions as they were. That is the sole link in the BU's attempt to 'stimulate wider debate'. [more...]
Autobiography Frederic Raphael, who has aptly been described as 'an outsider on the inside' - he endured antisemitism as a pupil at Charterhouse public school - has published an autobiography entitled A Spoilt Boy. He achieved prominence among TV viewers with his 1970s Cambridge-based series The Glittering Prizes, which was unique in being both highly sophisticated and having a Jewish hero. Raphael for long felt equally drawn to academic and literary pursuits, but ultimately the latter won out.
Family biography The Sassoons, by Peter Stansky (Yale), describes the Sephardi counterpart to the Rothschilds. Unlike the latter, though, the Sassoons intermarried. Sybil, Marquise Cholmondley discovered a Holbein on her backstairs and refurbished Houghton Hall, Norfolk with the proceeds. Her bachelor brother Philip, owner of Trent Park and a pre-war junior minister, attacked the Nazis - in Chips Channon's weasel words - 'with the violence born of personal prejudice'.
Dementia = antisemitism When the story of the Nobel prize-winning mathematician John Forbes Nash was turned into the film A Beautiful Mind, it triggered protests because Nash had made antisemitic statements - but his defenders argued he had done so while the balance of his mind was disturbed. Interestingly, the Massachusetts institution to which Nash was confined had previously accommodated the eminent poet Robert Lowell, who was prone to make rambling speeches in praise of Hitler.
Multi-talented Magyars Hungarian Jewry, which once gave the world Ferenz Molnar and half of Hollywood's script-writers, spawns great literary talents even now, in its cruelly diminished state. Already in the early 1980s, when the Iron Curtain was still firmly in place, the novelist Gyorgy Konrad, recipient of the Charlemagne Prize, pioneered the concept of Mitteleuropa. Nobel prize-winning author Imre Kertesz, who has been resident in Berlin for a considerable time, has upbraided his German hosts for their rampant anti-Americanism and reminded them of John Kennedy's historic dictum Ich bin ein Berliner! [link]